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TK Nyarlathotep

New Glorantha Fan - Where to start?

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You lot have officially started speaking German at me. XD

 

Per the recommendation, I got myself a copy of HeroQuest Glorantha (someone said it was a narrative system, which is A+ in my book!), and am waiting until I get paid next to get a GOG copy of King of Dragon Pass (since I understand that version, the 1999 one, is superior to the modern one made for tablets).

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10 hours ago, TK_Nyarlathotep said:

to get a GOG copy of King of Dragon Pass (since I understand that version, the 1999 one, is superior to the modern one made for tablets).

It is not. New version has many bugs fixed and many new scenes (near 50) as well.
And I was one of the first who bought the original CD-Rom version back in the days...
And new version is on sales (-70%, ends 20 march) on Steam:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/352220
and at $1,71 on Android
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.herocraft.kodp

Edited by 7Tigers

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On 3/13/2017 at 4:17 PM, g33k said:

whoa!  All that new-to-thread content!  Theylan?  RedCow?  Esrolian?  Tarsh?  Hendrikiland?  Holy Country?  ... And all the PEOPLE, too!

OP already sez he's overwhelmed !   :o  

 

The OP comes from a Call of Cthulhu background, Imagine if someone asked "Where can I start with Cal of Cthulhu" and people listed the whole mythos and all the scenarios. They would be overwhelmed.

 

On 3/13/2017 at 4:17 PM, g33k said:

:  Prax, Sartar, Dragon Pass:  pick one... and...      GO!  :D

I agree.

Do you want to play animal-riding nomads on the edge of a ruined city? Prax.

Do you want to play Storm-worshipping barbarians in thrall to an evil Lunar Empire? Sartar.

Do you want to play Sun-worshipping horse riders, demon-steed-riding sorcerers, grim exiles from the evil Lunar Empire, ducks surviving zombies? Dragon Pass.

 

 

 

Edited by soltakss
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On 3/13/2017 at 10:02 AM, Byll said:

A DRAGONSNAIL'S EYEBALL!

<sigh>  Ya gotta let it go, man.

He bargained the hell outta you, and you fell for his deal like a newborn calf trotting up to a basmoli waving some fresh grass... Move on, man, move on!  I mean, it's not like you actually used it in that recipe he gave you, right?

...

RIGHT?

 

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21 hours ago, TK_Nyarlathotep said:

Per the recommendation, I got myself a copy of HeroQuest Glorantha (someone said it was a narrative system, which is A+ in my book!), and am waiting until I get paid next to get a GOG copy of King of Dragon Pass (since I understand that version, the 1999 one, is superior to the modern one made for tablets).

I thought you were going the RuneQuest way.

In my opinion HeroQuest: Glorantha is an excellent choice, it is a very good introduction to Glorantha and the HeroQuest 2 system.

If you like the system and King of Dragon Pass, you will be ready for Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes which is designed to introduce new players and game masters alike to this wonderful universe. Thanks to King of Dragon Pass you will already know the key background to understand the Sartar setting.

Welcome aboard!   ;)

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22 hours ago, soltakss said:

Do you want to play Storm-worshipping barbarians in thrall to an evil Lunar Empire? Sartar.

Except the Theylans are not actually 'barbarians' anymore, although they are probably referred as such by Pelorians.

Just sayin'... :D

 

 

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On 3/16/2017 at 8:42 AM, Mankcam said:

Except the Theylans are not actually 'barbarians' anymore, although they are probably referred as such by Pelorians.

Just sayin'... :D

 

 

Orlanthi aren't barbarians, the Lunar Empire isn't evil, what is the world coming to?

The more complex we make the discussion, the more we put people off.

Keep it very simple, get them hooked, then reveal the complexity layer by layer through gameplay.

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Yeah you're totally right of course, I think I was just stoking the fire when I posted that comment :D

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In the RQ3 world building rules, "barbarian society" was defined as a pre-feudal agrarian society with an assumed martial prowess of every adult, possibly excluding one or the other gender. This could include urban centers with higher degrees of organisation.

37 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Orlanthi aren't barbarians, the Lunar Empire isn't evil, what is the world coming to?

The more complex we make the discussion, the more we put people off.

Keep it very simple, get them hooked, then reveal the complexity layer by layer through gameplay.

Dumbing it down so that it becomes so indistinguishable that the players who don't show up again can say "yes, I tried Glorantha once. Just same old same old with silly ducks, no idea what people see in the setting." should be avoided.

There are few unexcusable asolute evils in Glorantha. Violence, brutality, use of Chaos, slavery, oppression, deicide - everything has been done in the name of the good cause. "It was necessary at the time." Never mind that dethroning Yelm caused the Darkness(es). Never mind that the maddened horde witnessing the triumphant return of the Red Goddess on the back of the Bat has ravaged the lands in and around the Empire ever since, turning another formerly innocent portion of Peloria (Tork) into a Chaos cesspit.

Neither the Orlanthi nor the Lunars are blameless or irrecoverably corrupt (although both sides are working towards the latter in preparation of the Hero Wars). When presenting the world through one side's world view, it is ok to depict the other side as tetering on the point of no return, or beyond it.

I am just in the process of providing introductory pages to Glorantha for my German language glorantha page (www.glorantha.de), and I am trying to give correct information over preparing Glorantha in small doses.

Given the absence of in-print German material for Glorantha, I guess I will have to include something to have an entry level experience for Glorantha. Possibly an imitation and overview of the campaign printed in RQ3 Vikings and RQ3 Land of Ninja (stripped of localisation, pretty much the same campaign, and a fairly good one, too), adapted to a few backgrounds.

 

Alternatively, we could make this a community effort. Provide a bunch of entry level scenarios (with regard to necessary Glorantha knowledge rather than with regard to character percentages or whatever measurement is used) or even a mini-campaign to get people started in Glorantha.

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On 3/16/2017 at 1:42 AM, Mankcam said:

Except the Theylans are not actually 'barbarians' anymore, although they are probably referred as such by Pelorians.

Just sayin'... :D

 

 

I don't know what "barbarian" objectively means other than "people who speak funny" (for the Greeks, the barbarian par excellence were of course the Persians). It seems to be mainly used as short-hand for "vaguely Celtic or Germanic" which isn't terribly useful for describing folk with sizable urban communities (at 10,000 people Boldhome is a large city), written records (including an entire cult dedicated to written information), long-distance trade and coinage.

New players get that easily - you say the Orlanthi have cities, tribes, and clans, worship the deities of Air and Earth, and have a tendency to feud with themselves and others, and that's not hard to grasp in its own right. What creates a hurdle is when you say something like "they are barbarians/Celts/Germans/Vikings/etc - except they have cities, written records and scribes, etc." To which many a player has said, "so are they barbarians or not?"

I suggest you reduce the confusion by not introducing a real-world analogy that you then have to walk back from. Just describe Gloranthan cultures in their own right. Most players are likely to understand that better anyways.

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On 3/23/2017 at 7:55 AM, Jeff said:

I don't know what "barbarian" objectively means other than "people who speak funny" (for the Greeks, the barbarian par excellence were of course the Persians). It seems to be mainly used as short-hand for "vaguely Celtic or Germanic" which isn't terribly useful for describing folk with sizable urban communities (at 10,000 people Boldhome is a large city), written records (including an entire cult dedicated to written information), long-distance trade and coinage.

New players get that easily - you say the Orlanthi have cities, tribes, and clans, worship the deities of Air and Earth, and have a tendency to feud with themselves and others, and that's not hard to grasp in its own right. What creates a hurdle is when you say something like "they are barbarians/Celts/Germans/Vikings/etc - except they have cities, written records and scribes, etc." To which many a player has said, "so are they barbarians or not?"

I suggest you reduce the confusion by not introducing a real-world analogy that you then have to walk back from. Just describe Gloranthan cultures in their own right. Most players are likely to understand that better anyways.

But IMHO/IME those real-world referents are incredibly useful... particularly to acclimate/accomodate newbies!  It's a very-fair point to say that "barbarian" carries enough baggage and mis-connotations to be a WrongBad tag, particularly as a 1-word description of their culture.  But I can't throw out the barbarian baby with the rest of the real-world bath-water in abandoning all the useful analogies !

It might be reasonable to include "barbarian" as one of (and not the first of) the tags, such as:

  • "Orlanthi have large urban centers, a diverse pantheon including one deity of sages and knowledge and another of commerce and communication; but their Chief Deity is a storm-god whose violence they prize & emulate, and with cattle-herding & raiding in their rural places, longstanding feuds, paying weregilds &c... you might almost mistake them for kinda-sorta Celto/Teutonic barbarians.  Just remember that while "barbarian" isn't 100% wrong (cities, sages, etc) ...  it's really not "right" either."
Edited by g33k
edit for clarity
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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

I don't know what "barbarian" objectively means other than "people who speak funny" ...

... and whose cultural habits clash with our (civilized!) ones.

Particularly amusing are two cultures who each think they are the "civilized" one, and the other is a "barbarian" culture...  :blink:

 

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27 minutes ago, g33k said:

... and whose cultural habits clash with our (civilized!) ones.

Particularly amusing are two cultures who each think they are the "civilized" one, and the other is a "barbarian" culture...  :blink:

 

You have to have voted in your city council elections to call yourself civilised.

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All this stems of course from the Anglo-Saxon Celtic/Norse depictions of Orlanthi from the late RQ3 era up until recent years. As well as the fact that they were actually a 'Barbarian' culture in terms of the RQ3 character generation process.  

Even the RQ3 Glorantha Genertela Box objectively presented them as being from 'The Barbarian Belt'. If this had been presented as a Pelorian slur, or even as a reference stemming from Kralori or Malkioni phrases then that would have been much better, rather than the objective way it was presented as describing the Orlanthi.

It is easy to see why these references still show up, as this is the how Orlanthi were portrayed since the late 1980s until recent times. Fanzines perpetuated the portrayal, and Hero Wars / HQ1 were certainly on board with it in terms of artwork.

I quite like Celts, Saxons, and Vikings; but these days that is what I will run Mythras for with their Mythic Britain setting.

For Glorantha I prefer the more Bronze Age atmosphere as it feels more in line with what was hinted at back in RQ2. The G2G really brought the Bronze Age flavour back.

Horses For Courses, but personally I do find real-world analogies a useful starting point when describing fantasy cultures. Google Images comes in very handy. I think images of the real-world influences help form a mental picture quite quickly, and you can make setting specific changes from there.

So for my troupe I am quickly summing up the Theyalans as a 'Mycenaean Age' style culture. I would probably use Minoans as a base influence for Esrolians, and use a mish mash of Achaean and Thracian influences for Sartarites. The artwork from the G2G and Red Cow books certainly  supports this flavour for the Sartarites.

These are broad strokes however, but the players get the idea from the start, and it certainly does not portray the  Theyalans as being 'barbarians'.

In RQ2 the term 'barbarian' was more commonly used as a reference towards the Praxians rather than the Sartarites, Pavasites, Tarshites, or any of the Theyalan cultures.

 

Edited by Mankcam

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Here's an ad-hoc translation of a snippet of how I try to describe Orlanthi society on my German language introduction page, and how to deal with the "barbarian" appellation:

Quote

The Orlanthi culture lives following the example of their main deities, the Storm God Orlanth and the Earth Queen Ernalda. Men are effervescent and emotional, while the women think and plan in long terms and employ their emotions only sparingly and controlled.

Outsiders call the Orlanthi hill barbarians. The hill portion of that has a certain truth in that most Orlanthi live in the uplands surrounding their holy mountains. The majority of the Orlanthi make their living of agriculture and herding, with fishing and hunting as supplementary primary production. The typical Orlanthi male is a free farmer spending the seeding and harvest time on his fields, but who will take up his weapons enthusiastically in the weeks in between to go raiding - mostly just cattle raids targetting his neighbors, but at times also in the wake of charismatic leaders who make great incursions into lands further away. This activity has given them the reputation to be barbarians among those who get raided occasionally.

But Orlanthi have also formed urban cultures that maintain libraries and modern roads.

Sages speak of the Theyalan Culture instead, the dominant culture of central Dawn Age Genertela, which includes a couple of quite variant human cultures.

After years of lobbying to describe Orlanthi urban culture and their meshing with the clan culture around them, I have to admit I have some difficulties how to describe them.

Are there city-dweller clan members whose presence there is treated as if they are just settling an out-lying stead, in a piece of tula that isn't directly adjacent to the rest of the clan tula? (And can an urban presence be hallowed as a piece of the clan's tula?)

Or are they treated like clan members currently residing at the tribal chief's place, where they perform deeds away from their clan but for the glory of the clan?

Are they treated like temporary exiles, exempt from most clan ceremonies and activities?

Or is it impossible to be a clan member if you live more than a day's travel from the rest of your family?

 

When making comparisons with the Orlanthi (especially those of Dragon Pass), I dislike all the naval connotations of ancient Greece, whether the Mycenean or the democracy ones, pretty much like I never used the Vikings directly for comparison.

My parallel are the Danubian cultures, from the Thracians close to the Black Sea to the Hallstatt people in the foothills and passes of the Alps. And speaking of foothills and passes, guess whose habitat resembles that of the Sartarites most?

Heortland below the plateau and Esrolia have a coastal culture, but with limited sea-going activity except for the Pelaskite folk living side by side with the agricultural folk. The Pelaskites might loan from some of the more naval cultures like Mycene or Crete, but they have a history of an unfortunate polynesian style.

 

Edited by Joerg
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Don't forget that Sartar was weird because he built cities and made city rings.

Even in the Holy Country, Orlanthi cities are, in my opinion, due to the Pharoah's influence, without him they'd still be living in clan steads and fighting each other.

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3 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Don't forget that Sartar was weird because he built cities and made city rings.

 That was weird only among the Amish or Taliban equivalent settlers of the Pass. The Jrusteli explorers encountered Heortling (though not Hendriki) cities in their journey into the Hendriki lands, and they conquered the ones they found on the estuaries and the river crossings on the plateau, at least at times.

Sartar was weird because he came unarmed and made peace by constructing new cities, yes. The concept of cities wasn't that weird, and his co-opting the tribes to participate on the city rings may have been an innovation vs. the cities on the Heortland plateau. Sartar was an innovator.

3 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Even in the Holy Country, Orlanthi cities are, in my opinion, due to the Pharoah's influence, without him they'd still be living in clan steads and fighting each other.

Definitely not true. The Hendriki did maintain a highly mobile form of agriculture in their forests when Aventus formulated the Foreigners laws and tributes at the onset of the Imperial Age. The peoples he collected the tribute from were sedentary, and did use older city sites where available, or founded new ones.

Towards the end of the Imperial Age, the Hendriki remained something like a special tribe, but quite a lot of those former foreigners had been assimilated, except for those who kept apart for certain reasons, like the seagoing Pelaskites or the sorcerous Esvulari.

There is a similarity if not parallel to the Dhimmi tax that the early Khalifate took in the formerly Byzantine, Christian areas of the Levante and North Africa, and how the ranks of the muslims swelled in something like a tax evasion movement.

The Foreigners' Tribute of Aventus came in addition to Arkat's Command (which basically re-enforced the Kitori tribute that had been collected in the Kingdom of Night since before the Dawn, and expanded it on the areas north of the Kingdom of Night, there with Dagori Inkarth profiting from the revenues), and left the Hendriki in the cosy position to just pass on part of what they collected from the foreigners to the Kitori. The northern Heortlings were supposed to do a similar stunt just passing on their revenues from occupied Dara Happa, but they sucked as occupation force, and that source of tribute dried up, making Arkat's Command noisome to them.

 

 

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It seems as if no one remembers that 'barbarian' was a term used clearly and strongly in RQ2 character generation( which was then never really explained).  It isn't a RQ3 or HQ1 insertion, but they did seem to make sense of stuff that was left unexplained to that point.

 

 

 

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Well, I remembered...

13 hours ago, Mankcam said:

All this stems of course from the Anglo-Saxon Celtic/Norse depictions of Orlanthi from the late RQ3 era up until recent years. As well as the fact that they were actually a 'Barbarian' culture in terms of the RQ3 character generation process.  

Even the RQ3 Glorantha Genertela Box objectively presented them as being from 'The Barbarian Belt'. If this had been presented as a Pelorian slur, or even as a reference stemming from Kralori or Malkioni phrases then that would have been much better, rather than the objective way it was presented as describing the Orlanthi

 

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Actually I realised I was wrong in that last post, and I was about to edit it, but you replied before I could amend it. My fault :D

RQ2 and RQ3 were pretty different in this regard.

In RQ3 the Orlanthi are clearly described as being Barbarians, and thus use the Barbarian Character Background. 

This was quite different to RQ2 in hindsight, where 'Barbarian' was a random background on the Char Gen Table. In the core book it wasn't clear who this was pertaining to, but from the RQ2 supplements it seemed that the Mounted Barbarian background was for Praxians, and the Foot Barbarian background was good for Balazaring clansfolk. The other more urban cultures did not seem to fit the picture of Barbarian, they would just be Peasant, Townsman, or Noble; the more rural settlements would have a larger Peasant focus, but they were not described as Barbarians. This seemed to pertain to most of the cultures described, such Sartarites, the Balazaring Citadels, Pavasites, etc. So the Orlanthi of RQ2 did not feel particularly 'Barbarian'.

However it was not all clearly explained at the time, and we had to work with what we had. But I remember being a little surprised when I discovered that Orlanthi were objectively presented as Barbarians in the RQ3 backgrounds.

Given that 'barbarian' is a translation from the ancient greek word 'Keltoi' (obscure, other, uncivilised), widely used in a derogatory fashion by the Romans, it really is too subjective to use to describe many socieocultural intricacies. If RQ3 had gone with the term 'Rudimentary' instead of 'Barbarian' it may have been better. However even this may have been problematic at times, but at least it is slightly more objective.

I'm glad the term 'Barbarian' is being dropped as an objective measure of culture in the next version of RQ.

Edited by Mankcam
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I was confused by RQ2, and like you assumed 'barbarians' referred to Praxians at the time.

However all the subsequent material shows that it was a good description of the mix of peoples found with dragon pass, with 'barbarian' referring to the more rural clans and townsfolk being the city dwellers within Orlanthi culture. 

Edited by Jon Hunter
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Well it wasn't clear in RQ2, but yes I think some of the more isolated rural and rugged Sartarite clans could certainly fit the description of 'Barbarians'.

However the vast majority of Orlanthi villages and steads would be from the Peasant background. Logically the larger the settlement, the larger the numbers of Townsman and Noble backgrounds. The more rudimentary one's background, the more relevant the Barbarian background would be.

Remember you rolled background first in RQ2, then worked out where you were more likely to be from after that.

So if you rolled a Barbarian background, it was very unlikely you grew up in Boldhome.

Even if you were from a small agricultural village like Apple Lane, it would be unlikely that the Barbarian background would be relevant. The majority of people here would fit the Peasant background, with maybe the Blacksmith, Tin Inn publican, and possibly the Sheriff fitting the Townsman background; Gringle possibly presented himself as a Poor Noble.

However an Orlanthi from an isolated Far Point clan north of Alda-Chur may possibly be more appropriate to be considered a 'Foot Barbarian', or an Orlanthi Pol-Joni raider could be a 'Mounted Barbarian' - they were even in the region of the aptly named Barbarian Town. So it is possible that the more isolated the location of origin, the more likely the background of Barbarian may be relevant.

Perhaps Barbarian would be a relevant background not only for Orlanthi from geographically isolated clans, but perhaps also for those from socially alienated clans. An example of this could be if you play a character who grew up amongst a roving band of outlawed Sararite rebels, as the background of Barbarian could easily work well with this concept.

I guess in RQ2 it was not so much a Cultural background, it was more like a Social Class background. This was where RQ3 significantly deviated in regards to character generation and background. 

However some cultures were definitely more dominated by the Barbarian background - eg: Praxians, Bazalorings, Grazelanders, Tusk-Riders, etc, whereas in other ethnic backgrounds (Orlanthi, for example) it may have only pertained to those from very isolated or alienated origins. So yes by this reasoning you could have Orlanthi barbarians, although I don't think that it pertained to a large number of Orlanthi. Certainly not enough to redefine the entire Orlanthi culture as 'Barbarian', which is what the RQ3 rules did.

 

Edited by Mankcam

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2 hours ago, Jon Hunter said:

It seems as if no one remembers that 'barbarian' was a term used clearly and strongly in RQ2 character generation( which was then never really explained).  It isn't a RQ3 or HQ1 insertion, but they did seem to make sense of stuff that was left unexplained to that point.

 

1 hour ago, Mankcam said:

Well it wasn't clear in RQ2, but yes I think some of the more isolated rural and rugged Sartarite clans could certainly fit the description of 'Barbarians'.

However the vast majority of Orlanthi villages and steads would be from the Peasant background. Logically the larger the settlement, the larger the numbers of Townsman and Noble backgrounds. The more rudimentary one's background, the more relevant the Barbarian background would be.

Remember you rolled background first in RQ2, then worked out where you were more likely to be from after that.

So if you rolled a Barbarian background, it was very unlikely you grew up in Boldhome.

Even if you were from a small agricultural village like Apple Lane, it would be unlikely that the Barbarian background would be relevant. The majority of people here would fit the Peasant background, with maybe the Blacksmith, Tin Inn publican, and possibly the Sheriff fitting the Townsman background; Gringle possibly presented himself as a Poor Noble.

However an Orlanthi from an isolated Far Point clan north of Alda-Chur may possibly be more appropriate to be considered a 'Foot Barbarian', or an Orlanthi Pol-Joni raider could be a 'Mounted Barbarian' - they were even in the region of the aptly named Barbarian Town. So it is possible that the more isolated the location of origin, the more likely the background of Barbarian may be relevant.

Perhaps Barbarian would be a relevant background not only for Orlanthi from geographically isolated clans, but perhaps also for those from socially alienated clans. An example of this could be if you play a character who grew up amongst a roving band of outlawed Sararite rebels, as the background of Barbarian could easily work well with this concept.

I guess in RQ2 it was not so much a Cultural background, it was more like a Social Class background. This was where RQ3 significantly deviated in regards to character generation and background. 

However some cultures were definitely more dominated by the Barbarian background - eg: Praxians, Bazalorings, Grazelanders, Tusk-Riders, etc, whereas in other ethnic backgrounds (Orlanthi, for example) it may have only pertained to those from very isolated or alienated origins. So yes by this reasoning you could have Orlanthi barbarians, although I don't think that it pertained to a large number of Orlanthi. Certainly not enough to redefine the entire Orlanthi culture as 'Barbarian', which is what the RQ3 rules did.

 

This is absolutely right. Most Sartarites in RQ2 were noble, townsfolk, or peasant.

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