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Do Elder Races have initiation rituals?


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We currently have some excellent descriptions of Orlanthi adult initiation rituals for Orlanth and Ernalda, as Heroquests. I was wondering if there is something similar for Uz, Aldryami, and other species in Glorantha.

I have read Trollpak, but I don't have my pdf handy so I can't check at the moment. My memory is that there is a very detailed description of Uz childhood and initiation, but this was written before "adult initiation Heroquests" became a thing. Were I to throw some together for Uz males and females, I think having them based on Karrg and Korasting would make sense. Like Heort and Ivarne, they both embody the ideal masculine and feminine virtues in troll society. Karrg is a good boy who shuts up and does what his mother tells him. Korasting is a loving, but strong, mother figure. 

Curious to hear other peoples' thoughts or ideas for adulthood initiation. Aldryami? Ducks? 

Edited by Gallowglass
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I'm assuming that every cult that has initiates requires an initiation ritual to join that rank, unless if the cult has some phrasing along the line of "every x is automatically an initiate of the cult". Alryami, ducks and trolls presumably initiate just like other people. Mostali and Dragonewts are less clear, as they typically don't join cults, and also have a different attitude towards the world.

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7 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

I'm assuming that every cult that has initiates requires an initiation ritual to join that rank, unless if the cult has some phrasing along the line of "every x is automatically an initiate of the cult". Alryami, ducks and trolls presumably initiate just like other people. Mostali and Dragonewts are less clear, as they typically don't join cults, and also have a different attitude towards the world.

I realized I wasn't being very clear, so I edited my post. I meant heroquest rituals to initiate children to adulthood, as featured in "Six Seasons in Sartar" and other places. 

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Yes. In order to create an initiation ritual, you could for example figure out what is the most basic tenet of their cult and turn it into a vivid story of how the main deity learnt that, so when the individual passes the rite, she is on the same page as the rest of the adults of their community.

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8 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

Aldryami

According to the bestiary (p25):

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An elf initiate receives a bow seed, planted on its initiation day. It takes a year of growth and a year of finishing to become a fabled
elf bow. The initiate must dedicate one week a season over the next two years to tend and care for it, instructed by a Gardener

And, as speculated on another thread, the elf then goes into training, so they've got the STR to pull it...

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1 hour ago, Runeblogger said:

Yes. In order to create an initiation ritual, you could for example figure out what is the most basic tenet of their cult and turn it into a vivid story of how the main deity learnt that, so when the individual passes the rite, she is on the same page as the rest of the adults of their community.

Right, so the Aldryami are interesting because sex and gender doesn't seem to be as important for them. Each variety has some combination of males and females, but it seems like anyone can choose to do what they want in terms of occupation, and serving the forest. So maybe there isn't really a male/female initiation dichotomy, but just a basic initiation to Aldrya and High King Elf's cult. 

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Thinking about the merfolk now. I'm not sure who their main gods are, but I would think most men initiate to Magasta, and most women to Triolina. I would also think that most merfolk would have a third gender option, because the primal water gods had three sexes and genders (Framanthe, Daliath, Sramak). That isn't mentioned anywhere though, just my own musing.

I think it would make sense for young merfolk to reenact the stories of their tribe's founders. Not sure if this would be male/female/etc sort of thing. Maybe the implied gender fluidity of the Water Rune applies itself here, and the young'uns experience the heroquest as both male and female versions of their founder. For other tribes like the Malasp, this could also explain why they're so nasty and unpleasant if they all experience the trauma of their founder's experience with the air gods. 

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33 minutes ago, Gallowglass said:

Thinking about the merfolk now. I'm not sure who their main gods are, but I would think most men initiate to Magasta, and most women to Triolina. I would also think that most merfolk would have a third gender option, because the primal water gods had three sexes and genders (Framanthe, Daliath, Sramak). That isn't mentioned anywhere though, just my own musing.

I think it would make sense for young merfolk to reenact the stories of their tribe's founders. Not sure if this would be male/female/etc sort of thing. Maybe the implied gender fluidity of the Water Rune applies itself here, and the young'uns experience the heroquest as both male and female versions of their founder. For other tribes like the Malasp, this could also explain why they're so nasty and unpleasant if they all experience the trauma of their founder's experience with the air gods. 

Or the heroquest they experience could determine their gender (or their initial gender at least). Much as environmental factors determine the sex of many aquatic creatures (crocodiles, clown fish etc) in the RW.

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39 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

EVERY Aldryami has a bow?

Talk about fantasy stereotyping. 😄

I think a far more interesting initiation for Aldrya (and this is one of those initiations I believe that is both into adulthood and into the cult simultaneously) would be the Quest for the Seed.  It's a descent into Darkness, the Underworld, where they must confront the realities of Death, Cold, Disorder, Barrenness, Isolation, etc. - things antithetical to the collective of the Living Forest.  And within that place, they must find a Seed that speaks to them (or perhaps its Three Seeds, as that seems mythically useful - a Seed of the Heart/Self, a Seed of the Mind/Forest, and a Seed of the Hand/Utility).  They must plant each seed in turn in a place where they can thrive (there's an example along this line in Gene Wolfe's The Knight).  The third of the Seeds is what becomes their item of use - for some its the Elf Bow, a path to defend the Forest; for others it might be a dowsing stick to find buried Water; in the Errinoru Jungles it might be a long reed for poison darts; for others it might be an instrument to play the Songs of the Forest and give cheer to the Trees.    

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26 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

The third of the Seeds is what becomes their item of use - for some its the Elf Bow, a path to defend the Forest; for others it might be a dowsing stick to find buried Water; in the Errinoru Jungles it might be a long reed for poison darts; for others it might be an instrument to play the Songs of the Forest and give cheer to the Trees.    

The instrument could be a harp - if you squint reeeaaaally hard, it's basically a bow that looses notes instead of arrows...

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

I think a far more interesting initiation for Aldrya (and this is one of those initiations I believe that is both into adulthood and into the cult simultaneously) would be the Quest for the Seed.  It's a descent into Darkness, the Underworld, where they must confront the realities of Death, Cold, Disorder, Barrenness, Isolation, etc. - things antithetical to the collective of the Living Forest.  And within that place, they must find a Seed that speaks to them (or perhaps its Three Seeds, as that seems mythically useful - a Seed of the Heart/Self, a Seed of the Mind/Forest, and a Seed of the Hand/Utility).  They must plant each seed in turn in a place where they can thrive (there's an example along this line in Gene Wolfe's The Knight).  The third of the Seeds is what becomes their item of use - for some its the Elf Bow, a path to defend the Forest; for others it might be a dowsing stick to find buried Water; in the Errinoru Jungles it might be a long reed for poison darts; for others it might be an instrument to play the Songs of the Forest and give cheer to the Trees.    

I like this a lot - it would make your living Elf Implement almost something like an Allied Spirit (although a lot less impressive, at least to start with), and an obvious object both for a future actual allied spirit as well as a target for enchantments.

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Mostali must have some sort of initiation, although they'd call it a competency test and quality control. Those who pass are proven to be skilled components of the world machine. Any who fail are obviously defective, and would be deactivated and recycled.

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4 hours ago, Doug said:

Mostali must have some sort of initiation, although they'd call it a competency test and quality control. Those who pass are proven to be skilled components of the world machine. Any who fail are obviously defective, and would be deactivated and recycled.

Certification instead of initiation.

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8 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

EVERY Aldryami has a bow?

Every Initiate of Aldrya has an elf bow.

There is a difference, not all Aldryami are Initiates of Aldrya. Many Runners and Pixies are Lay Members.

Presumably an Intelligent Tree has an Elf Bow secreted in its branches.

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10 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I think a far more interesting initiation for Aldrya (and this is one of those initiations I believe that is both into adulthood and into the cult simultaneously) would be the Quest for the Seed.  It's a descent into Darkness, the Underworld, where they must confront the realities of Death, Cold, Disorder, Barrenness, Isolation, etc. - things antithetical to the collective of the Living Forest.  And within that place, they must find a Seed that speaks to them (or perhaps its Three Seeds, as that seems mythically useful - a Seed of the Heart/Self, a Seed of the Mind/Forest, and a Seed of the Hand/Utility).  They must plant each seed in turn in a place where they can thrive (there's an example along this line in Gene Wolfe's The Knight).  The third of the Seeds is what becomes their item of use - for some its the Elf Bow, a path to defend the Forest; for others it might be a dowsing stick to find buried Water; in the Errinoru Jungles it might be a long reed for poison darts; for others it might be an instrument to play the Songs of the Forest and give cheer to the Trees.    

This is a cool idea, I like it a lot.

For a Gardener it might be a digging stick, for example.

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The Kygor Litor cult initiation is a formal ritual of recognition of adulthood as well, so for trollkin or for multiple birth trolls (who are considered formally troilkin until recognised as trolls) it is a big deal. Though I guess it is possible that it's the offer of initiation, rather than the ritual itself, that is the important thing

But if the KL initiation, and the adulthood initiation, are the same, that raises the interesting notion that trolls who are not initiated into KL are not truly formally adults in troll society? Which is kind of funny to think that the ZZ cult are considered unruly children, but seems wrong for the Argan Argar Night Cult, Annilla, Gorakiki, etc. So maybe it is the qualification for KL initiation that is important. 

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14 minutes ago, davecake said:

that raises the interesting notion that trolls who are not initiated into KL are not truly formally adults in troll society?

I feel like that was noted in one of the old troll works, and that most who were initiated into another troll cult were also initiated into KL.

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I would suggest that most, if not all, trolls raised in troll communities are at least lay members of the Kyger Litor cult (trollkin excluded, naturally) in addition to their other affiliations.  Given how carefully child and adolescent trolls are kept secluded from the world beyond their clan's caves, I would expect most initiation rites to begin with Kyger Litor, with the young troll crawling from the embrace of the Mother to assume their new role in society.

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8 minutes ago, dumuzid said:

I would suggest that most, if not all, trolls raised in troll communities are at least lay members of the Kyger Litor cult (trollkin excluded, naturally) in addition to their other affiliations.  Given how carefully child and adolescent trolls are kept secluded from the world beyond their clan's caves, I would expect most initiation rites to begin with Kyger Litor, with the young troll crawling from the embrace of the Mother to assume their new role in society.

I agree with this. After looking at Trollpak again, it sounds like the initiation into KL's cult as a lay member is something that happens gradually throughout childhood, with many tests and magical experiences. The adulthood rites are more about leaving the protective darkness of your family cave and meeting the rest of the community. Becoming an initiate (in Runequest terms) would likely happen soon after that. I don't think you necessarily get rune points from just becoming an adult. 

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There is also some good stuff in Trollpak about the differences of growing up for girls and boys. Hopefully it's okay to share this...

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"When the young trolls are ten years old, Kaarg visits and separates the boys from the girls. He takes the boys away to a strange place for seven days, teaches them a boys’ game, and gives them a secret amulet to protect them from unknown dangers. At the same time the ten year old girls learn a new dance. For the next three years the sexes are raised separately. The girls always do everything first, while the boys always stand on the outside, or on the left side, or in front, as the protecting mothers demand. At age thirteen all trolls who are ready for adulthood undergo their adulthood initiation rites. Those who have been dutiful will survive the rites and, when they return, will be full adults."

 

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The descriptions of childhood are also really cool. 

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"Troll children are raised in a group, tended and taught by their mothers and Xiola Umbar nurses. Troll childhood is as secluded as possible, and ideally the children are never revealed to the outside world until the age of thirteen years. Before the age of thirteen these secluded troll young are raised in a ritualistic and magical manner, being taught the secret livelihood of the troll species. As infants the young are cared for and protected within the deep peaceful safety of Subere. As children they learn the differences between hunger and thirst, touch and sound, the magic and the mundane, and the seven types of darkness. Kyger Litor visits them often to teach them how to dance, hurl stones, sing, and to know the Seven Bites which trolls must know to eat everything"


 

So basically troll children are raised the way I am raising my 3 year old in a pandemic. Instead of low-key heroquesting I'm just making pillow forts and pretending to be a talking truck. 

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17 hours ago, soltakss said:

Every Initiate of Aldrya has an elf bow.

There is a difference, not all Aldryami are Initiates of Aldrya. Many Runners and Pixies are Lay Members.

Presumably an Intelligent Tree has an Elf Bow secreted in its branches.

Maybe initiation to Aldrya is akin to shamanic awakening? The Elf Bow (or some other "plant brother") appears to make the initiate a dual-body, dual spirit entity.

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Once again it's worth noting how, despite everything, relatively similar the Troll idea of cult belonging is to the Orlanthi one. Main cultural patron cult joined by most adult members, with widespread joining of various other specialist cults. Which is not all that common for Aldryami or other Elder Races.

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