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Hi, I've been reading my way through my copy of "the Guide to Glorantha" for a few weeks. A lot of it seems great and I'm amazed over how fresh and original a lot of it seems despite how many years ago it was first written.

However, I have a few questions and I figured that I should just ask them since I haven't been able to find any clear answers. Since some of these might be quite basic I thought it would be better for me to put them all into one post rather than doing a post per question.
I'm well aware that "your Glorantha may vary" but I still want to know if something has been said about these things before I start trying to decide what might need to change.

So, my questions:

1) I'm currently sketching on a campaign originating in Northern Fronela so most of my questions are about that area, if anyone could recommend any books or articles that goes into that part of the world I'd appreciate it!

2) If I've understood it correctly a hero named Snodal kills a god, the God of Silver Feet to be more precise, in order to create the Syndic Ban. I assumed that he did so in order to stop the White Bear Empire from invading more of Fronela, but it doesn't actually say so explicitly anywhere, so am I wrong?

3) Why was the Telmori cursed by the hero Talor to become wolf monsters? Anywhere I can read more about this?

4) How many per cent of Hsunchen can transform into their totem animal would you say? 50 per cent? 5 percent? Less? Because according to "the Guide to Glorantha" there is one million Rathori in Fronela, meaning that if every adult among them can turn into a bear that would go a long way towards explaining why the White Bear Empire seemed so threatening.

5) Where can I read more about the Hsunchen? Especially the Uncolings since I plan on having all of the player characters be members of that clan (or at least member-adjacent).

Thanks in advance for any help I can get guys!

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1 hour ago, Dreaming_Johnny said:

2) If I've understood it correctly a hero named Snodal kills a god, the God of Silver Feet to be more precise, in order to create the Syndic Ban. I assumed that he did so in order to stop the White Bear Empire from invading more of Fronela, but it doesn't actually say so explicitly anywhere, so am I wrong?

You are not wrong.  Greg just hasn't published very much about it and so it's possible that you could be right.

According to what has been written, while Snodal did fight against  the barbarians under Black Hralf*, the threat was largely vanquished before the Syndic's conspiracy took place.  The cause of the plot was an attempt to save Fronela from the sinking which Zzabur had plotted for it**.  

*Although this fight occurred at the same time that the White Bear was terrorizing the Arrolians, the Loskalmi don't seem to actually call their foes the White Bear Empire.  It could be that the White Bear Empire was an eastern manifestation of a larger conflict that may have been known as the obscure Greenleaf Rebellion (mentioned only once in RQ3 book 5 and never referred to again!)

**I've heard Greg suggest (take with grain of salt) that Zzabur prepared the spell and then leaked his preparations to the Fronelans so that they would respond in the only way possible - the murder of the God with Silver Feet.  Zzabur then used the resulting energies of the God's death to elevate Brithos to another plane of existence.  

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2 hours ago, Dreaming_Johnny said:

4) How many per cent of Hsunchen can transform into their totem animal would you say? 50 per cent? 5 percent? Less? Because according to "the Guide to Glorantha" there is one million Rathori in Fronela, meaning that if every adult among them can turn into a bear that would go a long way towards explaining why the White Bear Empire seemed so threatening.

I would say 5% of Hsunchen in general can transform completely into their totem.  They are the Rune Lords and leaders of their societies.  As for the Rathori, they were generally quite harmless for most of their history as they had to hibernate every winter which made them easy prey for their enemies.  In the Third Age, the Rathori rediscovered* the White Bear and a select brotherhood of them could now fight in winter without having to hibernate.  This meant they could now kick ass without fear of reprisals.  

*They may have known how to do so long before this but the earliest known reference to the White Bear is the White Bear Empire and so a recent discovery seems likely.  

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2 hours ago, Dreaming_Johnny said:

3) Why was the Telmori cursed by the hero Talor to become wolf monsters? Anywhere I can read more about this?

 

I'm not sure where exactly you can read about it, possibly in RQ:Glorantha, or maybe History of the Heortling Peoples (it has some Dawn Age stuff in it), but the general gist is that the Telmori accepted certain magical gifts from Nysalor, like becoming impervious to stone and bronze (iirc). Talor opposed Nysalor, and appear to have been able to curse them. Though the exact method is not known, as far as I know. I've seen some speculation that Talor was able to subvert the magical gifts that Nysalor gave to the Telmori and twist them into the curse but that's pure fan speculation as far as I can tell (if compelling).

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2 hours ago, Dreaming_Johnny said:

3) Why was the Telmori cursed by the hero Talor to become wolf monsters? Anywhere I can read more about this?

The Telmori were cursed because they had used the gifts of Nysalor to become werewolves whenever they wished (ie every single Telmori, not just the 5%) and Talor, being a foe of Nysalor and the Telmori, wanted to hurt them.  Greg hasn't written much about Talor so there isn't much more to read on the topic.

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36 minutes ago, metcalph said:

I would say 5% of Hsunchen in general can transform completely into their totem.  They are the Rune Lords and leaders of their societies.  As for the Rathori, they were generally quite harmless for most of their history as they had to hibernate every winter which made them easy prey for their enemies.  In the Third Age, the Rathori rediscovered* the White Bear and a select brotherhood of them could now fight in winter without having to hibernate.  This meant they could now kick ass without fear of reprisals.  

*They may have known how to do so long before this but the earliest known reference to the White Bear is the White Bear Empire and so a recent discovery seems likely.  

I'll suggest that "White Bear" may have been more than a "select" (i.e. few in number) brotherhood:  despite how fearsome they are, the physical power is insufficient to pierce a well-defended shieldwall or phalanx, if their winter-attacking enemies come in overwhelming numbers.  There need to be enough White Bear forces to genuinely prevent such reprisals.

Of course, if we say the "select brotherhood" was merely "a minority," but not particularly rare, my objection melts like rime in spring...  😉

Edited by g33k
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1 hour ago, metcalph said:

I've heard Greg suggest (take with grain of salt) that Zzabur prepared the spell and then leaked his preparations to the Fronelans so that they would respond in the only way possible - the murder of the God with Silver Feet.  Zzabur then used the resulting energies of the God's death to elevate Brithos to another plane of existence.  

Is it known what reason (even if it was just to trick the loskalmi) did Zzabur give for his plan to sink the entire region?

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3 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

Is it known what reason (even if it was just to trick the loskalmi) did Zzabur give for his plan to sink the entire region?

The only reason given was that he was described as "malicious" (Guide to Glorantha p200).

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8 hours ago, Dreaming_Johnny said:

1) I'm currently sketching on a campaign originating in Northern Fronela so most of my questions are about that area, if anyone could recommend any books or articles that goes into that part of the world I'd appreciate it!

I have a few old fragments about Arrolia and Zoria -- are they too far south for you / otherwise irrelevant?

(Note that Lunar missionaries operate beyond the Arrolian territories, and that Zorian diplomacy is important in the struggle vs. the Kingdom of War, which risks consuming the barbaric North)

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8 hours ago, Dreaming_Johnny said:

5) Where can I read more about the Hsunchen? Especially the Uncolings since I plan on having all of the player characters be members of that clan (or at least member-adjacent).

@Eff wrote a good piece about the Pralori (elk hsunchen), here: they’re from way down south, but there’s a lot of commonality among hsunchen tribes.

(She also had a tasty shamanic vision of the Fronelan spirit world  that might spark some ideas, here)

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While it may not help you now, but it is rumoured that the default setting of the upcoming swedish edition of RQG will be Fronela. Apparently the reknown authors Gunilla Jonsson and Michael Petersén plan to write a Fronelan setting book, according to this article (let your browser translate it into english): 
https://eloso.se/gunilla-jonsson-och-michael-petersen-skriver-unikt-runequest-material-for-eloso/?fbclid=IwAR244qhuIWcPd31ZNFH4k5QQXBfeCZmyMVMaTSF8BBeDo1Y7E5CZAvh_q4E

Edited by AndreJarosch
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8 hours ago, g33k said:

I'll suggest that "White Bear" may have been more than a "select" (i.e. few in number) brotherhood:  despite how fearsome they are, the physical power is insufficient to pierce a well-defended shieldwall or phalanx, if their winter-attacking enemies come in overwhelming numbers.  There need to be enough White Bear forces to genuinely prevent such reprisals.

Of course, if we say the "select brotherhood" was merely "a minority," but not particularly rare, my objection melts like rime in spring...  😉

I doubt that warfare in the upper fronelan river is anything like Sartar or Tarsh.  The Rathori are hunters and skirmishers as there's no way they are going to be so idiotic as to engage in set-piece battles against infantry.  They will attack outlying farms, lone travellers, caravan stragglers etc and retreat into the woods before reinforcements arrive.  

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21 minutes ago, metcalph said:

I doubt that warfare in the upper fronelan river is anything like Sartar or Tarsh.  The Rathori are hunters and skirmishers as there's no way they are going to be so idiotic as to engage in set-piece battles against infantry.  They will attack outlying farms, lone travellers, caravan stragglers etc and retreat into the woods before reinforcements arrive.  

That's when THEY are doing the raiding.


But when retributive forces come in the winter, to raid THEM during hibernation... are there really ENOUGH of the White Bear to break a fully-prepared battalion-level force or similar, come to chastise them for the above-mentioned raids...?  Particularly White Bear forces WITHOUT their hibernating brethren?

Hence my suggestion that the "select" brotherhood might not be as "selective" as one might think.

Do we have canonical numbers on this?

 

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23 minutes ago, g33k said:

But when retributive forces come in the winter, to raid THEM during hibernation... are there really ENOUGH of the White Bear to break a fully-prepared battalion-level force or similar, come to chastise them for the above-mentioned raids...?  Particularly White Bear forces WITHOUT their hibernating brethren?

The rathori sleeping places are in the deepest parts of the woods.  Nobody in their right mind would send shield phalanxes or shield walls on raids in the woods.  What one would do instead is offer bounties for trappers.

Now if you really want to continue arguing about how the meaning of select,. I suggest you describe how you think the White Bear Brotherhood would work rather than find fault in other people's. 

 

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Could the retributive forces come in winter ?

if they fight , phalanx and open field forces are not the best in wood under snow

and did they fight ?

how many days in cold , snow and wild unknown country before finding an opponent ?

 

how many people will die because cold or ice demons or lack of food or just accident  before they face any hunshens

 

the Napoleon great army was defeated in Russia because supply chain and winter attack. there were battles but that wasn’t the main point to determine the winner

 

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

That's when THEY are doing the raiding.


But when retributive forces come in the winter, to raid THEM during hibernation... are there really ENOUGH of the White Bear to break a fully-prepared battalion-level force or similar, come to chastise them for the above-mentioned raids...?  Particularly White Bear forces WITHOUT their hibernating brethren?

Hence my suggestion that the "select" brotherhood might not be as "selective" as one might think.

Do we have canonical numbers on this?

 

In order to move battalion-sized military forces around, you generally need roads and/or an elaborate system of supply depots. The former are in short supply in Rathorela and if you have the latter, you've already solved the Rathori problem. So in practical terms, actually breaking through to Rathori hibernating grounds would require a vast expenditure of resources and require you to fight the Uncolings and minor Hsunchen peoples too, since you'd be making moves which would potentially subjugate them. 

And if you're sending forces that could conceivably raid deep into Rathorela, they're small and loose enough that the 1-to-1 advantage Rathori have in fighting is likely to be decisive. 

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On 9/7/2020 at 8:15 PM, Dreaming_Johnny said:

1) I'm currently sketching on a campaign originating in Northern Fronela so most of my questions are about that area, if anyone could recommend any books or articles that goes into that part of the world I'd appreciate it!

2) If I've understood it correctly a hero named Snodal kills a god, the God of Silver Feet to be more precise, in order to create the Syndic Ban. I assumed that he did so in order to stop the White Bear Empire from invading more of Fronela, but it doesn't actually say so explicitly anywhere, so am I wrong?

3) Why was the Telmori cursed by the hero Talor to become wolf monsters? Anywhere I can read more about this?

4) How many per cent of Hsunchen can transform into their totem animal would you say? 50 per cent? 5 percent? Less? Because according to "the Guide to Glorantha" there is one million Rathori in Fronela, meaning that if every adult among them can turn into a bear that would go a long way towards explaining why the White Bear Empire seemed so threatening.

5) Where can I read more about the Hsunchen? Especially the Uncolings since I plan on having all of the player characters be members of that clan (or at least member-adjacent).

Non-canonical, but as canonical as I can make it, Men of the West may answer many of your questions...

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/325525/Men-of-the-West&affiliate_id=2310005

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Wow! Thanks for all the great responses everyone!

I'm unfortunately quite slow at answering on forums, so it will most likely be some time before I've answered all of you. But please don't take that as a sign of impoliteness, I'm going to respond to all of you.

One thing that I thought might be best to deal with now: I'm actually quite interested in discussing and hearing others reasoning about Rathori, the White Bear and the White Bear Empire. And I love talking about demographics and warfare! But maybe those questions could become their own thread so as not to derail from the other, simpler, questions that I have in this thread?

 @Eff, @French Desperate WindChild, @g33k, @metcalph are any of you interested in starting a new thread and talking about how you view of how the White Bear Empires' invasion played out? 

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2 hours ago, Dreaming_Johnny said:

One thing that I thought might be best to deal with now: I'm actually quite interested in discussing and hearing others reasoning about Rathori, the White Bear and the White Bear Empire.

Oh, let me share this then, from my article Holiday Glorantha: Arrolia in Tales of the Reaching Moon #20 (2002):

Quote

Prophecies of the Hero Wars:
The White Bear and the Red Moon

Arrolian Sorcerers are divided in their interpretation of the White Bear Prophecy, a heretical scroll of Chronomantic origins, brought from the Heartlands by the first wave of Pelorian refugees.

Scholars from Riverjoin believe the Prophecy foretold the alliance between Arrolian Lunar worshippers and the White Bear Empire of Rathorela which expelled the Carmanian Dualist lords of Eastpoint in 1470. Using interpretative methods typical of their Minderkind philosophy, they “prove” that obscure references which, on the face of it, depict a “White Bear” overthrowing the Red Moon and ushering in a new dark age of barbaric savagery, were in fact harbingers of the dawn of Arrolian civilisation in Fronela. Minor scholarly factions hold that the Prophecy inspired the alliance, or was even forged to facilitate it!

Their rivals from Eastpoint Polytechnic hold that this interpretation is fallacious. They claim that the Prophecy foretells an event that is yet to come: almost certainly, in their view, a Rathori invasion of the Lunar Empire. From the lurid descriptions of wanton carnage and destruction in the scroll, this will doubtless be a turning point in the oft-prophesied Hero Wars!

I think a new thread for the White Bear Empire makes lots of sense, if that's what you want to discuss in detail. It makes it easier for other folk to see what you're talking about.

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@Dreaming_Johnny I recently wrote up a spirit cult of Uncol, the Uncoling reindeer spirit, for RQG. I haven't play-tested it or anything but you might be interested. It's modeled somewhat after the Telmor cult from the bestiary. I tried to add rune magic that would make them effective in tundra warfare, and also lean towards being magic specialists. 

Uncol (Beast)

Initiate Membership

- Anyone born to Uncoling parents is automatically an initiate of the cult. Outsiders must be adopted into a clan or family to join.

- Cult Skills: 1H Spear, Self Bow, Cult Lore (Uncol), Dance, Meditate, Sing, Survival, Spirit Combat, Worship (Uncol)

- Starting Skills: Cult Lore (Uncol) +15%, Sing +10%, Spirit Combat +20%, Survival +15%, Worship (Uncol) +20%

- Spirit Magic: All

- Favored Passions: Love (family), Loyalty (shaman)

Rune Magic

- Common Rune Magic: Divination, Extension 1, Multispell 1, Sanctify, Spirit Block

- Special Rune Magic: Reindeer Hide, Reindeer Running, Spirit Antlers

- Enchantments:  Ban, Binding Enchantment, Magic Point Enchantment, Matrix Creation, Spirit Armor Enchantment

Shamans

- Standard, shamans also serve as priests. Reindeer spirits are always friendly to Uncoling shamans. Other animals spirits are usually neutral, while wolf spirits are always hostile.

- Special rune magic: Axis Mundi

Associated Cults

- Hykim and Mikyh – Provides Transform Self

- Herd Mother - Provides Understand Herd Beasts (Reindeer). This is Uncol’s mate who provides magic to reindeer herders similar to Eiritha.

- Foundchild - Provides no spells, but is commonly worshiped by Uncoling hunters.

- Helpwoman - Provides no spells, but is commonly worshiped by Uncoling wise women.

- Brother Dog - Provides no spells, but is commonly worshiped by Uncoling hunters.

 

Rune Magic

 

Reindeer Hide (Beast) – 2 RP

Touch, Temporal, Nonstackable

- This spell causes the caster to sprout a coat of thick fur, covering their body. The thick hide grants +4 armor to all hit locations. The warm, thick fur also grants protection of 10 against hit point damage lost due to cold exposure (see p. 161 RQG rulebook). This spell can only be cast on an Uncol initiate.

 

Reindeer Running (Beast) – 2 RP

Touch, Temporal, Nonstackable

- This spell transforms the caster’s legs into long reindeer limbs, with hooves. The caster’s arms remain human. SIZ characteristic increases by +4, the caster’s movement rate increases to 12, and they can run through heavy snow with no penalties. This spell can only be cast on an Uncol initiate.

 

Spirit Antlers (Beast) – 3 RP

Touch, Temporal, Nonstackable

- This spell causes the target to sprout a pair of magical reindeer antlers from their forehead, granting protection from hostile spirits and spells. This has the combined effect of a Spirit Block spell granting 6 points of protection in spirit combat, and also provides 6 points of Countermagic. If the target is also fully transformed into a reindeer, they can make a gore attack as an elk (p. 144 RQ Bestiary). This spell can only be cast on an Uncol initiate.

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