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Some questions about the Lismelder and Yelmalio/Elmal


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13 minutes ago, Runeblogger said:

Antiquated? How so?¬†ūü§Ē

The more than a millennium of development. Even the cult of Yelm has changed massively, as detailed in the Fortunate Succession. Current Dara Happan thought holds that Yelm became more remote than he was in Khordavu's day as well. (GtG 725) So it's understandable how the culture would have changed alongside the cult.

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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

4 hours ago, Tindalos said:

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

Not when you got that nickname for violating hospitality to kill a hated rival in that king's own hall (which king isn't stated; Branduan is noted to hate the Poss, IIRC, but if he could do that in his own tribe and not even get outlawed, then Harvald the Hairy must be an even more powerless figurehead than Temertain).

Then again, at least in S:KoH, Branduan is portrayed as an ambitious young warrior whose driving motivation is becoming a great hero, and what hero hasn't broken the laws of society in a fit of passion at least once? It kind of comes with the territory, and I can imagine any number of reasons why people would be at least somewhat understanding of why he did it, if not exactly praising him for it.

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20 hours ago, Leingod said:

Not when you got that nickname for violating hospitality to kill a hated rival in that king's own hall (which king isn't stated; Branduan is noted to hate the Poss, IIRC, but if he could do that in his own tribe and not even get outlawed, then Harvald the Hairy must be an even more powerless figurehead than Temertain).

Then again, at least in S:KoH, Branduan is portrayed as an ambitious young warrior whose driving motivation is becoming a great hero, and what hero hasn't broken the laws of society in a fit of passion at least once? It kind of comes with the territory, and I can imagine any number of reasons why people would be at least somewhat understanding of why he did it, if not exactly praising him for it.

In our game, it was King Temertain's own royal hall in Boldhome; Branduan struck down Egrid the Enlightened using Corwen Deathdealer's sword at the Governor-General's peace banquet.

Your Glorantha may vary.

And Branduan was right to do what he did, and we all support him. (There may have been harsh words in private, but us Greydogs are clannish: we run as a pack) 

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11 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

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. 

We were fairly ordinary clansmen. It was pretty obvious that Branduan Greatblade was a Man of Destiny and would end up as our Clan Chief, but that's what lineage and massive self-esteem will do for you. My character, Thorgeir, served as Sacred Milkman of the Greydog Clan because of his devotion to Our Ruthie, the Cow of Plenty, but I don't think that was a traditional Ring position, it was probably invented to make him stop going on about the wonderful cow. I can't recall if anyone was on the Ring, but a lot of us were gunning for Thane status, if we hadn't actually achieved it.

Don't forget how small a clan is. If you're a bunch of adventurers doing ordinary adventurer stuff, you're among the clan's movers and shakers. The Ring will know what you're doing, and when you're successful they'll want to hitch their fortunes to yours.

And we didn't have "power over the clan"; we just participated in its debates, and lobbied for the outcomes we thought best, and sometimes that meant that the Greydogs adopted dysfunctional policy positions vis-a-vis other nearby clans, because we hadn't bothered finding out what they might want before stomping around and shouting about what we thought should happen. The Poss, being sneaky underhanded utterly untrustworthy Slytherin Wormtongue types, told all their neighbours lies to make false friendships. And that's how Harvald the Hairy got to become Tribal King. (If you ask a Greydog, anyway)

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29 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Don't forget how small a clan is. If you're a bunch of adventurers doing ordinary adventurer stuff, you're among the clan's movers and shakers. The Ring will know what you're doing, and when you're successful they'll want to hitch their fortunes to yours.

Especially when that clan is in a small backwoods tribe of city-less yokels.

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Lots of insider info about the Greydog Clan and Lismelder Tribe on pages 47-61 of Ye Booke of Tentacles #1, if you can find a copy. (This was a print zine from 1998 that Fabian Kuchler planned to sell as a PDF via DriveThruRPG; I don't know how easy it would be for to lay your hands on it)

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27 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Lots of insider info about the Greydog Clan and Lismelder Tribe on pages 47-61 of Ye Booke of Tentacles #1, if you can find a copy. (This was a print zine from 1998 that Fabian Kuchler planned to sell as a PDF via DriveThruRPG; I don't know how easy it would be for to lay your hands on it)

It is not on DriveThruRPG or possibly the search choked on it.

(Searching for Glorantha only yields 10 items and one of them is Volo's Guide to Waterdeep)

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20 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

I see we have a Many Suns recidivist, here.

In the Great Darkness, Lightfore was the Sun.

As opposed to a Cambellian/Jrusteli Monomyth recidivist?

Lightfore is a construct.  So, of course, is the One Yelm, not least because his constituent parts were revealed at the first murder.

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On 2/5/2021 at 6:46 PM, Tindalos said:

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.

 

On 2/5/2021 at 6:52 PM, Eff said:

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.

I often asked myself a thing that like most other in Gloranta, is for me very fascinating and confusing.
What is the connection (that seems very "dynamic" depending the time) betweek the poor Elmal loyal thane horse's and Yelmalio.
Now they seem to be the same thing and the cult of Elmal has almost disappeared as "Elmal" and survivies only under Yelmalio. But I am among these who discovered Glorantha through KoDP, and betweeen early sartarites it appeared to be an important deity. I wondered very much to discovered it was wiped away.
Now I see that the KoDP repreentation is considered a little "out of canon" ... where is the truth? (I understand that is a totally absurd question ... )

Thanks

 

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3 minutes ago, David Scott said:

That is a visible planet in the sky.

I mean, all things aside, so's the Red Moon?

 

15 minutes ago, Beorne said:

I often asked myself a thing that like most other in Gloranta, is for me very fascinating and confusing.
What is the connection (that seems very "dynamic" depending the time) betweek the poor Elmal loyal thane horse's and Yelmalio.
Now they seem to be the same thing and the cult of Elmal has almost disappeared as "Elmal" and survivies only under Yelmalio. But I am among these who discovered Glorantha through KoDP, and betweeen early sartarites it appeared to be an important deity. I wondered very much to discovered it was wiped away.
Now I see that the KoDP repreentation is considered a little "out of canon" ... where is the truth? (I understand that is a totally absurd question ... )

Thanks

It's more of a subject for another thread, but it comes down to the changing nature of canon, depending on the books you use, and the era they're from, you'll get very different answers.

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17 minutes ago, Tindalos said:
23 minutes ago, David Scott said:

That is a visible planet in the sky.

I mean, all things aside, so's the Red Moon?

But the Red Moon wasn't visible at the Dawn. I'm questioning it being a construct. It was there in the sky.

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6 minutes ago, David Scott said:
20 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

Lightfore is a construct

That is a visible planet in the sky.

A planet that underwent a significant change in the first century of History.

The Bridling of Kargzant happened after the reign of the Hyaloring emperor Voranoste (known to the Dara Happans as Vuranostum) and the subsequent interregnum/co-reign of his sons who did not put up an emperor with the Ten Tests. Instead, another successor of the Starlight Wanderers turned Chariot Emperors took power and succeeded at the Ten Tests.

Already before the Dawn, during Jenarong's reign, there was the Sun Swirl, uniting two stellar deities into one Lightfore. Maybe not so much a construct but definitely a composite entity.

 

If I look at the Elmal myths in Heortling Mythology (and Storm Tribe, although HM basically reprints the myths from Thunder Rebels and Storm Trbe), Elmal, like Antirius, is the sun disk on the high spot (Antirius atop the Footstool in Raibanth, Elmal sitting on top of Mt. Kero Fin, next to Rigsdal) offering a fading light and even more fading warmth to the survivors of the Vingkotling kingdom. There are no myths about Elmal roving around except in meeting evil invaders.

Yelmalio on the other side is the wandering demigod aiding the elves in various places (e.g. turning away Gash and Gore's migration from Genert's Garden, which may actually have been an achievement of Yamsur and Hippogriff, or beating back Valind and Borklak in Winterwood), Yamsur was the sun entity at Genert's palace, or possibly north of it.

There is also Sun Daughter in Genert's Garden. Precious few myths from Genert's Garden have survived. The Animal Nomads spent most of their time in blissful consumption of the ample food provided by Genert's fertility, with the Storm Bull proving his strength every now and then on behalf of his friends and hosts Tada and Genert. Are there any myths of her actions?

Tada did numerous virtuous things, some of which might have been preserved in the myths of Calyz, the working fire of Teshnos. The Earth Walkers appear to walk a line between volcanic Lodril and earthborn Genert. I mention Tada because he, too, is a walking deity/hero doing Defender stuff attributed to Yelmalio.

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1 hour ago, Beorne said:

I often asked myself a thing that like most other in Gloranta, is for me very fascinating and confusing.

What is the connection (that seems very "dynamic" depending the time) betweek the poor Elmal loyal thane horse's and Yelmalio.
Now they seem to be the same thing and the cult of Elmal has almost disappeared as "Elmal" and survivies only under Yelmalio. But I am among these who discovered Glorantha through KoDP, and betweeen early sartarites it appeared to be an important deity. I wondered very much to discovered it was wiped away.
Now I see that the KoDP repreentation is considered a little "out of canon" ... where is the truth? (I understand that is a totally absurd question ... )

Thanks

 

The truth is tangled and amorphous irl, like in the Greater Darkness before Lankor Mhy found and purified it. I'm a recent arrival to Glorantha, and as such my views change rapidly as I learn new things. When you discover Glorantha and one of your first interactions is with KoDP or Six Ages, Elmal looks SO COOL. Cmon he's the best God, a fiery bearded warrior, not as stupid and violent as Orlanth, but a loyal, pure and valiant thane that stands guard and defends humanity against the many horrors that want to assault it. Then you read a little more and discover that that cult was replaced and almost wiped out by a God linked with Peloria, the home of the Great Enemy! "What's this blasphemy?!" you think, and understandably so. But we are following a line of thought that's very different from the one that the sartarites did, and the new canon fits almost perfectly (I'm yet to know everything about Yelmalio, I've still got many questions which I dare not make on this forums yet). The truth is that Monrogh Lantern SAVES Elmal by revealing Yelmalio, he does not destroy it, but saves it, if he wasn't successful, Sartar would have been plunged into civil chaos and infighting as Yelm becomes more and more worshipped by former elmali who had been innocently awed by the power of his cult on the Grazelands and Peloria, and began to slowly adopt his myths, magics and structures. By the time of Monrogh's revelation, Elmal's cult is in a horrible position, then he reveals Yelmalio, and the rebellious Yelm cult surrenders to it. I theorize that the only places that the Elmal cult still exist by 1625 were the places where the cultists didn't bow to the common trend and refused to adopt yelmic influences, remaining pure to the old cult. 

On 2/5/2021 at 4:03 PM, Jape_Vicho said:

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. 

Answering to my own question, I've found an answer that looks canonical even though it's kinda old. The only fully elmali clans (meaning the ones that have a majority of Elmal worshippers and elect elmali chieftains) are the Enhyli of the Colymar and the Toena of the Aranwyth. I propose, and this is not canon but it's strikes me as pretty logical, that the surrounding clans to those two also practice the elmali religion, given that both clans are present at a city where there is a big temple to Elmal. So I would say that the Narri, Talaring, and whichever clans share Toena fort, if any, also have some few members who practice the Elmal cult. Away from those exceptions, I would say that Elmal's cult is unheard of, as the dominant solar cult on those clans is Yelmalio, and they probably think of Elmal's cult as one of the variants of Yelmalio's, one that for some reason they don't really care about retains the old name of Yelmalio, but if a random Orlanth worshipper found a Runegate elmali and an Aldachuri Yelmalion fighting he would probably think "What the hell are those two yelmalions arguing so damn loudly about?!" 

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2 hours ago, Beorne said:

 

I often asked myself a thing that like most other in Gloranta, is for me very fascinating and confusing.
What is the connection (that seems very "dynamic" depending the time) betweek the poor Elmal loyal thane horse's and Yelmalio.
Now they seem to be the same thing and the cult of Elmal has almost disappeared as "Elmal" and survivies only under Yelmalio. But I am among these who discovered Glorantha through KoDP, and betweeen early sartarites it appeared to be an important deity. I wondered very much to discovered it was wiped away.
Now I see that the KoDP repreentation is considered a little "out of canon" ... where is the truth? (I understand that is a totally absurd question ... )

Thanks

 

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 cult indicates that it's a cyclically rising and falling organization- Yelmalio is barely known at the Dawn (!) and then it's Nysalor who reveals him as Daysenerus and sends out the Sun Domes to serve as the emissaries of Light, and then Yelmalio fades and reemerges against the EWF, and fades and reemerges yet again...

So Greg Stafford realizes that there's a gap here, namely, that Yelmalio as he has described can't be the Heortling sun god when the cult is quiescent, and so he invents Elmal as a variant, an Orlanthi "little sun" to fill in said gap. This provokes a massive controversy on mailing lists at the time.

Elmal then, I believe, gets used in the "Taming of Dragon Pass" campaign that directly inspired the setup for King of Dragon Pass. Because it would be historically inappropriate to have Yelmalio be there.

At about this time, Sun County, the Glorious ReAscent, the Fortunate Succession, and the Entekosiad are published, and they lay out a straightforward picture of Solar society- it's patriarchal assholes. Funny patriarchal assholes, good to laugh at, massively hypocritical, but all in all, worshipers of the Hot Sun and the Cold, the Big and the Little, live in societies that are all about stern blonde men barking orders on behalf of stern men with beards, which are only made less patriarchal by the intrusion of other forces- the Red Moon, the Earth.

So to switch from history to psychology and sociology for a bit, the existing vision of the Sun is something that is unappealing to the vast majority of people. Elmal, however, was a blank slate, who could be worked over a bit and made into a Sun that fit somewhat into Orlanthi society (though I think there's probably a definite double-meaning in the fact that Elmal gets to stand guard while everyone else is having fun, and is always on the edge of the divine stead, etc.) and more importantly, people latched onto Elmal beyond that working over. There's one particular meme, which I won't post here, which contrasts "the Chad Elmal versus the Virgin Yelmalio" and one of the points of comparison is specifically that Yelmalio is a misogynist and Elmal drinks a big glass of Respecting Women Juice every day and follows it up with one of Respecting Nonbinary People Juice. (The meme does not phrase it in those precise words.)

Elmal thus represents a vision of Glorantha where the Sun isn't focused on being the boss all of the time, where the Sun can work together with the Storm and submit to a woman in public. Whether that Sun is Big or Little, it's an image that is understandably appealing if you want a Glorantha where the Elements can coexist in harmony rather than at least one of them trying constantly to assert his will over the others. It's also an image that allows people to reach faintly for a feminine Sun, something which is almost entirely absent in Glorantha (Sun Daughter is a minor reference, Yelorna is kept well in the realm of starlight, Sedenya is only ever described as a pretender Sun) and in the RW is, while not particularly common, still a definite presence- Amaterasu, Ugaritic Shapash are two that come immediately to mind.

So perhaps the best way of putting it is that there's a large hole in existing Glorantha that exerts a suction on people exploring it, which is also in an area people are likely to explore, and Elmal has become one of the most common things to block that hole up for fans.

And to go back to the history, you can of course go through comments from Chaosium's creative people and find things that align with the Sun being intrinsically a patriarchal asshole because that's the archetype in use, and you can find things that align with the existing image of the Sun being a fandom misunderstanding and the real thing is much less priggish and big-beard-in-the-sky than that, and you can find all manner of things pointing in every direction, because these are human beings making comments and answering questions at a given moment, not reciting sections of their grand manifesto of Glorantha on command.

Which is to say, negative-seeming comments about KoDP are about the way in which it's shaped the fandom in a specific sense, rather than about the game being untrue to the real Glorantha or whatever.

As for my personal Glorantha(s), my increasing inclination is to be puckish and use the names of the Little Suns interchangeably and go on lengthy disquisitions on the importance of Antirius in the culture of the Alda-churi. Which is perhaps as close to the platonic opposite of being helpful as you can be. Apart from that, though, I think my primary response is to fracture things further, and give Orlanthi in underexplored areas their own name for, and approach to, the Big Sun and the Little. (And in Jonstown Compendium materials, then slap a sidebar in titled, "It's Yelmalio, Motherfuckers!" and noting the differences in the cult in this particular region, etc.)

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The minimalist account goes like this:

Until King of Sartar was published (December 1992), nobody had ever heard of "Elmal." We knew Yelmalio was worshipped at Sun Dome Temples in Dragon Pass, Prax and South Peloria. We knew most about the Sun Dome Temple in Prax, because of Cults of Prax (1978),  the Pavis boxed set (1983) and Sun County (1992).

King of Sartar gave us an account of how, circa 50-70 years ago, Monrogh changed the Sartarite Orlanthi cult of Elmal into the Sun Dome Temple's cult of Yelmalio. Up until a couple of generations ago, Elmal was worshipped in Sartar, but "today" (1620s) he isn't. (Some excitable people thought this meant "Yelmalio" hadn't previously existed; they were generally ignored, not least because we can all read Sun County)

King of Dragon Pass (October 1999) was set a century or more before that event, portraying a pre-Sartarite Orlanthi tribal society including shrines and temples to Elmal. There's nothing inconsistent there. None of the transformative changes wrought by Sartar (and his heirs) when (and after) he founded his kingdom are included in that game, by definition.

For whatever reason, HeroQuestWorldWars authors wrote up an extant cult of Elmal as if it was still relevant to Sartarite tribes. I really don't know why. (Storm Tribe: May 2001; Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes, November 2009) 

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha (June 2018) makes it clear that the cult worshipped at Sun Dome Temples is that of Yelmalio, everyone in Glorantha realises this is the same god as the Elmal worshipped by a few backwoods Orlanthi, and a separate cult writeup for Elmal would make about as much sense as one for Harst or Spare Grain. Start from the Big YO, strip out the bits you don't need, and add local colour, the same way you would if you were creating any other minor regional subcult. The cult writeups always show you the fullest flowering of a religion; you prune it back to get to the limited backwoods shrine-cult.

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Gods are known by many names. Hero Wars associated a subcult rather than just a feat with each, and the lore exploded.

I still think that there is a significant amount of "tribal" Yelmalians around, horse-worshipers without direct militia relationship to any Sun Dome temples. And most Sun Dome temples are likely to have oodles of Barntar (=Orlanth- and Ernalda-worshiping) farmers associated with them.

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My own personal Revelation of the Many Suns was that what matters is less the god's name and more the shape of their cult within a given society. Do you have a Lippizaner cult, a syntagmatic cult, a cult of a divine justiciar? This was prompted in its own way by contemplating the Shargash/Tolat distinction, so it, too, also took place "in Teshnos" for me, though without the aid of any hazia or sacred flames.

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The difference between the (stationary) sun disk and the roving Kargzant/Lightfore is quite important in my opinion, these are two different roles in the myths. Yelmalio having both rune lords and priests despite being about as minor a cult as Humakt shows that it is a syncretic cult.

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