Jump to content

Western Hero Wars Status Quo


Recommended Posts

Some thoughts on Seshnela:

First off, I think it's important to think about the Rokari religion - basically, it says 'stay in your lane and play by these rules for a short human lifespan and then you will spend *eternity* in bliss with the Creator.'  That's a pretty hefty prize at the end of your fifty-seventy years of life (assuming you don't die in the first ten years of your life).  Different castes see this differently (a peasant basically imagines it being like Heaven or the pure land; a zzabur imagines it as Nirvana), but it's important to see this from the viewpoint of a believer.  The degree to which we would call that viewpoint religious instead of sorcerous ranges by caste; the higher the caste, the more philosophical it is instead of religious.

Thus, peasants will pray to the Invisible God for help even if it doesn't really do anything and see themselves as being prepared for a heaven.  The religious instincts of the horali are focused around their warrior societies.  Talars aid certain zzabur ceremonies which aid their territories but basically assume being a good ruler is enough, as they measure goodness.  And the Zzabur practice mental disciplines they think will prepare them for Solace.

Further, while the Rokari religion is oppressive in the sense of - we are the only legal religion - it isn't Puritanism.  Rokari don't reject 'joy', they reject 'Joy'.  Which is to say that Joy is a state of union with the divine in the world of the living which brings bliss and spiritual assurance.  The Rokari see that as ludicrous.  But Rokari have friends, fall in love, throw festivals, get married, love their children, etc.  Even peasants, who have it roughest.

Further, I have to imagine there is intense competition for status *inside* castes.  We already know there are Dukes who are bigger and more important than other Talar.  Horali need junior officers and NCOs.  Dronars would have things like mayors and town councillors and guild heads and ranks of artisanship.  Zzaburs no doubt compete to show who can qualify for various special titles through self-discipline, mastering schools of magic, etc.

Also, keep in mind this is like pre-Charlemagne, Post-Roman Europe in the sense that this is a state built by barbarians aping an older civilization.  There should be caste practices they are doing wrong because they don't understand the context or where they go overboard.  Each caste has a traditional blessing for dinner which must be done before eating, but they don't actually understand what it says.  The Beast societies for Warriors have codes which partly make sense, but also have things like commanding them to sacrifice three virgin doves at a certain location once a year and they do it but don't know *why*.  Talars are not allowed to eat fish and land animals at the same meal.  Why?  Because the Sharp Abiding Book says so and Rokar purged the section that explained why.

Outsiders are useful because they can break the caste rules *for you* without any blowback to you.  The Sharp Abiding Book may forbid you to take up arms against anyone within four blood degrees of you, but Hanzel the Orlanthi can kill your stupid cousin for you.  (A major use for outside adventurers is to do things that break caste rules or which are overly dangerous.)

 

 

 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 159
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Developing relevant JC materials for the terminal Third Age West presents its share of challenges. On one hand, the Guide presents a richer 1621 status quo than we've ever had to work with, confirming

"It is a period of holy war. Arkati Men-of-All, striking from a hidden fortress, have won their first victory against the evil Kingdom of Seshnela. During the battle, Arkati spies managed to steal sec

I got seriously into Malkionism when we were writing How the West was One (written in 1993-4), and that game began when David Hall said "Wouldn't it be fun to turn [Chris Gidlow's theological card-gam

Posted Images

Posted (edited)

Love it all. This is a good moment to pivot a little and ask a slightly different question.

What attracts you to the West? What do you love about these landscapes and why haven't you found it in the struggle between Orlanth and Empire? How did that love begin?

Answers can be aesthetic, philosophical or anything else. And if you don't like anything about this part of the world, that's a good data point too.

md1266470623.jpgFor me the core pleasure here has always come from the tension between what Max Weber would have called bureaucracy and charisma or the disenchanted "iron cage" versus the return of magic. That's a lot of words but we read a lot of Kierkegaard in school and now have a lot of books by people like Rudolf Steiner in the house. It's a post-sorcerous house.

What it boils down to is having a place in Glorantha where we can see the secularizing forces that dominate much elegiac fantasy . . . at a moment when the tide can finally break and roll back like the opposite of Hunter S. Thompson's famous wave of progress. The West is by definition where the sun that was so bright and vibrant at the dawn of history goes down into shadow. It's where the sacred goes to die.

I can appreciate that theoretical complexity embedded in Greg's adolescent Unified Mythology Theory like one of the Eliade books he bounced off in the Beloit library. This is a richer fantasy with something more to say to the fragmenting 1960s establishment and the rest of us. It has room to explore how the magic goes away and how the magic returns again. (I am writing this on May 1 2021, one day after the Sixth World of Shadowrun begins.) 

So the West reflects the linear experience of historical time. Sacred Time is elsewhere. But if AROLANIT is just an anagram for RATIONAL, most of us gamers thankfully spend most of our lives far from that barren land. Brithos, for example, is an encounter with an Alan Stivell album, an echo of a land that mostly vanished beneath the waves before nation states carved out their spaces on the map.

What divides these people from the rest of us is their refusal to admit that their origins are as archaic, arbitrary, accidental and erotic as everyone else's. Greg wanted something like a Mabonogion, something like a Mahabharata, a Kalevala, an Argonautica, a new origin for a new tribe. It was only ever incidentally "medieval." The SCA is years away. For Greg, the mock tudor realms of Middle Earth are years away. I don't even think he had access to most of the pulp canon known today as swords & sorcery.

pv-6-5-37h.jpg?w=636But he had Prince Valiant, that whole Walter Scott tissue of gothic chivalry. Lost worlds of high historical adventure, authentic and artificial sagas. A lot of this stuff gets rolled into the "medieval" but as we know the Middle Ages were invented more recently. That's how the Gloranthan West evolves. And now of course the Gloranthan West never had anything to do with the "medieval" at all. People who went looking for that have mostly moved on with Pendragon at this point.

After all, the pagan attractions of Walter Scott are ubiquitous in central Genertela as well. You can feast, fight, fuck and philosophize in Orlanth country, be your own boss, worship the god of your choice. You can ride across an enchanted landscape where every phenomenon is symbolic and a particular dealing of that god with your soul. In the Gloranthan West, as in the Weberian cage, there are people who will tell you no. 

The West for me is a testament to the weakness of that no and the immortality of the eternal yes, the return of the repressed. It has been going on throughout Time. It grows itself from the raw materials available at any given moment . . . pulp fiction, children's comic strips, widely derided Tony Curtis movies, anything strange and exciting and often rejected . . . and redeems the world.

R-1105771-1258980167.jpeg.jpgI also loved this stuff as a child under the rubric of "the medieval" but now understand it was really mostly just gothic revival.  The real archaic is always elsewhere. It's only ever the pre-raphaelite golden age in nostalgic hindsight. Knights in Glorantha never said "NI" and their armour wasn't what we saw in that orange boxed set 30 years ago now, but they maintain a certain chivalry in an otherwise fallen present. So bring the lutes, the hippie guitars, recorders, funny hats. Pageantry. Here endeth my answer to a self-posed question; yours will be more interesting.

Edited by scott-martin
it took my bold so why not a few pictures to liven things up
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, John Biles said:

Thus, peasants will pray to the Invisible God for help even if it doesn't really do anything and see themselves as being prepared for a heaven.  The religious instincts of the horali are focused around their warrior societies.  Talars aid certain zzabur ceremonies which aid their territories but basically assume being a good ruler is enough, as they measure goodness.  And the Zzabur practice mental disciplines they think will prepare them for Solace.

 

I'll provide a slightly alternate take: 

To the Dronari, the Invisible God is effectively something more impersonal, like the Egyptian Ma'at, or Hindu karma, it is the principle by which the universe - and by extension, people's souls - are judged and ordered. The Invisible God appears to at least be partially anthropomorphized, at least conceptually (why else call it a God), but it's so distant and disinterested as to be largely irrelevant, like some African creator gods. 

This is where the position of Zzaburi becomes so incredibly important. They effectively act as interlocutors, their sorcerous spells are - from the perspective of Dronari - the works of those wise in the teachings of Malkion, the one individual closest to the Invisible God - sorcery is in some sense divine (forget RQ typology, I'm talking about their perspective). The disinterested, universal laws laid out by the Invisible God applied to human and moral interests. It makes no sense to thank the Invisible God, aside from being thankful that such laws exists to begin with, but overall it's the sorcerers you are thankful to.

So this, in practice, produces reverence, or at the very least a healthy dose of respect, for Zzaburi. Position secured. 

But this does leave Dronars very passive, doesn't it? And that's boring. So we need to work out more. 

I have previously argued that some Dronar organizations, like craft guilds and the like, should have some, largely subliminated sorcery secrets available to them. I believe that this is somewhat justified when looking at the examples of Brithini Dronars in Fronela, but honestly, I just think it's neat. The master of a professional organization, like a Master Mason or Master whatchamacallit only inducts a few into this, as they reach the apex of the craft. Very specialized secrets, like "Measure True", or "Seal Perfectly" and that sort of thing. Not fireballs. 

However, as far as I can tell, this doesn't seem to be the direction Chaosium is going, at least according to how I've read Jeff's posts, instead it seems spirit magic is where Horali and Dronari seem to gravitate. 

This makes sense. Farmers venerate a local nymph or spirit. Local cunning folk gets gifts from them and help out their local community. All basically subliminated into "folk traditions". Too insignificant to really draw the attention of the religious authorities. And too beneficient for Talars to want to disrupt. Good harvests never hurt anyone. So what if young couples go to a certain grove at a certain time of the year and place offerings in hopes of fertility and love, and that, by chance, powers some genius loci? Peasants to weird stuff, but better they do that than rebel. 

I'd even be willing to pull in theism for Dronars, like the low-key (subliminated) worship of, say, the deity of the Tanier, or Seshna or Ralia. The dronar peasants maybe-sorta-kinda know that this might not be the orthodox beliefs, but honestly, this is how their ancestors have always done it, and the word in the villages is that Ralia once fed Malkion in his exile, so how could this be heresy? Think the Virgin Mary and Pacha Mama. Think Renuga Devi in hinduism. Think Vanir in Norse paganism. Synthesis, subalternism, high and low traditions, etc. The more the Zzaburi keep their lore to themselves, the more the common folk are going to invent their own. Rokari ultra-orthodoxy has its limitations, and must operate within real-world constraints in terms of manpower and political possibilities. You can't flog every village healer from Segurane to the delta.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

Love it all. This is a good moment to pivot a little and ask a slightly different question.

What attracts you to the West? What do you love about these landscapes and why haven't you found it in the struggle between Orlanth and Empire? How did that love begin?

Answers can be aesthetic, philosophical or anything else. And if you don't like anything about this part of the world, that's a good data point too.

md1266470623.jpgFor me the core pleasure here has always come from the tension between what Max Weber would have called bureaucracy and charisma or the disenchanted "iron cage" versus the return of magic. That's a lot of words but we read a lot of Kierkegaard in school and now have a lot of books by people like Rudolf Steiner in the house. It's a post-sorcerous house.

What it boils down to is having a place in Glorantha where we can see the secularizing forces that dominate much elegiac fantasy . . . at a moment when the tide can finally break and roll back like the opposite of Hunter S. Thompson's famous wave of progress. The West is by definition where the sun that was so bright and vibrant at the dawn of history goes down into shadow. It's where the sacred goes to die.

I can appreciate that theoretical complexity embedded in Greg's adolescent Unified Mythology Theory like one of the Eliade books he bounced off in the Beloit library. This is a richer fantasy with something more to say to the fragmenting 1960s establishment and the rest of us. It has room to explore how the magic goes away and how the magic returns again. (I am writing this on May 1 2021, one day after the Sixth World of Shadowrun begins.) 

So the West reflects the linear experience of historical time. Sacred Time is elsewhere. But if AROLANIT is just an anagram for RATIONAL, most of us gamers thankfully spend most of our lives far from that barren land. Brithos, for example, is an encounter with an Alan Stivell album, an echo of a land that mostly vanished beneath the waves before nation states carved out their spaces on the map.

What divides these people from the rest of us is their refusal to admit that their origins are as archaic, arbitrary, accidental and erotic as everyone else's. Greg wanted something like a Mabonogion, something like a Mahabharata, a Kalevala, an Argonautica, a new origin for a new tribe. It was only ever incidentally "medieval." The SCA is years away. For Greg, the mock tudor realms of Middle Earth are years away. I don't even think he had access to most of the pulp canon known today as swords & sorcery.

pv-6-5-37h.jpg?w=636But he had Prince Valiant, that whole Walter Scott tissue of gothic chivalry. Lost worlds of high historical adventure, authentic and artificial sagas. A lot of this stuff gets rolled into the "medieval" but as we know the Middle Ages were invented more recently. That's how the Gloranthan West evolves. And now of course the Gloranthan West never had anything to do with the "medieval" at all. People who went looking for that have mostly moved on with Pendragon at this point.

After all, the pagan attractions of Walter Scott are ubiquitous in central Genertela as well. You can feast, fight, fuck and philosophize in Orlanth country, be your own boss, worship the god of your choice. You can ride across an enchanted landscape where every phenomenon is symbolic and a particular dealing of that god with your soul. In the Gloranthan West, as in the Weberian cage, there are people who will tell you no. 

The West for me is a testament to the weakness of that no and the immortality of the eternal yes, the return of the repressed. It has been going on throughout Time. It grows itself from the raw materials available at any given moment . . . pulp fiction, children's comic strips, widely derided Tony Curtis movies, anything strange and exciting and often rejected . . . and redeems the world.

R-1105771-1258980167.jpeg.jpgI also loved this stuff as a child under the rubric of "the medieval" but now understand it was really mostly just gothic revival.  The real archaic is always elsewhere. It's only ever the pre-raphaelite golden age in nostalgic hindsight. Knights in Glorantha never said "NI" and their armour wasn't what we saw in that orange boxed set 30 years ago now, but they maintain a certain chivalry in an otherwise fallen present. So bring the lutes, the hippie guitars, recorders, funny hats. Pageantry. Here endeth my answer to a self-posed question; yours will be more interesting.

This is all very much spot on - the Gloranthan West is Prince Valiant interacting with Gloranthan mythology. We have Merlin and other wizards that are the keepers of many secrets, but their magic is actually science. We have monsters, and strange gods from before the time of men, both of which must be defeated and tamed for the benefit of human civilization. We might have a few friendly Elder Races like Xem who are befriended by Prince Hrestol or Jonat or Snodal. We have dogged men-at-arms who accompany our Prince to adventure, rival Princes, sinister wizards, and the rest.

But the focus is on Val and his family, not on the wizards or their secrets. And that is what I think so many get wrong about the West.

 

Edited by Jeff
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The zzaburi are a small fraction of the population - probably 1% tops. They are powerful, mysterious, arrogant, and reject the idea that their wizardry is "barbarian magic". It is gnostic science, logical cause and effect based on understanding of the Runes and various techniques to manipulate them. But Prince Val does not know this - he trusts to his bravery, honour, decency, and his Singing Sword! 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

What do I like about the West? 

I entered Glorantha for real with the Heroquest Orange Book. I saw the "medieval" West, Saint Malkion and Saint Rokar, but underneath there was something stranger, some kind of humming cable snaking through the subterrain of the book. (It would be years before I knew that this was Seshna Likita at work.) 

Here, I eventually came to understand, Logic and Reason and Humanism, all capitalized and written without serifs, were fragile little things, the equivalent of the ecstatic rites of a shaman. A way to take the surging tide of Chaos and build some seawall against it. 

So of course the expression of ultimate arrogance began with the God Learners daring to say they were "Free Men of the Sea", for the Waertagi worshiped gods, knelt before the power of the Sea, and they could become part of it. And eventually, the walls broke, the sea rushed in. The God Learners failed, in their monomyth, to really grapple with the Kaoskampf, or perhaps they feared going too deep with it...

On top of all this elemental conflict, psychology writ out upon the landscape (ask me about Arolanit sometime) there's a rich layer of esotericism, of course. As above, so below. Tarot and astrology and demonology and angelology, alchemy, Enochian... 

But Apollo and Dionysus in their eternal struggle/BDSM scene, that's extraordinarily potent stuff. You could build an entire theory of art off of that. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Or, to put it another way, this is clearly some kind of Western Heroquest, at or near its culmination. (Muscle Mystery is clearly a schismatic school of some kind, long suppressed.)

 

gamble-a-stamp1.jpg.6f64fdd3be10edeae114c61a0dea2ee9.jpg

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about the question of what makes the West interesting to me for most of the day.

 

An Age ago, the Malkioni were absolutely sure they had "cracked the code," and that they would be able to re-engineer Glorantha by dircetly controlling the basic forces of reality.  They knew The Truth, and that truth gave them universal power, ambition, and hope.  They were quite sure the world would be better once they healed it.  They were never about a single location (The Godlearners were always defined by their multiple locations of power).  Instead, no matter where you were in Glorantha, the rules were the same.  

And then that ended.  Badly.  Purple giants destroyed Sheshnela.  The Sea destroyed Maniria (again).  Heaven knows what horrors were experienced by the last humans of Jrustela.  And, well, reality was done with all that Zistor nonsense.

 

And since then, I think it is fair to say that the West has been defined by the question, "What next?"  Obviously, some groups turned away from Malkionism in general.  But Safelster, eastern Fronela, the cities of Maniria, Sheshnela, and even NW Pamaltela... everywhere has reconstruction efforts.  Where exactly did we go wrong?  How do we go back and make it right?  Do we need to make amends to anyone?  What do we need to change?  What do we need to double down on?

 

The West is haunted, culturally, by the Godlearners, by the fact they almost got it right, and how they lead to utter, inhuman doom for so, so many.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

I've been thinking about the question of what makes the West interesting to me for most of the day.

 

An Age ago, the Malkioni were absolutely sure they had "cracked the code," and that they would be able to re-engineer Glorantha by dircetly controlling the basic forces of reality.  They knew The Truth, and that truth gave them universal power, ambition, and hope.  They were quite sure the world would be better once they healed it.  They were never about a single location (The Godlearners were always defined by their multiple locations of power).  Instead, no matter where you were in Glorantha, the rules were the same.  

And then that ended.  Badly.  Purple giants destroyed Sheshnela.  The Sea destroyed Maniria (again).  Heaven knows what horrors were experienced by the last humans of Jrustela.  And, well, reality was done with all that Zistor nonsense.

 

And since then, I think it is fair to say that the West has been defined by the question, "What next?"  Obviously, some groups turned away from Malkionism in general.  But Safelster, eastern Fronela, the cities of Maniria, Sheshnela, and even NW Pamaltela... everywhere has reconstruction efforts.  Where exactly did we go wrong?  How do we go back and make it right?  Do we need to make amends to anyone?  What do we need to change?  What do we need to double down on?

 

The West is haunted, culturally, by the Godlearners, by the fact they almost got it right, and how they lead to utter, inhuman doom for so, so many.

My only quibble is that outside of Ramalia, there isn't that much Malkionism in Maniria. Or more precisely there are only talars and a few zzaburi. Like the Vadagh, our civilised Trader Princes are surrounded by Orlanthi Mabden. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jeff said:

My only quibble is that outside of Ramalia, there isn't that much Malkionism in Maniria. Or more precisely there are only talars and a few zzaburi. Like the Vadagh, our civilised Trader Princes are surrounded by Orlanthi Mabden. 

I completely agree.  Maniria on the whole is influenced by western culture, but not truly a western culture. The only Malkioni cultures are Ramalia, and Kaxtorplose.  I genuinely have no idea what Handra qualifies as these days, and the Aulorings of Caratan are decidedly ex-Godlearner. All of this is to say that Maniria gets "partial credit" on how "western" it is.  Safelster, Seshnela, and eastern Fronela all score much higher.

However, I suspect Maniria will experience a the net pull toward Sheshnela and the Five Arkats than toward Dragon Pass, Argrath, & the Lunars (the Ditali may get sucked into Esrolian issues).  Between the Devastation of the Vent and (especially) the sinking of Slontos, Maniria is very haunted by the Godlearners, both literally ("Hey, why doesn't anyone want to explore Lukae!?!"), and culturally.  Even if most extant Manirian populations are modern day Entruli, the answer of what comes after the Godlearners is central to Maniria.  The hegemony of the Trader Princes was one possible answer*, but that's failing now, as are Greymane's dreams.  The Reforestation is coming, which means either Maniria is going to be entering a paleolithic New Green Age, or something is going to stop it.  I admit this is me putting my thumbs on the scales a bit, but if something stops the Reforestation, I suspect it to be more "western" than Holy Country / Sartar.

 

 

* I don't think it's the one Castelein The Traveller wanted, but that's a tangent-and-a-half for another thread.

Edited by Nevermet
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I got seriously into Malkionism when we were writing How the West was One (written in 1993-4), and that game began when David Hall said "Wouldn't it be fun to turn [Chris Gidlow's theological card-game] Credo! into an eight-hour seventy-player freeform?," so I've always been into exacerbating nuanced differences between the various sects and churches, working out Gloranthan equivalents of the homoousios homoiousios schism, needlessly multiplying entities (so church factions would have almost-allies who strongly disagreed with them on crucial elements of doctrine), and the like.

But also, I'm an ancient and mediaeval historian, specialising in the transition from Late Antiquity to what us proper historians aren't supposed to call the Dark Ages any more. And where some people thought Orange Box Glorantha broke their imagined "Bronze Age" world by adding a weirdly discordant mediaeval Western fringe, I was only too happy to play around with how other civilisations (a) interacted with and (b) developed out of Classical Antiquity, integrating elements of [the Gloranthan equivalents of] Christianity and even Judaism with their Pagan inheritance. (My old article on Mediaeval Glorantha strongly relates, especially the final zinger re: the Italian Renaissance as a rebirth of Classical Antiquity. Time is a circle, as the Lunars and Dragons will confirm. Everything New is Old again)

And finally, I used to be a serious Arthurian nerd. Not so much Pendragon (although I've read a lot, I hardly ever played), but I still have deep roots in that place where amateur scholars delve into the pagan roots of mediaeval legend, finding goddesses behind damsels and gods behind knights, the Celtic Twilight casting its glamours across Mediaeval Romance. And that overlay adds so much to Western HeroQuesting. I've got in-world reasons why the Fair Unknown (cf. my Castle Coast sect) rides forth from his anachronistic Camelot (Second Age architecture surviving into the third, see also the Vancian castles of the Trader Princes) into the deep forest to encounter nameless figures (the Black Knight, the Weeping Damsel, the Wounded King), and even the wisest Wizards never, ever try to interpret what he's met in terms of mainstream Gloranthan mythology. Because that's the demonological arrogance that brought about the doom of the God Learners, you see? By naming and distilling the essence of the Gods, they empowered them until they could break free. Better to keep them small, fragmented and nameless.

So yeah, I have a few tools I use to approach the West. Telling me to bin all the "mediaeval" bits was never going to fly.

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Jeff said:

This is all very much spot on - the Gloranthan West is Prince Valiant interacting with Gloranthan mythology. We have Merlin and other wizards that are the keepers of many secrets, but their magic is actually science. We have monsters, and strange gods from before the time of men, both of which must be defeated and tamed for the benefit of human civilization. We might have a few friendly Elder Races like Xem who are befriended by Prince Hrestol or Jonat or Snodal. We have dogged men-at-arms who accompany our Prince to adventure, rival Princes, sinister wizards, and the rest.

But the focus is on Val and his family, not on the wizards or their secrets. And that is what I think so many get wrong about the West.

 

Dang, and I thought it was Glorantha.  If I had realised it was a cartoonised version of Pendragon....

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Love it all. Out of reacts but we are all honoured to see such response. Any more?

Yeah, there needs to be music here. Flirted with calling this phase of the thread "Why The West Is The Best (Get Here & We'll Do The Rest)" but figured Jim Morrison was mechanically a different kind of serpent king.

Not to dwell on the "medieval" but the song on the James album that came out the same year as the orange box had a great shrill intro but then turned quickly into an ode to the Great War. Suppose it's always thee current middle ages somewhere.

But I'm talking a little too much lately so a little music and footage while we wait for my reacts to refresh. What always kills me is how serious Tuck looks and how Steve is actually wearing his doublet. Perrin told me once they didn't have a lot of music in those early years anno societatis except what they could drum or tootle up on their own. The publishing just wasn't there yet.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I became interested in the West, 30 years ago, because you could run a campaign there after 1621. As a person that only had contact with Glorantha at the game shop it seemed like once the Cradle made it to the sea history was on pause in the central theatre of Glorantha. 

Out West you could be a mage constantly bickering about how to create the perfect society, or an Orlanthi making your bones getting paid to kill chaos, by said mages -- though they never did find that Thanatar temple. All with only a light sprinkling of Lunars to remind you how annoying they are. 

Now that history has played itself out in Dragon Pass I want to know what happens everywhere else, but Fronela most of all. I do hope Loskalmi sexual practices don't end up being too creepy. I'm hoping for the Thebian model, though I think Glorantha rich enough to not need models. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Dang, and I thought it was Glorantha.  If I had realised it was a cartoonised version of Pendragon....

It is Glorantha. But if you could imagine Hal Foster having Prince Hrestol adventure against a backdrop of Gloranthan cosmology, you'd be right there. Greg first came up with the stories of Hrestol, Froalar, Jonat, Snodal, and Argrat long before he ever named Orlanth or the Lunar Empire - but these stories also had the mythic cycles we recognise. Humat and his conflict with Ehilm. Hykim and the beasts. The Cosmic Court and the Elemental Gods - the Srvuali and the Burtae. All of that was present in the oldest stories - plus an entanglement between those who would serve the whims of the gods and those who followed the secrets of the immortal secrets of Brithos. This Gordion Knot gets cut by our heroes who cut out their own path.

Pendragon it most definitely is not, and if you can't see the difference, I despair.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

So the Hero Wars in the West is not about mages or sorcery. It is about the efforts of our heroes to carve out a new path that is neither the ironclad rules of the sorcerers nor submission to the gods. It is humanism - and possibly even the decent chivalry of Prince Val (rather than the dour fanaticism that so many seem to want to focus on).

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Ali the Helering said:

I wasn't the one who introduced Valiant....

Prince Valiant is not the game Pendragon. They might have some of the same fixtures, but they are very different.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jeff said:

So the Hero Wars in the West is not about mages or sorcery. It is about the efforts of our heroes to carve out a new path that is neither the ironclad rules of the sorcerers nor submission to the gods. It is humanism - and possibly even the decent chivalry of Prince Val (rather than the dour fanaticism that so many seem to want to focus on).

Interestingly, that's exactly what I was working on when I developed Hrestolism back in the nineties. Not the Loskalmi state-cult version: the original meaning of Hrestoli Chivalry, where a knight could let his conscience be his guide and didn't have to keep checking with Wizards to make sure he wasn't accidentally sinning and was still following all the right rules.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Interestingly, that's exactly what I was working on when I developed Hrestolism back in the nineties. Not the Loskalmi state-cult version: the original meaning of Hrestoli Chivalry, where a knight could let his conscience be his guide and didn't have to keep checking with Wizards to make sure he wasn't accidentally sinning and was still following all the right rules.

Indeed, you have both corrected me, gentlemen.  I thank you.  Nothing like Arthurian chivalry.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Indeed, you have both corrected me, gentlemen.  I thank you.  Nothing like Arthurian chivalry.

Did I say that? I said that Prince Valiant and Pendragon are very different games. They have some of the same fixtures, but so do Lucky Luke and Unforgiven. Or maybe all Westerns are the same as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Did I say that? I said that Prince Valiant and Pendragon are very different games. They have some of the same fixtures, but so do Lucky Luke and Unforgiven. Or maybe all Westerns are the same as well.

Almost, my friend, almost.  There are The Big Country and Cowboys versus Aliens, for very different reasons, but almost....

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

What I'm getting out of this thread as of late is that while the underlying themes of the West have remained pretty consistent for 30+ years*; the application of those themes to create a setting have often been left vague compared to the Holy Country / Dara Happa axis, and the West has been hit hard by retconning forces as Glorantha became more "consistently bronze age" (I'm putting those in quotes because it's the best phrase I can come up with but it isn't perfect).

I got into Glorantha 15-20 years ago with the 1st Edition of HeroQuest, which I am increasingly aware has permanently influenced the way I think about the game world**.  For this conversation, it meant I was introduced to the Rokari as "default" Malkionism, and it was an extremely literate society where magic came from ritual ceremonialists, liturgists, and orderlies.  As HQ was revised, both in terms of setting & mechanics, that image of the west fell by the wayside.  

I don't have as much of a point as I would like to this post, but like Nick above, I feel that this discussion is better served by acknowledging the revisions that have happened to the West.

 

* Different Gloranthan Hero Wars have different "anticipated heroes."  The anticipated heroes of Dragon Pass are embodiments of gods - illuminated devotees.  The anticipated heroes of Seshnela, Safelster, & Loskalm are human reformers of society, aided by Wizards with their secrets.  The point is not to be Hrestol reborn, but to try to be or identify who should be the next great prophet, and to do that through action rather than study.

 

** This is a long point worthy of its own thread, but in short, IMHO, having Heroquest 1 be my first Glorantha game meant that (1) I assumed a much higher degree of cultural homogeneity than people before me ("It's either a theistic culture, an animist culture, or a wizardly culture"), and I started with the assumption that Glorantha was full of various, loosely coupled Hero Wars, rather than Dragon Pass being the center of gravity.  I'm not claiming anyone who got into Heroquest in 2004 was guarantee to get this, but that was my experience.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, so basically, the entry-level of Western adventures is something more akin to knight-errant adventures, ronin and wuxia stories? Wandering warriors relying on their own moral compass to get things done. 

There is, however, a meta-structure, with them being sent around on missions by their superiors (talars, Zzaburi), so not entirely wandering by their own rudder. 

Presumably, there are going to be small-scale events that take PCs from being minor "problem-solvers" of their liege lord and/or sorcerer superior and turns it into a more profound (and perhaps self-driven) quest for deeper meaning and secrets.

From the comments above, this will, somehow, coalesce into revelations and decision that has the potential to upend the social order. 

Is this more on the ball, or have I still completely missed the point?

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Wandering warriors relying on their own moral compass to get things done. 

I like where you're going. That Kierkegaard curriculum was radically ateleological.

cowboys-knights.thumb.jpeg.bb22e254d017aa8fac5a30f492cae641.jpeg

@Joergalso gets me thinking that maybe a "How The West Was One II" reskinned for the world in front of us might be a good way forward.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...