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Pavis vs. Waha


mal

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Hi Ian - Bought all three books and I'm loving this content! Thanks for all your hard work...

A couple of dumb questions for you:


1. I assume that Praxian Waha, Storm Bull, and Eiritha worshippers aren't allowed as PCs due to the fact they oppose the PAVIS cult. Am I correct in that assumption...

2. In the most current iteration of Glorantha it seems that only 10-15 percent of the population (at least in Sartar) is literate. If we go by that it seems like all the forms and such in Pavis etc would not really be feasible... What are your thoughts on that?

Again thanks for all this amazing Pavis content and looking forward to your (and anyone elses reply)!

malcolm

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28 minutes ago, mal said:

...

2. In the most current iteration of Glorantha it seems that only 10-15 percent of the population (at least in Sartar) is literate. If we go by that it seems like all the forms and such in Pavis etc would not really be feasible... What are your thoughts on that?

...

Personally, I would presume a large number of scribes and clerks and such-like, providing speech-to-text 😉 services.

Presumably for pay...

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C'es ne pas un .sig

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1 hour ago, mal said:

1. I assume that Praxian Waha, Storm Bull, and Eiritha worshippers aren't allowed as PCs due to the fact they oppose the PAVIS cult. Am I correct in that assumption...

Dear Professor Tolkien, there must be some mistake. Your book Lord of the Rings shows a dwarf and an elf working together, and even becoming fast friends, but your other works set in Middle-Earth tell me about the historical enmity between those two races. How did they ever agree to join the Fellowship without knifing each other?

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I didn’t say it, Nick! Ian says it in the book. Just asking about his reasoning, so I can reason my way out of it! How can you have adventures in Pavis country without praxians in the party!

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5 hours ago, mal said:

I didn’t say it, Nick! Ian says it in the book. Just asking about his reasoning, so I can reason my way out of it! How can you have adventures in Pavis country without praxians in the party!

Heyo @mal

Questions are welcome, especially if they help you enjoy the campaign even more :)

Its all about religious loyalty really

Waha worshippers are the issue. They hate Pavis in their very bones, and so don't work as main PCs living in the city and working towards the greatness of Pavis. They just have negative motivation to do so

But exceptions are totally fine. Nick's response I think is meant as an example of that.

Praxians who worship some other deity tolerated or accepted by the Waha Pantheon (e.g. Yelmalio Bird-Rider from Vol. 01 (p126) which is provided as an example of such exceptions.

Such people who live in the city would also be exceptional individuals anyway. Having some reason: 'a strange calling', 'having been fairly or unfairly ousted from their clan and feeling abandoned by their own people', 'just being someone who is curious about other people different to oneself'

Some of these ideas are actually discussed in the books, so you'll find that as you read through them

There is some writing somewhere pointing out the fact that all PCs are exceptions anyway. Different to those around them

Then there is also the Zebra Tribe: Praxians who love the city

Literacy is another question, but we can just look at history - people commonly signed by making their mark, and yes someone would read out the terms and conditions, and those who could afford it would hire someone to read for them. I would also say that literacy (basic at least) was far higher in Pavis, with simple classes being part of what is provided by the Pavis Cult. In my version anyways

Hope that helps

Edited by Ian A. Thomson
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Former Issaries Inc. 'Pavis Expert'

Some of my creations and co-creations: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=Ian Thomson

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3 hours ago, Ian A. Thomson said:

Waha worshippers are the issue. They hate Pavis in their very bones, and so don't work as main PCs living in the city and working towards the greatness of Pavis. They just have negative motivation to do so

This may be true in Ian’s version of Pavis. In Cults of Prax, our ur-source for these matters, the cult of Waha is “neutral” to the cult of Pavis, and vice versa. Your Glorantha, too, will vary.

Nomads don’t want to live in the city (and it’s probably taboo to Waha khans as a practical matter), urban types don’t want to live on the Plaines of Prax, but outright conflict between the two cultures is rare, and most often seen at times of imperial overreach and collapse. Pavis the Man healed Waha the God and patched up a treaty with him at the time of the city’s founding; the Seventeen Foes of Waha (that is, the last kings of Pavis before Argrath) failed to flourish during the prolonged collapse of the imperial age, as Jaldon Toothmaker avenged the crimes committed by Pavis. (Which have now been thoroughly avenged, as historians will concur.)

Occasionally things go sideways and some charismatic Waha khan whips up his followers into a frenzy against civilised folk. (Think of Jaldon.) It usually blows over, and it’s not expressing some fundamental religious value of the Waha cult: it’s personal and situational. Think of the distinction between Islamist jihadists (fanatics who emphasise one narrow strand of their religion’s history) and the vast majority of well-adjusted, well-behaved members of the Religion of Peace. Be careful which myths you decide to obsess over. They can easily lead you astray.

(There used to be a settled nomad population within the walls of New Pavis, until some tribal nutters tried to sack the city, at which point they were expelled by the Mayor.)

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In storytelling terms, native Praxians are often the Others in published adventures. They’re the Injuns, as it were, quite possibly on the warpath, knowing secrets of the land and its spirits that are unknowable to outsiders, lying to traders and ambushing wagon-trains in scenic locations; adventurers are a bunch of Cowboys, coming in as pioneers and settlers with all their manifest destiny bollocks and making a mess of the place for profit.

As the GM you can decide to cross those wires, but you need to know what you’re doing. (Similar considerations apply when you think of adding a Lunar adventurer to a party of tax-evading murderous rebel scum - hi, Vostor! - or a baboon adventurer to the Sandheart shield wall - wotcher, Melo Yelo!)

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6 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

This may be true in Ian’s version of Pavis. In Cults of Prax, our ur-source for these matters, the cult of Waha is “neutral” to the cult of Pavis, and vice versa. Your Glorantha, too, will vary.

Yes, I can clarify. My sense of the Praxians is something like:

40% of them despise the city and want nothing to do with it

30% are neutral and dislike it, but use it because its handy

10% quite like what it offers as a variation and are happy to visit and even stay nearby for a while

20% think it is an utter abomination and would like it wiped off the face of the lozenge, but never have to go near it so don't give it much thought

Culturally my sense is that they are supposed to actively hate it, and that it goes against the precepts of Waha, but that most Eirithans counsel tolerance

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Former Issaries Inc. 'Pavis Expert'

Some of my creations and co-creations: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=Ian Thomson

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2 minutes ago, Ian A. Thomson said:

Yes, I can clarify. My sense of the Praxians is something like:

40% of them despise the city and want nothing to do with it

30% are neutral and dislike it, but use it because its handy

10% quite like what it offers as a variation and are happy to visit and even stay nearby for a while

20% think it is an utter abomination and would like it wiped off the face of the lozenge, but never have to go near it so don't give it much thought

Culturally my sense is that they are supposed to actively hate it, and that it goes against the precepts of Waha, but that most Eirithans counsel tolerance

If 60% of (male) Praxians despise the city or think it’s an utter abomination, it would be rather weird to describe their attitude as neutrality. I think you’re forgetting that the nomads and trolls, between them, did destroy Old Pavis: it’s called “the Big Rubble” for a reason.

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Nomad cultures need civilisations to survive, that’s where they get their cool stuff. Old Pavis transgressed, and was destroyed by Jaldon Toothmaker. Waha!

Centuries later, strangers from Dragon Pass came and built a tiny little Stone Tent outside the ancient, accursed walls. They’re OK: we can buy metal weapons and armour from them, yes, and firewater, and sell them our cheapest cuts of meat, and occasionally knock off traders travelling across the Plaines to the City.

(What’s that, Wahagrim? A conspiratorial group is trying to resurrect those ancient horrors of the Second Age? My sinews blaze with agony at the very thought of it! Summon the tribe! Gird my favourite rhino for war! This blasphemy has gone far enough!)

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3 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

If 60% of (male) Praxians despise the city or think it’s an utter abomination, it would be rather weird to describe their attitude as neutrality. I think you’re forgetting that the nomads and trolls, between them, did destroy Old Pavis: it’s called “the Big Rubble” for a reason.

Sorry, should have clarified that this is what I built into my campaign. Not any attempt to describe canon

I absolutely based on my interpretation of thorough examination of official sources (lists of historical events and descriptions of cult values etc), but nonetheless I then interpreted those sources to extrapolate current attitudes

Also 'semantics'. "Look down on, regard with quiet contempt, see as grossly inferior to the ways of Waha, would never go there under any circumstances because stone walls are for the weak and pathetic outsiders who don't know or honor the true way." In short strong, cultural prejudice, not in most cases leading to active energy to destroy

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Former Issaries Inc. 'Pavis Expert'

Some of my creations and co-creations: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=Ian Thomson

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1 minute ago, Nick Brooke said:

Nomad cultures need civilisations to survive, that’s where they get their cool stuff. Old Pavis transgressed, and was destroyed by Jaldon Toothmaker. Waha!

Centuries later, strangers from Dragon Pass came and built a tiny little Stone Tent outside the ancient, accursed walls. They’re OK: we can buy metal weapons and armour from them, yes, and firewater, and sell them our cheapest cuts of meat, and occasionally knock off traders travelling across the Plaines to the City.

This is an excellent description of how in my game that 30% I mentioned would feel. I just like having a bulk of simmering 'culturally prejudiced dislikers' hanging around as a background threat. Plus, descriptions of how the city gets smashed officially in 1625(?) also to me suggest that not far beneath the surface is a very strong cultural disrespect or at least utter lack of concern for the lives of those living within

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Former Issaries Inc. 'Pavis Expert'

Some of my creations and co-creations: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=Ian Thomson

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Totally agreed with the last paragraph of your previous post. It would take an unusual Praxian to see anything admirable about settled, civilised life. (And whaddaya know: most adventurers are unusual.)

But that’s a far cry from feeling a hatred in their bones for the city of Pavis. They just think it’s a crappy way to live, compared to the freedom and mastery of the Plaines that is every Praxian’s birthright. Waha! 

Edited by Nick Brooke
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2 minutes ago, Ian A. Thomson said:

descriptions of how the city gets smashed officially in 1625(?) also to me suggest that not far beneath the surface is a very strong cultural disrespect or at least utter lack of concern for the lives of those living within

That’s on fanatical cult leader Argrath White Bull, who leads an apocalyptic fraction of the Storm Bull cult. He’s not a Praxian himself, and doesn’t really mind screwing up their lives, or anyone else’s, if it helps him get his revenge.

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16 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

That’s on fanatical cult leader Argrath White Bull, who leads an apocalyptic fraction of the Storm Bull cult. He’s not a Praxian himself, and doesn’t really mind screwing up their lives, or anyone else’s, if it helps him get his revenge.

Makes sense. Not taking a disagreeing standpoint. Again just my interpretation for considering the backdrop of my campaign, that being able to call on a large number of people more than happy to smash the city and its inhabitants means that they didn't much care for that city in any meaningful way. I'm just not imagining them in the midst of slaughter and plunder ruefully reminiscing on how much they enjoyed a quiet drink at Gimpy's with old Gnarly the dwarf. Pavis (in my campaign as I frame it) is just a place that most nomads don't respect, and that they regard the inhabitants with latent hostility. Maybe its just good dramatic tension, though I don't feel its an idea based on completely spurious cultural or historical precedent.

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Former Issaries Inc. 'Pavis Expert'

Some of my creations and co-creations: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=Ian Thomson

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I think it’s great, and I love what you write. It’s just that you share an unfortunate tendency with Jeff - who I think is great, and I love what he writes - to exaggerate how passionately everyone hates everyone who’s a teeny bit different, which you then have to row back to a more reasonable perspective (as he does) when people who actually want to play the game ask, “How can I play games set here if everyone is a psychopathic murderous bastard to everyone else, 24/7?”

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Don’t think about “what all Praxians hate,“ think about what some Praxians are being (mis)led to do today, by their potentially flawed human leaders. This isn’t some epic of ethnic cleansing, and the glorious inevitable triumph of clean-living nomads over decadent city-dwellers. Thinking that way is bad for your mental health. Some Waha khans think that way, and they’re the baddies in our stories.

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I may not be communicating as well as I could, either here or in the writing. This campaign ran twice and never at any moment did it lack an internal consistency, or not make sense to people. All your points above make sense, and were never an issue in the actual running of the campaign. Passive racially/culturally motivated passionate dislike is not the same as active violent hatred, but does support a sense that many nomads resent and disrespect the city. I would totally agree in my campaign that 'some Waha Khans' have the extreme view and indeed are extremists compared to most Praxians who, like or dislike the city, just want to live their lives with as little disruption as possible.

Edited by Ian A. Thomson
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Former Issaries Inc. 'Pavis Expert'

Some of my creations and co-creations: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=Ian Thomson

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“We don’t like people who aren’t like us.” It applies to Waha braves, to citizens of Pavis, to Sartarite rustics and to happy Pelorian peasants. We know the edges tend to get rubbed off in civilised settings, where several cultures peaceably coexist, but that situation creates and exposes tensions of its own. Only resentful weirdos make hating “otherness” and cleaving to what’s definitely, indisputably, primordially “theirs” into the motivating principle of their existence. (Don’t be a weirdo, that’s my advice.)

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13 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

“We don’t like people who aren’t like us.” It applies to Waha braves, to citizens of Pavis, to Sartarite rustics and to happy Pelorian peasants. We know the edges tend to get rubbed off in civilised settings, where several cultures peaceably coexist, but that situation creates and exposes tensions of its own. Only resentful weirdos make hating “otherness” and cleaving to what’s definitely, indisputably, primordially “theirs” into the motivating principle of their existence. (Don’t be a weirdo, that’s my advice.)

Wisdom worthy of Pavis himself. I am deliberately working with cultural negative cliches, and am a former student of real-world imperialism and (unfortunately) historical instances of cultural toxicity, which no doubt impacts how I slant the framework in which Pavis stands amidst the Praxians. In game terms of course the 30% of more tolerant Praxians predominate anyway, and the 'distant fuming other' with 'hatred in their bones' is more of a deliberately dramatic emphasis to support the sense of isolation of the city. It's also a rather poetic turn of phrase of course too

Most Praxians who pass through Pavis County will be the ones who are more akin to the attitudes you stated so well above. This is such a worthwhile topic that I wish we had it in it's own thread. 

Edited by Ian A. Thomson
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Former Issaries Inc. 'Pavis Expert'

Some of my creations and co-creations: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=Ian Thomson

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The cult of Waha is Neutral towards Pavis and vice versa. That's canon. The cults are perfectly able to work together when it is in their interest to do so, and certainly willing to work against each other when it is in their interest to do so. 

The Praxians certainly tell stories about how Jaldon Goldentooth plundered Pavis, but that is told out of pride in Jaldon and not hatred for Pavis. Praxians were involved in the founding of New Pavis, and only got kicked out of the city when some tried to stage a coup to take over the city.

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13 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The cult of Waha is Neutral towards Pavis and vice versa. That's canon. The cults are perfectly able to work together when it is in their interest to do so, and certainly willing to work against each other when it is in their interest to do so. 

The Praxians certainly tell stories about how Jaldon Goldentooth plundered Pavis, but that is told out of pride in Jaldon and not hatred for Pavis. Praxians were involved in the founding of New Pavis, and only got kicked out of the city when some tried to stage a coup to take over the city.

Hating Pavis in 1625 îs kind of like a Sassanid Persian around the time of Justinian hating the city of Seleucia. Sure once upon a time the Greek dynasty were foreign rulers here, but that was a LONG time ago and besides they were humbled many hundreds of years ago. 

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8 hours ago, Ian A. Thomson said:

30% are neutral and dislike it, but use it because its handy

10% quite like what it offers as a variation and are happy to visit and even stay nearby for a while

It's also easy to imagine that it's people on the outskirts of tolerable society, weirdos, and people with unusual ambitions who tolerate the city better.

I.e. PC material. 

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8 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

That’s on fanatical cult leader Argrath White Bull, who leads an apocalyptic fraction of the Storm Bull cult. He’s not a Praxian himself, and doesn’t really mind screwing up their lives, or anyone else’s, if it helps him get his revenge.

Argrath didn't have any beef with Pavis - he led a confederation of Praxians against the main Lunar imperial stronghold in Prax. Argrath smashed the gate of New Pavis to take the city from his LUNAR enemies. He then established himself as king of the city and used it as his headquarters for invading Dragon Pass. In fact that same account has Argrath fighting his way to the Temple of Pavis - and then "the ancient god rose from his grave and greeted Argrath, and so the surviving Lunar soldiers lost heart and surrendered." 

Now Waha is Hostile towards the Seven Mothers and the Red Goddess, as is Orlanth (he's actually an Enemy of the Red Goddess as well). And Storm Bull is Enemy to both the Red Goddess and the Seven Mothers (Storm Bull is Hostile towards Pavis, where Waha is only Neutral - Orlanth is Friendly).  

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Just now, Jeff said:

Argrath didn't have any beef with Pavis - he led a confederation of Praxians against the main Lunar imperial stronghold in Prax. 

Yes, I know. That’s the point I was making. Argrath attacks Pavis for Argrath’s reasons, not Waha’s or Storm Bull’s or anybody else’s.

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