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Cult requirements for Orlanthi steadholders


Jape_Vicho

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Most of the post is just rambling, I've posted a TL;DR at the end if you don't want to read the whole text.

I've been thinking about the "religious/cult requirements" for the Orlanthi steadholders, in order to prepare for my not-yet-decided-where next campaign. It is known that orlanthi society is structured along the lines of the Orlanth-Ernalda relationship, using the also known principle of "If Above so Below". The typical orlanthi stead, thus, will follow some interpretation of this relationship, varying depending on the culture. This in reality is the case for most cultures; the other most known (macro)culture, the pelorians, don't differ that much, and their marriage represents the relationship between Lodril and Oria, whatever the names they have in their region (also a very powerful and self-agrandizing minority structures their marriage along the relationship between Yelm and Dendara, but as I'm talking about farmer families I will not touch on them). It would thus be logical that a typical orlanthi family is expected is expected to embody those ideals (again, as above, so below). Mechanically, this topic is touched in two publications that I know of. First, in the Gamemaster's Adventures for RQG, for an adventurer to become thane of Apple Lane and to aquire some of the lands associated with the title, the character needs to be initiated into Orlanth or an associated cult. Dorastor: Land of Doom handles it differently, as it requires that at least a PC be initiated into Orlanth (and not associated cults) in order for him/her to be able to become a Steadholder (meaning the proprietary of lot of farmland, also called a carl). In a way, it makes perfect sense, as I think that in the world, the main non material requirement to be a carl is to participate in the seasonal rituals of the clan that make up and maintain it's magic, for exemple, a festivity in Sea Season in which the women bless the grains and the men bless the plows (this is taken from ALM's Six Seasons in Sartar). In the case of Orlanthi society, this rituals are clearly an Orlanth-Ernalda business, and the reason why all clans have at least a shire to each of them. But despite about 7/10 of Orlanthi follow their traditional roles, meaning they are initiates of Orlanth or Ernalda, 3/10 don't, whether they be initiates of other lightbringers or other non-associated cults. Of course, being an Issariote does not ban you from Orlanth-Ernalda rituals, quite the opposite! You are encouraged to participate, but that does not mean you are initiated into the secrets of those gods, you are merely a lay member. If we follow the precedent of the GM's Adventures, any initiate of a LB cult, Ernalda or any of the Storm gods associated with Orlanth can be a carl without the need to burn a POW point, which is more lenient than the version of D:LoD, but it stills leaves out two of the most numerous cults in orlanthi lands, Yelmalio and Seven Mothers. According to recent Jeff's posts, Yelmalio and 7M are the third and fourth most popular cults in Sartar, and in total they may not be that numerous, each amounting to a ~2% of the Sartarites (this statistic does not count Vaantar, if you counted it the amount of Yelmalions in Sartar I think would get to around a 4% I think), but this number would be much greater in other orlanthi lands as the 7M cult in Tarsh is very powerful, as is Yelmalio's in Saird. Also Humakt is not that popular but still numerous and not associated with Orlanth's cult (or any other).

Does that mean that followers of Yelmalio, 7M and Humakt can't own land and be Thanes or Carls? Or does it mean that they must also be initiated to Orlanth (or at least Barntar if they're just carls) in order to do so? I can see a humakti or even a yelmalion being also initiates to Orlanth but a 7Ms cultist in a land where the most "stormy" aspects of Orlanth have not been spressed as is the case for Sartar or Talastar.? That looks hard. How would you rule this? Would you make the PCs have to initiate into Orlanth or an AC in order for them to become Steadholders? In a purely mechanical sense, this looks pretty irrelevant, who cares about a point of POW? But I don't want my players to just invest an abstract point that their characters can't even know it exists and then completely forget about Orlanth and never learn its mysteries or participate in his rituals.

TL;DR: in order for a person to be proprietary of a hide of land and the status of carl in orlanthi lands, it seems necessary to be initiate of Orlanth or at least an associated cult, depending on the source, but this leaves a good chunk of popular cults out of this system (mainly Yelmalio, 7M and Humakt). How would you rule it? Would you make the characters have to pass initiation to Orlanth/Barntar, spend a POW point and regularly participate in his worship?

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3 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

Does that mean that followers of Yelmalio, 7M and Humakt can't own land

First, remember that even the Orlanthi don't "own" the land - the Earth temples do.  Effectively they are leasing it out.

Second, we know that there are at least Humakti who are Thanes (e.g. Nameless) and on clan or tribal councils.  Yelmalio happens to be one of the Husband-Protectors, so can't see an issue with the Ernalda temple approving them to have hides of land (and obviously the Sun Dome Temple does).

3 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

How would you rule it? Would you make the characters have to pass initiation to Orlanth/Barntar, spend a POW point and regularly participate in his worship?

They can serve as Lay Members of Orlanth and participate in their ritual roles in the various ceremonies.  They do not need to initiate to Orlanth to either gain a hide of land or to become Thanes.

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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

First, remember that even the Orlanthi don't "own" the land - the Earth temples do.  Effectively they are leasing it out.

I didn't know that, but it really does make perfect mythological sense.

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I think the thing here is that it's not really a mythological/religious thing, it's purely political.

Orlanthi steaders will say "we own this land from that marker over there, to that marker over on the other side". From that point, anyone who wants to be a part of that stead (clan, community, tribe, whatever) will need to show some loyalty to those controlling those lands - the local chief won't want to be giving lands (and all that goes with it) to relatively unknowns, or worse - to known/suspected enemies.

Initiation into an Orlanthi or Ernaldan cult allows one to know the intent of the person (initiation rites should weed out enemies). Associated cult status would presume the same (hence, Humakti).

So, a Seven Mothers cultist may not be allowed to have ("own") the land not because of their cult, per se, but because they'd be seen as potential enemies. However, I can certainly see an Orlanthi chieftain giving a bit of the land to a Yelmalian cultist who has proven their worth and loyalty to the clan/tribe/stead/etc. A 7M would have to do a lot to convince any Orlanthi that they could be lived alongside of.... (even without giving them land).

Should they at least become Lay Members? Probably, but not necessarily. Certainly, they should show (profusely :p) a great deal of respect to the worshippers and deities (more than mere tolerance). But I don't think it should be a fundamental requirement.

(Just as an aside - do remember that Orlanthis tend to be somewhat more conservative and even xenophobic than other cultists... although that is a stereotype that only some will prove)

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There is no requirement to be initiated into any cult at all. A person responsible to lead a household or a stead does have to be an adult, though, initiated into adulthood by rites recognized by the community, and they must be initiated into the community connected to the lease.

What is required is lay membership, at the time of the grant of the lease in good standing, and some form of tithing to the cult(s) regardless of actual initiation.

There are at least two different concepts of stead, too - one is that of the economic unit of agricultural production on a hide, the other is the grouping of households that make up a hamlet or local cluster of farms.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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5 hours ago, Darius West said:

Source?

Several of Jeff's FB posts which I believe are snippets from the Sartar set in development.

On Ernalda: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RuneQuest/posts/2017803871728935

Specifically: "In Sartar, the Ernalda cult is the ultimate authority over the land itself, delegating care over specific pieces of land to cults, tribes, or other entities. Ernalda and her fellow Earth goddesses governs the cycles of fertility – that of birth, growth, decline, and death. One of the most important rituals the cult performs is Bless Crops, which helps assure the fertility of the fields. This ritual typically involves the sacrifice of an animal, ritual hierogamy between the Earth Priestess and a representative of the local Husband God while worshipers dance and sing, and then engage in merrymaking. The boundary stones marking the lands delegated to tribes, clans, temples, or other entities or individuals are protected by Babeester Gor."

Specifically: "The Orlanthi divide ownership into two types of property, called earth and chattel.
The Orlanthi view the Earth as belonging to (or even part of) Ernalda or the local Grain Goddess. It is part of the goddess. Very little land is “owned” by individuals. Instead, land is owned by the Earth temples and assigned to tribes, clans, temples, and other groups to use, develop, or protect, or to delegate to others to do such things with.
In Earth-dominated lands such as Esrolia, Ernalda's representatives directly administer the land. In Orlanthi societies such as Sartar, Ernalda has entrusted care of the land to her husband Orlanth, but still retains residual (if rarely exercised) authority. In most of Dragon Pass, Ernalda has given authority over the land to tribal or clan leaders, who in turn delegate responsibility for parcels or fields to smaller groups such as clans, temples, or households. This land is collectively owned by the group, though it is typically administered by a title-holder, such as a chieftain or chief priestess.
Land cannot be permanently alienated without the approval of the appropriate tribal or clan leaders, and the assent of the Earth temple. However, authority over specific pieces of land can be delegated to others. These assignments often include payment of silver, service, rent, or livestock from the assignee to the assignor. As long as the terms of the agreement are met and the assignee's use of the property does not offend the gods, the property remains under the care of the assignee."
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19 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Several of Jeff's FB posts which I believe are snippets from the Sartar set in development.

Of course, possession is nine-tenths of the law, and a lot of this might be a legal fiction, ceremoniously maintained. If an Earth temple tries to strip a tribe of its ancient lands, it'd better have the military backing required, or it's not happening. Your second quote supports this, too.

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18 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

it'd better have the military backing required, or it's not happening.

Or the magical backing required.  E.g. some of the struggles in Esrolia where Ernalda cursed her foes and the lands were barren and refused to grow crops, the women couldn't become pregnant, etc.  Never discount the power Ernalda can wield, or the powers she can direct Maran and Babeester to unleash.

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On 9/16/2021 at 3:39 PM, Akhôrahil said:

Of course, possession is nine-tenths of the law, and a lot of this might be a legal fiction, ceremoniously maintained. If an Earth temple tries to strip a tribe of its ancient lands, it'd better have the military backing required, or it's not happening. Your second quote supports this, too.

Which it might, if this is a "tribe vs clan" type of power struggle.  If it's more a "Storm vs Earth" one, then as jajagappa says, we might be more into "10 plagues" territory.

On 9/16/2021 at 1:48 PM, Joerg said:

There is no requirement to be initiated into any cult at all. A person responsible to lead a household or a stead does have to be an adult, though, initiated into adulthood by rites recognized by the community, and they must be initiated into the community connected to the lease.

What is required is lay membership, at the time of the grant of the lease in good standing, and some form of tithing to the cult(s) regardless of actual initiation.

I think this maybe comes down to what you see as a "normal" cult-membership status, either IYG or in a particular location.  For me, the average Orlanthi clan is pretty initiation-crazed, so it'd be the normal expectation for such an important role, and an "if not why not" special-pleading situation otherwise.  If lay membership is the local norm, then grand, so!

On 9/16/2021 at 1:48 PM, Joerg said:

There are at least two different concepts of stead, too - one is that of the economic unit of agricultural production on a hide, the other is the grouping of households that make up a hamlet or local cluster of farms.

Yeah, the "holder" of a single hide wouldn't be reckoned as a carl socially.  This might vary quite a bit from clan to clan, but I see the steads as being generally on the large side, with just a handful of main ones, and maybe a long tail of smaller ones in a different socio-economic niche.  They're not really a "nuclear family" sort of society.  Though nor are running Collective Farms:  someone may have day-to-day responsibility for and use of a hide without being seen as a steadholder more formally.  Sorta making them the tenant of a tenant of a tenant, or thereabouts.

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9 minutes ago, Alex said:

Yeah, the "holder" of a single hide wouldn't be reckoned as a carl socially. 

Interesting, I see this basically as the definition (yes, you need some basic armaments and an ox-plow as well, but that's the easy bit), and that one hide that you don't have to pay rent on to a landlord is the crucial part (paying such rent means you're a cottar instead).

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25 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Interesting, I see this basically as the definition (yes, you need some basic armaments and an ox-plow as well, but that's the easy bit), and that one hide that you don't have to pay rent on to a landlord is the crucial part (paying such rent means you're a cottar instead).

I might be speaking mainly from my own conception of what the typical stead-size is here, somewhat circularly.  Yes, if they own the warrior-gear and the ox-team then that'd qualify them.  But is that a normal situation for a one-hide-holder?  That's rather a lot of beef, and more if you're looking to keep a self-sustaining  stock of cattle to maintain them from, rather than "buying them in", or again being in some sort of clientalist relationship to obtain them from a neighbour with a large herd.

Of course, if we're talking about some sort of exceptional situation, like a PC adventurer with their wealth or own income stream turned "gentleman farmer"...

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6 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Interesting, I see this basically as the definition (yes, you need some basic armaments and an ox-plow as well, but that's the easy bit), and that one hide that you don't have to pay rent on to a landlord is the crucial part (paying such rent means you're a cottar instead).

I might be speaking mainly from my own conception of what the typical stead-size is here, somewhat circularly.  Yes, if they own the warrior-gear and the ox-team then that'd qualify them.  But is that a normal situation for a one-hide-holder?  That's rather a lot of beef, and more if you're looking to keep a self-sustaining  stock of cattle to maintain them from, rather than "buying them in", or again being in some sort of clientalist relationship to obtain them from a neighbour with a large herd.

Of course, if we're talking about some sort of exceptional situation, like a PC adventurer with their wealth or own income stream turned "gentleman farmer"...

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58 minutes ago, Alex said:

I might be speaking mainly from my own conception of what the typical stead-size is here, somewhat circularly.  Yes, if they own the warrior-gear and the ox-team then that'd qualify them.  But is that a normal situation for a one-hide-holder?  That's rather a lot of beef

I mean, there are two ways to hold your Hide of land - free or rented. If rented, you're a cottar.

If free, do you have your required armaments? Very likely yes - the requirements here are minimal. If for whatever weird reason you don't, not a carl.

If free land and armaments, do you have a plow and two oxen? Note that you don't need to own the necessary cattle to support your ox-team, those can be borrowed from the clan and you sustain your oxen from this borrowed herd. (If you don't fully own the plow and team, you might be just a half-carl.)

With free land, the plow and ox-team, and the armaments, you're a carl by definition.  

I agree that this isn't a nuclear family - the minimum for a stead would be your large house (since we can no longer just say "longhouse" here) and some outbuildings, an extended family and some servants, and frequently other families either in the large house or surrounding dwellings.  

Carls make up a very substantial part of the population, so they have to come from somewhere. RQG has 60% freeholders / 40% renters in the clan example. The Fyrd (excluding auxiliaries) being about 20% of the clan population would indicate at least 40% carls.

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3 hours ago, Alex said:

I think this maybe comes down to what you see as a "normal" cult-membership status, either IYG or in a particular location.  For me, the average Orlanthi clan is pretty initiation-crazed, so it'd be the normal expectation for such an important role, and an "if not why not" special-pleading situation otherwise.  If lay membership is the local norm, then grand, so!

As far as I am concerned, lay membership in Orlanth, Ernalda, the Lightbringers and other locally important cults is the norm, with the option to initiate into one of these or possibly an even rarer cult.

And yes, Orlanthi are pretty initiation-crazed, so probably at least half of the adults will be initiated to Orlanth or Ernalda in rural areas, and some into other cults. Daka Fal will have a significant following, whether as initiate or just lay practitioner. There will be spirit cults or local cults that people will be initiated to outside of the tribal norm.

Any of these adults could be steadholders. Ancestor worship is enough, and hardly any Orlanthi is not at least an active lay member of Daka Fal. Which is where those who aren't initiates may go to learn their personal magic (spirit magic), and without the restrictions of the cults.

 

3 hours ago, Alex said:

Yeah, the "holder" of a single hide wouldn't be reckoned as a carl socially.  This might vary quite a bit from clan to clan, but I see the steads as being generally on the large side, with just a handful of main ones, and maybe a long tail of smaller ones in a different socio-economic niche.  They're not really a "nuclear family" sort of society.  Though nor are running Collective Farms:  someone may have day-to-day responsibility for and use of a hide without being seen as a steadholder more formally.  Sorta making them the tenant of a tenant of a tenant, or thereabouts.

An agricultural hide can be managed by a tenant farmer. A fairly wealthy tenant, even if the oxen and plow may be provided by the rent-taker.

There may be managing tenants and subservient ones. A managing tenant will probably inhabit a main building of a poorer farmstead, shared with the assigned livestock, whereas subservient tenants may have their own cottage or small annexes to a main building.

IMG a hide of arable land (agriculture and fallows only) will feed one freeman household and one to two tenant households, with the tenants managing the smaller part of the land under the plow, and all three households having cattle and sheep in the transhumant pastures. Perhaps half again the area of arable land will be nearby pasture, alongside the fallow land and already harvested plots. The rest will be more distant summer pasture, too far away to make hay.

 

The necessity for making hay and for stabling is why I think that Mycenaeans and the Levante are bad examples for the rural economy of the Orlanthi. This kind of temperate climate farming was developed in the lower Danubian basin when (hotter climate) Anatolian methods that worked there or around the Mediterranean failed to work. That delay and the much smaller community size resulting from this adaptation in the long run explains some of the delays and no-shows in central European Neolithicum and Bronze Age.

Central European "clans" are usually in the size of a hundred (adults), or even half as many. Only a few places with divine rulers managed to hold together what amounts to an Orlanthi tribe. One or two major steads (=hamlets), probably around seven households, and maybe as many tenant "households" living in those households (on those farmsteads). Enough cattle to maintain 4 or 5 ox teams for plowing, extras for wealthy groups.

A lot of tenant families tend to be almost nuclear, given the rather bleak chances for ongoing survival of children in poor households.

 

Transhumance doesn't have to be driven by cold winters. Overgrazing, especially in dryer climate, can be avoided by the practice, too. The practice of making hay as winter fodder might apply in areas prone to overgrazing, too. In order to make and collect hay, you want the herds away from those pastures close enough to the farmstead that the hay may be brought there.

 

The holder of a farmstead may cooperate with his immediate neighbors (some of whom will be tenants, others freemen) to organize local plowing and herding and dairy, and transhumant herding (and dairy). The leader of a hamlet or a smattering of farms (steadholder in the Thunder Rebels definition of Stead rather than Household) is a lot more likely to be also an initiate, and may actually serve as the local godtalker without qualifying for the RuneQuest rune level benefits of being a Godtalker but some of the duties and enablements allowing the maintenance of a shrine. All IMG.

 

You are a free(wo)man if "your" household (that of your parent, or your parent-in-law) fulfills the carl requirements. It will be quite likely the household of your father or uncle, or his designated successor, leaving you in a position to leech off that status if you aren't that successor, pursue some productive scheme of your own (local peddler, local manager for the dairy from the distant pastures, leading the herders on the distant pastures, hunting/patrolling, doing some cottage industry) to contribute to the maintenance of your standard of living. You can vote as a free(wo)man if you can turn up in your war gear or with proof of your contribution to the kitchen (as a non-combatant). Or you could bring proof of your guild membership if you're a crafter or merchant without that much agricultural or domestic achievement.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

If free land and armaments, do you have a plow and two oxen? Note that you don't need to own the necessary cattle to support your ox-team, those can be borrowed from the clan and you sustain your oxen from this borrowed herd. (If you don't fully own the plow and team, you might be just a half-carl.)

I think these days we're "lumping" half-carls rather "splitting" them, but I thought the threshold was originally given as eight oxen.  Maybe that's been lowered to take in a broader category of "carls further down the clientalist pecking order, but still with actual farmland, so none of yer cottar riff-raff!"

4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I agree that this isn't a nuclear family - the minimum for a stead would be your large house (since we can no longer just say "longhouse" here) and some outbuildings, an extended family and some servants, and frequently other families either in the large house or surrounding dwellings.

I'd have thought of that as merely a House-Formerly-Known-As-Long, and a stead as pretty much necessarily larger, but I guess as Jörg says there's two sense of the word "stead".

4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Carls make up a very substantial part of the population, so they have to come from somewhere. RQG has 60% freeholders / 40% renters in the clan example. The Fyrd (excluding auxiliaries) being about 20% of the clan population would indicate at least 40% carls.

Can you remind me -- lest I be behind in my reading, or have forgotten it long since, could be either! -- which clan and RQG book is being referred to here?  But granted this does broadly consistent with other sources (like one part thane, three parts carl, and three parts carl).  Horrible terminology, though.  Are we purging references to Early Middle Ages England as being crude anachronisms...  only to move to High Middle Ages England instead?

If just the couple actually "holding" the land are being so counted, then that implies very salami-sliced notionally separate steads indeed, and really not very "extended" families living at each at all.  After all, "cottar" covers not just poorer arable farmers, but the whole the "sheep men" and "hunter" sub-economies, the layabout adult children of carls who've not been separately granted that status yet, craftspeople, and so on.

So evidently I'd have to walk back my statement about carls on the basis of at-all-recent material, but seems rather different from how I ran it or pictured it in any of my various Gloranthas.

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On 9/16/2021 at 12:00 PM, Shiningbrow said:

I think the thing here is that it's not really a mythological/religious thing, it's purely political.

I think it's certainly political.  Everything's political, and all politics is local!  And what could be more local-politics than "whose field is that?"  (See John B. Keane plays for the colourful details.)  But I think it's ritual too:  the land-sovereignty thing is soooo important that any steadholder has to be able to be seen as some sort of husband-protector figure, however that's locally construed.  They also have to be seen as qualified and competent for the role, which will be presumed for an Orlanth or a Barntar initiate, and much more "oh yeah prove it" for others.  And each of those feeds into the other.

On 9/16/2021 at 12:00 PM, Shiningbrow said:

Initiation into an Orlanthi or Ernaldan cult allows one to know the intent of the person (initiation rites should weed out enemies). Associated cult status would presume the same (hence, Humakti).

So, a Seven Mothers cultist may not be allowed to have ("own") the land not because of their cult, per se, but because they'd be seen as potential enemies. However, I can certainly see an Orlanthi chieftain giving a bit of the land to a Yelmalian cultist who has proven their worth and loyalty to the clan/tribe/stead/etc. A 7M would have to do a lot to convince any Orlanthi that they could be lived alongside of.... (even without giving them land).

Yelmalio (or dare I say Elmal) is a great cult for a stead-holder!  ... in a Yelmalion clan.  In a normcore Orlanth-cult-led one, it'd be a little unusual.  Or maybe not, depending on local precedent.  If there's a local bloodline or "sub-clan" with that tradition, you're golden!  Or even the remembrance of such a practice in clan lore.  If you're the First In Clan Memory, and it's a conservative-minded clan, then good luck with that.

7M even moreso.  Of course, this was likely a common practice in many clans and tribes during the occupation, so there's precedent, but in the immediate aftermath of the liberation, what'd be almost universally seen as a very bad one.

Humakt is a different case.  Pretty much every clan will have Humakti, or recent precedent of having them, but are they good models for steadholders?  They'll less often be married, less often have children, so they're worse off for the Cheap Child Labour side of the house before we get into the magical and ritual associations.  But they're the perfect steadholder's hardcase sibling!  Certainly I think it's possible, especially in clans that have a big tradition of this, or where an important bloodline is currently headed by a Humakti.  I think most Humakti (hus)carls or (weapon)thanes have essentially followed a different 'career structure' than the landholder one.

But heavily caveat this in the light of the above about just how common the status is.  If 4/7 or 60% of the adults of a clan are carls or thanes, then that pretty much implies "little or no cultic restriction".  But as regards being the big cheese of a stronger-sense larger-scale stead, at the top of the client-patron food chain rather than the bottom, that's how I'd see it.

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1 hour ago, Alex said:

I think these days we're "lumping" half-carls rather "splitting" them, but I thought the threshold was originally given as eight oxen.  Maybe that's been lowered to take in a broader category of "carls further down the clientalist pecking order, but still with actual farmland, so none of yer cottar riff-raff!"

True (this is in Thunder Rebels, for instance), but it was fairly quickly walked back as a research error (I believe it was sourced from Medieval plows, and then retained or even enlarged in the heavy Lodril plows). Looking at Thunder Rebels, a Stead has an absolute crapload of cattle, whereas I think you can get away with 6-8 cattle now to support your two oxen, and those cattle can even be borrowed clan property.

1 hour ago, Alex said:

Can you remind me -- lest I be behind in my reading, or have forgotten it long since, could be either! -- which clan and RQG book is being referred to here?

"Typical Orlanthi clan", RQG rulebook p. 406. It doesn't give class terminology, merely rent structure, but you can deduce a lot from it (I calculated GDP per capita, clan GNI and "gross domestic ransom" from it 🙂 ).

1 hour ago, Alex said:

If just the couple actually "holding" the land are being so counted, then that implies very salami-sliced notionally separate steads indeed, and really not very "extended" families living at each at all.  After all, "cottar" covers not just poorer arable farmers, but the whole the "sheep men" and "hunter" sub-economies, the layabout adult children of carls who've not been separately granted that status yet, craftspeople, and so on.

I think it's implied that live-in family members share in the rank. I believe I've even seen it explicitly, but can't source it right now. But it's pretty obvious that your unmarried, live-at-home daughter will share in the household rank for tickets such bride price. Also, again you couldn't possibly fill out the Carl/Free numbers otherwise.

1 hour ago, Alex said:

But heavily caveat this in the light of the above about just how common the status is.  If 4/7 or 60% of the adults of a clan are carls or thanes, then that pretty much implies "little or no cultic restriction".

I think that's right. "Carl+" or "Free+" will be a majority, so it's more that you also have a smaller underclass than that Carl/Free is an elevated position. It's akin to middle-class today.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 9/16/2021 at 9:00 AM, jajagappa said:

Or the magical backing required.  E.g. some of the struggles in Esrolia where Ernalda cursed her foes and the lands were barren and refused to grow crops, the women couldn't become pregnant, etc.  Never discount the power Ernalda can wield, or the powers she can direct Maran and Babeester to unleash.

The Ernalda cult has a TREMENDOUS amount of power. Not the least being that her husband-deity cults tend to uphold and protect her rights. She also has sister and daughter cults that are loyal only to her and are perfectly willing to do the Goddess' "dirty work".

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

True (this is in Thunder Rebels, for instance)

For instance, and this is of course a notoriously non-canon, deprecated source (and for the wrong game system, and now unavailable and de-published forever).  But in this respect it's just going with precisely what KoS said.

3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

 Looking at Thunder Rebels, a Stead has an absolute crapload of cattle, whereas I think you can get away with 6-8 cattle now to support your two oxen, and those cattle can even be borrowed clan property.

A "crapload" is indeed the ISO unit of cattle, as anyone who's ever taken a walk in the countryside will confirm.  But bear in mind that a KoS/TR stead is clearly far larger than the nuclear-family steads of RQG -- something like 60+ people as against 5 -- so that's not entirely unexpected.

3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

"Typical Orlanthi clan", RQG rulebook p. 406. It doesn't give class terminology, merely rent structure, but you can deduce a lot from it (I calculated GDP per capita, clan GNI and "gross domestic ransom" from it 🙂 ).

I'm going to give myself a pass on not getting the initial reference, then, as I'm staring at that sentence in that insert box on that page in my physical copy right now, and still not getting it.  But very similar to the 1/3/3 thing, so my confusion on this point is fairly moot.

3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I think it's implied that live-in family members share in the rank. I believe I've even seen it explicitly, but can't source it right now. But it's pretty obvious that your unmarried, live-at-home daughter will share in the household rank for tickets such bride price. Also, again you couldn't possibly fill out the Carl/Free numbers otherwise.

For bride price it's somewhat traditional that the bride be unmarried at the time, oddly enough!  I was going by for example this old-forum thread:  https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/wp-content/uploads/www.glorantha.com-forums/www.glorantha.com/forums/topic/carls-and-thanes/index.html  But clearly RQG isn't counting a whole lot of  live-at-home adult children in its numbers anyway.  (Or if they live in the same physical large/longhouse, they're still being treated as economically and legally separate.)

3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I think that's right. "Carl+" or "Free+" will be a majority, so it's more that you also have a smaller underclass than that Carl/Free is an elevated position. It's akin to middle-class today.

The analogue-improvement continues!

I suspect I may already be long past intended scope of the thread and anything likely to be useful to the OP, so I'll endeavour to largely button it after this.  But in the interests of some degree of source reconciliation, I guess there's some terminology going on here that RQG is considering those without arable land to be 'not really free', and anyone that does to be.  Whereas TR is setting "full carl" as the gold standard of economic independence (has land, has oxen, has the herd to maintain those oxen), and alludes to "half-carls", "poor carls", and other variations on the theme with some client relationship as being steps down from there.

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On 9/15/2021 at 12:41 PM, Jape_Vicho said:

Most of the post is just rambling, I've posted a TL;DR at the end if you don't want to read the whole text.

The typical orlanthi stead, thus, will follow some interpretation of this relationship, varying depending on the culture. This in reality is the case for most cultures; the other most known (macro)culture, the pelorians, don't differ that much, and their marriage represents the relationship between Lodril and Oria, whatever the names they have in their region (also a very powerful and self-agrandizing minority structures their marriage along the relationship between Yelm and Dendara, but as I'm talking about farmer families I will not touch on them). It would thus be logical that a typical orlanthi family is expected is expected to embody those ideals (again, as above, so below). Mechanically, this topic is touched in two publications that I know of.

A mortal family tends to replicate the patterns of their divine family. Note the words "tend" and "patterns". As Ernalda is the Goddess of Women, she embodies the role, position, and power of woman. And so on.

On 9/15/2021 at 12:41 PM, Jape_Vicho said:

 


First, in the Gamemaster's Adventures for RQG, for an adventurer to become thane of Apple Lane and to aquire some of the lands associated with the title, the character needs to be initiated into Orlanth or an associated cult.

A thane is a tribal or clan office associated with the Orlanth cult, which happens to be the patron deity of the Colymar Tribe. Not surprising it at least requires being a member of the cult.

On 9/15/2021 at 12:41 PM, Jape_Vicho said:

 

Dorastor: Land of Doom handles it differently, as it requires that at least a PC be initiated into Orlanth (and not associated cults) in order for him/her to be able to become a Steadholder (meaning the proprietary of lot of farmland, also called a carl). In a way, it makes perfect sense, as I think that in the world, the main non material requirement to be a carl is to participate in the seasonal rituals of the clan that make up and maintain it's magic, for exemple, a festivity in Sea Season in which the women bless the grains and the men bless the plows (this is taken from ALM's Six Seasons in Sartar). In the case of Orlanthi society, this rituals are clearly an Orlanth-Ernalda business, and the reason why all clans have at least a shire to each of them.

The settlement system described in Dorastor is a local variant and likely reflects the nature of the Risklands settlements. It is possible that it is not even typical for Talastar.

On 9/15/2021 at 12:41 PM, Jape_Vicho said:

 

But despite about 7/10 of Orlanthi follow their traditional roles, meaning they are initiates of Orlanth or Ernalda, 3/10 don't, whether they be initiates of other lightbringers or other non-associated cults. Of course, being an Issariote does not ban you from Orlanth-Ernalda rituals, quite the opposite! You are encouraged to participate, but that does not mean you are initiated into the secrets of those gods, you are merely a lay member. If we follow the precedent of the GM's Adventures, any initiate of a LB cult, Ernalda or any of the Storm gods associated with Orlanth can be a carl without the need to burn a POW point, which is more lenient than the version of D:LoD, but it stills leaves out two of the most numerous cults in orlanthi lands, Yelmalio and Seven Mothers.

Again, not surprising that a tribal system closely tied to Orlanth Rex is going to be based around the members (lay, associate, and initiates) of that cult. But remember, the land belongs to the Earth Temple. It is protected and used by her husband-deity.

On 9/15/2021 at 12:41 PM, Jape_Vicho said:

 

According to recent Jeff's posts, Yelmalio and 7M are the third and fourth most popular cults in Sartar, and in total they may not be that numerous, each amounting to a ~2% of the Sartarites (this statistic does not count Vaantar, if you counted it the amount of Yelmalions in Sartar I think would get to around a 4% I think), but this number would be much greater in other orlanthi lands as the 7M cult in Tarsh is very powerful, as is Yelmalio's in Saird. Also Humakt is not that popular but still numerous and not associated with Orlanth's cult (or any other).

Does that mean that followers of Yelmalio, 7M and Humakt can't own land and be Thanes or Carls? Or does it mean that they must also be initiated to Orlanth (or at least Barntar if they're just carls) in order to do so? I can see a humakti or even a yelmalion being also initiates to Orlanth but a 7Ms cultist in a land where the most "stormy" aspects of Orlanth have not been spressed as is the case for Sartar or Talastar.? That looks hard. How would you rule this? Would you make the PCs have to initiate into Orlanth or an AC in order for them to become Steadholders? In a purely mechanical sense, this looks pretty irrelevant, who cares about a point of POW? But I don't want my players to just invest an abstract point that their characters can't even know it exists and then completely forget about Orlanth and never learn its mysteries or participate in his rituals.

Yelmalio is another husband-deity of Ernalda, and acknowledged as such. But usually the Yelmalio cult works best where it is the local dominant husband-deity. The 7 Mothers is not and they operate outside of the normal structure of clan and tribal life. They are present of course, but do not easily fit into rural clan and tribal life. Where they are very few, exceptions are easily made. Where they are numerous, exceptions must be made to preserve the peace. And where they have powerful friends, those exceptions are even easier to make.

Does that help?

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