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Waha & Death


David Scott

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Rather than hijack Martin's (@M Helsdon) excellent thread 

I thought to start a new thread around this topic - Praxian swords. The first place to start is the Task of Waha most used for initiations and Khan making - Waha and Death (HeroQuest Glorantha page 170). The basic outline of the Task is:

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candidates travel weaponless and naked into the Devil’s Marsh or Krjalki Bog to find Storm Bull’s dropped weapon.

 and the Task itself currently looks like this:

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Waha and Death

Deep in the Goddesses’ Dream Waha witnessed his father’s epic struggle with Wakboth. Storm Bull dropped his sword and was about to die when the Block hit. When born, Waha sought the blade where it fell.

Tasks: Travel weaponless and into the Devil's Marsh or Krjalki Bog to find Storm Bull's dropped weapon. 

Holy or Spirit place: The Block is the starting place for the Devil’s Marsh, and the Erno Arkozal Grassland for the Krjalki Bog.

Where do the swords they find in the marshes come from - mostly they are left there by Praxians themselves - offerings to Waha. This is one of the reasons that Praxians continue to steal / buy / acquire metal weapons from others, eventually they are given to the marshes. Initiates tend to find bone or horn weapons, Khans metal ones. Some that are found are actually part of Storm Bull - a horn or lost limb bone. Rarely an iron death sword is found. But none of this is rules so what is found should of course suit your story. As initiates do the task cooperatively, a range of weapon is often recovered. Oh and the weapons aren't usually just lying there. There are most often in the hand of a broo, scorpion man or other chaos horror...

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Or a strange woman lying in a pond distributing them.

It's hard for me not to imagine Storm Bull in flying cow form even though there was some art that showed him as a minotaur.  I wonder if they sometimes imagine him as a flying llama.  Or as a man... but with the head of a herd man.

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The Praxians depict him as a bull headed man from their tribe. A bull being one of the males of their herds. His horns always stick through his helmet, or in the case of no horns - they are on his helmet. So yes He is a bison-headed man, High Llama-headed man, Impala-Headed man and Human-headed Morokanth! - just like the tribal founders.

The pictures I use to define this are Gene Day's original Nomad God illustrations - The first one is a Pol-Joni Storm Bull, the second shows Bison Founder and Impala Founder.NG cover Convulsion.jpgArt 2.jpg

The following are the Founder counters from the French second edition. I'm not a fan of the art, the High Lama Founder is awful, but should give you an idea of what they could look like:

Bison Founder.pngHigh Llama Founder.pngImpala Founder.pngMorokanth Founder.pngSable Founder.png

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19 hours ago, David Scott said:

Where do the swords they find in the marshes come from - mostly they are left there by Praxians themselves - offerings to Waha. This is one of the reasons that Praxians continue to steal / buy / acquire metal weapons from others, eventually they are given to the marshes. Initiates tend to find bone or horn weapons, Khans metal ones. Some that are found are actually part of Storm Bull - a horn or lost limb bone. Rarely an iron death sword is found. But none of this is rules so what is found should of course suit your story. As initiates do the task cooperatively, a range of weapon is often recovered. Oh and the weapons aren't usually just lying there. There are most often in the hand of a broo, scorpion man or other chaos horror...

Well this is perfectly reasonable, bronze doesn't rust.  I am wondering which marsh spirits the offerings are for.  They had better be very useful if the Praxians are foregoing the use of metal weapons and effectively arming the Zola Fel's chaos critters in the process of gifting them.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Well this is perfectly reasonable, bronze doesn't rust.

I'm pretty sure it dissolves slowly in the gorp infested chaos tainted waters.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

I am wondering which marsh spirits the offerings are for.

It's not an offering for the marsh spirits. It's a setup so khans and initiates have something to find. Storm Bulls also throw in weapons as part of part of rituals - reenacting the death of Wakboth. They need to loose their weapon and wait for the universe to strike. This is a common initiate training. The Khan captures an chaos creature from the marsh, gets the initiate to fight it. The initiate has to throw his weapon away - the khan kills the monster. It's like one of those team building trust exercises.

The weapons from the Waha society's view are offerings to Waha.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

arming the Zola Fel's chaos critters

Looking at the map

chaos.png

Although both the Devil's Marsh and the Krjalki Bog are sites of weapon sacrifices, Khan makings and Waha initiations, the Devils Marsh is the primary site due to it's mythology. The Paps and sacred ground are the natural targets for Chaos from the Marsh. The coloured areas correspond to the Praxians distance from chaos classification (see Tales 14, The Praxian Sense of Space by Greg Stafford). The red area is the actual chaos site, then two 5 mile bands and then a 10 mile one. The brown area inside the 10 mile ring is the Morokanth ancestral grazing, they form a buffer. Storm Bulls occupy the Block, there's a group at the Paps with the Paps Storm Khan. The Morokanth Storm Bulls are very active in their grounds and Waha Khans abound in the area. Prax is the most highly populated part of the Wastes and little gets through to the Zola Fel Valley. Most chaos comes to the Zola Fel valley from the Krjaki Bog, where less weapons are deposited. 

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It probably helps paradoxically to keep Prax safer.

After all, chaotics will know that the devil's marsh and krjalki bog have a lot of weapons just waiting for an owner - so they'll head there to grab some.

Far easier than trying to make your own or looting them from someone else (especially as they're likely to have buddies.)

So chaotics will drift towards the bogs away from oases, grazing lands, and settlements.

(In a way this could be seen as propitiation. Leaving weapons helps keep the bad guys away. But it's probably not thought about.)

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20 hours ago, Tindalos said:

After all, chaotics will know that the devil's marsh and krjalki bog have a lot of weapons just waiting for an owner - so they'll head there to grab some.

Far easier than trying to make your own or looting them from someone else (especially as they're likely to have buddies.)

I'm not sure how they are going to know this. Feral broos for example aren't organised and use primitively weapons. Also moving towards a chaos source where all the chaos killers like to hang out, is likely to be counterproductive.

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I admit I was assuming the slightly more civilized forms, the bands of broo that "What do you want? Shut up - What the Broo Shaman says" was written about, Ogres, and such -- and assuming that knowledge would drift from these groups to the more savage variety (along with a kind of instinctual knowledge of the bogs)

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