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Morokanth: why tapirs (and when)?


g33k

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Back in the early days of Glorantha, Greg (I presume?) decided to make one of the Praxian tribes four-legs who herded two-legs.

Why tapirs?  Why not... pronghorn antelope, or deer, or kudu, or camels, or etc etc etc?

Also... when did these things happen?

  • When did a tapir-folk become Gloranthan?
  • When did one of the Praxian tribes become 4-leg sapient?
  • When did these merge (if they were ever even separate threads in the Gloranthan tapestry)?


TYVM!

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I have no insight into "why", but at least the when appears to be rather clear - some time after the publication of White Bear and Red Moon, Nomad Gods was created as the second game in what was meant to become a trilogy. The Unholy Trio, Broos, the Devil all appear to have originated with this publication, establishing Chaos as the ultimate foe in Glorantha (something that WBRM avoided).

Why not another antelope? Possibly to make them sufficiently different to broos.

Five great tribes, five ancient elemental associations, with Darkness getting the tribe where the four-legs herd the two-legs. I guess it is kind of hard to find an ungulate that is nocturnal and could survive in a Redwood savannah before it got burned by Oakfed.

The other of the five great tribes have two antelopes (impala and sable), one bovid (bison) and one camelid. The other beast riders include unicorn and zebra, more recent additions, rhino, ostrich and bolo lizard, the latter two only adopted by Eiritha, and three extinct ones (long noses, plains elk, nose-horns - all pleistocenic ungulates).

Pondering the possible alternatives, I might offer the aardvark, or a warthog, but the pig riders are already in WBRM..

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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49 minutes ago, g33k said:

Why tapirs?  Why not... pronghorn antelope, or deer, or kudu, or camels, or etc etc etc?

I wasn't there when Nomad Gods was coming together but can easily imagine the conversation revolving around something like a boar as a useful metaphor for food chain inversion . . . and then somebody (probably William Church, maybe or maybe not with Greg's urging) tweaked the silhouette toward the tapir for aesthetic purposes, leaving us with something less immediately symbolic than a regular "short pig" but ultimately more complex. Either way, by the time it got to Gene Day they were tapirs.

There seems to have been an undercurrent of tapir art in Bay Area fandom by the time Greg got to town, as revealed in the early SCA flyer for the 1968 Spring Tournament. Of course it could have gone in an aardvark (earth "pig") direction instead, in which case Joerg has beaten me to the punch and Gene Day's Canadian connections suddenly become extremely interesting around 1977-8. 

as2-spring.png.cd12352427c4cb21ee5963db1b171e22.png(sorry formatting is off around post pictures . . . most elegant placement I can get today)

I think the inversion was baked into Nomad Gods from the earliest tests but would welcome correction. If I were betting I'd say the inversion came first and then they looked for an animal to represent it . . . I doubt Church would simply draw a four-legged tribe on his own initiative. 

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16 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

There seems to have been an undercurrent of tapir art in Bay Area fandom by the time Greg got to town, as revealed in the early SCA flyer for the 1968 Spring Tournament. Of course it could have gone in an aardvark (earth "pig") direction instead, in which case Joerg has beaten me to the punch and Gene Day's Canadian connections suddenly become extremely interesting around 1977-8. 

Very cool poster and your research-fu is incredible, thanks!

 

ETA

Do you know if this was this actually SCA or SCA related?

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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8 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Very cool poster and your research-fu is incredible, thanks!

I would hate to waste your bandwidth so am extremely happy you found it useful.

Yeah, this is the event when Steve Perrin got his well-earned knighthood. Refreshing my memory more closely, our little friend might formally be an "aardvark" drawn by someone without a lot of zoological training and so has tapir characteristics as well as that bushy skunk tail. Maybe it's really "the Set animal," which I'd associate with morokanth anyway.

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9 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

I would hate to waste your bandwidth so am extremely happy you found it useful.

Yeah, this is the event when Steve Perrin got his well-earned knighthood. Refreshing my memory more closely, our little friend might formally be an "aardvark" drawn by someone without a lot of zoological training and so has tapir characteristics as well as that bushy skunk tail. Maybe it's really "the Set animal," which I'd associate with morokanth anyway.

I would nominate the Giant Anteater... long nose AND big tail brush... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_anteater

 

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... or SLOTHS !
Vegetarians, but great big honkin-ass talons!

And some of the archaic varieties were big suckers!  They were among the large mammalian megafauna, many others of whom also made it into Glorantha ...
 

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there was probably a wide variety of intelligent animal peoples under the beneficent reign of Genert and the baboons, and were lost with the Earthfall and the wasting of the Garden

you can probably still see the temple stupas of the anteater people cities if you ride to the right place on the chaparral, and look with the right sort of eyes at the right time

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15 hours ago, g33k said:

Why tapirs?  Why not... pronghorn antelope, or deer, or kudu, or camels, or etc etc etc?

We have a bundle of Greg's notes from the Dawn of Nomad Gods, and a single annotated page from a book:

Alticamelus.thumb.jpg.06e9e14ce1c863f80474d8c0d6af21e9.jpg

I don't think it's a coincidence that the Moeritherium is on the same page (read the entry). I think he was leafing through books to find cool things to use. While not related, there's an interesting resemblance:

image.png.df65feb1a98ea800f0c09456496f7c6c.png

I also think that Moeritherium is mashed with an -akanth tail from another creature (see chaos-ium)

14 hours ago, Alex said:

Or a Sandy cheese-dream was involved at some point.

Nomad gods predates Sandy's involvement with Chaosium and I doubt it was cheese.

 

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-----

Search the Glorantha Resource Site: https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com. Search the Glorantha mailing list archives: https://glorantha.steff.in/digests/

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7 hours ago, David Scott said:

Nomad gods predates Sandy's involvement with Chaosium and I doubt it was cheese.

Ah!  I didn't think to check the timeline, my bad.  First thought on this sort of thing is "Sandy adding oddball biology again!"

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