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Jon Hunter

The 'Tone' of Prostitution in Glorantha

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In much of Glorantha, "prostitution" comes in many forms.

The cult of Uleria, as already commented, resemble somewhat a cross between the Companions of the Whedon-verse, the "sexual priestesses" of the ancient Near East, and the devadasi of South India. They are sacred people, whose services obtain the blessing of the Goddess of Love and Union. They offer more than sex, and perform dance, song, erudition, and companionship as part of the service to Uleria. Retaining the services of the Uleria temple often requires a not-insignificant sacrifice to the cult, usually in the form of coin, but sometimes livestock, land, etc, - Uleria's rites are sacred, important, and expensive, and her holy people are important members of the community with high status.

Other cults, most notably Orlanth and Ernalda, but also Lodril, Storm Bull, Hon-eel, and others, often include hieros gamos rites as part of their worship ceremonies. For example, the representative of Orlanth Thunderous has sacred sex with the representative of Ernalda, and all are blessed. 

But most commonly prostitution is found in the usual places - taverns, inns, streets, etc. Most prostitutes claim to be at least lay members of Uleria, and many are. 

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Stewart Stansfield did a cracking piece about prostitution in the Lunar Army as part of his "Three Legs of Vice" article which is part of Hearts in Glorantha 1-5 Collected. 

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3 hours ago, Newt said:

Stewart Stansfield did a cracking piece about prostitution in the Lunar Army as part of his "Three Legs of Vice" article which is part of Hearts in Glorantha 1-5 Collected. 

Newt's very kind - and, to clarify, the tone there is very much Ooooh, Matron! (It might not surprise you to learn that I don't really deal with much nastiness in my Glorantha. Even discussions about Broo and Thed leave me a bit cold, to be honest.)

P.S. Actually, I take that Broo comment back. I forgot the piece had a Broo Noel Coward...

“Whatever Shall a Broo Do?”
Whatever shall a broo do,
When faced with such a remarkable hullabaloo?
For it’s so very hard to emote,
When one has the countenance of a goat,
And one’s cousin thrice removed is a ewe!

Whatever shall a broo do;
Why have you tried to fit this hoof inside a shoe?
One’s hide does not entice,
Its fur all grime and lice,
Yet valued as carpet in Matkondu!

Whatever shall a broo do;
Shall he cry, shall he bleat, shall he mew?
For no-one understands,
Quite how his heart demands,
The warmth of affection, just like you!

Whatever shall a broo do,
When greeted with cries of “Shoo! Shoo!”?
It’s so very hard to stay abreast,
Of cultural digest,
When one’s only confidants cry “Mooooo!”

Whatever shall a broo do;
Be a famous general in the Ordenviru?
Oh how his pride will warp,
When he commands a regiment of gorp,
For that is all the action he shall view!

Whatever shall a broo do,
When he meets the family of his sweetheart true?
For he surely can’t elope,
When strung up with a rope,
For a goatkin as son-in-law will never do!

BrooNC.jpg

Edited by Quackatoa
BOLLOCKS!
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On 2/15/2017 at 9:55 AM, Jeff said:

Most prostitutes claim to be at least lay members of Uleria, and many are. 

I see what you did there.  I'm not sure "lay member" means the same thing to Uleria as it does to the other Orlanthi cults.

On 2/16/2017 at 4:03 AM, Iskallor said:

Your duck prostitutes have freaked several of my players more than a horde of randy Broo.

Duck-Gigolos would be in demand with a certain...adventurous set of (likely high-caste, bored, noble) women.

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Gossip suggests some silly Orlanthi thought that Lunars actually ate the tails of newtlings.  The finer points of sexual innuendo are lost on barbarians according to thor-ath, the baboon catemite of Governor Sor Eel.

Edited by Darius West

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On 19/01/2017 at 7:55 AM, Jeff said:

 There is NOWHERE near the amount of rape in Glorantha as there was/is in the real world.

The same can probably be said about prostitution...

In the RW, prostitution has always been present, everywhere. I recall that by law prostitutes couldn't be younger than 13 (!) in 19th century London.
In Imperial China, judges routinely sentenced women to prostitution in State-run brothels.
In Islamic countries, men very conveniently engage in 'temporary' marriage with female prostitutes.
In mediaeval Europe:
“The Church took a crucial step towards clearing the way to legalizing prostitution when theologians agreed that harlots did deserve to be paid for their work. As a result, the Church accepted their alms and even contemplated imposing tithes on their earnings. This last issue took longer to be implemented, since discussions about the tithes were fraught with disagreements.”
from http://www.academia.edu/5201095/Legal_and_Clandestine_Prostitution_in_Medieval_Spain

We should refrain from applying a 21st century mindset to a Bronze Age world...

 

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On 3/7/2017 at 5:06 PM, GianniVacca said:


“The Church took a crucial step towards clearing the way to legalizing prostitution when theologians agreed that harlots did deserve to be paid for their work. As a result, the Church accepted their alms and even contemplated imposing tithes on their earnings. This last issue took longer to be implemented, since discussions about the tithes were fraught with disagreements.”
from http://www.academia.edu/5201095/Legal_and_Clandestine_Prostitution_in_Medieval_Spain

 

So, prostitution was OK if the Church could tax it, sounds about right, taxes triumph everything.

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32 minutes ago, soltakss said:

 

taxes triumph everything.

One of my favorite examples of this from history is how how some Muslim rulers tried to stop local Christians from converting to Islam as it reduced the tax base.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 07/03/2017 at 5:06 PM, GianniVacca said:

We should refrain from applying a 21st century mindset to a Bronze Age world...

 

Very true.

But part of Glorantha's appeal is that it is NOT Bronze Age; it's a wonderfully weird and Californian version of Bronze Age

The non-idealised, historical versions of prostitution (i.e. anything which isn't Gemmellesque Earth Maidens or Ulerian courtesans) is quite frankly rape. And in Glorantha there is a cult which deals with rapists.

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1 hour ago, Al. said:

Very true.

But part of Glorantha's appeal is that it is NOT Bronze Age; it's a wonderfully weird and Californian version of Bronze Age

The non-idealised, historical versions of prostitution (i.e. anything which isn't Gemmellesque Earth Maidens or Ulerian courtesans) is quite frankly rape. And in Glorantha there is a cult which deals with rapists.

I mainly agree with what you wrote, but let me add that Gorgorma and Barbeester Gor generally only protect women of more "morally upright stature" (if you read between the lines).  Gorgorma is there to protect Dendara worshippers who are too "mightily oppressed" by the solar nobility accordign to the write-up (probably mostly focusing on Shargash worshipers, who often don't understand social niceties like "consent").  Barbeester Gor by comparison hunts down the enemies of the Earth with a special hated for rapists... but does that protection apply to cults that don't have an Earth rune?  Uleria doesn't have an Earth rune after all...  Only respectable LADY cults have earth runes, not strumpet cults (jk).  It is interesting that neither cult has a listed legend that deals with fighting Thed, who is, after all, the Goddess of Rape.  

The absence of Seseine from this picture is probably worth a mention too.

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Babeester doesn't protect women from rape, she punishes rapists. Axe Maidens will hunt down proven rapists, regardless of the perp's social standing. Gorgorma doesn't protect from the act of the rape, either, but she provides instant and quite permanent retaliation.

There appears to be no protector or avenger deity to protect males (of any age) from being raped.

Orlanthi society prohibits underage (or rather: uninitiated) children from engaging in sexual intercourse and will treat any transgression as persecutable offense (possibly even beyond settlement through were-geld), possibly sending in Axe Maidens, possibly the clan warband or the overlord's professional warriors, but other cultures don't necessarily. The Red Emperor is notorious for enjoying such children's services at his orgies, especially if horned, but then he is purportedly a god, not a mere human. Other participants in his debaucheries certainly are less than divine, though.

 

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On 1/14/2017 at 5:04 AM, Corvantir said:

My head is filled with lot of thoughts about prostitution in Glorantha.

I imagine a Glorantha in which the cult of Uleria could be at war with a gang in Pavis, then a newcoming lunar equivalent of Uleria allowing outsiders to commune with their priestesses in exchange of a small sacrifice to their godess (and a POW point in RQ), and, and... Tensions between Uleria and the Lunar equivalent escalating towards...

THANK YOU!

 

 

Thank you. I've just got the scenario hook I need for my BG player.

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On 3/12/2017 at 12:08 AM, Joerg said:

There appears to be no protector or avenger deity to protect males (of any age) from being raped.

Probably because they don't need a specific deity for it-that is the usual war gods and the abilities they grant can suffice.

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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Probably because they don't need a specific deity for it-that is the usual war gods and the abilities they grant can suffice.

Children, at least, are protected by the Earth cult, regardless of gender. Otherwise, what's the use of being a mother and Ernalda initiate if BG will only avenge your daughter? (Besides the fact that among Orlanthi/Heortlings, the private space of the home and family is Earth cult territory, so in a sense, boys before their initiation into adulthood are part of the Earth Realm).

Any cult that hates Thed will you help you avenge yourself, if you are the victim of sexual assault, I suspect. It's manifestly chaotic, after all. However I suspect that many of the same issues that bedevil men in our world and in our world's past regarding confronting sexual trauma is probably (sadly) still true. Many of the storm deities are rapists.

Actually, given that Uleria is goddess of consensual love and affection, her courtesans will probably work to combat sexual violence as a sacred duty, and a Uleria priestess will have many powerful friends.

Remember that Ragnaglar went mad when he was thrown into the 'sex pit'. Perpetuating sexual violence is a core trigger for social breakdown and the rise of chaos. Though to get such a nuanced view you may have to approach Chalana Arroy, or a justice-oriented aspect of Orlanth, who represents Storm that has abandoned and shunned sexual violence.

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I figure a Ulerian is to sex as a Sword of Humakt is to war. They're the best, they aspire to a very elevated code of conduct, and if you want them, you pay a lot for their services.

Sadly, despite the existence of Humakt, there are still conscripts, slave soldiers, soulless mercenaries, professional soldiers, opportunistic killers, those amateurs in the fyrd who play soldier every Windsday, and everything in between. Some of them may even pray to Humakt from time to time, for all the good it does them. 

And of course there's one twisted Lunar version that let's you be a lot more flexible with the code of conduct and another that can force you to fight for the Empire whether you want to or not.

Same for sex.

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