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The tower of the elephant in glorantha


Elcid321

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Hey there everyone. So, as the title implies, the theme of this thread is about placing the tower of the elephant, one of Conan the Barbarian most famous stories, into the setting of glorantha, and mainly, the so called elephant (who in the book, it's an alien). 

It would be the sorcerer and the tower are the easy part, as it would probably be placed somewhere in the Big Rubble, and the sorcerer would be a sorcerer.

But what about the "elephant"? Would it be a deity, trapped by a group of godlearners? What would be it's runes? And besides killing it like in the book, what else could be done? Would it be resurrected?

Have fun discussing it and using it for your games.

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If your Yara is a Godlearner, then the "elephant" could be his doom, held in check for centuries since the fall of the God Learners. Or you could make it like Bridge of Birds, in which a sorcerer achieved immortality by an unspeakable heroquest abuse. Liberating the elephant sets nature right (cue sorcerer crumbling into dust, or being carried off screaming, or whatever). So many options to choose from... 

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On 8/24/2022 at 5:27 AM, Elcid321 said:

But what about the "elephant"? Would it be a deity, trapped by a group of godlearners? What would be it's runes? And besides killing it like in the book, what else could be done? Would it be resurrected?

When I hear "elephant" in Glorantha, I immediately think of Teshnos.  On the other hand, when I think about the Tower of the Elephant, I generally think about how the mysterious dead alien from the original 1979 Alien movie looked like an elephant (due to what I assume was a breathing apparatus it died wearing, but with everything so biomechanical in appearance, who can tell?).

I think I would put the Tower of the Elephant in the ruins of Feroda or the ruins of Sog City in Prax.  Why?  Because lore-wise in 1220, the Teshnans had conducted expeditions along the Genertelan coastline.  The creature in question could be some sort of Elephant hsunchen spirit (like Harrek's white bear) trapped by a scumbag sorceror (possibly a Malkioni from the Western invasion of the Holy Country, or from God Forgot, etc.) who has figured out how to milk it for magic somehow.

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46 minutes ago, Darius West said:

When I hear "elephant" in Glorantha, I immediately think of Teshnos.  On the other hand, when I think about the Tower of the Elephant, I generally think about how the mysterious dead alien from the original 1979 Alien movie looked like an elephant (due to what I assume was a breathing apparatus it died wearing, but with everything so biomechanical in appearance, who can tell?).

I think I would put the Tower of the Elephant in the ruins of Feroda or the ruins of Sog City in Prax.  Why?  Because lore-wise in 1220, the Teshnans had conducted expeditions along the Genertelan coastline.  The creature in question could be some sort of Elephant hsunchen spirit (like Harrek's white bear) trapped by a scumbag sorceror (possibly a Malkioni from the Western invasion of the Holy Country, or from God Forgot, etc.) who has figured out how to milk it for magic somehow.

one thing that came to mind was the possibility of being a sort of minor deity, who, considering that in the novel it says that he was some former prince of an alien race that once rebelled against his own rulers, and that he ended up in earth, where he tried to teach the humans his secrets, but his apprentice (the sorcerer) betrayed him, and binded him to himself.

In this case, one idea is that maybe, he was a sort of deity, maybe of the solar pantheon, or maybe a powerful spirit, who upon seeing the chaos (without the bug C) of the godswar, he decided to take the opportunity to carve his own realm, but was defeated and hid himself, creating his own cult.

Later on, after the godtime, he would help create Nysalor, alongside the rest of the council, only to end up following him and becoming his apprentice. Of course, we all know how it ended up, once Arkat came up and kicked down the door. And so, again, he goes into hiding with his cult, this time, maybe in the west, where after some time, one of his apprentice, who would become a godlearner, betrays him, and bind him, and steal his powers.

Now, there's various things thay come to mind of what the characters can do, killing the sorcerer (hard, but possible) and stealing the power of the elephant for themselves, free him and let him go to the underworld, to so he can finally find some peace and quiet, or try to heal him, and maybe restart his cult.

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8 hours ago, Darius West said:

The creature in question could be some sort of Elephant hsunchen spirit (like Harrek's white bear) trapped by a scumbag sorceror (possibly a Malkioni from the Western invasion of the Holy Country, or from God Forgot, etc.) who has figured out how to milk it for magic somehow.

Well, the elephant Hsunchen (the Kivitti) are long-extinct, following the Nysalor/Gbaji war. Noting that one of the other extinct Hsunchen tribes, the Tawari, had their bull deities captured from them and bound into the Bull Gate in Valsburg (in Fronela) (as per Guide to Glorantha page 211), it's easy to imagine that the Kivitti elephant god was likewise captured and bound when that tribe was destroyed.

Runes would be Beast and perhaps Fertility or Earth. Could it be resurrected? Well, a campaign outline including a plot to free and bring back the bull god Tawar features in the excellent Jonstown Compendium book The Children of Hykim (page 123), so this would not be an entirely novel idea.

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The Silver best-selling The Children of Hykim offers over 150 pages on Glorantha's shape-changing totemic animal people, the Hsunchen. "Magisterial ... highly recommended" - Nick Brooke. "An amazing labor of love" - Evan Franke, Exploring Glorantha. "A deep dive" - Joerg Baumgartner. "Excellent sourcebook, well-written and well-researched" - Niall Sullivan.

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6 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

Well, the elephant Hsunchen (the Kivitti) are long-extinct, following the Nysalor/Gbaji war. Noting that one of the other extinct Hsunchen tribes, the Tawari, had their bull deities captured from them and bound into the Bull Gate in Valsburg (in Fronela) (as per Guide to Glorantha page 211), it's easy to imagine that the Kivitti elephant god was likewise captured and bound when that tribe was destroyed.

So, to continue with the Conan motif, set the adventure in one of the cities in Safelster. They're not well fleshed out yet, so lots of room for your own imaginings. The tower is the abode of a Godlearner (like EricW suggested) or a sorcerer who walks their path. The elephant is a captured and bound Kivitti hero or godling, who's being used by the sorcerer as a tool for exploring the God Plane, etc.. Make it even more decadent by saying that the sorcerer, over time, developed a serious hazia habit and now spends his time in a haze of hallucinogenic smoke ("Black lotus! Stygian - the best!"), leaving his captive to rot. A strange magician's tower in the middle of a packed sword and sorcery-style city; where the occupant hasn't been seen for years, but still employs guards and purchases the best hazia regularly (sometimes with strange old coins)? What foolhardy adventurer wouldn't be interested?!

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19 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

Well, the elephant Hsunchen (the Kivitti) are long-extinct.

Then a special Kivitti spirit of this kind is all the more important and fitting imo.  It is more in keeping with the Tower of the Elephant idea Elcid321 was proposing.  The 'elephant' of the story was an alien, but the spirit of an extinct Hsunchen people is just as good. 

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Type it all up, add the right credits, boom, publish on the Jonstown Compendium.

I've done the cover.

kvetner_ancient_ivory_Tower_decorated_with_tusks_with_stormy_ba_f19ae92e-e31f-471b-bd8d-c409706c4cda.png

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--

The Silver best-selling The Children of Hykim offers over 150 pages on Glorantha's shape-changing totemic animal people, the Hsunchen. "Magisterial ... highly recommended" - Nick Brooke. "An amazing labor of love" - Evan Franke, Exploring Glorantha. "A deep dive" - Joerg Baumgartner. "Excellent sourcebook, well-written and well-researched" - Niall Sullivan.

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13 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

Type it all up, add the right credits, boom, publish on the Jonstown Compendium.

I've done the cover.

kvetner_ancient_ivory_Tower_decorated_with_tusks_with_stormy_ba_f19ae92e-e31f-471b-bd8d-c409706c4cda.png

Wow, this is an amazing painting, and yeah, i can try my hand at making a jonstown compendium adventure.

 

On 8/25/2022 at 1:27 PM, Beoferret said:

So, to continue with the Conan motif, set the adventure in one of the cities in Safelster. They're not well fleshed out yet, so lots of room for your own imaginings. The tower is the abode of a Godlearner (like EricW suggested) or a sorcerer who walks their path. The elephant is a captured and bound Kivitti hero or godling, who's being used by the sorcerer as a tool for exploring the God Plane, etc.. Make it even more decadent by saying that the sorcerer, over time, developed a serious hazia habit and now spends his time in a haze of hallucinogenic smoke ("Black lotus! Stygian - the best!"), leaving his captive to rot. A strange magician's tower in the middle of a packed sword and sorcery-style city; where the occupant hasn't been seen for years, but still employs guards and purchases the best hazia regularly (sometimes with strange old coins)? What foolhardy adventurer wouldn't be interested?!

I don't know much about safelster. Any place where i might read more on it?

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6 hours ago, Elcid321 said:

I don't know much about safelster. Any place where i might read more on it?

The best (and almost only) place to do so is the Guide to Glorantha, mainly the last chapter of Volume 1. It is a place where a culture of civilized Orlanthi descended from a horse god have been ruled by the Stygian Empire, adopting Malkioni ways to varying degrees, were conquered by the God Learners and then rose against them when Halwal the dissident God Learner sorcerer re-awakened as many Arkati secrets as he could. It is a place of city-states around a sizeable lake, with fleets of warships and merchant ships plying the lake and the two main rivers feeding it.

The western half of Safelster is being conquered by the Kingdom of Tanisor / Seshnela, with a Rokari holy war mission to stamp out heretical (i.e. different from theirs) Malkioni ways. North and east are less civilized Orlanthi doing their thing, with the Chariot of Lightning cult, a Henotheistic movement combining Arkati Hrestolism with Orlanthi theism dominating the northern part, also expanding into eastern Safelster, and a Nightmare sorcerer in the middle distracted by possession, but possibly dealing with that any day now, and then able to turn his attention on his neighbors.

In other words, a mess of religious and political intrigue, a hotbed of mercenary companies switching allegiance and religious zealots running amok. A fun place to adventure.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interestingly the powers that be have hinted that rather than the Renaissance lite of Safelster in RQ3 Genertela, Safelster is the right place to have all those Conan or Lieber urban adventures, with husky barbarians working as mercenaries among the decadent and weak civilized people, living with the wonders and ruins  of the most powerful empires the world has known, with secret societies and thieving organizations everywhere, and with plenty of menaces around (predatory kingdoms, chaos sorcerers, barbarian hordes...).

Probably the only place you can have a Shaman, a Sword and a Sorcerer go into a bar without it being a joke.

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