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I showed the player this thread and he, too, likes the ideas put forth. So far, he's been describing a character that honestly sounds like "What if Minsc had a religious duty to be a pyromaniac and knew Pencak Silat?" 

Anyway, forgive the digression. Is it possible, lore-wise, for someone to be a sworn devotee of both Lodril and one or more of the Lowfires as well, at the same time? 

Edited by ZedAlpha
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While possible, I think it's limiting to assume all martial arts must necessarily be Kralori in origin. As long as human beings have been fighting each other, there have been formalised methods and te

Like... quackwondo 

Capoiera is ripe for translating into Glorantha  "The early history of capoeira is recorded by historians such as Dr. Desch-Obi. Originally, the ancestor tradition originated from Kingdom of Kong

The Lowfires are either spirit traditions or subcults of other gods in most of their write-ups, so not only is it possible but in fact the most likely mode of their worship. In HQ terms, the easiest way to handle it would be to have Lodril as your cult, and any Lowfires as Spirit Charms, possibly as breakout abilities from the Lodril cult, or Fire/Sky rune, or something else (Spirit Rune?) How does the game handle Waha charms? Might be a decent guideline.

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Got it. So you're dedicated to the Temple of Vestkarthan, it could very well also be that you've been initiated into the priestly lodges of Kalavan the Invisible Spear and Gustbran Bronzemaster, depending on how well you can fulfill your duties to each cult without getting in their ways. 

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Yeah, more or less! It's kind of like you're borrowing a small portion of another god's power in return for including them in your main worship. So if you're a Veskarthen initiate who's sub-initiated into Gustbran, you only get maybe one or two Gustbran spells, in return for not having to fulfil the full responsibilities of a Gustbran initiate. Someone fully dedicated to Gustbran however would get his entire repertoire of spells and have the opportunity to advance to (whatever the higher ranks of Gustbran worship are). Said Gustbran initiate could even sub-initiate into Veskarthen, and thus gain a single particular spell from him in turn.

Basically, it's a system that allows you to "multiclass" to a limited extent, without running yourself ragged with multiple full initiations.

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It definitely can, though (in this example) no Gustbran temple would expect you to put them ahead of your primary responsibilities to Veskarthen. The Lowfires, in particular, are far more worshipped as sub-cults of related deities like Lodril or Ernaldathan as full cults in their own right (with the possible exception of Oakfed shamans in Prax).

 

Of course, if you want there to be a conflict of interest, go for it! It would definitely make for some interesting character dynamics/ drama.

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The Cult of the Invisible Spear secretly teaches spear-use to peasants in Peloria.

I can see various traditions teaching their own styles of martial arts, both for armed and unarmed combat:

  • Oasis Folk learn a type of dance that can be used as combat, especially if they combine the various dances from the various Oases
  • Gagarthi learn the Whirlwind Dance, which is a form of whirling combat
  • Draconic creatures learn to fight in the style of a dragon, using slashing claws for hands and feet
  • Hsunchen learn their own forms of combat based on the actions of their totem. This is more useful for Tiger Hsunchen that Gopher Hsunchen, though.

As to what benefits these give you, that is probably up to the GM. 

 

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11 hours ago, metcalph said:

Of the listed countries, Seshnela is the most surprising.

Given the mention in the guide that nobles engage in "a brutal blend of boxing and wrestling." (page 52) It's probably similar to pankration or mixed martial arts.

I could also still see the warrior societies, "halfwitted hsunchen" and all, having martial arts based on their Martial Beast. Lion warriors focusing on fierce punches like the blows of a lion's paw; Snake warriors relying on either swift strikes or grappling holds. Of course in war, that's the time for weapons and armour, but in peace they still have to keep up their training.

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Would it be productive to differentiate between mere styles of fighting (I’m sure different cultures teaches different ways of throwing a punch or grappling, without this mattering as far as the rules are concerned) and ”magical” or otherwise supernatural martial arts?

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2 hours ago, Tindalos said:

Given the mention in the guide that nobles engage in "a brutal blend of boxing and wrestling." (page 52) It's probably similar to pankration or mixed martial arts.

I could also still see the warrior societies, "halfwitted hsunchen" and all, having martial arts based on their Martial Beast. Lion warriors focusing on fierce punches like the blows of a lion's paw; Snake warriors relying on either swift strikes or grappling holds. Of course in war, that's the time for weapons and armour, but in peace they still have to keep up their training.

Seshnela imported quite a few customs and magics from Kralorela during the Middle Sea Empire. Presumably including the Tanier Valley tea cultivation, and why not some martial arts dojos, in all likelihood completely bereft of any mystical meditative meaning. MMA sort of fills that bill.

Some of the Kralori martial arts probably are Hsunchen fighting styles. No idea where the centipede style came from, though. Some antigod monster?

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Capoiera is ripe for translating into Glorantha 

"The early history of capoeira is recorded by historians such as Dr. Desch-Obi. Originally, the ancestor tradition originated from Kingdom of Kongo and was called N'golo/Engolo (known as Angola today); a type of ritual dance that used several elements of kicking, headbutting, slap boxing, walking on one's hands, deception, evasion etc. The purpose was also religious as it both provided a link to the afterlife (which was the opposite of the living world) and enabled a person to channel their ancestors into their dance. For example, during the dance, a person might become possessed by an ancestor in the past who was talented at N'golo. "

It just oozes Movement rune affinity and ancestor worship.

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

Seshnela imported quite a few customs and magics from Kralorela during the Middle Sea Empire. Presumably including the Tanier Valley tea cultivation, and why not some martial arts dojos, in all likelihood completely bereft of any mystical meditative meaning. MMA sort of fills that bill.

Some of the Kralori martial arts probably are Hsunchen fighting styles. No idea where the centipede style came from, though. Some antigod monster?

While possible, I think it's limiting to assume all martial arts must necessarily be Kralori in origin. As long as human beings have been fighting each other, there have been formalised methods and techniques for doing so, armed or unarmed. I see no reason why Seshneg and Kralori schools couldn't have contact and influenced each other during this period, however. But simply having fantasy China be the place where all martial arts are invented seems reductive.

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1 hour ago, Ladygolem said:

While possible, I think it's limiting to assume all martial arts must necessarily be Kralori in origin.

I agree. I’d thought of the martial arts of the West as being a more formalized version of pankration. There are Indian martial arts styles that might also be inspiring. The Loskalm tradition makes me think of Plato insisting that all citizens of the Republic would do regular gymnastics, which was distinguished from the training given to soldiers by intensity and degree rather than type. 

 

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17 hours ago, Eff said:

Caladraland unfortunately doesn't have a whole lot of support. But, Veskarthan/Lodril, one of the most prominent gods there, has in the north of the continent a tradition of peasant revolutionaries in the "Brotherhood of the Invisible Spear", which to me sounds an awful lot like there's some 36th Chamber of Shaolin stuff going on. Caladralanders are, of course, stereotypically prone to being shirtless and (probably) oiled up in any case, sounds like a wuxia protagonist to me!

Lodril is also God of Wrestling...

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4 hours ago, kr0p0s said:

The purpose was also religious as it both provided a link to the afterlife (which was the opposite of the living world) and enabled a person to channel their ancestors into their dance. For example, during the dance, a person might become possessed by an ancestor in the past who was talented at N'golo. "

Does this have anything to do with the griots of Timbuktu? It sounds similar but lacks the elaborate masks.

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47 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Does this have anything to do with the griots of Timbuktu? It sounds similar but lacks the elaborate masks.

The Griots were storytellers, poets and historian's, but I think that Engolo originated as a form of ritual combat, either as rite of passage or used in settling disputes. The techniques were carried to the American and informed the development of Capoiera.

Engolo seemed to have a distinct spiritual aspect as well:

"In his book Fighting for Honor, as well as his article "Combat and Crossing of the Kalunga", Desch Obi draws parallels between the circle space used in the Engolo and the inverted techniques with the Kalunga cosmology, in which the spirit–ancestor world is inverted as a world of opposites: where men walk on their feet, the spirits walk on their hands, where men are black, the spirits are white, where men reach their peak physical abilities in life, the ancestors reach their peak spirituality. He states that men in performing Engolo with its inverted positions connect themselves physically and spiritually with the ancestors, and with specific ancestral warriors of the past."

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Alright, with this all in mind, I just came up with a two ideas for martial arts schools in Caladraland that I decided to write down. Don't expect quality, here, I know nothing about real martial arts, lol: 

Invisible Phalanx Temple

Taught by priests of Kalavan, this martial style is directly descended from Lodrili Invisible Spear style, originating in the Dara Happan Empire. It was brought to Caladraland by Dara Happan refugees during the God Learners' ceaseless wars. There in Veskarthan's first home, the cult of Kalavan found that it could operate openly as an adjunct of the greater temple of Veskarthan, and the beautiful-yet-brutally-effective fighting styles once taught as "folk dances" in the Empire were and are taught (to a certain degree) to most youths in Caladraland as part of their initiation into the Veskarthani religion. Exposure to God Forgot styles of meditative self-defense and Heortlander "storm dance" fencing schools turned a single style that was once focused almost entirely on fighting with spears, staves, and other agricultural implements into several related, but distinctly different styles. All of these styles involve some fort of polearm training, and retain the whirling, dance-like forms designed to keep more heavily-armed opponents confused and too far away to counterattack. In addition, the styles all emphasize fighting in pairs or small teams (hence the "Phalanx" in the name). 

The most famous sub-schools of the Invisible Phalanx are the Fireblood School, whose most learned masters can summon weapons formed of molten rock and their own burning bodily fluids, and the Ten Flowers School, named after a "folk dance" (in actuality, a lethal bone-breaking attack form designed to dislocate and dismember unsuspecting enemies) still practiced among Dara Happan peasants to this day. 

 

Bronze Arms Style

The Gustbranite temple is a smaller sub-cult of Vestkarthani worship that sees relatively minor worship outside of Caladraland. The redsmith-priests of Gustbran jealously guard the deeper secrets of craftsmanship in general and bronzeworking in specific. Lay initiates to Gustbran abound, but dedicated priests are very rare, even in their holy strongholds of Caladraland. Dedication to Gustbran requires patience, tenacity, and a desire to work one's fingers to the bone for a sort of perfectionism that even the Mostali respect. Journeyman priests in Gustbran, before their walkabout through communities who could use the Forgefather's aid, are taught this fighting style. So named because true masters of the style can literally turn their flesh and bone to red-hot living bronze, Bronze Arms is notable for its thudding, stomping movements and heavy blows with fists and forearms. Training in this style involves meditating in punishing temperatures and complex breathing exercises. This grueling regimen is said to grant great magic to those who survive it.

The current acknowledged master of Bronze Arms style is Morg Forgegrip, a genius weaponsmith named because it's said that once, he smelted bronze ore solely through his iron-hard grip and divinely gifted body heat. 

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Thirteenth Age Glorantha has an Esrolian Shield-Based Martial Arts group:

Square Round Monastery was originally based in the huge Esrolian metropolis of Nochet, the largest city in the world. All manner of strange mystery cults exist in its alleys and palaces. Square Round Monastery started as a consequence of a gift of a shield between Yelm (or perhaps Yelmalio) and Ernalda. The gift of the shield appears
to have gone back and forth several times.
The Square Round Monastery reveres a golden square within a golden circle, a symbol that represents both the shield the Sun gave the Earth, but also the cosmos itself. Like a mandala, it is used for focusing attention and as a tool for spiritual guidance.

--Thirteenth Age Glorantha, p. 178.

Round Shield monks serve Yelmalio; Square Shield monks serve Ernalda.

 

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Hm. Shield fighting? Probably lots of defensive techniques, shield-flinging, circular maneuvers (perhaps representing the shield being passed back and forth between gods). That's awesome.

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15 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

While possible, I think it's limiting to assume all martial arts must necessarily be Kralori in origin. As long as human beings have been fighting each other, there have been formalised methods and techniques for doing so, armed or unarmed. I see no reason why Seshneg and Kralori schools couldn't have contact and influenced each other during this period, however. But simply having fantasy China be the place where all martial arts are invented seems reductive.

I agree on principle.

This still doesn't make me see either Brithini nor Men-of-all excelling at unarmed combat, though.

Just like taking over all cheesy Chinese tropes is not a good idea for any Eastern-inspired setting, taking over all classical Greek-inspired tropes for the Logicians is as much of a fallacy. Depicting the king of Loskalm and his heroes in the nude - strike one. Having them compete in the Olympic games - too much.

Wrestling is something else again - some form of strength vs strength outlet for testosterone appears to be built into the upright ape, and may well be universal.

What we are discussing here is Hsunchen animal style unarmed (and face it, armed) combat taken over by (somewhat) civilized descendants of such Hsunchen. In Kralorela, we have these known dojos based on the (presumed, or proven) former beast totems of the population. In most of the West, these beast totems have been enemies, or a lower liveform adopted into the western society. (Malkionism can be extremely racist towards beast totem folk.)

While we have a somewhat harmonious co-existence of beasts and Malkioni in that Ylream idyll, later First Age and all of Second Age Malkionism was rather rabidly monotheistic. I don't know whether the beast totem warrior societies were a Tanisoran thing that merged with the upcoming Rokarism or whether that persisted since the Dawn Age.

I do know that Imperial Age Seshnela thought that importing Eastern odds and ends was extremely fashionable up to and including the pearl diet from Angazabo as a means to show status.

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14 hours ago, davecake said:

I agree. I’d thought of the martial arts of the West as being a more formalized version of pankration. There are Indian martial arts styles that might also be inspiring. The Loskalm tradition makes me think of Plato insisting that all citizens of the Republic would do regular gymnastics, which was distinguished from the training given to soldiers by intensity and degree rather than type. 

I have read claims (in writings about Wing Tsun kung fu) that pancratio and Heracles worship may have spread even beyond the successor state activities, and may have been the foundation for buddhist unarmed combat arts (as opposed to martial arts, which include all manner of armed combat styles).

But hey - "Plato's republic has this, so the Westerners must be a Greek pastiche" is exactly what doesn't replace "wu shu is Chinese" with anything better. The dialogue addresses Athenian questions in an Athenian context, but does Athens have to be inseparable from the message in Plato? Successor state Kshatryan India should not be the elevator pitch for the Tanisoran kingdom inheriting the name Seshnela.

I wasn't arguing from "it must be china" anyway, I was arguing from published Glorantha. Which admittedly does have a too big dose of Cathay=Kralorela.

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6 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

Alright, with this all in mind, I just came up with a two ideas for martial arts schools in Caladraland that I decided to write down.

Btw, there's another written up in 13th Age Glorantha p.177: The Square Round Monastery.

Edit: see already posted in thread!

Edited by jajagappa
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13 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

Hm. Shield fighting? Probably lots of defensive techniques, shield-flinging, circular maneuvers (perhaps representing the shield being passed back and forth between gods). That's awesome.

I had pictures of Captain America using his shield in defence as well as for attacking in my head immediately ...

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1 hour ago, Oracle said:

I had pictures of Captain America using his shield in defence as well as for attacking in my head immediately ...

And per the text in 13th Age Glorantha, that was the image of the person who suggested the content during the Kickstarter.

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