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M Helsdon

Swords of Central Genertela

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Presently reading through the hardcopy and finding and fixing typos. More than I would like, but it always seems easier to spot them on paper than on a screen.

No typos on this page... [The images are derived from the Chigi vase.]

 

 

Edited by M Helsdon
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3 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

Presently reading through the hardcopy and finding and fixing typos. More than I would like, but it always seems easier to spot them on paper than on a screen.

It has been ever thus :)

Both the 'more than I would like', and that it's easier to spot them on paper!

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If you were at Dragonmeet yesterday, you might have had the chance to see Martin's book. It is a very nice piece of work. The layout is so clean, it makes everything look sharp. The illustrations are superb, the descriptions informative and the whole things feels as though it has been put together with care, rather than being a mishmash of various people's work put together. It is also a brick, a huge thick book, thicker than one of the Guides to Glorantha. The white cover really adds to the loom and feel, as that aesthetic carries through the whole book.

I was seriously impressed.

Shame I didn't get to meet Martin, maybe I will get the chance at another Convention.

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4 hours ago, soltakss said:

Dragonmeet

I was and I did see the book, and a most impressive tome it was. I also got to meet Martin for the first time and as they say in my homeland he is a gentlemen, scholar and judge of fine porter, though I didn't get the chance to truly test the latter. Very nice to meet you Martin and to finally see the results of all your efforts,

soltakss, Pity missed meeting you, or perhaps I did, how was your day?

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36 minutes ago, Psullie said:

soltakss, Pity missed meeting you, or perhaps I did, how was your day?

Very nice thanks. I don't think we met, unless your real name isn't PSullie, of course.

I ran a game, with 2 kids below 10, played a Cthulhu Hack game that I enjoyed, went to Greg's Seminar and did not have any time where I thought "Oh no, why am I here ...". Bit of a nightmare getting back, but booking a local hotel seems to be the way forward in future.

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9 hours ago, soltakss said:

The layout is so clean, it makes everything look sharp. The illustrations are superb, the descriptions informative and the whole things feels as though it has been put together with care, rather than being a mishmash of various people's work put together. It is also a brick, a huge thick book, thicker than one of the Guides to Glorantha. The white cover really adds to the loom and feel, as that aesthetic carries through the whole book.

Thank you for your comments. Much of the 'look' derives from the fact that it is written in Word, converted to pdf, without any of the more sophisticated publishing tools. This means there is wasted space where text can't wrap around illustrations, and there's no way of putting in background effects without making the document even larger than it is (and it now crashes Word if I use some functions...) It is about fifty pages shorter than a volume of the Guide.

The look was also influenced by the rule books of Thomas Harlan's Lords of the Earth, which I edited and maintained for him for many years, and by certain technical projects I have worked on in the past.

Am presently proofreading the document (again) and have reached page 80. Typos fixed, a few duplications removed, and sadly, a little text added.

Should the document go from being a fan book, then the format will not be under my direction, and an editor will hopefully find the typos I haven't and will probably require it to be cut down in size (it's now way too large - have already deleted several appendices, and may knock out the Terminology tables as duplication).

The book is probably far too ambitious, going from 'the very small' to a 'cosmological' scale. Found I had to explore all my assumptions to try to work out something consistent with Glorantha.

Over the past two years in addition to plundering every moderately canonical source I could obtain I've also worked through many books in my library and purchased even more, some on esoteric topics related to ancient warfare...

 

Edited by M Helsdon
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Well, just from the teasers seen here, I hope Chaosium pick it up. Maybe it could be more constrained in scale, if you're getting up there into Cosmological scales... having explored the boundaries, just publishing enough to give life and light to the militaries of a mere continent might be a more manageable publication. But Chaosium don't seem petrified of large format, niche books... maybe the whole hog would be possible! We can hope! :)

 

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44 minutes ago, womble said:

Well, just from the teasers seen here, I hope Chaosium pick it up. Maybe it could be more constrained in scale, if you're getting up there into Cosmological scales...

One of the things in the back of my mind has been to see how Bronze Age and early Iron Age warfare works in a world that works roughly in the way the majority of the people of those times thought their world worked. A glaring difference is that those cultures believed the future (and the will of the gods, pretty much the same thing) could be foretold in omens and portents; in Glorantha none of the deities accessible to mortals can foresee the future. But...

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14 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

One of the things in the back of my mind has been to see how Bronze Age and early Iron Age warfare works in a world that works roughly in the way the majority of the people of those times thought their world worked. A glaring difference is that those cultures believed the future (and the will of the gods, pretty much the same thing) could be foretold in omens and portents; in Glorantha none of the deities accessible to mortals can foresee the future. But...

Gallic priests: "Our gods say: 'Fight hard and we will carry the day."

Roman haruspexes: "Jupiter is with us! The might of the legions is unstoppable this day".

One set of gods gotta be wrong... unless the Gauls are slackers... :) I don't think the Ancients really believed their Gods could fortell actual predestined fate; sometime they could give warning or hints of things that the mortals had missed but conflicting Gods might often have conflicting opinions that it would be up to the Mortals to sort out. 

Oh I see what you mean. Intriguing.

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Well, omens weren't JUST used as propaganda, they were also legitimately sometimes seen as predicting failure, iirc. So it's a bit more complex.

The question isn't simply how you handle different sets of gods both predicting victory for their respective parties, but also how does a party respond to getting the message from their god that they are probably going to lose? I think most Gloranthans would take that more to mean "we should regroup and fight at a later date, in some other manner that is more advantageous" rather than "we are in the wrong", or "we should give up" as it were. Omens can be helpful, but they're not the be-all end-all, not in the RW, nor Glorantha I imagine. Most people would react pragmatically, imho.

Of course, getting omens of victory might also be a cause for defeat, due to overconfidence, so I'm sure even people living in a world with verifiable magic and deities would still try and remain somewhat sober and reserved on the whole deal. "Okay, Orlanth has said this victory will be ours, but don't let that go to your head, inspect all your gear and make sure all your warriors are present and accounted for: I'm not gonna squander such divine favor by slacking on the preparations."

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Absolutely. A general whose haruspexes told him the omens were bad would seek to avoid offering battle until the omens changed. But they were omens not "unchangeable predictions". If a general under bad omens was unable to avoid battle, he'd be at a disadvantage, in the Real World because his troops believed they were, and in Glorantha, both because the troops thought they were disadvantaged, and because of whatever reason the Gods were trying to tell the general to avoid contact.

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5 hours ago, womble said:

Absolutely. A general whose haruspexes told him the omens were bad would seek to avoid offering battle until the omens changed. But they were omens not "unchangeable predictions". If a general under bad omens was unable to avoid battle, he'd be at a disadvantage, in the Real World because his troops believed they were, and in Glorantha, both because the troops thought they were disadvantaged, and because of whatever reason the Gods were trying to tell the general to avoid contact.

I hope I have found a solution, which might be worked into a game system, or used more imprecisely used by a GM for dramatic tension.

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There's reference to the King of Tarsh, Orios, failing to get an augury prior to raiding the Empire and ending up in Tork in the Sourcebook, p.16. The implicit criticism that all good leaders take the time to do so.

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9 hours ago, womble said:

I don't think the Ancients really believed their Gods could fortell actual predestined fate;

Some probably did. Even in out modern high tech enlighten age there are people who pay good money to fortune tellers (and just take a look a chiropractors) .I think it's a case of wanting some sort of reassurance that there is some sort of higher power looking over them, combined with  a sort of Placebo effect. That is people think they are going to win a battle, so they act more confident and do win the battle. 

 

9 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Well, omens weren't JUST used as propaganda, they were also legitimately sometimes seen as predicting failure, iirc. So it's a bit more complex.

Yes, although I wonder how many of those omens might have been retconned, after the failure. Monday someone finds a dead pigeon in the water tank, a bad omen. Tuesday the master of the house dies. Wednesday the soothsay reminds everyone about the pigeon and says, "I told you so."

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21 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

There's reference to the King of Tarsh, Orios, failing to get an augury prior to raiding the Empire and ending up in Tork in the Sourcebook, p.16. The implicit criticism that all good leaders take the time to do so.

Yes, that was a puzzle. Of course there are many ways to take an augury, the Etruscans had five, including one that is more than suitable for Glorantha.

Hepatoscopy had more prestige for the Greeks.

21 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Some probably did. Even in out modern high tech enlighten age there are people who pay good money to fortune tellers (and just take a look a chiropractors) .I think it's a case of wanting some sort of reassurance that there is some sort of higher power looking over them, combined with  a sort of Placebo effect. That is people think they are going to win a battle, so they act more confident and do win the battle. 

In the ancient Near East and Mediterranean, there was a widespread belief that events would go the way the gods wanted, and if you attempted to defy the gods, then it would end in disaster. And of course, conversely, if what you did ended in disaster you must have offended the gods or misread the signs.

Modern astrology is derived from the Hellenistic Egyptian version, with input from the Babylonian, and so ancient methods of divination are still with us.

 

21 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, although I wonder how many of those omens might have been retconned, after the failure. Monday someone finds a dead pigeon in the water tank, a bad omen. Tuesday the master of the house dies. Wednesday the soothsay reminds everyone about the pigeon and says, "I told you so."

Retconning was common, sometimes to legitimize why you'd had to, say, seize the throne: your predecessor had obviously offended the gods, and as you now occupied the throne, it was because the gods wanted it so, so you must be a really great guy. Texts from throughout the Near East are full of this logic. Of course, if you were then defeated in battle, or lost the throne, you must have done something bad, which again your successor would point out. It's a system that can't fail.

The texts of Sargon II are probably a good example, but when he died in battle, according to his successor for concentrating on building nice new city instead of doing what the gods wanted, his achievements tended to be conveniently forgotten.

I'm certain this sort of thing is common in Glorantha.

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21 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

Retconning was common, ...The texts of Sargon II are probably a good example.

Or the prophecies of Nostradamus. They all gibbity-gook until someone interprets their meaning, and there is nothing that proves that such an interpretation is the correct one. Or, to be fair to the believers, nothing that proves that it isn't. 

Quote

I'm certain this sort of thing is common in Glorantha.

I think that depends on if such is considered a use of the Divination spell or not. In Glorantha if someone wants to ask their god about something, they just have to sacrifice for the Divination spell and cast it. The Gods might not know the future, but they can probably make some shrew guesses about the near future. 

Speaking which, if there is a way to foretell the future in Glorantha , just what sort of magic is that, and what power enforces it? Is there a way for people to question Time? Is there a Time Rune? A cult of Time?

Edited by Atgxtg

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1 minute ago, Atgxtg said:

Speaking which, if there is a way to foretell the future in Glorantha , just what sort of magic is that, and what power enforces it? Is there a way for people to question Time? Is there a Time Rune? A cult of Time?

I suspect there is, subject to certain constraints and well defined areas of doubt and uncertainty, and it's mentioned in the Guide. I've spent some time attempting to 'quantify' it in 'Armies and Enemies' - pure conjecture, but it seems to 'fit' [I was initially attempting to create a battle system for RQ, but then found I had to attempt to understand what Gloranthan warfare was like, and this would have added some modifiers to major magics...]

You can't question Time, as such.

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5 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Retconning was common, sometimes to legitimize why you'd had to, say, seize the throne: your predecessor had obviously offended the gods, and as you now occupied the throne, it was because the gods wanted it so, so you must be a really great guy. Texts from throughout the Near East are full of this logic. Of course, if you were then defeated in battle, or lost the throne, you must have done something bad, which again your successor would point out. It's a system that can't fail.

On a grander, more formalized scale, that's the logic behind the Mandate of Heaven as well.


EDIT: Speaking of fate: what is interesting is that both the ancient Greeks and the Old Norse stories about heroes tended to have downer endings, often. It wasn't so much that they were deliberately negative, but rather a sort of admission that a life time of adventuring, fighting and raiding builds up enemies and you're almost bound to get some powerful enemies, among them possibly gods. Life was hard and facing death was just how things went. In retrospect, it's honestly quite refreshing to see how nuanced they are about the ends of heroes when compared to our modern day obsession with giving action heroes happy endings.

So it's not just that doing the wrong thing would anger the gods, but also that by doing great deeds, pissing off some deity was almost a given, and there was always a price to pay for having a heroic destiny.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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7 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

So it's not just that doing the wrong this would anger the gods, but also that by doing great deeds, pissing off some deity was almost a given, and there was always a price to pay for having a heroic destiny.

Heroes are dangerous, and usually lethal not only for themselves, but those around them. Only a few leave a settled and stable legacy behind them. Gilgamesh comes to mind. But not Achilles, Jason, Theseus, Arthur, Beowulf etc.

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Two more. I'm going to have to pester Jeff for details of two others I'd like to illustrate.

The larger versions of the latest two will require shading...

 

 

Edited by M Helsdon
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And another. As it doesn't look right in miniature, will include the 'full sized' version. This was drawn using slightly different techniques...

 

 

 

Edited by M Helsdon
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Is there a drawing with the actual swords of Genertala? I'd like to find a page with (all the swords, really) but especially the Kopis, the Rhomphaia, and the Sickle-sword. Or perhaps I missed it?

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On ‎12‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 9:58 PM, drablak said:

Is there a drawing with the actual swords of Genertala? I'd like to find a page with (all the swords, really) but especially the Kopis, the Rhomphaia, and the Sickle-sword. Or perhaps I missed it?

There was (and is, in the book). Not canonical.

This page shows several examples, none of which are definitive. In our ancient world there was no set template, and even swords of the same basic type varied significantly. I've included some falcata in with the kopis.

Sickle-sword: A

Kopis: B

Rhomphaia: C

 

Edited by M Helsdon
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