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Jeff

Some thoughts on the history of architecture in Dragon Pass

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I thought I'd post some working notes from some work we've been doing on cities in Dragon Pass (this ultimately is not going to be part of any book, but rather informs our art direction and map making).
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Many of the cities in Dragon Pass are built atop the remnants of God Time settlements of the Vingkotlings. Now most of these ruins are some 5,000 years old, making them the equivalent of Neolithic ruins as seen by Alexander's Greeks. BTW, that's how I tend to try to understand Glorantha's history - I position myself at the time of Alexander the Greek and look backwards.
 
Present year 1627
10 years ago - Lunar Empire invades Hendrikiland
25 years ago - Boldhome falls to the Lunar Empire
50 years ago - Battle of Grizzly Peak
100 years ago - Apotheosis of Sartar
300 years ago - Belintar unites Holy Country
500 years ago - the Dragonkill War (1120)
1000 years ago- the Kingdom of Dragon Pass. After this came the EWF.
1500 years ago - the Second Council. The Theyalans dominate Genertela and war with the Pelorian horse people.
2000 years ago - I Fought, We Won, and the Unity Battle. After this, came the Heortling kingdom, which lasted about 800 years (until Gbaji destroyed it).
2500 years ago - The Chaos Age, which lasted until the Unity Battle.
3000 years ago - the Ice Age
5000 years ago - the Vingkotlings
10,000 years ago - Orlanth kills Yelm

Compare this to a Greek at the time of Alexander (330 BC)
10 years ago - Philip founds Philippopolis
25 years ago - the Sacred War
50 years ago - Battle of Leuctra (371 BC)
100 years ago - start of the Peloponnesian War
300 years ago - fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
500 years ago - the neo-Assyrian Empire
1000 years ago - the Trojan War
1500 years ago - height of Babylon
2000 years ago - Sargon and the Akkadian Empire
2500 years ago - Gilgamesh is king of Uruk
3000 years ago - Menes units Egypt (first dynasty)
5000 years ago - Neolithic cities like Catal Huyuk and Jericho
10,000 years ago - beginning of Neolithic age
 
The Vingkotling settlements had great walls of stone or earth and the more important were built with something of a spiral shape. The Vingkotlings enslaved dwarfs or used great magics to build these settlements. They ranged in size from 2 or 3 hectares to nearly 500 hectares (Nochet was the capital of the Vingkotlings). Most were between 2 and 40 hectares. As the God Time became more and more destructive, these settlements tended to be rebuild as smaller and more fortified. Many of these Vingkotling citadels survived the Great Darkness.
 
During the Great Darkness, the surviving peoples of Dragon Pass eked out an existence in a few of these citadels, and after I Fought We Won they became the centers of the new Theyalan civilization. Old ruins were the first to be resettled. Broken walls were cannibalized to build new walls. In the early First Age, the Theyalans were allied with the dwarfs of Greatway (in the Rockwood Mountains), and some later settlements (such as the City of Miracles in Dorastor) were architectural wonders. This civilization was destroyed in the Gbaji Wars that ended the age.
 
In the later Second Age, Dragon Pass was again the center of an urbane empire, best known as the EWF. The EWF ruled much of the continent and could command masons and builders from far and wide, particularly from Dara Happa, but also from dwarf allies and subjects. Population levels recovered and many of the old cities were rebuilt, sometimes to realign with mystic experiments of the ruling EWF.
 
The EWF collapsed in the 12th century and then all human life in Dragon Pass was exterminated overnight in 1120 with the Dragonkill War. For two centuries Dragon Pass was largely abandoned by humans. Some of the ruins were occupied by the dominant trolls as strongholds and bases, but most were just left empty.
 
Dragon Pass was resettled by humans after 1300 or so.The old ruins were often the first to be resettled. So places like Clearwine, Bagnot, Dunstop, Jonstown, Two Ridge, and so on, all incorporate citadel walls built by older, richer civilizations. Until Sartar's arrival, these settlers were dramatically inferior builders to those who came before, but thanks to Sartar's friendship with the dwarves, his cities tend to be as impressive as anything from the previous ages. Saronil taught the dwarf secrets to his followers; although this ended the dwarf friendship, it began a tradition of impressive stonemasonry among the Sartarites.
 
So in lots of these cities, there is going to be a "citadel" (or "acropolis") that is maybe 2 to 10 hectares in size built within the old Vingkotling citadel. Then a later city that incorporates earlier and later defensive walls, and then later rebuilds them. The previous names and history are generally lost (the settlers weren't scholars!), although places of obvious power became cult centers. What might have been a Second Age temple to the Diamond Storm Dragon gets rebuilt as a temple to Orlanth Adventurous. The tombs of Theyalan kings became shrines of Orlanth Thunderous or Ernalda. And so on.
 
The city of Furthest is something of an exception. The Lunars laid out a planned city, built along the lines they developed in the Fifth Wane to resettle their own Heartlands, which had been destroyed by the nomadic hordes of Sheng Seleris. Furthest is built on a grid, and was built largely by and for foreigners. 
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15 hours ago, Jeff said:
I thought I'd post some working notes from some work we've been doing on cities in Dragon Pass (this ultimately is not going to be part of any book, but rather informs our art direction and map making) ---------------------REFERENCING ENTIRE POST -------------------

 

Wow, these kind of musings are pure gold in my opinion Jeff

It ignites the imagination, and I feel like I am back in my teens learning about Glorantha through the fragmented parchments of the Jonston Compedium which was printed in the RQ2 Companion; or from the piecemeal tidbits of lore that were scattered throughout the pages of those Wyrms Footprints fanzines that I could hardly find anywhere in Australia at that time.

This really captures a grand epic flavour to the setting, and certainly helps present the Theylans more akin to a Mycenaean Age population. 

Any info on architecture and cultural trappings, both past and present, are greatly appreciated as they really help evoke a sense of the setting for the GM and PCs, or to the readers in general.

If this stuff doesn't make printed form, then it deserves to be a sticky so we can always look to it for reference 

Edited by Mankcam
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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

The Vingkotlings enslaved dwarfs or used great magics to build these settlements.

I picked out this sentence to ask some questions...

1. What did Sartar do to make ammends for humans doing it, or did the dwarves just forgive them?

1a are the dwarves still hostile to some of the humans of DP for these past deeds?

2. Are we to assume that Kings like Jan Ironclad enslaved dwarves to make his city for example?

3. Did the Vingkotlings steal sacred dwarf rocks and incorporate them into city defences or religious sites ?

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5 hours ago, Jeff said:

The Vingkotling settlements had great walls of stone or earth and the more important were built with something of a spiral shape. The Vingkotlings enslaved dwarfs or used great magics to build these settlements. They ranged in size from 2 or 3 hectares to nearly 500 hectares (Nochet was the capital of the Vingkotlings). Most were between 2 and 40 hectares. As the God Time became more and more destructive, these settlements tended to be rebuild as smaller and more fortified. Many of these Vingkotling citadels survived the Great Darkness.

IMO they also used enslaved giants. Giants move the earth for what is now Red Cow Fort for example. The use of giants in Balazar is a modern equivalent of this practice. You can tell giant's architecture from dwarfs because it uses huge amounts of earth of un-mortared blocks of large stone. Note that I don't think these are exclusive, you might have had dwarfs overseeing giants doing the heavy lifting, later using Jolanti for that purpose.

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Oh definitely, when I say dwarf-built, that usually includes the use of jjolanti. And sometimes giants. But I think dwarf-built things are more common.

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It never occurred to me that Vingkotlings would take Mostali as thralls.  Has there ever been a subsequent period where Mostali have been similarly enslaved?  It makes perfect sense that Mostlai would make pretty good slaves given their work ethic and diet.  Which raises the next question, how much has Mostali architectural methodology changed over the intervening millennia? 

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Based on this discussion, I'm looking forward to seeing some great visual examples of the various architecture/ settlements in the new Runequest. Having really good illustrations of building styles will really make Glorantha and Dragon pass easily accessible to new players (and old). 

The depth of background that Glorantha affords is great & second to none, but small sound bites (represented in quality illustration) is key to quickly setting the scene/flavour and attracting & keeping new players. From what I've seen so far this is exactly what Chaosium are working on. 

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8 hours ago, Darius West said:

It never occurred to me that Vingkotlings would take Mostali as thralls.  Has there ever been a subsequent period where Mostali have been similarly enslaved?  It makes perfect sense that Mostlai would make pretty good slaves given their work ethic and diet....

Yes it stands to reason in a setting such as Glorantha that this could have occurred.

Perhaps this is what sets the hero Pavis apart, in the fact that he was able to enlist the expertise of the Mostali to build a city of the like had not been seen since the Vingkotlings enthralled the Mostali back in the First Age

(This goodwill ensured between the humans and the Mostali, as the Flintnail masons still remain more or less accessible in the Pavis/Prax region at the end of the Third Age).

This ancient servedom to the Vingkotlings may be one of the many reasons that most of the Mostali remain reclusive; even the Openhandists generally only interact for trade purposes

More food for thought...

Edited by Mankcam
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10 hours ago, Darius West said:

Has there ever been a subsequent period where Mostali have been similarly enslaved?  It makes perfect sense that Mostlai would make pretty good slaves given their work ethic and diet.

It is my belief that the dwarfs of Imther were similarly enslaved, though not by humans.  It was a human who freed them (probably before the Dawn which means there is a mythic quest to do this), thus creating the debt the Mostali owe to the Kings of Imther (or their predecessors).  The Mostali helped construct Hilltown (and palaces within) as well as metal goods for the Imtherians to trade or pay in tribute.

Edited by jajagappa
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Resurrecting this old thread -

One interesting point is that any ruins from the EWF have been destroyed for at least 500 years if not longer. Which means that they might resemble the Mycenaean and Minoan palaces as presented in Assassins Creed Odyssey (in terms of how intact they are):
pierre-luc-lavoie-artblast-mycpal-pll-05

 

pierre-luc-lavoie-artblast-mycfor-pll-03

 

vincent-derozier-vincent-derozier-assass

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And of course, the ruins of the palace of Knossos are wonderful inspiration for the Big Rubble:

maxresdefault.jpg

latest?cb=20181018133102

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EDIT: Please pardon my response - I mistook this entire thread for being new, and not just the latest post. Feel free to ignore this.

 

On 1/17/2017 at 11:07 PM, Mankcam said:

Yes it stands to reason in a setting such as Glorantha that this could have occurred.

Perhaps this is what sets the hero Pavis apart, in the fact that he was able to enlist the expertise of the Mostali to build a city of the like had not been seen since the Vingkotlings enthralled the Mostali back in the First Age

(This goodwill ensured between the humans and the Mostali, as the Flintnail masons still remain more or less accessible in the Pavis/Prax region at the end of the Third Age).

This ancient servedom to the Vingkotlings may be one of the many reasons that most of the Mostali remain reclusive; even the Openhandists generally only interact for trade purposes

More food for thought...

It does help make the Dwarves more sympathetic - something which I personally am certainly very much in need for, given that the current Mostali lore is... not hugely approachable (no offense to the writers, I just "need" some emotional resonance to be able to sympathise and root for a race, and I can do that for Aldryami, Uz, etc, but I struggle to do so for the Dwarfs as they currently are presented.)

 

On 1/18/2017 at 1:05 AM, jajagappa said:

It is my belief that the dwarfs of Imther were similarly enslaved, though not by humans.  It was a human who freed them (probably before the Dawn which means there is a mythic quest to do this), thus creating the debt the Mostali owe to the Kings of Imther (or their predecessors).  The Mostali helped construct Hilltown (and palaces within) as well as metal goods for the Imtherians to trade or pay in tribute.

Aren't there some enslaved Dwarves in the Brass Mountains in Peloria - or am I mixing them up with the Third Eye Blue?

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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@Jeff

When you say that the Vingkotlings built their fortresses/palaces in a circular fashion, is this meant in an elevated position, or also on flat areas? Was there a particular kind of architectural style (in terms of decoration/construction method) that was utilized, or was it more varied depending on local materials or styles? I am especially thinking about the Cyclopean buildings style, with large blocks of stone put together without mortar, versus styles that uses smaller stones (like Great Zimbabwe), or even bricks (bricks seem more like a Dara Happan thing , due to being associated with Mesopotamia, but I might be off on that one).

For example, I know of this Russian Bronze Age/Late Neolithic settlement that has, while not spiral, at least a concentric circle pattern. Would this be too simple-looking for Vinkotling architecture?

Reconstruction-of-Arkaim-archaeological-

Or something like this? Is this more Vingkotling, or more Early Theyalan?

diminirecon.jpg


- Just to be clear, I am not expecting specifics, necessarily, just sending out feelers to gauge the varying trends of complexity and simplicity as these civilizations rise and fall over the millennia.


Lastly, I have this question - does the new art direction preclude the kind of wattle-and-daub/Iron Age longhouse-style Heortling settlements we see in King of Dragon Pass, for example? I quite like that style personally, and wouldn't mind it being a viable type outside of the walled citadels, but the new artwork of for example Apple Lane seems to indicate that even small settlements will look more "Mediterranean".

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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21 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

@Jeff

When you say that the Vingkotlings built their fortresses/palaces in a circular fashion, is this meant in an elevated position, or also on flat areas? Was there a particular kind of architectural style (in terms of decoration/construction method) that was utilized, or was it more varied depending on local materials or styles? I am especially thinking about the Cyclopean buildings style, with large blocks of stone put together without mortar, versus styles that uses smaller stones (like Great Zimbabwe), or even bricks (bricks seem more like a Dara Happan thing , due to being associated with Mesopotamia, but I might be off on that one).

For example, I know of this Russian Bronze Age/Late Neolithic settlement that has, while not spiral, at least a concentric circle pattern. Would this be too simple-looking for Vinkotling architecture? (I could've used Great 

Reconstruction-of-Arkaim-archaeological-

Or something like this? Is this more Vingkotling, or more Early Theyalan?

diminirecon.jpg


- Just to be clear, I am not expecting specifics, necessarily, just sending out feelers to gauge the varying trends of complexity and simplicity as these civilizations rise and fall over the millennia.


Lastly, I have this question - does the new art direction preclude the kind of wattle-and-daub/Iron Age longhouse-style Heortling settlements we see in King of Dragon Pass, for example? I quite like that style personally, and wouldn't mind it being a viable type outside of the walled citadels, but the new artwork of for example Apple Lane seems to indicate that even small settlements will look more "Mediterranean".

The top picture of Arkaim is very Vingkotling - indeed, we have used it as a reference piece for Vingkotling architecture. I imagine that this is the idealised abstract concept of a city for many Orlanthi.

The second picture is something you might see in the First or early Third Ages. I think this is a fortified shrine or temple. 

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KoDP was heavily over-reliant on Anglo-Saxon England and Iron Age Scandinavia art references. I don't see the Heortlings like that at all - their cultural orientation and origin is the Holy Country, not Northern Europe. Think Thrace not Iceland. That doesn't mean you won't see wattle-and-daub used but it is more likely to look like:
renovated-house-trypillian-culture-cucut

 

346606193ea566679e12a39ea8cf9914.jpgrecreacion-casa-celtiberica2.jpg

There is a much broader architectural world to draw on than just northern Europe.

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2 minutes ago, Jeff said:

KoDP was heavily over-reliant on Anglo-Saxon England and Iron Age Scandinavia art references. I don't see the Heortlings like that at all - their cultural orientation and origin is the Holy Country, not Northern Europe. Think Thrace not Iceland. That doesn't mean you won't see wattle-and-daub used but it is more likely to look like:
renovated-house-trypillian-culture-cucut

 

346606193ea566679e12a39ea8cf9914.jpgrecreacion-casa-celtiberica2.jpg

There is a much broader architectural world to draw on than just northern Europe.

Yeah, though the the same thing, even though I love the art in the game.

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

 

EDIT: Please pardon my response - I mistook this entire thread for being new, and not just the latest post. Feel free to ignore this.

 

It does help make the Dwarves more sympathetic - something which I personally am certainly very much in need for, given that the current Mostali lore is... not hugely approachable (no offense to the writers, I just "need" some emotional resonance to be able to sympathise and root for a race, and I can do that for Aldryami, Uz, etc, but I struggle to do so for the Dwarfs as they currently are presented.)

 

Aren't there some enslaved Dwarves in the Brass Mountains in Peloria - or am I mixing them up with the Third Eye Blue?

Dwarves are sympathetic to me (not so much to Greg). They see the broken ruins of the world and they work tireless to fix it. They see (or at least have been taught about) the once perfect dance of the cosmic spheres, the Golden Age where everything worked. And now look at it. The Spike - Mostal's masterpiece and the cosmic support beam - is gone and destroyed. Nothing works right, and entropy and Time wears everything down. And the mortal races squabble over the ruins of the cosmos.

Weep for our poor Mostali.

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As an interesting point in comparison, here's the size of several ancient world cities (source Colin McEvedy, "Cities of the Ancient World"):
 
Alexandria: 236 hectares (residential districts, not including palace or Pharos)
Antioch: 375 hectares
Athens: 120 hectares
Autun: 200 hectares
Babylon: 500 hectares
Jeusalem: 110 hectares (including the Temple and Herod's Palace)
Londinium:135 hectares
Miletus: 100 hectares
Ninevah: 720 hectares
Palmyra: 130 hectares
Pompeii: 65 hectares
Rhodes: 388 hectares
Rome: 360 hectares (buildable area within the Servian Wall)
Syracuse: 315 hectares.
 
For comparison with Glorantha:
Runegate: 12 hectares
Clearwine Fort: 20 hectares
Boldhome: 350 hectares
Furthest: 130 hectares
Nochet: 600 hectares
Old Pavis: 1905 hectares!
Edited by Jeff
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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

Dwarves are sympathetic to me (not so much to Greg). They see the broken ruins of the world and they work tireless to fix it. They see (or at least have been taught about) the once perfect dance of the cosmic spheres, the Golden Age where everything worked. And now look at it. The Spike - Mostal's masterpiece and the cosmic support beam - is gone and destroyed. Nothing works right, and entropy and Time wears everything down. And the mortal races squabble over the ruins of the cosmos.

Weep for our poor Mostali.

 

2 hours ago, Jeff said:

Dwarves are sympathetic to me (not so much to Greg). They see the broken ruins of the world and they work tireless to fix it. They see (or at least have been taught about) the once perfect dance of the cosmic spheres, the Golden Age where everything worked. And now look at it. The Spike - Mostal's masterpiece and the cosmic support beam - is gone and destroyed. Nothing works right, and entropy and Time wears everything down. And the mortal races squabble over the ruins of the cosmos.

Weep for our poor Mostali.

I've been doing my bit for Mostal with this prototype Gloranthan Lego orrery. I'm short of turntables so currently it is just Yelm, Lightfore and the Blue Planet on the sunpath, but the little grey pointer rotates ones in 28 days for the Red Planet, and the moon on the top turns every seven days. I aim to put the Pale Planet (wagon/mule) on eventually but the white planets 62 days will be very difficult to gear. 

GloranthanOrrery.png

GloranthanOrrery-TheMostalBit.png

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

There is a much broader architectural world to draw on than just northern Europe.

Oh, I am very much aware - and I welcome it. However, I'd hope that there is still some space for Northern Europe inbetween all this Mediterranean-Middle-Eastern-South-Asian stuff. Not just Iron Age Germanic houses, but other traditions, like, say, Crannogs.

Image-of-what-a-crannog-would-have-looke

3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Dwarves are sympathetic to me (not so much to Greg). They see the broken ruins of the world and they work tireless to fix it. They see (or at least have been taught about) the once perfect dance of the cosmic spheres, the Golden Age where everything worked. And now look at it. The Spike - Mostal's masterpiece and the cosmic support beam - is gone and destroyed. Nothing works right, and entropy and Time wears everything down. And the mortal races squabble over the ruins of the cosmos.

Weep for our poor Mostali.

On an intellectual level, I understand you, definitely. However, on a "lived life" or "lifeworld" (to borrow some terms from anthropology) I struggle. Put another way: I have an easier time to "grok" the frustration and anger that comes with seeing Erebor plundered by Smaug and the peoples there spread across Middle-Earth, than I have with the more abstract "The World Machine broke and things are all out of order".
Dwarves are said to abhor sexual reproduction, they find normal food disgusting, they generally hate going outside their underground cities, they seem to view other species almost like the Vadeli - as tools to be manipulated or matter to be exploited. They have virtually no social mobility in their own society. It rather seems like if everything went correctly - from the Decamonic point of view - they would not be in contact with anyone else at all.

I struggle, in this sense, to put myself in the mental headspace of a Dwarf and think about what drives them, what motivates them, not just in general, but in its particularities.

Now, if the answer is that we're not supposed to view the Dwarves like that - then fine - but again, that leaves them uninteresting to me, quite like the distant angels of Arraz, or the various other absentee entities of Glorantha.

(I freely admit to bringing Dwarf biases from other fantasy settings.)

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Oh, I am very much aware - and I welcome it. However, I'd hope that there is still some space for Northern Europe inbetween all this Mediterranean-Middle-Eastern-South-Asian stuff. Not just Iron Age Germanic houses, but other traditions, like, say, Crannogs.

There are heavily overgrown crannogs in Sartar, according to The Coming Storm. Don't know who built them, or when.

Correction: the Heortlings built them to avoid Palangio.

Edited by M Helsdon
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12 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

There are heavily overgrown crannogs in Sartar, according to The Coming Storm. Don't know who built them, or when.

Correction: the Heortlings built them to avoid Palangio.

Yeah, over 1200 years ago.

In the Third Age, the closest thing to a crannog in Sartar are the Duck villages in the Marsh.

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