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Owls and Ravens


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I'm thinking of starting my next campaign among the Locaem Tribe. The political conflict taking place within the tribe seems like it's worth building a campaign around, plus you have Pegasus Plateau as a good starting point. I'm debating which clan to make the PC's "home clan." The Owl and Raven clans both seem interesting, but I have a lot of questions about their patron spirits, clan history, etc. 

I think the story from Pegasus Plateau is that Raven led the original settlers from the Locaem clans into their current lands. The Owl, Raven, Salvi, and Ulanding clans are considered the "original" clans. It's not clear if these were all just one clan at the time of their migration from Heortland. Anyway, Raven asked these settlers to kill the spirit of Bran Creek, for some reason, and they refused. It's not clear what happens next, but I think most or all of the settlers ask the spirit named Owl Lord to protect them from Raven's anger at being betrayed. What I don't understand is how we end up with a "Raven" clan that placates Raven, and hates owls. Were they just clan folk who stayed loyal to Raven? Or did they betray him, and then decide to placate him rather than worship Owl Lord? 

I'm also wondering about the nature of these bird spirits. Is Raven the same spirit worshiped in Prax and other places? And what about Owl Lord? What are his Runes and associations? I know Raven has a connection with Illusion, and maybe Darkness. I don't know much about owls in Glorantha. Looking at the wiki, they are associated with Lhankor Mhy I think? Pegasus Plateau also says that Owl Lord provides protection from Darkness, even though he is a night bird. So maybe Owl Lord has the Fire rune, and something else like Truth? That would put him in direct opposition to Raven. 

Does anyone have any more sources on this stuff, or any theories? 

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1 hour ago, Gallowglass said:

What I don't understand is how we end up with a "Raven" clan that placates Raven, and hates owls. Were they just clan folk who stayed loyal to Raven? Or did they betray him, and then decide to placate him rather than worship Owl Lord? 

Maybe the reasons have been lost in the mists of time. They could have stayed loyal to raven, or tried to kill the spirit and failed.

1 hour ago, Gallowglass said:

Is Raven the same spirit worshiped in Prax and other places?

It could be.

My theory, generally, is that the Founder Bird Spirits could have had children who are also similar, so the first Raven could have had Raven children, one of whom might have helped the Locaem. It could equally have been the Raven from Prax.

 

Edited by soltakss
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  • 3 months later...

Sorry to resurrect an old topic, but I found this while looking through some other stuff and had some findings to share.

Whether this Raven is the same one worshiped in Prax I couldn't tell you, but I'd imagine the two are fairly similar spirits regardless, including their Runes. As for owls, they're birds, who are usually associated with Sky/Fire, and the Orlanthi apparently consider them watchful guardians against Darkness. That kind of "vigilant, sharp-eyed defender" archetype is often associated with the Truth Rune (see: Yelmalio/Elmal), so yeah, Truth is a good option, and it may well have associations with Fire (or not; perhaps there's a legend of the owl giving up its connection to Fire so it can better do its job as a night watchman or something along those lines).

As mentioned above, the Raven Clan's connection to that spirit is unclear, and so you can take it wherever you want. Maybe they were willing to carry out Raven's request, or maybe they disagreed over how to deal with Raven's wrath, or maybe they disagreed with whatever price Owl Lord demanded for his protection (most spirits don't work for free).

The interesting thing, to me, is Raven asking them to kill the spirit of Bran Creek. The book claims that the creek is the physical body of Great Bearded Bran, Salvi the Good's distant God Time ancestor, so its spirit probably shares some connection to Bran as well. The Book of Heortling Mythology describes Bran as "a destroyer of animals and spirits," and Raven is an animal spirit, so there's any number of reasons why it might hold a grudge. What better revenge than forcing Bran's own descendants to kill some part of him? It's also written that he did so to protect his people from them, so that might be why Owl Lord isn't hostile and was willing to extend his protection to the Locaem.

As an aside, the BoHM also writes of Bran that he was noted for his "furious frenzy when fighting against anyone on horseback, a chariot, or other animal or vehicle." Which could be both a good starting point for working out magic for a hero-cult or Orlanth sub-cult of Great Bearded Bran that could give some useful anti-cavalry (or anti-animal, or anti-spirit) magic, and perhaps even a potential source of conflict later if that hostility towards animals leads to unforeseen difficulties with heroes bonded to hippogriffs who might, say, be looking for some kind of divine sanction to help one of them become king (and who better to ask than the great God Time hero himself?).

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As for sources on the Locaem, Pegasus Plateau is definitely the most in-depth look at them, basically everything else is just short snippets here and there as far as I can tell, most of which is already in PP. There are at least a few bits and pieces to find, though. Here's the ones I found.

Wyrm's Footnotes #15 classifies them as Axe Orlanthi, and since most of their clans came to Sartar as a cohesive group from the start that may well mean most of the tribe can draw its roots to the North March in Esrolia or parts thereabouts in Heortland (in other cases I tend to assume the branding of tribal identities like that only really indicates a plurality among the clans rather than a unified tribal character/origin). It also has a gazeteer of Sun Dome County and the surrounding area where you can find some interesting write-ups both for, you know, Sun Dome County (which I'm sure will be helpful for a Locaem campaign) and also has some interesting bits on places already detailed in Pegasus Plateau, like Salvi's Top (where it mentions that Orlanth and the Owl Lords receive sacrifices), and Three Emerald Temple (where it notes that this is also the main place of worship for Sun County women, which I don't think is made explicit in PP).

Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes and the Sartar Companion contain material that's been superceded, and what they have on the Locaem is very sparse, but there are one or two. The first one has a brief paragraph on them c. 1618 where it says they're called the "Spear Tribe" because it's their weapon of choice to the point that even many of their Humakti prefer it; it also says that Gavial Brightspear offers (or, offered, now) sacrifices to "foreign gods" instead of Orlanth, which may or may not just be a shot at Yelmalio. The latter has a list of rumors where "The Locaem Tribe is about to split in two" is marked "True;" obviously that didn't come to pass, but it gives even more credence to how the tribe has so far been totally unable to agree on a new king. It's a good scenario to dangle in front of players who are already interested in trying to keep the Locaem united, with clans starting to make alliances and draw lines against each other and weakening the tribe at a critical moment, which helps justify the PCs needing to pursue unusual means like trying to contact old gods and heroes for divine back-up in their efforts, all fertile ground for adventures. Oh, and it also gives Sora Goodseller (whom you may remember from The Smoking Ruin) a Locaem apprentice, Harstal Verlainsson, who c. 1618 was already good enough to run his own caravan but stayed out of loyalty. If you ever need or want a merchant NPC with ties to the Colymar in your campaign, there's a name and connection for you.

Finally, regarding a "home clan" for the PCs, while it would obviously depend on whether you felt up to it or interested in it, for a Locaem Campaign like that I'd actually recommend maybe allowing the PCs to come from more than one clan, perhaps all of them having grown up relatively close to the borders of multiple clans if you want them to easily interact in the adventuring off-season and/or justify them having grown up with each other (the borders of clans, especially clans in the same tribe, can be fairly nebulous and fluid). It could present some interesting roleplaying opportunities if you had PCs from different clans - maybe even rival clans - working together even as the tribe itself increasingly seems on the cusp of falling into factionalism, and help get across what stands to be lost if the Locaem really does split apart.

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:27 AM, Leingod said:

As an aside, the BoHM also writes of Bran that he was noted for his "furious frenzy when fighting against anyone on horseback, a chariot, or other animal or vehicle." Which could be both a good starting point for working out magic for a hero-cult or Orlanth sub-cult of Great Bearded Bran that could give some useful anti-cavalry (or anti-animal, or anti-spirit) magic, and perhaps even a potential source of conflict later if that hostility towards animals leads to unforeseen difficulties with heroes bonded to hippogriffs who might, say, be looking for some kind of divine sanction to help one of them become king (and who better to ask than the great God Time hero himself?).

Thanks for the extra info, I missed that bit in the BoHM. I ended up choosing the Ravens as the home clan for most of the PC's. None of the players were very interested in becoming the king of the tribe. Instead they are building their influence, and then playing kingmaker with an NPC candidate from their clan. The background "war of the spirits" will be an ongoing complication for them. (highlight the text below for secrets...)

They and their candidate want to unite the tribe, but their clan chieftain and wyter secretly want to destroy it by killing Owl Lord and Great Bearded Bran. Then they will join the Olontongi or some other tribe. The PC's only have gotten hints of this so far. 

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