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Can Uz and Aldryami ever be friends?


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Hello everyone,

I am running the Dragon of Thunder Hills at the moment. One of my players is an Argan Argar Troll Warrior. He just defeated the giant boar almost single handed to win the trust of Tarndisi. Now i would love to give him the option to get some kind of token that represents that trust, that Tarndisi gives him. Something that make later Elf encounters more interesting and less violent. Is there something that comes to mind? Can Uz and Aldryami become friends?

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I think the main beef between aldryami and uz is the murder of Flamal by Zorak Zoran, so maybe some kind of Flamal amulet, like a magic seed. 

In addition to that, she could teach him some "secret handshake" of sorts, like the basics of aldryami courtesy to show others of their kind that he knows of their culture and has good intentions. 

Edited by Jape_Vicho
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I would say that, as individuals, sure an elf and troll could be allies or even friends. It may be a little harder and could alienate them in the eyes of most of their peers, but the idea that enemies can cooperate was proven in the Unity Battle, where all races put aside their hostility to fight chaos. For a Troll to be considered an elf-friend in general though would take tremendous effort and probably some great heroquest, perhaps to right a perceived wrong the trolls had committed against the elves. You could have Tarndisi give your player something like a special flower to signify the help he gave, maybe even something growing out of them, but elves may still act hostile and distrust him even if they're slightly less likely to kill. There's also the question of how his fellow trolls would feel about it.

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Thanks so far for the inspirations. Another question came up for me. Flamal was killed by Zorak Zoran, Ernalda was Flamals wife at that point, right? According to RQG she is allied with Argan Argar now. So, there is an Ernalda priestess in the group, she and the Argan Argar Troll are close friends, it is even reflected in both of their passions. Aldrya is the daughter of Flamal and Ernalda. And she, again, is allied with Argan Argar. Killing the powerful boar, that Ernalda created, and seemingly lost control over, should be a somewht big deal. This should count for something, i guess. I am wrong about that?

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5 minutes ago, Mythforger said:

Another question came up for me. Flamal was killed by Zorak Zoran, Ernalda was Flamals wife at that point, right? According to RQG she is allied with Argan Argar now.

I think Argan Argar is only linked with Ernalda in Uz societies that respect the earth pantheon, so probs just Shadow Plateau (and ofc Esrolia too as they worship all of Ernalda's husbands there). So people of those cultures would likely see the connection but those outside of them not so much. 

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Hm, the RQG Rulebook lists them as associated cults. So i had Argan Argar cultists be welcome in the earth temple at clearwine. We just started the campaign, and our Troll has not defined his homeland now. Maybe Shadow Plateau would be the right place so everything could fit together a bit more. I try to stick to the world as much as i can, as long as fun does not get hurt in any way. So far, i think i can explain things a lot better. I might have the dryad give my troll a special seed, that he should keep safe until some vision tells him where to plant it. Next adventure will be Smoking Ruins, maybe thats an interesting place for a troll to go to plant a seed he got from a dryad. Sounds like good potential for conflict to me.

 

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Have him eventually discover some kind of myth (ie. heroquest maybe) where Argan Argar, the god of Surface Darkness, worked with High King Elf to preserve the leftover forest by fighting under the remaining shadowy canopies or something. Others have proposed something similar (albeit happening in the 4th Age after the Hero Wars and not as a Gods War myth) and I think it has potential.

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Jeff listed Argan Argar as a protector here in the forums. Not that i know what that actually means. And i still dont get, what a heroquest actually is. There is a forth age after the Hero Wars? I thought they mark the end of the world as it is now. Where does one get such information?

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9 minutes ago, Mythforger said:

Jeff listed Argan Argar as a protector here in the forums. Not that i know what that actually means. And i still dont get, what a heroquest actually is. There is a forth age after the Hero Wars? I thought they mark the end of the world as it is now. Where does one get such information?

Oh wow, yeah, it's a lot to take in. Some of this isn't too relevant for you if you want to play a straightforward, use-friendly campaign with other newcomers/non-lore-nerds, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. 

If you want a good primer on Glorantha lore, there is probably quite a lot in various RQ and HQ books, but the Glorantha Sourcebook is more purely lore/background. There is also the Stafford Library, which is a collection of Greg Stafford's more esoteric writings, including King of Sartar, the closest thing we have to an official Glorantha novel, afaik.

As for your concrete questions:
- People in Esrolia focus more on Ernalda than on Orlanth, and see their marriage more as the most significant among many. To them, Ernalda (and by extension Esrola, who is variously her sister or arguably another aspect of her) has many husbands and lovers, and these are collectively known as "Husband-Protectors". Ernalda is very desireable to the gods, so they constantly court her, and she gives them her love and gifts if they interest her. In return they also promise to protect her and her people. From an Esrolian point of view, they are essentially the mostly good, trustworthy (to an extent) male gods (aside from the ones that are Ernalda's sons, for the most part.). To put it incredibly bluntly, the Husband-Protectors are sort-of Ernalda's harem-slash-bodyguards. Again, sorta. 

- A heroquest is basically a ritual where mortals of today attempt to recreate a myth of something the gods did. This can be done in many different ways, with several different levels of seriousness. The most basic one is more or less making someone dress up as gods, and having them perform the myth like a theatre play. This is what happens during Sacred Time (end-of-year festivals). Then you can up the ante and instead have your heroes properly equipped with weapons, and go of for real on some journey to recreate the myth. And at the far end, you make them enter into the Otherworld through magical means and literally enter the myths as the gods themselves. This is pretty dangerous, and we don't have official rules of that yet (though @soltakss just released some fanmade ones over on drivethroughrpg, I believe. :) ) If you're familiar with Australian Aboriginal song-lines, that's more or less what a heroquest is. "God-larping" is less, uh, reverent explanation. The end result is basically that you strengthen your gods, your clan, and yourself, sometimes to the extent of altering the world, getting cool magic gear, spells, gifts, companions, or even becoming a capital-h Hero or demigod! The reverse is true if you fail, though.

- The Fourth Age is an informal term, as far as I know, but the world does indeed continue after the Hero Wars. It is forever changed though. The only text that goes into this are some snippets from King of Sartar. I must emphasise however, that it's not something you need to really be concerned about, it's not some great plotline or new setting or anything, it's more a literary tool so as to make the retelling of the Hero Wars in that book appear fragmented and incomplete, a bit like modern historians trying to piece together ancient history, if that makes sense.

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Besides every RQG book that came out so far, i got King of Sartar, the Sourcebook and the Guide to Glorantha. Its hard getting everything in my old head. But i fell in love with the world, and want to learn as much as i can, and give it to my players. I tend to read through stuff for days before eben considering bringing it to the table.

Thanks for the tons of inspirations and explanations.

I did read King of Sartar in parts, but i did not get, that there are still god things happen in the times after the Hero Wars. 

Heroquests are still kind of to esoteric for me without any hard rules. I get what they are, but my mind seems to need some "how" and "why" to fully embrace them. 

So, my Troll player could be confronted by Aldryami, dressed as Elf Kings and other beeings, acting like he is Argan Argar himself and just involve him in the retelling of some unknown myth i put together, and i could have a real effect. Does one have to actively paticipate, or can one be involved in a God-La... Heroquest without even fully noticing it? 

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I think a troll who was openly friendly to an elf would be accused of being an illuminate and killed on the spot. Everyone knows making all cults associated with each other was what Gbaji tried to do, what the Lunars are trying to do right now.

An elf who tried to befriend trolls would just be an outcast, maybe an exile, unless someone took particular exception to them ("trolls ate my seedlings!").

You would need an especially strong reason for trolls and elves to set aside these prejudices, such as having to band together to defend their homes from a huge chaos army. Remember trolls actually are evil, except for the occasional individual.

An elf who presented a novel plan to lift the trollkin curse might get a hearing, though trolls would wonder why they wanted to help. Elves largely sided with Nysalor.

Edited by EricW
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3 hours ago, Mythforger said:

So, my Troll player could be confronted by Aldryami, dressed as Elf Kings and other beeings, acting like he is Argan Argar himself and just involve him in the retelling of some unknown myth i put together, and i could have a real effect.

Yes.

And there's a couple mythic lines that could be explored.

  1. Green Age era.  This is when the trees first emerged and spread across the world.  There was Harmony and Life then, and no inherent disagreement between Darkness and Plants.  You can readily picture the vast forest/jungle where the tree canopy covers the world.  There is Light above the canopy, but below it is Dark - sheltering really for creatures of the dark.  An Aldyrami particularly might hark back to this time, and perhaps speak of how the trees "gave birth to" the Surface Darkness.  Perhaps Argan Argar was really a child of this time? (Yes, there may be other stories of him as the child of Xentha, goddess of night, but perhaps they just hide the "true" story.)
  2. Gods War/Lesser or Greater Darkness era.  This is when the Earth and the forests go to sleep.  Yet there are those who become Defenders of the Forest.  Everyone talks about Yelmalio in this way, yet perhaps Argan Argar is there too?  Perhaps his dark trails cross through whatever remains of the forests, where they still create shadow and mute sound, and he trades secrets, magics, or even weapons to the elves to allow them to survive (perhaps unknown to most trolls).  Perhaps he bears news of the Secret Seeds awaiting within the earth?  Or of the Dark Cloaks that can hide them from the Takers (the dwarfs)?

 

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Oh, I am delighted to hear of successful Argan Argar adventurers making unexpected friends!

To speak directly to the original question, regarding potential tokens or signs of friendship: there is a historical precedent for pacts between elves and trolls, connected to Argan Argar.

How much do you know about the Kingdom of Night, and Ezkankekko?

The Shanasee Tree of Tarndisi's Grove has stood there since before the Dawn, and before the Dawn the peoples of Dragon Pass and Esrolia were united by the rule of Ezkankekko, the Only Old One, the demigod son of Argan Argar and Esrola, Ernalda's sister, the goddess of the physical earth.  Ezkankekko was both a troll and a human, and could take the form of any other kind of person he met--aldryami, mostali, dragonewt, whatever, he could become a tall, dark example of whatever species he encountered.  He inherited his father's gift for diplomacy, and in the depths of the Greater Darkness, when the cosmos itself was on the verge of death, he traveled the ruined world making pacts of material exchange, then mutual defense, between the surviving outposts of life and his own strongholds: ancient Nochet, the city of his human wife the heroine Queen Norinel; and the Shadow Plateau, upon which stood the Palace of Black Glass, the divine obsidian city of Argan Argar and Esrola. 

Ezkankekko made alliances with dwarves and elves, dragonewts and humans, windchildren and Gold Wheel Dancers, any folk who weren't of Chaos that he and his companions could find toiling to exist in the ruined world of the Greater Darkness.  When Wakboth the Devil finished killing off the last of his fellow Chaos Gods in the very nadir of the Darkness, he gathered most of the surviving monsters of Chaos into a single horde and directed it at the last, greatest gathering of life within his reach: the little collection of societies kept alive through their cooperation with each other and the Only Old One.  Ezkankekko coordinated his allies into the Unity Army that faced the last Chaos horde near the blasted ruins of Nochet, in the shadow of Esrola's empty throne atop the Shadow Plateau.  After the Unity Battle and I Fought, We Won, which saw the last Chaos horde defeated and Wakboth crushed under the Block in Prax, Ezkankekko led his allies and family to refound Nochet and begin the long, arduous, rewarding task of healing the world and reconnecting it and its people to the gods.  History calls the association he and his allies created to defend each other and coordinate their healing work the Unity Council, or the World Council of Friends.  There is a long, sad story of how those high ideals and fair foundations were slowly undone over the course of the First Age, but that's matter for another post.

As a creature older than the Dawn, the great sentient redwood at the heart of Tarndisi's Grove stood within the Kingdom of Night, the old name for the communities who owed their survival in the Greater Darkness to Ezkankekko, and continued to offer him tribute and acknowledgement in exchange for friendship and protection after the Dawn.  The elves may not like to speak of it in modern times, they and the mostali were the first of Ezkankekko's friends to find ways to repudiate the old pacts after Time began and they felt they needed troll friendship less, but the dryad and her tree may have a very specific and well-rehearsed method for thanking an Argan Argar troll for a good deed nonetheless.

Ezkankekko's agreements were based on his father Argan Argar's concept of 'Equal Exchange.'  Exchanges of equal value between the otherwise isolated, impoverished settlements of the Greater Darkness circulated new and different kinds of food and goods between them, preventing malnutrition and providing materials for crafts and magic where they would've otherwise been unavailable.  The goal of each exchange is to leave both parties effectively richer than they began.  This Argan Argar warrior has slain a giant boar mucking up the woods?  Maybe they give him a token from the old Kingdom of Night that other Aldryami would recognize, entitling him to graze the elf-woods (within reason) in exchange for making them safer to cultivate?

Edited by dumuzid
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5 hours ago, EricW said:

Remember trolls actually are evil, except for the occasional individual.

This is a terrible thing to say of the people without whom Glorantha quite simply would not have survived the Greater Darkness, or probably the First Age either.  Xiola Umbar weeps at the base prejudice and ingratitude of the fathers of Gbaji.

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15 minutes ago, Minion1stClass said:

Trolls are a classic Other, sure, but they are not evil.

That was the beauty of Trollpak!  A wonderfully different, diverse, distinct, and playable race.  That work really took us so far beyond the "orcs are evil" concept - and provided a full range of characteristics.  Even Zorak Zoran, a feared and generally hated god, stands beside Storm Bull in the fight against Chaos.

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15 minutes ago, dumuzid said:

This is a terrible thing to say of the people without whom Glorantha quite simply would not have survived the Greater Darkness, or probably the First Age either.  Xiola Umbar weeps at the base prejudice and ingratitude of the fathers of Gbaji.

Hehe - "good" and "useful" are not always the same thing.

12 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

That was the beauty of Trollpak!  A wonderfully different, diverse, distinct, and playable race.  That work really took us so far beyond the "orcs are evil" concept - and provided a full range of characteristics.  Even Zorak Zoran, a feared and generally hated god, stands beside Storm Bull in the fight against Chaos.

They eat sentients. And are cruel to weaker races. And their mother is a giant shade, they worship fear and horror and senseless violence. So I think "evil" is a reasonable description. Of course that is not the same as "unplayable".

Edited by EricW
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I think it's on a forest by forest basis. 

Quote

Of interest is that the Bee Queen has a
treaty with some elves which allows her people to occasionally
visit the giant flowers without molestation.

Trollpak PDF p38

There's also the Muri who are friends with the Yellow Elves of Maslo against their common enemy.

So a Troll from the Bee Tribe might become friends with the elves of say the Stinking Forest but that Friendship will count for little if he were to venture into another elf wood say Redwood, the Garden or even the Old Woods.

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56 minutes ago, EricW said:

They eat sentients. And are cruel to weaker races. And their mother is a giant shade, they worship fear and horror and senseless violence. So I think "evil" is a reasonable description. Of course that is not the same as "unplayable".

I mean... humans do a good deal of those things too. 

Don't get me wrong - Uz are clearly designed to make players be uncomfortable with them at first, but there is also a clear intention for you to go beyond that and think "oh, I guess it makes sense from their perspective." In the same sense that Orlanthi slavery and brutality does, honestly. Or indeed the Lunars, a hurdle some fans never want to cross, as evidenced by hundreds of pages of very heated arguments on this site. 

I'll admit, the abuse of the trollkin is something that makes me particularly uncomfortable (parallels to RW abuse of the developmentally impaired come to mind too easily), but I can appreciate it as a worldbuilding element, and sometimes roleplaying messed up stuff, and complicated, flawed, even problematic beings is interesting. 

Anyway, I'll try not to bog Mythforger's thread down with too much polemics. I'm fine with different viewpoints on this one. 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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Argan Argar married the goddess Esrola during godtime (think of Hades and Persephone, perhaps, for a parallel). Thereafter, Esrolia was ruled by their son the Only Old One and his Argan Argar cult for more than a thousand years. Of course Argan Argar is a major husband-protector in Esrolia, and not just on the Shadow Plateau. Of course Esrolians are surprisingly familiar with trollish apocrypha, and would know some surprising ways to establish peace between trolls and elves.

Incidentally, for a fun take on Hades and Persephone, check out the comic Punderworld by Linda Sejic.

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