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Elder Races in Vithela?


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Namaste all:

Our Vithelan game is going fairly well, a few weeks in.   I had a question for the community regarding the status of Elder Races in the Vithelan archipelago.

A few of them are well addressed - the various species of Merfolk are all present in some form of the other, and while many are definitely Antigodly, the Ludoch are most likely considered Sheradpara - ennobled antigods - by most Islanders.

The Mostali don't really show up that much in Vithelan myth, though in Teshnos they are known as the Babadi and construct all kinds of wondrous devices.   I suspect they are a decided rarity in Vithela, but likely a few Islands are taken and controlled by them.    Again, likely Sheradpara or at least, reasonable if strange antigods.

The Uz don't show up anywhere at all in Vithela, and frankly, considering the Sunniness of the place, even during mythic cycles, I can't imagine they got very far in Vithela.

I tend to ignore Dragonnewt's, for my own sanity.   Again, not mentioned anywhere in the Guide or Revealed Mythologies.   Draconic creatures certainly exist in Vithela (thanks Dogsalu!), but I'm unsure exactly what they are.   (Something more akin to Naga or Coatl, perhaps?)

The Aldryami are a strange case, in that they are mentioned to inhabit some of the larger forests on some of the big islands.   I'm unsure what they'd be classified as - an antigod race?   An allied, but non-human, mortal race?  Sheradpara ?   Children of Yothbedta?   In many ways they seem to be "in tune" with the Cosmic Harmony that Vithelan philosophy seems to expound upon at length.    At the same time, I can see horrible conflicts arising with the limitations of above-ground land on an island and whether it belongs to the humans or the elves.

It seems honestly that the various Antigod races indigineous to Vithela fill up a bulk the roles that a lot of the Genertelan Elder Races would inhabit.   Andins, Sorn, Taktari, Eresteenes and others all fill the "decidedly non-human and a threat to human civilization" niche fairly well.

Edited by aumshantih
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Babadi are part of the antigod tribes in Revealed Mythologies. As subterranean species, they might show up in a few places. Whether they are aligned with the Arandinni adpara races is another question.

Uz appear to be absent from Vithela proper. Whichever path Black Entekos created to leave Wonderhome, it doesn't look like any of the fleeing uz had taken that path. The reports whether Lightfore/Kargzant (the cold sun wanderer, not Antirius/Elmal the cold sun atop the pillar) ever descended into the Underworld prior to his destruction by Shargash is another question. If he did, his brightness may have frightened any trolls off that path.

The Andins or Arandinni appear to be a parallel to the uz or Shargash's Shadzorings, and may have replaced them. I wouldn't be surprised if all of them were manifestations or descendants of Zorak Zoran, who is a Darkness deity not descended from Kyger Litor and hence not a troll ancestor. (Much like the Kitori race is an acquired reflection of the species of the Only Old One - with conscious use of the terms race and species.)

The metaplot that was distributed among authors and fact checkers during the Hero Wars era connected the antigod activities of the Hero Wars with the Chaos as manifest in the non-Vithelan lands. No idea whether Zanch Mator, Lord of the Miasmic Hordes, is still on the horizon for the Hero Wars as portrayed by RQG. He may have been tied to the Twin Phoenix Saga which plays out between the Arandinni islands and their eastern neighbors.

We know a few Adpara mortal or demigod species (or possibly races, if they can interbreed - not that anybody really wants to linger on adpara procreation). Andinni, FuShan (Vormain's servant race of their expression of the Adpara called Ezdali), Huan-to (Kralorela), Gorgers (formerly Duravan, now limited to Kimos). Of these, only the Huan-to are clearly described as chaotic in nature. Possibly due to the absence of descriptions of most of the other of these species. The Gorger psychic aura described in their RQ3 treatment in the Bestiary has not been identified as chaotic. Neither Andins nor FuShan have seen any official rules treatment whatsoever. (But then, we have no values for Shadzorings, either, and while Kitori are assumed to use troll, human or Dehori stats when in one of those forms, we don't have any rules for that or their changing between those states, either.)

Dragonewts appear to be restricted to Kralorela and Teleos, with the latter being inhabited by Pamaltelan-descended humans, though I can't say whether of Doraddi-Agimori stock or of Thinobutan-Agimori stock. Teleosan culture is obscure, but Eastern influences are strong among the outsider presences on the island.

We know two major deities from Vithelan myths to have dragon natures. One is Dogsalu, born to a high-ranked Adpara mother presumably descended from Vith and Gebkeran, the other is Harantara, known to the Kralori as Thrunhin Da. This may well mean that all the Vithelan deities are expressions of the True Dragons, or devolved from those into the shapes known to modern Gloranthans, or otherwise that at some stage of their mystic unrealization they became as draconic as Obduran the Flyer did during the EWF, and possibly others. (Not the leaders on the Third Council, though.)

If the Avanparloth do indeed have draconic identity, it is possible that the Andins and other Adpara demigod or mortal races are the Vithelan version of immature draconic births. It looks like the Parloth were too mature to produce immature dragons, with the possible exception of that two-headed island deity with the swan-wife, south of the Vithelan continent on the edge of the Outer World.

Aldryami, Zabdamar and Ludoch are descendants of lesser antigods unrelated to Gebkeran. Sea and Forest may be descended from Vith and Mairnali through the Parloth deities of Vithela, though, or just a form of intruders due to the Collision of Worlds - another idea Greg was keen on during the Issaries Inc. era, alongside (and explanatory to) the strict Four Different Worlds doctrine of that era. Revealed Mythologies clearly is a source from that era, but is the only deep source we have on eastern mysticism and other myth next to what snippets made it into the Guide.

While the rest of the world may not subscribe to this Collision of Worlds theorem of canon any more, there is a possibility that Vithelan myth still does.

Taktari appear to be another expression of Mostali, alongside the Babadi.

Sorn are a fallen group of keets - mortals gone wrong. Keets and other anthropomorphic birds may be a precursor to the Vithelan (and Dara Happan/Rinliddic) humans. What are the Vithelan creation myths for keets, for humans?

The Eresteenes might include the Huan-to of Kralorela - they definitely include the servants of the Huan-to.

 

Edited by Joerg
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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Uz appear to be absent from Vithela proper. Whichever path Black Entekos created to leave Wonderhome, it doesn't look like any of the fleeing uz had taken that path. The reports whether Lightfore/Kargzant (the cold sun wanderer, not Antirius/Elmal the cold sun atop the pillar) ever descended into the Underworld prior to his destruction by Shargash is another question. If he did, his brightness may have frightened any trolls off that path.

There are bits in Revealed Mythologies and elsewhere that "Vith grabbed and held onto the Sun", which is probably Zzaburi propaganda, but that might explain the lack of Uz in Vithela.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

The Andins or Arandinni appear to be a parallel to the uz or Shargash's Shadzorings, and may have replaced them. I wouldn't be surprised if all of them were manifestations or descendants of Zorak Zoran, who is a Darkness deity not descended from Kyger Litor and hence not a troll ancestor. (Much like the Kitori race is an acquired reflection of the species of the Only Old One - with conscious use of the terms race and species.)

That makes a lot of sense, as Darkness and Water seem to be critical "Antigod" aligned elements.   

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

The metaplot that was distributed among authors and fact checkers during the Hero Wars era connected the antigod activities of the Hero Wars with the Chaos as manifest in the non-Vithelan lands. No idea whether Zanch Mator, Lord of the Miasmic Hordes, is still on the horizon for the Hero Wars as portrayed by RQG. He may have been tied to the Twin Phoenix Saga which plays out between the Arandinni islands and their eastern neighbors.

Eh, it seems like RQG has doubled down on "ALL ORLANTHI ALL THE TIME", and I for one have little interest in exploring that, nor it's overly complex system.   

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

We know a few Adpara mortal or demigod species (or possibly races, if they can interbreed - not that anybody really wants to linger on adpara procreation). Andinni, FuShan (Vormain's servant race of their expression of the Adpara called Ezdali), Huan-to (Kralorela), Gorgers (formerly Duravan, now limited to Kimos). Of these, only the Huan-to are clearly described as chaotic in nature. Possibly due to the absence of descriptions of most of the other of these species. The Gorger psychic aura described in their RQ3 treatment in the Bestiary has not been identified as chaotic. Neither Andins nor FuShan have seen any official rules treatment whatsoever. (But then, we have no values for Shadzorings, either, and while Kitori are assumed to use troll, human or Dehori stats when in one of those forms, we don't have any rules for that or their changing between those states, either.)

I think there is a Anaxial's Annex reference for Andini's, but it's woefully lacking.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

We know two major deities from Vithelan myths to have dragon natures. One is Dogsalu, born to a high-ranked Adpara mother presumably descended from Vith and Gebkeran, the other is Harantara, known to the Kralori as Thrunhin Da. This may well mean that all the Vithelan deities are expressions of the True Dragons, or devolved from those into the shapes known to modern Gloranthans, or otherwise that at some stage of their mystic unrealization they became as draconic as Obduran the Flyer did during the EWF, and possibly others. (Not the leaders on the Third Council, though.)

Dogsalu / Hakka was summoned or created by the three sons of Vith, Ombardaru the Priest, Festanur the Shaman and Martalak the Sorceror.   I wouldn't say Dogsalu is directly descended from any of the Avanparloth.   I think similarly to many other Creation age myths, the Dragon arrives Out Of Someplace Mysterious.

Another key draconic figure is Govmeranen, the Celestial King, son of Yothenera and Dogsalu.  But certainly not all Vithelan deities have connections to Dogsalu, or would necessarily be considered draconic.   Draconic mysticism is a valid path, but the three great mystics of Vithela have little, if any, connection to them.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

If the Avanparloth do indeed have draconic identity, it is possible that the Andins and other Adpara demigod or mortal races are the Vithelan version of immature draconic births. It looks like the Parloth were too mature to produce immature dragons, with the possible exception of that two-headed island deity with the swan-wife, south of the Vithelan continent on the edge of the Outer World.

Yeah, big ix-nay on draconifying all the things.   I guess it's fine for non-enlightened antigods like Orlanth and Ernalda.  (It seems like they need the help!) :P

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Aldryami, Zabdamar and Ludoch are descendants of lesser antigods unrelated to Gebkeran. Sea and Forest may be descended from Vith and Mairnali through the Parloth deities of Vithela, though, or just a form of intruders due to the Collision of Worlds - another idea Greg was keen on during the Issaries Inc. era, alongside (and explanatory to) the strict Four Different Worlds doctrine of that era. Revealed Mythologies clearly is a source from that era, but is the only deep source we have on eastern mysticism and other myth next to what snippets made it into the Guide.

While the rest of the world may not subscribe to this Collision of Worlds theorem of canon any more, there is a possibility that Vithelan myth still does.

The Collison of Worlds theory is what makes the most sense to me.   It's a shame they have moved away from it - and seem to be mildly God-Learn-ing all the things as well, which is disappointing.

 

 

 

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I imagine the Andins are a mixture of conventional elder wilds races (Dwarves, Trolls, Gargogyles etc) with their mythologies transformed into being the servants of Keltari..  The Dwarves for example are most numerous in Jakamath which they share uneasily with trolls but pockets of them can be found on the surface world.  They are less mechanically inclined than their western brethern being focused instead on metallurgy and the making of stone slaves..  The trolls occupy numerous islands which they shad with shadows and only go forward to raid other islands under the cover of darkness.  chaotic creatures such as vampires and walktapus are tolerated (pretty much like the Uz tolerate the cave trolls) but kept under control.

Keltari is I think the Vithelan equivalent of Molandro (RQ Companion p43) or Kagardu (Entkosiad p39).  He is a relic of the Green Age and opposed to the Light of Vith and others.  As such, he has become associated with Darkness and the Underworld.  

 

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17 hours ago, aumshantih said:

The Mostali don't really show up that much in Vithelan myth, though in Teshnos they are known as the Babadi and construct all kinds of wondrous devices. 

 
 

AFAIK, the name Babadi comes from Vithelan myth - it seems to be the East Isles name for Mostal? And then Taktari is the name for Stone. I tend to think of the metal people in Vithelan myth as mostali, the stone people of Taktari as earth spirits and Mostali creations (jolanti and so on). 

I think the Teshnos reference to the Babadi for a variant offshoot (dark skinned, beardless, and either staunch Octamonist or entirely heretical) of the Mostali came later - in any case, they seem to be mentioned only in products that aren't considered canon anymore (Hero Wars and Mongoose products), and the only mention of Mostali in Teshnos in the Guide just mentions the (Octamonist) dwarf city of Diamon Mountain - so it's up to you if you want to base the East Isles Babadi on them, though it seems reasonable, in which case they would likely be Octamonists too. 

Quote

Antigod leader of the Metal Beings. Babadi lives in Irenamalash, the Stone Palace.

 

So they are definitely part of Vithelan myth, but there doesn't seem to be any mention of them after the Avanapdur Cycle/Darkness, so there is a lot of flexibility to make them what you like in the modern era.

Most interesting is the mention that the Valkarist headquarters of Domdanalash (their great magic school, half Le Guin's Roke and half Domdaniel of the Arabian Nights and elsewhere) has caverns that are rumoured to connect to the Walalash, the underworld Stone Palace of the Mostali. Quite possibly this underworld can be reach by digging deep enough from any of the East Isles, or it connects to Jakamath as well some places. 

 

Edited by davecake
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The East Isles do have Uztagor, ie. Sea Trolls, according to Missing Lands, but since these are apparently less intelligent than cave trolls, they're not exactly "civilization" material. More like a carnivorous marine gorilla I guess. Add to that how they can't leave the water and there's not a whole lot more you can do with them story-wise. 

Blue Elves exist though, and might serve as messengers or or couriers between Elf-held islands, if it serves the story. We know that the Aldryami and Murthoi view each other as kin in some sense, even if the latter does not come from Aldrya, so I've always assumed some cooperation where they coincide. The East Isles seems like the best spot for that (excepting maybe some parts of Pamaltela and maybe the remaining Jrusteli isles). 

I'm also on the "hungry, bitey monster races in other mythologies/regions are troll-related/Darkness beings", partly just because it makes thematic sense and because I have an innate need to have some categories to work with (I'm sorry Greg, the God-Learners got me!). I'll admit to straight up thinking the Andinni and Shadzorings WERE trolls by other names a while back, but as I've been educated, I'm thinking that maybe the label "para-Uz" might be a more useful term. No textual evidence for any of this though. 

I think your approach to the Dwarfs is a good one. IMHO they are criminally underused in Glorantha, with too many instances of them being described with something like "they never interact with the people above and live their whole life below, the end." Cool. Exciting. Slightly exaggerated snark aside, having some of them traveling around for whatever reason, and some quests to visit their strongholds, etc. seems pretty par for the course and is neat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with the underuse of dwarves as a race, especially having more variations from the deadening reclusive orthodoxy which makes them either enigmas or villains. 
Not just more Individualists and Openhandists, but more cultural variance and interaction with their neighbours. Those who were involved with the Bright Empire, for example, should be changed by it. 
In Kralorela there seem officially no Mostali. We have discussed the dwarves of Diamond Mountain to the south, but there seems more to it. There were the dwarves to the north, in the Saresangk mines. They were said to be defeated by the Dragon Empire in 550, then destroyed by the trolls after that. But I prefer to think that their city was conquered, all hopes at reestablishing it destroyed by troll attacks, but many individual dwarves surviving in small groups offering their services to whichever powers will employ and protect them - enclaves in cities, or wandering as troops of craftsmen from employer to employer. Many smaller groups like the Flintnail cult, trying to accomodate to foreign culture by alliance with powerful others. 


I also wonder a lot at how the Kralorelan Empire built the iron forts, with technology they no longer seem to have, and suspect it speaks to some ancient alliance then betrayal of the Mostali, perhaps in the Sekever era. 

Its also interesting that Kralorelan myth includes mention of dwarves in the green age (they like all mortals are descended from Eve the wild man), but little later. The Emperor HeenMaroun is said to arrange the Ten Mortal Races, which presumably includes the dwarves? One possibility is that they, like the other enemies of the Empire, were expelled from its centre. Trolls and Darkness driven to the South, barbarians to the mountains and desserts to the West, etc. Dwarves may be considered driven out in the direction of below - all surface domains eliminated, and dwarves into their deep underworlds. This would be in the time of Thalurzni if true - an emperor who also has an interest in alchemy, which could be connected (did he learn alchemy from the dwarves? Did they war because he misused their secrets, or needed alchemical ingredients?). Or perhaps they were drowned earlier with the creation of the Suam Chow? Or both. Either way, this would connect them to East Isles myths of dwarves living in the Underworld. 
I also the dwarves of Von, in the northern border between Pent and the Lunar Empire, interesting in that they only appeared in the third age - were they there all along but unknown, a split off colony from Jords Eye, or refugees from the dwarves of Chern Durel? Of course, there are multiple intervening centuries which ever way it goes, but Mostali are like that. 

In the East Isles, dwarves appears to be a major part of the army of the anti gods through mythology, right up until the Avanapdur cycle. And after they disappear. Perhaps this indicates that most of their lands in the East disappeared/sunk with the end of Avanapdur? What few survive would be considered antigod islands, probably in the Andin Isles. And as usual in the East, anti gods appear to be tolerated and left alone as long as they stay in their own islands. 
Possibly they travel between islands mostly using magic tunnels via the otherworld, much as how dwarves reached Jrustela in the third age, but known pathways? I doubt they have anything like the concrete city ships of Slon, they might either get passage with Andin etc allies, or have some form of ships of their own, perhaps their own laboriously constructed metal ships, or even submarines, though probably very few. 
They are unlikely to think of themselves as the same sort of beings as the other anti gods, but they probably do regard themselves as believers in the empirical and material world who think mysticism is baffling nonsense, which is enough to put them in the antigod category. They’d be long cut off from most Mostali culture, so they could easily have drifted quite far. 
 

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