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As I explore Dragon Pass with my players, we have realized that we are not entirely clear on what thanes do in an Orlanthi community. 

From the guide...

"They are tribal folk who have leadership roles (secular, military, or sacred) and have undertaken unusual responsibilities. They are the heads of households, the god-talkers who lead sacred functions, leading merchants or craftspeople, bodyguard housecarls for the chieftain, and members of the clan council."

Would a town (300 - 1000 residents) have one Thane overseeing the major decisions that need to occur in the town? Or would there be multiple Thanes with different roles?

A Thane that would oversee the defense of the village...

A Thane that would represent the craftspeople and their needs...

A Thane would manage the harvests and herds...

Priests/Priestesses/God-Talkers who would oversee the spiritual life of the village?...

etc.

Just wanted to clarify the role before my players take up Thaneship. 

 

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Seems to me Thane is a rank.  It's like Staff sergeant in the army.  What do Staff Sergeants do? 

Sometimes they lead infantry squads, sometimes they may be platoon sergeants, sometimes lead platoons when the company is short on people.  They may be tank commanders.  They may lead survey parties.  They may lead howitzer or missile firing sections, but they may also be Chief of Firing Battery if you have no SFC.  Sometimes they are a supply sergeant, or a mess sergeant, or a motor sergeant. 

Staff sergeant is a rank, not an occupational specialty or a  job description.

Similarly, Thane is a rank not a job description.

But yes, your list includes several Thane job descriptions.

IMHO yes, several different people would normally do several different functions.  The bodyguard / housecarl is not going to be overseeing the harvest or heading the craft guild.

So when they take a Thane job. the functions and responsibilities need to be defined.

 

 

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The adventure book in the GameMaster Screen Pack lists the duties of the thane of Apple Lane in particular as such:

Quote

The thane is the representative of the tribal king in the Apple Lane area, and tasked with the defense of Apple Lane, its residents, and local travelers. The thane is also tasked with maintaining the local peace, serving as the local judge, and assisting the local clans in tribal matters.

The thane is also expected to participate regularly in Orlanth cult activities and must serve as a lay member of Orlanth Rex.

Keeping in mind that Apple Lane is a rather unusual settlement, and so the duties of its thane might also be outside the norm in some ways, this is nonetheless probably a good template to keep in mind for what kinds of duties a thane might expect to take on when they accept the appointment. It is, as stated above, essentially a social rank that marks you as one of the community's leaders, possibly with some special duty, like serving as the bodyguard of a chieftain or king or protecting trade going through an important road on the clan or tribal lands.

Edited by Leingod
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From the forthcoming Sartar boxed set:

The word “thane” means “martial companion,” although an older version of their name means “horse men,” denoting their status. Thanes arose among the Orlanthi during the Second Age as a result of the increasingly sophisticated means of warfare of the age. It was discovered that an armed militia could be overcome by a smaller band of better trained and equipped warriors. Kings and chiefs recruited and equipped elite companions and gave them status equivalent to priests. They became a martial aristocracy among the Orlanthi. Many are Rune lords, a type of martial priest, others are members of tribal or city councils, and still others are individuals appointed by a tribe or clan to keep order or protect an area. 

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4 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

So kind of pre-feudal proto-knights! As in, the IRL class of privileged warriors that hundreds of years later formed the basis of feudal aristrocracy, right?

Here's a bit more from the Sartar boxed set:

WARRIOR

The definition of “warrior” among the Orlanthi depends, as with so many things, on which of Orlanth’s subcults you ask. Under the traditions of the Orlanth Thunderous cult, all Orlanthi men are expected to be warriors. Like farming, hunting, building homes or siring children, fighting is an assumed part of the gender. This is the oldest conception of being a warrior among the Orlanthi peoples. 

Warrior Societies and Thanes 

In the late First Age, and even more so in the Second, the Orlanthi increasingly encountered fighting men from other cultures who did nothing but fight. Their traditional tribal militia were often no match for these professionals. 

One response to this was the creation of “warrior societies.” Composed of young men who had not yet settled down into a life or marriage and farming, and led by older, grizzled veterans, these martial societies patterned themselves on cults like Humakt and Storm Bull, but followed Orlanth Adventurous, which grew powerful in these Ages. 

The second response, however, arose in imitation of the sun-worshipping horsemen the Orlanthi encountered. These mounted and more heavily armored warriors were members of the noble castes, the only classes that could afford such things. This later led to the rise of the Orlanth Rex cult and its own mounted warrior, the “thane.” While warrior societies maintained themselves, either from plunder, tithes, or even bribes, the thane was supported by the clan or tribe itself. They became an elite class freed from the duties of other men and sworn to the fight. 

Warrior society members are built along cult lines (usually as members of Storm Bull, Orlanth Adventurous, or Humakt). They tend towards Light or Heavy Infantry. Thanes follow Orlanth Rex and are Light or Heavy Cavalry. 

Mercenaries 

In the Second Age, and then in the Third Age leading up to the Hero Wars, fighting men and women “for hire” became a common concept. While these were originally members of the Humakt cult, the rise of the cult of Yelmalio and the Sun Dome broadened the field. The arrival of Sir Ethilrist and his Black Horse Troop in the region only made the concept even more widespread. Thus, by the arrival of the Hero Wars, warriors for hire is a common idea among the people of Sartar, and many men surrender the plow to take up sword and/or spear. 

Mercenaries are essentially “warrior societies” but instead of fighting for honor or clan they fight for coin. Thus they function very much like guilds. Most are centered around a specific shrine or temple. The Humakt and Sun Dome cults are the best known mercenaries in Sartar (see pp. @@ and @@ respectively), but Orlanth Adventurous mercenary companies have become quite common. Under the Lunars Seven Mothers mercenaries were also known, and in the late Third Age even some Earth temples have companies of Babeester Gor followers who will hire out to the right cause. In choosing to play a mercenary, the player should select both the appropriate cult for their character and the type of mercenary company it is (Heavy Infantry, Light Infantry, Heavy Cavalry, Light Cavalry).

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43 minutes ago, g33k said:

Where stands the concept of the ruling "ring" nowadays?

How does it relate to the "Thane?"

 

I would think that anyone who gets elected into the ring also becomes a thane, or probably in most cases already was one. 

Though that said the current description kind of leaves it open if priests for example are thanes, or just "effectively Thanes" (ie. similarly supported), ie. whether a Thane is a purely martial role or not (yes, it was originally that, but does is still retain that role has it become a more general noble rank).

Edit - Hmm, I guess on a second reading of Jeff's excerpts, priests are not necessarily thanes (unless they are martial priests), so there is an idea of a more "noble" rank that's larger in scope than thane. I wonder if this is then restricted to thanes and priests, or if it is a larger group. Then again, most every important person would probably be a priest, if not a thane. Then I guess in some cases we'd have children of chieftains/kings to consider too, but I guess their "nobility" sort of emanates from that of their parent(s).

I also assume that means weaponthane as a term is out, superceded by "vanilla" thane.

Edited by Grievous
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48 minutes ago, tnli said:

In the old books they used the word mayor. 😉

"Mayor" is actually still used for the leader of a city ring (council) in Sartar and Pavis. I also seem to recall that the thane of Apple Lane was originally its "sheriff."

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31 minutes ago, Leingod said:

"Mayor" is actually still used for the leader of a city ring (council) in Sartar and Pavis. I also seem to recall that the thane of Apple Lane was originally its "sheriff."

City Rex. 

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To date, we have seen only two mayors in print - Brygga Scissortongue of Pavis, and Garaystar Flatnose of Wilmskirk (described in Sartar High Council, in Wyrm*s Footnotes 7). Both under Lunar occupation, mostly limited to an administrative position inside the city, rather than as the marshal of the joint tribal militia for that city.

It will be interesting to see how Joh Mith is tackling these rex duties in charge of the city militia.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

To date, we have seen only two mayors in print

Also:

  • Lyserian Goodpseech, mayor of Jonstown (Sartar Companion)
  • Eliardo the Plasterer, mayor of Alone pre-1625 (Dragon Pass Gazeteer)
  • Harsandra the Quick, Alone's "interim mayor" post-1625 after the previous mayor fled the city (Pegasus Plateau)
  • Tarnak, mayor of Weis, a small villlage in Prax (Borderlands)
  • Hauberk Jon, first mayor of Jonstown a long time ago

 

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17 hours ago, Grievous said:

Where stands the concept of the ruling "ring" nowadays?

How does it relate to the "Thane?"

Going by the King of Dragon Pass game, they are two seperate categories. You have your clan ring of seven upstanding members of the community (and the occasional Eurmali) who convene to make decisions and whatnot. You also have a certain amount of thanes, which represent the number mounted horsemen available to you (as opposed to the foot-slogging carls), some of whom may also be members of the Ring. Neither category necessarily implies the other (though if a ring member is a fighter, chances are they'll be a thane).

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16 minutes ago, coffeemancer said:

I think I heard somewhere that the head of a stead would be a thane?

Depends on the definition (and size) of the stead. A hamlet like Apple Lane or Farfield (of "Rattling WInd" fame) probably yes. Asborn's Stead (from what I know, a solitary wealthy farm) yes, because Asborn is a tribal thane anyway. Otherwise the place wouldn't necessarily warrant a thane.

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5 hours ago, coffeemancer said:

I think I heard somewhere that the head of a stead would be a thane?

I vaguely remember reading this in some HQG book, yeah, like S:KoH or the Red Cow.

Back in HQG, it seems like "thane" was a title that meant you have some kind of sway in the clan and/or tribe. But it could be anything I think? Either a mounted warrior ("weaponthane") or a non-combative member of the community (priest, god-talker, etc.). Probably most "devotees"? (HQ rough equivalent to Rune levels)

With RQG, I get the impression that "thane" is now reserved for the military people (previous known as "weaponthane"). The thane of Apple Lane is specifically there as a military and judiciary leader, defending the place and enforcing the tribal law.  The Clearwine Fort write-up in Gamemaster Adventures for example separates "thanes" from "Rune masters" and lumps them under "nobles". Priests and god-talkers are listed separately.

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7 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I vaguely remember reading this in some HQG book, yeah, like S:KoH or the Red Cow.

Back in HQG, it seems like "thane" was a title that meant you have some kind of sway in the clan and/or tribe. But it could be anything I think? Either a mounted warrior ("weaponthane") or a non-combative member of the community (priest, god-talker, etc.). Probably most "devotees"? (HQ rough equivalent to Rune levels)

With RQG, I get the impression that "thane" is now reserved for the military people (previous known as "weaponthane"). The thane of Apple Lane is specifically there as a military and judiciary leader, defending the place and enforcing the tribal law.  The Clearwine Fort write-up in Gamemaster Adventures for example separates "thanes" from "Rune masters" and lumps them under "nobles". Priests and god-talkers are listed separately.

yes, same for me. Then the question is what is the title for nobles who are not thane.. Noble ?

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50 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

yes, same for me. Then the question is what is the title for nobles who are not thane.. Noble ?

Bingo! 

Nobles are the highest rank. They are leaders of the community. Several ranks of noble exist. The highest is the Sartar dynasty, who are descended from the Founder God. Ranked below that are the Tribal King and the companions of the Prince. The lowest is that of Clan Chief. The nobility of Sartar is tied together in a web of connections centered on the Prince – the Orlanth Rex of the kingdom. Many noble families have ties of marriage or friendship with other noble families.

In most clans, only two noble families probably exist: that of the clan chieftain, and that of the chief priestess.

Tribal kings, city rexes, and members of the Sartar royal household are also noble and enjoy a higher status than mere clan chiefs. Most chieftains have a life-price of 2000 Lunars, while a tribal king or city rex’s life price is typically around 5000 Lunars. 

The highest nobility are members of the Sartar Dynasty, those directly descended from the divine Sartar. Their life-price ranges from 2000 L to distant members of that kinship group to as much as 40,000 L for the Prince of Sartar.

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I've posted this before, but it is useful to post again:

TERMS FOR RULERS

RuneQuest uses the closest English words for the titles of Gloranthan leaders. However, these titles do not mean precisely what the English words mean and often have a different etymology and set of associations. In many cases, sex and gender don’t affect the use of a title. Here are some notes that may help to better understand the title and its meaning. These titles are group by language and arranged with the most culturally important term listed first.

THEYALAN

Chief

Theyalan. Literally means “Great One; Most Important; Big Man” and denotes the leader of a kinship group or other community (such as a temple). The most common Theyalan title and sometimes transliterated as “Lord”.

Thane

Theyalan. Literally means “Martial Companion,” this denotes a member of the Orlanthi martial aristocracy. Often transliterated as “Lord”.

King 

Theyalan. (1) Literally means “Martial Leader of the Assembly” or “Martial Leader of the Council”. Typically denotes the leader of a tribe or a group of tribes with a combined martial and sacral role. Sometimes denotes the leader of city-state (see also, City Rex and Queen below). (2) Husband or consort of a ruling queen.

Rex

Theyalan. Literally means “(Divinely-sanctioned) Leader.” Denotes the incarnation of Orlanth Rex. Often synonymous with King or Prince, but not always. See also City Rex.

City Rex

Theyalan. Literally means “City (Divinely-sanctioned) Leader.” This title denotes the leader of a city council or assembly, who typically has a variety of martial and executive responsibilities.

Prince

Theyalan. Literally means “First; Foremost.”  Denotes the ruler of a confederation of tribes or cities.

Queen

Theyalan. (1) Feminine of the title “king”. (2) Wife or consort of a king. (3) Transliteration of a title that literally mean “Great Mother”; Denotes the head of an Ernalda temple or priestess-ruler of an Esrolian city or group of cities.

God-King

Theyalan. Title for the divine Ruler of the Sixths of the Holy Country.

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