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Nomads and the Wastes in RQG


BlindPumpkin

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It's always been my understanding that the beast-riding nomads of Prax mostly resided in the wastelands to the east of Prax, trading and raiding on the borders of Pent and Teshnos and mostly visiting Prax for religious and military reasons, with a few clans actually staying permanently west of the river. The description of Praxian characters in the RQG core rulebook makes me think otherwise though, and it seems to imply most Praxians actually live in and around Prax, and mentions the wastes more as a region where clans are exiled to as opposed to being the major area where nomad clans reside. Was this simply a way of focusing adventurer creation in and around Dragon Pass (so most Praxians still live in the wastes, but PC Praxians are from Prax), or does it mean the new chaosium canon redefines the beast-nomads as living mostly on the plains of Prax itself?

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I believe there was a thread a little while ago where some people attempted to calculate the proportion of animal riders living in Prax and the Wastes proper, and seemingly most of them live in the Wastes. I'm not really qualified to say much more, since Prax is one of those places that has been described intensely for several decades, most of which I haven't read.

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The way I figured it is that everyone wants to stay in Prax, because it's nicer, so what often happens is that they'll stay until someone else forces them out into the Wastes so they can have the nicer grazing lands, and then they stay there until they're strong enough to beat up someone else (possibly but not necessarily the ones who kicked them out beforehand) and force themselves back into Prax and repeat the cycle. This usually isn't something decided by all-out war that leads to lots of bodies on both sides, of course, because that just weakens both sides, so it's probably decided by things like raids and magical contests and ritual combat between champions and such.

But that's just My Glorantha.

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9 hours ago, BlindPumpkin said:

It's always been my understanding that the beast-riding nomads of Prax mostly resided in the wastelands to the east of Prax, trading and raiding on the borders of Pent and Teshnos and mostly visiting Prax for religious and military reasons, with a few clans actually staying permanently west of the river. The description of Praxian characters in the RQG core rulebook makes me think otherwise though, and it seems to imply most Praxians actually live in and around Prax, and mentions the wastes more as a region where clans are exiled to as opposed to being the major area where nomad clans reside.

Funny enough, I had the opposite realizations. I originally thought that the Praxian nomads were, well, in Prax. I mean, it's in the name.

Later I read a bit in the Guide To Glorantha:

With the disaster at Moonbroth, all opposition to the Lunars ceased. The Impalas and Bisons were driven over the River; the Morokanth and High Llama withdrew beyond the Paps; and the Sable Riders were supreme between the Paps and the River, and occupied all the choice parts of the Good Place.

So my understanding was that:

  • The Impala and Bison tribe were mostly in the Wastes during the Lunar occupation of Prax... most notably, there are several Bison-named grasslands there, and the Guide mentions they fight occasionally with the Pentans.
  • The Sable tribe was freely roaming the Eiritha Hills region and farther, between The Paps and the Zola Fel.
  • The Morokanth and High Llama were.... errr, I'm not sure what direction "beyond the Paps" was supposed to be in the text, but since the Sable were to the east, then the Morokanth and High Llama must have been stuck to the west, between the Devil's Marsh/Dead Place, and the Pol-Joni March.

...but of course someone pointed out that, when you look at the population numbers in the Guide, that would make for an awfully crowded desert. And in the introduction to the Wastelands chapter, the Guide says the following anyway:

The great majority of the Animal Nomads of Prax actually live in the Wastes, rather than the region of Prax itself.

So I've got no idea what that first piece of text I quoted is really about.

Now, as for RQG describing Praxian nomads as living in Prax, I imagine it's a mix of:

  1. The advanced timeline: RQG happens a few years later than the Guide, and we know the upcoming Pavis/Big Rubble book features a liberated Pavis, so it's possible that a whole bunch of nomads are flooding back into Prax from the Wastes (which raises again the question of how all these people are going to fit in the region). In fact, it kinda says that on p119 about the Bison tribe, and p120 about the Impala tribe.
    1. By the way, p119 also says the High Llama just "stayed out of the way of the invading Lunars and continued in their ancient, isolated ways", so that seems to confirm they stuck around Prax during the occupation?
  2. Simplification: the maps in RQG don't cover the Wastes, sticking instead to the classic "Dragon Pass & Prax" area. It might have been deemed simpler to say that Praxian characters are from Prax, so the players can see their homeland on the map.
Edited by lordabdul
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Ludovic aka Lordabdul -- read and listen to  The God Learners , the Gloranthan podcast, newsletter, & blog !

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11 hours ago, BlindPumpkin said:

It's always been my understanding that the beast-riding nomads of Prax mostly resided in the wastelands to the east of Prax, trading and raiding on the borders of Pent and Teshnos and mostly visiting Prax for religious and military reasons, with a few clans actually staying permanently west of the river.

Good nutshell answer.

11 hours ago, BlindPumpkin said:

The description of Praxian characters in the RQG core rulebook makes me think otherwise though, and it seems to imply most Praxians actually live in and around Prax, and mentions the wastes more as a region where clans are exiled to as opposed to being the major area where nomad clans reside. Was this simply a way of focusing adventurer creation in and around Dragon Pass (so most Praxians still live in the wastes, but PC Praxians are from Prax),

Yes.

11 hours ago, BlindPumpkin said:

or does it mean the new chaosium canon redefines the beast-nomads as living mostly on the plains of Prax itself?

No.

The key word is Nomad. I say that at any snapshot of the Wastes and Prax, the numbers of nomads in each ranges from 1% Prax / 99% Wastelands to 99% Prax / 1% Wastelands, depending on what's going on where.

For example :

1621 20% Prax / 80% Wastelands. (Bison & Impala's are outlawed, Prax is occupied by lunars, a Morokanth is the most respected elder, High llama ancestral grazing occupied by Pol-joni)

1622 Windstop. 5% Prax /95% Wastelands (Wastelands unaffected by windstop, Lunar sables remain, some morokanth remain, Pol-joni remain, die off happens)

1623 Year of Kids 1 10% Prax /90% Wastelands. The return, clans flock to the Paps to take part in fertility rituals & blessings

1624 Year of Kids 2 15% Prax /90% Wastelands. The return continues, 1621 setup continues

1625 Armistice of Prax ends. Jaldon returns. 30% Prax /70% Wastelands

1626 40% Prax /60% Wastelands

----

and here's more from  Facebook:

David Scott Here's a link to my map of the ancestral grazings. Most Praxians are out in the wastes. Note that the Bison & High Llamas grazings are now within the Pol-Joni lands. 

@Nick Brooke I'm intrigued by the 5-10 year cycle you propose for clans visiting the Paps and other holy places (in Prax). Our two Praxian "What My Father Told Me" examples are of a Sable clan that visits Prax once every ten-hands-less-one years (Chaosium, Orange Box) / a Bison clan that visits once every ten-hands-plus-one years (Issaries, HeroQuest Voices). Your cycle looks much more frequent. At any time, we know the great majority of Praxians are living in the Wastelands, beyond Prax (Guide vol.2 p.440). Does this add up?

David Scott It's not meant to. Written for HQG It was to allow players to be in a dynamic setting where every so often they'd have to risk crossing the river into Prax under the Armistice. For normal cycles I'd probably make it 50 years as written or something like every other generation. Avoiding tedious book keeping was also part of the goal. Another key event was the 1572 expulsion from the Pavis council. Many clans would have left Prax at that point, the 50 year cycle complete in 1622 postponed to 1625 by the Windstop, but coincides with Jaldon's return. Many Morokanth didn't leave at this point as a Morokanth became most respected Elder as a result of the debakle. The Bison were the cause of the 1572 events and the majority left for the wastes after their I think pre-1572 there were more clans migrating through Prax. But that's the nature of the nomads, it varies over time in response to events.

Nick Brooke That sounds sensible to me. Thanks for reverting!

David Scott - Just dug this out - the 50 year cycle is at the top of a bell curve with an SD of 15, the players clan are in the tiny percentage at one end. That also means that a few clans don't return for nearly 100 years.

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Player characters in a by-the-book RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha campaign are active in and around Dragon Pass and Prax from the year 1626 or thereabouts. So of course Praxian adventurers in RQG campaigns are likely to have been impacted by recent events in Dragon Pass and Prax, even if "most Praxians" (in the wider sense) haven't been: it gives them an "in" to the campaign's backstory.

If you'd rather play a Praxian whose tribe has just blown in from the Great Wastes, and whose family history highlights involved battling against Kralori at the Iron Forts, or skirmishing with Pentans at the Snow Line, knock yourself out! But I hope you can understand why the core rulebook doesn't give any space to those possibilities. They don't tie you into the main themes of the campaign everybody else is playing.

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