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Sartarite weddings


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Both (the wedding, and the feast) are from La privée des hommes aux temps des vikings (Private Life of Humans in Viking Ages), a great collection when I was a kid (1970s/1980s). The artist is Pierre Joubert.

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Paraphrased From Cults of Prax

  1. invoke Issaries to bind us with his passing, and ordered that we hold hands for the test of the ceremony.
  2. A healer called for Chalana Arroy to bless us and keep us whole.
  3. The Lhankor Mhy scholar called for his god to make our ground steady to walk upon.
  4. Flesh Man (a begger) called for all people to recognize the touch of the gods
  5. The Trickster got drunk and called for more ale.
  6. Orlanth Priest casts Cloud Call, calls on Orlanth to watch and protect the marriage
  7. "Stand together always, two are better than one.
    Life is short, time is long. Life flees before us.
    Take what you hold, make use of it.
    This makes you better than gods."
  8. The Ernalda Initiate invoked her fertility chant
  9. A feast, exchange of gifts.  There is no mention on whether the Hokey Pokey is involved.
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2 hours ago, coffeemancer said:

we should probably look at Orlanth+Ernaldas wedding for an idea. As above so below.

It's an intuitive option, the problem is that the Ernalda-Orlanth early relations are a bit problematic, The Book of Heortling Mythology describes the marrige Ernalda as "needing a new protector" and both "falling in love" she because of his potential and he because of her beauty. I can't imagine sartarite people, specially women, being very happy if the marriage ritual went like that.

Consulting TBoHM I have found something that has surprised me. A goddess called Vela the Matchmaker apparently appears in some Heortling tales as "the power that brings lovers together", so this could be an alternative to Ernalda-Orlanth, but the surprising part is the next sentence: "it's not the wild and breathless love of the Demon Uleria that breaks apart everything it thouches". Never imagined that Heortlings think of Uleria as a Demon, she is the goddess of love and sex, which is not at all shunned in their customs, and there are lots of temples to her aroud Sartar. Even funnier because my current group lives next to an Uleria temple usually visited by one of the characters to, uhm, "take part on the rites", and because when I had to improvise a marrige rituals while running Six Seasons in Sartar, i told of an ulerian ritual, where the whole tribe gathered aroud all the people that wanted to get married that year, started chanting and dancing, swore loyalty and love to each other and ended in the lovers "consumating the marriage" in the grass, while the rest of the village danced and chanted around them.

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As Orlanthi worshippers make up ca 75% of males and Ernaldans 75% of females outside the cities, according to Jeff, I think the default marriage would be Orlanth-Ernalda. While I think Uleria has a role to play in making happy marriages, I see Ernalda as the central figure. I think I would have the clan/town head Ernaldan Priestess be the default officiator of marriages. She brought the concept to Orlanth and the roles of her husbands in her myths are not entirely different from Orlanth's thanes.

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One big aspect of an Orlanthi wedding is "meet the in-laws" as the clan of the bride (or groom) moving to the family of the marriage partner is going to attend in strength, straining the hospitality capacity of the hosts to the max. And it is not just the immediate families (households) of the bridal pair, this includes the chieftain, the clan ring, chief priests, and possibly the respective tribal kings or their thanes as witnesses in case of high stakes weddings. Plus any stickpickers etc. trundling along for free food and booze.

Lawspeakers, clan traders and chief herders will be involved as property is exchanged between the clans, and obligations to one another set into memory and possibly writing.

In-laws from other clans may turn up - individuals who have been married off to other clans, along with their marriage partners, children, and ring representatives trying to get some diplomacy done alongside the family reunion, both on the hosts' side and on the visiting new in-laws' side.

A private and minor party like Biturian's would be rare, and while Norayeep's family turns out to give her husband as much of a political and economic advantage as a priest of Issaries may wish for, Biturian's home community (likely a city guild/temple rather than a clan) is hopelessly under-represented. Calling in the cults rather than kin for those roles is a desperate move you only do in distant border town situations.

Biturian's wedding does point to opportunities to show off powerful allies in ceremonial roles during the wedding.

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Interesting, and there is bound to be drama in such a large gathering. I don't know if the average tenant farmer would have something this large and elaborate, clans are big enough that there would have to be a number of these each year.

Which brings to mind the question of what is the wedding season? Weather would seem to preclude mid-to-late Dark and early Storm seasons. Planting and harvest would make Sea and Earth seasons challenging for such a large gathering? That leaves Fire, early Dark (if harvest is done and weather permits), and late Storm and Sacred Time?

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7 hours ago, Scorus said:

Interesting, and there is bound to be drama in such a large gathering. I don't know if the average tenant farmer would have something this large and elaborate, clans are big enough that there would have to be a number of these each year.

Yes, this is the amount of interaction expected for a person of Free standard of living. A tenant farmer's wedding will still reflect on the thane who is the master of that tenant, though, and at least on that level local nobility will be involved.

Tenant households tend to be smaller than free households, and the RQG rules support such statistics by making survival rolls a lot harder for such households. As a consequence, way more weddings will be among offspring from free households.

But social mobility between tenant status and free status in Heortling society is an interesting topic. And what does a free household with more adult offspring than jobs on the stead do? Send them off adventuring?

 

7 hours ago, Scorus said:

Which brings to mind the question of what is the wedding season? Weather would seem to preclude mid-to-late Dark and early Storm seasons. Planting and harvest would make Sea and Earth seasons challenging for such a large gathering? That leaves Fire, early Dark (if harvest is done and weather permits), and late Storm and Sacred Time?

Sacred Time is a magically busy time, a time you don't want to be away from your home community. On the other hand, ceremonies done in Sacred Season may occur on the Other Side, bein more magical than your ordinary rites.

In my Glorantha, quite a few holy day rites include ritual marriages between representatives of the deities, including (public) wedding nights and expectation of children from such rites. Such occasions are the only occasions where intra-clan marriages happen in my Glorantha. If your local boy has the hots for the local girl, the couple better make sure to stand in as the ritual couple to get at least the equivalent of a year marriage.

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Looking at the King of Dragon Pass version of this question for clan creation, it seems to me that there are three groups of people you need for a wedding. 

1. The people of the receiving clan (or bloodline, if you believe in endogamy), who fulfill the role of Orlanth and ceremonially get drunk beforehand. 

2. The people of the donating clan (or bloodline), who fulfill the role of Ernalda and ceremonially do something having to do with a "List of Names" (perhaps a geneaological recitation, or perhaps an exchange of magical secrets about each other's clans). I'm not sure whether this is a status or gender distinction, which matters for an Esrolian marriage. 

3. A group of people from neither of the above groups who stand guard around the ceremony. This is associated with Elmal in KoDP, but Heler, Argan Argar, and Humakt all seem like potential options too. This seems like a natural place to throw PCs. 

Optionally, you may want:

4) Some enemies to ritually attempt to enter and be barred.

5) An Uleria priestess to oversee the joining, if you want to emphasize how much love you have for one another or just to show off. Otherwise, I'm fairly sure an Ernalda priestess of some sort oversees the ceremony. 

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54 minutes ago, Eff said:

it seems to me that there are three groups of people you need for a wedding. 

The arrival of the bride would likely include a ride in a cart decorated with the bounty of the season (flowers, fruit, evergreen boughs, etc.)

Before the wedding I'd expect a great exchange of gifts to symbolize the crafts and skills of the groom and the bride.

The division of three groups at the wedding is pretty much what I followed when I ran the marriage of the Harvest Bride.  That was a special "in"-clan event so I had the friends of the Barley King on one side, the friends of the Harvest Queen on the other, and then those who stood guard (and had to fight off those who sought to disrupt the marriage).  In my ceremony, Orane was the goddess overseeing the event.

There should be a great feast, probably after the marriage, where the receiving clan/bloodline hosts the rest of the attendees.  

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16 hours ago, Joerg said:

But social mobility between tenant status and free status in Heortling society is an interesting topic. And what does a free household with more adult offspring than jobs on the stead do? Send them off adventuring?

Given the recent battles and Great Winter, I don't think unemployment is a major issue in Sartar in the last 1620s. There are probably lots of apprenticeship opportunities for the children of free and poor families, and plenty of children filling the roles of deceased parents at an age younger than usual.

In general, nobles probably send their "excess" children to adventure, the military, or the priesthood. Free children go to military, temples, and apprentice in skilled trades. Poor children go into skilled and unskilled labor. And there are of course exceptions for each of these, especially among the more free-wheeling Orlanthi.

In my campaign, marriage is the main instrument of social mobility. The lower status spouse goes to live with the higher status spouse's family and clan, regardless of gender, and their children grow up at a higher status than their lower status spouse, potentially giving them more opportunities. But, as illustrated in the previous paragraph, a poor person's child might have opportunities to learn a skilled labor profession and a free person's child could prove themselves in the military or temple to become a landed thane or temple priest. Though somebody still has to be the clan shaman! :)

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59 minutes ago, Scorus said:

Given the recent battles and Great Winter, I don't think unemployment is a major issue in Sartar in the last 1620s. There are probably lots of apprenticeship opportunities for the children of free and poor families, and plenty of children filling the roles of deceased parents at an age younger than usual.

fully agreed

1 hour ago, Scorus said:

In general, nobles probably send their "excess" children to adventure, the military, or the priesthood

not sure for noble : I see military and priest as their primary activities. The excess  may be sent to adventure or inother clan for wedding.

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1 hour ago, Scorus said:

Given the recent battles and Great Winter, I don't think unemployment is a major issue in Sartar in the last 1620s. There are probably lots of apprenticeship opportunities for the children of free and poor families, and plenty of children filling the roles of deceased parents at an age younger than usual.

In general, nobles probably send their "excess" children to adventure, the military, or the priesthood. Free children go to military, temples, and apprentice in skilled trades. Poor children go into skilled and unskilled labor. And there are of course exceptions for each of these, especially among the more free-wheeling Orlanthi.

In my campaign, marriage is the main instrument of social mobility. The lower status spouse goes to live with the higher status spouse's family and clan, regardless of gender, and their children grow up at a higher status than their lower status spouse, potentially giving them more opportunities. But, as illustrated in the previous paragraph, a poor person's child might have opportunities to learn a skilled labor profession and a free person's child could prove themselves in the military or temple to become a landed thane or temple priest. Though somebody still has to be the clan shaman! :)

That's upward mobility covered. Now how does downward mobility happen?

If we look at Argrath aka Garrath Sharpsword, his great-grandmother was an undisputable spawn of the House of Sartar, while his mother was married to a stickpicker.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

That's upward mobility covered. Now how does downward mobility happen?

Things don't always work out as planned. Lots of things in a world like that will make people fall. A serious scandal can cripple the prospects of an entire extended family. People are outlawed. Some find the bottle or hazia. Others just have a string of bad luck or end up on the wrong side of some conflict. There are plenty of orphans, battle-wounded, Great Winter-wounded, etc. Their clans and bloodlines take care of them the best they can, but it is a hard life in Glorantha.

Dregs of Clearwine gives some good examples of how people can fall.

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9 hours ago, Joerg said:

Now how does downward mobility happen?

  • dismiss a competitor
  • rebellious / adventurous kid with no hope to return
  • shame on the family
  • bad household management
  • lose the war
  • bad omen (true or false)
  • planning (if you marry a stickpicker your son will be king, you have the choice to do it or not)
  • fate (you have no choice, that must be done)
  • love story
  • ...

 

 

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A wedding usually is a big rite introducing a person from a different clan, bloodline and household into a new such community, besides from introducing that person into a new nuptial bed with the aim of generating offspring to the household. The newly introduced marriage partner is supposed to adopt the identity of the new community, legally and by building up new loyalties. Building up new passions, or transferring those passions to a new group of people, in a RQG rules context, too.

A biological mother marrying into a new household will usually have to leave any children behind that she has given birth to before, whether within or outside of wedlock. Those children are claimed by the household, not the parent, and if the parent leaves the household, that's a form of divorce from any previous children. There may be an option of giving such children into fosterage by the new household of the parent, but that's an additional contractual complication in the already difficult contractual setup. A biological father will only have lived in the same household as his offspring if that offspring was born to a patrilocal marriage, whether widowed, divorced, or from a temporary marriage in the first place, or as the temporarily married or divorced partner in a previous matrilocal marriage which should have terminated prior to the individual's new wedding.

A renewal of a temporary marriage or an "upgrade" into a non-temporary form of marriage will have rites, too, with witnesses from both legally responsible clans present, but much less likely to result in a big feast. In fact, such changes in marital status may be side events in a wedding occasioned by a newly formed partnership.

Termination or suspension of a marriage can result from divorce, death of the marriage partner, or exile of the marriage partner. In a divorce, the non-local divorcee is expected to return to whichever clan the individual hailed from - normally the birth clan, but possibly the clan a widowed individual decided to remain in to remain with one's offspring. Other than a clan, the previous community could be a temple, or an urban guild. The actual legally responsible party for the offspring of a tribal noble assigned to a duty far away from their home clan, like Dronlan, the Ernaldori-born tribal thane of Apple Lane, is such a matter. Do they belong to the tribal temple, or one of the local clans, or the Ernaldori clan?

 

Losing status:

1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:
  • dismiss a competitor
  • rebellious / adventurous kid with no hope to return
  • shame on the family
  • bad household management
  • lose the war
  • bad omen (true or false)
  • planning (if you marry a stickpicker your son will be king, you have the choice to do it or not)
  • fate (you have no choice, that must be done)
  • love story
  • ...

For an individual to slip into a lower social role than the one he or she was born into is less complicated. If said individual got in opposition to the household head or head of the bloodline, being "offered" a new home in a tenant's cottage is possibly not that much of a deal. If said individual is married and has provided children to the clan, this is more of a deal.

The marriage partner (in all likelihood from a different clan) would lose status by being forced to leave the bloodline. A divorce would be a common reaction.

A more pressing problem would be the question who keeps the children? All children of a household are raised together, and children of tenant households on the same stead may be blended into that mix, usually with a notion of them being followers rather than leaders. Underaged children are one of the businesses of a hearth mistress, typically delegated to a female household member of her choice. Sometimes a permanent delegation, sometimes assigned to a household member restricted in how she can contribute to the management of the household (like late stages of pregnancy, beginning senescent infirmity, ...)

While parentage counts, cousins of an age group probably grew up closer together than siblings from different age groups. Children from non-renewed year marriages would grow up distant from the non-resident parent.

A parent removed from the household would be little different from a parent that was divorced or whose temporary marriage wasn't renewed - part of the household, not part of the core family of the person leaving the household.

 

Demoting an entire household is a different issue.

Failure to uphold the standards of a thane's or freeman's household could be blamed on the household, but in reality, the amount and quality of land and herd assigned to a household depends largely on what the clan chief and the ring assign to that household. Bankruptcy of a household may be caused by ineptitude or flagrant accumulation of weregeld payments, but can be premeditated by the chief and his ring in the shape of field and herd assignments that are losing propositions from the start or picking an unusual amount of sacrificial beasts from those parts of the clan or tribal herd. This can go on in an underhanded way for some time.

 

In the end, the chief needs the support of a majority in the clan and the clan ring to demote a household from free to tenant status, in all likelihood over the objections of said household and any allied clans that offspring from this household were married into. Such clans may perceive the status gained from such a marriage weakened, or may wish to intercede on behalf of their former members.

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