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Sex and Marriage in Orlanthi culture


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I've been reading around the background material and wonder if any of you have more knowledge of this.

S:KoH indicates that while Orlanthi are fairly free sexually they have taboos that include no sex within a clan. Is this right? I can understand why there would be a taboo within bloodlines (of which there are often many within a clan), but within a clan of 900 or so that seems pretty restrictive. Is there a reason for this? My sense of a clan is that it's a cohesive social grouping and although there was intermingling with other clans, that clans would live in focused areas.

If this is the case then how does this work - presumably sexual partners and wives/husbands would be found in other clans only, and so basically all of the females that married into a clan would be from another clan and would move to live with them.

I'm just trying to understand this - I couldn't find much about this in GtG.

On a related note I was wondering if there was any natural (i.e. herbal) or magical contraception in Orlanthi culture, or do the free sexual relations generally result in children? I can imagine children and young adults being brought up in more of an extended family situation.

I was also wondering whether the survival rate for mothers/children is higher in Glorantha as a result of folk healing and Ernalda/Chalana Arroy healing. If so then that would lead to a higher replacement rate than in Earth Bronze Age culture

That's all for now, thanks.

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In RW cultures, extra-clanic mariages is often the rule. A clan is like a big family with common bloodline (mostly mythical, but what matters is that the clan members believe in it), so it is not surprising that the family taboos are extended to the clan. When the clan grows, blood ties become loser but the taboo remains.

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All women can control fertility via Ernalda. So no unwanted babies.

The clan is the bloodline. Try not to think along modern biology but mythically and this will make sense.

Much higher survival of children but other ways to die and controlled fertility 

Try and play King of Dragon Pass. It's a great computer game, now available on phone, and really helps with the Orlanthi mindset

 

 

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40 minutes ago, DhBodhi said:

S:KoH indicates that while Orlanthi are fairly free sexually they have taboos that include no sex within a clan.

What's the page reference for this please.

28 minutes ago, ajs said:

The clan is the bloodline.

A clan is around 500 people, We have normally played 3-5 bloodlines per clan.

 @Ian Cooper how does this work in the Red Cow clan (in the Coming Storm).

44 minutes ago, DhBodhi said:

I was also wondering whether the survival rate for mothers/children is higher in Glorantha as a result of folk healing and Ernalda/Chalana Arroy healing. If so then that would lead to a higher replacement rate than in Earth Bronze Age culture

It's roughly the same or there would be a large population growth rate.

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50 minutes ago, David Scott said:

What's the page reference for this please.

KoS says: Page 213 The clan is the “overfamily” of several bloodlines which trace their origins to a common founding event, spirit, or other occasion which forged the clan. The clan shares responsibility for a traditional geographic region. The clan is also responsible for overseeing marriages within its bloodlines, justice among them, and distributing the land commonly held by them all.

And: Page 216 Clans are exogamous, and the wives must come from someplace else. .... All clans have a list of prohibited clans, with whom marriage or sex is forbidden, in order to prevent unwitting incest. Most clans have a second list of prohibited marriages, due to ancient feuds and other historical events.

Exogamy is a social arrangement where marriage is allowed only outside a social group.

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Hi guys - thanks for the replies, very useful and interesting.

The reference about Orlanthi sexuality comes from S:KoH page 29:

'Compared to many Gloranthan cultures, the Orlanthi have relatively few sexual taboos. They prohibit sex with people who have not been initiated as adults; with married people; with members of their own clan; and with not-people such as foreigners, Elder Races, animals, rocks, and the dead. Even those few taboos may not apply to members of certain cults or during certain religious rituals.'

So the picture I'm getting here is that basically all of the clan women that get married will basically leave the clan and join their husbands clan. Which means that basically all of the mothers in a clan will come from a different clan. I'm trying to imagine what that will be like - the network of social connections where this happens will weave clans together much more closely than a model where members predominantly married within the clan. Basically a woman will grow up in one clan culture, forming relationships there and living/worshiping myths/ancestors within that environment, but adulthood, motherhood and beyond will be in a different one, with a different (albeit related) tradition.

Related to this I was wondering whether most marriages tend to be arranged by the clan or formed through personal connection/feeling. I'm imaging that the former is the case, although with women having strong gender equality how this would work out in practice?

In response to AJS I was wondering what source you had for women of Ernalda being able to control their fertility - that's a major social advantage for women and frees them in many ways from being locked into certain roles in society. Is that the case throughout Glorantha or is that a peculiarity of Ernalda followers?

I have quite a few follow-up questions as often I find one answer leads to several questions, but I'll lay them out gradually and hope that your enthusiasm and patience endures.

Best wishes

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2 hours ago, DhBodhi said:

>So the picture I'm getting here is that basically all of the clan women that get married will basically leave the clan and join their husbands clan.

The arrangements between husband and wife can be pretty varied in Orlanthi culture.    On average; I think you are correct in that most women will leave their clan.  

http://glorantha.tumblr.com/post/96691133493/can-you-tell-us-about-how-people-love-one-another

Wife and underhusband: The wife has more status and property than the husband. The man moves to the wife’s house, and the children belong to his clan.

Esrolian husband: The same as wife and underhusband, but the children belong to the wife’s clan. This takes its name from Esrolia, which has a strongly matriarchal society.

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3 hours ago, DhBodhi said:

So the picture I'm getting here is that basically all of the clan women that get married will basically leave the clan and join their husbands clan. Which means that basically all of the mothers in a clan will come from a different clan. I'm trying to imagine what that will be like - the network of social connections where this happens will weave clans together much more closely than a model where members predominantly married within the clan. Basically a woman will grow up in one clan culture, forming relationships there and living/worshiping myths/ancestors within that environment, but adulthood, motherhood and beyond will be in a different one, with a different (albeit related) tradition.

Related to this I was wondering whether most marriages tend to be arranged by the clan or formed through personal connection/feeling. I'm imaging that the former is the case, although with women having strong gender equality how this would work out in practice?

Hi,

We give quite a lot of information about how this works in The Coming Storm. Married women 'come from somewhere else,' (with the odd exception where a man from outside the clan marries a powerful woman inside the clan). They will tend to come from clans with which there is a strong tradition of friendship or at least alliance. So for the Red Cow they tend to come from other Cinsina clans: The Underwillow, Frithan, and Blueberry clans. Less come from the Dolutha who are rivals of the Red Cow. The advantage is that when these women join the clan they have an established network of 'sisters' to join who have already married into the Red Cow, providing practical and emotional support. As you suggest, this all serves to strenghthen bonds  between these clans, as the women provide kinship ties that allow for dispute resolution or aid to occur at informal levels other than the ring. Of course there is rivalry here. Darna Longcoat for example, doesn't like the Blueberry 'incomers' taking eligible Red Cow men from her sisters in the older Underwillow and Frithan clans. There is some rivalry amongst women from the different 'maiden' clans to support each other for promotion and secure the best marriages for their kin (as the flow of goods - the price in cows - thus flows to their kin, keeping it 'in the family' so to speak).

Most clans have porous borders with friendly neighbours and villages on the border can consist of people from two clans - so the Red Cow has some 'shared' villages with both the Dolutha and Blueberry. These locations give young people the opportunity for sex, as they can meet people outside the clan. We talk about these locations in The Coming Storm - and one features in a scenario in The Eleven Lights. This may be a source of the introduction for marriages, if the clans are friendly, but remember that love/lust are different to marriage which is an economic proposition - a woman provides labour and children and her family are compensated for her loss. If she divorces she will take a proportion of the earnings of the married couple with her. So marriages are more often arranged, and about the economics of a rural bronze age society instead of love.

The clan negotiates marriages - it is one of its privilidges.

Because you are not necessarily going to meet a marriage partner via liaisons with the neighbours, many clans have a 'matchmaker' who arranges suitable marriages between the young people of her clan and others. Likely she will be well travelled between the clans as she spends time talking with the women of other clans about the eligible youngsters in her own clan, and tries to find them a match. Faltika Far-Traveled is the matchmaker for the Red Cow (she is mentioned as a Bread Rebel).

Ian

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29 minutes ago, Ian Cooper said:

Because you are not necessarily going to meet a marriage partner via liaisons with the neighbours, many clans have a 'matchmaker' who arranges suitable marriages between the young people of her clan and others. Likely she will be well travelled between the clans as she spends time talking with the women of other clans about the eligible youngsters in her own clan, and tries to find them a match. Faltika Far-Traveled is the matchmaker for the Red Cow (she is mentioned as a Bread Rebel).

I suspect that many of the men on the ring are involved as matchmakers too. And also worshipers, female and male, of Lankhor Mhy (knowledge of bloodlines, ancestors and history) and Issaries (it's their business to know everyone's business).

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Also worth mentioning, many early Tribes were based on three clans organized as a Triaty.

In that set up, men from clan A only marry women from clan B; men from clan B only marry women from clan C; and men from clan C only marry women from clan A... Which closes the loop.

This schema seems less prevalent on modern-days (1600+) Sartar, but was very common at the time of the resettlement of Dragon Pass.

 

Oh, and of course there are exceptions for every rule.

For instance, among the Torkani tribe, people trace their ancestry (hence, the clan they belong to) through the female line. In other words, the Esrolian marriage is the norm, and the "standard" marriage the exception... (because of course, exceptional rules bear their own exceptions ;-) ).

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I have a tangential question that I came across in going back over KoS (pp.118-119).  It concerns the second ruler of the Twins Dynasty of Tarsh, Ovartien Twinson.  The title could be construed to imply that he was the son of both Twins, Varstapoor and Vestenbora, and the genealogic chart doesn't help much there.  There is no indication of Vartapoor having a wife, nor is he named as one of the Kings of Dragon Pass (who would by definition be married to a Feathered Horse Queen).  Would his wife just be considered too insignificant to be included in the chart, or could Ovartien be the product of incest?  (Also, would that be considered taboo among the Grazers, and possibly something that would be covered up?)

 

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32 minutes ago, Patrick said:

Also worth mentioning, many early Tribes were based on three clans organized as a Triaty.

Indeed, in The Coming Storm, the Dolutha were once part of triaty of clans north of the Creek (the other two were wiped out and the Dolutha were pushed south of the Creek, by a series of unfortunate events)

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10 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

I have a tangential question that I came across in going back over KoS (pp.118-119).  It concerns the second ruler of the Twins Dynasty of Tarsh, Ovartien Twinson.  The title could be construed to imply that he was the son of both Twins, Varstapoor and Vestenbora, and the genealogic chart doesn't help much there.  There is no indication of Vartapoor having a wife, nor is he named as one of the Kings of Dragon Pass (who would by definition be married to a Feathered Horse Queen).  Would his wife just be considered too insignificant to be included in the chart, or could Ovartien be the product of incest?  (Also, would that be considered taboo among the Grazers, and possibly something that would be covered up?)

 

Incest is always a taboo I believe (anthropolgically). There is magical power in breaking taboos, but it tends to invite chaos into the world (and thus be evil) unless you have specific rituals that allow you to negate those taboos (for example the Humakti can bypass taboos about killing kin, because they are ritually severed from kin - which we used as a concept in a scenarion I played many years ago, where a Humakti had to kill his 'no-good' brother). Given twins are said to be sacred to the Earth (in Tarsh at least, this could be a Shaker Temple thing or even Kodros Island) it is quite possible that the violation of the incest taboos by twins is considered ritually powerful (similar taboos were broken in Ancient Egypt by the Pharoahs).

So it's possible

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15 hours ago, David Scott said:

A clan is around 500 people, We have normally played 3-5 bloodlines per clan.

My Orlmarth clan has 1000+ divided across 7 bloodlines.

9 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Married women 'come from somewhere else,'

Generally this is how I've run my campaign.  Most of the Orlmarth mothers come from the Hiording, Enhyli, Ernaldori, and Zethnoring clans.

However, there are some exceptions across the bloodlines, so my Harvest Games are always within the clan and the Harvest Queen marries the Barley King who wins the games (but only those of differing bloodlines may compete).  This helps to provide more intra-clan allegiance and reduce feuds (in theory).

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8 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Incest is always a taboo I believe (anthropolgically). There is magical power in breaking taboos, but it tends to invite chaos into the world (and thus be evil) unless you have specific rituals that allow you to negate those taboos (for example the Humakti can bypass taboos about killing kin, because they are ritually severed from kin - which we used as a concept in a scenarion I played many years ago, where a Humakti had to kill his 'no-good' brother). Given twins are said to be sacred to the Earth (in Tarsh at least, this could be a Shaker Temple thing or even Kodros Island) it is quite possible that the violation of the incest taboos by twins is considered ritually powerful (similar taboos were broken in Ancient Egypt by the Pharoahs).

So it's possible

Eh nevermind...on further study of that chart, none of his descendants lists a wife either.  So I suppose it's possible but unlikely.

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So when women marry do they 'officially' join the new clan and leave their old one behind? Thereby coming  under the authority of their new clan hierarchy. I can imagine some being divided in terms of clan loyalty when there are inter clan disputes such as over land or raiding. Lots of interesting story possibilities here.

The children born of the marriage are presumably of the husband's clan, at least in Sartar.

If the wife decides to divorce is she free to return to her old clan and how easy is that to do? In fact as a general question I'm wondering how easy it is to change clans, or join a new clan if for some reason you're exiled or leave your old clan?

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41 minutes ago, DhBodhi said:

So when women marry do they 'officially' join the new clan and leave their old one behind? Thereby coming  under the authority of their new clan hierarchy. I can imagine some being divided in terms of clan loyalty when there are inter clan disputes such as over land or raiding. Lots of interesting story possibilities here.

The wife generally joins the husband's clan for the duration of the marriage.

42 minutes ago, DhBodhi said:

The children born of the marriage are presumably of the husband's clan, at least in Sartar.

It depends upon the type of marriage. There are several different forms:

  • Husband and Wife. Both have equal property, status, and responsibility. The woman moves to her husband’s house, and children belong to his clan.
  • Husband and Underwife. The husband has more status and property. The woman moves to her husband’s house, and children belong to his clan.
  • Wife and Underhusband. The wife has more status and property. The man moves to his wife’s house, but the children belong to his clan.
  • Esrolian husband. The wife has more status and property than the husband. The man moves to his wife’s house, but the children belong to her clan.
  • Year‑wife or Husband. A temporary marriage, renewable after a year.
  • Bed‑wife or Husband. No property changes hands save for that publicly granted with witness. The children are raised by the individual who is not named in the title. A bed‑husband is not responsible for raising the children.
  • Love‑wife. No property changes hands. A vow of monogamy for its own sake, or the sake of romantic love. Children go the father’s clan.
44 minutes ago, DhBodhi said:

If the wife decides to divorce is she free to return to her old clan and how easy is that to do?

Divorce is common and available to husband or wife with property being divided. The wife always returns home with her dowry, and the groom always recovers the bride price. 

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Does the clan ring or Orlanthi priest have a say in whether a divorce can go ahead? It seems that the clan is involved arranging marriages, and it is sanctified by Orlanthi, so I was wondering if they might be involved in any separation. I imagine that these could often be acrimonious, and usually one partner will want it more than the other.

i get the sense that although divorce might be common, it is not casual, and will involve property at least, but also possibly other issues such as status and sentiment.

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Sex and marriage are not the same. You can have sex with someone without marry him/her.

KoS and others books talks about marriage in the same clan, that is forbidden, but what about sex? If i remember well, in apple lane, there is Uleria temple, and girls have sex with guys (and perhaps girls) from the same clan.

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2 hours ago, DhBodhi said:

Does the clan ring or Orlanthi priest have a say in whether a divorce can go ahead? It seems that the clan is involved arranging marriages, and it is sanctified by Orlanthi, so I was wondering if they might be involved in any separation. I imagine that these could often be acrimonious, and usually one partner will want it more than the other.

i get the sense that although divorce might be common, it is not casual, and will involve property at least, but also possibly other issues such as status and sentiment.

Wife negotiations, blessings, and transferral of dowries are overseen by senior members of the clan. They are only involved in a divorce if there are serious problems which might otherwise be settled by combat: disputes about the return of dowries, bride price, or conflict over jointly owned property.

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Marriage between bloodlines is probably ok, if there are known to be no otherwise awkward entwining of the bloodlines. Sex without children between different clan bloodlines probably definitely fine (and much pursued by older teenagers). From time to time people will fall in love and I can't see there being a strong case for the ring etc to get involved. 

But a marriage across clans is going to be preferred by almost everyone. A dowry changes hands, alliances are strengthened, future bloodline issues are minimised, an excuse for a big party, potential kinstrife issues minimised, more independence for both partners. Probably magically better too. The ring is absolutely going to want a cross clan wedding if they have anything to do with it. 

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One would suppose that Lhankor Mhy lawspeakers would be pretty good at memorizing or recording clan genealogies to prevent accidental incest.  Incest after all leads to kinstrife and ogres and broos (oh my!).  I suspect that such things would be immensely important to the Earth religions too, as you might not be sure who the father is, but of the mother we can generally be pretty certain.

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