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Gloranthan Martial Arts


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2 hours ago, Oracle said:

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

Have you seen Spike's "who is the deadliest warrior"? The combats are not very good, but the measurement of the effects of the weapons are interesting. In one of the airings, there is someone that is using a Spartan hoplon to strike a crash test dummy, and the measured effects are devastating.

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On 2/9/2021 at 9:09 PM, Joerg said:

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.

I think New Loskalm is a Greek, Scandinavian, Chinese, and Indian mix, heavy on Plato. But putting Greek style athletics in a nice cedar wood indoor gymnasium works for me better than Chinese style martial arts do - we don't really have any cultural or mythic basis for that sort of tradition. 

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On 2/9/2021 at 6:49 PM, Joerg said:

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

Brithini, no. Did anyone say that? The Horali fight armed. 

And well, maybe you personally don't see Men-of-all excelling at unarmed combat, but we know they practice martial arts in Loskalm, so you'd really have to find a good reason why Men-of-All, who are the military elite, are notably bad at it.

On 2/9/2021 at 9:09 PM, Joerg said:

I wasn't arguing from "it must be china" anyway, I was arguing from published Glorantha.

Published Glorantha mentions martial arts in one place, so every mention of martial arts must come from there? 

That's a fairly dull interpretation. 

20 hours ago, Godlearner said:

How about  Pankration for Alkoth and Boxing for Pavis.

Well, I don't really associate Alkoth with unarmed fighting - they are far more military and murderous. And Pavis has no particular tradition of anything other than good old fashioned beatings. They use their fists, but I don't think it gets dignified with 'martial arts'. 

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I'm going to disagree with the idea that martial arts in Seshnela are anything to do with the war societies, and they probably aren't even practiced by the warriors.

The Seshnelan Holars must *always* have a weapon,even when they sleep - so there isn't a lot of incentive for them to learn unarmed martial arts. 

More importantly, from the Guide we know the Sesnelan nobles learn wrestling, and that noble tournaments include contests between nobles of 'a brutal blend of boxing and wrestling'. (Guide pg 52)

And as for Loskalm, we know they have regular athletic contests including wresting and boxing (again, the Guide).

So, I'm still going with pankration as the base for martial arts in Loskalm and Seshnela, rather than anything very Eastern of hsunchen. 

FWIW, I don't really think hsunchen are into martial arts either. Too intellectual - and too specific to their human form. They just get good at fighting, and then boost it with magic if they need something more. A Rathori that that needs to be able to fight someone without weapons learns to transform into a bear. Works well. 

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Well, I don't really associate Alkoth with unarmed fighting - they are far more military and murderous. And Pavis has no particular tradition of anything other than good old fashioned beatings. They use their fists, but I don't think it gets dignified with 'martial arts'. 

Alkoth dedicates itself to all things martial. Surely they would develop a technic when a weapon is not at hand. 

Boxing not a 'martial art' only in you consider it a 'sweet science', but it does fit a definition.

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23 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

Alkoth dedicates itself to all things martial. Surely they would develop a technic when a weapon is not at hand. 

With that logic, we would give every warrior god martial arts. Martial arts is a pretty rare thing, and harder to learn than  just fist fighting. 

Martial arts also is about applying intellect and systematic tactics to fighting. Shagashi are berserkers. 

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5 minutes ago, davecake said:

With that logic, we would give every warrior god martial arts. Martial arts is a pretty rare thing, and harder to learn than  just fist fighting. 

Martial arts also is about applying intellect and systematic tactics to fighting. Shagashi are berserkers. 

Yes, we should, and no it isn't hard to learn. It is hard to master.

Pankration is perfect for berserkers, it has few rules and nothing is out of bound in the way of strikes and grapples.

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23 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

Yes, we should

Because you think all dangerous bronze age warriors were martial artists? OK, novel point of view, and not one I'm going accept really. 

Well, put it this way - I can't think of a single word in the sources that suggests the Alkothi are particularly into unarmed combat. They seem to be heavily into the armed sort, and don't really seem to have a reason to take time out of their weapon training to learn unarmed skills that are of extremely marginal value in warfare or other armed combat (unlike the Western or Easterners we know who use martial arts who have cultural reasons). If you want the Alkothi to be into martial arts because you think everyone who is a savage murderous badass is into martial arts, you can do that in your Glorantha. 

In the RQ rules learning martial arts isn't even a particularly good way of learning to be good at winning a fist fight - like, you'd be better off training in fist skill than the martial arts skill. There has to be a better reason than wanting to hurt people.

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1 hour ago, Godlearner said:

Boxing not a 'martial art' only in you consider it a 'sweet science', but it does fit a definition.

Boxing is systematic training, and if you want it to be Martial Arts skill, sure. But remember fist and kick skill are different skills to martial arts - learning to fight well enough unarmed that you can take on someone armed is hard in Glorantha, and hard in real life, compared to learning to hurt them with a weapon designed for the task. Martial arts isn't learning how to punch someone - it is learning how to punch them just right so you do double damage, by learning to strike weak points etc. It's more than one skill - and so fairly expensive. 

So, why would a professional army take a lot of their training time out to learn to be a bit more dangerous when unarmed, when they could spend that time, instead, learning how to be more dangerous with the weapons they already are carrying with them? 

Now, in the West it has a specific cultural significance, and also it seems to be largely a noble thing, who are not armed all the time like the soldier caste. In the East, it is associated with all sorts of cool fighting magic and warrior cults (and I suspect Lunar martial arts is a similar mystic friendly tradition ultimately from the East). But for most bronze age warriors, it doesn't exactly seem like something to spend a lot of your training tine on. 

 

 

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Because you think all dangerous bronze age warriors were martial artists? OK, novel point of view, and not one I'm going accept really. 

But they were. No, not necessarily in unarmed combat. Their weapon skills techniques are Martial Arts, we are just talking about cults/areas which have developed such in particular.

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2 minutes ago, davecake said:

Boxing is systematic training, and if you want it to be Martial Arts skill, sure. But remember fist and kick skill are different skills to martial arts - learning to fight well enough unarmed that you can take on someone armed is hard in Glorantha, and hard in real life, compared to learning to hurt them with a weapon designed for the task. Martial arts isn't learning how to punch someone - it is learning how to punch them just right so you do double damage, by learning to strike weak points etc. It's more than one skill - and so fairly expensive. 

So, why would a professional army take a lot of their training time out to learn to be a bit more dangerous when unarmed, when they could spend that time, instead, learning how to be more dangerous with the weapons they already are carrying with them? 

Now, in the West it has a specific cultural significance, and also it seems to be largely a noble thing, who are not armed all the time like the soldier caste. In the East, it is associated with all sorts of cool fighting magic and warrior cults (and I suspect Lunar martial arts is a similar mystic friendly tradition ultimately from the East). But for most bronze age warriors, it doesn't exactly seem like something to spend a lot of your training tine on. 

 

 

I will let this article speak to that

https://shortboxing.com/is-boxing-a-martial-art/

In modern armies Martial Arts are part of the training, but in the Bronze Aged societies, ones where people grew up learning combat skills from a young age, and army does not need to offer it of spend training time on it. Why should they, the soldiers already know it and its not something they will use in formations at all.

 

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I think that it depends on what we mean by Martial Arts.

if we mean the general stuff that warriors learn, then, sure, everyone knows Martial Arts.

If, however, we mean specialised techniques that are taught to some warriors in order to allow them to do more damage due to their skills then it could be restricted to certain schools and cults.

 

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3 minutes ago, aumshantih said:

The many islands of Vithela likely have the best martial artists in Glorantha.  

Sadly, Vithela is tragically under-explored, but I'm hoping to fix that.

There is a theory that all eastern martial arts can be traced to Pankration which was originally brought by Alexander's army to India from where it continued on. This may or may not be the case in Glorantha. In which case we should consider as to where Gloranthan Martial Arts originated in the first place.

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6 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

There is a theory that all eastern martial arts can be traced to Pankration which was originally brought by Alexander's army to India from where it continued on.

I have no idea if this site is accurate, but it shows boxing and wrestling in Sumeria, Egypt and Crete was before that, in the Bronze Age. However, this sort of debate will definitely be a threadjack.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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17 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

There is a theory that all eastern martial arts can be traced to Pankration which was originally brought by Alexander's army to India from where it continued on. This may or may not be the case in Glorantha. In which case we should consider as to where Gloranthan Martial Arts originated in the first place.

*sigh*
While I'm sure Alexander's Hellenic influence greatly shaped a lot of things in India, various martial arts were documented in the Epics that took place far before he showed up.   The Sanskrit term "śastra-vidyā" - weapon-knowledge- was used as a catch all category for various martial arts.    While wrestling was a very popular sport practiced by the Kshaitrya-caste, actual unarmed combat wasn't really much of a thing.    The bow, the sword, the mace, the discus, the spear - all these weapons had vidyā's devoted to them.    

In Glorantha - well, the Vithelans are the major culture that has martial arts as a fundamental part of their mythology, deities and practices.   (I include the Kralori, Vormaino, and Teshnans as a part of Vithelan culture, though they have all gone their own way.)    

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Loskalm is a renunciation of Seshnegi influences, so I agree that Kralori influences there would be suspect. It is also a renunciation of Brithini ways (Hrestol got active here after his time on Brithos), which offers routes to do things in an un-Brithini way. Unfortunately, we don't know how Prince Hrestol's kingdom of Loskalm was built up. All we have about it is a short paragraph in Middle Sea Empire. Tomastus and his Irensavalism apparently started only after Hrestol's renunciation of his kingship and his family.

2 hours ago, davecake said:

Brithini, no. Did anyone say that? The Horali fight armed. 

Which means that the unarmed combat doesn't come from Brithos, i.e. wasn't around in the initial Malkioni colonies on the Neliomi Sea. That means they must have developed or acquired it at some point during History - which is the point I didn't think I had to spell out.

In Fronela, the local "civilized Hykimi" were the Enjoreli bull folk, possibly civilized by King Drona (who sounds a lot like a twin brother of Dromal, choosing exodus over assimilation as the low caste in the Kingdom of Logic). The Enjoreli had cities, temples to deities like Croesia (and possibly her twin Vorthan), and to their Hykimi ancestors.

Would the Bull People be a good source for unarmed combat? And why?

(The question why the Kralori have unarmed martial arts needs some explanation, too.)

One Hykimi group I absolutely expect to have unarmed combat styles are the Rathori. A bear's upright fighting stance is very close to that of humans.

 

Quote

And well, maybe you personally don't see Men-of-all excelling at unarmed combat, but we know they practice martial arts in Loskalm, so you'd really have to find a good reason why Men-of-All, who are the military elite, are notably bad at it.

I was suggesting Kralori (or East Islander, or Teshnite) martial arts in Old Seshnela and Tanisor, because of the major hype for all stuff from the east. Several emperors have been noted for importing Kralori art, edifices and even an entire town to Seshnela, and some practiced the pearl diet of Angazabo. If the False Dragon Ring had some unarmed combat styles to present in Seshnela as quaint oriental customs, they would have, and the nobility and the wannabes would have copied that.

 

Quote

Published Glorantha mentions martial arts in one place, so every mention of martial arts must come from there? 

It is hard to find a place in Genertela which sucked up more Kralori influences than Seshnela, other than (larger) Kralorela itself. Sure, Sheng studied their mysticism, walked there as a prophet, and brought thousands of bureaucrats to Peloria, where they founded families which in all likelihood still exist, possibly married into the local families of comparable status. But the cultural appropriation of the Middle Sea Empire was quite strong.

 

It is a logical interpretation. In quite a few ways, the Malkioni also represent the USA - through their geography, the 13 colonies of Jrustela. The popularity of Bruce Lee or Jacklie Chan in western pop culture and the 1968ers' affinity for eastern mysticism is written into the God Learner empire, IMO.

The imitation of the instinctive attack and defense pattern of beasts and their application to human unarmed and armed combat is common in kung fu. You might call that a scientific method, but it could just as well be some meditative approach to enter the flow of oneness in a rudimentarily mystical approach to martial arts (as presented in Revealed Mythologies).

 

What is our source for the Loskalmi practicing martial arts anyway?

Edit: found it, RQG rules p.181. Hiding world lore in skill descriptions means I should restart my indexing...

The Guide mentions athletic competitions, but unless you count olympic/pro boxing and wrestling as martial arts designed for actual combat rather than athletic competitions, the mention on p.52 does not tell us about Loskalmi using bare-handed tecniques for actual combat, gladiatoral combat, or heroics.

Edited by Joerg

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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30 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

But they were. No, not necessarily in unarmed combat. Their weapon skills techniques are Martial Arts, we are just talking about cults/areas which have developed such in particular.

OK, we seem to have a big failure of communication. While I acknowledge that learning a systematic weaponed fighting style is a martial art, on the RuneQuest rules martial arts is used specifically for systems of unarmed combat. 

While I think a supplement that got really into it would expand this a little, in general using the term martial arts to refer to armed fighting is just going to confuse the issue. 

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Just now, davecake said:

OK, we seem to have a big failure of communication. While I acknowledge that learning a systematic weaponed fighting style is a martial art, on the RuneQuest rules martial arts is used specifically for systems of unarmed combat. 

While I think a supplement that got really into it would expand this a little, in general using the term martial arts to refer to armed fighting is just going to confuse the issue. 

What I was trying to say, and I think you agree, is that every Martial Cult/society has a "martial art". What we are doing is trying to identify which have unarmed styles. My argument is that Alkoth as a society should have an unarmed MA style associated with it.

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32 minutes ago, aumshantih said:

The many islands of Vithela likely have the best martial artists in Glorantha.  

Absolutely, because there is quite a lot written to suggest exactly that. The Kralorelans would appear to be their only real rivals. 

It is also pretty clear that Vithelan martial artists learn magical techniques as well as physical ones, and they have a cult specifically associated with martial arts (Darja Danad, also known as Long Leiji in Kralorela), and there is a fair bit of myth etc in Revealed Mythologies. 

35 minutes ago, aumshantih said:

Sadly, Vithela is tragically under-explored, but I'm hoping to fix that.

It is absolutely under-explored, it would be great to see more. 

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The RQ Martial Arts skill, which significantly expands the ranges at which criticals and specials can occur, seems to represent something almost as grandiose as Hokuto no Shin Ken. There's a fair amount of unarmed combat training that presumably consists of appropriate skill training and Ironhand spirit magic, but which is nevertheless aesthetically a martial art school or style. (And that's not counting weapons schools- presumably at least some Lunar martial arts are focused on the kopis or scimitar.)

One disadvantage is that the emphasis on increasing raw damage does make unarmed combat feel like all hard/striking arts and little or no soft/grappling arts. Granted, I'm not sure RQ combat could really handle adding on what soft martial arts styles are meant to accomplish. 

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2 minutes ago, Eff said:

One disadvantage is that the emphasis on increasing raw damage does make unarmed combat feel like all hard/striking arts and little or no soft/grappling arts. Granted, I'm not sure RQ combat could really handle adding on what soft martial arts styles are meant to accomplish. 

Agreed. What I would like to see is a variety of effects based on different styles. These can be things as a counterattack strike in the same round, or a skill penalty on the opponent in the following rounds and of course additional damage or increasing/decreasing the level of success.

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It kinda seems like people are using different definitions of martial arts in this thread, which results in people talking past each other.
1) Martial arts as any codified training regime for combat, with or without weapons 

2) Martial arts as any codifed training regime for UNARMED combat, or, somewhat expanded, with tools generally not considered lethal weapons. 

3) Martial Arts as a specific game mechanic of RQ. 

 

These are all different things, so it's probably good if a clear definition is established for the purposes of the discussion. 


For the purposes of this discussion, I think it's kinda implied that there is a need for some sort of supernatural element. How else would the PC be useful in combat situations? (Unless RQ is just super-confident in grappling and kicking for some reason).

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3 hours ago, davecake said:

I think New Loskalm is a Greek, Scandinavian, Chinese, and Indian mix, heavy on Plato.

Except there's no martial arts style mentioned for Loskalm in the rulebook - only Seshnela, Peloria, Teshnos and Kralorela (apparently confining itself to Genertela).

 

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