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Pol-Joni, Guide To Glorantha


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Hi everyone, i posted this in the Runequest Gateway forum, but am moving it over here where more appropriate (actually copy/pasting rather than moving). I have a question about the Pol-Joni after reading their info on page 446 of the GtG.

In the info box, the 2nd column, 2nd paragraph, it mentions the Pol-Joni accept anyone who pass their initiation test.  Which eventually included other Praxians like impala riders, bolo, or bison riders, etc (i'm paraphrasing). Then it mentions all Pol-Joni rode horses. Do you think that means a bison rider (or whomever) gave up his bison when he joined and rode a horse instead. Or maybe, if his bison died for whatever reason, he then rode a horse?

I'm getting ready to start a campaign so just fleshing some things out and this comes into play.

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I'd probably go with the latter and say that they don't have taboos against the Praxian animals, but their favored gods and traditions work better for cows and horses. When Moon Design put a picture of a Sartarite weaponthane on an antelope into the HeroQuest Glorantha book (IIRC), Jeff talked about Praxian mounts being common in Sartar.  But I think you could make up explanations for having it the first way, if you preferred that.  "Orlanth never herded anything but cows, so it would be impious for us to do any different."  "Oh yeah?  Well we're obviously more virtuous than that other clan, because we won't even ride an antelope."

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What really happened?  The only way to discover that is to experience it yourself.

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The Pol Joni ride horses in defiance of the Praxians, to make themselves different.

I'd say that a Praxian Nomad who joined the Pol Joni would give up his/her herd beast and ride a horse. Mechanically, Zebra Riders or Unicorn Riders would be able to ride horses with no penalty, but the other nations would probably have some kind of penalty until they learn the differences between riding a horse and a rhino, for example.

 

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Zebra riders are tolerated - Olgkarth, the zebra chief who accompanied Dorasar to Pavis, lived among the Pol Joni with his tribe.

Given the reliance of the Zebra riders on horse mares to breed their cavalry zebras, I would expect a small permanent presence of Zebra riders among the Pol Joni.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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@metcalph I don't believe they have to slaughter their animals and not use the Peaceful cut. That's really going to get spirits of reprisal unleashed upon you. Appendix C, Cults of Prax is the basis for the current cult makeup of the Pol-Joni for the Prax book, Here's the current rune spread for HeroQuest Glorantha and the cults:

Adult population 5000, about 10 clans.

50% Empty (no spirit Rune), male/female%, Storm 75/5, Earth 5/75, Fire 5/5, Darkness 5/5, Water 5/5, Moon 5/5

Waha 14/0, Eiritha 0/20, Storm Bull 17.28/0.72, Foundchild 2/0, Helpwoman 0/30, Daka Fal 30/30, Sky Gazers 1.6/2.5, Burners 1.6/2.5, Hadow People 5/5, Thirstless 5/5, Hidden Ancestor 5/5, Orlanth/Vinga 38.4/1.6, Issaries 2.4/0.01, Chalana Arroy 0.4/9.6, Lhankor Mhy 1.92/0.2 (this looks slightly wrong), Humakt 23.04/0.96, Yelmalio 1.6/0, Ernalda 0/40. No Lunar cults.

So the cults are skewed towards more Lightbringers and less Praxian spirit societies. Orlanth amongst the Pol-Joni has all of three aspects unlike the Praxian version that just has Adventurous.

Native Praxians are able to ride all Herd Beasts (obviously excluding Morokanth & Herd-Men) it's only Khans that are limited to their own herd beast type, being "born in the saddle" will take them no time at all to adjust to horses.

As with all Praxian tribes (Yes the Pol-Joni are a Praxian tribe), their herd will be primarily made up of cattle, with all the other herd beast types present as food from raiding in some percentage. They have a slightly better grazing as they've effectively forced Ernalda back into the land and Prax is richer. They still raid for herd beasts. They ride horses exclusively to show their power - they forced their way in and effectively subdued Waha (as Jaldon). Zebra riders would ride horses unless they hadn't undergone the initiation rites.

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The Major Tribes' skills are pretty much the same. RQ2 cultural weapons can be found in the Appendixes of Cults of Prax, For RQ3, the Glorantha Boxed set has the cultural weapons in the character generation of the Players' book, the rest is as Nomad Occupations in the RQ3 Players Book.

I wasn't aware of pygmy stats in Heroes (Ostrich clan yes). I'm not sure what you are referring to in Drastic Prax.

 

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11 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Drastic Resolutions Prax states: 'Characteristics are for normal humans, except SIZ is 2D4+2 and STR is 2D8 for men, 2D6 for women.'

Whether this is canonical...?

 considering the number of Pygmies in Glorantha like the Impala , Ostrich, and  Bolo tribes and the Wasp riders

 we do kind of need a canical source for Pygmys.

.

 

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18 hours ago, Darius West said:

Pol Joni initiations...

The Pol Joni follow the standard initiation into the Praxian Tradition. 

At puberty boys and girls undergo the rite of passage to join the tradition. Boys undergo the rites as a group, girls individually.

During the boys are taken to the Great Darkness, and their skills are put to the test. They must cooperate and defend themselves against encroaching chaos and the end of the world. They meet the helping spirit or god who helped their ancestors survive, and learn their clan secret.

During the girl's initiation rites they are taken deep into Underworld to the courts of the dead Emperor. Here they lie sleeping with Eiritha, her mother, aunts and grandmothers. In the shared dreamworld of the deep Earth, they have an eternity to awaken their inner-selves and the never-ending cosmic cycle of birth and death before the end of the world. In their dream they meet the helping spirit or god who helped their ancestors survive, and learn their clan’s secret.

Some of the initiates experience glimpses of their destiny, leaving the normal path and find themselves on the surface of the world in the Great Darkness. With girls, some find themselves alone on the Great Plain with with nothing but their wits and a new born god, others are attracted by the Call of Bull Roarer nearby and join the group of boys hunting and fighting chaos, or they bear the brunt of attacking malevolent spirits which they dispatch with ease. Some are grabbed and thrown into a pit. When they return the Elders hear their story and understand that they will leave the Path of Eiritha or Waha with their permission. They are moved to into new groups to prepare them. Their fate is no longer the concern of Eiritha or Waha.

All survivors who have not shamed themselves, Waha or Eiritha, are initiated into the Praxian Tradition . These rites also establish whether the survivors have a spirit or a soul, either way, all are on now on a path to their Great Initiation.

When they are 18-20 they undergo their Great Initiation to their main cult/society as with Waha in HeroQuest Glorantha page 170.

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Interesting.  I was referring to the initiations that outsiders must go through to enter the Pol Joni.

As for the Pol Joni worshiping Waha, I thought that was impossible for the "Cattle Bastards" or "Horse Bastards" (season to taste) ?  My understanding was that the Pol Joni were from Orlanthi stock who moved into the area during the migration back into Dragon Pass under the leadership of Derik Pol Joni, and they worship Orlanth, ride horses and herd cattle.  The deal being that the Praxians hadn't ever quite managed to drive them from the area on the edge of Sartar and up between Dagori Inkarth and Tada's High Tumulus which is known as Pol Joni march.  Now the Praxians have a long history of hating horse riders because the horse is not one of Eiritha's beasts but has Yelmic associations, hence the Pol Joni generally attach themselves to modified Hendriki/Sartarite traditions and are only grudgingly tolerated by Praxians because most tribes have other feuds and problems that take precedence.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Interesting.  I was referring to the initiations that outsiders must go through to enter the Pol Joni.

Any outsider would have to go through the Praxian Tradition initiation to be accepted. It's possible as Argrath proved. The original initiation was when the tribe was formed.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

As for the Pol Joni worshiping Waha, I thought that was impossible for the "Cattle Bastards" or "Horse Bastards" (season to taste) ?  My understanding was that the Pol Joni were from Orlanthi stock who moved into the area during the migration back into Dragon Pass under the leadership of Derik Pol Joni, and they worship Orlanth, ride horses and herd cattle.  

It's been the case since Cults of Prax Appendix C:

COP Appendix C Pol Joni.jpg

Current development is based on this - No Zorak Zoran, and other Praxian societies added.

The anti-horse stuff is covered here:

Plus in the Dragon Pass board game, Jaldon Goldentooth Great Khan of Waha raids Dragon Pass at the head of a Pol-Joni army - How does that work?

 

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To quote from Pavis: Threshold to Danger Page 13 (The Zebra People)...

Joraz was favored by Issaries as well, in any case he knew how to dicker.  "Under what meagre conditions would one allow a horse to live in one's lands" he asked a priestess of the Paps one day.  "In bondage," she replied "Broken from kin." She spoke with the words of the Goddess.  "Need they be unhealthy?" He asked.  "You aid herd men and giant lizards".  "Their health I grant, within their confines".

Now the point here is, if the Praxians were so pro-horse, why did Joraz Kyrem need to perform a Hero Quest to make rideable Zebras ?

As for Jaldon Toothmaker, he is an immortal Khan summoned when Praxians want to raid into Dragon Pass.  He rides a beast that nobody knows.  On the other hand King of Sartar page 120 says that Derik Poljoni laid Jaldon Toothmaker to rest again.  It also clearly says that Derik worships Orlanth.  Now what happens in the Hero Wars to allow the Pol Joni to raid with Jaldon Toothmaker, I would suggest that would be explained by the White Bull Army.

As to Cults of Prax appendix C...  it also clearly mentions that 14% of Morokanth worship Zorak Zoran along with 7% of the Pol Joni.  Now I bet that it isn't Eiritha they worship but Uralda, because back when Cults of Prax was produced there were a lot of deities we now know about that weren't around or even mentioned back then.  There was no write-up of Hyalor Horsebreaker or Kargzant back then.  Also, isn't it odd how the Pol Joni have no Elmal worshippers, only Yelmalios, and no Vingans ?  I would have thought that Elmal the Horse Thane would have been well received amongst the Pol Joni, but apparently Cults of Prax doesn't think so.  Or maybe, juuust maybe, it's a little out of date now?

Add to this the fact that the Pure Horse People (now the Grazelanders) were driven out of Prax by the Waha cult, and there are mentions of Pentans and Praxians periodically raiding each other in the wastes mainly because of their hatred of each other's beasts.  Now we know that the Praxians don't attack every Lunar cavalry patrol, so there is obviously some pragmatism at work, but I am sure that horse and cattle hating comes in and out of vogue depending on where the good grazing is. 

Now I will offer an odd compromise here.  Prax is a big place and inter-tribal marriage is a way to make peace.  While it hasn't expressedly been mentioned, it is possible that certain pragmatic parties have cross-married between tribes and that may include certain Pol Joni braves leaving their horses behind to follow Waha in their rich wife's tribe on the back of a different sort of beast.

 

 

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The angle I'm taking in the Prax book is that the anti-horse attitude depends on who you are. Historically we know that horse riders have caused problems for the Praxians, even Joraz accepted that, hence the zebra experiment. That was an opportunity for him to consolidate power by making a new tribe out of old parts. Derik effectively did the same. Even though horses aren't Eiritha's beasts, they are accepted at the Paps. If a storm bull pol-Joni Storm bull turns up with other beast riders, they aren't going to be picked on, Storm Bull is Eiritha's husband. The horse hatred is just another way of picking on those you want to attack, but the pol-Joni have survived and integrated themselves into the tribes. As one of the 12 independents, the pol-Joni are small, compared to the combined masses of the great tribes. Had they not integrated, they would of been smashed by now.

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So one might say they're culturally prejudiced, rather than religiously prejudiced?

They don't like horses because everyone knows that horses are the foreign beast ridden by invaders. But when the Pol Joni and Zebra Riders join the Way of Waha, their religious devotion outweighs their beasts' weirdness.

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I am missing the remnants of the Grazer dissidents who might have been added to the mix when Derik immigrated into the Praxian marches. When the principality of Sartar remained free, the Pol Joni could rely on reinforcements by Sartarite neighbors who preferred to keep the Beast Riders at a healthy distance.

But then we have since learned that Praxian mounts are fairly common in Sartarite ranks, and that would mean that Pol Joni might have some, too.

I have come to the conclusion that the original Praxian hatred for horses was against the descendants of the mutilated Hippogriff. A former carnivore cannot make an acceptable herd beast. Neither can an imperfect draconic creation tossed across Tada's bordering mountains against the eastern dragons, as the (IMO more convincing) Kralori origin myth for the sered horses would have been. (The Lofak Yak folk are tolerated as trading partners as they roam an area that may not always have been part of Genert's Garden.)

Peter Metcalfe has provided a good argument for the Zarkosite Starlight Wanderers (ancestors of the majority of the horse warlords of Peloria) to have aquired their horses from a folk using (sered) horses in the northeast, before taking their chariots into Dara Happa. These are the Kargzant horses that make up the majority of the Pentan horse stock. I don't know when the Starlight Wanderers aquired Kargzant as their patron. Fact is that they did not remain in Genert's Garden and went to conquer Dara Happa, only to return after Argentium Thri'ile when they had earned the enmity of the Praxians as allies of the Theyalans. But even back then, the Praxians fought alongside the Galanini horse mercenaries.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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2 hours ago, David Scott said:

The angle I'm taking in the Prax book is that the anti-horse attitude depends on who you are. Historically we know that horse riders have caused problems for the Praxians, even Joraz accepted that, hence the zebra experiment. That was an opportunity for him to consolidate power by making a new tribe out of old parts. Derik effectively did the same. Even though horses aren't Eiritha's beasts, they are accepted at the Paps. If a storm bull pol-Joni Storm bull turns up with other beast riders, they aren't going to be picked on, Storm Bull is Eiritha's husband. The horse hatred is just another way of picking on those you want to attack, but the pol-Joni have survived and integrated themselves into the tribes. As one of the 12 independents, the pol-Joni are small, compared to the combined masses of the great tribes. Had they not integrated, they would of been smashed by now.

Certainly the Pol Joni, Zebra Riders and Unicorn Riders don't mind horses. 

However, I would not want to be riding a horse through Prax or the Wastes unless I was well-hard.

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

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14 hours ago, soltakss said:

However, I would not want to be riding a horse through Prax or the Wastes unless I was well-hard.

This must be another of those English slang things Simon, but down here in Australia you would be saying that you are Hardy or Hardened, as in 'Toughness'.

But what you wrote has other connotations here, none of which would likely increase your survivability chances in Prax, heh heh

Edited by Mankcam
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The Urban Dictionary says it means tough, but I reckon it also implies being a good fighter/brawler as well. The other meaning probably relates more to Genert ...

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

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