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Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 2 - Orlanthi


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Orlanthi section comments here!

Main thread: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6467-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-week-2/

Week 2 errors: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6432-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-week-2-errors/

Here's one of the sketches for the Orlanthi illustration by Jeff Laubenstein looking at helm details

595a6df5881bd_Orlanthi-helm.thumb.jpg.a284e897bc495174beeec5c1bd02c70e.jpg

Edited by David Scott

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Search the Glorantha Resource Site: https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com. Search the Glorantha mailing list archives: https://glorantha.steff.in/digests/

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"The children of Orlanthi slaves are not slaves, and are adopted into the clan that owns the mother." P33

Do they take on the status of the household that owns the mother (i.e. noble / carl / cottar)?, does it depend on the status of the couple that the clan make the adoptive parents of the child? or is the child automatically a cottar? Does the child belong to the adopting bloodline for later marriage purposes? to its natal bloodline (where fully known) or to both? Does the same happen to a dependent child when their (surviving) parent becomes a slave or is it first assumed that some of its own relatives / clan members must adopt it?

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I always thought of thralls as clan property, but the text seems to state differently - they are personal property. I'm also intrigued that the text indicates that prisoners from raids is less common than criminals or debtors. How does that work? Surely you can't make thralls of your own clan members, at least for the clan itself, and there would seem to be limited ways to "recruit" thralls in those other two ways mentioned. Should we imagine that if an outsider is in debt to you, you go out and conk him or her on the and he/she wakes up as a thrall? Can you be awarded someone as a thrall from legal proceedings? Is slave trading part of the system? Maybe even selling your clan members as slaves (probably unusually common now that the Lunars are in charge - such a great way for pro-Lunar chiefs to get rid of malcontents). Making thralls out of outlaws would also seem to be one of more practical methods. 

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I suppose that thrall ownership is similar to cow ownership - some specimen belong to the raider, the rest belongs to the clan.

The paragraph has the possessive form of owner in the singular at the first mention of ownership, but talks about the clan which owns the mother further down.

 

Personal property is the exception in Orlanthi society - clans are the main holders of ownership, even for stuff we might regard as personal property like clothing.

There still is some form of hereditary possession of land, housing, heirlooms tied to households, and clan members who gain riches on prolonged sabbatical (e.g. as follower of a tribal or even kingdom king) are expected to gift some of them to their clan upon their return, but not all of them.

Urban Orlanthi have a much more personal concept of property, although possession of e.g. housing still relies on their community (whether tribe, guild or cult).

 

My observations:
 

Elasa script, a second vocabulary – is this in any way similar to kennings used in the staved oral tradition? (And yes, this is a question I could have asked when this text first appeared in Storm Tribe.)

 

Orlanthi have three rather than two main mythical cycles – the earth myths of creation ad the making of culture, the Gods War with Storm taking its place in the world and holding it, and the Lightbringers Quest/I Fought We Won – how to end the Great Darkess.

 

History – “The Orlanthi peoples all view the war agaist Gbaji as a war against Chaos.”
Does this mean that Lokamayadon’s folk viewed the war against Arkat as a war against Chaos? It was Arkat who cursed Dorastor as a Chaos land.

 

Second Age Rex cult, Storm temples in cities: did this take over post-1042 Dragon Pass and Kethaela? Urban Rex temples sound like something useful for the Adjusted Lands.

Whitewall predates the Rex cult (or at least predates Alakoring).

 

Orlanthi tattoos – are these mundane or magical in origin (i.e. are there tattoo artists in Orlathi society (presumably in the cults) operating with sacred inks, or are these markings divine gifts without the need for human intercession? Do the initiation marks retrace the divine markings received on the Other Side, but need human artists to retrace them in ink?
 

 

 

Edited by Joerg

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Do the initiation marks retrace the divine markings received on the Other Side, but need human artists to retrace them in ink?

This is clearly the coolest answer. 

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1 minute ago, David Scott said:

This is clearly the coolest answer. 

But clearly not the only correct one, if you look at Harmast's acquisition of the Kodigvari tribal markings that originally were Berenethtelli ones - that's a case of a mutating tattoo, without any inkmaster involved.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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given the fact that this is the most explored culture (besides the Praxian tribes) in the real world history of Glorantha, it is not surprising, that this is the biggest of the Culture chapters.

It starts with another excerpt from the Player’s Book from the RuneQuest III box Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars. It was a surprise to me, how wide the Orlanthi population is spread over Genertela and even Pamaltela. Another surprise was the note, that several Orlanthi tribes and kingdoms are influenced by other pantheons than the Orlanthi Pantheon (especially the Invisible God). Seems that besides Palmaltela the western part of Genertela is also still a mystery to me ...

The Social Status and Centralization sections are excerpts from the (Lunar!) Report on the Orlanthi published in the The Orlanthi Book from Sartar:Kingdom of Heroes enriched with bits and pieces from the Player’s Book from the RuneQuest III box Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars.

Personal Virtues and Gender Relations are from the Player’s Book from the RuneQuest III box Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars. The Customs of Interest section (about Orlanthi Tattoos) is from a sidebar in Book One of Sartar:Kingdom of Heroes.

The Living Conditions section is a compilation of similar sections from Book One in Sartar:Kingdom of Heroes, with the Housing section a bit updated.

The Languages section is a combination of a modified excerpt from the Theyalan Language section in the Appendix and the boxed text about the Three Sacred Scripts in the Lhankor Mhy cult description from Sartar:Kingdom of Heroes.

The rest of the chapter is a compilation of enhanced excerpts from the Player’s Book from the RuneQuest III box Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars.

The illustrations are again simply overwhelming. The pictures of an Esrolian Priestess and an Aggari Thane are very helpful to get a mental picture of how Orlanthi should look like (although the Aggari Thane is much heavier armored than I would expect from an Orlanthi – but what do I know about Aggar?)

Even more impressive is the Heroic Society illustration. This is the first picture of a Vingan, which is really convincing for me. I wouldn’t dare to cross her at all cost. The whole picture gives a solid impression, how you should imagine a chieftain’s hall. Again a good example, how you should imagine Orlanthi people.

The boxed text Orlanthi Flight is a slightly modified version of a similar sidebar text in the Orlanth cult description from Sartar:Kingdom of Heroes.

Edited by Oracle
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59 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Orlanthi tattoos – are these mundane or magical in origin (i.e. are there tattoo artists in Orlathi society (presumably in the cults) operating with sacred inks, or are these markings divine gifts without the need for human intercession? Do the initiation marks retrace the divine markings received on the Other Side, but need human artists to retrace them in ink?

Vingkot's ring assigned the tattoo needle to the god-talker but an archaic form of the practice (branding, no ink involved to reveal the patterns) is specifically attributed elsewhere to Issaries, who uses then "the tattooing of power" to set his people apart. My current thinking is that the "marking bone" evolved into both the stylus and the needle and that the first writing in skin used charcoal. What becomes of the competing burnt-mark system remains to be seen. I'm fond of the idea it becomes written Trade, speaking of Elasa, cat and dog scratch, etc.

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The Orlanthi culture is propably the most familiar due to most other published material depicting it (at least Dragon Pass area). The way of life and social classes are familiar from the game King of Dragon Pass. Maybe good thing to emphasize is the clans (that is also discussed above) role in everything. An orlanthi is not an individual but a member of a clan first.
This section contains one more colored picture (on top of the appearance picture that is giving a look of rarer Orlanthi characters) that has high tension as the Vingan warrior is confronting the chief. Is it okay to march into chieftain's hall with your sword? Maybe, if violence is always an option and no Orlanthi would act unhonorable in the hall that is common sense to let enemies bear arms inside the tula.
Flying Orlanthi always struck my odd note. I have never given it enough thought to see flying as a way to move. And it also seems a little silly. Maybe it just needs time like the ducks that are now looking quite content part (albeit small) of Glorantha (derail alert, do not proceed!).
At the end of the section there is a mention about Reversed Air Rune. This is the first time I hear about it. Could someone please tell more about it?

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9 minutes ago, Joerg said:

But clearly not the only correct one, if you look at Harmast's acquisition of the Kodigvari tribal markings that originally were Berenethtelli ones - that's a case of a mutating tattoo, without any inkmaster involved.

If the tattoos had to be hand-made, it would be a lot harder to keep Sartar runes secret, and there might even be wariness about literally marking someone for death at the hands of the Lunars with it.

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And one thing to keep in mind with the Orlanthi is that (if I have understood correctly) kingship/chieftainship is not inherited in the same way as in our world. It seems to be more of a political issue, but of course one's heritage has great influence. On the other hand the King/Prince of Sartar has been descendant of Sartar for decades.

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17 minutes ago, jrutila said:

...

At the end of the section there is a mention about Reversed Air Rune. This is the first time I hear about it. Could someone please tell more about it?

My thought was, that this is just 595aa1bb35443_Airrune.png.380f6f06303b2824b4bc064cd418136c.pngversus 595aa1ea5c9fd_reverseAirrune.png.11af4aaa1f0f80947bd7dc9467b29c70.png, but I may be completely wrong ...

Edited by Oracle
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16 minutes ago, jrutila said:

And one thing to keep in mind with the Orlanthi is that (if I have understood correctly) kingship/chieftainship is not inherited in the same way as in our world. It seems to be more of a political issue, but of course one's heritage has great influence. On the other hand the King/Prince of Sartar has been descendant of Sartar for decades.

There are various types of kingship. They have a hereditary type, the Vingkotling kingship, applicable on the kingdom or tribal federation level. It still may have an elective component when there are several candidates, IMO one of the reasons is that direct descendants of a great, deified founder can access his blessings through ancestor worship.

Tribal kings and clan chiefs are elected by the respective moots for an indetermined term of office - sometimes to their death, at other times until their electorate removes them from office. This form of kingship can apply to kingdoms or tribal confederations, too.

Another form of Orlanthi kingship are the sacred kings, who undergo sacrificial death after a fixed term of office, or who have to overcome a challenger or challenge to avoid that fate for another term of office. The Tarshite Illaro dynasty started as such.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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2 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Another form of Orlanthi kingship are the sacred kings, who undergo sacrificial death after a fixed term of office, or who have to overcome a challenger or challenge to avoid that fate for another term of office. The Tarshite Illaro dynasty started as such.

That's the problem with Sacred Kingship - you put someone in power who wants nothing better than to make sure it doesn't happen...

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2 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

That's the problem with Sacred Kingship - you put someone in power who wants nothing better than to make sure it doesn't happen...

Not quite - most sacrificial kings face the prospect of ending up being sent to the gods equanimously, and get on with using the special power they have been endowed with by accepting this limited time-span and probably some portion of the worship of their tribe wisely and ferociously.

While not quite a full-fledged hero(quester) like Hofstaring, a sacrificial king will out-magic any standard king.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Ok, so I'm a lot more familiar with the Orlanthi than any of the other cultures, but even so there were some interesting bits and pieces here for me. Like the fact the Malkonwal and Caladraland people are mentioned here.

Art confusion - why does the priestess on p.32 have an illusion rune on her left ankle? That's got to be a mistake, right? The fertility rune in her description on p.33 seems to be missing, and I guess should be here - maybe I missed it though.

I totally love the double-page art spread on pp. 33-34, and the Vingan is the star of the show here. Again though, annoying variations vs the description in the side box - e.g. the bodyguard's spear is missing; the Vingan isn't presenting the head in her left hand, she's already dumped it on the table; the air and death runes described as "visible" on the severed head are invisible to me; the noblewoman is described as wearing a necklace but that looks doesn't look like a necklace to me.

p.35 - the bottom of the second paragraph has a reference to "star-marking". Now clearly this is about marking stars on something, but I couldn't figure out what - jewellery?

Oh, and the reversed air rune reference intrigued me greatly too.

 

Edited by Steve
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5 hours ago, Steve said:

Again though, annoying variations vs the description in the side box

I noted in the "errors" thread as well, but these are actually deliberate.  The description reflects the art direction vs. the final picture.  The description allows you to think about original intent, the art includes the artist's interpretation. 

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On 04/07/2017 at 4:18 PM, Steve said:

p.35 - the bottom of the second paragraph has a reference to "star-marking". Now clearly this is about marking stars on something, but I couldn't figure out what - jewellery?

Does anyone know what this is referring to? Thanks.

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Two points for me : 

- I never count the orlanthi population and was surprised how it is spread !  But seems Very consistent with glorantha historique and importance of orlanthi in it

- the illustrations.  Of the esrolian priestess page 32 disturbed me because of what seems to be an indian flavour that is too new and too alien for me or my players. ..

- didn t knew that caladra was of orlanthi culture but makes sense. 

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- I never count the orlanthi population and was surprised how it is spread !  But seems Very consistent with glorantha history and importance of orlanthi in it

- the illustrations.  Of the esrolian priestess page 32 disturbed me because of what seems to be an indian flavour that is too new and too alien for me or my players. .. I Will not follow this in my glorantha for orlanthi. My descriptions are nearer to illustration p34

- didn t knew that caladra was of orlanthi culture but makes sense. 

Edited by lokamayadon
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