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Balazaring Clans Question


GMKen

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I noticed while going through the clan lists (which I’ve divvied up by their ‘allied’ citadels) that there are a number of clan names which bear some similarities to hsunchen tribes.

What got me started was the Black Lion clan, associated with Dykene.  It got me thinking of the Basmoli, and an old RQ2 adventure “The Hide of the Ancestor” from White Dwarf #74, which notes that “there are a total of twenty-six tribes of Ithilian-Fane, of both plains and mountain variety, scattered around Prax, Dragon Pass, Balazar, the Elder Wilds, Dorastor and Talastar”.  So I got to wondering if there might be some kind of association between the Basmoli/Ithilian-Fane and the Black Lion clan.  (Which would conveniently allow me to drop the scenario in near the Troll Hills north of Dykene)

Then I noted the Blue Bear clan, of which the Well of Daliath notes there is a Blue Bear hsunchen, the Orenrar.  Then I got to wondering about Grey Wolf clan and the Telmori.  Then there’s the Tiger clan.  Could there be Hsa hanging around in Balazar/Elder Wilds with the Aldryami?

The Hsunchen aren’t really explored in the original Griffin Mountain, but I have to wonder if from a Gloranthan standpoint there might be some deeper association between the clans and their hsunchen namesakes.  Prior peregrinations preceding permanent presence?

Also, what’s the deal with 20 clans and 10 hearths?  There’s no association noted between clans (or citadels) and particular hearths, so there’s a fair amount of winging it.  I get that the clan names came from an old magazine article, Pegasus IIRC, and taking a closer look I see that most of the clan names are for creatures found in the Encounters table.  But a couple, like those I noted and River Snake (elasmosaur?), Tree Ghost (linked to the great tree that was destroyed?) and White Goat (?, something non-broo-y?) just aren’t as intuitive as Crocodile clan or Barking Deer clan.

Any insight would be appreciated.

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It was always said explicitly that Balazaring clans were not Hsunchen so I wouldn't lean too far into linking them together, especially given their attachment to their dogs (they are allies rather than the same "species").  However, having said that having the odd link from a totem spirit to a Hsunchen tribe could provide a cool adventure so why not?  I'd make it the exception rather than the rule though.

I came back to Balazar last year after a long break (I ran a 10-year GM campaign way back when) and saw the addition of the clan list - I liked the idea, but like you found the names and alliances a bit random, so I changed a few things around and generated names I found more appropriate.  Plus I added quite a few more as the population of Balazar exploded by a factor of 10 when the Guide was released (Fire Jay, Moss Fox, Bone Snake etc etc - I have a Big List).

(IMG I put the Tree Ghost clan down near the Old Tree hearth, because another revelation from the Guide (for me) was the sudden appearance of a horde of Aldryami in High Wood and the surrounding hills (never any mention of this in GM as I recall 🙂 ) - so that comes into play when the elves re-populate the area later in the game).

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5 hours ago, GMKen said:

Also, what’s the deal with 20 clans and 10 hearths?  

Since Balazar has a population of 130,000, each clan would have to have something like 6,500 people which seems like a lot.  There's really two options:

  • Assume the clans are really tribes grown large through pig-herding, or
  • Assume the clans are really the clans in and around the citadels, who have declared a tribal relationship) and that there are many more clans than those listed.

If the later, then the Citadels would have twenty clans between them (Balazar has 5000 urban so the twenty clans might have 50,000 total).  The hearths might then be small towns of pig farmers (the map's not inaccurate - they were clan hearths the last time any outsider looked), being the center for 8,000 balazarings each (pig farmers and more traditional hunter-gatherers), being loosely organized into groups of 20 clans (average clan size ~400 GM p15)

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Anaxial's Roster gave a couple of deities different from your God Learner pantheon for the beasts of Peloria. The Gods Wall lion god is Durbaddath, and the Gods Wall explanatory text gives Votank as a son of the lion god and the goat goddess.

The Basmoli lion has been described as an immigrant to western and southern Genertela, originating in Pamaltela (or near the Spike).

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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8 hours ago, GMKen said:

Also, what’s the deal with 20 clans and 10 hearths?  There’s no association noted between clans (or citadels) and particular hearths, so there’s a fair amount of winging it.  I get that the clan names came from an old magazine article, Pegasus IIRC, and taking a closer look I see that most of the clan names are for creatures found in the Encounters table.  But a couple, like those I noted and River Snake (elasmosaur?), Tree Ghost (linked to the great tree that was destroyed?) and White Goat (?, something non-broo-y?) just aren’t as intuitive as Crocodile clan or Barking Deer clan.

You have to think nomadic hunter-gatherers here in relation to the hearths.  The hearths are not permanent settlements, they are gathering places.

During certain seasons the clans are widely disseminated, during other seasons they come together at the hearths.  It's not unreasonable for multiple clans to gather at a given hearth as that presents opportunity to marry outside the clan, trade, exchange news, participate in important rituals, etc.  (And it's also an opportunity to have fights or feuds to liven up the story!)

As for the clan names, some things to consider:

  • River Snake - Gloranthan rivers are often called snakes or serpents (see any of the myths about the Oslir, Nestendos/Aroka, or even the Writhing Writhers of Prax).  The Arcos which flows out of the Elf Sea northward, if I recall, has a similar myth (maybe in the Guide?).
  • Tree Ghost - any vanished/vanquished tree could have a ghost.  Whether it is of the Great Tree that was destroyed or another Tree doesn't particularly matter, but seems like they'd have some association with the elves.
  • White Goat - not all goats are broo-associated!  Imther, Vanch, and Kostaddi all have ancient associations with goat herding.  There are likely feral goats that have wandered into Balazar from those regions and mountain goats from the Rockwoods even if there are not native wild goats.
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My assumption is that the hearths are gathering places not settlements, a place for meetings and festivals not mundane living.  But you’re still going to run into the issue of clans wanting to exercise a “superior” claim over a holy site versus other nearby clans.

I had also forgotten about the massive increase in population.  Now I need to rethink the military capabilities of the citadels, currently shown as:

Elkoi - 30 warriors/50 hunters

Trilus - 160 warriors/100 hunters

Dykene - 30 warriors/100 hunters

Kind of anemic given the new population figures.

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