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Marsupials in Glorantha?


Jex

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Just something I've been wondering... are there any marsupials in Glorantha?

The thought occurred to me because I had been trying to decide on what form to give the fetch of a shaman in Marshedge, and I thought it might be fun to make it a thylacine (Tasmanian tiger)—the shaman in question is fairly well traveled, so even if there are no such animals in Dragon Pass I figured he could have encountered them elsewhere... if there was anywhere in Genertela they could have existed.  Ultimately, I decided the matter was moot, since even if he could have encountered a thylacine somewhere, it wouldn't really make sense for his fetch to take that form—the fetch's form is supposed to be tied in some way to the shamanic tradition or the shaman's spirit or ancestors, and given his background there was really one particular animal that made the most sense.  Still, even if it's no longer relevant to the projects I'm currently working on, I'm still curious.

I know not every Earth animal necessarily has a counterpart in Glorantha, so it's very possible there just are no marsupials there.  And I haven't been able to find any references to marsupials in Glorantha materials, except for a joking and very noncanonical reference to a lost Praxian Kangaroo Tribe in Tales of the Reaching Moon #1.  But I was just wondering if there's something I missed somewhere, or if anyone else had any thoughts on the matter.

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Opossums are maruspials and are mentioned in the Guide p19 (among the Pralori and a distinct nation of Hsunchen).

The Smoking Ruins and Other Stories has encounter featuring a duck-bear p30, which is really a Giant Platypus. although that's really a monotreme.  The SR&OT also has an opossum spirit p27.

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D'oh!  Opossums!  Of course!  I knew about opossums in Glorantha; I was even just reading another topic that mentioned opossum Hsunchen; but I didn't think about them when I was looking for information on marsupials in Glorantha.  I did a search for some specific marsupials like kangaroos and koalas and totally overlooked the opossums.  That was stupid.

Still, of course, in real-world Earth opossums have the distinction of being the only (surviving) marsupials outside Australia, so I guess the question still remains if there are any Australian marsupials in Glorantha.  (I did know about the platypus reference, but as you mentioned they're monotremes, not marsupials.)

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8 minutes ago, Mark Mohrfield said:

Surely everyone remembers the illustration of the Praxian Kangaroo Tribe in Tales of the Reaching Moon issue 1. They must be giant kangaroos, as the tribesman is shown riding in a the kangaroo’s pouch.

6 hours ago, Jex said:

And I haven't been able to find any references to marsupials in Glorantha materials, except for a joking and very noncanonical reference to a lost Praxian Kangaroo Tribe in Tales of the Reaching Moon #1.

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1 hour ago, Mark Mohrfield said:

OTOH there do seem to be several living South American marsupials.

Well, there are several species of opossum in South America, but they're still all just opossums.

Or so I thought... I was pretty sure that was the case, but I just double-checked to be sure and it turns out there are also shrew opossums, which despite the name are not true opossums, and something called the monito del monte that biologists originally thought was a type of opossum but have since concluded is actually more closely related to Australian marsupials.  Well.  I just learned something.

Still, all the living marsupials of South America are pretty opossumesque.  (Well, the shrew opossum might be slightly more shrewlike than opossumlike, but it's still not too far.)  There was a much greater diversity of South American marsupials millions of years ago—in fact, it's apparently in South America that marsupials first originated, only spreading to Australia later—, but all but the opossums (and shrew opossums and monitos del monte I guess) died out.  I suppose it's possible some of those extinct South American marsupials may still exist on Glorantha—there are certainly a bunch of other prehistoric mammals that are extinct on Earth running around there—but I don't know of any specific examples.

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Perhaps they died out in the gods war. Bringing them back could be an oddly disruptive heroquest, a whole lot of other things might also return, like elves with fire magic, who tend flammable Eucalypt forests which thrive in dry lands like Prax. Perhaps this is the missing link which leads to restoring Genert’s Garden.

Edited by EricW
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There is very brief speculation about the various lost marsupial tribes in the write-up for the Opossum Hsunchen in The Children of Hykim.

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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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17 hours ago, Jex said:

I know not every Earth animal necessarily has a counterpart in Glorantha, so it's very possible there just are no marsupials there.  And I haven't been able to find any references to marsupials in Glorantha materials, except for a joking and very noncanonical reference to a lost Praxian Kangaroo Tribe in Tales of the Reaching Moon #1.  But I was just wondering if there's something I missed somewhere, or if anyone else had any thoughts on the matter.

Fun note: marsupials evolved in what is now the Pacific Northwest of the US and Canada in prehistory (that area was a separate landmass) and then spread to South America and Antarctica, which were then connected. They entered Australia from Antarctica much, much later.

Since Genertela is inspired by West Coast America and Eurasia, the absence of opossums-modern North American marsupials-would be a problem. But as for the wild variety of Australia? I don't know. They would have been transplants, which is common.

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Given the mix and match of Gloranthan fauna through earth's deep history, why stop at marsupials? There can be other synapsids, too. I wouldn't know which taxon the Lascerdans of Dawn Age Umathela would belong to...

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 12/15/2022 at 9:19 PM, Mark Mohrfield said:

Surely everyone remembers the illustration of the Praxian Kangaroo Tribe in Tales of the Reaching Moon issue 1. They must be giant kangaroos, as the tribesman is shown riding in a the kangaroo’s pouch.

Had a feeling someone else would've of thought of a kangaroo praxian tribe though mine are kangaroos who herd herdmen.

Personally I feel as though prax would be the place to have marsupials. Something ancient that once lived in generts garden 

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On 12/15/2022 at 1:19 PM, AndrewTBP said:

Given how strange the Spirits illustrated in the Bestiary are... 

So, I read that as "Sports Illustrated", which, in regard to all things mammalian, led me to envision the annual marsupial swimsuit edition.  Strange indeed.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia

carbon copy logo smallest.jpg  ...developer of White Rabbit Green

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There are no kangaroos or wallabies in Prax, the Wastes, Pent, Peloria, Dragon Pass, or the Holy Country. Pretty sure none in the West either.

The Lopers are not any sort of known marsupial. Here's the art direction for them:

This fast nocturnal quadruped that vaguely resembles a carnivorous halicothere  (chalicothere-tb.jpg or eabrchalo.jpg) has the ability to teleport to any location they can see. Lopers are large creature covered with bright-orange-red or crimson fur, occasionally mottled or banded with dull ochre. They are muscular and large, reaching 1 to 1.8 meters high at the shoulder. Their heads are narrow and deep, with large eyes and a flexible neck. They lack tails. It walks and runs with a long bounding stride ("lope" see, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ol2ijT6NtA0).
 
Lopers have a series of eyelid-like organs running down their back on either side of their spine. These lids are open when the loper wishes to teleport, revealing a crimson glowing membrane. Lopers can also communicate with each other and their riders with these organs. By varying the lids opened, a loper can create a row of bright spots, a pattern of seemingly moving spots, or simply expose a single dot.

Lopers are primarily carnivores, though they also dine with relish on melons, eggs, and fresh carrions. They feed upon live prey of almost any size and type. 

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I propose that Pamaltela could have the Marsupial Lion prowling its forests.. An ambush predator with " its 'bite strength' finds that Thylacoleo had the most powerful bite of any mammalian predator, living or extinct, and that it could have taken prey much larger than itself (such as subadult Diprotodon)."  (https://australian.museum/learn/animals/mammals/thylacoleo-carnifex/)

So its an ambush predator that lives it trees and falls on you to bite your head off... yes i give you the Gloranthan Drop Bear! 

there is even a new horror film for inspiration....

Carnifex

 

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13 hours ago, Jeff said:

Pretty sure none in the West either.

In the Guide (page 19), the Pralori are said to hunt opossums. I'm personally happy that they are the marsupial exception to the broader rule.

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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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I expect most people do not know opossums are related to kangaroos or koalas, or that they are marsupials. In Glorantha they probably are relatives of shrews and hedgehogs that started climbing trees and carrying their young with them. I do not see marsupial as a meaningful category within Gloranthan taxonomy, specially as snakes and pigs may be closer taxonomically than pigs and horses.

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It might have been easier to simply name them something else if it wasn't the intention to evoke the significant features of the real-world analogue 😄.

IMG, they are very definitely a pouched marsupial, the last (known) survivor of the Pouched Beasts, and the only one who successfully journeyed north from Pamaltela into Genertela.

The Oppossum Hsunchen are included in The Children of Hykim, for what that's worth, with a background myth, pouch-related magic, and much more.

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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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Of course the puches are mythically important. But I believe it does not connect them with other pouched beasts, if there any others in Glorantha. You can have a drop bear, or a thylacine analogue, or a Warner Bros. style Tasmanian Devil without relating any of them with oppossums.

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Your Marsupials May Vary, of course.

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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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