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Definition of "Witch"


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What is the gloranthan definition of a witch?

I am aware of 4 individuals that are called witches: 

- Earth Witch
- Jakaleel the Witch
- Onelisin "Cat Witch"
- Cragspider the Fire Witch 

What do they have in common - besides the fact that they are identified as female - to call them witches?

A priest is a priest (= leader of divine worship), a shaman is a shaman (= leader of spirit worship), a sorcerer is a sorcerer (= professional user of manipulation of cosmic energy). 
Is witch = female weird magic user?

Edited by AndreJarosch
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Other witches include the Sister WItch of the Fonritans, Ezdene of the Kingdom of War, a Spolite Witch ancestor to the Yanariao-Illart clan, a Cannibal Witch in Kothar and a Lanetara who figues in Argrath's childhood.

Obviously being a practiced user of spirit magic figures into the definition whether it be harmful or shady is largely a matter of taste.  

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A lot of the individuals called witches in Dragon Pass seem to be Yinkin worshippers. 

Anywhere else an individual is called a witch a spirit worshipping (powerful spirit magic user) seems to be applied. 

Are these two distinct groups which are both called witches, without having much in common?

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female : very probably

shaman: probably

without a community to support: maybe


that's my idea: witch is a shaman (power) but has not the social role of a shaman (heal, protect, ...) the community.

they do what they want ( good way for yinkini shaman right ?)

that doesn't mean they cannot help. Just it is not a duty

that doesn't mean they don't have duty, they may have to follow their spirit society rules and hierarchy, just they don't have to manage spiritualy a clan

just my idea, no source to provide


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As a word, although it started ungendered it quickly became specifically feminine. Interestingly there are some hypothesis it actually represents a prosecuted religion, as the old gothic priests and priestesses go from holy, consecrated to sorcerers / sorceresses (Gothic Weihs). The Spolite witches may be a good example of this, as the denomination comes from their Carmanian enemies.

All examples we know in Glorantha follow the convention that they are female and usually not appreciated by the dominant reference culture. Even the cat witches I can imagine are women that do not fit in the orlanthi bloodline and clan structure, I suppose by being independent women living on their own, and using Yinkin as a cover for their own independence and solitude. I would expect Kolati shamans to be misogynist, following the storm typical gender roles. 

I would expect you will find sorcery using witches in the west, theist witches for unappreciated deities (I  would expect hidden Gorgorma priestesses in Peloria are called witches by the Yelmites, even if they are also sisters for the Dendarans) and of course female shamans that do not adapt to the normal power structure, in Prax, simply because they cannot be Waha shamans and they for some reason will not follow Eiritha's path. Therefore groups like the Star Witches.

With examples like Cragspider or Jakaleel, I assume some adopt the witch epithet as a challenge to their own society that has no formal place for them. So you can well have a character self defined as a witch, even if it is usually used by others. 

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