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Esrolia - land of 10,000 Goddesses - how many have been defined ?


Agentorange

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I've always felt that Esrolia land of 10,000 Goddesses was an incredibly evocative name in both Runequest and Gloranthan history. certainly a very intriguing name. So it's always surprised me that so few of them have actually had cult writeups whether that be long form or shortform Runequest or Heroquest...er...Questworld I mean.

When you consider that Esrolia is one of the starting homelands in RQG that seems even more odd. Now, I get that many of them may be lost or forgotten, many may be aspects of other deities, some will be small cults with only a few worshippers....but even allowing for all that it seems odd that so few have been defined in game terms.

Esrolia land of 10,000 Goddesses...the clues in the name 😄

Edited by Agentorange
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Start with the ENTIRE Earth Pantheon, from Ernalda to each individual Grain Goddess.

Add in the Aldrya 'branch of the family' [pun very much intended]

There's a significant Storm /Air pantheon presence, so Orlanth to Yinkin.

All of Ernalda's Husband Protectors are there, Argan Argar to Yelm.

The Red Earth cultists have certainly brought the Seven Mothers with them.

Add in all the locale deities that probably exist in a place like Esrolia.

If we count the aquatic peoples of Mirrorsea Bay, there's another half dozen.

That's a solid 60 or 70 or so right there. I'm not sure exactly how many because I don't know how many specific Grain Goddesses there are. It's something like 10, iirc. And I don't think anybody has an accurate count of the locale deities that are worshiped.

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4 minutes ago, svensson said:

Start with the ENTIRE Earth Pantheon, from Ernalda to each individual Grain Goddess.

.SNIP

Add in all the locale deities that probably exist in a place like Esrolia.

SNIP

 . And I don't think anybody has an accurate count of the locale deities that are worshiped.

Maybe it could be a Jonstown publication: the 10,000 Goddesses of Esrolia, full cult write up for each goddess !

Granted the POD version would probably need several lorries to deliver and a mortgage to buy but hey.....

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You can't possibly name and enumerate all ten thousand. The number is itself plainly figurative language for "a very big number" or "all the goddesses", seeing as it's ten to the fourth power. But they're there so you can create whoever you want and give her or them a shrine or a temple or even a record of their existence, written somewhere onto the psychogeographical landscape of Esrolia. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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11 minutes ago, Jose said:

Does anyone know if the goddess Delaina appears in the new Gods of Glorantha book, her Runes at least? 

In the upcoming Prosopaedia only. In the Orlanthi Pantheon: Goddess of Wisdom and Magic (Earth & Mastery). A local cult in Rhigos (as city guardian). See the Guide & Sourcebook for more).

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17 minutes ago, David Scott said:

In the upcoming Prosopaedia only. In the Orlanthi Pantheon: Goddess of Wisdom and Magic (Earth & Mastery). A local cult in Rhigos (as city guardian). See the Guide & Sourcebook for more).

Thanks! Is unexpected, so is one of the few gods with the mastery rune (the rune for heroes) and an earth goddess nonetheless. 

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47 minutes ago, Jose said:

Thanks! Is unexpected, so is one of the few gods with the mastery rune (the rune for heroes) and an earth goddess nonetheless. 

The sourcebook does describe her as the tutelary goddess for heroes (page 90), so that does make sense.

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1 hour ago, Agentorange said:

I don't know, there's enough nerdism here that I reckon we probably could 😄

I love it but might as well count every flower in the field and then in Esrolia there's always another field. Agreed that the "land of 10000 goddesses" formula reads like somebody's religious program . . . maybe it's a line in the old mother catechism that drifts in and out of obscurity within time and rises to the surface in the doctrinal struggles of the 1620s. I think it's probably an Ernaldist slogan establishing that that particular goddess is For All Women (orlanthi all, orlanthi women) and contrasting her universal church to whatever multitudes they offer in the Paps or Peloria (10000 is 100x100, literally the entirety of the gods wall system squared and the square is the earth shape) or wherever. If you can name a goddess there's probably room for her somewhere in the long list and then you have been coopted into the Ernalda Complex.

land-10000.jpeg.3b3f60bb35c1fcc3913b53e7a42e1e31.jpeglines.jpeg.0ca2d36c848ca8a12ca67cc2160fb614.jpegIronically there's a minor achilles heel in this magical program much like the City of 10000 Magicians, which might share its history. Once you establish that there are no more than 100x100 slots available, every one you fill takes you closer to the moment when you need to revise the list or admit that you're done. This might be an apocalyptic scenario somewhere but I don't think it's much of a problem in practical terms. Hon-Eel didn't try to stuff the list and Jar-Eel doesn't seem interested. I think Deezola understood it with her comb and strange rune but she's long gone now. And in her day Nochet must have seemed impossibly far away . . . better to focus on where she was standing and let the strange land goddesses circulate, she had other things to do.

Local theologians know they have enough wiggle room to establish a few identities among the most minor cults, squeezing (for example) Delaina and Deleanora together and liberating the redundant slot when the doctrinal distinction that initially mandated two entities is no longer relevant. As long as they can keep doing that, there's little real threat of Goddess Ten Thousand And One showing up some day and ending the cycles of time. Although maybe in a Hera War it will happen. For now, they're pretty clever in Nochet about this kind of divine taxonomy, possibly a residual defense (or offense) mechanism left over from Goddess Switch Times. But the thrust isn't immediately useful in the struggle of empires and so tends to get overlooked.

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57 minutes ago, Tindalos said:

The sourcebook does describe her as the tutelary goddess for heroes (page 90), so that does make sense.

Finally we have a patron deity for heroes worshipping the earth pantheon. Thats great! Now we will have to discover what kind of magic she gives. 

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Some thoughts;

First, the book "Esrolia Land of Ten Thousand Goddesses' gives the names of a fair number who figure in Nochet's legendary history but don't seem to be currently worshiped very much, so they are not ten thousand cults available to your adventurer.  Most of these appear to be associated with Ernalda one way or another,  and you would not find a place of worship for them other than the larger Earth temples, where you would find a fresco or two and a few words of legend.

Second, in Nochet you might find small colonies of traders from all over Glorantha, including Kralorela and Pamaltela.  Each group might have a very local shrine to their own goddesses (and gods).  There is room here to experiment with the gods and natives of far-off lands without your having to do a region-wide adventure write-up as big as Borderlands & Beyond.  Though if you want to do one, more power to you.

Third, you might find city goddesses in smaller cities, and local goddesses in the Esrolian countryside.  Maybe in reality many of these are no more than genius loci.    But these might still be represented by a small image or shrine on some street corner in Nochet.  There are probably not enough worshipers at most of these to actually qualify a shrine by the book for worship and Rune point recovery purposes, but one never knows ...  YGMV.... don't disrespect that streetcorner deity.  There is plenty of room here for you build your own adventure.  (Easier when the planned Holy Country and / or Nochet books come out.)

 

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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46 minutes ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Some thoughts;

First, the book "Esrolia Land of Ten Thousand Goddesses' gives the names of a fair number who figure in Nochet's legendary history but don't seem to be currently worshiped very much, so they are not ten thousand cults available to your adventurer.  Most of these appear to be associated with Ernalda one way or another,  and you would not find a place of worship for them other than the larger Earth temples, where you would find a fresco or two and a few words of legend.

Second, in Nochet you might find small colonies of traders from all over Glorantha, including Kralorela and Pamaltela.  Each group might have a very local shrine to their own goddesses (and gods).  There is room here to experiment with the gods and natives of far-off lands without your having to do a region-wide adventure write-up as big as Borderlands & Beyond.  Though if you want to do one, more power to you.

Third, you might find city goddesses in smaller cities, and local goddesses in the Esrolian countryside.  Maybe in reality many of these are no more than genius loci.    But these might still be represented by a small image or shrine on some street corner in Nochet.  There are probably not enough worshipers at most of these to actually qualify a shrine by the book for worship and Rune point recovery purposes, but one never knows ...  YGMV.... don't disrespect that streetcorner deity.  There is plenty of room here for you build your own adventure.  (Easier when the planned Holy Country and / or Nochet books come out.)

 

This is very much my thoughts on the matter. The beauty of it is that on the YGMV principle people can make as much or as little of it as they like - there's so much space in there for little sub cults or local Genius Loci style cults that people can let their imaginations run wild.

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3 hours ago, Jose said:

Finally we have a patron deity for heroes worshipping the earth pantheon. Thats great! Now we will have to discover what kind of magic she gives. 

She's what I term or consider the goddess of Intuition or Wisdom - an anti-LM in many ways for knowledge along will not make you wise, and ultimately the hero must reject book-learning to become a hero.  If you look closely at my map of Nochet, you'll find the Garden of Forking Paths - a sacred garden dedicated to Delaina - where you can meditate upon the paths of life.  But don't necessarily expect her to simply give you magic - she'll set you on the path of heroes in her tutelary role, but ultimately you must learn the way through experience and development of your own internal Mastery.

 

 

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3 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Ironically there's a minor achilles heel in this magical program much like the City of 10000 Magicians, which might share its history. Once you establish that there are no more than 100x100 slots available, every one you fill takes you closer to the moment when you need to revise the list or admit that you're done.

Once you realize that Ernalda has at least fifty, or a hundred, or a thousand, names, then all you need to do is show how Talosa, or Orendara, or whoever is simply Ernalda in a forgotten story, and you'll be good for a while.

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20 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

She's what I term or consider the goddess of Intuition or Wisdom - an anti-LM in many ways for knowledge along will not make you wise, and ultimately the hero must reject book-learning to become a hero.  If you look closely at my map of Nochet, you'll find the Garden of Forking Paths - a sacred garden dedicated to Delaina - where you can meditate upon the paths of life.  But don't necessarily expect her to simply give you magic - she'll set you on the path of heroes in her tutelary role, but ultimately you must learn the way through experience and development of your own internal Mastery.

 

 

Was the Garden of Forking Paths designed by a certain Pierre Menard?

Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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All of these goddesses will be at Ezel, but not all may be known yet.

Belintar managed to introduce at least half a dozen.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

To add to the point above about symbolic language: In classical usage, a "myriad" meant specifically the number 10,000. Now it's generally used to simply mean any large, but unquantifiable or nonspecific number. I imagine that this kind of how 10k is used in Esrolia. "More goddesses than you can imagine!"

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A lot, most even, of the 10,000 goddesses are not what we would consider goddesses, with their own cult, in the rules. A nymph, for example, can be considered a very minor goddess, of a specific place. In the rules they might be a nymph, a spirit of a place, a spirit of retribution, the cult spirit that teaches a particular spell, or that you encounter if during the heroquest that teaches a spell, or a minor hero cult, or a specific aspect of a cult. There will be multiple goddesses of particular plants or animals that turn up when that plant or animal is the subject of magic. Hundreds of ancestors so mighty and worshipped they are minor gods to their descendants. And it’s perfectly legitimate that the Esrolians call them goddesses, they don’t know the game rules, but do know all these beings are manifestations of the divine.
But there are probably at least a hundred that could be considered goddesses in the full sense of granting rune magic, having a cult, etc and that’s a hell of a lot. 

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On 3/5/2022 at 3:33 PM, jajagappa said:

Once you realize that Ernalda has at least fifty, or a hundred, or a thousand, names, then all you need to do is show how Talosa, or Orendara, or whoever is simply Ernalda in a forgotten story, and you'll be good for a while.

That's how I think about it. It's "Great Ernalda" in her innumerable, multifaceted expressions. The way I play it, few Esrolians worship Ernalda directly; rather, they worship one of her expressions - mechanically, this is a subcult of the Great Ernalda cult - based on what facet of the great Jewel of Ezel shines most brightly in the worshiper's vision. The only temple in the world which can possibly encompass Great Ernalda is Ezel, where the boundaries between the Middle World and the Land of Myth become so blurry even Lhankor Mhy needs to find new spectacles. Even Nochet isn't sufficient.

I'm pretty sure that, in my Glorantha, this is a question in the category of "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" Not 100% sure that's the case, but my gut says Yes.

(Any claims that this way of viewing transcendent, splendiferous Ernalda is analogous to how the Aeolians worship the Invisible God through his/its lesser manifestations is, of course, ludicrious.)

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