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Are there any male nature spirits in Glorantha ?


Agentorange

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8 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

her definition is lord of the universe, though. that title exists but it seems quite different in meaning from what people mean by "Nature". she maintains the entire world.

she's the distant god, much like Olorun in Orisha, responsible for the world but not directly worshipped.

Yes; I wasn't presenting a counterexample. It's nature as physis, particularly physis as opposed to the nomos of Time. All within the Web is Nature following its Fate.

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The boundaries between natural and artificial are some of the few things you can say are definitely artificial! When we think about "nature spirits" as encounters with a world that works according to alien purposes, it's worth pointing out that there are many gregarious peoples who would understand urban or constructed environments as "nature" in that sense, with "nature spirits" more akin to Fritz Leiber's paramentals/Our Lady of Darkness, or the demon in the telephone system in Grant Morrison's run on Doom Patrol, or the implications of the lyrics of the Talking Heads song "And She Was". 

Which opens the door up for two-way "encounters with nature spirits" where the PC is on both sides of the structural relationship. Which is, like the homoerotic desires encoded in Pelorian interactions with Luxites and Lowfires, only natural. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

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4 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Colour me old and senile.... and then remind me: Who is the Lady of the Wild, if you would.

Wilderness Goddess of Dragon Pass (where she is known as Velhara) and Balazar, at the very least. Sometimes identified with Orogeria, although this always strikes me as a bit odd.

Mother of Odayla and Ormalaya (Orlanth the Hunter), although myths seem to sometimes differ.

It stands to reason that she’s in some way associated with Ladies of the Wild (Bestiary).

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12 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Wilderness Goddess of Dragon Pass (where she is known as Velhara) and Balazar, at the very least. Sometimes identified with Orogeria, although this always strikes me as a bit odd.

Mother of Odayla and Ormalaya (Orlanth the Hunter), although myths seem to sometimes differ.

It stands to reason that she’s in some way associated with Ladies of the Wild (Bestiary).

 I should have been clearer, where do I find this.

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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3 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

I should have been clearer, where do I find this.

Also called Velhara (or Tara).  As noted, Book of Heortling Mythology p.37 and 44 particularly (also p.47, 166).  KoS p.88-89.  And the Guide p.677 and 710.

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Book of Heortling Mythology is your best source, but she’s in King of Sartar as well.

1 minute ago, jajagappa said:

Also called Velhara (or Tara).  As noted, Book of Heortling Mythology p.37 and 44 particularly (also p.47, 166).  KoS p.88-89.  And the Guide p.677 and 710.

Cheers!

 

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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13 hours ago, John Biles said:

Satyrs are more or less a nature spirit in mythology, exist in Glorantha, and are male.

Anaxial’s Roster (a non-canon source, I guess, but a little exercise in dubious nostalgia) concurs:

Quote

Satyrs are the masculine powers of fertility in the wild. They originate in the Spirit World and are similar to nymphs, but have permanent bodies. — p. 76

… and even attempts a definition of nature spirits (albeit a bit game-mechanically?):

Quote

Nature spirits … exist throughout the Inner World. They include all of the spirits of the land and its features … They cannot leave their area or natural feature, for doing so disincarnates them and returns them to the Spirit World. The God Learners classified nature spirits into three types: elemental …, animal …, and plant [including fungus and “primitive plants”] … Although each nature spirit has one or more abilities, they do not so much use these abilities as they are these abilities. Thus, a gold spirit is gold, and can only inhabit gold. — p. 212

So one wonders whether satyrs can — atypically — roam freely. Presumably, they don’t go “pop!” when you kick them out of their specified grove. Bounce off an invisible barrier? I don’t know.

(Basically, nature spirits seem to be spirits from the animist point of view — sorcerers get their own disjoint set of elementals, for example.)

If animal spirits count (and they seem to), it helpfully lists some mostly male examples:

  • Gorthak (p. 80) — male spirit bear
  • Hrognar (p. 98) — male spirit wolf (pup of Telmor)
  • Sakkareka (p. 93) — sabretooth cat spirits: both sexes? (Sakkar himself is male)
  • Zerapralor (p. 62) — male spirit deer

As we all know marriage is simple but sex is complicated (and gender I won’t address). Presumably, sexes of plant and fungal spirits track their bodies, so we can at least say that those spirits are not all simply female.

Nymphs, including dryads — not simple tree spirits: “Individual tree spirits have no innate intelligence and no conscious interaction.” (p. 216) — seem to be a bit of an odd case. On the one hand:

Quote

Nymphs are different from other nature spirits in that they can form bodies at will, and take the form of whatever creature they are communicating with …

The appearance of a nymph reflects a deep mythic desire within their nature, and so most nymphs appear sexually attractive to sentient beings … The beauty or ugliness of a nymph is magical, and causes similar reactions in all humanoid races. Thus, even Uz find dryads alluring and suberiads terrifyingly ugly. — pp. 218–219

So one would expect a nymph talking to a satyr to take the form of a satyr — and thus to be in a male body — and for satyrs not normally attracted to other satyrs to find the nymph alluring in that form. What happens when a nymph speaks to a mixed-species group? I couldn’t hazard a guess.

It is open to interpretation, I suppose, but I take it that this means that even if a suberiad took on a shape, texture, odour, and colour that the troll to which it is appearing would find attractive (in another troll), the overall impression would be of terrifying ugliness. It is all about  glamour, not cosmetic surgery and fright masks, right?

But on the other hand, of dryads (there are equivalents for other nymph types):

Quote

Their physical bodies resemble beautiful human women with pale skin and brown or greenish hair. — p. 220

Anthropocentric? Androcentric? “Tits out for the lads”? [Sighs. Shakes head. Weeps.]

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13 minutes ago, mfbrandi said:

Anthropocentric? Androcentric? “Tits out for the lads”? [Sighs. Shakes head. Weeps.]

Fortuitously this has been rehabilitated in a fresh reading of how shanassee trees actually work but as usual our own forest comes first.

Bread and tits,

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The Anaxial's Rooster text seems to imply that nymphs can take on the form of a creature like the one the one they're speaking to, rather than must, to me. Presumably with some kind of "tell", but it's the same thing as the sexiness/antisexiness stuff- nymphs are close enough to people to understand how we tick, what turns us on. Maybe even better than we ourselves do. Of course, for the Greeks, nymphs were ambiguous figures who sometimes killed or took people away. The hedgehog's dilemma again. 

Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

Eight Arms and the Mask

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5 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

So one wonders whether satyrs can — atypically — roam freely. Presumably, they don’t go “pop!” when you kick them out of their specified grove. Bounce off an invisible barrier? I don’t know.

 

Maybe they are like mobile GlowSpots... they take the grove with them (around them I guess).

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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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On 1/9/2023 at 12:58 PM, Bill the barbarian said:

Colour me old and senile.... and then remind me: Who is the Lady of the Wild, if you would.

Also known as Velhara. I have an NPC priestess of her in my game who does her thing in the Colymar Wilds.

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On 1/8/2023 at 11:31 AM, Agentorange said:

The nature spirits presented in the bestiary are all ( as far as I can see ) modelled on the idea of Greek nature spirits: Oreads,Dryads and so on. And so are all female.

Which begs the question are there any male ones  for RQ/glorantha ? I seem to remember that White Dwarf magazine had one back in the 80's called the Fossergrim ( associated with waterfalls I think ) and there are other examples in European mythology - the Slavic leshy springs to mind. I just wondered if any existed in Glorantha, even if they're pretty rare.

Unless the spirit is a deceased male or female, I generally assume they can manifest in multiple forms. A naiad could appear as a male or female humanoid, or as a wave, a fish, a water creature, a tower of coral, etc. How it chooses to manifest would depend on its mood and intent. In all cases a bit wavy so that the viewer understands it is a water form.

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1 hour ago, Scorus said:

Unless the spirit is a deceased male or female, I generally assume they can manifest in multiple forms. A naiad could appear as a male or female humanoid, or as a wave, a fish, a water creature, a tower of coral, etc. How it chooses to manifest would depend on its mood and intent. In all cases a bit wavy so that the viewer understands it is a water form.

Excepting the Bestiary clearly states that Naiads,Oreads etc " usually take the form of a beautiful and desirable female " Mind you it does say "usually" so there's some wriggle room for doing things differently.

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Nature spirits often are meant to have the seductress aspect, and most outdoor professiosn who may run afoul of these are traditionally male roles. Among the beastmen, minotaurs and satyrs provide the lust for human (and divine) females while foxwomen, swan maiden etc. cater to herdboy or hunter fantasies.

For some reasons, rivers and seas tend to have resident daughters - any male offspring is probably supposed to be carving out their own territory elsewhere.

 

In my Glorantha, nymphs including dryads are rune- or place-flavored versions of the Tilntae, the daughters of Uleria. The ability to give parthenogenetic birth to whatever AND to reproduce with whomever.

 

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 1/8/2023 at 4:31 PM, Agentorange said:

Which begs the question are there any male ones  for RQ/glorantha ? I seem to remember that White Dwarf magazine had one back in the 80's called the Fossergrim ( associated with waterfalls I think ) and there are other examples in European mythology - the Slavic leshy springs to mind. I just wondered if any existed in Glorantha, even if they're pretty rare.

Satyrs are one example of male nature spirits, although they could be seen as a type of Beast Folk. I might have to amend the Satyrs in Hellwood and Poisonthorn Woods to be more like nature spirits.

On 1/8/2023 at 7:36 PM, jajagappa said:

Flamal, Father of Plants, is the most obvious.

That is interesting, making the Intelligent or Awakened Trees a form of nature spirit, different to dryads.

 

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why do some of you consider Satyr or other beastmen as spirits ?

they symbolize irl some nature aspect, but in glorantha ? yes they are more bestial so more "not tamed nature" than others (I use the words in the description of the man rune) .

They have flesh, they can't discorporate.

they are like ducks or trolls or elves, hunshen, ludoch or human. they are "just" sentient being

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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

why do some of you consider Satyr or other beastmen as spirits ?

they symbolize irl some nature aspect, but in glorantha ? yes they are more bestial so more "not tamed nature" than others (I use the words in the description of the man rune) .

They have flesh, they can't discorporate.

they are like ducks or trolls or elves, hunshen, ludoch or human. they are "just" sentient being

I, for my part, am using "nature spirit" as a structural role that's played in folklore rather than a strict category that requires a Spirit Rune or whatever. Not least because, say, a nymph or genius loci has a body that consists of their entire associated location, because they are the place. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

Eight Arms and the Mask

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17 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

why do some of you consider Satyr or other beastmen as spirits ?

Among other considerations, it used to be the official Gloranthan line (for satyrs) — see above.

But that is hardly binding — do what you want (really do what you want; not “do what you want and I will go off in a huff”) — and I am sure an RPG can get along without an “official” definition of a nature spirit, anyway.

Edited by mfbrandi
“for satyrs”
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