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Hello,

I'm reading about the Gloranthan trade routes and main trade goods in the GTG.

It seems all interregionally traded ivory comes from hot climes: Fonrit, Maslo, Teshnos. So it is likely elephant tusks. Or are there other big tusker animals in those climes?

On our Earth, walrus tusks were an important source of ivory in Europe and northern Eurasia. There was lively ivory trade at least in the Viking period. It looks like the two water bodies around Valind's Glacier should be excellent habitat for walrus. Now I wonder 1) if there are walruses in Glorantha, 2) if they are hunted for ivory, and 3) if walrus ivory is plentiful & valued enough that it should have an impact in interregional trade?

A related pondering: any sufficiently large tusk is valuable as ivory. There are huge boars (tuskers) in Glorantha, and at least looking at the art, several animal species that do not have tusks on Earth may do so in Glorantha (saw a picture of a tusked tortoise). How many alternate sources to elephant ivory do Gloranthans have?

(Save the elephants!)

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Ouori tusks via Vadeli trade I bet (naughty!); and yes there are walruses in Neliomi Sea AFAIK, and then dragon bone or other similar big bones (High Llama? Giraffe foot bones in modern world can be carved). Giant sea beasts too, I am sure, would do (whales + beyond; think scrimshaw). Ribs as well as tusks and so on. But how much these matter in terms of trade I don't know. Surely they have some value. 

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It's important to handle ivory (tooth bone) apart from antler, hoof and any bones inside the animal. All bones can be carved, but they are also plentiful. Ivory is a different matter, and thus a valued trade good on the interregional market. My question is specifically about ivory. :)

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3 hours ago, Garrik said:

How many alternate sources to elephant ivory do Gloranthans have?

Searching through the three settings bestiaries we have for ivory or tusk:

Bestiary (2019): Ivory trees (obviously not "proper" ivory), tuskers.

Anaxials Roster(2000): Three types of elephant: Eastern or Teshnan Elephant, Mammoth and mastodon. Ankylosaurus bony ridges. Mralotings, tuskers, Manticore, Elephant Seal.

Bestiary (1987): Ouori cary walrus tusk daggers. Tuskers.

Any large tusked dinosaur seems appropriate too.

 

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And I'm sure there's something along the coasts that can be *cough* harvested.  Certainly any of the oh-my-god-so-many monsters along the Wenelian coastlines would suffice. Probably why the islanders at Iron Harpoon got shellacked by the Sea Folks.  I always wanted to explore the seas and islands off the coast there but never got the chance. FWIW.  Warlus-oids and pseudo-Narwhals are cold-water critters but I am sure there's some sort harvest-able analog in the islands and and waters. Some nice isolated beaches and rocky island breeding colonies. What could possibly go wrong?  I mean, you're already considering bogarting some of the Ivory Plinth here.

Monster hunting is always good for character development (and/or dismemberment).

And at the end of the day if SOMEONE SOMEWHERE wants it, the Trader Princes will find SOMEONE to dig it up, hunt it down, chop it up, or harvest it.... for them. They won't do it themselves if they can get away with having someone else do the dirty work.

I like the idea of an Ivory tree. Probably grows in a symbiotic and harmonious relationship with ebony.

3 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

Mammoths in Aggar.

What about Minimoths (see Girl Genius). I am sure they infest everything they can. Cities. Towns. Granaries. Occasionally they swarm and must be eradicated by any means necessary. I am sure ruins are crawling with these little pests until the trollkin eat them.

image.jpeg.4199f3fc7b8980eb1e517e5bf07a4a55.jpeg

 

From a forest overlooking the sea,

J Kyer - who will always choose 'what makes a good story' over... well... almost anything.

Edited by Voriof
Oh, mammoths!
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The tagua palm trees (six species) produce a nut with a hard, white inner layer that's used as a natural substitute for ivory today. It's entirely possible they grow somewhere in Glorantha. (The Errinoru Jungle? Slon? The parts of Old Seshnela where humans are effectively forbidden? Or maybe as close and comfortable as Teshnos...) 

Tagua nuts are relatively small- about 3 inches/8 cm in diameter at the most. Of course, we can imagine that there are giant varieties as well, growing closer to the size of ordinary walrus tusks, perhaps. 

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2 hours ago, Eff said:

The tagua palm trees (six species) produce a nut with a hard, white inner layer that's used as a natural substitute for ivory today. It's entirely possible they grow somewhere in Glorantha. (The Errinoru Jungle? Slon? The parts of Old Seshnela where humans are effectively forbidden? Or maybe as close and comfortable as Teshnos...) 

Tagua nuts are relatively small- about 3 inches/8 cm in diameter at the most. Of course, we can imagine that there are giant varieties as well, growing closer to the size of ordinary walrus tusks, perhaps. 

That's cool! Another thing to add to why people would risk life and limb to trade with reclusive and suspicious Yellow Elves.

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3 hours ago, Eff said:

Tagua nuts are relatively small- about 3 inches/8 cm in diameter at the most. Of course, we can imagine that there are giant varieties as well, growing closer to the size of ordinary walrus tusks, perhaps. 

So sayeth the Wood Database!  In a world where giant insects don't die of suffocation or collapse under their own weight, I reckon a coconut-sized tagua nut is downright reasonable.  Behold the coco de mer at up to half a meter in length.

800px-Coco_de_mer_-_BOT.2007.26.21.jpg

!i!

[Edit:  Right!  The tagua nut is the source of "ivory" used in carving Japanese netsuke.]

Edited by Ian Absentia
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16 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

In a world where giant insects don't die of suffocation or collapse under their own weight...

And let me just say, when I think of any kind of summer fruit that I really want to enjoy, I always, always, think of giant wasps.  Here's a good one for you -- it's half God-damned scorpion!

10-07-08-2018.jpg?itok=QoSo_doU

!i!

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Dear Sir,

I appreciate the extremely high-octane nightmare fuel that you have seen fit to post for me to see. Thank you very much.

That being said, insect ivory? Sure! Why not?  That said, I wonder what the chitin of a big rhino beetle mandible would be useful for. Though I think that's pretty much troll territory and chitin. I am not sure that chin would be useful as a carving material compared to ivory.

I am going to have trouble unseeing that picture though.

Yours, from a forest by the sea, without holy cripes bugs,

J Kyer

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In the non-canonical JC 'Men of the West' mention is made of how the Mammoth War Society of Seshnela treasures the ivory relics of its Martial Beast, and how it has to procure mammoth hides and tusks from merchants...

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On 8/27/2020 at 4:01 PM, Garrik said:

Hello,

I'm reading about the Gloranthan trade routes and main trade goods in the GTG.

It seems all interregionally traded ivory comes from hot climes: Fonrit, Maslo, Teshnos. So it is likely elephant tusks. Or are there other big tusker animals in those climes?

On our Earth, walrus tusks were an important source of ivory in Europe and northern Eurasia. There was lively ivory trade at least in the Viking period. It looks like the two water bodies around Valind's Glacier should be excellent habitat for walrus. Now I wonder 1) if there are walruses in Glorantha, 2) if they are hunted for ivory, and 3) if walrus ivory is plentiful & valued enough that it should have an impact in interregional trade?

It is worth pointing out that there are plenty of sources of ivory other than walruses.  Consider Mammoths, mastodons, Elk (2 ivory teeth), hippopotami (Water horses of Zola Fel), sperm whales, killer whales, narwhals (Magasta, Magasta, Magasta) warthogs (bestiary pig dogs).  Walruses are diestrous with a 14-16 month gestation and reach maturity by age 15.  This is comparatively slow reproduction.  In Glorantha there are likely to me quite a few other somewhat fantastical beasts like Tuskers that produce ivory, but most will be pretty dangerous.  And that is really the problem.  I also don't think that ivory has ever been harvested sustainably by any human population. Getting Ivory is dangerous using only bronze age technology.  I could see the value in cranking up an arbalest against walruses, but if they get into the water and dive, they will be lost even if injured.  There are likely beasts in Skyfall lake that the trolls hunt with their harpoons, and I would imagine that ivory is one of the better materials that the water people can use in crafting without recourse to any fire.  I suppose that unicorn horns might also be counted as ivory. 

An ivory industry requires (a) a reliable source of ivory (b) the means to harvest ivory safely and reliably (c) people who want to buy it.  I think that the Elk people are likely the best answer for a and b.  As to people who want to buy it, well that is a little more moot.  I would expect that the water tribes would be quite eager to trade for it if surface dwellers have an easier source than slaying a Magasta monster.  I would also suspect that the hsunchen will be a good source of the material as well as major consumers.  We can be pretty certain that Kralorela would be a major ivory consumer too.  I could also see the trolls being interested in ivory as theirs is a "tooth" culture.  During the time of Aram Ya Udram in the First Age, Orlanthi had a pig culture (that went a little feral), and no doubt they would have used a lot of tusks in regalia, but ivory's price and prestige will have changed a lot, if one follows the logic that you need a ritual interest in a material to regard it as more than a curiosity.  It is a good material for scrimshaw and other carvings, but that is dependent on the size of the piece.  I could imagine that it would add lustre and value to ritual regalia.  Historically it was used for tusk helmets, sculptures, game tokens, fish hooks, boxes and bottles, awls, needles, cutlery handles.  We can assume that it could be used for decorating weapons, especially the handles of iron swords I would imagine.

The good news about hunting walruses is that they are not so fast on land, and would not be immensely hard to outrun or dodge as they telegraph their attacks pretty badly.  They also have plenty of meat and blubber, which cold climate people need.  I am concerned that the level of hunting before the walrus population becomes troubled might be a bit low given their slow birth rate.  They reproduce more slowly than humans.   You need to kill 93 walruses on average to produce a ton of ivory btw.  Now if you have a population of Walruses in the millions and a hsunchen population doing the harvesting, it is probably sustainable for quite some time, but better hunting weapons introduced by commercial hunters are likely to increase harvest rates and make the walrus population decline reasonably quickly.

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26 minutes ago, Darius West said:

The good news about hunting walruses is that they are not so fast on land, and would not be immensely hard to outrun or dodge as they telegraph their attacks pretty badly.  They also have plenty of meat and blubber, which cold climate people need.  I am concerned that the level of hunting before the walrus population becomes troubled might be a bit low given their slow birth rate.  They reproduce more slowly than humans.   You need to kill 93 walruses on average to produce a ton of ivory btw.  Now if you have a population of Walruses in the millions and a hsunchen population doing the harvesting, it is probably sustainable for quite some time, but better hunting weapons introduced by commercial hunters are likely to increase harvest rates and make the walrus population decline reasonably quickly.

A movie I saw of a polar bear (one of the most powerful hunters on the planet) trying to make a walrus sandwich, (recipe... first catch a walrus) tells me otherwise. The entire battle happened on land, and when it ws done though the polar bear lived, it was probably crippled by the truly epic battle and for it’s remaining short life would have real problems catching anything so it will probably die of starvation rather than its substantial wounds. What blew my mind was all the other walruses about just moving out of the way of the tilt rather than joining in.

It seems, according to the movie, that polar bears do not usually challenge walrus but this one was starving as the climate was changing and its usual hunting methods were useless and most of its usual prey hard to get or find. 

ETA not only was the walrus powerful it was unnaturally (if I can use this phrase) fast.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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On 8/29/2020 at 2:03 AM, Bill the barbarian said:

ETA not only was the walrus powerful it was unnaturally (if I can use this phrase) fast.

They are reasonably fast in a single direction, but as with defeating crocodiles and alligators, you can run in a zig zag, or a spiral, or use a Somali lope to change direction and the walrus needs to start moving its bulk laterally to stay on target and it loses forwards momentum.  i.e. Dodge.

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11 minutes ago, Darius West said:

They are reasonably fast in a single direction, but as with defeating crocodiles and alligators, you can run in a zig zag, or a spiral, or use a Somali lope to change direction and the walrus needs to start moving its bulk laterally to stay on target and it loses forwards momentum.  i.e. Dodge.

Thanks for the info, I will use your strategy the next time I face this kind of pet ;)

 

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