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The Piece of Prax often overlooked


g33k

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When using real-world cultural referents and tropes to describe Prax for newbies, I think we all know the classic descriptors ...

"a mix of Mongol Horde, Amerind Tribe, Bedouin, Australian Aborigine, Pastoral African tribes, with bits of other groups, plus some Glorantha-unique weirdness."

But this IMHO neglects an element that is, I think, at least as important (and as recognizable to n00bs) as any of the ones above...

 

Prax is a straight-up "post-apocalyptic wasteland;" you just need to wrap your brain around Prax's magico-mythical apocalypse story, instead of something from Mad Max or Gamma World ...

It's something that Gloranthaphiles already know; but it isn't an element I see presented very often, and I think it's worth including into the classic shortlist of newbie-friendly tropes & memes, to help bring them up to speed more quickly. 

 

Edited by g33k
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Not to get us wildly off topic, but we had a panel at JordanCon this year discussing the Wheel of Time as a post apocalyptic setting. It is about adjusting your mind set and pov to see how that can affect the motivations of those who live there, their myths, and the potential of stuff just lying around. So this is an interesting thought for me. 

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12 hours ago, g33k said:

Prax is a straight-up "post-apocalyptic wasteland;" you just need to wrap your brain around Prax's magico-mythical apocalypse story, instead of something from Mad Max or Gamma World ...

It's certainly true. But no one has memories from that time. Only what is happening now. Sure you can visit the bad stuff on Holy days, and the Eternal Battle is around, but it's way beyond that now and people experiences are of herding, the cycle of seasons, some hunting, and following the migration paths of their ancestors. The apocalypse happened 1500 years ago, look at human history that long ago (without archeology and modern history) and what have we got. A vague understanding of what went on. These people aren't literate either, so what is known is in the oral histories, art and rituals. 

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15 minutes ago, David Scott said:

The apocalypse happened 1500 years ago, look at human history that long ago (without archeology and modern history) and what have we got. A vague understanding of what went on. These people aren't literate either, so what is known is in the oral histories, art and rituals. 

This is slightly longer than Platon referring to the Thera eruption and tsunami in the Kritias dialogue as Atlantis. No documents older than Platon's are known to refer to Atlantis, so one can assume that Platon took the role of a Grey Sage writing down oral tradition.

There is the earth temple at the Paps, however, with its semi-literate priestesshood retelling the stories with the support of cave paintings or similar, possibly in the style of Elusu's story-telling in Prince of Sartar.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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2 hours ago, David Scott said:

It's certainly true. But no one has memories from that time. Only what is happening now. Sure you can visit the bad stuff on Holy days, and the Eternal Battle is around, but it's way beyond that now and people experiences are of herding, the cycle of seasons, some hunting, and following the migration paths of their ancestors. The apocalypse happened 1500 years ago, look at human history that long ago (without archeology and modern history) and what have we got. A vague understanding of what went on. These people aren't literate either, so what is known is in the oral histories, art and rituals. 

However Glorantha has living interatcive and accessible religion which pins itself on these stories and experiences.

That makes real world analogies of cultural memories reasonably useless.

When the God time can be experienced, and the destruction of Generts garden ssen and interacted within, in your own lifetimes, the memories remian.

Also the wastelands as  whole have not healed, 1600 years later the new new normal is blaster wasteland which hasn't recovered over the years , it is the current experience.

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

There is the earth temple at the Paps, however, with its semi-literate priestesshood retelling the stories with the support of cave paintings or similar, possibly in the style of Elusu's story-telling in Prince of Sartar.

I don't believe that there's any form of literacy at the Paps. There are a few Grimoires of Pavis, likely accepted as part of Waha's healing, but that's it. Most of the history survives in songs and some images. The mythology can be revisited. 

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21 minutes ago, Jon Hunter said:

When the God time can be experienced, and the destruction of Generts garden ssen and interacted within, in your own lifetimes, the memories remian.

I agree, but only from your god and Tribe's point of view. The basic format is idylic life in Genert's garden with your Founder and Protectress. You've no memory of Genert. Next monsters came and nearly killed everyone, the world floats apart, perhaps you witnessed it. Next someone found you and helped your survive. Next Waha comes and unites all survivors and starts the join the parts back together. Finally you all die to end up in the Underworld for Storm Bulls big show down. Dawn. 1500 years, now.

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19 hours ago, g33k said:

Prax is a straight-up "post-apocalyptic wasteland;" you just need to wrap your brain around Prax's magico-mythical apocalypse story, instead of something from Mad Max or Gamma World ...

It's something that Gloranthaphiles already know; but it isn't an element I see presented very often, and I think it's worth including into the classic shortlist of newbie-friendly tropes & memes, to help bring them up to speed more quickly. 

 

You've got nomadic bands who come along and raid the struggling settlements, ancient ruins from long ago, a ruined city full of looters, a place where nothing can live, other places so blasted that only the desperate can live there and monsters beyond imagination coming from the wastelands. What's post-apocalyptic about that?

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5 hours ago, David Scott said:

I don't believe that there's any form of literacy at the Paps. There are a few Grimoires of Pavis, likely accepted as part of Waha's healing, but that's it. Most of the history survives in songs and some images. The mythology can be revisited. 

 While Glorantha is not Earth, I would like to mention most non nomadic  ancient culture adopted some form of literacy in a few centuries after they came in contact with it . And while the tribes are nomadic , the Priestess at the Paps are not and would recognize  the value of written records . The Cherokee  And Sequoia are a prime example.

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 So in Prax  as an adventure I can escape the Baboons at the  Monkey Ruins with a beautiful Herd girl on my horse and then as I ride along the coast, I see the  Statue of Liberty buried up to its neck in sand. Or a different Statue since this is Prax.

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32 minutes ago, TRose said:

 So in Prax  as an adventure I can escape the Baboons at the  Monkey Ruins with a beautiful Herd girl on my horse and then as I ride along the coast, I see the  Statue of Liberty buried up to its neck in sand. Or a different Statue since this is Prax.

You ride into the Wastes, and see the Plateau of Statues...

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1 hour ago, TRose said:

 So in Prax  as an adventure I can escape the Baboons at the  Monkey Ruins with a beautiful Herd girl on my horse and then as I ride along the coast, I see the  Statue of Liberty buried up to its neck in sand. Or a different Statue since this is Prax.

So in Prax as an adventure I can escape the Baboons at the  Monkey Ruins with a beautiful Herd girl on my High Lama and then as I ride along the coast, I see a strange reassembled statue standing astride the river with a giant cradle passing between its legs. 

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@TRose said

the Priestess at the Paps are not and would recognize  the value of written record

The priestess come from the tribes. Although the Paps are static, it's priestesses aren't hereditary. As one dies, Eiritha calls another forward. A priestess called to serve the goddesses there, may only do so for a while and then return to her tribe. Some however are called to stay longer and serve until their death. A few  become Respected Elders, and one becomes the most respected elder. Everything is in its place and continues as it has done for centuries at the Paps. If anything needs to be known, they can return to the goddesses dream in the great darkness and dream with Eiritha and her family to find the answer. The most respected Elder is as Eirtha herself and can tell you what you need to know. Many stories are held by the ancestors in the Great Herd and the shaman can ask them to come into them so they can speak. Finally the long rhythmic songs that are sung deep in the echoing caves tell everyone what has gone before. They have no need for a written language. Occasionally a  Grey Sage will come and ask questions about something and record what they think and see has happened, but they are mostly wrong.

Edited by David Scott
Missing quote

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There are many examples of the chants of the Praxians in the archives of Lhankor May. Some of them clearly date back to the time of the Garden as they contain elements now missing in the landscape:

Quote

{Sung as a round}

Hoof and horn, hoof and horn
All that dies shall be reborn
Corn and grain, corn and grain
All that falls shall rise again

We all come from the mother
And to her we shall return
Like a drop of rain
Flowing to the ocean

(I take no credit for this, some of you may recognise it. I was taught it by Greg at a sweat lodge years ago. It's always had a Praxian flavour to it for me, even though at the time it had nothing to do with Glorantha. It's these kinds of chants and much longer ones that the Praxians have).

 

Quote

{Sung as a round}

Good Sheppard Carry Us. Good Sheppard Carry Us,
Good Sheppard Carry Us Over. Crossing The Threshold 
From Sleeping To Waking 
From Birthing To Dying And Over

(Another one, from another time, not mine, but the name replaced).

i hope these give you some ideas for Praxian chants. 

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7 hours ago, David Scott said:

@TRose said

the Priestess at the Paps are not and would recognize  the value of written record

The priestess come from the tribes. Although the Paps are static, it's priestesses aren't hereditary. As one dies, Eiritha calls another forward. A priestess called to serve the goddesses there, may only do so for a while and then return to her tribe. Some however are called to stay longer and serve until their death. A few  become Respected Elders, and one becomes the most respected elder. Everything is in its place and continues as it has done for centuries at the Paps. If anything needs to be known, they can return to the goddesses dream in the great darkness and dream with Eiritha and her family to find the answer. The most respected Elder is as Eirtha herself and can tell you what you need to know. Many stories are held by the ancestors in the Great Herd and the shaman can ask them to come into them so they can speak. Finally the long rhythmic songs that are sung deep in the echoing caves tell everyone what has gone before. They have no need for a written language. Occasionally a  Grey Sage will come and ask questions about something and record what they think and see has happened, but they are mostly wrong.

I would have thought that there is an Oasis Folk complement at the Paps, too, probably serving the 48 Old Ones, and providing a self-replicating population in the place.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

I would have thought that there is an Oasis Folk complement at the Paps, too, probably serving the 48 Old Ones, and providing a self-replicating population in the place.

There's certainly an Oasis Folk population here. In the Guide, the population of the Paps is listed as 2K, with half of those priestesses. I assume that the nomadic/visiting population are not included in those figures. With 1000 people left, that's roughly 2 clans. I'll make one the Paps oasis folk and the others, the semi-perminant clan members of the priestesses.

in my Morokanth game, we explored some of the issues around the families of the Priestesses at the Paps. The Most Respected Elder being Egajia Chewer of Flesh - a morokanth. The players were members of her clan. The MRE wanted to keep her family out of the lunar politicking around the Paps so they only visited as part of their annual migration path at Sacred Time. Where they get to graze on the Guests Pastures. Some of the other elders have a more of less perminant family presence, with members rotated in and out.

Unusually about a quarter of the 48 Old Ones society Priestesses are Qasis folk, as such their supporters are mainly family, but they always have an entourage of Praxians when travelling to bless the crops of oases. As they are on foot, this does nothing to dispel the myths that they are slaves of the nomads.

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On 5/21/2017 at 7:27 PM, David Scott said:

But no one has memories from that time. 

 

  That's a pretty Orlanthi "no-one".  There are loads of gods and spirits who could tell you all about it.  Perhaps even a few old Thanatari heads from Than Ulbar too.

1 hour ago, David Scott said:

The MRE wanted to keep her family out of the lunar politicking

 

That is a funny acronym for Egajia Chewer of Flesh.  MRE=Meal Ready to Eat.  Make mine the Chili Macaroni plz. :)

Edited by Darius West
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15 hours ago, David Scott said:

@TRose said

the Priestess at the Paps are not and would recognize  the value of written record

The priestess come from the tribes. Although the Paps are static, it's priestesses aren't hereditary. As one dies, Eiritha calls another forward. A priestess called to serve the goddesses there, may only do so for a while and then return to her tribe. Some however are called to stay longer and serve until their death. A few  become Respected Elders, and one becomes the most respected elder. Everything is in its place and continues as it has done for centuries at the Paps. If anything needs to be known, they can return to the goddesses dream in the great darkness and dream with Eiritha and her family to find the answer. The most respected Elder is as Eirtha herself and can tell you what you need to know. Many stories are held by the ancestors in the Great Herd and the shaman can ask them to come into them so they can speak. Finally the long rhythmic songs that are sung deep in the echoing caves tell everyone what has gone before. They have no need for a written language. Occasionally a  Grey Sage will come and ask questions about something and record what they think and see has happened, but they are mostly wrong.

Dave it think this one of those areas where YGMV comes into focus.  The broad picture is that writing is not a significant or normal part of praxian life.

However  has a potential to be an exception to the rule. The paps is a  stable priesthood which keeps and lives out information and mythos, and has encountered writing many many times over the years.

To say that the paps has no writing is a very rigid interpretation of praxian culture, there are some fun options;

  1. the paps decrys wriitng as a weakness and corruption of outsiders and thus bans all written material
  2. the paps has/ has had some priestess who can write foreign tongues and limited tombs, notes and books, both imported and home made.
  3. the apps has collected and stored written forms from invaders of the plains over the years and has sources relating back to the EWF and God Learners
  4. the paps is the one and only place where the writing of Generts garden is still remembered, and carvings, wall paintings and other ancient and unique forms can be found preserved here as secrets of the priestesses.
  5. Any mix of the above

I like option 4 ...  but would probably have a mixed position and maybe make it an item of debate of priestess of the paps.

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15 minutes ago, Jon Hunter said:

Dave it think this one of those areas where YGMV comes into focus.  The broad picture is that writing is not a significant or normal part of praxian life.

I'm using writing in the modern western sense - script on paper, etc. I'm not excluding pictograms, carvings, cave art, etc. One of my problems with fantasy settings that writing is linked with spell books, literacy and other stuff that's really not part of the setting. That's why I'm saying there is no writing at the Paps. 

Although the Praxians had first contact with the Theylans after the Dawn and took on much of their gods and culture, the scripts of lhankor mhy have never become part of Praxian culture. That's not to say that there are Praxians that become Sages. They do. Praxian as a tongue is an offshoot of Earthtongue, diverging after the death of Genert so not mutually intelligible to Earthtongue speakers. Then changing further at Theylan contact. I don't think Earthtongue has a written form, and Praxian didn't adopt theylan written forms after the Dawn.

As for pictograms and paintings, I see much of it in a similar form to Australian art. The picture tell the story and everyone understands the symbols in the picture, lthough outsiders may not. It's not dot painting. 

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

That's a pretty Orlanthi "no-one".  There are loads of gods and spirits who could tell you all about i

My mistake in typing, no one alive from that time. As I said there are gods, spirits and ancestors that can tell you what happened from their perspective.

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35 minutes ago, David Scott said:

As for pictograms and paintings, I see much of it in a similar form to Australian art. The picture tell the story and everyone understands the symbols in the picture, lthough outsiders may not. It's not dot painting. 

The ruins such as the plateau of statues suggest the garden was quite well developed and civilized in places, i think writing, runes and forms from that period would be more developed the aboriginal cave drawings.

As I said its an area where YGMV  but there is plenty of scope for lost written forms of earthtounge to have survived here.  This would add to the regression and lost paradise theme which lies behind Prax. 

Quote

I'm using writing in the modern western sense - script on paper, etc. I'm not excluding pictograms, carvings, cave art, etc. One of my problems with fantasy settings that writing is linked with spell books, literacy and other stuff that's really not part of the setting. That's why I'm saying there is no writing at the Paps

I think there is a difference between saying "writing is not normal, common or normally native to Prax", and absolutely "there is no writing in prax and the paps at all, ever, double underline."  

I always prefer to have a flexible position to allow for quirks, interesting exceptions and creative positions.  A 'normative position' establishes a setting well and allows for the deviation and variation that makes that setting varied, interesting & believable.  An absolutist position creates an inflexibility and uniformity which can limit richness in the setting.

Edited by Jon Hunter
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22 hours ago, soltakss said:

You've got nomadic bands who come along and raid the struggling settlements, ancient ruins from long ago, a ruined city full of looters, a place where nothing can live, other places so blasted that only the desperate can live there and monsters beyond imagination coming from the wastelands. What's post-apocalyptic about that?

Sorry, my bad.  I was obviously mistaken... as you've clearly laid out, this has zero "post-apocalyptic" setting- or story-elements !    :P

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3 hours ago, Jon Hunter said:

 ... 3. the apps has collected and stored written forms from invaders of the plains over the years and has sources relating back to the EWF and God Learners

 

:huh: ... The Most Respected Elder has ... a smartphone????

(presumably running mhyOS )

Edited by g33k
typos, formatting
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