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Some questions about the Lismelder and Yelmalio/Elmal


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4 hours ago, Eff said:

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

That's one point I found particularly ironic since, in the rules, women could only join Elmal through Redalda, if at all, while Yelmalio was open to everyone.

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4 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

The minimalist account goes like this:

Until King of Sartar was published, 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, the Pavis boxed set and Sun County.

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 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, HeroQuest authors wrote up an extant cult of Elmal as if it was still relevant to Sartarite tribes. I really don't know why.

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha 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.

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 confusion is basically angry people (men?) on the Internet. The what happened when and "why did they do this to me" ties into it, so your summary is good relief for this ailment. The good confusion is the web and weave of the mythology; Elmal, Yelmalio, Cold Suns... what's Elmal doing in Six Ages, Monrogh, etc. it's good confusion because it is interesting for those who enjoy deep dives into the setting. Though basically good, it can still be frustrating because it is so damned impenetrable at times.

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On 2/5/2021 at 11:12 PM, Nick Brooke said:

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.

Wait a minute... Is this the meta-origin of one of the mountains in the Quivins that Boldhome is on being called "Thorgeir's Cow?"

Edited by Leingod
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On 2/7/2021 at 6:38 AM, Nick Brooke said:

The minimalist account goes like this:

Woah that's the clearest, most helpful summary I've ever read on this topic in my ~2 years of Gloranthology. Thanks a lot Nick!

Edited by lordabdul
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On 2/7/2021 at 3:39 PM, Nick Brooke said:

Anyway, here's what I wrote about it a couple of decades ago. YGWV.

Elmal and Yelmalio


On your site, you refer to a Q&A explanation of the origins of Yelmalio but the page, on glorantha.com, doesn't exist anymore and I didn't find it on the Well of Daliath. Do you know where I can read it ?

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This question comes from debate on the Glorantha Digest. Answer by Greg Stafford. Published 7 Mar 2000.

Q: Who was the god worshipped by Balazar? The original publication of Griffin Mountain said it was Yelmalio, but information in King of Sartar, Enclosure #2, and the Issaries, Inc. web page seem to contradict this. The latter source says the name of their god is Tharkantus. Who is the god of the Sun Dome Temples?

A: Yelmalio is the popular name of a god currently worshipped in southern Peloria, especially among the Alakoring tribes, but also among the Heortlings. 

Yelmalio is actually just one name for the deity. It is the common and public name but it is more properly a title that means “Brightness of Yelm.” This title it is used for a number of different gods in Dara Happa who derive their powers form that transcendant core of light called Yelm, either by their worshippers or by outsiders who have trouble telling the gods apart. 

If you use only King of Sartar as a source, the god known as Yelmalio has only been worshipped for about 60 years. So say the cultists there and they are happy to let others believe this. But like all cults, Yelmalio has many secrets, some of them very very deep. Here is some information to clarify things and reveal some truths about the god and cult that are known only to initiates and devotees. 

Sun Dome Temples existed in the First and Second Ages and their congregations revered deities whose existance is generally unknown today. As reported in Enclosure #2 (“The Origin of the Sun Dome Temples,” page 37), the original patron of the First Age temples was called Daysenerus, a god sent by Antirius in the Darkness to bring the word of light to the barbarians. Although he was not called Yelmalio, Daysenerus’ temples were called Sun Dome Temples. They were all nearly all destroyed during the Gbaji Wars, and the vengeful Heortlings and trolls eradicated Daysenerus’ name throughout Peloria. No one dared to mention the name of this minor deity and his worship was lost. 

In the Second Age a new deity called Yelmalio was discovered and worshipped in southern Peloria. He brought light and blessings to his worshippers. They were popular among the class of wealthy farmers and many people joined into the worship. New temples were established in sacred places where the Yelmalio Light could be conjured. 

Only initiates knew the god’s name as Tharkantus. Only the priests knew that relics of Daysenerus were used to bless their firrst temples,or that the biggest temples rose upon the ruins of former Daysenerus temples. Outsiders were told the god was Yelmalio, which was explained to mean “Little Sun.”

As the EWF expanded the new Sun Dome Temples were among its military arm and helped to enforce its rule in Peloria, Dragon Pass, and even far-away Prax.When the EWF fell many of these temples were destroyed. Most the remaining members were slain during the Dragonkill War as part of the True Golden Horde. Most temples fell into ruin, or became isolated from the world.

Balazar worshipped Yelmalio Tharkantus. Balazar entered Votankiland and founded a temple to his god there. Although he eventually returned to die in the Dragonkill War, he had organized the citadels among the primitive Votanki hunter clans, who were ruled thereafter by his three sons. Eventually, the land became known as Balazar in his honor. 

The Tharkantus temple in Balazar survived because it was basically the only worshipped deity in the towns where Balazar’s sons ruled. Its worshippers retained their religion and today they are holdovers of this Second Age religion. When strangers came they discovered a deity who was called Yelmalio in public and Tharkantus in private. 

The situation in Prax was similar to Balazar. The temple survived the destruction of the Dragonkill War, it was a small outpost without much competition, and was an extremely strong source of divine power. Over the centuries its customs and worship were eroded as the free farmers were enslaved and the priesthood was seized by Praxian nomads who often used their shamanic practices to worship in the temple. Although the name of the deity and his rites were nearly lost he was still called Yelmalio and was the same intense divine light. When cultists came from Dragon Pass with the old rites, the waiting god strengthened them against the foreign rites and the old cult was established in its full glory once again. 

In Sartar the great hero Monrogh established the cult. He originally worshipped Elmal, the sun of the Orlanthi pantheon, but followed other lights and entered into doctinal disputes with the Orlanthi priests who normally ranked over the sun. Monrogh was challenged by Prince Tarkalor of Sartar to reveal his god who was stronger than Elmal, and he revealed Yelmalio. As proof, Monrogh led the conquest of the Kitori, and Tarkalor granted him the wide conquered lands to honor and recognize the new god and his worshippers. A few thouand people departed from the worship of Elmal and converted to Yelmalio, then left their homelands and settled in the new grant by the Creekstream River. Monrogh established regular relationships with the other temples of Yelmalio throughout Peloria. Monrogh also sent worshippers to settle near to Pavis where they re-established the old rites on a temple that there. 

No single high priest rules all the Yelmalio temples. They do acknowledge the overlordship of the temple from which their founder originally came. They also acknowledge the Yelm cult priests as spiritual superiors. The Balazar temple has no superior, for Balazar’s overseer and ancestral temple are destroyed. Monrogh claimed to have no overseer, having come to Yelmalio by himself. The Pavis temple sometimes acknowledged the Dragon Pass temple as overlord, and sometimes has resisted it, claiming they are older than Monrogh as their traditions prove.


Edited by Nick Brooke
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14 minutes ago, Cassius said:

Yes, I read it but believed Nick was talking about another article. Sorry for that.

How many Q&A articles about Yelmalio did you imagine Greg Stafford published in March 2000? <boggles>

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