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Are there non-chaotic Telmori?


Elcid321

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Hi everyone, as the title says, Are there non-chaotic Telmori?

You see, one of my players, a follower of foundchild, on his travels looking to learn more hunting magic, has met for the first time the Telmori, and he's now interested in joining them and learning their secrets. So, i know that as chaotic beings, once they are met by someone with sense chaos (stormbull), they are getting killed, but i don't want them to die that easy (yet) so i got thinking there might be some tribe or clan of non-chaotic telmori out there. Do any of you think that might be possible?

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There are the Pure Ones of Ralios who never adopted Nysalor.  Everybody else still hates them.  I doubt that the Telmori of Sartar get eliminated by the Storm Bull people.  They might have done so in the past but the Telmori would have ganged up on the Storm Bullies on Full Moon nights a few decades ago with the result they they are not considered chaotic, merely tainted by its presence.   

The Telmori don't adopt outsiders easily.  For starters, they need to be a werewolf.  I'd say it will never happen but this is your game and so it can happen.

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I think you will find the following discussion interesting, to avoid repeating things. 

 

In my Glorantha, the Pure Ones Telmori can be found in Ralios, not in Dragon Pass. Sartar reached an accommodation with the Telmori, and they became Royal bodyguards, so the Telmori are under more or less royal protection in Sartar. As his dinasty did not follow up with lifting the curse, or maybe desperate because the bloodline seemed lost and the protection with them, they often collaborated with the Lunars and quarreled with their neighbours, so Argrath will start a genocidal hunt for them and even get a special military unit from their flayed skins. Not good.

I would allow a few Telmori in Sartar to be born every year as Pure ones, and even that every year a few more are born as Sartar's influence slowly erodes the curse. Consider also that many Sartarites will not hunt Telmori out of respect for their founder, but the Telmori still need to be restrained each Wildday, and I would assume that is the role of the Pure Ones in Sartar.

So either a Ralios immigrant, maybe in a lifequest to find their relatives in Dragon Pass, or a misunderstood good guy that will soon face several harsh decisions, as the tribe decides to support the Moon, and will be hunted when Argrath becomes king. Both look good as adventure seeds, and Kallyr may have tried to recover the Telmori bodyguards to bolster her legitimacy, but with a weak connection to Sartar she may have chosen not cursed Telmori...

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3 hours ago, Elcid321 said:

Hi everyone, as the title says, Are there non-chaotic Telmori?

You see, one of my players, a follower of foundchild, on his travels looking to learn more hunting magic, has met for the first time the Telmori, and he's now interested in joining them and learning their secrets. So, i know that as chaotic beings, once they are met by someone with sense chaos (stormbull), they are getting killed, but i don't want them to die that easy (yet) so i got thinking there might be some tribe or clan of non-chaotic telmori out there. Do any of you think that might be possible?

1. As others have already said, there The Pure. While they are most common in Ralios, they exist in small numbers on the Eastern side of the Rockwoods, for instance in Dorastor. Probably not canonically in Dragon Pass, but that's a small enough change if you want to make it for your campaign.

2. Adoption into the Telmori exists, I believe. You can't join the Cult of Telmor and you don't become a werewolf under any normal circumstances. However, there's good game fodder in the Ituvani, a caste of non-Telmor shamans that aggressively (and dangerously) bind hostile spirits and create magical tattoos, and that a non-Werewolf might potentially join. And HeroQuesting isn't a normal circumstance - "discovering" Telmori ancestry during a heroquest seems perfectly legitimate. 

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5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

2. Adoption into the Telmori exists, I believe. You can't join the Cult of Telmor and you don't become a werewolf under any normal circumstances. However, there's good game fodder in the Ituvani, a caste of non-Telmor shamans that aggressively (and dangerously) bind hostile spirits and create magical tattoos, and that a non-Werewolf might potentially join. And HeroQuesting isn't a normal circumstance - "discovering" Telmori ancestry during a heroquest seems perfectly legitimate. 

Adoption into any Hsunchen tribe is theoretically possible. See Heroes magazine #4 which had the long RQ3 Hykim & Mikyh write-up:

Quote

"In order to be adopted into a Hsunchen cult, a candidate must reject all former ties into a civilized religion, sorcery, and non-Hykimi shamanism. He must also successfully roll under his POW x 3 and his Animal Lore skill. Success indicates that he is accepted as a Hsunchen, and a complex ritual and celebration is undergone, varying with the particular tribe".

Individual Hsunchen peoples will have more specific requirements than this, that's a generic template. Expect to have to perform some "great deeds" for the tribe as a starting point - adoption is not a casual thing. The usual rule of sacrificing one POW for a Rune Point would apply. I would rule that the successful adoptee awakens an animal soul during the rites and fully or partially changes form; therefore their first Rune magic must be one of the Transform spells.

Specifically for Telmor, the successful candidate may / should acquire their wolf companion during the process. There is more in the forthcoming Cults book, but I don't have permission to share and I'm not sure how much was in the convention previews.

I would personally rule that an adoptee into the Telmori tribe will not acquire the curse of weekly transformation - but what about Nysalor's blessing?

Did the Pure Ones acquire the invulnerability to normal weapons from Nysalor, or did they dodge the blessing as well as Talor's curse? My reading of GtG page 397 is that they have neither of these, as it says they are "similar to other Hsunchen".

Edited by Brian Duguid
Fixed typos, added GtG reference
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Ah, I see from Dorastor: land of Doom that the Pure Ones never followed Nysalor so would have neither the invulnerability nor the involuntary shape-change. I'd be strongly inclined to make an adoptee a Pure One, partly because of the interesting opportunities for storyline that it creates.

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58 minutes ago, Brian Duguid said:

Did the Pure Ones acquire the invulnerability to normal weapons from Nysalor, or did they dodge the blessing as well as Talor's curse? My reading of GtG page 397 is that they have neither of these, as it says they are "similar to other Hsunchen".

Agree. In RQ terms, they can pick up the invulnerability for brief periods using the regular wolf transformation Rune Magic, though. 

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On 5/21/2022 at 3:12 PM, Elcid321 said:

Hi everyone, as the title says, Are there non-chaotic Telmori?

You see, one of my players, a follower of foundchild, on his travels looking to learn more hunting magic, has met for the first time the Telmori, and he's now interested in joining them and learning their secrets. So, i know that as chaotic beings, once they are met by someone with sense chaos (stormbull), they are getting killed, but i don't want them to die that easy (yet) so i got thinking there might be some tribe or clan of non-chaotic telmori out there. Do any of you think that might be possible?

I can see kinky Hsunchen adoption ceremonies in your player's future.  Warn him that if he lies with the furries he may rise with the fleas, however.😄 

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

I can see kinky Hsunchen adoption ceremonies in your player's future.  Warn him that if he lies with the furries he may rise with the fleas, however.😄 

Could get a lot worse than that. Given how the Telmori myths were likely contaminated to some extent by their pact with Nysalor, and the modern day connection with the moon, I'd say attempting a rebirth of the wolf heroquest could quickly turn into rebirth of chaos.

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On 5/21/2022 at 5:49 PM, Elcid321 said:

Thanks everyone, your answers are going to be very helpful. Let's see how things go.

a point important (for me, but I may be wrong)

when you accept to be adopted in another race (don't consider telmori are the same than human being) you are probably physically transformed (at rune level) so you are not any morea human being. You can be seen as human because that is the same shape, but if some magic is used (or in a worship ceremony) you will clearly appear as wolf hunshen)

I see a big difference with an adoption by another tribe of human(for example praxian and esrolian) you may have the two "branch". Becoming a true hunshen is like becoming a troll, you are no more the previous "you".

so that's not just "hey, now I can become a wolf, in addition of what I am"

follow Odayla and you are a human able to change your shape in bear.

become a rahtori, and you re not any more a human, you are a hunshen with one human shape and one bear shape

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Well, there's an argument that following Odayla is not so much a choice but a calling i.e. the only people who'd join already have bear blood in them, and that's what attracts them to the cult.

I would be careful with the terminology: the Hsunchen are still human. To say otherwise has dangerous overtones. It's just that they understand that they are also animals, and unlike most humans, they are able to contact / awaken / embody their animal "self". This is how to account for the occasional lion cub births amongst Western human communities; perhaps some of the relationships of the Martial Beast Societies to their martial beasts; and also the aspirations of the Ancient Beast Society to reawaken their beast selves.

Also note that Hsunchen can become non-Hsunchen, by practising non-Hsunchen magic, as has happened throughout Gloranthan history when various beast-folk have adopted foreign gods and assimilated into a broader culture. It would not be right to say that when they do so they "become human", just that they lose access to their animal totem.

Edited by Brian Duguid
Typos
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They may be canonical, but they're lame, like sparkly vegetarian vampires. "Non-cursed Telmori" are for wimps who hate facing up to the implications of their rashly-held beliefs. YGWV, of course, and maybe this is a story Telmori tell outsiders -- "Oh, don't worry about me, I'm one of the Pure Ones. Not chaotic at all, me. No, siree!"

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24 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

They may be canonical, but they're lame, like sparkly vegetarian vampires. "Non-cursed Telmori" are for wimps who hate facing up to the implications of their rashly-held beliefs. YGWV, of course, and maybe this is a story Telmori tell outsiders -- "Oh, don't worry about me, I'm one of the Pure Ones. Not chaotic at all, me. No, siree!"

Possibly in Telmoria over in Ralios they insist that there's a whole country of Telmori on the edge of a great desert who're "Pure Ones", devoid of any pings on the Chaos radar. And then the Damali diplomatic mission maintain a poker face as the PC ingenues from Safelster appropriately ooh and aah. 

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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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I am more interested in any potential Pure Ones in Sartar, their small numbers growing from Sartar's promise and a small shred of his power. Inspired by the ambiguity in the Guide (emphasis mine).

Quote

‘The Pure Ones’ are similar to other Hsunchen, and live primarily in Ralios. ‘The Cursed Ones’ are a minority in Ralios, but form the bulk of Dorastan and Sartarite Telmori.

Trying to tie up the family in Wildday so they do not provoke the neighbours and get all killed. Lacking the resistance they get from their curse, always afraid that each time you change you may lose yourself as they do, and yet feeling the envy when they just let themselves go, fearless and fightening. Afraid to recognize your origin to strangers, as all in Sartar seem to hate you. Proud of the Royal Guard and their century of sacrifice, even if there is no Prince now, and wishing a Prince returns and she brings peace and a place in the kingdom for you and yours, and fearing he will sacrifice your family to get the support of those skinner savages the Cinsina and those bitter losers the Culbrea. A character that has his family and his people in the balance, and with more to lose than most.

As some of Sartar's family married their bodyguards, and anyway being always close, dark and broody and muscular, I am pretty sure some Telmori may continue Sartar's bloodline. Something to consider in the future. Sartar's descendants may be the source of the Pure ones in Sartar, as his changing blood overcomes the curse... Slowly keeping his promise, since 1480...

I would allow the Pure Ones the option, when they master the magic for a full transformation, to take Nysalor's bargain, but that comes with Talor's curse. Temptation.

And for me, much more interesting than a PC six days a week and a NPC the other day.

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7 hours ago, Darius West said:

I can see kinky Hsunchen adoption ceremonies in your player's future.  Warn him that if he lies with the furries he may rise with the fleas, however.😄 

Considering that the deal might be sealed with a marriage, ot's definitely a possibility.

 

6 hours ago, EricW said:

Could get a lot worse than that. Given how the Telmori myths were likely contaminated to some extent by their pact with Nysalor, and the modern day connection with the moon, I'd say attempting a rebirth of the wolf heroquest could quickly turn into rebirth of chaos.

Rebirth of the wolf heroquest? Can i get some more info on that, or at the very leadt where i can find more about it?

 

5 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

They may be canonical, but they're lame, like sparkly vegetarian vampires. "Non-cursed Telmori" are for wimps who hate facing up to the implications of their rashly-held beliefs. YGWV, of course, and maybe this is a story Telmori tell outsiders -- "Oh, don't worry about me, I'm one of the Pure Ones. Not chaotic at all, me. No, siree!"

One thing i do is that i make my players roll a luck roll, that might randomly affect the situation either in their favor, or hinder them. Example, player roll his luck, and it falls let's say 60 or 70, then some of the telmori in the group might be pure ones. Roll 90 or higher? They're pure ones alright. Lower than 50? Normal telmori, good luck being chased by the local sto bull.

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1 hour ago, Elcid321 said:

Rebirth of the wolf heroquest? Can i get some more info on that, or at the very leadt where i can find more about it?

Just a turn of phrase, not a documented quest. But you could make it up, maybe tell us about it. Make it difficult and perilous, otherwise lots of people would do it, to gain powerful combat magic when their village is threatened or whatever. Maybe include stations like being tempted by Gbaji or meeting the red moon goddess, both of whom would offer “gifts” the heroquester badly needs but must refuse. Gbaji could appear in disguise, attempt to gain the trust of the PC by being their helpful companion, but wolves can’t trust anyone right? 😉 

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On 5/20/2022 at 10:12 PM, Elcid321 said:

Hi everyone, as the title says, Are there non-chaotic Telmori?

Pretty much all Telmori have a Chaotic taint except for the "Pure Ones"  in Ralios. These Telmori are like other Hsunchen with their animal totem. But the vast majority of Telmori are werewolves, with their curse forcing them to transform on Wilddays when the Red Moon is full.

On 5/20/2022 at 10:12 PM, Elcid321 said:

he's now interested in joining them and learning their secrets. So, i know that as chaotic beings, once they are met by someone with sense chaos (stormbull), they are getting killed, but i don't want them to die that easy (yet)

Once they are met with someone with Sense Chaos they are not getting killed automatically. Sure, they have a very upset Storm Bull cultist in front of them, but keep in mind that:

  • Sense Chaos starts at 00% and can only be increased by experience, so not everybody is reliable with it. IMG, with many false negatives, Storm Bull people consider that a strong hunch rather than definite proof.
  • Sense Chaos does not single out the source, and works only within 15 meters. When faced with a group of people, the Storm Bull cultist will be certainly staring down everybody, but won't be sure who's got the taint. Most Chaotic people can spot a Storm Bull cultist from a mile away and oh what's that I think someone's calling me over there and oh my look at the time sorry I'll come back again tomorrow I just remembered I had a thing.
  • Sense Chaos gives a feeling of unease or spider-sense tingle or some stomach-ache or something, whose intensity is related to the "amount of Chaos" present. A Telmori (with 20% Chaos) would make you uncomfortable while a Broo (60% Chaos) gives you a sharp migraine. So you can adjust your reaction based on that.
  • While it's possible you end up meeting that one total zealot Storm Bull cultist who kills anything with a Chaotic smell (including the false positives!), most Storm Bull cultists will think for a second before acting. How bad is the Sense Chaos feeling? Who is the target? Maybe it's better to follow them around, see who their friends are, find if they setup a Chaos shrine nearby, see if they infiltrated the tribal ring, and so on. Even a relatively dumb and violent Storm Bull cultist will have learned that if it's got the normal amount of legs and doesn't have a goat head, it's more constructive to assess the situation and gain more info before swinging an axe.

This is also all mitigated by the fact Telmori are well known to be Chaotic in Dragon Pass. Not many people like them (because indeed everybody knows they're Chaotic), but they are still part of the Kingdom of Sartar. Sartar himself made a deal with them and, for a while, the Telmori provided special bodyguards to the Prince. There are probably still Telmori in Boldhome right now. IIRC Kallyr Starbrow has an alliance with them from the years of guerilla fighting the Lunars. So like them or not, they're broadly speaking "on your side" and Storm Bull cultists (especially Sartarite ones) might "let it slide" if they see one. Plus, everybody knows that when the Maboder tried to mess with them, they got completely exterminated. So again, people will think twice before doing anything. But sure, a lot of people will "keep an eye" on them, spit when they walk past, tell them to go away, and so on. This is good: this is what roleplaying is about.

Last, I imagine that the Telmori are very very reluctant to accept outsiders as a member of their pack. Your player might manage to make friends with the Telmori, and learn a few things. But to become a Telmori proper they might have to spend a whole bunch of time running around half naked in the woods, heroquest to awaken their wolf spirit, heroquest again to find their wolfbrother, and then be adopted into a pack and spend most of their time with that pack between adventures, and during adventures always have their wolf with them. The heroquesting would totally bring a 20% Chaos Rune in addition to Telmor cult secrets and magic, because that's what it is. But again, that's good! You want to play a werewolf, you gotta play a werewolf, with all that entails.

Edited by Ludovic aka Lordabdul
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22 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

I would be careful with the terminology: the Hsunchen are still human. To say otherwise has dangerous overtones

Weirdly, Basmoli are commonly described as non-human, although it's not clear what they would be instead for the humanoid part.

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Canonically, I think all the Hsunchen are described as human, albeit "born with minor differences from other humans" (GtG).

There's a snippet of lore that appeared in Tales of the Reaching Moon #9 which reports a Brithini view that they were descendants from the "only true humans on Glorantha", and that almost all others were referred to as "animal-men", who had been taught to assume human form by, who else, the Brithini. There is a related division in Pamaltelan lore between the Old People (the Fiwan, a.k.a. Hsunchen), the "made" people like the Agi/mori, and other humans like the Artmali.

There's a positive spin, which is that the Hsunchen are the only humans who recognise they have an evolutionary origin, knowing that they **are** animals, while others are rightly or wrongly arguing that they are special / superior. The negative spin is that the Hsunchen are consciously dehumanised by others, along with anyone who may have that in their ancestry. Several Hsunchen tribes, like the Tawari bull-people, appear to have been the victims of genocide.

So I think that's all fine as a story element, just as is the racist treatment of the Telmori in Sartar. But I think it's best to stay conscious of it, especially when it's repeated in game material. And having the non-Chaotic Telmori also present in Sartar, as @Ludovic aka Lordabdul suggests, is one way to do that, because it disrupts the normal narrative and adds complexity.

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14 minutes ago, Brian Duguid said:

Canonically, I think all the Hsunchen are described as human, albeit "born with minor differences from other humans" (GtG).

...

Several Hsunchen tribes, like the Tawari bull-people, appear to have been the victims of genocide.

There are plenty people with bull-totem background remaining in Fronela - few hill barbarians have different major totems, with the Jonating bear totem the biggest and most important exception.

A whole lot of Hykimi / Hsunchen people have been assimilated by Theyalan missionaries, Malkioni expansion or Kralori acculturation, with numerous rural and urban places retaining traits of those beast totem origins.

Expulsion from their ancestral territories into less favourable or even unsuitable territories has happened, too. Complete annihilation is rarer, but appears to have happened e.g. to the Kivitti elephant people of Karia. Whether to forces of the Second Council or of Arkat or of Chaos is another question.

Genocides as in death marches (emigrations with high losses due to attrition from malnourishment, thirst, cold etc) out of conquered territories have happened. The easternmost Pendali tribes of Old Seshnela packed up their mobile belongings, cursed the land they were forced to leave behind, and moved into the northern part of the lower Tanier Valley, the region of the Basmol ruins.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Yes, assimilation was more common amongst First Age Hsunchen peoples than being wiped out. Although other bull-people(s) existed, we are told that the gods of the defeated Tawari were bound into the Bull Gate in Valsburg. GtG has the Tawari as "forced out of" their land; but also has the Eleven Beasts Alliance as "virtually exterminated". I have in my notes that "none of the Tawari remained alive", but checking back now I can't find a source that goes quite that far, so my vivid imagination may have been at work!

Either way, the destruction of the Tawari fits the normal legal definition of genocide, which includes the concept of cultural genocide; destruction of a group's culture through spiritual and cultural destruction. Imprisoning their very gods fit with that, and I'm using the term in a polemical sense anyway, to emphasise the victim status of the Hsunchen (including the Telmori) when confronted with other Gloranthan civilizations.

Getting more than a little off-topic 🙂

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32 minutes ago, Brian Duguid said:

Yes, assimilation was more common amongst First Age Hsunchen peoples than being wiped out. Although other bull-people(s) existed, we are told that the gods of the defeated Tawari were bound into the Bull Gate in Valsburg. GtG has the Tawari as "forced out of" their land; but also has the Eleven Beasts Alliance as "virtually exterminated". I have in my notes that "none of the Tawari remained alive", but checking back now I can't find a source that goes quite that far, so my vivid imagination may have been at work!

Either way, the destruction of the Tawari fits the normal legal definition of genocide, which includes the concept of cultural genocide; destruction of a group's culture through spiritual and cultural destruction. Imprisoning their very gods fit with that, and I'm using the term in a polemical sense anyway, to emphasise the victim status of the Hsunchen (including the Telmori) when confronted with other Gloranthan civilizations.

Getting more than a little off-topic 🙂

Well, to bring it back to non-Chaotic Telmori, I think you can view "Pure Ones" as a kind of political football that gets kicked back and forth between being an attempt at respectability politics and being a justification for prejudice and violence. 

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

Eight Arms and the Mask

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1 hour ago, Eff said:

Well, to bring it back to non-Chaotic Telmori, I think you can view "Pure Ones" as a kind of political football that gets kicked back and forth between being an attempt at respectability politics and being a justification for prejudice and violence. 

Yes, they are talked about, but as they shun outsiders and are generally shy, and retiring, they can be regarded as cryptids. As such, good luck trying to join them, as they'd rather stick hot needles in their eyes, than have an outsider interfere in their shizzle.

and-like-that-hes-gone-the-usual-suspects.gif

Edited by Dogboy
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