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Telmori: Pure and Cursed


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I have a question about the Telmori that's been bugging me for the last week or two.  Per the blurb on p. 397 of the Guide to Glorantha, 'Hsunchen Peoples of Ralios,' the Telmori people are divided into two broad categories: those who were cursed to undergo uncontrolled transformations on Wildday by Talor the Laughing Warrior (the 'Cursed'), and those who weren't ('the Pure Ones').  The same section of text says that while the majority of Dorastan and Sartarite Telmori are Cursed, the majority of Telmori in Telmoria are Pure.  It's that last bit of demographic information that raises my question.

I understand why the Dorastan and Sartarite Telmori are mostly Cursed, they were on the front lines of the Gbaji Wars.  It's sensible for them to have been hit hard by Talor's curse.  Telmoria though, in northern Ralios, is sandwiched between two major fronts of the Gbaji Wars: Ralios, where the City of Wolves once stood, and Fronela.  Per p. 129 of the Guide, the Telmori of Fronela were driven from that land by Talor the Laughing Warrior personally--and Fronela is just on the other side of the White Teeth Mountains from Fronela.  Geographically, I'd expect the bulk of the refugee Telmori packs from both those war zones to make their way to Telmoria, and given the circumstances that made them flee in the first place I'd expect most of those refugees to be Cursed.  How, then, is there a Pure majority in Telmoria?

I can think of some answers, but they're only theories and extrapolations.  Perhaps the fleeing Telmori suffered terrible casualties, leaving them vastly outnumbered by Telmori who stayed in the old homeland and never participated directly in the Gbaji Wars.  Maybe the peculiar circumstances of Talor's victory in Fronela (dying, then returning through Harmast Barefoot's 2nd Lighbringers Quest) included an element of clemency towards the Telmori packs who fled to Telmoria that relieved them of the Curse, which was not extended to the packs that stuck it out with the Bright Empire in Dorastor and Dragon Pass.  That's just speculation on my part though.

I am only left further puzzled by the brief write-up of Telmoria on p. 393 of the guide, which begins: "The forested homeland of the Telmori, a Hsunchen wolf-people who were cursed ten centuries ago by Talor the Laughing Warrior. Since then, they all turn into wolves every seven days."  No mention of a Pure/Cursed dichotomy at all.

Does anyone have a definite idea of why there are so many more Pure than Cursed Telmori in Telmoria?  Does the idea of a division between Pure and Cursed even obtain in the current, 'official' understanding of the setting?

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My understanding is that Talor's curse affected the gift of invulnerability in changed form given by Nysalor. Those Telmori who never accepted that gift escaped his curse.

While impervious to normal weapon damage, the gifted Telmori still were taking casualties from magic and rune metals, and they were fighting at the forefront of the war. The Pure Ones would have fled.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

My understanding is that Talor's curse affected the gift of invulnerability in changed form given by Nysalor. Those Telmori who never accepted that gift escaped his curse.

I think it might also have revealed (or "revealed") Chaos as part of Nysalor's gift, which might in turn have introduced personality changes in the changed state. Note how Telmori don't lose any intelligence from their shapechange Rune spells, but do lose it when Wildday shapechanged. 

 

Edited by Akhôrahil
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Keep in mind that this “split” with the Telmori occurred over 1000 years ago in the timeline. The number of Pure Telmori may have been quite small at the end of the Gbaji War, but over the centuries they have lived in Ralios free of persecution (relatively speaking). 
 

The Guide also doesn’t explain what the relationship between Pure and Cursed Telmori is like. It may be that when the Cursed tried to take shelter in Telmoria, they were driven out by their kin. 

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I wonder whether Pure and Cursed Telmori can coexist, and whether they interbreed. The wolf companions of cursed Telmori survive the Wildday rages just fine, and it doesn't look like the four-legged Telmori gained any powers from Nysalor, which means the curse would not affect them.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Sorry to be a fly in the ointment, but this is an interesting topic, and I have a question about this exact topic.

What happens to cursed Telmori's rune points?

I have generally played that they cannot lose or regain rune points in any meaningful way, as every week they transform, which means they gain many more rune points than they would otherwise receive in order to perform their full transformation (6 per week x 8 weeks per season is 48 RP) but they lose all control over their change. 

One might argue on this basis that Talor gave them a gift, not a curse, but one with a difficult associated geas that limited their combat value to one day per week. 

So my first question is, how do other GMs handle this issue?

Another question... Are we now to suppose that the Telmori have no link to the Lunar cycle too?  After all, there was no Lunar Cycle for Talor to link the Telmori to in the First Age... unless he used the Blue Moon to further remove their access to their powers?

Edited by Darius West
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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Sorry to be a fly in the ointment, but this is an interesting topic, and I have a question about this exact topic.

What happens to cursed Telmori's rune points?

If you look at the RQ2 description of were-creatures, their changes are described as chaotic or innate and not based on rune magic.

The Wildday transformation would not require any rune points.

Alternatively, spending the Wilddays in beast shape doing beast things should count as worship WRT regaining any rune points involved in that change.

 

1 hour ago, Darius West said:

I have generally played that they cannot lose or regain rune points in any meaningful way, as every week they transform, which means they gain many more rune points than they would otherwise receive in order to perform their full transformation (6 per week x 8 weeks per season is 48 RP) but they lose all control over their change. 

That contradicts the statement that the Telmori use rune points to initiate shape-change on days other than Wildday in the Bestiary.

The Bestiary also implies that no such change is possible on days of the Dead or Dying Moon (in Dragon Pass). While that is congruent with the Lunar combat factor in the Dragon Pass board game, those Wolf Runners aren't Telmori but users of magically flensed werewolf hides. Mini-Harreks.

 

1 hour ago, Darius West said:

One might argue on this basis that Talor gave them a gift, not a curse, but one with a difficult associated geas that limited their combat value to one day per week. 

The gift of being able to change at will came from Nysalor. Talor did not bestow the gift, he only marred it by taking away agency and control.

 

1 hour ago, Darius West said:

So my first question is, how do other GMs handle this issue?

No rune points for innate abiities powered by Chaos, whether it is cave troll regeneration or Telmori shape-shifting on Wilddays.

I'll be interested to see the were-tigers of Pavis County in RQG treatment.

 

1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Another question... Are we now to suppose that the Telmori have no link to the Lunar cycle too?  After all, there was no Lunar Cycle for Talor to link the Telmori to in the First Age... unless he used the Blue Moon to further remove their access to their powers?

There is the weekly tidal cycle of Magasta's Pool and all connected seas rising and falling, also observable at Moonbroth. This might have to do with the Chaos Rift inside the Maelstrom pulsating? If so, then Wildday would be the high mark of the tides without any Annilla effects, when the Chaos energies are strongest..

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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There's no mention of pure ones or cursed ones in the Bestiary. There's also no insert box for 'Creating a Wolfbrother Adventurer' as there are for Elf, Baboon, Centuar, Duck, Minotaur, Man-and-a-halh, Morokanth, Dwarf, Dark-Troll, Great-Troll, Trollkin. 

Have pure ones dropped out of Runequest Glorantha?

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1 hour ago, Byll said:

There's no mention of pure ones or cursed ones in the Bestiary. There's also no insert box for 'Creating a Wolfbrother Adventurer' as there are for Elf, Baboon, Centuar, Duck, Minotaur, Man-and-a-halh, Morokanth, Dwarf, Dark-Troll, Great-Troll, Trollkin. 

Have pure ones dropped out of Runequest Glorantha?

There are no Pure Ones east of the Tobros Mountains. None in Dragon Pass, which is why they aren't mentioned in the Bestiary.

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8 hours ago, Darius West said:

What happens to cursed Telmori's rune points?

Nothing.

8 hours ago, Darius West said:

So my first question is, how do other GMs handle this issue?

If I had a player in my game with one, they would use and gain rune points as normal. The curse is a special ability with no cost.

For NPCs I'd ignore it unless I had to stat out a major NPC.

 

Edited by David Scott
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5 hours ago, Darius West said:

If that is the case then it can barely be called a curse, and is if anything more of a blessing that gives you +48RP per season.

Sorry, but this is nonsense.

You might as well charge a cave troll or a walktapus rune points for "Heal Body" and "Regrow Limb" for their regeneration abilities. Throw in a "Resurrection" in case of Walktapi torn apart.

 

And I repeat: Talor did not bestow the magical nature of the Wolf-shape state.

Yes, a significant portion of the Telmori received a blessing from Nysalor as they fought on the frontlines against that incessantly irritating Arkat and his ever-shifting alliances.

As a result, Arkat (and his Orlanthi allies) took the war to the Telmori, and made an example of their ancestral temple city, scattering both the Pure Ones (who had not received that blessing) and the Blessed Ones. But he did not destroy all of them, and when Harmast brought back Talor in the last year(s) of the Gbaji Wars, Talor and his relief force for Arkat was sufficiently beset by the remaining Blessed Telmori that he worked up a curse after the guarantor of the Blessing had passed away.

Talor exposed the Blessing for what it was, a chaotic feature, and apparently stripped away the protection that Nysalor and his Enlightenment had shielded the Blessed Ones from the raw violent anger that chaotic source instilled. Talor could not take away the invulnerability, but he managed to take away the control to shapeshift at will, and he took away any conscious control over the Wolf form when the transformation would creep on them on Wilddays.

(Interestingly enough, the Fronelan and Ralian Telmori experience Wildday as a day of half or crescent moon...)

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20 hours ago, Darius West said:

If that is the case then it can barely be called a curse, and is if anything more of a blessing that gives you +48RP per season.

the curse is not the +48rp per season, the curse is  you are not able to "play" with these 48rp

the curse is you may find yourself somewhere you didn't plan.

the curse is you may kill the boy who is your friend just because now you are not yourself (at least not the yourself of the other days)

the curse is your neighbors never trust you because 1 / 7 of the time you will not respect anything and probably (try to) kill them on sight.

the curse is you are not a human, not a beast, not a hunshen, just a monster

the curse is you will be hunted all the week, even if you are the hunter 1 day per week

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Although it is interesting that the Telmori is one of the more successful Hsunchen people, especially in central Genertela. The curse is a curse, but it's not all bad - the Telmori, actually being able to fight back against agriculturalists, are a lot less marginalized than most Hsunchen.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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For what it's worth, I agree with those who say that since a Telmori character has no agency over what they do when they're transformed, (or even over when it happens), there is no point in accounting for Runepoints to do it. It would appear to require more than 48 rp per season if one did. Wolf's Head, Wolfrunning, Wolfhide, and Transform Self would last one hour so a point of extension would be needed to raise the duration to one day, and it would cost 9rp per week or 72rp per season. The equivalent can't even be done like this voluntarily by a Telmori unless they are co-initiated into another runecult because Telmor doesn't have access to extension. 

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19 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

the curse is not the +48rp per season, the curse is  you are not able to "play" with these 48rp

But you get the effect within game of having +48rp per season.  You just have to arrange your life around your curse to make best use of your Wild Days.

19 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

the curse is you may find yourself somewhere you didn't plan.

Should we regard the Lunar cycle as a curse then? So the Telmori need to become good time managers?  This is a minor inconvenience. 

19 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

the curse is you may kill the boy who is your friend just because now you are not yourself (at least not the yourself of the other days)

For a start, the Telmori move in tribes and don't normally associate with non-Telmori much.  The fact remains that a rope or a decent set of manacles is a nice transportable form of restraint for those times when the wolf is likely to become a problem, but the fact is, you're chaos tainted, and likely don't overly care who you hurt, much like an ogre.

19 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

the curse is your neighbors never trust you because 1 / 7 of the time you will not respect anything and probably (try to) kill them on sight.

The Telmori seldom if ever have good relations with anyone.  The Kingdom of Sartar is an exception.  If you think that the Telmori don't trust their "cursed changers", that would be unlikely.  So you have to tie these excellent warriors up one day of the week in peace time?  That's a small price to pay for their ability to keep transforming every week during a war.

19 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

the curse is you are not a human, not a beast, not a hunshen, just a monster

That is entirely a matter of perspective.  You might as easily say that they're a hero if they are responsible for tearing hell through your enemies like a cut-price Harrek.

19 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

the curse is you will be hunted all the week, even if you are the hunter 1 day per week

I doubt the Telmori hunt their cursed.  Now if some unfortunate person from outside the Telmori happens to become a werewolf due to carrying the curse due to Telmori ancestry, that is another matter.  People are a lot less tolerant of such behavior outside the Telmori... So if you are a werewolf, you would do well to seek out the Telmori and explain your problem to them.

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11 hours ago, Darius West said:

But you get the effect within game of having +48rp per season.  You just have to arrange your life around your curse to make best use of your Wild Days.

Not since Talor's curse. You need to arrange for the least disadvantageous suvival of a day and a night out of control, as a monster that won't be affected by ordinary metal weapons (but would by magic, natural weapons, falls, drowning etc.).

If you see going on a mindless rampage as an advantage, your Glorantha differs a lot from mine.

Your approach is similar to taking a tax for developing a disability.

11 hours ago, Darius West said:

For a start, the Telmori move in tribes and don't normally associate with non-Telmori much. 

With one major exception - the Telmori bodyguards for the House of Sartar, stationed in Boldhome, or accompanying the individuals under their care.

Salinarg and the daughters of Terasarin married their Telmori bodyguards.

Edited by Joerg
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On 1/2/2022 at 12:22 AM, Joerg said:

Not since Talor's curse. You need to arrange for the least disadvantageous suvival of a day and a night out of control, as a monster that won't be affected by ordinary metal weapons (but would by magic, natural weapons, falls, drowning etc.).  

A werewolf might be immune to non-enchanted metal weapons, but they aren't immune to rope.  If you tie them down securely before their change is upon them, and put a muzzle on them, they are going to be a lot less dangerous to a community.

On 1/2/2022 at 12:22 AM, Joerg said:

If you see going on a mindless rampage as an advantage, your Glorantha differs a lot from mine.

You seriously can't see how that could be of immense military advantage?  How about this?  You infiltrate a group of cursed Telmori behind enemy lines so they are in position by Fireday, hidden in an area where the enemy's logistics can be threatened.  They then burst out and slaughter their livestock, caravaneers, mounts or whatever, and the enemy now has to deal with a group of freely roaming berserk werewolves in their territory.  When the rage wears off, the survivors can use their hunter skills to slink back to their own lines until next week.  There are endless variations on this trick, but you can always guarantee your enemies have no end of trouble on Wild Day.

On 1/2/2022 at 12:22 AM, Joerg said:

With one major exception - the Telmori bodyguards for the House of Sartar, stationed in Boldhome, or accompanying the individuals under their care.

While not explicitly mentioned, BUMP.

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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

It might be tricky to coordinate, but the Maboder can testify that it can work. Or would, if they weren't dead.

Yes, but as all battle plan, it can fail because most of the time, your ultimate weapon is behind your own lines, and you have a problem with a band of marauding bloodthirsty killers.

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On 12/28/2021 at 7:29 PM, Joerg said:

The wolf companions of cursed Telmori survive the Wildday rages just fine, and it doesn't look like the four-legged Telmori gained any powers from Nysalor, which means the curse would not affect them.

Now possibly deprecated, but in Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes pg 255, the 4-legged Telmori transform into 2-legged form every Wild Day; although this bit is written in Telmori voice so could presumably be misleading.

On 1/1/2022 at 1:22 PM, Joerg said:

If you see going on a mindless rampage as an advantage, your Glorantha differs a lot from mine.

Also relevant to another comment in this thread, S:KoH pg 256, Sartar softened their curse so the local Telmori "would not act like Chaotic monsters".

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