David Scott

Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 1

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Posted (edited)

BRPGtG.png.5691b3084c681d850a090d73cb6270d0.png

Index - https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6558-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-index/

Before we start, a few points:

 

  • Please don't forget to start reading the next section for week 2. From page 18 up to and including the end of the Orlanthi cultural section on page 38. You've got until Monday 3rd July.
  • Any errors in the next section, please put in the week 2 errors (already created).
  • Please keep your discussions to the current section - it's easy to wander off.
  • Please keep your discussions on the current section in this thread.
  • Please only add to this if you've read the section. I'm trying to avoid derailments by non-participants.

Wow! What a lot of information and only up to page 17! I'd forgotten how dense the Guide was even though I've read it before. So I joined my two pdfs together to make one large volume, then read it on my iPad with GoodReader - highlighting words I wanted to look up or things I didn't understand. So lets get this going...

 
Edited by David Scott
oops left out the next date
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Posted (edited)

Where to start, well I read through most of it much of it looking very familiar, until I reached Bernard Bittler's illustration Glorantha Cosmology. There I kind of got distracted pouring over it for a few days. Sidetracking into the Gods Wall and realising that there actually on 5 Hells there not 6...

So what did you enjoy / discover / were surprised at in this section?

Edited by David Scott
oops missed pasting some text in

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Posted (edited)

Keep in mind, if I say something is new, then it's new to me. I do not posses all available Glorantha sources, let alone that I would have read them all.

So here are my notes to the week 1 read:

Book Jacket: Great illustration, which immediately triggers my curiosity. I can identify Harrek, the Berserker and Jar-Eel the Razoress, but who are the two other figures, which you can see, if you hold the book top down?
But this is the Guide (sic!) to Glorantha, and therefore this question is answered immediately on the inside of the book jacket: they are Can Shu, the Exarch of Ignorance and Cragspider, the Firewitch.

Title page: Kind of Atlas figure carrying the stars, the heaven on his shoulders. Another mysterious sight for the not (yet) inaugurated reader.
An impressive list of authors, co-authors, and illustrators. Many names I know from other Glorantha publications.
And the usual protection blessing, this time through Lhankor Mhy (how appropriate).

pp. 2+3: another impressive list of names, this time the supporters of the Kickstarter for the Guide. And some of the people I know even personally.

p. 4: and another list of supporters … plus an illustration depicting a (religious) harvest procession … very appropriate, as the existence of this Guide is something, you really have to celebrate.

p. 5: the table of contents for Volume I … gives a first impression, what to expect

p. 6: the foreword tells a short version of the nearly 50 years old history about how Glorantha was initially discovered by Greg Stafford and explored and refined over the years by him and a lot of other people. Told by Greg Stafford himself. Nice details, not known before. It also tells, how the vision of one man became the vision of many – which explains the long lists of contributors and Kickstarter supporters on the first pages.

p.7: a map of the World of Glorantha, nothing new here, but an awesome colouring of the map. Plus a short description of Glorantha and its structure, which is quite similar to the description found in the Glorantha book of Runequest III.

pp. 8-9,11: The first part of this Introduction is quite similar to the beginning of the 'Editor’s Introduction' in the Glorantha book from RuneQuest III box Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars.
The section about 'Types of Civilization' starts similar to the section 'Levels of Civilization' in the same Glorantha book, but instead of the former descriptions of 'Human Racial Types' (which appear later in the Guide) the four civilization types are listed. These descriptions seem to be based on similar descriptions of the civilization types in the Player’s Book of the Genertela box, but are summarized descriptions of these civilization types only, although updated and improved. Especially the term Barbarian has been changed to Chiefdom. Descriptions have been also made more generic, because they do not describe anymore Genertelan types only.
The following sections ('Magic and Religion', 'Demographics and Population Growth', 'Life and Death' and 'Social Organization and Politics') seem to be again quite similar to the same text passages in the 'Editor’s Introduction' in the Glorantha book from Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars. A bit restructured and adapted, but mostly the same.

p. 9: boxed text 'Four Paths to Magic'. Basic description of the four types of magic existing in Glorantha. No new contents, but a very useful summary I’ve never seen before in that form.

p. 10: The 'Cosmology of Glorantha'. Great illustration plus explanation of what you see in this illustration.

p. 11: new 'Magic and Warfare' sidebox.

pp. 11, 13-15: The 'Economic' section is much more extended in comparison to the respective section in the Genertela box.
New section about 'International Trade'. Contains a very picturesque description of a large market like in Nochet.
New section about 'Gloranthan Warfare' with useful descriptions of Light and Heavy Infantry and Cavalry.
New sidebox about 'Sea Trade'.

p. 12: boxed text 'Coins in Glorantha'. Very nice overview with descriptions and very convincing example illustrations of some coins commonly used in Central Genertela. Illustrations could be from a museum catalog. New from my perspective and very useful for getting an idea, how the coins in Genertela look like.

pp. 14+15: The 'Harrek and Jar-Eel' fresko. Great illustration, which shows both Heroes in their mundane as well as in their mythical form. Surrounded by (new) boxed texts describing the Heroes as well as the details of the illustration. Creates a good impression who and what these two Heroes are. Also contained is a description of the Red Goddess.

p. 16: boxed text 'Bones of the Gods'. Slightly revised and enhanced version of a text from the Secrets Book in the RuneQuest III box Elder Secrets.

pp.16+17: All sections on these pages ('Adventurers in the World of Glorantha', 'Human Racial Types' and 'Physical Nature') are revised and adapted (mainly avoiding references to the RuneQuest game system) texts from the 'Editor’s Introduction' in the Glorantha book from the RuneQuest III box Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars.
The boxed text 'An Analysis of the Crystals of the Gods' is the reprint of a document from the Nochet Knowledgs Temple. First seen in the Secrets Book contained in the RuneQuest III box Elder Secrets.

 

Edited by Oracle
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4 minutes ago, Oracle said:

Title page: Kind of Atlas figure carrying the stars, the heaven on his shoulders. Another mysterious sight for the not (yet) inaugurated reader.

This piece of art was commissioned by the Kaikos society, the Finnish Glorantha society. http://www.kalikos.org. It is of course Kalikos...

There is great article on how Mike Perry made this on his blog: http://mperryart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/the-making-of-kalikos-hero-quest-for.html

 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Oracle said:

The first part of this Introduction is quite similar to the beginning of the 'Editor’s Introduction' in the Glorantha book from RuneQuest III box Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars.

Your going to recognise quite a bit of the Glorantha boxed set as it provided the bones for the Guide, along with the missing 3rd book from that box:

59515bfb6879e_ScreenShot2017-06-26at20_08_50.png.582bdf0c8252faa10745b4fa69e42ce3.png

This is the copy that was used for the Tales 11 Pamaltelan special by David Hall and @MOB.

Edited by David Scott
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19 minutes ago, Oracle said:

plus an illustration depicting a (religious) harvest procession

The Feast of Beasts from the Sartar Book. 

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20 minutes ago, Oracle said:

with useful descriptions of Light and Heavy Infantry and Cavalry.

Used in Heroquest and Runequest Glorantha.

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21 minutes ago, Oracle said:

Coins in Glorantha'. Very nice overview with descriptions and very convincing example illustrations of some coins commonly used in Central Genertela. Illustrations could be from a museum catalog. New from my perspective and very useful for getting an idea, how the coins in Genertela look like.

I found myself a bit confused about what Troy ounces were so spent time covering to grams and annotating my Guide! 

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5 minutes ago, David Scott said:

I found myself a bit confused about what Troy ounces were so spent time covering to grams and annotating my Guide! 

:) In fact I did not spent too much thought on this, but would have probably more, if I would be a numismatist ...

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I'm glad I came across this initiative the other day in G+. I bought myself a copy of the Guide (slipcase version) in April, this gives me the perfect excuse to read through it and enjoy it.

Cover

I love John Hodgson's cover, really inspiring and intriguing. Like Oracle mentioned before I did not recognise the characters depicted so I welcomed the welcomed the footnote on the dust jacket.  

Dust jacket

Greg Stafford's paragraph about the importance of methodology is telling and consistent with a presentation he gave on Gencon 14. It also reminds me of the recent American Gods tv series.

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Foreword - p6

I found this section very moving. It clearly communicates the huge effort behind a full life dedicated to creating a complex, rich and enticing world.

Introduction-p8-p17

Al bit surprised about the style of this section. for some reason I was expecting the overall guide to be written without much reference to the "real" world. In a few instances the reader is reminded of the difference between Glorantha and life in the XXI century. I would have preferred for those references to be omitted.

Saying that, I did found amusing the following paragraph on p-11: "We hope you will take the time to understand such points, and not oversimplify Gloranthan societies by imposing Earthly points of view."

The Cosmology of Glorantha-p10

Really liked the depiction of the cosmology. Simple, clear and representative allowing the reader to gain quickly a basic understanding of the world.I'm not familiar with Glorantha so I'm not able to judge it's accuracy but I find it appealing and intriguing.

 

 

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Looking at the strictures @David Scott has put onto this thread, here's my personal main impression on the

World Structure of Glorantha

One of the most jarring differences between the Lozenge and our world for me is the equatorial course of the sun. I haven’t ever seen the sun at an angle higher than 45° above the horizon, on the other hand I spent over a year north of the Arctic Circle, where I experienced both no sun at all and months of the sun permanently, but low, in the sky.

In Glorantha, even deepest winter will see the noontime sun at an elevation of more than 70° in the southern sky, due to the tilt of the Sky Dome. Day length Dows vary (a lot), but every noon you will cast almost no shadow. More troubling to me than the unsure nature of the horizon (which is lost in haze sooner or later anyway).

 

Nitpicks

True to my notoriety, I have niggles and nits to pick.

 

The remark that humans are one of the younger races goes a bit against my grain when at the same time the merfolk are presented as Elder Race. All of the Triolini races (gnydron, ysabbau, malasp, ouori, ludoch) were born from the Vadrudi "wife raid" (to avoid the word rape, which would be chaotic in Glorantha) in the Storm Age, significantly later than the first individual memories of humans in the Golden Age. Clay Mostali aren't any older than that, and trollkind devolved from the Mistress race only at the start of the Lesser Darkness. The origin of Brown Elves is very much a mystery to me, although I will acknowledge the seniority of Green and Yellow elves.

In other terms, the ancestral merfolk that were around were as divine as Zzabur or Vith’s sorcerer, priest and shaman sons.

Sure, most of these earliest humans were closer to demigods than to mortals, but while they figure in the End of Green Age tales of e.g. the log carriers of Wendaria, these guys aren’t worshiped or provide original magic (they imitate their – divine, and worshiped - father’s paintings sung to life, an ancient art that may be lost to the world since the conditions allowing these songs to work may have changed irrecoverably.

So, why are humans (or keets) regarded as significantly younger than the merfolk?

 

On steeds near the Wastes:

Horses less common than Praxian herd beasts in Sartar, presumably Tarsh, Heortland, and even Esrolia? Surely not the Grazelands.

Then why even bother writing about riding horses in or near Pavis County? Apart from the Zebra Tribe and the Pol Joni (accounting for probably 50,000 horses), nobody needs horses there – Issaries can import its mules from wherever they keep the donkeys to breed them.

 

If mules are the most common pack animals, there must be about as many horses as there are mules, and a significant breeding population of donkeys, too. We can safely assume that those horses and donkeys will serve as steeds and beasts of burden, too.

With probably half the mares used to breed hybrids (cavalry zebras and mules), we can assume that there is a very strong selectional pressure to improve the horse breeds (at least towards the purpose of breeding brood mares for zebra and donkey stallions). Given the Pure Horse origin of the zebra riders, they might want to aim for a near-hyal breed in their brood mares. This probably is provided by dissident Grazer clans turned Pol Joni, and explains Olgkarth’s presence among the Pol Joni when contacted by Dorasar.

 

Economically, keeping a herd of bison as mounts looks to be more efficient than keeping horses – you get more meat, milk from worse grazings, and even wool. You’ll need extra guards against bison braves and other Praxian raiders, though, or you need to retreat into the Heortling hinterlands where such raiders have a hard time slipping in and out unnoticed.

 

This effect and the presence of the Pol Joni might lead to a greater proportion of horses used directly on the Praxian Border than in the hinterland, and possibly a greater reliance on Praxian type beasts near the Grazelands. Keeping your steeds high quality but unattractive to neighboring raiders seems to be logical to me.

Would Vendref be tolerated riding or owning donkeys, mules, or Praxian herd beasts?

Encountering bands riding mixed herd beasts generally means trouble. They are either members of one of the warrior societies, Uroxi, Gagarthi, or adventurers or mercenaries from Heortling lands.

 

Economy:

“the vessels themselves works of art painted with mythological or quotidian scenes.”

Painted sea-going vessels? I have serious doubts about that. It is one thing to paint frescoes by admixing pigment to the plaster. Creating a weather-proof paint is a different proposition. Linseed oil does provide a natural polymer that could stabilize pigments applied to the wooden surface, but that would be rather brittle.

It is possible to stain wood in a way that it might keep its color when regularly exposed to the ever- hungry waters of the sea and the jealous rays of the sun after richly applied oil or honey tar for varnish, but paint (if available at all) or lacquer (a possible trading good from trolls or elves) is a luxury good, and would probably be reserved to figureheads and cult items (like a Dormal statue).

I would expect stained carved relief rather than paint.

A sail’s canvas might see embroidery, and possibly might have seen dyes, but again, the seas are ever-hungry, and so is the gaze of the sun. (I could have argued about salt and ultraviolet light damaging the paint, but the concept of hungry seas licking at the vessel and solar stares bleaching paint with its fiery rays is nicely mythical and still gets the job done.)

 

The Cosmology Map on Page 10:

Taking a look at the surface map, this combination of forests and coast lines appears to describe the situation in the Dawn Age, with Jrustela intact and Kylerela floating southeast of Teshnos, or Churanpur still shown. Apart from the active flames in the south and the forest bordering on the flames area, the surface map is that of the God Learners Grey Age map.

That Grey Age map (p.697) doesn’t show the Greenwood of Jolar, which disappeared only after the Dawn.

There are four guardians on the cardinals, where there should be only three – the northern guardian joins Umath in the pre-Death absences of deities.

The smaller sun symbol in Bijiif’s Hell might be a duplicate depiction of Yelm, or it might be a wrong rune representing Lightfore.

None of the other Sunpath objects (Dendara/Moskalf, Wagon/Lokarnos, Uleria/Mastakos) is shown. The jumpers are shown on the Sunpath, though – I wonder whether this cis-Sramak’s River position applies for Kalikos and the noontime Jumper in the south, too. This also raises the same question for the Eastern Mouth and the Dodging Gate.

The Earth Cube is incorrectly shown as intact (and not quite as cubic as it should be – I’ll take that as artistic license to fit as much detail of the surface map into this cosmological map). The merfolk don’t share much about the depths, but they do share the information that the doom currents are bottomless oceans, just like Magasta’s Pool and the waters of Sramak’s River.

I wonder whether the underwater structures of the five major places outward of the shattered cube are correctly represented. I like to imagine that Luathela, Vithalash and possibly Memb and Forng sit atop columns like coral branches reaching out from the earth cube, and that Last Stop Isle and the Iron City in the middle of Magasta’s Pool do so, too.

 

Maps are almost always the carriers of a narrative rather than an objective representation of topography and associated themes. Features may be omitted or misplaced for representative purposes – this is called generalization when omitting detail from large scale (i.e. detail maps) to small scale (world maps). Labels will jump willy nilly as they find space in the neighborhood of the feature they describe, and in most maps the anchor for that feature isn’t displayed, leading to sometimes gross misinterpretations of maps. (A classic example was the Sartar Tribal Map in Barbarian Adventures.)

The guide has two types of maps – the topographically accurate hex grid map by Colin Driver (based on Greg’s transparent paper master map) and the reasonable derivations from this map showing certain themes (like political entities with borders, areas of influence, or the extent of the windstop), and artistic representations of maps. This cosmology and the God Learner maps I compared the surface structure to are of this second type, as are the Copper Ledgers (some of which have significant amounts of surface map info, indicating that they are a view from above.)

There are a few objective errors in a few of the map, like the duplicate Stravulstead in the Dawn Site maps in the region of Aggar. There may be mis-spellings in a few of the map labels.

There can be unlucky representations in the maps. These may lead to annoying or sometimes significantly misleading differences of interpretation, especially when using the map in context with other information.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Cover: So I recognize the people, but what about the thing with the circles and runes? Initial impression is some kind of representation of the heavens, with some stellar objects being in the sky and others in the underworld. But in this case, why is the Red Moon off to the side? Why is there a darkness symbol attached to it in the lower part? Why is there a Storm rune outside of the circles, and why does it have a different background? Yes, they do seem to at least in part correspond with the position of the four hero characters, but why is that?

(It's hilarious that the red "Moon Design Publications" logo is up next to Jar-Eel and the Moon rune.) 

Page 1. The artwork here is outstanding. I also approve of the Lhankor My invocation.

Page 2. "I Bought, We Won" is just dreadful! :-) 

Page 8Are humans a young species? In what way aren't they as old as other man-rune races? Surely humans diverged from a more undifferentiated "man" sometime in the Green Age? (Human dominance is its separate issue.)

Page 8. The classification of civilization levels here reminds me of Lewis H. Morgan's three-tier system of Savagery, Barbarism and Civilization. I would imagine that this kind of nomenclature isn't used in current anthropology... but then, the goal here is to present a practical model for the reader. It serves this purpose well enough.

Page 9. The magics of Mysticism being described as "inconsequential" strikes me as decidedly odd, here. Also, I thought we had moved away from seeing Mysticism as its own path, and instead something that can be found within each of the other three (at least, that's what Robin D. Laws told us in a podcast, can't vouch for it)?

Page 9. I find it very interesting that good access to healing magics is described as in in-game thing, which means that it's not merely an artifact of the healing rules. This is really cool, as it means that (for instance) duels to first blood face a much lower threshold than in the real world, and in general that people (not just PCs) can afford to live more dangerously. It's the kind of thing that should have a huge impact on society, and helps explain why life in Glorantha isn't quite as awful as in the real bronze age. Barring monsters and harmful magic, that is...

Page 10. So... does the four directions each correspond to a more dominant kind of magic (Mysticism in the East, Theism in the North, Sorcery in the West, and Animism in the South)? It sure seems so - particularly conspicuous as the four types were listed just last page - but what could have driven that development?

Pages 9, 11. This nicely drives home the early levels of social development. This isn't a even a medieval world, let alone a modern one!    

Page 12. Just as Mythic Europe (Ars Magica) has its own "Mythic Penny" to allow players to count silver pieces without annoying exchange rates, so Glorantha has a predominant size of silver coin, supposedly of about the same worth. This is probably for the best from a roleplaying perspective. If anyone missed that Kralorela is Fantasy China, their Cash (really, "Cash"? :-) ) drives the point home.

It never stops being cool that Wheels are perfectly geometrically round.

Page 16. How big were the gods, if their bones make up the available metal?! Since you can find the actual, intact, bones, this is a relevant question. What kind of intact bone could a man-sized person wield as a weapon? A femur? The hammer bone of the inner ear? 

Page 16. Quicksilver is green and aluminum red? Okay... but why? This seems weird and comes out of the blue.

Page 16. I like the description of "adventuring" as at best a morally dubious practice. As opposed to defending your stead and your clan, which is commendable.

Page 17. "Several cruel Gloranthan cultures even enslave persons of different races." This feels simplistic. It's not about outright cruelty, and surely the overwhelming amount of slavery goes on within the same of the four racial types? 
 

Edited by Akhôrahil
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Posted (edited)

10 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Cover: So I recognize the people, but what about the thing with the circles and runes? Initial impression is some kind of representation of the heavens, with some stellar objects being in the sky and others in the underworld. But in this case, why is the Red Moon off to the side? Why is there a darkness symbol attached to it in the lower part? Why is there a Storm rune outside of the circles, and why does it have a different background? Yes, they do seem to at least in part correspond with the position of the four hero characters, but why is that?

You need to know about Ouranekki

http://www.glorantha.com/for-those-who-are-interested-heres-my-base-sketch-for-a-sixth-wane-ouranekki-board-note-the-strong/

Board, pieces and rules:

Ouranekki.pdf

Go to G+ and search for Ouranekki, @Charles did a great piece of work on that.

Edited by David Scott
attached pdf of Ouranekki
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18 minutes ago, Joerg said:

There are four guardians on the cardinals, where there should be only three – the northern guardian joins Umath in the pre-Death absences of deities.

Wait, so Kalikos isn't the Northern Guardian (even though we see him holding up the Sky Dome and all on page 1)?

That should teach me to make assumptions!

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32 minutes ago, Joerg said:

There are four guardians on the cardinals, where there should be only three – the northern guardian joins Umath in the pre-Death absences of deities.

Is there a reference for this? Otherwise this is just mysterious.

As you are doubtless aware, Bernard used Eric Vanel's images for the Guardians from p159 (its hard not to go off piste). Its labelled Altinela. So I don't think they are Guardians. Just representations of who lives there.

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49 minutes ago, Joerg said:

ainted sea-going vessels? I have serious doubts about that

It's magic paint. Look at the paint on these bronze age ships.

jason-and-the-argonauts-argo.jpg

vlcsnap-134298.png

 

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Of course the ship has painted eyes. How else would it know where to go?

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2 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Is there a reference for this? Otherwise this is just mysterious.

The four Guardians with their Four Camps in the cardinal directions are a feature of the Perfect Realm of Yelm, and show up in numerous mythical maps or on the Gods Wall. The destruction of the White Camp is described among others in the Copper Ledgers, which we will encounter in a few weeks, but also in some of the oldest texts about the Storm Pantheon from ages ago.

2 minutes ago, David Scott said:

As you are doubtless aware, Bernard used Eric Vanel's images for the Guardians from p159 (its hard not to go off piste). Its labelled Altinela. So I don't think they are Guardians. Just representations of who lives there.

These guys are located way beyond Sramak's River. The Altinae live on the edge of the Lozenge, or only slightly beyond, just like the Luatha, and presumably the Vithelans and the fire folk of the South. Depicting them this far outside, and separate from the jumpers (Theya and Rausa in this map, and Kalikos we encountered on the inner cover) that appear to rise and fall inside of Sramak's River, where the (vertical) Gates of Dusk and Dawn are situated.

They don't appear to be the four magical master deities for sorcery (Malkion or Zzabur), Theism (Yelm), Mysticism (Vith) or Animism (Pamalt), either.

That's why I identify them with the four guardians, who do have a business being that far outside of the Inner World, even if their cams are supposed to be on the edge of the Lozenge.

I did not recognize the northern and southern figures from the Outer World map here. I see a Red Guardian of the South and a Yellow Guardian of the East, a resonably dark Guardian of the West and a White Guardian of the North. Never mind apparent gender.

 

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I have no problem with bleached wood and tar eyes on them. I can live with carved figureheads with brightly stained wood as in the Pacific Coast totem poles that withstand weather conditions almost as bad as constant wave action.

But I don't buy that perfect varnish on the female figurehead on your lower picture. Linseed oil won't be that good, even though it makes decent kitchen floors. This is technology of the Renaissance, and possibly the Late Roman Empire.

Minoan ships are depicted as colorful in the frescoes, but those are showing ritual cruises rather than everyday contact with the hostile seas. I have no problem using colorful chalks or wax crayons to provide temporary splendor for such processions - in fact, this splendor being temporary contributes to its holiness. It is supposed to fade away, similar to the CMB star singers' blessings common in Catholic Germany. The temporary nature of the blessing and its expression is a feature.

But a trading ship coming in after struggling with hostile seas will look battered and bleached, just like its crew, and will require painstaking (and loving) recreation of such splendor if that is part of the magic that keeps the ship afloat.

The egyptian grave gifts are so well preserved because they had no exposure to humidity and temperature changes, or to waves battering against the lumber, possibly carrying fine sand swept up from the shallows, sandpapering the hull.

 

Which probably makes describing my next harbor scene even more colorful, with a ship crew busy re-decorating their ship's  rather worn ornaments in order for the next leg of their journey.

At least for me, this is a new discovery I can use to bring a port scene alive. Mission accomplished.

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18 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I see a Red Guardian of the South and a Yellow Guardian of the East, a resonably dark Guardian of the West and a White Guardian of the North.

I couldn't find the original art description for this amongst the emails about this. I did find that Eric asked if he could put the images on his blog and voila:

http://laterreetlefeu.canalblog.com/archives/2013/03/10/26613178.html

"For each region, a description is made of its inhabitants, on one of the pillars that support the celestial dome." So the Northern figure is Kalikos...

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Coin weights - Troy oz or imperial ounces, all the same to me - good for comparing weights, but not very useful for absolute values.

Unless they vary strongly in their thickness, wheels are about the same size as lunars or guilders, where I had the impression that the wheel would be somewhat bigger than the lunar. The much smaller weight of the Sentanos ducats indicates roughly 2 Euro coin size for the silver penny.

Coins are of course an anachronism in a Bronze Age setting...

 

11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 1. The artwork here is outstanding. I also approve of the Lhankor My invocation.

A long standing tradition of Gloranthan documents.

11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 8Are humans a young species? In what way aren't they as old as other man-rune races? Surely humans diverged from a more undifferentiated "man" sometime in the Green Age? (Human dominance is its separate issue.)

This is even stranger since the pure Man Rune (which I assume stands for humans) would logically have preceded all other applications of the Man Rune, such as Men of Stone, of Plants, of Darkness, of the (deep) seas.

Sometimes it seems that birdlike folk were almost everywhere on Glorantha before there were any humans.

11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 8. The classification of civilization levels here reminds me of Lewis H. Morgan's three-tier system of Savagery, Barbarism and Civilization. I would imagine that this kind of nomenclature isn't used in current anthropology... but then, the goal here is to present a practical model for the reader. It serves this purpose well enough.

The old RQ3 classification had the label "Barbarian Culture" for chiefdoms, but Jeff didn't like the savage connotations of that term.

11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 9. The magics of Mysticism being described as "inconsequential" strikes me as decidedly odd, here. Also, I thought we had moved away from seeing Mysticism as its own path, and instead something that can be found within each of the other three (at least, that's what Robin D. Laws told us in a podcast, can't vouch for it)?

In the old scheme, the mystics would just retreat to meditate and accumulate experience in a single ability: Refute. A mystic would have been able to refute e.g. gravity, magic, or ultimately the perceivable cosmos, reaching directly into the Ultimate, the source of all. Mystic disciples using martial arts or other techniques for meditation would be able to use these meditative techniques for cool Wuxia in Robin Laws' original vision, but Greg Stafford later clarified that martial arts would use a variant of sorcery (something you know) rather than pure mysticism (refute).

Little is known about the mystic's journey of refutation, but it appears that experience of the (other) three Otherworlds and transcending these is one of the earlier steps.

 

11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 10. So... does the four directions each correspond to a more dominant kind of magic (Mysticism in the East, Theism in the North, Sorcery in the West, and Animism in the South)? It sure seems so - particularly conspicuous as the four types were listed just last page - but what could have driven that development?

Greg Stafford had this concept of the four magical Otherworlds having been separate and pure at their inception, along with their populations, and that these worlds collided to form the known world of Glorantha, which is something of everything.

The original concept of the strict apartness of the four Otherworlds has been softened up since Moon Design took over.

 

11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 16. How big were the gods, if their bones make up the available metal?! Since you can find the actual, intact, bones, this is a relevant question. What kind of actual bone could a man-sized person wield as a weapon? A femur? The hammer bone of the inner ear? 

Yes to all.

Size is somewhat irrelevant. Parts of Dragon Pass are named for places inside Orlanth's and Ernalda's cottage, e.g. the kitchen. In one story, the lead character heroforms, and in the eyes of the observers grows to divine scale matching his opponent. In his own eyes, the opponent gets reduced to eye level.

There is a mountain range north of Dorastor, separating that land from the rest of Peloria. These Tobros Mountains are the sleeping body of a son or grandson of the primal Storm God. When Umath crashed into the White Camp of the North, he left a deep crater there that forms the White Sea.

 

11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 16. Quicksilver is green and aluminum red? Okay... but why? This seems weird and comes out of the blue.

Yep, it comes out of the sea... The association of the solid form of this metal with Lodril has been puzzling the Gloranthan metallurgist community since we started discussing Bertalor's essay (then in Elder Secrets of Glorantha) on the digest, in the nineties.

Personally, I think that Lodril's metal should be brass, a weird mixture of an impure sky metal with the earth metal, as Lodril becomes the deep heat of the earth. Brass is the metal of the Mostali alloyists, never bronze. It may very well predate bronze by an Age.

This makes many finds of god bones of brass rather than bronze possible. Brass being the bones of vanquished volcano deities, quite a number of which are mentioned in various myths.

 

11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 16. I like the description of "adventuring" as at best a morally dubious practice. As opposed to defending your stead and your clan, which is commendable.

Unless you are an unmarried and childless Orlanthi approaching your midlife crisis. In that case you become a Wanderlore pilgrim, seeking adventurous encounters on your spiritual journey approaching elderdom (in absence of having raised kids, which is a different kind of transformative adventure).

11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 17. "Several cruel Gloranthan cultures even enslave persons of different races." This feels simplistic. It's not about outright cruelty, and surely the overwhelming amount of slavery goes on within the same of the four racial types? 

This refers among others to the Vormain enslavement of the Quombs, strange creatures of one of their islands that work tirelessly and without food on their own island without adverse effects, but which wither away when taken elsewhere to provide their work there. They still are taken from their home island.

The Waertagi used Deri slaves for long range communication between their city ships. Andins routinely take human and keet slaves from surrounding East Isles. The Dwarf of Dwarf Mine has enslaved a tribe of humans as servants of his Cannon Cult in exchange for their survival during the Inhuman Occupation. Lunar sculptors are said to do atrocious sculpting on living gargoyles. Ethilrist's demon horses keep their riders as near will-deprived pets and servants. Morokanth are notorious slavers, and they are known to eat their herd men in their ancestral rites.

Then there is Fonrit with its Vadeli inheritance.

 

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11 minutes ago, David Scott said:

I couldn't find the original art description for this amongst the emails about this. I did find that Eric asked if he could put the images on his blog and voila:

http://laterreetlefeu.canalblog.com/archives/2013/03/10/26613178.html

"For each region, a description is made of its inhabitants, on one of the pillars that support the celestial dome." So the Northern figure is Kalikos...

I see a person from the White Camp. Gods' Wall Asharthcha, the White Guardian. Kalikos (as per Copper Ledgers) is a sky god who stepped in when the Sky Dome torn loose after Shargash smashed Umatum against it broke the White Pillar, and pushed the Sky Dome back south - so much that later on its heat would flow out on the rebound. (There is another manifestation of Kalikos mentioned in the Guide. Both are true - practically all deities have at least two manifestations, the more powerful they get, the more manifestations and avatars they can support.) My point is that there is no northern, white pillar any more. Shargash and Umath destroyed it.

The God Learner mythic maps tell about the four families of the Mountain (Spike) People populating the camps. I can buy that the Altinae are descendants of the White Camp folk - refugees after Umath and Shargash destroyed their original home in their struggle which saw Umath dismembered. We'll discuss this several times some time next year, I reckon.

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While I didn't complete the assignment, I did put together a reasonable bit on the first 10 pages.

The Cover - love this piece of art, particularly its rotational aspect as you can turn it and see something new.

·         The ouranekki board - simultaneously Sky Dome and Web of Arachne Solara (the latter emphasized with Cragspider's presence)

·         What is expected: Harrek and Jar-eel, White Bear and Red Moon, coming back to the oldest published Gloranthan roots

·         What is new: Cragspider vs Can Shu.  It's a battle we have not seen or heard of before, only that Cragspider was the one who prophecied the Hero Wars.

o    What does this signify and portend?  There's a power battle in the forces of Darkness as well.

o    Is there significance that Can Shu is entwined with Jar Eel and the Red Moon?  Red Moon and Blood Sun.

·         There is a great battle at hand - clearly it is on the verge of the Hero Wars

 

P.1 - partial picture of the giant holding the Sky Dome

·         This is not your normal round world - there are immense giants or gods bound to tasks, even ones who look crippled; and the constellations have meaning, such as a rider - what are the stories behind these?

·         And this is a collective work - so many have contributed bits and pieces to Greg Stafford's creation

 

p.2-4 - all of those who backed this Kickstarter effort and give it life.  Fun to find oneself among the "immortalized" list, and so many folks who have been part of the community for years.  "I Bought, We Won" indeed!

p.4 - Fertility Festival - a celebration of life and birth - very appropriate when seen in the context of giving birth and life to this immense work.

p.5 - Table of Contents - cultures, races, time and gods, that which is beyond mortal ken, that which gives flesh to the regions of the world.  And this only details Genertela! (and not even all of that)

p.6 - Foreword

·         "Reams of notes, typed and hand-written, accumulated" - tell me about it.  Boxes filled with assorted Glorantha and RQ books and magazines, my first RQ characters, ideas for Pavis, notes on Imther, my old campaigns, correspondence with Greg, the Verenmars saga, stray cult write-ups, maps, not to mention what is now in electronic form.

·         "All fantasy is the same" - I think Greg proved that wrong.  I continue to find Glorantha one of the most richly rewarding fantasy worlds - just wish I had the time to explore more!

·         It's natural to link in my own experiences here from early discovery, to GM'ing, to writing and submitting material for publication, to creating my own fanzine and contributing to others, to RQ Conventions and Gloranthan LARP's, and adding bits and pieces of my own creation into this immense work.

    ·         "This book is a dream come true for me – the manifestation of a lifelong vision in beauty and power."  - The book really captures a beautiful creative vision and is inspiring in how it comes together.

p.7 - World of Glorantha

·          I was fascinated by the original sketch map of Glorantha, the lozenge, in RQ.  While I love the coloration on the map here, particularly that sense of the great mountain ranges, I don't find it has that same impact as that original sketch - perhaps just too familiar after 35 years!

·         "the influence of the magical world is always there." - I love the magical richness of Glorantha.  It's not an ordinary world where magic somehow happens to exist.  It is inherently magical: runes, gods, chaos, etc.

p.8+ - Introduction

·         I've read most of this in various forms over many years.  Consequently, I find a tendency to skim it.

·         "created cultures with no Earthly equivalent." - It's not just Ancient Greece or Celtic Britain with magic.  These are distinct cultures which have developed on their own paths.  There are analogues in our history, but these should not be seen too closely.

o    "Don’t make the mistake of assuming that such societies and their associated cultures are less sophisticated or complex than our own modern, technological societies"

·         "The central theme of Glorantha is the relationship between man and the gods, between the mythical and mundane worlds" - long-time fundamental tenet of Glorantha.  It's an aspect that I've particularly enjoyed exploring in my games and writing over the years.

o    While I found RuneQuest fascinating and believable as a game, what really solidified the world of Glorantha for me was Cults of Prax.  That first-person overview made the world and this theme come 'alive'. 

 p.10 - Cosmology - where the map on p.7 is nice and colorful, this picture really evokes and goes beyond that initial sketch map from the RQ book!

·         Here's the earth lozenge floating in the sea!  Here's the path of the Sun through the Sky and the Underworld!  Here are the Gates of Dawn and Dusk!  Here are the Hells with their Keepers!  Here are the Pillar Gods who hold up the Sky Dome!

o    Is it really Six Hells?  There are six deities shown, but are the Hells of Annara Gor and Deshlotralas truly distinct?

·         Interesting to contrast the Pillar God on p.1 with the White Goddess of the North here.  What's the real truth?  Or are both true?  What is the relationship of the White Goddess, Chalana Arroy, to the northern lands? 

·         Something about the western warrior (Luathan knight?) reminds me of the Imperial Guard from Star Wars.  I always thought these outer worlds would be intriguing to interact with.

·         I like how the Glaciers hang off the land and over the seas. 

·         I miss the legendary Mountains of the Sky though from the original map - but perhaps they do exist when the Sky Dome rocks down and one can climb into the Northern Sky?

·         One can see Magasta's Pool, but I've always wondered what the inside of the great Earth cube was like.  Does Magasta's Pool widen (as the Spike did)?  And what realms exist within the Earth that we are ignorant of?

p.12 - Coins

·         Provide for a nice in-world feel.  You get some sense of particular leaders (Hendira, Guilmarn), and cultural aspects of respective societies.

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