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Morokanth & Darkness


David Scott

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Is the Dark Eater the same entity as the Black Eater mentioned in Trollpak?

 

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The trolls ... began an ancient summoning of an entity called the Black Eater.

...

Gbaji, the White Light, scorched away the immortal ally of the trolls, and the Black Eater shrivelled from history.

 

Then it goes on to describe the Trollkin curse.

 

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The reference I was thinking of is the Black Eater as well. Troll Pack Uz Lore (AH p14 sidebar) - A Trollkin Philosophy

We believe in the Black Eater. It is the truth of the world, and we are its victims. There is only one thing that rules us and that is the Black Eater...

Don't ask the Uzko to explain the Black Eater, they know nothing of it, for the demigods and the Uzuz hid the secret. Only we know, who are cursed of all... it is, and it devours all of everything beginning with us.

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On 15/03/2017 at 9:40 AM, soltakss said:

So, the "so magical it's in Plunder" Morocanth Thumb is now replaced by a glove made from the skin of a herd man with the herdman's spirit in? Hmmm. How big are Morocanth hooves compared to a herd man's hand?

As I said, the charm isn't permanent and the hands clearly needed altering. I'm not saying that the thumbs are not important, just less so.

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9 hours ago, David Scott said:

I don't think Dark Eater is an individual troll god. Under hero quest Glorantha, it's a single rune spirit - darkness. And looking at the sources this doesn't fit perfectly with anything (bear in mind the drastic series aren't canon):

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Zolan Zubar is mentioned in History of the Heortling Peoples, in terms of a powerful war god not a great darkness spirit. More info is in the Kolat cult write up:

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Below Me: This position must be filled by Zolan Zubar, the Underworld Spirit.

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What is the source of this quote? The Kolat cult write up I have access to is in the Sartar Companion and there the respective description is:

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Below Me. These are Darkness spirits called Zolan Zubar (“Hell Demon”). They provide charms that fight one of the Six Foes: undead corpses, possession spirits, spirits of death powers, spirits of diseases, and curses sent by women. The taboo of this charm is Never Kill.

This sounds as if Zolan Zubar is a whole category of spirits, not just one.

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He was incarnated by the Lord Master of the Demons of Death IIRC. I think this implies control over a realm of demons, rather than a collective being.

There is no particular reason that a war deity cannot also be experienced as a Darkness spirit.

Zolan Zubar was incorporated/supplanted by Zorak Zorn, who seems to have considerable resonances with war and darkness himself.

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Black and Dark Eater are aspects of the hungry underworld god(dess)/spirit which has mothered the uzuz race under the name (or aspect) of Kyger Litor. Note that when the Eater at the Battle of Night and Day was wounded in the womb, it was Kyger Litor's daughter Korasting who bore the wound, not the greater being.

When we are talking about Kyger Litor taking on a role in any context, we can never be sure how much of the greater being we are going to encounter.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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One of the fundamental traits of Darkness is that it hides things and makes them difficult to know. No human can ever really know just exactly which underworld demon they are dealing with, because it's dark down there, and your eyes are going to lie to you. Trolls understand this intimately, and don't make a huge distinction between a God, a Spirit with some or all of the powers of that god, or even a troll devotee of a god. If it is powerful, and acts like they expect that god to act, what difference does it make? Any sufficiently angry and violent spirit is Zorak Zoran, and my Mom is Kyger Litor, as are troll Mothers, along with all the various maternal ancestor spirits we summon on holy days to give us strength and wisdom.
Even for the Uz, what "really" happens in the Dark is mostly unknowable. The best you can do is put a name on something, tell a story about it, and hope you are strong or influential enough to make your version stick. And the further you go back into the Dark, the less distinct and recognizable things become. All the various Dehori become Dehore, vast and singular. Each and every troll is Kyger Litor, as are all trolls together, plus the parts of her from before trolls. The twin Gods of Rage and Compassion become closer and less distinct, and ultimately, Subere engulfs and conceals all. Finally, there is just Darkness itself, hungry, cold and unknowable, consuming whatever dares approach it too closely.  

16 hours ago, Joerg said:

When we are talking about Kyger Litor taking on a role in any context, we can never be sure how much of the greater being we are going to encounter.

exactly!

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On 3/17/2017 at 0:44 AM, David Scott said:

I believe the black & dark eaters to be separate although clearly related darkness entitles.

So the dark eater is slightly less dark than the black eater?  Or is it a question of diet?  I thought they were both basically aspects of Kyger Litor as Joerg suggests.

Edited by Darius West
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15 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I thought they were both basically aspects of Kyger Litor as Joerg suggests.

On 17/03/2017 at 2:05 PM, boztakang said:

One of the fundamental traits of Darkness is that it hides things and makes them difficult to know

Black Eater is found amongst the Grazers, Dark Eater amongst the Praxians. Both are aspects of Kyger Litor, each has a different mythology in relationship to their respective  tradition. So they are likely not the same aspect.

The only place you may be able to test this is in the Pol-joni, where 5% (250) of the tribe have the Darkness rune, but only 10 of those are members of the shadow people spirit society. That's not enough for their own spirit talker, so it's unlikely there's any crossover (unless its a story hook).

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  • 4 years later...
On 3/12/2017 at 7:48 PM, David Scott said:

 

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.

 

What was the stuff you had to exclude?

Vivamort made me do this.

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On 3/13/2017 at 6:48 AM, David Scott said:

They are not meat eaters and so its just a job harvesting meat for their herds.

Thanks for reminding me how much I disagree with this point.  Non-meat eating morokanths make no sense economically and even less sense given the nature of Waha's Covenant.  I have entered my objections into the forum topic "Bits of Glorantha you ignore".

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On 3/14/2017 at 5:12 AM, David Scott said:

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.

In other publications (Borderlands, I think) we are told  that Herd men have big flat teeth that they use for munching on vegetation.  The point is a vexed one.

Also, think about how much less sense this makes economically than having herd men eat grass and morokanths eat meat.  You would actually have morokanths out hunting meat to feed their carnivorous but stupid herd men, who then provide them with no economic value to speak of.  This model is economically unsustainable in terms of energy expended to results, and cannot be made to work, because it flies in the face of why domestication of animals occurred.

Human beings never domesticated large carnivores, other than perhaps the larger dogs.  The reason dogs and cats work is because they help with the hunting, vermin removal, and guarding and the food they provide helps to feed meat to the humans.  By comparison, you can keep a lion, and even train it, but you can't domesticate it, and it is furiously expensive to maintain, as you will need a large number of animals to feed it, and they in turn will require land that would otherwise be used for other economic activity.

Herd animals work because grass is plentiful, and the animals display a level of social behavior that allows them to be controllable, and the food output they provide is a valuable addition to a human diet that cannot be obtained by any other means than by eating either meat or feces (and most of us know which we prefer).  Herd animals also provide other useful things such as milk and its products, maybe wool , and leather, as well as bone and sinew which are useful in making weapons and other tools.

Unless Herd men are following this model, the morokanth should have gone extinct before time, not through the intervention of chaos or wicked gods, but due to pig headed stupidity, and a complete inability to deal with their new ecological reality.

Edited by Darius West
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One thing must surely be that unlike other herd beasts, Herd-men have to be trained. A bison just has to eat grass and go where you prod it (unless it's a riding bison, in which case things change a bit), but collecting tubers for your masters or carrying their palanquins is a decidedly non-natural activity. So I believe we need to consider a lot of Herd-man training going on, since all of them have to be trained.

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I suppose I prefer the classic approach to their diet since it's already a twist and inversion of the expectations of the Prax situation. The change-up becomes kind of a double-reverse-Shyamamalan twist, and lacks much impact if you haven't already spent many years with the prior setup. 

Sign me up for Gern-drawn chariots though.

Edited by JonL
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On 10/18/2021 at 8:08 AM, Akhôrahil said:

One thing must surely be that unlike other herd beasts, Herd-men have to be trained. A bison just has to eat grass and go where you prod it (unless it's a riding bison, in which case things change a bit), but collecting tubers for your masters or carrying their palanquins is a decidedly non-natural activity. So I believe we need to consider a lot of Herd-man training going on, since all of them have to be trained.

Unless herdmen are smart enough where mothers teach the offspring how to do tasks or the calves learn though seeing and doing

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  • 4 weeks later...

Given that morokanths have a long association with Darkness, and are excellent ambushers, in my campaign they have risen to prominence in the Black Fang cult, and their shamans are often secret devotees of Black Fang, even when hundreds of miles from New Pavis and the Rubble.

This is not to suggest that Black Fang was a morokanth, or even necessarily a troll; he was a wicked Rubble bandit whose exact pedigree is unknown and which the Spirit of Black Fang will not reveal.

The process of morokanths joining Black Fang was organic and osmotic.  It started with the frequent friendly contact between trolls and morokanths, who sharing a common darkness association engaged in peaceful interactions despite their differences and this persisted even during the Trolls locking down the Rubble.  Morokanths being Praxians and having associations with Storm Bull were friendly with Zorak Zorani, given the cults are friendly.  Zorak Zorani, being pragmatic killers, could see value in training the occasional minion for assassination work.  Morokanths occasionally needed extra muscle, and so they hired Zorak Zorani on occasion, and this led to them learning of Black Fang (for those "hard to get at" places).  After the first morokanth shaman learned to contact Black Fang, the drift together was inexorable.  Morokanths were a great store of knowledge about how to perform ambushes in Prax, while Black Fang provided a knowledge of urban and rubble ambushes, poisons, blowguns, and a compliment of useful rune magic, including the infamous Shattering spell.  It was a marriage made in darkness.

Prior to the association, morokanths had been slavers and ransom brokers in Prax, but after the association, which likely began in the 1580s, there has been a gradual infiltration of morokanths into the New Pavis underworld.  At first they were entirely in Badside, but over the decades they have become more of a fixture, promoting themselves as a reliable liaison between the people of New Pavis and their typical enemies, the Trolls, and the Nomads.  The morokanths also began to become loan sharks (as it led desperate people into debt, and served as a legitimate path into slavery), and other shady dealings.  During the Lunar occupation, the morokanths had been neutral during the Battle of Moonbroth, so they were tolerated. 

Presently, the humans and trolls involved in the Black Fang Brotherhood know and communicate with each other, and while humans do most of the actual assassinations, they use each other as contacts.  The organization itself isn't large, but the "morokanth arm" seems to be growing more steadily, and there seem to be human Black Fang Assassins showing up periodically who have no known association with the Brotherhood; no past, no pedigree, who are sent in to perform single suicide missions, yet when captured they can barely speak...

 

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