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Some questions about the Lismelder and Yelmalio/Elmal


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I've been looking into the Lismelder tribe and I have some questions to which I have found no answer and maybe some here have them and want to discuss them:

On the wiki it's stated that (I assume by 1621) the Lismelder king is one Harvald the Hairy, from the Poss clan. He is also said to be a friend and ally of one Lergius Kassias, commander of a unit of the Belyr Phalanx regiment that is currently stationed at the Duck Valley, and it cites as source the Sartar Companion (which I don't own). At the GM screen pack when the Lismelder clans are described the Poss clan is said to have allied with the lunars during the occupation and benefited of that, so it checks that the Lismelder were, officially, a lunar-complacent clan during the occupation, at least since Harvald was elected king, and until he was most probably killed at the Dragonrise. But then I have searched about the Lismelder on this forum, and several times it is said that the Lismelder are not, again, officially, pro-lunars, and that no source points at lunar-Lismelder cooperation. How so? Doesn't Sartar Companion contradict this (I know it's not canon but as I said it ckecks with the GM Pack too)? . 

The Sartar Companion is from 1621 if I'm not mistaken, and most probably Harvald was eaten at the Dragonrise for being a lunar-loving king, but the GM Pack says nothing about the King of the Lismelder. Do we know anything about their king in 1625? Are they suffering an interregnum like the Locaem? 

This is purely opinion but do you think one of the Lismelder clans could have Yelmalio as their main God (besides Orlanth and Ernalda of course) and a minor temple to him in their village? Or the proximity of Vaantar and the importance of the Humakt as the tribal cult make that kind of absurd? Yelmalio is also a good God against undead if I'm not mistaken.

It has been said several times that currently Elmal is only a regional variant of Yelmalio, but of which regions? It's only located at Runegate? Or has it survived on other clans too? Some sources claim other clans and tribes still retain his cult but those same sources seem to say that outside Vaantar there are almost the same Elmal and Yelmalio cultists on Sartar, and by what I've read from recent Jeff posts this must be no longer canon. 

Finally, how does the Yelmalio cult work outside of the Sun Dome Counties? It seems they there are quite yelmalions on the tribes, but in RQG it's stated that for being initiated to the cult to have to either be the son of a yelmalion or save the life of a yelmalion I mean serving two years as a mercenary at the Sun Dome Temple. Wouldn't this make the cult extremely sectarian? Are most of the yelmalions outside Vaantar restricted to a few very pious and devoted lineages? What do you think in general about yelmalions outside the sun domes and their relation with their more "vanilla" clan and tribesmen? 

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I'm going to offer an (outsider's) perspective on this as a historical question. Yelmalio is the original "little Sun" cult who gets put into the Runequest rules, but the internal history of the cu

LISMELDER One of the smaller tribes, the Lismelder are widely considered clients of the ducks by outsiders and are often the butt of jokes. Because of their proximity to the Upland Marsh, Humakt

Thanks, I think that's a useful historical summary for us who weren't around to see it all unfold. There's two kinds of confusion around this whole issue: the "bad kind" and the "good kind". The bad c

The Lismelder clan were developed by David Hall and Jon Quaife in the 90s and were the background for the Tales of the Reaching Moon crew. @Nick Brooke, myself and others played in the campaign of which much was published in Tales of the Reaching Moon. Parts of it have made their way into official publications through arcane path's (Rick Meints did the layout for later issues).

Were the Lismelder Lunar pro-Lunar, no. Did they work for the lunars, yes. Was it their choice, sort of yes, sort of no. Was this all part of gaming group nonsense, yes.

58 minutes ago, Jape_Vicho said:

This is purely opinion but do you think one of the Lismelder clans could have Yelmalio as their main God (besides Orlanth and Ernalda of course) and a minor temple to him in their village? Or the proximity of Vaantar and the importance of the Humakt as the tribal cult make that kind of absurd?

Do the lismelder have a Yelmalio clan, not when I was playing. But it's your game, do what you want.

58 minutes ago, Jape_Vicho said:

Yelmalio is also a good God against undead if I'm not mistaken.

The Lismelder's strength over the undead is their link with Humakt. He is the tribal wargod and the Lismelder have Indrodar's Necklace in Goodsword Lands. See the whole adventure in Sartar Kingdom of Heroes about the Sword.

1 hour ago, Jape_Vicho said:

The Sartar Companion is from 1621 if I'm not mistaken, and most probably Harvald was eaten at the Dragonrise for being a lunar-loving king, but the GM Pack says nothing about the King of the Lismelder. Do we know anything about their king in 1625?

Was Harvakd the Hairy eaten at the Dragonrise, I hope so. I was Branduan, I should rightly be chief! What! Jeff Richard's game was based around the Orlmarth, the Greydog's enemy. Jeff sullied Branduin's reputation by making him Killer Branduin.

David Hall says regarding this:

Quote

It would be Alvar the Humourless, who when he ever laughs brays like a donkey (long story). He's known for his ingenious, but wholly impractical inventions, and his fanatical devotion to Kallyr Starbrow. 

 

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1 hour ago, Jape_Vicho said:

checks that the Lismelder were, officially, a lunar-complacent clan during the occupation

The Lismelder are listed as a Free Tribe in Barbarian Adventures, which indicates they "have not succumbed to the oppression of the Lunar Empire.  They deal with the empire out of necessity, but true kings rule them, not lunar puppets".

For me there's many way of interpreting how the dynamics between Lunars/Orlanthi might work, but a personal friendship between Harvald the Hairy and Lergius Kassiasand doesn't necessarily mean general pro-Lunar sympathies.  Or a figure-head king who has no real power, but is there just to make a tribes life easier with the Lunars is another possibility. 

I would tend to go with whatever suits the drama of the moment for the campaign you're in.

However, the way I'm running it is that the Poss are not so much pro-Lunar as anti-Greydog, and a superficial acceptance of the Lunars is their way of gaining ascendancy.  However, the Lismelder interdependency with the Druluz against the horrors of the marsh, and the Lunar anti-Druluz stance, means that any acceptance of Lunars will be *very* superficial.  In my campaign. 

1 hour ago, Jape_Vicho said:

This is purely opinion but do you think one of the Lismelder clans could have Yelmalio as their main God (besides Orlanth and Ernalda of course)

The main centres that I'm aware of are Sun Dome Temple, Runegate and Alda-Chur (Though I've probably forgotten somewhere obvious).  The Lismelder have strong links to Humakt, (indeed the Humakti tribal champion, Cornard Deathdealer, has featured in my campaign) so there will be inter clan rivalries if a clan is pro-Yelmalio, but that's not difficult to believe, and could be good fun to play.  If you did make a clan lean to Yelmalio, my money would be on the Poss.

1 hour ago, Jape_Vicho said:

but in RQG it's stated that for being initiated to the cult to have to either be the son of a yelmalion or save the life of a yelmalion

I can't see this as a particular constraint, just a really good hook to get the referees creative juices going for a good story as to why an individual/clan is Yelmalian!

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

Were the Lismelder Lunar pro-Lunar, no. Did they work for the lunars, yes. Was it their choice, sort of yes, sort of no. Was this all part of gaming group nonsense, yes.

So you mean that the tribe works with the lunars but the cultural and religious influence is minimal, right? 

1 hour ago, David Scott said:

Do the lismelder have a Yelmalio clan, not when I was playing. But it's your game, do what you want.

Yeah I know but I was wondering if it sounded absurd, like making a Yelmalio clan of the Torkani would be. 

1 hour ago, David Scott said:

The Lismelder's strength over the undead is their link with Humakt. He is the tribal wargod and the Lismelder have Indrodar's Necklace in Goodsword Lands. See the whole adventure in Sartar Kingdom of Heroes about the Sword.

I have never read SKoH but this post was because I was thinking of writing a scenario about the Lismelder in which Indrodar's Necklace and a sword linked with it were key elements. I'm going to be very sad if my idea is the same than the adventure you mentioned. 

17 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

If you did make a clan lean to Yelmalio, my money would be on the Poss.

That's a great idea actually, I thought of the Lonedi bc they don't seem to have any noticeable gimmick unlike all the others, but the Poss are even more fitting. 

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15 minutes ago, Jape_Vicho said:

So you mean that the tribe works with the lunars but the cultural and religious influence is minimal, right? 

Yeah I know but I was wondering if it sounded absurd, like making a Yelmalio clan of the Torkani would be.

In my experience as a Greydog, the Lunar cultural and religious influence was zero, or even less. We thought the Lunars were crazy, we derided them when they weren't around, but as the occupying power they carried one heck of a big stick, and we tended to pay our taxes on time and tread carefully if we thought they were looking. We once screwed up badly, offending the Governor at a peace banquet (by killing one of his fellow guests), and had to send our clan's warriors to fight as auxiliaries in the Heortland campaign. That was pretty bad, all things considered.

We never met any Lismelder Yelmalions or Elmali, but of course your Glorantha will vary. The only Yelmalions we encountered were either Far Point types, loyal to Harvar Ironfist, or else from the Sun Dome Temple just down the road. Remember that we were playing back in the nineties, before King of Dragon Pass gave people all those weird mistaken notions about there being an widespread, extant cult of Elmal in Sartar. There were loads of Humakti in our Lismelder Tribe, which isn't surprising when you consider (a) their origins as a Malani fraction, (b) their location next to the Upland Marsh, and (c) their alleged alliance with the Ducks.

(I say "alleged alliance" -- outsiders made a lot more of our neighbourly behaviour towards the Ducks than we ever did. Rumours that we are all web-footed clod-hoppers interbreeding with Stew's feathered friends fall well short of the mark, and we will stab you if you bring them up again) 

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Oh, I ought to mention that the Greydog Clan hated the Poss Clan. Those assholes, always building effective political coalitions and successfully stitching up tribal elections while we were off being Big Damn Heroes and travelling to exotic lands to kill people and take their stuff for glory and cattle. We bitterly resented Harvald the Hairy becoming tribal King, just because he was popular and successful and his clan did nimminy-pimminy mealy-mouthed things like helping their Tarshite neighbours while we were openly debating whether to take them all as thralls, just to get their votes. It was a pathetic spectacle.

tl/dr: not all Lismelder are like the Poss; some Lismelder are self-consciously anti-Poss.

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9 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Remember that we were playing back in the nineties, before King of Dragon Pass gave people all those weird mistaken notions about there being an widespread, extant cult of Elmal in Sartar.

The rulebooks around the time probably had more of an in influence on that, and previous notions of Sun worshipping hill tribes in Cults of Prax.

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Some thoughts on the presence of the Elmal as opposed to Yelmalio cult of the Little Sun that are intended to do little harm to canon- the Elmal cult variant is focused more on horses, (and its canonical presence is at Runegate, home of clans that claim Hyaloring descent) and in the absence of expensive private/public schools (to be trans-atlantic) the most likely locations are good horse country, which I don't think the Lismelder have much of in their wet lowlands.

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I'm not sure where you're coming from with that comment, @Tindalos. We were working with Greg before he published King of Sartar; we gave him space in our con zine for his self-mocking apologia "Why I Ruined Your Glorantha," about the Elmal nonsense; our GM David Hall wrote myths in which Elmal realised he was really Yelmalio and broke with Orlanth's stead. We knew what was going on.

What KoDP added to the mix was a vision of "Sartar before Sartar" that proved strangely persistent in some Glorantha fans' minds (much like the antiquated Dara Happa presented in the Glorious Reascent of Yelm). Greg told us when he unveiled Elmal that forty or fifty years prior to our games the Cult of Elmal in Sartar effectively ceased to exist, when its members decamped en masse to join the Sun Dome Temple, but David Dunham's vision of the early days in Dragon Pass, before Sartar and his heirs wrought profound changes to build a mighty trading kingdom, had remarkable staying power. Some people loved their horse-clan Orlanthi and never read King of Sartar. Hey ho. That was never us.

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LISMELDER

One of the smaller tribes, the Lismelder are widely considered clients of the ducks by outsiders and are often the butt of jokes. Because of their proximity to the Upland Marsh, Humakt is a prominent cult. 

The Lismelder were founded as a splinter of the Malani Tribe circa 1370. They joined the Colymar to seize the lower Stream Vale from the Ducks, but returned those lands to the Ducks in order to end the Zombie Wars. Since then, the Lismelder have largely stayed out of other people’s conflicts, focusing more on their quiet struggle against the Upland Marsh, although they were always staunch supporters of Sartar and the Royal House. The current king, “Killer” Branduan, is from the Greydog Clan.

Tribal Center: Six Stones

City: None

Population: 4500

Clans: Eight (Bostrop, Goodsword, Goodweaver, Greydog, Hillhaven, Lonendi, Marshedge, and Poss) 

Minor Temples: Orlanth and Ernalda (8 minor temples), Humakt (Six Stones)

Notable Shrines: Kolat (Hillhaven)

Notable Spirit Cults: Kolat

Language: Sartarite

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5 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

I'm not sure where you're coming from with that comment, @Tindalos. We were working with Greg before he published King of Sartar; we gave him space in our con zine for his self-mocking apologia "Why I Ruined Your Glorantha," about the Elmal nonsense; our GM David Hall wrote myths in which Elmal realised he was really Yelmalio and broke with Orlanth's stead. We knew what was going on.

Hero War's usage of the cult gave a lot of people the impression it had survived, what with it not being set in the resettlement saga.

 

1 minute ago, Jeff said:

Yelmalio is the solar cult in Sartar. It is what the Elmal cult was revealed by its own members to be. 

Given your post on facebook, as quoted here, it seems like Yelmalio is the Lightfore, and not the sun though?

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Perhaps there ought to be a little sign that reads "Both of the yellow objects in the sky that move along the Sunpath and are never in the sky at the same time are suns," for people to tap meaningfully. 

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Just now, Nick Brooke said:

I see we have a Many Suns recidivist, here.

In the Great Darkness, Lightfore was the Sun.

But not the sun, as noted in the link, as the Dara Happans proved that (despite not recognising it for 220 years). Lightfore may have been the light in the darkness, but it's a planet.

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1 minute ago, Tindalos said:

But not the sun, as noted in the link, as the Dara Happans proved that (despite not recognising it for 220 years). Lightfore may have been the light in the darkness, but it's a planet.

At the Dawn almost everyone assumed the Sun was carried by Lightfore. When Lightfore disappeared at the Dawn, the Sun rose. When the Sun set, Lightfore appeared. People knew how to contact Lightfore - he had been around in the Grey Age, and aided humanity. Whether he was called Kargzant, Antirius, or Elmal, folk knew how to contact him and call upon his magic. The Sun was silent, and nobody knew how to directly contact it - until the Dara Happans did circa 220. And the magic they gained proved their point. 

But Lightfore is easier to contact than the Sun. And in much of the world, the Sun Disk is just that - a disk that provides light and heat (Ehilm), but humans contact Lightfore for magic and aid.

But the Dara Happans PROVED Elmal is not the sun - Elmal was present before the Dawn, the Sun appeared with the Dawn, the Sun is different from Lightfore, therefore Elmal is not the Sun, QED.

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1 hour ago, Jape_Vicho said:

I have never read SKoH but this post was because I was thinking of writing a scenario about the Lismelder in which Indrodar's Necklace and a sword linked with it were key elements. I'm going to be very sad if my idea is the same than the adventure you mentioned. 

I recommend Sartar KoH, it covers some major Lismelder mythology including Queen Lismelder, Indrodar Greydog and Indrodar's Necklace. The PDF is only $20 and includes an epic campaign to the Underworld. https://www.chaosium.com/sartar-kingdom-of-heroes-pdf/, likewise the companion, has a Lismelder adventure in it.

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7 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The Sun was silent, and nobody knew how to directly contact it - until the Dara Happans did circa 220. And the magic they gained proved their point. 

But Lightfore is easier to contact than the Sun. And in much of the world, the Sun Disk is just that - a disk that provides light and heat (Ehilm), but humans contact Lightfore for magic and aid.

But the Dara Happans PROVED Elmal is not the sun - Elmal was present before the Dawn, the Sun appeared with the Dawn, the Sun is different from Lightfore, therefore Elmal is not the Sun, QED.

 

Ah, so the Dara Happans now view things as having Yelm be silent from Gerruskoger's reign to Khordavu's reign, and not that he only returned then? And the Kargzant Gerruskoger elevates actually Yu-Kargzant without him knowing?

That makes sense.

 

19 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Moving on...

Works for me.

 

2 hours ago, David Scott said:

Jeff sullied Branduin's reputation by making him Killer Branduin.

I don't know, when your tribe has a strong connection to Humakt, wouldn't "killer" be a positive nickname?

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2 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

I have never read SKoH but this post was because I was thinking of writing a scenario about the Lismelder in which Indrodar's Necklace and a sword linked with it were key elements. I'm going to be very sad if my idea is the same than the adventure you mentioned. 

Definitely recommend SKoH for its scenario and ideas on Indrodar's Necklace, Indrodar himself, and Indrodar's sword.

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1 hour ago, Nick Brooke said:

Oh, I ought to mention that the Greydog Clan hated the Poss Clan. Those assholes, always building effective political coalitions and successfully stitching up tribal elections while we were off being Big Damn Heroes and travelling to exotic lands to kill people and take their stuff for glory and cattle. We bitterly resented Harvald the Hairy becoming tribal King, just because he was popular and successful and his clan did nimminy-pimminy mealy-mouthed things like helping their Tarshite neighbours while we were openly debating whether to take them all as thralls, just to get their votes. It was a pathetic spectacle.

tl/dr: not all Lismelder are like the Poss; some Lismelder are self-consciously anti-Poss.

 

1 hour ago, Nick Brooke said:

In my experience as a Greydog, the Lunar cultural and religious influence was zero, or even less. We thought the Lunars were crazy, we derided them when they weren't around, but as the occupying power they carried one heck of a big stick, and we tended to pay our taxes on time and tread carefully if we thought they were looking. We once screwed up badly, offending the Governor at a peace banquet (by killing one of his fellow guests), and had to send our clan's warriors to fight as auxiliaries in the Heortland campaign. That was pretty bad, all things considered.

We never met any Lismelder Yelmalions or Elmali, but of course your Glorantha will vary. The only Yelmalions we encountered were either Far Point types, loyal to Harvar Ironfist, or else from the Sun Dome Temple just down the road. Remember that we were playing back in the nineties, before King of Dragon Pass gave people all those weird mistaken notions about there being an widespread, extant cult of Elmal in Sartar. There were loads of Humakti in our Lismelder Tribe, which isn't surprising when you consider (a) their origins as a Malani fraction, (b) their location next to the Upland Marsh, and (c) their alleged alliance with the Ducks.

(I say "alleged alliance" -- outsiders made a lot more of our neighbourly behaviour towards the Ducks than we ever did. Rumours that we are all web-footed clod-hoppers interbreeding with Stew's feathered friends fall well short of the mark, and we will stab you if you bring them up again) 

You were the Greydog clan itself or just some clansmen? Did you attain positions of power on the clan, maybe even clan chief? I'm asking bc it seems you had some kind of power over the clan, and that sounds pretty cool. 

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15 minutes ago, Runeblogger said:

Antiquated? How so? 🤔

Well, in a literal sense and using only material that's generally publicly available, there has been the better part of a millennium and a half intervening, along with prolonged interactions with a number of different cultures, periods of Dara Happan Tripolis hegemony, periods of Tripolis subjugation, periods where the Tripolis was one of several major polities. In all this there are several critical rounds of religious reform. And then you have the Lunars. 

Now, a positive vision of what Peloria looks like "today" is not available in as neat or complete a form, but that's an unfortunate result of time being a linear and limited thing. (I say that as someone who has said "canon is a four-letter word with an extra letter added", albeit in a very different context). 

 

Edit: Or, to put it another way, The Fortunate Succession is also a document about Dara Happa which covers much of that intervening history and recontextualizes Plentonius, and the Entekosiad offers its own recontextualization of both, and that's before anything that was published after 2005. 

Edited by Eff
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