Jump to content
David Scott

Morokanth & Darkness

Recommended Posts

@Joerg and @davecake have led me to spawn a new conversation leaving the bison behind.

When I started writing the Prax book I was told to limit my sources to those considered canon. So Cults of Prax, nomad Gods 1, basically the old Chaosium stuff, Greg's notes, a load of cool unpublished stuff and asking Greg. Some stuff is specifically excluded as well. One of the first thing I did was look at the rune affinities of the tribes. All of the major tribes have these affinities as you are aware and the morokanth's is Darkness. Under HeroQuest Glorantha this means it's their dominant elemental rune and if they have it it effects them as per HeroQuest Glorantha page 14:

Quote

Darkness
Meaning: Darkness, cold, Underworld
The most ancient Rune, the First Born, the Waker from the Void, from whom all other Elements were born or descended. Darkness
was the rst Element to arise out of the Primal Chaos. Darkness is traditionally most potent against Chaos. The mace and the rock are the weapons of Darkness and lead is its metal.

Personality Traits: cruel, cold, secretive 

Not all morokanth have it as their dominant element:

Element Rune Spread of the

Morokanth

The Empty

1%

 

M

F

Storm

10

2

Earth

2

10

Fire

1

1

Darkness

85

85

Water

1

1

Moon

1

1

check row %

100

100

The personality trait of cold manifest as being very matter of fact in their killing. They are not meat eaters and so its just a job harvesting meat for their herds. I'm drawn towards some of the feelings expressed in the Larry Niven novel Footfall as to how it is perceived, with the invading vegetarian herd aliens slaughtering their enemies. Likewise with cruel, it has some of the same overtones, feeling no concern about inflicting pain and suffering. It's almost like they have to prove a point to the 2-legged tribes. Secretive is their way of life, their crespular existence hiding themselves from the world to survive.

Likewise they love to fight chaos. Their ancestral grazing Close to the Goddess lies between the Paps and the Devils Marsh. In the years after the Dawn, they were the primary defence against chaos incursions, a fact begrudged by the other tribes. Morokanth can always be found fighting alongside Storm Bulls, although they have the second to lowest Storm Bull membership of the major tribes (See Cults of Prax appendix C, the Sables now have 0.5% membership).

With their spirit societies, 50% are members of the Shadow People, the darkness society that Waha made home for the Darkness spirits he befriended that helped people survive:

Quote

Primarily found in the Morokanth tribe, this spirit society teaches members how to work with the spirits of Darkness. Members of this spirit society are often instrumental in dealing with trolls or other creatures of Darkness. The secretive Sunset society split away from this society after the Dawning, but is rumored to maintain a presence. This society is friendly to trolls and their spirit tradition.

It's no coincidence that the society's holy centre is Bigglestone (see the Guide) and it lies within Close to the Goddess.

Dark Eater is the largest spirit of the society and many consider her to be its leader.

Quote

This Darkness spirit provides charms that relate to fighting chaos, darkness, cold and the underworld. The taboo of these charms is that the charms must always be fed. A Shaman wishing to summon this great spirit directly must do so at Biggle Stone.

Careful shaman are able to learn a powerful ritual:

(darkness) Incarnate Dark Eater. This powerful ritual begins at sunrise always held at night. The possessed is always the society leader. A khan of Waha always stands guard, ready to chase Dark Eater back if she consumes too much. Dark Eater is an enormous being, larger than a Founder. Dark Eater is said by some to resemble a Mistress Troll, but others say this is clearly untrue. The taboo of this ritual is Feed Dark Eater.

Although there are many other Darkness spirits who help the Praxians: Grandmother of Spiders, Night Woman, Raven, White Princess, and other smaller more local ones. Other darkness spirits come via the Troll tradition. Not all Morokanth shaman deal with Dark Eater.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Careful ShamanS are able to learn..,

No idea whether there is a professional vocabulary using a different plural, but one shaman, two shamans...

 

I feel quite confused - "the taboo is Feed Dark Eater"

To me, a taboo is something you avoid doing, and not an obligation to do something, but from the context it feels like feeding the Dark Eater is obligatory rather than prohibited.

 

Looks like you are adamant in the "eat no meat" policy, despite what is written in the guide:

"Certain animals, men and Morokanth, became the eaters, and fed on those other animals, – such as bison, impalas, high llamas, sables, and rhinos, – who could survive on the rough vegetation left upon the plains."

Morokanth became the Eaters.

 

Explaining the Morokanth Darkness affinity as coldness when killing beasts for their herdmen, cruelty, and fanatic enmity to the Chaos of the Devil's Marsh is sort of ok. With the main spirit the Dark Eater, I still find the obligate vegetarianism of the Morokanth in the proximity of the Black Eater wrong. Limiting its influence to incarnation by the shaman is rather weak.

Sorry about flogging a probably dead horse.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Joerg said:

I feel quite confused - "the taboo is Feed Dark Eater"

To me, a taboo is something you avoid doing, and not an obligation to do something, but from the context it feels like feeding the Dark Eater is obligatory rather than prohibited.

Possibly this was a "Geas" rather than a "Taboo"?  Possibly a section cut&paste'd from taboo-to-geas and not edited?

 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Looks like you are adamant in the "eat no meat" policy, despite what is written in the guide:

"Certain animals, men and Morokanth, became the eaters, and fed on those other animals, – such as bison, impalas, high llamas, sables, and rhinos, – who could survive on the rough vegetation left upon the plains."

Morokanth became the Eaters.

Explaining the Morokanth Darkness affinity as coldness when killing beasts for their herdmen, cruelty, and fanatic enmity to the Chaos of the Devil's Marsh is sort of ok. With the main spirit the Dark Eater, I still find the obligate vegetarianism of the Morokanth in the proximity of the Black Eater wrong. Limiting its influence to incarnation by the shaman is rather weak.

Sorry about flogging a probably dead horse.

<braids a whip>  "Here.  Keep flogging."

Greg has Gregged the Guide.

 

Edited by g33k
spacing for clarity ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Joerg said:

Careful ShamanS are able to learn..,

No idea whether there is a professional vocabulary using a different plural, but one shaman, two shamans...

It's an unfinished work and needs editing. The s needs adding as the plural is shaman.

10 hours ago, Joerg said:

I feel quite confused - "the taboo is Feed Dark Eater"

To me, a taboo is something you avoid doing, and not an obligation to do something, but from the context it feels like feeding the Dark Eater is obligatory rather than prohibited.

The taboo rules are part of Spirit Magic and work as per Heroquest Glorantha page 136. The one above is what I call a "fixed" taboo that is the same for all and the players have no choice but to have it. It's similar to the taboo for the Waha Spirits of Law - Fight Chaos Now!

10 hours ago, Joerg said:

Looks like you are adamant in the "eat no meat" policy, despite what is written in the guide:

I'm just doing as the creator requested. As @Jeff constantly reminded me is the view from 30000 feet and from that distance most would assume the morokanth were meat eaters. Sadly we missed that tiny line. It's stated clearly in Heroquest Glorantha that they are vegetarians - the Morokanth box on page 38.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, David Scott said:

I'm just doing as the creator requested. As @Jeff constantly reminded me is the view from 30000 feet and from that distance most would assume the morokanth were meat eaters. Sadly we missed that tiny line. It's stated clearly in Heroquest Glorantha that they are vegetarians - the Morokanth box on page 38.

Thanks for the clarification.

I am not suggesting to alter either source, but to have a magically induced state in which the Morokanth become Eaters rather than grazers. That way both descriptions remain accurate - most of the time vegetarians, observably acting as eaters at times.

 

To address an earlier point about the matter-of-fact way herbivores kill:

I would expect a herd-based herbivore society to be extremely matter-of-fact about killings of predators of whichever kind, even domesticated, only part time carnivorous ones. (Larry Niven's Pierson's Puppeteers from Ringworld are such a case, for instance - they get disturbed by personally facing danger, but not by killing another life-form.) It's what the world tries to do to them all the time (or used to do until they found magic or technology to avert that fate most of the time).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Joerg said:

most of the time vegetarians, observably acting as eaters at times.

They have to eat meat during Waha, Eiritha and Foundchild ceremonies. It's the only time they can. Egajia Chewer of Flesh, the head of the Paps, is in a ritual state most of the time hence her title.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Joerg said:

"Certain animals, men and Morokanth, became the eaters, and fed on those other animals, – such as bison, impalas, high llamas, sables, and rhinos, – who could survive on the rough vegetation left upon the plains."

Morokanth became the Eaters.

Yes, but everyone knows they cheated! That's why they still have the digestive tracts of herbivores.

2 hours ago, David Scott said:

They have to eat meat during Waha, Eiritha and Foundchild ceremonies. It's the only time they can. Egajia Chewer of Flesh, the head of the Paps, is in a ritual state most of the time hence her title.

I would put it as "It's the only time they do". Most would only eat a token quantity, or the minimum required to stay in good standing ritually. I think meat is just as unpalatable and unappealing to Morokanth in a religious ceremony as any other time. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a practical matter, if they do not eat them, why do they have large herds? What do the herdmen provide that means the Morokanth find it essential to keeo large herds?

Do the herdmen provide food by other means (such as the morokanth using them to dig roots or similar)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. The herdmen spend their day gathering food for the morokanth. They scatter about, gathering roots, bugs, succulents, etc., so that the morokanth don't have to spend their entire day food gathering. As a result, the morokanth can craft, worship, trade, scout, and do all the other wonderful things you can do when someone else is doing the time-consuming grunt work.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course as David has mentioned, most Praxians don't slaughter their own herds. They're a sign of wealth, and essential for living on the plains.

Still, there's also plenty of other products you can get from an animal without eating it.

Their pelts can be used to make string and rope (You might even find a Morokanth's prized herdman with long braided hair, just so that it can be cut off and used as rope when needed)

Their cows can also be milked. With the limited water of the wastes, milk will be a valuable resource, and when fermented into kumis is also a good aid to relaxation.

Their hide can be turned into leather for tents, loincloths, shields, and belts.

Their bones can be used to make various tools, including pins, weapon hafts, spearheads. Their teeth could also be set into a scourge to make it even more painful.

Their fat can be rendered into tallow, and then combined with ashes to make soap. (Which could be used as a pomade for a Morokanth's hide, or to keep the aforementioned prized herdmen's hair in good condition.)

Their organs can also be turned into waterskins.

Of course, some of these can also apply to non-Morokanthi Praxians, since they're more likely to slaughter herdmen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Tindalos said:

(You might even find a Morokanth's prized herdman with long braided hair, just so that it can be cut off and used as rope when needed)

 

 

Quote

Herd-men bones and teeth being smaller than most of the herd animals are used in smaller carving projects. Their skin is also much thinner and used for items where weight is important. Their major resource is hair. It is the longest of all animals in the Wastelands. It makes the best rope and bindings and as a result is highly prized by Waha initiates.

and

44 minutes ago, Tindalos said:

Their cows can also be milked. With the limited water of the wastes, milk will be a valuable resource, and when fermented into kumis is also a good aid to relaxation.

Quote

All of the major tribes herd beasts produce milk and are milked. As is usual after calving, some cows move on to the milk herd. Milk herds are normally small and only noticeable when separated out during the rut. Different beast milks have different qualities, but all are either drunk, fermented or made into some form of cheese.

I'm toying with the idea that fermented milk is not as common as other forms of alcohol. In my playtests, the majority of groups used the resources of the Oases folks to produce alcohol - manly with dates, although there were a few others. This was always used to show off.

Edited by David Scott
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jeff said:

Yes. The herdmen spend their day gathering food for the morokanth. They scatter about, gathering roots, bugs, succulents, etc., so that the morokanth don't have to spend their entire day food gathering. As a result, the morokanth can craft, worship, trade, scout, and do all the other wonderful things you can do when someone else is doing the time-consuming grunt work.

What can you craft with no thumbs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sand-paintings. Sharpened sticks. Mud wallows.  Healing herb gardens on migration paths. Who knows what a thumb-less sentient tapir can come up with now that they have a hairless ape to gather food for them!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Sand-paintings. Sharpened sticks. Mud wallows.  Healing herb gardens on migration paths. Who knows what a thumb-less sentient tapir can come up with now that they have a hairless ape to gather food for them!

Story games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Iskallor said:

What can you craft with no thumbs?

I actually feel that the thumb question is less of a problem. In HeroQuest Glorantha players come up with their own charms. In my Morokanth game they all quickly came up with the Eiritha charm, hands of a Herd-man. not everyone needed it. Also they have a short prehensile snout. Under the snout became a phrase that meant that some thing was too small to work on or couldn't  be seen. Under RQ it becomes more problematic as we have this whole Morokanth thumb HeroQuest thing. I'd have some spirit magic that mimicked a hsunchen spell like transform limb and have it apply to Morokanth hands. Overall, I believe that the combination of Herd-men hands, prehensile snouts and a bit of magic mean that the Morokanth don't have a crafting problem. They just go about it in an alien way.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say Morokanth Thumbs would be a good example of a charm. As long as you obey the taboo, the spirit holds the thumb to your hoof, and the spirit aids you with your attempt to do fine manipulation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, David Scott said:

I actually feel that the thumb question is less of a problem. In HeroQuest Glorantha players come up with their own charms. In my Morokanth game they all quickly came up with the Eiritha charm, hands of a Herd-man. not everyone needed it. Also they have a short prehensile snout. Under the snout became a phrase that meant that some thing was too small to work on or couldn't  be seen. Under RQ it becomes more problematic as we have this whole Morokanth thumb HeroQuest thing. I'd have some spirit magic that mimicked a hsunchen spell like transform limb and have it apply to Morokanth hands. Overall, I believe that the combination of Herd-men hands, prehensile snouts and a bit of magic mean that the Morokanth don't have a crafting problem. They just go about it in an alien way.  

That's a great image, the Morocanth crafter ring all paired up babbling "left a bit, down a bit, That's it, go! Oh very nice, now, give it a quarter turn and start again,,,"

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm confused by this business about the Morokanth being vegetarians. I thought the whole point of the survival covenant was that some would be conscious beings who eat animals and some would be animals that would eat the limited plants and then be eaten by the conscious ones so that both groups could survive on the limited food - and that the Morokanth were the former and their herd-men the latter. Doesn't the Morokanth being vegetarians fly in the face of that? Like, if the herd-men aren't grazing and the Morokanth aren't slaughtering them - how are they even Praxians? How & why can the other tribes tolerate the Morokanth taking a double portion of vegetation? How can their lands support both them & the herd men eating plants there? Wan't the covenant necessary because there was explicitly not enough plant life left for that to happen?

Edited by JonL
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a small part of the section on the Covenant:

Quote

There is no definitive list of the effects that the Covenant imposes, and outsiders often find its rules inconsistent and confusing. Many of the effects are tribe specific, and even they may have changed over time. Praxians always remind outsiders that its basis was that only half of a tribe could eat directly Ernalda's provender. It is an agreement between Waha, Eiritha, Ernalda and an individual tribe, not a contest between the tribes or between the two-legs and the four-legs. The string game was just that - a game that helped the process, and they still say that the morokanth cheated. 

22 minutes ago, JonL said:

How & why can the other tribes tolerate the Morokanth taking a double portion of vegetation? How can their lands support both them & the herd men eating plants there?

The Herd men eat only a tiny amount of vegetation (as with the other tribes), their main food is the meat the morokanth raid and hunt for them.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...