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School me on the Changes to the Malkioni

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  • Any proposal needs to be based on the Guide - anything that smacks of the pseudomedieval or pseudo-Christian Malkioni (with saints, pagans, etc) is going to get rejected. We already have plenty of pseudo-medieval fantasy settings out there, Glorantha is not one of them. The approach taken in The Book of Glorious Joy, Blood Over Gold, Men of the Sea, HQ1, or RQ3 is not going to be published. 

 Based on what Jeff said in the other thread. Can you explain me the what and why of the changes to the Malkioni?

My first approach to Glorantha came with the RQ2 rules and there was not much on the Malkioni. In the RQ3 Genertela box they were pseudo-Medieval (pseudo-Christian or Pseudo-Islamic) with a bit of Byzantine flavor. In the Hero Wars book it was more or less the same. I remember cool stories about the Order of the Swallow and the Kingdom of War. In Mongoose RQ Second Age the God Learners were basically the Spanish Empire of the late XVI century with a little Dutch thrown in, which was kinda cool in its own way...

So, what happened and why?

I apologise in advance if I'm beating a dead horse or the question is seen as inflammatory. I'm cool with whatever happened to the Malkioni (also because I can still have knights in shining armor in my home games :D). I just want to learn about the new (or perhaps old?) vision.

 

 

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The Malkioni have been reverted to Greg's original vision of a society dominated by wizards rather than a pseudo-Christian Church.  The medieval details in prior Gloranthan publications were the result of, I understand, severe time constraints in the making of the Genertela boxed set which required substantial filler and so the medieval material was just parachuted in.  Subsequent publications just simply accepted it.

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Do you have The Guide To Glorantha? The Malkioni are portrayed with a much more ancient flavour, although to really fully grasp the culture a few more setting books need to come out. 

For one thing, the background buildings in the Malkioni plates tend to look much more classical, with pillars, ornate designs and what not. Certainly not Dark Ages or a feudal Fief, much more like Rome or Byzantium / Constantinople.

The pictures I have seen of the Hrestoli (warrior caste) have feathered helmets perhaps like ancient Macedonians or Achaemenids. The armour style for the rider and horse barding looks influenced from ancient western Eurasian Cataphracts rather than feudal Knights.  The common soldiers in the background look more influenced by Comitatenses (late roman empire infantry) rather than medieval men-at-arms.

I'm speculating here, but I get the sense that the early Byzantine Empire could be a reasonable base analogy for Malkioni, but like everything else in Glorantha, there is a lot of intermixing with several earth cultures to really get the flavour.

The pictures of Malkoni noble women in the G2G have a few Romano-Arabic touches to their attire, a little like some depictions I have seen of Palmyrene noble women, but certainly no courtly medieval maids.

I think of the Zzubari (wizard caste) being a sage caste, and they appear to be more like a mix of Hellenistic philosophers crossed with ancient Assyrian Priests or Yiddish Holymen rather than any references to medieval Catholic clergy.

Certainly the Malkion patrons are no longer presented as analogs of medieval Christian Saints, and even the titles of Saints has been dropped. They are now referred to as The Ascended Masters. Major influences are perhaps Coptic, Vedic, Brahmanic, and Buddhist, but there needs to be more detail in future supplements to really grasp the essence of these patrons.

I may be a little off with some of these references, although its much more in the ballpark than any previous medieval analogies for the Malkioni. I always felt that the previous presentation of the Malkioni just didn't fit well with Glorantha, so I'm really quite happy with the presentation of the Malkioni in the Guide To Glorantha.

I just wish we had a bit more meat on the bone, so I'm eagerly waiting for any new settings to come out for the Malkioni.

Edited by Mankcam
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The medieval details in prior Gloranthan publications were the result of, I understand, severe time constraints in the making of the Genertela boxed set which required substantial filler and so the medieval material was just parachuted in.

Interesting. Westerners did feel somewhat less organic than other Gloranthan cultures, but I would have never imagined that they were the result of a close deadline!

 

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Do you have The Guide To Glorantha? The Malkioni are portrayed with a much more ancient flavour, although to really fully grasp the culture a few more setting books need to come out. 

I really need to get the Guide to Glorantha! 

There are certain aspects of the West that are very evocative and very gameable. The Melancholy of the castle coast, with memories of the lost empire. The brutal war between Logic and Chaos where the Kingdom of War is in a dark mirror image of Loskalm. Sorcerer knights - sorry, sorcerer warriors. Monotheism.

To the extent that these aspects remain, it remains a fascinating setting.

 

  

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There's an awful lot of information on the West in the Guide to Glorantha, all together possibly more than any other culture. In a nutshell, the Malkioni are rational humanists who can shape the universe without consent from gods who elsewhere are believed to rule everything. All Malkioni believe that human society is divided into at least four categories - workers, soldiers, rulers, and magical specialists. Whether that division should be strictly or loosely hereditary in the form of castes, determined by order of birth, or is metaphorical journey that each human goes through during their life - that is something of great debate and disagreement.

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I really need to get the Guide To Glorantha!

Yes you certainly do!  It's an heirloom book and is a must for any lover of Glorantha

There are certain aspects of the West that are very evocative and very gameable. The Melancholy of the castle coast, with memories of the lost empire. The brutal war between Logic and Chaos where the Kingdom of War is in a dark mirror image of Loskalm. Sorcerer knights - sorry, sorcerer warriors. Monotheism.

To the extent that these aspects remain, it remains a fascinating setting.

These aspects do remain, but the trapping and presentation of the culture itself is different. Lots of Malkioni content presented in the G2G. More than enough to run campaigns off, although I would prefer to wait until a little more canon comes out, although I might still run it with how I'm interpreting it.

I have a Blood Over Gold campaign in hiatus that I am heavily re-trapping to be more consistent with the G2G. I figure that Maniria won't be covered in any more detail, so it's perfect for a GM to home brew, given the information on the region provided in the G2G. I would however like to see some canon settings for the city-states of Safelster; the Kingdom of Seshnela or The Castle Coast, so fingers crossed for some of that to turn up someday.

Some cult descriptions for the various sects and Ascended Masters would also be good at some stage. Its just a lot of speculation at present, although its not too hard to design this off the cuff.

The Malkioni are much more fascinating now then they were previously, in my opinion. 

 

Edited by Mankcam

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These aspects do remain, but the trapping and presentation of the culture itself is different. Lots of Malkioni content presented in the G2G. More than enough to run campaigns off, although I would prefer to wait until a little more canon comes out, although I might still run it with how I'm interpreting it.

I have a Blood Over Gold campaign in hiatus that I am heavily re-trapping to be more consistent with the G2G. I figure that Maniria won't be covered in any more detail, so it's perfect for a GM to home brew, given the information on the region provided in the G2G. I would however like to see some canon settings for the city-states of Safelster; the Kingdom of Seshnela or The Castle Coast, so fingers crossed for some of that to turn up someday.

Some cult descriptions for the various sects and Ascended Masters would also be good at some stage. Its just a lot of speculation at present, although its not too hard to design this off the cuff.

The Malkioni are much more fascinating now then they were previously, in my opinion. 

Thanks! Right now I don't have a Malkioni book on my plate, but as I have said before, if someone has a great submission pitch - I'd definitely consider it. That being said, the Malkioni work themselves into just about everything I write (aspects of their philosophical approach have been widely embraced even by their enemies), so we'll see.

Maniria may actually get more coverage - it is close enough to the center of the world that it is often in my thoughts. Needless to say, the chapter in G2G pretty much completely overwrites BoG (so much so that I don't ever even use that book for a reference).

Safelster is an interesting area - the Invisible God is widely acknowledged (by one name or another) as the Creator, and Malkioni sorcery widely used, but for most purposes people call upon the aid of greater gods (such as Orlanth, Ernalda, Humakt, Ehilm, Zorak Zoran, etc) or lesser gods (such as the local Horse God(dess), various heroes or ancestors). Arkat is revered, but inaccessible (so much so that the various movements claim wildly contradictory aspects to him and fight bitterly). Ian Cooper and I have both spoken of our desire to one day write a campaign set there. You have decadent civilization, secret societies, tribal barbarians, trolls, elves, and even dwarves. An awesome place for a good sword and sorcery campaign.

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Safelster is an interesting area - the Invisible God is widely acknowledged (by one name or another) as the Creator, and Malkioni sorcery widely used, but for most purposes people call upon the aid of greater gods (such as Orlanth, Ernalda, Humakt, Ehilm, Zorak Zoran, etc) or lesser gods (such as the local Horse God(dess), various heroes or ancestors). Arkat is revered, but inaccessible (so much so that the various movements claim wildly contradictory aspects to him and fight bitterly). Ian Cooper and I have both spoken of our desire to one day write a campaign set there. You have decadent civilization, secret societies, tribal barbarians, trolls, elves, and even dwarves. An awesome place for a good sword and sorcery campaign.

Absolutely agree. Safelster is an area screaming out for a sword and sorcery campaign. It feels it's an area that would suit all forms of game: HQ:G, Chaosium RQ, and 13th Age Glorantha. Maybe even a board game.

It is on the top of my list to fund someone to write it: I just have to win the lottery first!

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Maniria is a logical next step, being near The Holy Country. I'ld also like to see Handra done well. I read elsewhere in a Glorantha.com thread that Handra is heavily Erolian influenced, and the pictures of Obrana confirm that. Unsure if they are still Malkioni, or something else now. A scenario set in one of the Trader Prince outposts would be good as well.

Safelster really is a great fantasy setting, with its mix of cultures, beliefs, intrigue, and conflicts. I could really see this setting getting the heavy treatment that we hear Notchet is getting. Yes, certainly an awesome place for a sword and sorcery campaign.

Edited by Mankcam

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Absolutely agree. Safelster is an area screaming out for a sword and sorcery campaign.

Great setting. Actually, I did quite like the Second Age Safelster/ Ralios setting that was in Mongoose's Glorantha Book. It made a great job in showing Glorantha as a gameable setting. It was really funny how Mongoose's release schedule completely ignored it as foundation for a campaign.

For a while I mulled ideas of a campaign there centered around Arkati intrigues and Trolls. That could work quite well also in the Third Age.

 

P.S. I did quite like some of the Second Age stuff published by Mongoose - even if it was atrociously edited and sometimes nigh unplayable. I hope this does not make me a bad person :).

 

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P.S. I did quite like some of the Second Age stuff published by Mongoose - even if it was atrociously edited and sometimes nigh unplayable. I hope this does not make me a bad person :).

I thought the stuff by Robin Laws, Loz and Gareth Hanrahan was great. Full of atmosphere and really playable. Blood of Orlanth is probably my second favourite Glorantha campaign. Truth be told, I found the Second Age (when it was done properly) reinvigorated my interest in Glorantha. 

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Maniria becomes a good choice for a playground once we have a better idea about playing in the Holy Country.

The Trader Princes are an interesting micro-culture - a bit like Greek or Phoenician colonies among somewhat cultured barbarians of wildly different creed, only relying on mule trains and (comparably) heavy cavalry instead of trading ships and galleys. It could be fun playing at the court of the Trader Prince nominally ruling over the Solanthi valley, with Greymane and his sons regularly mustering huge raiding bands luckily marching eastward.

Safelster can be a fun game area. My ideas for Lake Felster feature navies of galleys patroling against pirates and neighboring navies while keeping an eye on the mercantyle vessels (and occasionally their cargoes). If I were to play a game of FGU's ancient Bireme and Galley cosim (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/18789/bireme-galley) anywhere on Glorantha, Lake Felster would be my first choice.

I have fond memories of a play-by-mail RuneQuest game set in Kustria, involving a tour of the Tower of Xud. My character was a member of the Old Arkat Kult Alliance and an initiate of the lady of the lake, a former sailor turning gang leader in the port quarter.

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I have fond memories of a play-by-mail RuneQuest game set in Kustria, involving a tour of the Tower of Xud.

You are not the only one. Where did you disappear, Jose?

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Maniria is a logical next step, being near The Holy Country. I'ld also like to see Handra done well. I read elsewhere in a Glorantha.com thread that Handra is heavily Erolian influenced, and the pictures of Obrana confirm that. Unsure if they are still Malkioni, or something else now. A scenario set in one of the Trader Prince outposts would be good as well.

Yes, Handra is heavily influenced by Esrolia. Folk tend to think how influential Esrolia is on the look and feel of surrounding lands. It is rich, it is a main source for luxury goods, and it has thousands of scribes. I increasingly think that you can find LM cultists as far away as Safelster who are either Esrolian or trained in Nochet.

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Coming back to the Malkioni... I find it useful to resort to RW equivalents to get a feeling for Glorantha.

Looking for monotheists of antiquity (not Christianity and Islam), we have Judaism, Akenathon's short-lived attempt... but also religions of ancient Iran:

Zurvanism, Mazdaism, Zoroastrism (and possibly later offsprings like Mithraism, Manicheism).

 

I could probably easily mold the Abiding Book on the Avesta, Seshnelan kings on Achemenids, Zzaburi as Mages, and so on.

In fact, that's quite tempting!

And it brings the whole Persian-Iranian world into Glorantha :-)

 

Does it make any sense?

Edited by Patrick
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They are a Malkioni offspring, anyway - Syranthir came from the Loskalm region, fleeing God Learners, and was Hrestoli (and maybe even Irensavelist).

Indeed, Carmanian religion fits well into the Henotheist & dualist approach of RW mazdeism.

The question is: how much of it zlso applies to other Malkioni "churches"?

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Coming back to the Malkioni... I find it useful to resort to RW equivalents to get a feeling for Glorantha.

Looking for monotheists of antiquity (not Christianity and Islam), we have Judaism, Akenathon's short-lived attempt... but also religions of ancient Iran:

Zurvanism, Mazdaism, Zoroastrism (and possibly later offsprings like Mithraism, Manicheism).

If you go back far enough, the roots of Mazdaism and Brahmanism may be a good starting point for understanding Danmalastan. The Original (Runic) Beings of Danmalastan (including Zzabur) are the equivalent of the gods worshipped by mortals elsewhere, and the Malkioni regard those gods as great-uncles who strayed from logic for personal aggrandizement. The folk of Danmalastan underwent a split when the Vadeli maintained a school of logic that differed from that of Zzabur. Both Zzabur and the Vadeli got uglier and uglier in their means in that conflict. While neither the Vadeli nor the Brithini had gods that could be demonized, they had ancestors that filled that role.

I don't know of a single story where Vadel had a conflict with Malkion in any of his stages. It is always Vadel and Zzabur going at each other with gusto. Zzabur finally expelled Malkion, refusing to accept any guidance other than his own. The Vadeli wars corrupted both parties - the Pelandans interacted with different groups of blue-skinned sorcerers that we cannot identify as either Vadeli or Brithini-related Kachasti (or yet other peoples of blue skin that "learned" from Vadeli, Brithini or Waertagi in their conflicts).

The Malkioni are identified as former Brithini who left Zzabur's influence for a variety of reasons. The most prominent example is the exodus of Froalar to avoid a fratricidal succession war for the position of the ruling Talar of Brithos (basically Zzabur's governor), leaving this role for his brother. This established Frowal and possibly some of the other Seshnelan cities ending on -wal.

    I could probably easily mold the Abiding Book on the Avesta, Seshnelan kings on Achemenids, Zzaburi as Mages, and so on.

In fact, that's quite tempting!

And it brings the whole Persian-Iranian world into Glorantha :-)

That dualistic thought is present in Fronelan sects/schools as well, with the Creator of the material world seen as the demiurge.

The Magi of ancient Persia are at least superficially a class of non-sacerdotal wise folk caring for the spiritual needs of their people, although their original duties included those of sacrificers of bulls. I don't know enough about the Indian caste systems through the ages to comment on how good a Malkioni parallel they are.

The Greek philosophers and their schools are probably the best parallel for the role of the zzabur caste in Malkionism. They adhere to the teachings of their founders without necessarily deifying their founder. Confucianism might be another place to look for.

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Coming back to the Malkioni... I find it useful to resort to RW equivalents to get a feeling for Glorantha.

Looking for monotheists of antiquity (not Christianity and Islam), we have Judaism, Akenathon's short-lived attempt... but also religions of ancient Iran:

Zurvanism, Mazdaism, Zoroastrism (and possibly later offsprings like Mithraism, Manicheism).

 

I could probably easily mold the Abiding Book on the Avesta, Seshnelan kings on Achemenids, Zzaburi as Mages, and so on.

In fact, that's quite tempting!

And it brings the whole Persian-Iranian world into Glorantha :-)

 

Does it make any sense?

Oh it definitely makes sense - it is always good to look at some RW variations. But always remember, Glorantha is NOT our earth, and its religions are grappling with a core set of phenomena that in our world is mostly poetic or metaphorical.

That being said, the biggest sources of inspiration for me when I write about the Malkioni are Plato, Plotinus, Zeno of Citium, Second Temple Judaism, the Avesta, early Buddhism, and various texts on Varna and Dharma. Mix together Greek philosophers, Hellenic jews, Zorastrianism, Greco-Buddhism, and Indian philosophers and you are probably on the right track.

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Hellenic Judaism, Zurvanism/Zoroastrism, Gnosticism and Greco-Buddhism certainly all come through as influences for Malkioni thought as portrayed in the Guide To Glorantha. It will be good to see some Malkioni settings developed after the Esrolian setting, I think it will really highlight some more uniqueness of Glorantha.

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Hellenic Judaism, Zurvanism/Zoroastrism, Gnosticism and Greco-Buddhism certainly all come through as influences for Malkioni thought as portrayed in the Guide To Glorantha. It will be good to see some Malkioni settings developed after the Esrolian setting, I think it will really highlight some more uniqueness of Glorantha.

In fact, we should start seeing materials on Malkioni settings in the Kethaela series: God Forgot/Casino Town, and the Heortland Esvulari...

Looking forward to it!

Edited by Patrick
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Yes, I think you're right. The Esvulari will certainly have some rich Malkioni influences, and God Forgot will no doubt be an odd variant of Malkionism. The Game of Luck and Death will be interesting, the dark secret behind Casino Town ( the Gloranthan Las Vegas!), it sounds like some left-over Zistorite technology that shouldn't be tinkered with. I'm looking forward to this publication.

I would really love to see Seshnela further developed. I think the interplay between the Castle Coast, The Kingdom of Seshnela, and the Quinpolic League would be very interesting, with the mysterious presence of the Brithini watching from Arolanit.

At this stage I'm using some analogies from the late Roman Empire when the Legates (Generals) were often in conflict with each other during succession wars. This could perhaps be a reasonable reference for some of the internal Seshnelan strife between Guilmarn and various contentious Dukes of the provinces.

I also think the idea of the various War Societies of the Horali is a great concept, kinda like independent armies that the Talar Dukes have to keep in their pockets otherwise they might be convinced to shift their loyalties to rival Talari. The concept reminds me a little of Roman Legionaries whose alliegance was to their Legion above all else, and it is not hard to imagine Horali having the same level of loyalty to their War Society.

The Quinploic League also holds a lot of promise. I think references to the Hansa trade network, the Aegean maritime traders, and also to the ancient Phoenicians could be useful. Lots of food for thought here.

Not to forget Ralios. Safelster looks like a great place to set adventures in, I would love to see it in more detail, it looks like such a rich setting

Also it would be good to see a new take on Maniria with the Trader Princes on the New Coast, the trade hub of Handra, and the Orlanthi of the region. I thought Blood Over Gold had a lot of potential, and would love to see it re-imagined in more detail (although I am happy to just tinker with this for my own homebrew, the G2G provides more than enough for this, but having more canon references for Ralios and Seshnela would certainly be helpful)

But yeah, I'd love the Malkioni to get some spotlight down the track :-)

 

Edited by Mankcam
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