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Homelands and Cultural Traditions – character generation work-in-progress for Esrolia


AlexS

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In @Nevermet’s thread about Manirian Homelands there was an interesting discussion about what a Homeland actually is, and what it means for character generation. I suggested in that thread that rather than the region where they live, it makes more sense for chargen variations in Rune and skill modifiers to be associated with an adventurer’s cultural tradition.

In the Kethaelan campaign in which I’ve been playing, Esrolian adventurers belong to Houses (instead of Clans) and each House follows a Cultural Tradition named after the ‘Blessing’ that enabled it to survive the Darkness and prosper in subsequent generations. This is inspired by @jajagappa’s work on Nochet Houses, as well as the Stafford Library volume Esrolia: Land of Ten Thousand Goddesses. The Cultural Traditions are associated with specific Goddesses, in most cases Ernalda but sometimes another of the Six Sisters (Delaina, Delaeo, Esrola, Maran or Orana), one of the Grandmother Deities (Asrelia or Ty Hora Tek), the Law-Giving Goddess (Imarja) or the Land Goddess (Ketha). They also favour some associated deities – for Ernaldan Houses this is usually a Husband Protector god (e.g. Argan Argar for the Shadow-Blessed Earth Cultural Tradition or Magasta for the Sea-Blessed Earth Cultural Tradition).

We have used the Cultural Traditions idea to replace the bonuses that the RQG rulebook assigns at the regional level (e.g. South Esrolians getting Earth Rune +5% and Farm +10%) and also to suggest possible alternative cults, different localised types of Warrior experience, etc.

We have boiled it down to 20 ‘core’ Esrolian Cultural Traditions (though there could easily be one for each of Esrolia’s 200 Enfranchised Houses). These are summarised in the attached table.

The table links Cultural Traditions to suggested RQG Occupations, though we don’t include Bandit, Thief, Noble and Assistant Shaman. If players are interested in an Esrolian shaman path, we highly recommend they look at the Wild Man Tradition, as evoked by @Crel in To Hunt a God.

Feedback on this initial summary is very welcome! In particular: 

(1) playability – does the Cultural Traditions concept (which is designed to apply in the same way to other Homelands besides Esrolia) work for bringing additional local variation into RQG chargen in a playable way?

(2) lore-compatibility – do the 20 different Cultural Traditions (‘Blessings’) that we’ve listed in the table provide an adequate player-friendly summary of what the lore says about some of the key things that give Esrolia its uniqueness and diversity as a potential Homeland for adventurers?

Esrolian Cultural Traditions character creation table.pdf

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While this isn’t how I’d do it, I personally much prefer the regional modifiers over an abstracted divine inheritance, if you do want to do this I’d absolutely not do the characteristic bonuses and stick to skills and runes.

Also, I would say replace Hedkoranth with Helemakt for Rain clans and Helemakt with Humakt for the death-y ones. Helemakt is Heler as a warrior, he isn’t very death-y.

Edited by hipsterinspace
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15 hours ago, hipsterinspace said:

I personally much prefer the regional modifiers over an abstracted divine inheritance

Thanks @hipsterinspace – but the problem we were trying to deal with was that it was the regional allocation of modifiers that felt 'abstracted' to us! Why should all South Esrolians (apart from those who live in Rhigos) get Earth +5%, Farm +10% when the region includes not just the Malthin Valley farming breadbaskets but also places like Dizbos, set in forested hills with a strong Manirian presence?

15 hours ago, hipsterinspace said:

I’d absolutely not do the characteristic bonuses and stick to skills and runes

You're completely right here: on revisiting the existing regional modifiers they don't include characteristics, so this does risk unbalancing chargen a lot compared to RAW.

15 hours ago, hipsterinspace said:

I would say replace Hedkoranth with Helemakt for Rain clans and Helemakt with Humakt for the death-y ones

Another good point – it does make more sense to have Helemakt as the Noble Brother for the Rain-Blessed Earth. We included Hedkoranth because he gets a big profile in Land of 10k goddesses as the war god of the levies from pastoral regions, which also tend to be strongly Heler-influenced, but he isn't actually a Noble Brother (the Orlanth-alike Noble Brother is Harasarl) so it's not essential to include him. 

The basic problem we're struggling with is how to map chargen-relevant lore aspects onto a range of possibilities that isn't too broad to be playable. Sometimes two lore associations overlap (as rain associations and herding associations do) to the point where you have to choose one and leave the other out... anyway, many thanks for the help in thinking this through!

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3 hours ago, AlexS said:

the problem we were trying to deal with was that it was the regional allocation of modifiers that felt 'abstracted' to us! Why should all South Esrolians (apart from those who live in Rhigos) get Earth +5%, Farm +10% when the region includes not just the Malthin Valley farming breadbaskets but also places like Dizbos, set in forested hills with a strong Manirian presence?

The answer that seems apparent to me is that it broadly maps to the way of life that the people there follow. As you say, most of South Esrolia is a breadbasket, these are agrarian communities where everyone in some way participates in the planting and harvesting, where the fields and the earth rites act as the substrate of the community. To me the answer here would be for those Manirian populated areas to have their own modifiers representing their way of life and geography, maybe giving them the same modifiers as the Manirian descended Haradlaro of Longsi Land would make the most sense here.

I think tying it to blessings from before time downplays much of the cosmopolitan character of Esrolia in favor of something less concrete, but I don’t want to insult your vision. The easiest way to adapt it would be to apply these sorts of things to cities, which cults are included in their Ernalda temples as husbands, who receives special veneration.

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1 hour ago, hipsterinspace said:

I think tying it to blessings from before time downplays much of the cosmopolitan character of Esrolia in favor of something less concrete, but I don’t want to insult your vision.

No insult taken! The whole point of posting here in the first place was to stress-test the Cultural Traditions idea we developed for our campaign, by asking for feedback from the tribe on whether it could be usefully applied to Esrolia in particular and to RQG character generation in general. Flagging issues with it in the way you have done, whether those issues are lore-related, design-related or both, is really helpful.

We still want to find a way to build 'the cosmopolitan character of Esrolia' into chargen, and as you say it might be a good idea to start with the specific Husband Protector deity favoured by that city's version of Ernalda (would that be Argan Argar for Nochet?), or the tutelary Goddess of a given city (e.g. Delaina for Rhigos or Asrelia for Helerdon) if it isn't Ernalda. 

Either way, we need to move beyond the generic 'region' level for Rune and skill modifiers in RQG chargen because the regions are so heterogenous – so maybe going one level down from the region, to the city territory in Esrolia or the tribal territory in Sartar, is the way to do it?

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Here is another version of the table, revised to correct some issues with balance and lore-appropriateness (thanks to @hipsterinspace for flagging these).

In this version, still sticking with the Cultural Traditions idea (at least for now), the chargen variation possibilities are sorted by RQG Occupation. 

This is intended to help beginner RQG players wanting to run an Esrolian adventurer to identify other options beyond the hackneyed ‘sexy Ernaldan’ and ‘scary Babeester’ stereotypes. We do acknowledge that Chaosium is trying to broaden the range of examples in its own offerings (e.g. with Narres Runepainter, the pregen Helering Eurmali from the Starter Set, and Gina Gravedancer, Claudia Loroff’s Ty Kora Tek character in the White Bull Campaign), but that still leaves so many possibilities unrepresented. 

It looks like it will be a long time till we have a definitive Chaosium treatment (unless @jajagappa has news of release of the Nochet book being imminent?), and in the mean time we think that a lot of RQG campaigns will be missing out on the full potential of Esrolia as a Homeland.

The idea with this version of the table is to illustrate how players who are new to Glorantha have the option of starting with the generic character type they want for their Esrolian adventurer and deriving their Cultural Tradition and associated modifiers from that, because most of the RQG Occupations (except for Assistant Shaman, Bandit, Noble, Priest and Thief) are identified with at least one Cultural Tradition in the table. For example:

·       Player A wants to play a bard type, so they go with Entertainer; the table suggests a Donandar worshipper from a Song-Blessed House (giving them Harmony Rune +10% and Sing +10%). 

·       Player B wants to play a backwoods type, so they go with Hunter; the table suggests a Foundchild worshipper from a Forest-Blessed House (giving them Beast Rune +10% and Bow +10%). 

·       Player C wants to play a trader type, so they go with Merchant; the table suggests two options, an Argan Argar worshipper from a Shadow-Blessed House (giving them Darkness Rune +10% and 1H Spear +10%), or an Issaries worshipper from a Fortune-Blessed House (giving them Mobility Rune +10% and Charm +10%).

For shamanic types, we don’t think the main Cultural Traditions are so relevant because these are adventurers who have chosen to forsake civilised Esrolian life and walk on the wild side (as noted in a previous post, we think this is really well covered by @Crel’s version of the Wild Man Tradition in To Hunt a God). 

We have done some work on urban Esrolian versions of the Bandit and Thief Occupations, but they are not associated with Cultural Traditions because those are linked to Houses – and generally bandits and thieves will have lost their right to the protection of a House (making them ‘Loners’, in the language used in Land of 10k Goddesses). 

In the case of the Nobles and Priest(esse)s, we simply assumed that these Occupation categories could apply to any of the Cultural Traditions, as they will describe the families of the leading members of the House (who will usually be the High Priestesses of the patron deities).

Finally, it’s worth noting that almost all of the Cultural Traditions have a warrior aspect, even when Warrior isn’t the default Occupation. Sometimes this is linked to the Husband Protector deity venerated by the House (which is useful for allowing Esrolian adventurers to follow ‘foreign’ deities like Orlanth). Most often it is one of the Noble Brother (sub)cults, representing aspects of the unruly male war deities domesticated by the Grandmothers to make them more suitable for Esrolian men doing militia service.

We have done some work on the different background experience types that the militia / Noble Brother cults provide for adventurers (this is our attempt to apply to RQG chargen the descriptions of Esrolian military units from @Martin’s Armies and Enemies). We think this is useful because it allows for military experience to be combined with another occupation rather than requiring membership of a full-time warrior cult like Babs, Humakt or Kimantor (the military wing of the Esrolian Argan Argar cult). 

It’s worth bearing in mind that (thanks to Greymane, the Lunars and the Wolf Pirates), for all its emphasis on farming and trading, Esrolia is a Homeland that has also pretty much been on a permanent war footing for two decades. 

Hopefully this approach will also offer more scope for male or nonbinary Esrolian characters whose opportunities for social mobility are limited in a matriarchal society, and offset the ‘Esrolian adventurers won’t be any good in a fight unless they are Babeester axe maidens’ bias of the default RQG presentation.

Esrolian Cultural Traditions in character creation – by Occupation (rev).pdf

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Something to keep in mind is something like 85% of Esrolians still follow Orlanth and Ernalda in some form, and there are many (hundreds of) forms of each great god, but the population is just so big that the other 15% has serious numbers and a lot of diversity.

With that said, Orlanth is far from foreign, he has his hill in Nochet and even in the city proper there  are shrines, he is the air above the land, but he is not the sovereign in the land where his wife is Queen. Orlanth is to a great degree Ernalda’s primary husband, in a sense her universal husband: while her many other husbands are important in some places and among some peoples, Orlanth is the constant. Barntar is the biggest men’s cult, largely coincident with Orlanth Thunderous magically and mythically. He is worshipped for his power and utility as an agricultural god, though as a Thunder Brother he still provides some magic for use in the militia.

There are a lot of cults that are present in Esrolia that are foreign, insofar as they don’t have temples or a history of veneration. They don’t really have Foundchild natively, that’s a Prax and Balazar thing, but he might be present among Praxian mercenaries. Similarly, Storm Bull isn’t widely worshipped in Esrolia either, but the huge influx of refugees and mercenaries from Dragon Pass likely brought with it more than a few of his worshippers.

This thread and especially this in it might be useful to you. There are also some really good notes on Esrolia in the Third Age on Well of Daliath.

Edited by hipsterinspace
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3 hours ago, hipsterinspace said:

Something to keep in mind is something like 85% of Esrolians still follow Orlanth and Ernalda in some form, and there are many (hundreds of) forms of each great god, but the population is just so big that the other 15% has serious numbers and a lot of diversity.

With that said, Orlanth is far from foreign, he has his hill in Nochet and even in the city proper there  are shrines, he is the air above the land, but he is not the sovereign in the land where his wife is Queen. Orlanth is to a great degree Ernalda’s primary husband, in a sense her universal husband: while her many other husbands are important in some places and among some peoples, Orlanth is the constant. Barntar is the biggest men’s cult, largely coincident with Orlanth Thunderous magically and mythically. He is worshipped for his power and utility as an agricultural god, though as a Thunder Brother he still provides some magic for use in the militia.

Agree 100%. About 53% are initiates of either Ernalda (35%) or Orlanth (18%). Another 10% are other Earth goddessesand 11% are other Lightbringers.

 

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4 hours ago, AlexS said:

It looks like it will be a long time till we have a definitive Chaosium treatment (unless @jajagappa has news of release of the Nochet book being imminent?)

The Esrolia/Nochet book is not my project, so I cannot tell you what its current state is.

4 hours ago, AlexS said:

For shamanic types, we don’t think the main Cultural Traditions are so relevant because these are adventurers who have chosen to forsake civilised Esrolian life and walk on the wild side

I think this view misses a significant shamanic opportunity in more civilized realms.  Whether followers of an Earth-based tradition or ancestral worship among the many houses, cultivating someone in the family to deal with spirits and their manifestations (including hostile ones sent by rivals) seems like a logical direction.  They may appear more like wise women, or fortune-tellers, or dream-readers, etc.  The Wild Man aspect could still be part of more rural society, but I'd incorporate both into a broader "melting pot" aspect of Esrolia, and particularly Nochet.

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Yeah, I'd think most shamans are probably going to be Earth Witch or Daka Fal shamans, the latter probably pretty heavily linked in their ancestor worship with the cult of Ty Kora Tek and Necropolis. IMG I have in Esrolia what are basically Aghori Daka Fal shamans at Necropolis that live among the spirits of the ancestors as ritually dead ascetics. Those few areas that aren't developed are probably the sacred forests of powerful Earth or Fertility spirit or lesser goddess (there are 10,000 of them after all) and it would probably be of great interest to a community to have a shaman to form beneficial agreements with those entities.

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There are a couple of threads about Urban shamans and everybody agrees that must be a thing, if our Earth is a good reference, as can be seen in the Far East, where highly urbanized societies kept shamans and ancestor worship till the present.

Magic is real, so nobody is going to ignore the powerful impact of lots of people, and their ancestors, concentrated in a small space. That probably means there may be more shamans in Nochet than in Prax (population effect). Many cults that cannot get enough worshippers to sustain a temple will work as Spirit cults, which will appear to outsiders as Mystery cults or Secret societies, depending on how palatable the deity is to the Mothers. Probably that means also more traditional cults that are in disfavor, including post Samastina's ascension Lunar ones, as the Red Earth Alliance goes to ground.

There are many services needed in a Gloranthan city that shamans are best suited to handle, so they will be there. 

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17 hours ago, hipsterinspace said:

This thread and especially this in it might be useful to you. There are also some really good notes on Esrolia in the Third Age on Well of Daliath

Thanks @hipsterinspace – we have read those threads (and a load more beside). Please note that we are not trying to reinvent lore or contradict Jeff's summary of current Esrolia canon but simply to incorporate what we can of that into a usable resource for players who are (relatively) new to Glorantha. That inevitably means simplification – but we are looking for the tribe's help in making sure that the simplification doesn't take us in directions that jar unhelpfully with the lore.

17 hours ago, hipsterinspace said:

With that said, Orlanth is far from foreign, he has his hill in Nochet and even in the city proper there  are shrines, he is the air above the land, but he is not the sovereign in the land where his wife is Queen

13 hours ago, Jeff said:

Agree 100%. About 53% are initiates of either Ernalda (35%) or Orlanth (18%).

I put 'foreign' in quotes for a reason – we are well aware of Orlanth's Hill, and of Orlanth's status as Ernalda's primary husband, but the point is that it is politically expedient for the Grandmothers to paint Orlanth as foreign, and this is helped by the fact that the largest contingent of actual Orlanth worshippers in Nochet (20k according to Jeff's FB materials archived in the Well of Daliath) are Sartarites and Heortlanders hanging out in the 'inside but sort of outside the walls' enclave of Sarli. 

We don't ignore Jeff's figure of 18% of Esrolians being initiates of Orlanth – we just assume that this mostly means aspects or sub-cults of Orlanth like Barntar, Hedkoranth or Harsarl. The exception is for Storm-Blessed Houses, who are happy with the full-on Orlanth rather than the 'lite' versions approved by the Grandmothers of other Houses because they have reached their own accommodation with the Storm King (this is inspired by the account of Rhigos Queen Erinsulva allying with the local Hendriking Chiefs in 10k Goddesses).

17 hours ago, hipsterinspace said:

They don’t really have Foundchild natively, that’s a Prax and Balazar thing, but he might be present among Praxian mercenaries.

Yes, we did wonder about Foundchild, but Odayla didn't seem right for Esrolia. The bottom line is that the Homeland does need a hunter cult, given how much of it is actually forested (sure, the population is massively concentrated in the lowlands, but a big geographical area of Esrolia is forested upland in Longsi Land, the North March, the Western part of North Esrolia, the Nist Hills around Dizbos and the Ianian Hills around Ezel). Entru would make most sense given the Manirian connection – but isn't he more of a forest swine-herding cult than an actual hunting one?

13 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I think this view misses a significant shamanic opportunity in more civilized realms.  Whether followers of an Earth-based tradition or ancestral worship among the many houses, cultivating someone in the family to deal with spirits and their manifestations (including hostile ones sent by rivals) seems like a logical direction.  They may appear more like wise women, or fortune-tellers, or dream-readers, etc.  The Wild Man aspect could still be part of more rural society, but I'd incorporate both into a broader "melting pot" aspect of Esrolia, and particularly Nochet.

11 hours ago, hipsterinspace said:

Yeah, I'd think most shamans are probably going to be Earth Witch or Daka Fal shamans, the latter probably pretty heavily linked in their ancestor worship with the cult of Ty Kora Tek and Necropolis.

8 hours ago, JRE said:

There are many services needed in a Gloranthan city that shamans are best suited to handle, so they will be there.

Fair enough, the tribe has spoken! We will include two shaman paths, one for walk-on-the-wild-side types inspired by @Crel's work and one for urban ancestor- and spirit-related magical service providers. Earth Witch makes perfect sense for the latter, but I'm not so sure about Daka Fal – doesn't he run a rival (or at least parallel) operation to Ty Kora Tek's?

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1 minute ago, AlexS said:

I'm not so sure about Daka Fal – doesn't he run a rival (or at least parallel) operation to Ty Kora Tek's?

Daka Fal is the Judge of the Dead - all come to meet him and be judged.  

Ideally (and I would abstract this as a collection of your Loves, Loyalties, Devotions), your god(s), your clan wyter, former friends (via funeral prayers), etc. will come and speak on your behalf.  

Your foes will come as well - those you harmed, hated, etc.  

Your soul/life is placed in Daka Fal's balance and you are judged.  If you are an Earth worshiper, ideally Daka Fal directs you to Ernalda and she will lead you into the Blessed Garden to enjoy the afterlife.  

However, if no one comes to speak for you, or you die alone and forgotten, etc. then Daka Fal can only direct you to Ty Kora Tek's Caves of Silence where you will remain in a forgotten limbo until perchance someone ventures in and speaks to you and recites your deeds.  

The two are not rivals or mutually exclusive.

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10 hours ago, AlexS said:

Yes, we did wonder about Foundchild, but Odayla didn't seem right for Esrolia. The bottom line is that the Homeland does need a hunter cult, given how much of it is actually forested (sure, the population is massively concentrated in the lowlands, but a big geographical area of Esrolia is forested upland in Longsi Land, the North March, the Western part of North Esrolia, the Nist Hills around Dizbos and the Ianian Hills around Ezel). Entru would make most sense given the Manirian connection – but isn't he more of a forest swine-herding cult than an actual hunting one?

We know that the most common hunter cult among Heortlings is Orlanth, I think David Scott mentioned there being maybe 2 Odaylings in all of Sartar, I’d think it’s the same in Longsi Land and the Adjusted Lands of the Northwest (both of which are more recognizably Orlanthi populations). I would imagine most Esrolian hunters would likewise follow Barntar, there are probably some myths about him hunting around his stead to try to impress his wife and learning how to manage his take to avoid depleting the game. There might be the rare Yinkini hunter, though he seems likely to have a greater role in Esrolia as a god given offerings to help his children (cats) eliminate urban vermin and agricultural pests. It’s a highly developed place that doesn’t have much of a role for a “deep hunter” like Odayla or Foundchild, it doesn’t have vast forests like Tarsh where Odayla’s cult exists in real numbers or like the open chaparral of Prax and Balazar where Foundchild is worshipped.

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9 hours ago, AlexS said:

Thanks @hipsterinspace – we have read those threads (and a load more beside). Please note that we are not trying to reinvent lore or contradict Jeff's summary of current Esrolia canon but simply to incorporate what we can of that into a usable resource for players who are (relatively) new to Glorantha. That inevitably means simplification – but we are looking for the tribe's help in making sure that the simplification doesn't take us in directions that jar unhelpfully with the lore.

I put 'foreign' in quotes for a reason – we are well aware of Orlanth's Hill, and of Orlanth's status as Ernalda's primary husband, but the point is that it is politically expedient for the Grandmothers to paint Orlanth as foreign, and this is helped by the fact that the largest contingent of actual Orlanth worshippers in Nochet (20k according to Jeff's FB materials archived in the Well of Daliath) are Sartarites and Heortlanders hanging out in the 'inside but sort of outside the walls' enclave of Sarli. 

We don't ignore Jeff's figure of 18% of Esrolians being initiates of Orlanth – we just assume that this mostly means aspects or sub-cults of Orlanth like Barntar, Hedkoranth or Harsarl. The exception is for Storm-Blessed Houses, who are happy with the full-on Orlanth rather than the 'lite' versions approved by the Grandmothers of other Houses because they have reached their own accommodation with the Storm King (this is inspired by the account of Rhigos Queen Erinsulva allying with the local Hendriking Chiefs in 10k Goddesses).

Orlanth is acknowledged as Ernalda's favorite husband. He's not a foreigner. Inside of Nochet, Orlanth is second only to Ernalda. Now let's say almost half of the cult members are from Sartar or Heortland, even if we take those away Orlanth still has the second biggest cult in Nochet (although Issaries might contest that). 

As far as RuneQuest is concerned the Orlanth cult works the following way:

  • Orlanth Thunderous
  • Orlanth Adventurous
  • Orlanth Rex
  • Vinga
  • Barntar (sometimes an independent cult)

Orlanth Rex is not present in Esrolia, but all the others are.

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11 hours ago, hipsterinspace said:

I would imagine most Esrolian hunters would likewise follow Barntar, there are probably some myths about him hunting around his stead to try to impress his wife and learning how to manage his take to avoid depleting the game.

I really like this take on farmers-as-hunters for Esrolia, since in practice most farming regions (apart from the heart of the Malthin Valley irrigation zone) are going to include at least some wooded hills and possibly actual forest lands (e.g. the Ianian Hills near Ezel and the Nist Hills near Dizbos) where farming communities will hunt, gather, pasture livestock etc. – and learning to manage that resource sustainably provides a good ecological and sociological driver for myth. 

In Esrolia (as opposed to Sartar) wouldn't it make most sense to make this a specifically Vogarth thing rather than a general Barntar thing, though? (NB: we are assuming that Vogarth is effectively a Hero Cult/subcult of Barntar). One of my co-authors argues that Vogarth is basically a Heracles analogue – and Heracles was a famous hunter, albeit of animals that threatened the community (Nemean lion, Erymanthian Boar) rather than game for subsistence.

I'd still like to think through the possibilites for Entru as a hunting god for the more Manirian-influenced regions of Esrolia, but that's probably a discussion for another thread...

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10 hours ago, Jeff said:

Orlanth is acknowledged as Ernalda's favorite husband. He's not a foreigner. Inside of Nochet, Orlanth is second only to Ernalda. Now let's say almost half of the cult members are from Sartar or Heortland, even if we take those away Orlanth still has the second biggest cult in Nochet (although Issaries might contest that).

Thanks Jeff, point taken. I should have used Yelmalio not Orlanth as my example of the Husband Protector system allowing Houses to incorporate 'foreign' gods (not that we are assuming a lot of Yelmalio presence in Esrolia, and certainly no Sun Domes).

Argan Argar is another Husband Protector who is not really 'foreign' but is 'other', and who therefore needs a lot of mythological heavy lifting to incorporate/domesticate (this is  associated with what we have called the Shadow-Blessed Earth Cultural Tradition).

You could maybe argue that Storm Bull is 'foreign' (sure, the Storm Tribe as a whole is 'local' to Esrolia, but his strongest associations are obviously with Prax). RQG p. 294 says that 'the Storm Bull is worshiped as Ernalda’s husband in Esrolia', but I'm not sure where to find the myths about his status as a Husband Protector of Ernalda (rather than Eiritha). Maybe in Esrolia he is Husband-Protector of Uralda as an aspect (rather than a daughter) of Ernalda?

Anyway, it would be good to have your take on what Orlanth worship actually looks like in Esrolia outside Heortling enclaves like Sarli (and, in our Esrolia, regions influenced by the Storm-Blessed Earth Cultural Tradition). Are we talking a Barntar/Thunderous amalgam, with Barntar more important in most places but Thunderous coming to the fore where agriculture is rain-fed rather than irrigated? 

One complicator is that Barntar and Orlanth are generationally different; Barntar is a son whereas Orlanth is a husband. Our take on Esrolian gender roles is that they are associated with ideal-type positions in the (matrilocal/matriarchal) family, and from an Ernaldan point of view Barntar is gendered as the dutiful son whereas Orlanth Thunderous is the husband who is valued/desired but not necessarily trusted. 

In our Esrolia Orlanth Adventurous (or Vinga) is mostly seen as the rebellious son – loved and occasionally indulged, but most likely to be sent away to 'learn how to be a man', and basically an adolescent so not a suitable marriage partner either (except maybe for year-marriages, or as a younger second husband in polyandrous households). He is even less trusted than Thunderous, unless he is domesticated as Harasarl, who is a Noble Brother and thus (as a sibling) off-limits as a marriage partner anyway.

Do you think that an Esrolian version of Thunderous where he clearly plays second fiddle to his wife in running the farm is appropriate, or does it make more sense to assume that the default version of Orlanth for Esrolia is Barntar?

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No Orlanth Rex even in Adjusted houses?

After the Machine Wars, the Hendriki campaigned mightily in Esrolia and managed to dominate up to half of Esrolia in the Adjustment Wars which forced "standard Orlanthi" rules on the conquered cities, alhough leaving the Houses intact. A bit of a reprise of the Kodigvari system, although this time using the Rex kingship.

While Nochet only accepted a Rex consort for their queen in the (almost) final settlement of the Adjustment Wars (forced by the temple of Ezel that condemned the resising houses' abuse of Ernaldan magics), less central places kept at least some of the adjustments even after the Hendriki king had been kicked out for good. The Adjustment struggles lasted for almost two centuries, with some of the initial conquests experiencing adjustment for that long.

Part of the Adjusted territories were lost to form Porthomeka, with Caladran overlords rather than Heortlanders.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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12 hours ago, AlexS said:

... One of my co-authors argues that Vogarth is basically a Heracles analogue – and Heracles was a famous hunter, albeit of animals that threatened the community (Nemean lion, Erymanthian Boar) rather than game for subsistence ...

Also note that the *herders* (cattle, sheep, etc) need hunters as herd-protectors, and those hunters do go after the apex-predators in more "heroic" fashion (rather than mere subsistance); but Glorantha has actual monsters, so that kind of hunter is needed too...

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To the OP:

EXCELLENT work. I hope to see more as the project progresses. You really did your homework on this one. I think of myself at pretty well read-in on Glorantha lore, but you've found niches I didn't even know where there. Props.

I will pick one very small nit with your table, however.

For the Sea-blessing, where Ernalda is Wife and Magasta is Husband protector, I would suggest that the warrior archetype should be Marine /Light Infantry instead of Heavy Infantry. It just seems more appropriate to the pairing and the origin of where you're getting the troops [Fishers].

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1 hour ago, g33k said:

Also note that the *herders* (cattle, sheep, etc) need hunters as herd-protectors, and those hunters do go after the apex-predators in more "heroic" fashion (rather than mere subsistance); but Glorantha has actual monsters, so that kind of hunter is needed too...

Predators are one thing. Monsters? Phhht! That's what thanes are for 😁 Leave that Hero saves the day bullcrap the braggarts that actually want that job!

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Just a question and a suggestion -  why is your Wisdom-blessed devising things (ie, making traps and locks)? Few Philosophers would know anything about these things...

I would think that Library Use would be a better option here. (or even Orate) I had even thought a Read/Write,or maybe a Lore - but at this point, too many options is a worry, and so I'd go back to my first suggestion.

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10 hours ago, svensson said:

EXCELLENT work. I hope to see more as the project progresses. You really did your homework on this one. I think of myself at pretty well read-in on Glorantha lore, but you've found niches I didn't even know where there. Props.

Thanks @svensson, that's hugely appreciated. Venturing into this forum for the first time means being prepared for criticism, and it's the insightful and constructive nature of the criticism that makes it worthwhile – but it sure is nice just to have someone say 'well done!'.

10 hours ago, svensson said:

For the Sea-blessing, where Ernalda is Wife and Magasta is Husband protector, I would suggest that the warrior archetype should be Marine /Light Infantry instead of Heavy Infantry. It just seems more appropriate to the pairing and the origin of where you're getting the troops [Fishers].

You're right, we did wonder about whether the 'heavy infantry' model worked for ship-to-ship fighting (wouldn't all that armour make marines just sink more quickly if they go overboard?), but ended up coming down in its favour for two reasons. The first is in-game variety: Engizi river patrol units (the default warrior choice for River-Blessed Houses) already give a water-based light infantry option. The second is mythic archetype: my co-author who is leading on the Rightarm Islands (which we assume set the tone for the marines of the God-King's Navy, even if not all the marines are actually Pelaskites) sees Wachaza-worshipping marines not as nimble net-throwers à la Engizi but as Pacific Island-type hand-to-hand warriors with terrifying war-cries and massive coral-headed clubs that they wield like mauls... and in the RQG Warrior Occupation presentation, if you're going to favour a two-handed weapon that makes you heavy infantry whether or not you wear much armour.

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3 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

Just a question and a suggestion -  why is your Wisdom-blessed devising things (ie, making traps and locks)? Few Philosophers would know anything about these things...

Thanks @Shiningbrow. You're right that making traps and locks doesn't really fit the Philosopher archetype, but the inspiration here was Panaxles the Architect, who we assume is worshipped as a Hero Cult of Delaina, the Patron Goddess of the Wisdom-Blessed Cultural Tradition. We couldn't find a 'design sewer system' or 'build aqueduct' skill in RQG, and Devise seemed to be the closest!

For the Library Use-type wisdom there is the Law-Blessed Cultural Tradition, which we associate not with Delaina but with Imarja. We gave adventurers from this cultural tradition a bonus in Bureaucracy – but as we were thinking of lawyer types, Library Use would actually make just as much sense.

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12 hours ago, g33k said:

Also note that the *herders* (cattle, sheep, etc) need hunters as herd-protectors, and those hunters do go after the apex-predators in more "heroic" fashion (rather than mere subsistance); but Glorantha has actual monsters, so that kind of hunter is needed too...

11 hours ago, svensson said:

Predators are one thing. Monsters? Phhht! That's what thanes are for 😁 Leave that Hero saves the day bullcrap the braggarts that actually want that job!

I could definitely see Vogarth going after monsters (someone needs to write the myth of when Queen Merngala kicked him out of bed to deal with a giant lion that had eaten all the sheep flocks and left the people living on lentils).

Sure, in Sartar monster hunting is a job for the thanes, but in Esrolia the Grandmothers would much prefer a dumb (at least in their eyes) but loyal peasant like Vogarth to get the popular acclaim for slaying the scary beast than some Orlanth-type alpha male noble...

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