Jump to content

Hon-Eel Blood Sacrifice


Kargzant

Recommended Posts

Hey, all. I'm planning to make a Chaotic Earth deity in my campaign and I want some information about cults that require human (or other sentient being) sacrifice. If I remember correctly, the rites of Hon-Eel produce maize if there's blood sacrifice, but I don't know any more than that. Does the victim need to be worthy in some way? Do they have sacrifices on every holy day of Hon-Eel? Why does this cult require human sacrifice in the first place? How do the communities rationalize this?

Thanks in advance!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Kargzant said:

Hey, all. I'm planning to make a Chaotic Earth deity in my campaign and I want some information about cults that require human (or other sentient being) sacrifice. If I remember correctly, the rites of Hon-Eel produce maize if there's blood sacrifice, but I don't know any more than that. Does the victim need to be worthy in some way? Do they have sacrifices on every holy day of Hon-Eel? Why does this cult require human sacrifice in the first place? How do the communities rationalize this?

Thanks in advance!

Well, the rites improve the maize harvest, rather than being required for it, and officially you're supposed to use a cornstalk doll as an effigy instead. Officially.

The reason for the human sacrifice is, on a level that's, in-setting, deep lore, but out-of-setting, fairly basic, that maize is a crop sacred to the Blood Sun of Chen Durel, who made blood rain from the sky to water it. So the crop grows best when the soil it grows in is watered with human blood, symbolically. 

Out of setting again, the motifs here are a mixture of Aztec human sacrifices and Robert Graves's theories about primordial matriarchal religion- the Earth is hungry, and blood is one way to feed it, a way that doesn't require the hierogamy/divine marriage of the land goddess to some fertilizer deity. As such, Hon-eel provides a truly independent Earth that nevertheless needs to be satiated through human sacrifice, one which coexists with the less thirsty ground of barley and wheat. 

I'm fairly sure the sacrifices are mostly of condemned criminals, and performed at the opening of planting season, which would be in Sea Season and potentially again in late Earth Season if the climate is good enough for two crops a year. 

The sacrifices are justified, I think, as a means of redemption and purification- by dying for the corn, you achieve liberation from your misdeeds in life. 

  • Like 2

The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Kargzant said:

Hey, all. I'm planning to make a Chaotic Earth deity in my campaign and I want some information about cults that require human (or other sentient being) sacrifice. If I remember correctly, the rites of Hon-Eel produce maize if there's blood sacrifice, but I don't know any more than that. Does the victim need to be worthy in some way? Do they have sacrifices on every holy day of Hon-Eel? Why does this cult require human sacrifice in the first place? How do the communities rationalize this?

Thanks in advance!

Well, the fact is, Ernalda hates Hon-Eel for being an interloper on the powers of Earth. 

In relation to the blood sacrifice rituals, the Gods of Glorantha Preview Edition states:

"Worship ceremonies to Hon-Eel emphasize the cycle of Life becomes Death becomes new Life.  The offering of human lives  is part of every  worship ceremony, figuratively or literally.  important holy days are celebrated with blood sacrifice ceremonies, often taking the form of gladiatorial combat between slaves, prisoners, or volunteers; the blood and corpses of the defeated are offered to the fields.  These contests have proven very popular among the urban masses, and in areas resetteled after nomadic depopulations.  They are also popular in the Lunar Provinces (being a more spectacular version of the duels and challenges the Orlanthi love so much).  In other areas the cult may have to make do with merely the symbolic sacrifice of a figure made of maize stalks."

I hope that helps.

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

14 hours ago, Kargzant said:

Hey, all. I'm planning to make a Chaotic Earth deity in my campaign and I want some information about cults that require human (or other sentient being) sacrifice.

Aside from the Hon-Eel cult, there's a fair bit in the Book of Heortling Mythology about Ana Gor, describing hers as essentially an intermittent subcult of Humakt, Ty Kora Tek, Babeester Gor, Erantha Gor, and Esrola, noting that it's a chaotic practice outside of those cults and the "most special circumstances".  So by definition, any time the Lunars do it, it's evidence of their irredeemable subservience to the powers of Chaos.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Hi it gives me some idea for a campaign... Do we have her holydays ? and specifically when are the maize rites ?

thanks !

Hon-Eel's High Holy Day is Clay Day, Fertility Week, Earth Season.  Every clay day is holy, and the clay day of every Fertility week is a minor holy day.  IRL maize ripens on an 8-10 week turnover, and prefers to grow in Summer.  That means maize in Glorantha, if it followed the same rules would produce 3 crops, Sea Season Fire Season, and Earth Season before the weather turned.  On the other hand, IDK if Gloranthan maize behaves like Earth maize.

Edited by Darius West
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, Darius West said:

IRL maize ripens on an 8-10 week turnover, and prefers to grow in Summer.  That means maize in Glorantha, if it followed the same rules would produce 3 crops, Sea Season Fire Season, and Earth Season before the weather turned.  On the other hand, IDK if Gloranthan maize behaves like Earth maize.

That depends a lot on the climate, and presumably also on growing practices.  In these parts -- IRL the country (sorry, couldn't resist) and the UK -- for example, I think there's only one crop, it grows for about five months, and even then that's using plasticulture to raise soil temperatures and no doubt a metric ton of artificial fertilisers, pesticides, modern highly selectively bred varieties etc.  OTOH in Brazil and the like, as you say three crops no bother.  So my guess for Bronze-Age-analogue Peloria, a region that's has a rather northern location and distinctly Continental climate (even mitigated as that is by Kalikos Icebreaker), I'd go with something more like the suggestion offered elsewhere in the thread of one crop/year, two if blood sacrifice added until.  But export it to the far southeast of Genertela or to Pamaltela and now we're really in (agri)business!

  • Like 1
  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Alex said:

That depends a lot on the climate, and presumably also on growing practices.  In these parts -- IRL the country (sorry, couldn't resist) and the UK -- for example, I think there's only one crop, it grows for about five months, and even then that's using plasticulture to raise soil temperatures and no doubt a metric ton of artificial fertilisers, pesticides, modern highly selectively bred varieties etc.  OTOH in Brazil and the like, as you say three crops no bother.  So my guess for Bronze-Age-analogue Peloria, a region that's has a rather northern location and distinctly Continental climate (even mitigated as that is by Kalikos Icebreaker), I'd go with something more like the suggestion offered elsewhere in the thread of one crop/year, two if blood sacrifice added until.  But export it to the far southeast of Genertela or to Pamaltela and now we're really in (agri)business!

I have read the turn-over can be as low as 4 weeks from planting btw.  I took an average from a series of different agricultural estimates for the 8-10 weeks, which is on the long side, thus factoring out all the modern growing methods.  The primary driving factors are fertile soil, plenty of sunlight, and mild rainfall. The Chichimec/Nahuatl cultures of Lake Mexico would plant every kernel with a fish head as a nitrogen fixative (not that they knew it in those terms).  Maize is a summer crop, but can be planted in other seasons too, just with a slower growing time.  If my original post misses this detail it is because I was trying to spare you my 'working out'.

Edited by Darius West
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

I have read the turn-over can be as low as 4 weeks from planting btw.  I took an average from a series of different agricultural estimates for the 8-10 weeks, which is on the long side, thus factoring out all the modern growing methods.  The primary driving factors are fertile soil, plenty of sunlight, and mild rainfall. The Chichimec/Nahuatl cultures of Lake Mexico would plant every kernel with a fish head as a nitrogen fixative (not that they knew it in those terms).  Maize is a summer crop, but can be planted in other seasons too, just with a slower growing time.  If my original post misses this detail it is because I was trying to spare you my 'working out'.

My "working out" was rather more rudimentary:  I just googled it for a couple of different countries. 🙂 No guarantee if those are the "peak" productivities for those countries, or even representative of anything at all really.  But those are present-day practices.  How much they differ from the Bronze Age I'm guessing wildly, but don't underestimate the effects those have had in agriculture generally.

Personally, I hesitate to take RW figures (and certainly not modern RW) as baselines for Glorantha.  Especially in case we're going to be adding lavish magical bonuses on top of that.  But others will doubtless have different sweet-spots as regards verisimilitude/analogy vs desirable degree of high fantasy.  Your Maize May Vary, as the old saw (scythe?) has it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/7/2022 at 12:32 AM, Alex said:

Personally, I hesitate to take RW figures (and certainly not modern RW) as baselines for Glorantha.  Especially in case we're going to be adding lavish magical bonuses on top of that.  But others will doubtless have different sweet-spots as regards verisimilitude/analogy vs desirable degree of high fantasy.  Your Maize May Vary, as the old saw (scythe?) has it!

Strangely enough, we can actually refer to plenty of old records about harvests.  I know what you mean though.  The rules at present can cope with 1 crop per year AFAICT.  And if we are going to allow the Lunars to bring in 3-4 crops a year of maize, will we also give them the nutritional problems associated with a maize diet's poverty in trace minerals?  I am well aware of the whole Glorantha bison =/=Earth bison, Glorantha bronze =/= Earth bronze, but I don't like it.  If it isn't a bison, why call it a bison?  If it isn't maize, why call it maize?  Given that we live in the age of the internet, when we can perform a "summon factual info" using a phone in a matter of seconds, why not use real world examples?  All a GM has to say is "well that is how it is today, so let's tweak the stats down to accommodate the lack of X that they didn'thave/know at that tech level."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, Darius West said:

If it isn't a bison, why call it a bison?  If it isn't maize, why call it maize? 

because using "creation" words like 'azarrffef aerd', 'zoe lfore aerd', 'dask edrers eresze' and 'sasderd eresze' for gloranthan crops (well I hope there are not irl words) and 'ughutu' for a big beast accepting human on their back, is more disturbing than using a irl word helping to figure something (the form, the character,...) even if we have to remember there are not the same.

See for example the metals, we have gloranthan word (ur , etc..) but what do we use ? Does quicksilver armor float on our world ?

 

I agree depending people the disturbance could be on one side or another one, just I think more people can play with the published option (except elf & troll, personaly, I would remove these words and keep aldryami and uz as they are so far from "fantasy standard")

 

So I like to say "in Glorantha there is one harvest season, the earth season, because there are gods and the earth season is the season when grain goddesses give their bounty to people" then we are all on the same level, the one who doesn't anything about, the one who knows about irl harvesting, irl animals, irl metals, irl stars, irl seas, etc

 

An example of illogic  to challenge glorantha because irl (from my perspecive). There was a post about the number of D6 to describe baboon STR. That was not the good one because the ratio between irl human STR and irl  baboon STR was not followed in glorantha. But... in this cas, how can we explain Baboon are able to speak in human language ? It is not possible  mechanically (well I m not expert but that what I was in my mind) So should we accept a difference and not another one ? why this one ? why not this one ?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

See for example the metals, we have gloranthan word (ur , etc..) but what do we use ? Does quicksilver armor float on our world ?

Except the various "ur-") words in the manuals are not "Gloranthan". In English (derived from Germanic roots), the "ur-" prefix indicates "primitive" ("primordial") or "proto". "ur-bronze" => primordial-bronze.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

58 minutes ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Except the various "ur-") words in the manuals are not "Gloranthan". In English (derived from Germanic roots), the "ur-" prefix indicates "primitive" ("primordial") or "proto". "ur-bronze" => primordial-bronze.

Not quite, I think they're referring to Gloranthan metal names like ul-metal (silver), ga-metal (copper), hu-metal (bronze) etc. which are named after their associated deity (eg. hu-metal = Humakt's metal).

Edited by Ladygolem
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Ladygolem said:

Not quite, I think they're referring to Gloranthan metal names like ul-metal (silver), ga-metal (copper), hu-metal (bronze) etc. which are named after their associated deity (eg. hu-metal = Humakt's metal).

Yes it is

ur metal for me was iron not primitive -any - metal, but at least, I learned a new thing about ur-english 😛

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No variety of maize takes 28 days to reach maturity. Some cultivars bred for cold climates or desert conditions mature in about 75 days. Heirloom cultivars of dent and flint corn bred for prevailing American conditions, like Cherokee White Eagle blue corn, matures in about 110 days. These are what people in Glorantha would be growing to grind up into corn flour/masa/cornstarch. 

The actual process of maize growth is somewhat more complicated. Maize only grows between 5C and 33C, but can survive 0C to 43C. The ideal range for maize growth is 25-33C during the day and 17-23C at night. There is thus an equation used by farmers to determine how much growth maize can get in a given climatological region, which is of the form (daily high F-daily low F)/2 - 50, with the maximum and minimum values being 86F and 50F, and these allow you to accurately determine when to plant.

We could determine these for Dragon Pass with some of the provided climatological data, if we trust it. But I won't bother. 

So let's look at the Lunar Empire. The extent of agriculture in Genertela more or less is at their northern border- the Eolians and Char-un are pastoralists and supplemental horticulturalists, the Rathori at the same latitude are hunter-gatherers and possibly supplemental horticulturalists, the Pentans stick a bit below this latitude line, etc. 

Karasal, directly south of this line, has been compared to Michigan by Mr. Jeff Richard, which is my part of the world. Now, here in Michigan, there's a stretch of latitudes to be had. Let's look at the upper middle, Traverse City. 

Corn planting in Traverse City is best done in June, because killing frosts can happen all through May. Killing frosts start again about midway through September. You could, riskily, grow from May 1 to October 15.

So, the safe corn growing season here is June, July, August, half of September = 107 days, we'll say 105-110. You can plant heirloom corn varieties, and they'll provide a reliable, if not exactly bountiful, crop. 

The risky season is May, June, July, August, September, half of October. 168 days. So you could just plant two cold-weather crops, barely. But hardier corn is less productive. It has less time to photosynthesize and drink water. 

And Traverse City never hits the ideal temperatures for maize growth.

But let's head to the southern end, outside of Detroit. Here, the ideal crop season is from the middle of May to the end of September. 137 days. You can grow full-season modern hybrids (131-145 days) here, with luck, and certainly heirloom ones.

The risky season is from the middle of April to the middle of October, 180 days or so. You could plant two cold-weather crops in the same field, possibly, with mechanical labor. 

Now, if Gloranthan maize is like our maize in taking 75-145 days to mature, it takes 1.5 to 2.5 seasons of growing. If you could plant it at the start of the year, Freeze/Disorder/Sea, the harvest season would be anytime from mid-Fire to late Earth. But the year begins shortly after the spring equinox in Glorantha. So this is planting around the beginning of April, and harvesting anytime from mid-June to late September. 

So for two crops of cold-weather maize, planting at the start of Sea and ignoring plowing and harvesting time, the first crop matures in mid-Fire, the second matures at the beginning of Dark. A third would mature halfway through Storm season. 

So if you can imagine the Lunar Empire as a place where there are plantings in April, the middle of June, and the beginning of October, and the final harvest is taken in around the end of February, perhaps the Lunars might get "three crops a year" in your Glorantha. 

But let's go for the median, 105-110 days. Let's say 16 weeks for an even 2-season figure. Gloranthan equivalent of mid-May is about Death/Movement week of Sea season, plant then, harvest two seasons later, Death/Movement of Earth season. 

Now, in subtropical and Mediterranean climates, you can plant summer and winter crops, especially wheat. In Mexico, summer and winter corn are both planted, but the climate is subtropical, Mediterranean, and tropical. 

Of course, this prompts a possible reason to reduce growing times by a factor of about 5/4ths, because the Gloranthan year is shorter, and so a 105-110 day maize variety would take 84 Gloranthan days, a season and a half, and planting in mid-Sea would work out to harvesting in early Earth, etc. I have no strong feelings on this, since the math works out either way. 

A final note: plowing and harvesting time changes the math somewhat, but succession/staggered planting also changes it in the opposite direction. Working out the full timing relies on so many unknowns that you might as well be making it up, but succession planting is probably something to think about for agrarian games.

 

:20-element-earth::20-power-life::20-power-harmony: :20-element-earth: & :20-form-plant::20-element-earth: & :20-element-moon: :20-element-earth:

  • Like 1

The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Strangely enough, we can actually refer to plenty of old records about harvests.

I was about to say something along the lines of, "but do we have Bronze Age Andean maize harvest records?", but that's kinda a contradiction on its face. so I'd better not.  

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

The rules at present can cope with 1 crop per year AFAICT.  And if we are going to allow the Lunars to bring in 3-4 crops a year of maize, will we also give them the nutritional problems associated with a maize diet's poverty in trace minerals?

I doubt it's beyond human wit to tweak to rules to fit it, I'm just not seeing it as fitting either the desired correspondence, or the desired connotations.  And if it were to have that many annual crops as a matter of course, doesn't it dilute the significance of the human sacrifice element?  Or are we going to have six crops, as long as the blood keeps flowing?  If I were making a hot-take suggestion, if anything it'd be a one-crop baseline and additional blood crops at greater and greater sacrificial cost -- you known there might be another Gloranthan eurogame in there!

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

I am well aware of the whole Glorantha bison =/=Earth bison, Glorantha bronze =/= Earth bronze, but I don't like it.  If it isn't a bison, why call it a bison?  If it isn't maize, why call it maize?

It's the eternal struggle of too much analogue vs not enough.  If something is being pitched as a mythology that speaks to a modern-day sensibility, the tensions and contradictions are built-in.  Inevitably, some people's most dearly treasured choices will sound bum notes for others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Except the various "ur-") words in the manuals are not "Gloranthan". In English (derived from Germanic roots), the "ur-" prefix indicates "primitive" ("primordial") or "proto". "ur-bronze" => primordial-bronze.

Except in the case of ur-metal.  There it means Urtiam's metal.

Link to comment
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...