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Holy Country maunderings - Caladraland


Jeff

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Caladraland is the rich, volcanic land south of Esrolia. The soil of the volcanic highlands is so rich, the inhabitants have no need of plowing - when they wish to cultivate new land, they cut down a section of the jungle, burn the slash, and then poke holes for the seeds of crops, including beans, chilis, garlic, squash, onions, peppers, and other vegetables. They continue cultivating that section until the soil is exhausted and then cut down a new section of jungle. Grapes are cultivated in the dryer lowlands of Vinavale, and the region is famed for its vast vineyards.

The gods of the Vent are the most socially important cults in Caladraland, although Ernalda, Esrola, Babeester Gor, Asrelia, and Ty Kora Tek all have prominent cults and Esrolia has strongly influenced Caladralander culture and art, and much of the population in Vinavale is Esrolian. A small ruling caste of Caldralanders rule the Esrolian province of Porthomeko. In the Hero Wars, the warlords of Porthomeko are allied with the city of Rhigos, forming what is commonly called the Warm Earth Alliance.

Some notes on some prominent Caladralander cults:

Veskarthan the Deep is the great and lusty volcano god who lives in the Vent in the Holy Country. He called the Great Devourer for his ability to consume great quantities of anything. Deep within him is the Wildfire, an untamable demon of conflagration that once threatened to destroy all of creation until tamed by Veskarthan. Veskarthan has since used that power many times, exploding and destroying his foe both with hot lava and with the fall of ash. He is the father of the Lowfires and of Caladra and Aurelion. Veskarthan is often associated with the Pelorian god Lodril.

Veskarthan fought with Argan Argar in the Darkness and was defeated. The Dark God forced Veskarthan into humiliating chains of shadow and had him build an immense palace of black glass for the Only Old One.

Veskarthan is depicted as a man with flaming hair and beard and wielding a burning spear. His statues are often made out of igneous rock.

Caladra and Aurelion are the twin children of Veskarthan (a local incarnation of Lodril) and Gata. Caladra was tended by the Mostali who depended upon the deep fires for their craft; Aurelion was taught the lore of Asrelia, who whispered the lore of the wealth within the Earth into his dreaming mind. The Twins unsuccessfully tried to free their father from Argan Argan’s obsidian palace; but they succeeded in bringing forth firebone (coal), earthblood (oil), and diamonds so their followers could survive the Darkness.

The cult of Caladra and Aurelion is an ex­ample of a successful God Learner ex­periment. The God Learners took two independent cults with variant views of the universe and interlinked them to create a third, stronger cult. This cult is still important in Caladraland and parts of southeastern Maniria.

Caladra and Aurelion are gods of volcanic fertility and harmony. Twins and diamonds are sacred to this cult, and they burn raw oil in their sacred lamps.

Caladra is always shown as a fiery, orange-skinned woman, and Aurelion as a handsome, black-skinned man. 

Tessele the True is the demigoddess daughter of Aurelion and wielder of the Blazing Axe. When her twin brother Vortem was trapped and sacrificed by the followers of Thed, Tessele set off on an impossible quest for vengeance. She ultimately succeeded in reconstructing and resurrecting her lost soul-sibling. She befriended the Mostali with oaths of diamond and became the ruler of the Caladrians in the Silver Age.

Tessele is depicted as an emaciated ascetic woman carrying either a blazing axe or a Y-shaped staff. She wears a necklace of diamonds.

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

firebone (coal), earthblood (oil), and diamonds so their followers could survive the Darkness.

 

Hmm.

Firebone might be the preserved bones of Earth or Aldryami deities? Earthblood literally preserved Earth blood or perhaps long dead water organisms trapped within the Earth? And diamonds - Falangian? Gemborg Essence Crystals? - the word Adamant was used by the Greek to refer to diamonds (and other hard substances) so perhaps Gloranthan diamonds are fragments of refined Truestone?

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I still wonder why the Fuel within the Earth is mixed up with cults about the Fire within the Earth. Asrelia's bounty?

Another minor concern is the origin of the Caladralanders. Are they descended from the union between Vestkarthan and Asrelia/Esrola, or the lowfires and the earth handmaidens (as listed with more names that anyone can remember in Thunder Rebels)? I think they are classified under Durevings, along with other Golden Age folk of the lands north of the Spike met in the downland migration.

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6 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I still wonder why the Fuel within the Earth is mixed up with cults about the Fire within the Earth. Asrelia's bounty?

Another minor concern is the origin of the Caladralanders. Are they descended from the union between Vestkarthan and Asrelia/Esrola, or the lowfires and the earth handmaidens (as listed with more names that anyone can remember in Thunder Rebels)? I think they are classified under Durevings, along with other Golden Age folk of the lands north of the Spike met in the downland migration.

I think you are focusing too much about the God Time origins of folk. Are the pre-Roman inhabitants of Britain descended from the Lydians, Trojans, the Belgae, or come from the sea? Are the original peoples of Kethaela the descendants of Durev, Darhudan, or did they come out of the earth from the songs and dances of the goddesses?

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Thanks for this,   I've recently started PCing in a Caladraland game, and am playing an initiate of Aurelion (amongst other things).   We've got most of the the gods mentioned represented amongst our hero group - another hero is playing my twin Caladra initiate, we have a Tessele war leader, and someone torn between following Gustbran (one of the Lowfires and Veskarthan's sons) and following a local spirit tradition that we've discovered called the "Ghost Pepper Society".   Yes, their rites involve ingesting lots of terrifyingly spicy peppers until they can see the other side.

I've really been loving HeroQuest Glorantha for the ability for folks to follow different / complementary magical traditions if they choose not to become Devotees/Shamans/Magicians.

Another thing we have done is focus a bit more on the differences between Esrola the Most and Ernalda the Least, by having the Caladralanders be rather firmly favoring Esrola over Ernalda - but not denying that the two sister goddesses are inextricably linked.   Esrola is the wife of Veskarthan, while everyone knows the Ernalda chose to marry Orlanth.  Ernalda is considered more of what the folks of Lowlands and Esrolia follow, while Esrola Caladra (the fertile bountiful lands of the volcano) is the goddess of our people.  

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1 minute ago, Jeff said:

I think you are focusing too much about the God Time origins of folk. Are the pre-Roman inhabitants of Britain descended from the Lydians, Trojans, the Belgae, or come from the sea? Are the original peoples of Kethaela the descendants of Durev, Darhudan, or did they come out of the earth from the songs and dances of the goddesses?

Yes - that's exactly what forms the myths about the British, and much of their (and the US) national identities. Look at the impact of those reconstructed myths in the late 19th and early 20th century, all the way up to Achtung! Cthulhu. Look at your own ancestral identity and how you present it to your children.

The Heortlings understand themselves as descended from those of the Vingkotlings who made it to the Dawn. These people aren't Heortlings. They weren't Vingkotlings, but something else - people of Hanoro?

Ok, so the Silver Age survivors huddled in a cave under Solung plateau, forgetting much of what went on before, then "rediscovering" their ancestry. The God Learner C&A got successful here because there are gaps in the ancestral knowledge that could be filled, but it also was well integrated into what was known or rediscovered.

We are told these people are culturally Orlanthi. I'll grant you that they are Theyalan and Kethaelan, but if they are Orlanthi, then the Pelorian Lodrili are, too, unless we find a good ancestral position to say there is a substantial difference.

I've been rereading "Esrolia - Land of 10k Goddesses" a bit, and I find a strange mixture that puts the Grandmothers both in a Green Ageish context and as a relatively recent (Sword and Helm Saga) development. The Three Bad Men include a chronoportated Kodig in what I would call an early Golden Age myth. (Or maybe the special power of Kodig Vingkotsson is that he was a re-incarnation of one of the Three Bad Men?)

Once again, the Caladrans have forgotten a lot, but they have a lot more to forget than the humans who derive their myths just from the Downland Migration.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Yes - that's exactly what forms the myths about the British, and much of their (and the US) national identities.

The idea that the British were Trojans didn't contributed to British national identity in the late 19th and early 20th century, but in the 17th, when the myth of Brutus of Troy allowed the Stuart court to import a myth of common British national identity, permitting King James to trace his lineage back to Troy - instead of Rome - just at the Tudors had done to give the Anglican Church an origin as old if not older than Rome. In comparison, the figures of Arthur and Boadicea were far more important in the 19th century - resulting in the erection of the statue of Boadicea and her daughters on the Victorian Embankment bearing the lines of Cowper's ode: Regions Caesar never knew, Thy posterity shall sway. The irony of erecting a statue commemorating an anti-imperialist in the heart of empire was lost on the Victorians, though if they'd known the more accurate version of her name was Boudicca (Buddug in Welsh) they might not have been so enamored with her.

[There's a thin burnt layer in the remains of the Roman town here where Boudicca passed through on her way to Londinium, but she's still more well known and popular than Claudius in whose name the town was founded.]

But, as with Glorantha, a myth of national identity is often more important than the actual source of a population. If people think of themselves as Orlanthi, then they look for Orlanthi mythic origins, not where they really descended from.

The Caladrians know they are descended from the Karkudja people, who worshiped Veskarthan, Caladra and Kudja the Ancestor, and that Tessele the True was their demigoddess leader at the Dawn.

Edited by M Helsdon
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So in the Guide, in the Appendix on the settlements at the dawn, Tessele is mentioned as leading the proto-Caladralanders out of the Great Darkness where they took shelter in the Solung Plateau.   Did the God-Learner's "prove" later on  that she was a daughter of Aurelion?

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Deep within him is the Wildfire, an untamable demon of conflagration that once threatened to destroy all of creation until tamed by Veskarthan...

Question for you, Jeff!

In one of the earliest published myths on Lodril (Wyrms Footprints 10; reprinted in Wyrms Footnotes, p. 57), he is described as fighting an entity of Chaos. They fought, until

Quote

Lodril recognised, almost too late, that he could not destroy this foe. He determined that he was willing to destroy himself if he could also destroy the monster. He entwined and entangled himself with it and sought his deepest fires to scorch both of them from life. His effort was only partially successful, for where there had been two things before there was afterwards only one. Lodril remained most prominent, but he was tainted ever afterwards with a violence unlike most fire entities.

No myth of this event told since has been quite as particular or explicit in the mention of Chaos. Either the outcome is changed or simplified (as in Lodril's 'exultant victory' in the RuneQuest Companion), or we see the nature of the entity rendered in more obscure or variably interpretable terms. I can see why. Chaos can be awkward in Glorantha. It can lead to fairly simplistic, binary thinking in a manner that much of the rest of Gloranthan myth does not. But I've always liked this myth and its portent.

This is particularly resonant for Veskarthan, where that Disorder is internalised in a way that it is not in the myths of Pelorian Lodril, ViSaruDaran and Turos, where that Disorder is effectively externalised into Deshkorgos, etc. (Though I'm always wary of how these two at-times very different sets of myths reflect on each other.)

So, in short (and put very provocatively): has Glorantha dialled back on the rather early idea that Veskarthan is part-Chaos, or is it happy to reply with a non-committal smile? :)

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9 minutes ago, Quackatoa said:

So, in short (and put very provocatively): has Glorantha dialled back on the rather early idea that Veskarthan is part-Chaos, or is it happy to reply with a non-committal smile? :)

That story does not have Lodril becoming "part-Chaos" as a result of fighting Krarsht. Rather, as a result of that desperate struggle Lodril was "tainted ever afterwards with a violence unlike most fire entities." Most stories of Lodril have him being somehow "polluted" or "tainted" - the Dara Happans claim it is because he exists in the Lower World (and are more concerned about his gross appetites than his violence). This is the Theyalan version of the same - the Theyalans don't consider him polluted by his sensual appetites, but by his violence and destructiveness. 

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I certainly wouldn't trust Lodril! He's violent and destructive, and often pointlessly so. And his temper is literally explosive! He constantly tries to escape from deep within the earth - his fiery power seeps through the earth, angering Maran Gor, inflaming it as with a fever, until he finds at last a place where he can burst through to freedom. When he erupts forth from the earth, he falls upon and slays all that he meets with a cataclysmic fury. But after every eruption, he is rechained by Argan Argan and brought back deep into the earth, unable to aid the world except through his children.

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29 minutes ago, Jeff said:

But after every eruption, he is rechained by Argan Argan and brought back deep into the earth, unable to aid the world except through his children.

As an aside, I think this is one of the 'firm-up's I find most interesting. There'd been a lot of confusion over what happened to Veskarthan after he'd been defeated by Argan Argar. For example: WF/WP stated he was released; Different Worlds/Tales #7 suggested he wasn't (or, at least, not quite - c.f. Eurmal). We obviously knew that the victories of Argan Argar in the Godtime provided a mythic currency that carried through beyond the Dawn, exploited by his son and the Kingdom of Night, but this clarification is cool.

It also gives the Twins a lot more of a role, which is great. As we've discussed before, I was worried they were getting a bit lost!

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An interesting mythology to say the least. I love the primal aspects here, you really can't get much more 'primal' when you are dealing with Fire and Earth.

So what real-world references can we start to mix up as an analogue of the Caldralanders?

My earliest perceptions of them were influenced from meso-american cultures like aztecs, mayans,incans, and olmecs. However looking at the picture of the Caldralander guard in the Esrolian plate from the G2G doesn't particularly evoke this flavour.

So what influences should we use when depicting the Caldralanders to our players? 

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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13 hours ago, Mankcam said:

So what influences should we use when depicting the Caldralanders to our players? 

I could be wrong but I'm sure I recall seeing some caladralander figure sketches - @Jeff I'm I miss remembering?

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Search the Glorantha Resource Site: https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com. Search the Glorantha mailing list archives: https://glorantha.steff.in/digests/

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Well that's a start.

There is possibly some Meso-American influence there in the attire, although its mixed in some type of Arabian or Egyptian perhaps

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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19 hours ago, Jeff said:

I certainly wouldn't trust Lodril! He's violent and destructive, and often pointlessly so. And his temper is literally explosive! He constantly tries to escape from deep within the earth - his fiery power seeps through the earth, angering Maran Gor, inflaming it as with a fever, until he finds at last a place where he can burst through to freedom. When he erupts forth from the earth, he falls upon and slays all that he meets with a cataclysmic fury. But after every eruption, he is rechained by Argan Argan and brought back deep into the earth, unable to aid the world except through his children.

For me, Lodril is one of the phallic gods.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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I believe this is also the image of Caladralander, @Quackatoa maybe able to give more specific cultural references.

Caladralander.jpg

Edited by David Scott
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Search the Glorantha Resource Site: https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com. Search the Glorantha mailing list archives: https://glorantha.steff.in/digests/

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The idea of a society's elite all having Fire/Sky and Disorder as runes just doesn't seem sustainable to me. I suspect that the Veskarthan priests and ranking cult members who run Caladralander society tend to mix Fire/Sky with power runes that aren't Disorder - Fertility and Mastery seem like good alternative choices, choices that might actually resonate with aspects of Veskarthan. Of course, that would also mean that most of the cult hierarchy would have very bad access to Veskarthan's Disorder powers. The occasional cultist who shows up with very powerful Disorder is probably a subject of some concern to the more staid rulers - how can his power be harnessed in ways that don't result in a (metaphorical) massive explosion that destroys everything around him?

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5 hours ago, bturner said:

The idea of a society's elite all having Fire/Sky and Disorder as runes just doesn't seem sustainable to me. I suspect that the Veskarthan priests and ranking cult members who run Caladralander society tend to mix Fire/Sky with power runes that aren't Disorder - Fertility and Mastery seem like good alternative choices, choices that might actually resonate with aspects of Veskarthan. Of course, that would also mean that most of the cult hierarchy would have very bad access to Veskarthan's Disorder powers. The occasional cultist who shows up with very powerful Disorder is probably a subject of some concern to the more staid rulers - how can his power be harnessed in ways that don't result in a (metaphorical) massive explosion that destroys everything around him?

I thought that Caladra and Aurelion had Harmony as one of their runes (Fire/harmony and Earth/Harmony) to counter their father's Disorder. They used harps to communicate between temples, as I recall.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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On 15.11.2015, 20:53:34, Jeff said:

That story does not have Lodril becoming "part-Chaos" as a result of fighting Krarsht. Rather, as a result of that desperate struggle Lodril was "tainted ever afterwards with a violence unlike most fire entities." Most stories of Lodril have him being somehow "polluted" or "tainted" - the Dara Happans claim it is because he exists in the Lower World (and are more concerned about his gross appetites than his violence). This is the Theyalan version of the same - the Theyalans don't consider him polluted by his sensual appetites, but by his violence and destructiveness. 

So the Theyalans see Veskarthan as a shaper only when in bondage, but as a destroyer when released?

Or do they acknowledge that his anger derives from being kept in bondage? He appears cheerful enough when entering Umath's camp as the first guest, probably on his way to his next date with the Land or Earth. Quite likely on his way to fathering Quivin? (I notice that the genealogical circular table in Heortling Mythology has Kero Fin not only as mother of Orlanth but as the mother for his brothers, too - p.11. Also including Urox - a deliberate "contradiction" to the God Learner statement in Cults of Prax that Mikyh was Storm Bull's mother?)

Are there less explosive or more tamed aspects of Veskarthan that are worshipped/embodied by the everyman of Caladraland? (Fire) Spear warrior, Shaper (obsidian knapper, spear maker, builder), slash-n-burn farmer?

And what about the women? Veskarthan is joined to Gata, the ancient earth, older than Asrelia (overall fertility, maternity, bounty, but also primeval desires and demands), or to Asrelia (bounty inside the Earth), or to Esrola (bounty out of the Earth). Do we get scary priestesses or sorceresses in league with earth powers more ancient than what the Esrolians deal with? Joined to the Fire Within the Earth in an eternal "embrace" (euphemized), and probably irritated when bothered too much?

Does anybody regard Veskarthan as the fiery seed of Aether still sloshing around in the Earth? Umath's unborn brothers? The entire concept of the erupting earth is both phallic and hermaphrodite. Volcanoes are phallic wombs. Basalt cones left standing are one thing, calderas send a very different message. GaLodril.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Aurelion is the builder and has secrets of the earth, so I can see him throwing up walls, knapping obsidian and bringing fertility to the earth.

Caladra is the fiery one, hers is the caldera, so I can see her living in the fiery pools of lava, she would control the burning and spear bits of Lodril.

 

Aurelion would have a good relationship with the Deep Earth and the slash and burn farmers. 

I see Lodril as the earthy sky, the part of Aether that was left behind when Umath separated Gata and Aether. He is the Fire Within, the Erupting Fire, Aether's Fiery Seed. Amongst Lodrili peasants he is the Everyman, the god of the militia, god of farmers, source of the Lowfires, god of spear in hand.

 

 

 

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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