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Tell me about Elmal and Yelmalio


Eagle Talon

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A thought that's been teasing me for a while is that there's a passage in the Glorious ReAscent where the "dying" Antirius, after his final climb up the Hill of Gold, cuts up the Mantle of Sovereignty into a number of small pieces, saying that no mortal could possibly bear the burden of godhood that comes with it. 

In Six Ages, one of the Many Suns are the Small Suns/Golden Men, who are many people with a little bit of the Sun's heat and light, and who claim not to be gods. 

In the Yelmalio myths, when Yelmalio discovers immortality by shedding all of his heat, he joins with Arroin and High King Elf, and it's noted that Aldryami call Yelmalio "Halamalao". It's also noted that Aldryami survived in individual forests. 

And of course, in King of Dragon Pass, Elmal just goes to pieces against all those Chaos creatures, and needs the tears of the people, (a strong adhesive indeed) to put himself back together again. 

So what do all of these say to me? That there are three modes that the Cold/Little Sun exists in- there's the stationary/sunpath Sun, the wandering Sun, and the fragmented Sun, the million points of light. I had thought that these were cleanly associated with given names/masks of the Little Sun. But I see now that this isn't actually so, because we have associations here with the Antirius, Yelmalio, Elmal, and Halamalao masks, which only leaves the Kargzant mask among the major ones. Of course, we can assume that there's a Kargzant manifestation of these. Probably would have to set off deep into Pent to figure out what that is. 

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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43 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

I'm not really ticked that Yelmalio has replaced Elmal. I'm ticked that a god of Mercenaries (and a light god of Aldryami), a minor god of an enemy pantheon, one that has no loyalty to the clan or tribe, has managed to displace The Loyal Thane and Guardian of the Stead for over 1500 years, in the space of 80 years. There HAS to be something more going on here that we haven't even had a hint of, or (yes I'm going here) a part of the story that is of the future and hasn't been revealed yet.

That's the problem. Jeff has been clear that it wasn't a "replacement" but a "revelation". Elmal *is* Yelmalio. He wasn't replaced -- he's the same God. What's been arguably replaced is the *worship tradition*.

Imagine you're buddies with Clark Kent. You regularly hang out with him in Smallville but for some reason he sometimes disappears for no reason, and you always wonder how he can fix up his dad's farm all by himself. But sure, you don't ask questions, you just drink some beers with him while sitting on his tractor. Sometimes you criticize what you've seen of Superman on the news ("such a sellout for the US government! what a loser"), and Clark shrugs and changes the subject. Maybe he's not into Superman either. But then, Monrogh Lantern (the famous 12th dimensional traveller from the future) crashes the party, spoils Clark's identity, and you realize he was Superman all along! Later you patch things up with Clark, and luckily enough you're still in his close circle of friends! Only now you can help him fix stuff in the barn (he lifts 200kgs of metal while you tighten some screws under it), and while you still have beers with him, you're now actually sharing those beers with Martian Manhunter and The Flash at the top of a skyscraper in Metropolis! You're still Clark's buddy, but now that you better understand his true nature, your social traditions with him have been irrevocably altered. Sadly, all of this went to your head a bit and you start wearing yellow spandex, you call yourself "The Light Son", and you can't stop talking about doing crossfit and being a vegetarian.

Edited by lordabdul
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1 hour ago, SDLeary said:

 

I'm not really ticked that Yelmalio has replaced Elmal. I'm ticked that a god of Mercenaries (and a light god of Aldryami), a minor god of an enemy pantheon, one that has no loyalty to the clan or tribe, has managed to displace The Loyal Thane and Guardian of the Stead for over 1500 years, in the space of 80 years. There HAS to be something more going on here that we haven't even had a hint of, or (yes I'm going here) a part of the story that is of the future and hasn't been revealed yet.

SDLeary

And Sartar was then conquered by its enemies pretty quickly afterwards.

You could pretty easily make the whole shift the result of Lunars working to wreck Sartar's defenses if you wanted to.

 

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

That's the problem. Jeff has been clear that it wasn't a "replacement" but a "revelation". Elmal *is* Yelmalio. He wasn't replaced -- he's the same God. What's been arguably replaced is the *worship tradition*.

Imagine you're buddies with Clark Kent. You regularly hang out with him in Smallville but for some reason he sometimes disappears for no reason, and you always wonder how he can fix up his dad's farm all by himself. But sure, you don't ask questions, you just drink some beers with him while sitting on his tractor. Sometimes you criticize what you've seen of Superman on the news ("such a sellout for the US government! what a loser"), and Clark shrugs and changes the subject. Maybe he's not into Superman either. But then, Monrogh Lantern (the famous 12th dimensional traveller from the future) crashes the party, spoils Clark's identity, and you realize he was Superman all along! Later you patch things up with Clark, and luckily enough you're still in his close circle of friends! Only now you can help him fix stuff in the barn (he lifts 200kgs of metal while you tighten some screws under it), and while you still have beers with him, you're now actually sharing those beers with Martian Manhunter and The Flash at the top of a skyscraper in Metropolis! You're still Clark's buddy, but now that you better understand his true nature, your social traditions with him have been irrevocably altered. Sadly, all of this went to your head a bit and you start wearing yellow spandex, you call yourself "The Light Son", and you can't stop talking about doing crossfit and being a vegetarian.

There is a major difference. The revelation in your example is Clark/Superman reinforcing the spoiling by Monrogh. In the Gloranthan example, its Monrogh telling you that A is B, without any physical reinforcement. Hell, he could simply be bewitching you! Humans are a lot more suspicious than that. I also have to imagine that many other Orlanthi (ie many of the vast majority that are not Elmali) aren't comfortable with these foreign ways being imported into their homelands either.

SDLeary

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8 minutes ago, John Biles said:

And Sartar was then conquered by its enemies pretty quickly afterwards.

You could pretty easily make the whole shift the result of Lunars working to wreck Sartar's defenses if you wanted to.

 

That was actually one of the things I was considering... something that will be revealed during or just after the Hero Wars.

SDLeary

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27 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

In the Gloranthan example, its Monrogh telling you that A is B, without any physical reinforcement. Hell, he could simply be bewitching you!

The revelation wasn't just Monrogh saying "Hey, Elmal isn't Yelm, he's Yelmalio." Monrogh's revelation was a magical one, a divine one. Remember that this is a world where gods exist and people have personal spiritual connections to them. If Monrogh's revelations weren't true (not necessarily the only truth, but still true), they wouldn't have bought it

That's how it works in Glorantha: The magic worked, so clearly the stories of the gods you learned the magic from are correct, as if everyone else's stories that gives them divine magic, even though they seem contradictory. Monrogh's revelation pinged as true to the Elmali, so that was now their magical reality; their choices were accept it or abandon the worship of Elmal entirely since they know knew him to be Yelmalio.

And you could make the "potential bewitchment" argument for literally anything else involving magic, so it isn't really a useful line of thinking.

Edited by Leingod
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43 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

In the Gloranthan example, its Monrogh telling you that A is B, without any physical reinforcement.

Magical reinforcement is just as good, maybe even better, than physical reinforcement. As @Leingod mentioned, you can go and virtually talk to your gods. You can walk up to Clark and say “hey, is that red and blue spandex under your shirt? Are you really Superman?”. Go back to what Jeff said about Monrogh SHOWING the Elmali how to go deeper in their magical worship rituals, revealing stuff they didn’t know before. Or what Jeff said in another thread about magical challenges and how they’re used to prove your claims when they relate to gods and cults and stuff, and that’s an accepted path to the truth in Glorantha,

Regardless of the specifics, Monrogh proved A is B as surely as anything can be proven in Glorantha. If your worldbuilding sensibilities aren’t convinced by heroquesting and magical proofs, just find some other backstory for Monrogh that works for you. Maybe finding some ancient artifacts or something?

Edited by lordabdul
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Yeah, there's no mystery about Elmal and Yelmalio. Everyone knows it. Everyone. Even the Runegaters who still call him Elmal accept that he's the same. Monrogh didn't just claim it was so, he proved it, and those same proofs can be reshown today.

And also, at the end of the day, like it or not, Jeff is the current arbiter of Gloranthan canon. What he's said on this thread isn't an interpretation or theory, it's the truth about what happened in Chaosium's Glorantha, which is generally the Glorantha from which all others vary.

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7 hours ago, Richard S. said:

Yeah, there's no mystery about Elmal and Yelmalio. Everyone knows it. Everyone. Even the Runegaters who still call him Elmal accept that he's the same. Monrogh didn't just claim it was so, he proved it, and those same proofs can be reshown today.

Same entity, different traditions (I think I've said that before in a different thread).

Its not the magical issues that cause pause. Its the cultural. So even if Elmal IS Yelmalio, and a subcult thereof, I hope that there is more than the somewhat simple entries that we have become used to.

SDLeary

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4 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Its not the magical issues that cause pause. Its the cultural. So even if Elmal IS Yelmalio, and a subcult thereof, I hope that there is more than the somewhat simple entries that we have become used to.

Right.... so yeah I guess that's where you need to find a way to work into your Glorantha that the Elmali of Dragon Pass were increasingly at odds with the rest of the Orlanthi anyway, and it came down to some near-civil-war-spiraling-shit under Tarkalor's reign. Even if Elmal is Orlanth's buddy in the myths, his worshippers had been getting cozier and cozier with Dara Happan Yelmite cults (GS p26) over the past centuries. That's bound to drive a wedge between them and the good ol' storm boys. My interpretation is that the Elmali had morphed over that time into some almost-separate ethnic group in the Orlanthi, so that the prospect of getting their own land as a sun-worshipping tribe of Sartar was welcomed with "yes, finally, that's what we wanted without realizing it!". That's why I was talking about a "win-win solution" earlier: not only do they get access to the "full version" of their god (instead of the more limited version with the moustache and plaid shirt), they also get their own lands, freedom to go full-on sun-worshipping without upsetting the neighbours, but regain good relationship with the Princes.

Culturally speaking, sure, a whole bunch of Elmali might have said "but we like the moustache and plaid shirts! my father and my father's father had moustaches and plaid shirts", and would have stayed. But let's say there were 2000 Elmali in Sartar proper back then (so not including Alda-Chur or the not-yet-founded Alone). That's probably high (it's about 2% of all adults by my count) but whatever. Let's say there was a 40/60 split between those who wanted to stay in the awkward situation of living around the other Orlanthi, and those who would go to the new Sun Dome (so 800 staying, 1200 going). Over the next generations, the Elmali mostly gathered around Runegate to stick together, but lost young people who prefered to initiate in other cults, or to go wear some shiny gold armour. Their numbers drop from 800 to 500. That's the Minor Temple in Runegate now. Sounds plausible to me. Tweak numbers as needed. Maybe add a shrine or two around Sartar if you want more Elmali around.

By the way, to muddy the waters some more, GS p26 says that Monrogh Lantern came back with Yelmalio, "a god neither Yelm nor Elmal" 🙂 to be fair, later on p118 it says "Monrogh Lantern revealed their god to be another name for Yelmalio". So frankly, just ignore half the texts and find a story that works for you  😄 

Edited by lordabdul
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On 7/17/2021 at 2:09 AM, Eff said:

Yelmalio tasting the curb repeatedly until he learns something is what makes him a martial god rather than a warrior god. He's a soldier, and Drill Sergeant Orlanth and Lance-Corporal Zorak Zoran are gonna make sure he's a good one. 

Yelmalio Creates soldiers, Humakt Creates suicide bombers, Zorak Zoran Creates monsters [think of them as the worst GIs in Viet Nam] Orlanth Creates shirkers, always going AWOL to get their end away.

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On 8/12/2021 at 2:39 AM, SDLeary said:

I'm not really ticked that Yelmalio has replaced Elmal. I'm ticked that a god of Mercenaries (and a light god of Aldryami), a minor god of an enemy pantheon, one that has no loyalty to the clan or tribe, has managed to displace The Loyal Thane and Guardian of the Stead for over 1500 years, in the space of 80 years. There HAS to be something more going on here that we haven't even had a hint of, or (yes I'm going here) a part of the story that is of the future and hasn't been revealed yet.

SDLeary

Probably because he's a boring Gary Stu?

Edited by Orlanthatemyhamster
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  • 2 weeks later...

Saw this on the Discord

Wyrm's Footnotes 15 - An article on the Far Place reveals that Lunar magicians prove to tribal priests that the Golden Spearman is the son of Yelm and enemy of Orlanth, thus starting the whole Elmali uprising.

So if it turns out that the Lunars who did this, then there is no guarantee anything Monrogh Lantern was shown or told could be trusted. Even with if it was coming from his god, he was dealing with Chaotic warpers of reality and myth.

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5 hours ago, Kettlehelm said:

Saw this on the Discord

Wyrm's Footnotes 15 - An article on the Far Place reveals that Lunar magicians prove to tribal priests that the Golden Spearman is the son of Yelm and enemy of Orlanth, thus starting the whole Elmali uprising.

So if it turns out that the Lunars who did this, then there is no guarantee anything Monrogh Lantern was shown or told could be trusted. Even with if it was coming from his god, he was dealing with Chaotic warpers of reality and myth.

Buddy, have you read this thread? We've gotten several explicit, objective confirmations that yes Monrogh was right. If you want your idea to be true in your Glorantha then YGMV, but there's no more debate to be had on the issue in canon. Plus, calling Lunars as a whole "chaotic warpers of reality and myth" is a huge stretch in and of itself. Sure, there's some within their religion that fit that description, but they're an incredibly small minority.

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3 hours ago, Martin Dick said:

So, when the deeper mysteries become apparent through Monrogh's revelations, why was Yelmalio guarding the stead in the Greater Darkness while Orlanth was on the LightBringer quest? 

I'm not entirely sure I follow, but the Lightfore complex's myths all basically include a point where they guard the dying world of the Greater Darkness. Antirius in Dara Happa, Yelmalio/Halamalo over the sleeping Aldryami forests, Elmal over Orlanth's stead and probably a dozen other instances I'm not aware of. 

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4 hours ago, Martin Dick said:

So, when the deeper mysteries become apparent through Monrogh's revelations, why was Yelmalio guarding the stead in the Greater Darkness while Orlanth was on the LightBringer quest? 

Yelmalio was guarding humans, elves, and plenty of others in the Greater Darkness. "The Stead" is not a fixed location in the Gods World - it is a Hero Plane stand in for any community.

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On 8/9/2021 at 7:12 AM, Jeff said:

A wealthy Orlanthi cavalry warrior might well be a lay member of Yelmalio for the horsey-ness (plus the cheap training in Ride probably pays for itself pretty quickly).

In the RQG rulebook, there's a mention that full initiates to a cult are only supposed to engage in worship rituals with associated and friendly cults. I'm curious if this is supposed to suggest that lay membership with neutral cults is generally acceptable and ok, if a little weird. Or is it that Yelmalio and Orlanth are closer to friendly with each other than the cult compatibility chart suggests?

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12 hours ago, Dr. Device said:

I'm curious if this is supposed to suggest that lay membership with neutral cults is generally acceptable and ok, if a little weird.

For me, this is right on spot.

12 hours ago, Dr. Device said:

Or is it that Yelmalio and Orlanth are closer to friendly with each other than the cult compatibility chart suggests?

No, but if you are a lay member, you are more than just a member of a friendly cult: you are part of the cult, even if not fully initiated.

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8 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Would they even have Elmal, or some other named Cold Sun/Sun entity?

Not sure, that's part of the question. But Beren the Rider likely brought the Elmal cult into the northern Vingkotlings? If Elmal was then spread by the Theyalan missionaries, he might have gone quite far.

Not a clue about Ralios or Fronela.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

What's the status of Elmal in Orlanthi areas that never had the Monrogh Doctrine revealed to them? Ralios? Fronela? Talastar? 

Non-existent. Ralios, Fronela, and Talastar never had Elmal in the first place. They all have Yelmalio Sun Domes going back to the Second Age or earlier.

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