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Manirian Scratchpad IV: The Aldryami & the Reforestation


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I've held off getting into this, but I feel it is time to deal with arguably the great power of Maniria in the Third Age: The Arstola Aldryami.  A massive old growth forest with 230,000 Aldryami living within it.  Compared to many other regions of Genertela, their lands and authority have gone relatively unchallenged.

 

Similar to other Scratchpad thread, I'm going to list off various things that we know are true (mostly from the Guide), and then I'll add a little commentary.

 

There are three Elven Forests relatively close to Arstola: Tarinwood, the Old Woods, and Wonderwood.

  • I don't know much about Tarinwood other than its Aldryami population is huge, and it is aloof.  I assume that they're going to eventually get into conflict with Tanisor, which will lead to an increased interest in the Reforestation.
  • The Old Woods "should" be part of Arstola but it appears to be a distinct forest.  I'm not sure what to do with this.
  • Wonderwood is cut off from Arstola by the Mislari Mountains.  They will be reconnected when the Reforestation.  One of the big differences between the Wonderwood and Arstola Aldryami is that while the Arstola have normalized relations with several human settlements, while Wonderwood is directly hostile.  The Aldryami of Wonderwood will likely promote a stronger anti-human stance after the Reforestation.
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Posted (edited)

Castelein's Legacy

According to the Guide, Castelein the Traveller married an Aldryami who settled in Bastis and founded the City of Yolanda.

  • If Castelein wants to try to figure out a stable, safe overland route through Maniria to the Holy Country, it makes sense he will make a deal with the Aldryami.
  • I misremembered the myth of Harst courting his wife, thinking that his faither-in-law Yudam Aryam was an Aldryami.  Mistake nevertheless, the idea that someone well-versed in Issaries mythology could Heroquest to get a bride and prove mutual benefit sounds like something Castelein would do.
  • I find it interesting that his wife was Yolanda of the Spruces... in other words, she was a Green Aldryami in a forest dominated by Brown Aldryami.  In a previous thread, someone mentioned that it makes more sense to think of forests of Aldryami as ecosystems with roles for various trees (conifer and deciduous), rather than thinking that the Elves of a forest are exclusively Green or Brown.  I take this to mean that Yolanda was not "Elven aristocracy."  However, her role for creating a bridge between Arstola and the Trader Princes is very significant.
    • I strongly suspect that a history of the Trader Princes can be divided into the time before and after Yolanda's death.

Castelein had a Daughter with his Elven Wife, who was then Abducted by a Pralori Serpent Dancer, but retrieved by the Trader Prince Strephon

  • I am not surprised at all that the Pralori were not happy that Castelein managed to forge a pact with the Elves, or that this displeasure would lead some to cause any trouble they could, including kidnapping Castelein's half-elf daughter.
  • It is also noteworthy that despite this story, there is no reference to an extant Trader Prince bloodline with both human and Elven ancestry.
    • I think there's a story in that, IMG, about Castelein's daughter becoming fully human, either by her own chance to be with Strephon, or as a curse from the Pralori.  ....I kind of like the second one.

 

Edited by Nevermet
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Posted (edited)

Arstola & the Hero Wars

According to the Guide, the Reforestation efforts are initiated in Arstola as is the source of the New Seed Movement

  • We are given VERY little information about the Reforestation and the New Seed Movement.  However, one question that should be answered is what caused the New Seed Movement to start at the end of the 3rd Age?  I can imagine a few different reasons, but my current, best answer is that it is an Elven response to the Hero Wars. 
    • With Arkat(s) returning, with Sedenya rising, the humans have demonstrated it is possible to reach back and bring forth old things.  Additionally, war coming to the Holy Country and Seshnela’s expansion probably creates a degree of urgency among some of the Aldryami, and the last millennia of human activity in Maniria has likely been educational (I don’t believe this just popped into an Elf’s mind in 1620)
    • While horrific, they probably gained some insights into deep magics from the Goddess Switch. 
    • The Flood dedpopulated the region of humans, allowing for created an opportunity in that Maniria is a relatively depopulated region for the last few centuries. 
    • Aldryami have likely acquired knowledge from the Manirian Road through its allies in Bastis.
    • Finally, the Opening allowed for Arstola agents to travel quickly to far off forests, including Fethlon
  • Thus, as with many of the major developments of the Hero Wars, lots of things aligned to allow the extraordinary to happen.

According the Guide, the Aldryami and their allies guard the magical groves powering the Reforestation, and after 6 years, "much of Western Genertela is covered with twisted elf woods, hostile to dwarves, trolls, and most human."

  • As pointed out by @Eff in a previous thread, the Pralori will not be allies of the Aldryami.  In Maniria, the allies of the Aldryami will either be longstanding elf-friends such as the Bastis of Yolanda, or the most rural tribes who are likely the most connected to Entruling heritage and least associated with the Trader Princes.
    • In accordance with Castelein's possible Harst-based heroquest fueling the basis of agreements, the Aldryami will likely help some humans adapt a little their new forest home.  However, for much of the Manirian population, this will be a massive disruption to society and agriculture, and there will likely be a large number of deaths due to famine as farms and pastures become old growth forest.  In between those two extremes will be walled cities actively under siege from the Forest that is Coming For Them.
  • Resistance to the Reforestation in Maniria will be very difficult.  The Elves are strong, the humans are few in number, and they will be in political and social upheaval thanks to the Opening and the Solanthi leadership dying in Esrolia.
  • "Much of Western Genertela" is a rather vague term.  Here are some of my guesses on the geography:
    • the Reforestation will not succeed in taking Esrolia (perhaps they didn't even try?)
    • The Trader Prince Cities along the Manirian Road are going to be in crisis.
    • Pralorela will be reforested, reconnecting Arstola, Tarinwood, and Wonderwood
    • The outer reaches of the Safelstran City States may be taken  I imagine a lot of Helby's and Estali's lands will be taken, along with Keanos (whose populace may not mind as much as some, given they are not agriculturalists), and Basim.
    • The New Coast and the New Fens will have some Reforestation, but it may not be as extreme as the interior.  (Fay Jee, Peelo, Handra, and Kaxtorplose may survive better than, say, Jharaz) 
    • Ramalia is going to be weird.  Either Tarinwood agrees to spare the heartland of Ramalia, or the Ramalian rulers will unleash Zorak Zoran and fire sorcery to keep their land.  The Boar Hsunchen will take the opportunity to declare independence.
    • Khorst is doomed.
  • Assuming the Reforestation comes to fruition, there is going to be an epic, possibly genocidal, siege  of the Haunted Fields eventually, as the Aldryami try to remove the Uz from the land.  The Uz actively tried to stop the Reforestation.
  • The Dragonewts won't care much about some more trees, though they'll destroy any Aldryami who enter Ryzel.  
  • I'm not completely sure, but a lot of the Aldryami homelands seem to be high enough that they may not be terribly worried about the flood.

 

The Hero Wars of Maniria involves the terror of nature in the form of the Ocean and the Forest both deciding humans need to either die or learn their place.  It will not be pretty, and Hero Wars of interior Maniria will be about trying to derail (or continue) Reforestation, or figuring out how to have one's community survive after a magical old growth forest has consumed everything.

Edited by Nevermet
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1 hour ago, Nevermet said:

the Reforestation will not succeed in taking Esrolia (perhaps they didn't even try?)

Oh, I think they will try.  It should be a very significant conflict with Samastina and the Priestesses of Ezel - the ultimate battle of Civilization vs. the Wilderness.  Picture groves erupting in the midst of Nochet or the other Esrolian cities (as well as Handra, etc. in Maniria).  Earth priestesses summoning gnomes, or even Babeester Gor axe maidens to bring down the trees.  Summoning Vogarth Strongman to create barriers against the Marching Forests.  Bringing dinosaurs in from Dragon Pass to crush the trees or eat massive quantities of tree leaves. And of course, paying the dwarfs for all sorts of elaborate devices - fireblades, acids, axes...  And for those really desperate, Summoning Oakfed.  Etc.  Too good to pass up!

1 hour ago, Nevermet said:
  • The Trader Prince Cities along the Manirian Road are going to be in crisis.
  • Pralorela will be reforested, reconnecting Arstola, Tarinwood, and Wonderwood

Yes to both.  Cropland destroyed, the Manirians will face food shortages without seed and grain.  They will need to invoke the Sow Mother for plentiful pigs to survive.

1 hour ago, Nevermet said:

The New Coast and the New Fens will have some Reforestation, but it may not be as extreme as the interior.  (Fay Jee, Peelo, Handra, and Kaxtorplose may survive better than, say, Jharaz) 

Someone, somewhere, is bound to summon the Sea gods to spread salt upon the earth and kill the trees, and in the process killing the soil for years after.  And this may be a reason that humans along coastal Maniria help Summon the Flood rather than oppose it.

1 hour ago, Nevermet said:

The Uz actively tried to stop the Reforestation.

Or eat it.  Time for the Tree Chopping Song!

 

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1 hour ago, Nevermet said:

However, one question that should be answered is what caused the New Seed Movement to start at the end of the 3rd Age?

They could quest again across the Ocean to the Errinoru Jungle and gain secrets to bring back (e.g. how to quest into the Underworld to find the right seeds).

Guide p.747 in the Black Mountain Pictoglyphs:

2. The Plant Men of the Great Woods are united and send an expedition across the vast waters on a ship of leaves to the Jungle Lands.
3. The Plant Men of the Great Woods go to the Underworld and speak with a Flowering God. Gold-crowned worms present them with seeds.  

4. Plant Men plant the seeds in the Underworld, and in the grassless plains, a New Forest appears overnight.

6. The Plant Men sail on a ship of leaves. They plant their seeds in the lands of the Uz, the Red Moon, the Blue Sorcerers, the Beast Men, and the Horse Lords. An Uzko eats a Plant Man.

image.png.5d93bed06154138df3e621d23d8fd154.png

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1 hour ago, John Biles said:

If the Elves try to invade Caladraland, they will find their forests being baked by volcanoes.

Don't need to - it's already pretty heavily forested with a slash-and-burn type agriculture.  But there are spearmen of Lodril there, as well as Mostali, so I'm sure the humans of Maniria and Esrolia will be hiring them to help fend off the elves.

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I need to do some things, so I may not be able to reply substantively tonight, but I do want to mention something:

 

IMG, I don't want the Reforestation to be "Game Over" for human society in Maniria.  It could easily and plausibly be that for anything inland, but given that I'm a Manirophile (is that a thing?), it'd be a shame to see it just.... forested out of existence.  I dunno, maybe I'll change my mind and set all the cool stuff in Maniria in 1350 or something.

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8 hours ago, jajagappa said:
9 hours ago, Nevermet said:

the Reforestation will not succeed in taking Esrolia (perhaps they didn't even try?)

Oh, I think they will try.  It should be a very significant conflict with Samastina and the Priestesses of Ezel - the ultimate battle of Civilization vs. the Wilderness.  Picture groves erupting in the midst of Nochet or the other Esrolian cities (as well as Handra, etc. in Maniria).  Earth priestesses summoning gnomes, or even Babeester Gor axe maidens to bring down the trees.  Summoning Vogarth Strongman to create barriers against the Marching Forests.  Bringing dinosaurs in from Dragon Pass to crush the trees or eat massive quantities of tree leaves. And of course, paying the dwarfs for all sorts of elaborate devices - fireblades, acids, axes...  And for those really desperate, Summoning Oakfed.  Etc.  Too good to pass up!

I think the Aldryami would be more subtle than that in Esrolia.

They would perform HeroQuest after HeroQuest, showing that Flamal is Ernalda's Husband and that Aldrya is Ernalda's daughter. They would show that Forests are naturally tied to the power of Earth and Plant. They would emphasise the ties between Earth and Plant. They would grow orchards and fruit/nut-bearing bushes that could be used by the Esrolians. they would bring in pigs that could forage in the woods. That kind of thing. they would make it that the Esrolians would have to fight against Earth, not just against the Forests.

But the idea of earth-loving Esrolians using the Tree Chopping Song or summoning Oakfed to destroy Aldrya's Forests is a wonderful thing.

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4 hours ago, Nevermet said:

I need to do some things, so I may not be able to reply substantively tonight, but I do want to mention something:

 

IMG, I don't want the Reforestation to be "Game Over" for human society in Maniria.  It could easily and plausibly be that for anything inland, but given that I'm a Manirophile (is that a thing?), it'd be a shame to see it just.... forested out of existence.  I dunno, maybe I'll change my mind and set all the cool stuff in Maniria in 1350 or something.

Clearly time for Troll Arkat in Ralios to decide the Elves are clearly backed by Gbaji and EAT THAT FOREST.

 

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6 hours ago, Nevermet said:

IMG, I don't want the Reforestation to be "Game Over" for human society in Maniria.  It could easily and plausibly be that for anything inland, but given that I'm a Manirophile (is that a thing?), it'd be a shame to see it just.... forested out of existence.

Yeah, bollocks to that. I refer the hon. gentleman to my recent response when someone said "Of course, post-Lunar Corflu will be washed away by the Flood." Or, indeed, the broader context in which we were chatting about the Lunar Grantlands (where similarly helpful folk say "there's nothing left, Argrath's nomads committed genocide, so all the people you know are dead and the places you built and fought for were destroyed.")

RuneQuest campaigns are about heroic adventurers overcoming obstacles to save the things they love. The broad sweep of the Hero Wars is about massive events that threaten the things they love. Finding the right response -- the heroquest or myth or relationship or argument or loophole your heroes can use to save their home from otherwise certain devastation -- is what your campaign is all about. Anyone whose only contribution is "That place will be destroyed in year X" doesn't care about it as much as you do, so their defeatist mumblings can safely be ignored. Because fantasy roleplaying teaches us that heroes will do extraordinary things to save the things they care about.

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4 hours ago, soltakss said:

I think the Aldryami would be more subtle than that in Esrolia.

They would perform HeroQuest after HeroQuest, showing that Flamal is Ernalda's Husband and that Aldrya is Ernalda's daughter. They would show that Forests are naturally tied to the power of Earth and Plant. They would emphasise the ties between Earth and Plant. They would grow orchards and fruit/nut-bearing bushes that could be used by the Esrolians. they would bring in pigs that could forage in the woods. That kind of thing. they would make it that the Esrolians would have to fight against Earth, not just against the Forests.

Why not both?!  Of course, the elf leaders will be busy questing to bring Ernalda back to the Green Age when all was bliss.  And then some rootless elves decide to take Valadon or New Crystal City for their own, nevermind what the elf leaders say.  And some Orlanthi summon up the Hurricane Winds and blow down the new trees in Nochet.  And factions among the Esrolians create further rifts....

7 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

RuneQuest campaigns are about heroic adventurers overcoming obstacles to save the things they love.

One reason why I like the idea of dramatic conflicts in Esrolia and Maniria.  And it could well play out either from a human or an aldryami perspective.

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9 hours ago, Nevermet said:

IMG, I don't want the Reforestation to be "Game Over" for human society in Maniria.  It could easily and plausibly be that for anything inland, but given that I'm a Manirophile (is that a thing?), it'd be a shame to see it just.... forested out of existence.  I dunno, maybe I'll change my mind and set all the cool stuff in Maniria in 1350 or something.

Hot stuff throughout! A little crazed elsewhere so still digesting the points. This bit can be a little simpler though. 

One of the historical constants of Glorantha is that New Forests come and go. Often they seem more expressive than instrumental . . . a method of communication that only incidentally looks like attempted biocide. Then when the forest has delivered its message the Takers move in to restore equilibrium. Feeders feed and eaters eat. Seeds get propagated and the worms with their funny hats reserve what they need for a next cycle somewhere. The green tide recedes again. 

On these terms, it's almost a ghost forest reprise, a fall harvest festival. A curtain call. Human society can roll with it and capture good things in its wake. We just have to get your Manirians there first.

548334167_deepdown.jpg.1938d335b5d2f65cbc08a4e3eff8b505.jpggoofy2.jpg.cc8ef2a722b903800a2baa863d80c132.jpg

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

it's almost a ghost forest reprise, a fall harvest festival.

And for the true Gloranthan apocalypse, some stretch of the Arstola Forest (perhaps along the Manirian Road) HAS to become the Nightwood - the dread forest of Hell - before Argrath's LBQ.  The Westfaring needs to go through the dead/ghost forest where Hell Hounds hunt them, undead things (undead trees?) lurk, and the spirits of nightmares roam free.

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

Hot stuff throughout!

Speaking of Hot Stuff, it occurs to me that this area must end up recreating the original myth of Grower and Taker.  The New Forest is the great expression of Grower, and that must inevitably be followed by a great expression by Taker (i.e. the dwarfs).  Now, what's the logical thing for the dwarfs to do in order to get rid of this vast overrun of growth?

Summon the Firebergs!  We know the Firebergs return, and where should one be directed to?  Obviously Maniria, west of the Vent.  If it hits part of Caladraland, too, well, they are Fire worshippers, so should appreciate it.  But great wildfires, immune to water, unleashed upon the New Forest.  Perfect for creating the subsequent ghost forest needed.

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10 hours ago, John Biles said:

Clearly time for Troll Arkat in Ralios to decide the Elves are clearly backed by Gbaji and EAT THAT FOREST.

 

The Uz of Halikiv will rediscover the lost Mislari pass to save the Trolls of Ice Mountain!

Also, the fact that Ice Mountain may be an entrance to the the underworld is a good way to create the Nightwood as @jajagappa suggests.

I also like the idea of some sort of conflict in Esrolia, but unsure how much.  The idea that the Aldryami and Esrolians will have a polite border seems... unlikely.  The only question is how widespread is the utter, violent madness.

 

I'm going to have a busy day, so the rest is stuff I will reply to in a bit.

However, I know I have at least 2 questions:

  1. Hero Wars aside... what do the Aldryami want to trade for?  Both the Trader Princes and Slontos had trade routes with the Aldryami that seemed to be economic beyond ritual. 
  2. Back to the Hero Wars, while I think some of the "Entruling wing" of the Manirians will be ok with a neolithic lifestyle among the trees, I wonder what the "Helering Wing" would think, and if there is any pre-existing mythology about Heler against the Elves?
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8 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

Or, indeed, the broader context in which we were chatting about the Lunar Grantlands (where similarly helpful folk say "there's nothing left, Argrath's nomads committed genocide, so all the people you know are dead and the places you built and fought for were destroyed.")

You know, I'm still looking for where someone stated that, exactly.  It's been nice seeing more nuanced support of broader adventure opportunities, rather than the apocalyptic shorthand used to describe the region in development updates.  The same will certainly apply to the Reforestation and the Flood and, undoubtedly, every Hero Wars prophesy.

!i!

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28 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

The idea that the Aldryami and Esrolians will have a polite border seems... unlikely.  The only question is how widespread is the utter, violent madness.

While it may not be a concern to Ernalda, the loss of cultivated land will be of concern to Esrola the Grain Goddess and all who depend upon her.  So Aldrya vs Esrola.

Maybe Esrola summons the Behemoth (see the Gods War game for that heroic earth figure)?  Maybe she calls upon the trolls of the Shadow Plateau from her throne atop it?  Lots of interesting possibilities.

31 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

what do the Aldryami want to trade for?  Both the Trader Princes and Slontos had trade routes with the Aldryami that seemed to be economic beyond ritual. 

Copper and bronze possibly.  Herbs that don't grow in the forest.  Mercenary guardians for the winter seasons while the brown elves sleep.  

35 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

I wonder what the "Helering Wing" would think, and if there is any pre-existing mythology about Heler against the Elves?

Doesn't seem too likely unless Heler aided the growth of fungus, rot, and the like, and the elves had to quest to get Yelm's Voice of Command to drive the clouds (and rain) away.

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8 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

While it may not be a concern to Ernalda, the loss of cultivated land will be of concern to Esrola the Grain Goddess and all who depend upon her.  So Aldrya vs Esrola.

 

This actually makes Kaxtorplose potentially important, given the entire city/temple is a monument to the Son of Esrola defending people from expansionist threats. (though Aldryami and the Iron Vrok are a littttle different)

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40 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

While it may not be a concern to Ernalda, the loss of cultivated land will be of concern to Esrola the Grain Goddess and all who depend upon her.  So Aldrya vs Esrola.

Maybe Esrola summons the Behemoth (see the Gods War game for that heroic earth figure)?  Maybe she calls upon the trolls of the Shadow Plateau from her throne atop it?  Lots of interesting possibilities.

Esrola was the wife of Argan Argar and their son was the Great and Only Old One.

So trying to raise the GOOO in order to get an army of trolls seems likely to me.

 

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Zorak Zoran cultists of Ramalia and the Haunted Fields work together to make a flaming zombie OOO return to defeat the trees.  

WHAT COULD GO WRONG

...I don't actually know if I am serious or joking with this scenario.

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1 hour ago, Ian Absentia said:

You know, I'm still looking for where someone stated that, exactly.  It's been nice seeing more nuanced support of broader adventure opportunities, rather than the apocalyptic shorthand used to describe the region in development updates.  The same will certainly apply to the Reforestation and the Flood and, undoubtedly, every Hero Wars prophesy.

!i!

Answered in the Grantlands thread, to avoid dicking people around here. (Seems the only person who mentioned "ethnic cleansing" was you)

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3 hours ago, John Biles said:

Esrola was the wife of Argan Argar and their son was the Great and Only Old One.

So trying to raise the GOOO in order to get an army of trolls seems likely to me.

Whether the OOO can ever be raised or returned is a question mark.  Perhaps they beget a new child instead, the Only Young One?  Or perhaps Argan Argar sends his new favored hero Obash Broos-smasher to aid his wife with an army of trolls.  Clearly the aldryami represent a new wave of Arm Demons that must be dealt with.

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