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Tuskers and Tusk Riders


Agentorange

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The bestiary gives us some info on these iconic foes for Runequest and there is of course the Cult of the Bloody Tusk for various RQ editions.

I was wondering what other deities ( if any ) do tusk riders worship ?

The CBT does seem to be weird mashup of a cult: part hero worship, part demon worship, part weird ancester worship. Are there strong shamanic components to Tusk Rider society, other heroes that they worship ?

EDIT with the connection to Gouger the pig there's almost an ultra violent earth cult feel to them, and a hint of hsunchen in there. Are  Boar hsunchen a thing ?

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58 minutes ago, Agentorange said:

I was wondering what other deities ( if any ) do tusk riders worship ?

AFAIK in the First Age, the Aram Ya Udram was an Orlanthi Hero and was on the Unity Council and was around to be present for the forming of the Second Council.  His people became the Aramites.  Aram Ya Udram is known to have slain Gouger, and also to have captured a darkness demon during the Greater Darkness.  From these illustrious origins they subsequently fell, perhaps worshiping the darkness demon Aram captured for short term military advantage in a time of need.

We know that the Ivory Plinth, the axis of the riders is formed from the tusks of Gouger.  It seems that they joined with the trolls, becoming half-trolls, likely during the Second Age, as Tusk Riders are mentioned fighting against the Machine God's worshippers in the Clanking City.  We don't know what precipitated this change, but it allowed them to survive the Dragonkill, as they weren't human.

The Tusk Riders live in the Stinking Forest, which is unquestionably Aldryami territory, and we can hardly assume that they would have good relations with the elves.  The Stinking forest is not teeming with arable land either.  We can assume therefore that the Tusk Riders hunt, but they don't have any hunter deities as hunter deities often teach Peaceful Cut, which is antithetical to the Bloody Cut taught by the Cult of the Bloody Tusk.  Likely they ride down and gore or trample or impale their prey, be it sentient or beast. From memory Zorak Zoran has little hate for the Tusk Riders, and it is possible that Argan Argar merchants trade with them.  For the most part, however, they appear an unspeakably cruel folk much given to torture (Ikadz?) and utterly disposed to the fanatical worship of a single cult.

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4 hours ago, Agentorange said:

hsunchen in there. Are  Boar hsunchen a thing

Yes, the boar Hsunchen are the Mraloti. Aram ya-Udram's relationship to them is unclear, but he'll surely have met them when he invaded their lands with Vathmai early in the Dawn Age.

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--

The Silver best-selling The Children of Hykim documents 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. "Lovingly detailed and scholarly, and fun to read" - John H.

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

I normally have Zorak Zoran as a good war cult for them.

That seems reasonable enough - was the un named darkness demon some aspect of Zorak Zoran do you think ? There certainly seems to be a common tendency towards cruelty and violence. Did ZZ have any brothers and sisters with similiar behaviour.

I like my notion of some kind of ultra violent earth connection beyond Gouger:

Babeester Gor
Maran Gor
Ana Gor - goddess of death and sacrifice, the whole Tusk rider thing almost feels like a weird perversion of this

and now.......

Pepa Gor. 😁

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6 hours ago, Darius West said:

and we can hardly assume that they would have good relations with the elves.

Actually, there is no reason to think they have bad relations with the elves.  Consider, the Tusk Riders like blood sacrifices, eat meat (presumably), and go on great raids against surrounding foes.  The tuskers will eat various fungi, mushrooms, seeds, etc.  But their dung may well encourage new growth in the forests, and their pathways may rip up strangling vines and the like.

As long as they aren't burning and chopping down the forests, the Tusk Riders would actually benefit the elves, and this may be something of a symbiotic relationship at this point.

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I would say that if the Tusk Riders worship any other deities, it would be along the same level of the Agrimori and Foundchild.... The Cult of the Bloody Tusk holds so much power over them that any other influence is almost trivial. That doesn't mean there aren't any other cults, of course.

It might be germane to note that Tusk Riders are reasonably friendly with Darkness cults, so just imagine how much 'fun' a Tusk warband would be with a bunch Zorak Zorans in it....

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Now, given my comment about Ana Gor and how the CBT seems almost to be a strangely distorted version of this I find it interesting that one of Ana Gors affinities in the Hero Wars supplement Storm Tribe is Appease Earth, and the CBT has a rune spell of the same name.......

Edited by Agentorange
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For such an iconic enemy they are quite one-dimensional. This is my own shallow take.

I suspect Aram really created a cult of violent earth, and the Appease earth and the Tuskers come from it. However somewhere in the ages they mixed with trolls and became a darker cult, though they kept some Earth links as otherwise they would lose access to the Tuskers.

To be in a band you need to be a member of the Bloody Tusk. Otherwise you are a slave or food. I would expect some exceptional individuals will also initiate in other cults, but I doubt they have much more than shrines to those deities. Despite being unpleasant, we have to accept they are hired by all Dragon Pass factions at one time or another, so each band may have some Maran Gor, Zorak Zoran and maybe Zong / Foundchild initiates. Humakt's limitations make it difficult that they can mix it with the Bloody Tusk. If there are enough Maran Gor cultists there could be also a Babeester Gor shrine. 

I consider they are neutral with the elves, and the elves prefer them as cohabitants than the continuous warfare with the trolls of past times. So as long as they appease the Earth often, they are tolerated in the woods, another reason why they have proved impossible to eradicate. 

We seldom see female Turk Riders, yet they must reproduce. Aram was male, but most Darkness and Earth deities are strongly female oriented. So I suppose there are hidden villages in the forest. If it is only the males who join the Bloody Tusk, then there could be a strong force of Maran Gor and Red Aldrya (their Aldrya variant) worship. Another explnation why they are safe in the forest. Add Xiola Umbar, possibly Xentha, and you may have a working mercenary society, though a quite bloody one.

As mercenaries, they surely are open to trade and there are well known, safe ways to approach them. I suspect the actual negotiation will be with a canny female rather than the bloodthirsty band chiefs.

 

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1 hour ago, JRE said:

We seldom see female Turk Riders, yet they must reproduce.

One of the Tusk Riders in the adventure "Defending Apple Lane" in the Adventure Book that came with the Gamemaster Screen Pack is female, and is an initiate of the Bloody Tusk.  (She's even plotting to usurp the leadership of the band.)  So apparently it's not just the males who join the Bloody Tusk.  Granted, that only one of the eight Tusk Riders in that band is female might suggest that there are far more males than females in the cult, but then again that's only one band, and may not be representative.

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5 minutes ago, Jex said:

One of the Tusk Riders in the adventure "Defending Apple Lane" in the Adventure Book that came with the Gamemaster Screen Pack is female, and is an initiate of the Bloody Tusk.  (She's even plotting to usurp the leadership of the band.)  So apparently it's not just the males who join the Bloody Tusk.  Granted, that only one of the eight Tusk Riders in that band is female might suggest that there are far more males than females in the cult, but then again that's only one band, and may not be representative.

IMG they are the rulers based at the temple, sending raiding bands out for slaves and loot.

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On 11/27/2022 at 6:53 PM, Brian Duguid said:

Yes, the boar Hsunchen are the Mraloti. Aram ya-Udram's relationship to them is unclear, but he'll surely have met them when he invaded their lands with Vathmai early in the Dawn Age.

You know I'd completely forgotten about the Mraloti. I wonder what they think of Tusk Riders ?

EDIT The RQG bestiary states that while most Tusk Riders in or around the Stinking Forest some do live in maniria. Which is where the Mraloti live. Do they see each other as kindred spirits....or are they bitter enemies each seeing the other as a blasphemous distortion of the true porcine way ?

 

Edited by Agentorange
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17 hours ago, Agentorange said:

You know I'd completely forgotten about the Mraloti. I wonder what they think of Tusk Riders ?

EDIT The RQG bestiary states that while most Tusk Riders in or around the Stinking Forest some do live in maniria. Which is where the Mraloti live. Do they see each other as kindred spirits....or are they bitter enemies each seeing the other as a blasphemous distortion of the true porcine way ?

Note that Aram ya-Udram himself was noted as a boar-rider, not as a boar-person. The "pure" Mraloti consider themselves to be boar in human form, as with most Hsunchen. Depending on the source you read, they have a god-ancestor called either Mralot or Mralota (the forthcoming Cults book(s) has been stated as featuring Mralota). One branch of the pre-Dawn Mraloti had become the Entruli, who seem to have been a more civilised lot compared to their "pure" Hsunchen kin. Aram ya-Udram aided the Vathmai to bring their Lightbringer culture to the Entruli, and to then unite them against common foes, such as the Pralori.

Unless the Tusk Riders acknowledge themselves to have a boar soul descended from Mralota (and that seems very unlikely), then they are other. There are "degenerate" Mraloti living in Maniria who I believe have taken up some form of agriculture, as well as "pure" tribes. I'd expect them to recognise each other as kin, because they both presumably still recognise descent from Mralota.

It's also worth noting that there are people in Ramalia who worship Zorak Zoran, and I do wonder whether that relates in any way to the Aram ya-Udram's involvement with a "darkness demon".

--

The Silver best-selling The Children of Hykim documents 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. "Lovingly detailed and scholarly, and fun to read" - John H.

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On 11/28/2022 at 8:34 AM, jajagappa said:

Actually, there is no reason to think they have bad relations with the elves.  Consider, the Tusk Riders like blood sacrifices, eat meat (presumably), and go on great raids against surrounding foes.  The tuskers will eat various fungi, mushrooms, seeds, etc.  But their dung may well encourage new growth in the forests, and their pathways may rip up strangling vines and the like.

As long as they aren't burning and chopping down the forests, the Tusk Riders would actually benefit the elves, and this may be something of a symbiotic relationship at this point.

Trolls eat elves. Tusk riders are half trolls.  Elves bleed. Why wouldn't Tusk Riders hunt and torture them ?  They scream.

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3 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

Note that Aram ya-Udram himself was noted as a boar-rider, not as a boar-person.

SNIP

It's also worth noting that there are people in Ramalia who worship Zorak Zoran, and I do wonder whether that relates in any way to the Aram ya-Udram's involvement with a "darkness demon".

interesting that the Entruli essay suggests right near the end that Aram ya -Udram might have been descended from or related to the Entruli in some fashion

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1 hour ago, Agentorange said:

interesting that the Entruli essay suggests right near the end that Aram ya -Udram might have been descended from or related to the Entruli in some fashion

The essay states that Aram was friends with Vathmai, a tribal founder of the Entruli and a lover of the Silver Age Queen of Nochet (effectively the direct successor of Norinel who led her city folk into the Obsidian Palace, that queen led the return from the Shadow Plateau into the walls of Nochet). That makes him Entruli-adjacent, all right.

The Dawn Survival sites talks about the Harandings at Mralothenyi, whose nobles (only) ride Tusker boars.

As I tried to lay out in the Tusk Rider episode I suspect that Aram and his followers were nobles of the Harandings when he hunted down Gouger the God Pig.

That may have happened in the Silver Age, but I think it might just as well have happened very shortly after the Dawn. Reasons:

  • For Ernalda to send an avenging boar she needs to be active and worshipped again which (canonically) only happened within Time. The Silver Age is a gray area in this regard, no longer cyclical Godtime but not quite yet linear Time.
  • The Entruli further west did anger deities including the land, creating the Mournsea shown on the Second Age map of Maniria. This transgression might be the one punished by sending out Gouger. However. these things happened a year or so after the Dawn.
  • The problem with this rather elegant "Gouger immediately after the Dawn" concept is the Dawn Survival site of the Ivory Plinth proudly displaying the tusk of Gouger... But then, how exact are these "census at the dawn" dates?

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 11/30/2022 at 7:16 AM, Darius West said:

Trolls eat elves. Tusk riders are half trolls.  Elves bleed. Why wouldn't Tusk Riders hunt and torture them ?  They scream.

I think the hypothesis was based off of "Tuskers & Tusk Riders living in forests" (as refugia from humans exterminating them).

If it's an Elf forest, they wouldn't hunt & torture the elves because the elves would wipe them out; the presumed Earth-Priestess female Tusk-Riders would have a working mutuality with the Elves.

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9 hours ago, g33k said:

I think the hypothesis was based off of "Tuskers & Tusk Riders living in forests" (as refugia from humans exterminating them).

If it's an Elf forest, they wouldn't hunt & torture the elves because the elves would wipe them out; the presumed Earth-Priestess female Tusk-Riders would have a working mutuality with the Elves.

There aren't actually that many elves in the Stinking Forest, because Crabspider's trolls have been using them as a vegie patch for years.

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I have never found much need for them to worship anything other than the Bloody Tusk, which is already a pretty good war god, and with some overlap with ZZ anyway. Pain Tooth, Fear, and Seal Wound is pretty good. 

And note that in RQG, their chronically low Charisma means they can know very little spirit magic (though their access to useful combat spirit magic is otherwise very good). But luckily they have an easy obvious solution to this problem, through the Bloody Tusk - Death Binding. I think they will even Death Bind each other in lethal dominance duels etc. So I think they not only almost universally join the Bloody Tusk, but tend to invest extra POW in Death Binding defeated enemies, and keeping collections of severed hands etc. 

I was a player in a campaign with Tusk Riders as enemies, they make great campaign villains because they are SO hateable. They captured my Babeestor Gor PC by casting Sleep, that they could cast because they had captured and murdered and Death Bound a Chalana Arrow healer. Then they cast Seal Wound and tortured her nearly to death - the Seal Wound meant she could not be healed and was incapacitated and in pain for a season. My Hate (Tusk Riders) passion got pretty high - then I fumbled it on the last battle against them, and fled. Luckily when I had a chance to collect myself, I realised Babeester Gor provides a way to counteract the demoralising effect of a fumbled Passion - Berserk. 

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