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M Helsdon

A Bronze Age World

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The Guide tells us For most of her human inhabitants, Glorantha is a simple and unsophisticated world. In Earthly terms, most of mankind is still at a Neolithic or Bronze Age stage of civilization (mixed agriculture, basic tools, and simple theocratic governments).

And from many perspectives, Gloranthan technologies and cultures roughly approximate terrestrial Bronze and early Iron Age cultures. There are, however, significant areas in which human cultures are more sophisticated than terrestrial Bronze Age cultures: ocean going ships, large centralized states etc. so that it isn't uncommon for newcomers to question this comparison.

However, I do wonder if when Glorantha is termed Bronze Age, this isn't just a technological designation, but a mythological one. Mr. Stafford would be familiar with Hesiod's Works And Days where human mythological history is given as:

ll. 109-120) First of all the deathless gods who dwell on Olympus made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Cronos when he was reigning in heaven.
(ll. 121-139) But after earth had covered this generation -- they are called pure spirits dwelling on the earth, and are kindly, delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on judgements and cruel deeds, givers of wealth; for this royal right also they received; -- then they who dwell on Olympus made a second generation which was of silver and less noble by far.
(ll. 140-155) But when earth had covered this generation also -- they are called blessed spirits of the underworld by men, and, though they are of second order, yet honour attends them also -- Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen race, sprung from ash-trees; and it was in no way equal to the silver age, but was terrible and strong. They loved the lamentable works of Ares and deeds of violence; they ate no bread, but were hard of heart like adamant, fearful men. Great was their strength and unconquerable the arms which grew from their shoulders on their strong limbs.
(ll. 156-169b) But when earth had covered this generation also, Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a god-like race of hero-men who are called demi-gods, the race before our own, throughout the boundless earth.
 
This is followed by Hesiod's own age, the Iron Age.
 
There's a gradual diminishing of mortal powers, from the Age of Gold, the Age of Silver, to the Age of Bronze and the (unnamed) age of heroes, until the mundane age of iron. With the onset of the Hero Wars, Glorantha is entering its own age of heroes...
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Hmm... if anything, the Age of Heroes under this model would have the First through Third ages, as the Third Age ends with Hero Wars, the banishing of the gods, and the start of a more mundane world.

I don't quite believe that your model is the main inspiration, but it's worth noticing that the late Bronze Age before the Late Bronze Age Collapse would correspond with Hesiod's Age of Heroes.

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HeroQuesting also skews things a bit. It's like someone from Classical Greece being able to visit the earlier ages and take some of it back home with him. Plus I don't think Glorantha is moving towards the mundane. the way the historical Greeks did. Everything is still magical in nature. Even the Lhanhor Mhy haven't replaced gods with science. 

 

Has Greg ever given any insight into what happens in the (far) future?

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I mean, so far it isn't more mundane, and if anything the Hero Wars are more epic and cataclysmic than the ends of the first two ages. But the Fourth Age will be more mundane, just as the Hesiod imagined that his own time was more mundane than the Heroic Age. We get to see some Fourth Age stuff in King of Sartar.

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I think perhaps society might be more mundane in the Fourth Age but Glorantha is so magic rich I imagine it leaks out even if it seems more mundane by comparison.  I would also expect the next appearance of the Devil to shake things up a bit.

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Hmm... if anything, the Age of Heroes under this model would have the First through Third ages, as the Third Age ends with Hero Wars, the banishing of the gods, and the start of a more mundane world.

The Hero Wars seem very distinct from what precedes it.

3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I don't quite believe that your model is the main inspiration, but it's worth noticing that the late Bronze Age before the Late Bronze Age Collapse would correspond with Hesiod's Age of Heroes.

Not the main inspiration, but an explanation for the Bronze Age label. The real Bronze Age Collapse was pretty unheroic; it's the Homeric version, severely distorted by time and oral traditions that seems heroic, and it's that Age of Heroes, the Hero Wars seems reminiscent of. Depending on which Troy you believe was the Troy, the Trojan War was either over suddenly or squalid, and in either case was a matter of geopolitics between the Achaeans and the Hittites and their allies. No heroes, just a looming dark age, which the Fourth Age of Glorantha (at least in the limited area covered by King of Sartar) mirrors (an illiteracy era, just as the Greeks forgot how to read and write, and a time when the earlier period is distorted into legend).

Edited by M Helsdon

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

HeroQuesting also skews things a bit. It's like someone from Classical Greece being able to visit the earlier ages and take some of it back home with him. Plus I don't think Glorantha is moving towards the mundane. the way the historical Greeks did. Everything is still magical in nature. Even the Lhanhor Mhy haven't replaced gods with science. 

Magic is diminishing, and the Orlanthi gods, including Lhankor Mhy will be forgotten, save by scholars researching the period.

1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Has Greg ever given any insight into what happens in the (far) future?

I believe at a Convention, he pointed outside, and said 'that'.

As each age ends, the magic goes away more and more. From hints in the Guide, humans may eventually find a use for coal, oil and natural gas.

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7 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

I believe at a Convention, he pointed outside, and said 'that'.

IIRC that convention was in Leicester... 

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2 hours ago, jongjom said:

IIRC that convention was in Leicester... 

I recall attending a science fiction convention in Leicester, where an American asked what the building site across the road was. He was astonished when my reply was... 'Those are Roman remains, nearly two thousand years old...'

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On 7/9/2017 at 5:54 AM, M Helsdon said:

There are, however, significant areas in which human cultures are more sophisticated than terrestrial Bronze Age cultures: ocean going ships, large centralized states etc. so that it isn't uncommon for newcomers to question this comparison.

By human (underlined) I assume you mean Gloranthan given the context.  I agree that some Gloranthan cultures are a lot more sophisticated than their terrestrial counterparts.  Bronze age societies didn't have cataphracts, aqueducts, tension trigger siege weapons, etc. It is fair to question the comparison imo, but I can see why that comparison is made.

On 7/9/2017 at 5:54 AM, M Helsdon said:

l. 109-120) First of all the deathless gods who dwell on Olympus made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Cronos when he was reigning in heaven.

 

(ll. 121-139) But after earth had covered this generation -- they are called pure spirits dwelling on the earth, and are kindly, delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on judgements and cruel deeds, givers of wealth; for this royal right also they received; -- then they who dwell on Olympus made a second generation which was of silver and less noble by far.
(ll. 140-155) But when earth had covered this generation also -- they are called blessed spirits of the underworld by men, and, though they are of second order, yet honour attends them also -- Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen race, sprung from ash-trees; and it was in no way equal to the silver age, but was terrible and strong. They loved the lamentable works of Ares and deeds of violence; they ate no bread, but were hard of heart like adamant, fearful men. Great was their strength and unconquerable the arms which grew from their shoulders on their strong limbs.
(ll. 156-169b) But when earth had covered this generation also, Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a god-like race of hero-men who are called demi-gods, the race before our own, throughout the boundless earth.

I like the comparison.  Interestingly it also makes its way into the Bible in many passages, so clearly this notion had broad acceptance back in the day. 

On 7/9/2017 at 7:36 AM, Atgxtg said:

HeroQuesting also skews things a bit. It's like someone from Classical Greece being able to visit the earlier ages and take some of it back home with him. 

I am not so certain.  Clearly plenty of heroes of Ancient Greece performed hero quests, and these feats were the basis of many of the mysteries.  The Eleusinian Rites for example largely relate to the story of the abduction of Persephone by Hades.  Back in the day, these things were not considered mere allegory but as real as we regard science as real, as odd as that may seem.  They provided a mytho-poetic world view that was very persuasive.

The theme of time travel isn't much covered in Greek Myth, but temporally displaced characters are a feature of some Irish myths regarding travel to Tir-na-nog and other faerie lands.  Aeneas' Shield was also interesting as it laid out Rome's future as its decoration (up to the Battle of Actium).  For the most part ancient societies valued seeing the future more than visiting the past it seems.

On 7/9/2017 at 7:36 AM, Atgxtg said:

Plus I don't think Glorantha is moving towards the mundane. the way the historical Greeks did. Everything is still magical in nature.

I am not so sure.  With the loss of literacy, and the death of the Gods, can we really be so sure that Glorantha retains its magical traditions intact?

On 7/9/2017 at 5:54 AM, M Helsdon said:

There's a gradual diminishing of mortal powers, from the Age of Gold, the Age of Silver, to the Age of Bronze and the (unnamed) age of heroes, until the mundane age of iron. With the onset of the Hero Wars, Glorantha is entering its own age of heroes...

I agree with this assessment.  We know that Greg was heavily influenced by terrestrial mythology and Glorantha was in many ways an attempt to bring that mythology to life and allow a modern audience to experience a measure of the way our ancestors experienced and thought about the world via myth cycles (using "myth" in a non-perjorative sense). I am sure Greg has read and incorporated Hesiod as you suggest M Heldson.

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6 minutes ago, Darius West said:

 Back in the day, these things were not considered mere allegory but as real as we regard science as real, as odd as that may seem.  They provided a mytho-poetic world view that was very persuasive.

Somewhat. It's pretty much a given that after a point the Greeks no longer actually believed in their Gods and they were regarded as the stuff of a good story or allegory. 

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Just now, Atgxtg said:

Somewhat. It's pretty much a given that after a point the Greeks no longer actually believed in their Gods and they were regarded as the stuff of a good story or allegory. 

That isn't quite fair.  Really the loss of faith in the Gods you speak of can be traced to the point at which the Myths were first gathered and transcribed into a single book.  When present for perusal in this way, the Gods began to seem pretty unpleasant and immoral.  Subsequently the philosophers began to undermine the notion of the gods, such as when Socrates asks whether something is good because the Gods say it is, or because there is a goodness higher than the Gods to which the Gods refer.  Socrates when brought to trial is accused of atheism amongst other crimes.  At all times in the ancient world atheism is the preserve of a small educated elite, and most people were firm believers who understood their myths both as being real, and as teaching through allegory.  While Christianity eventually undermines the Pantheonic religions, it is less from the perspective that the Old Gods don't exist than that the Old Gods are evil.  For your average citizen of even the late Roman Empire, the Gods were very real.

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48 minutes ago, Darius West said:

By human (underlined) I assume you mean Gloranthan given the context.  I agree that some Gloranthan cultures are a lot more sophisticated than their terrestrial counterparts.  Bronze age societies didn't have cataphracts, aqueducts, tension trigger siege weapons, etc. It is fair to question the comparison imo, but I can see why that comparison is made.

Bronze Age societies didn't have triremes or multiple sail rigging on their masts. The horizontal bow isn't that far away from the ordinary bow, and that was found in the late mesolithic hunter culture of the Ahrensburg reindeer hunters, a little more than a millennium after their introduction of an atlatl-like harpoon-thrower device (and that was used shortly after the glaciers gave way in that region of northern Germany).

 

48 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I like the comparison.  Interestingly it also makes its way into the Bible in many passages, so clearly this notion had broad acceptance back in the day. 

Little surprise - the Evangelists came from a culture that had experienced two centuries of hellenistic Seleucid rule, in addition to their Hebrew traditions. They wrote their holy texts in Greek. If I look at the literature I had to read in order to learn Latin I am not surprised that Hesiod's theories were familiar to the authors of the New Testament.

 

48 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I am not so certain.  Clearly plenty of heroes of Ancient Greece performed hero quests, and these feats were the basis of many of the mysteries.  The Eleusinian Rites for example largely relate to the story of the abduction of Persephone by Hades.  Back in the day, these things were not considered mere allegory but as real as we regard science as real, as odd as that may seem.  They provided a mytho-poetic world view that was very persuasive.

Why would this seem odd when a significant portion of the technologically most advanced civilisation on this planet calculates the age of this world by summing up the years of the biblical fathers since Adam, not allowing for generational overlap? Makes me wonder whether we should add another 9 months to each of these life-spans for a death-bed conception of the next generation...

This form of biased thought experiment is mistaken for science even by people who should know better, having a so-called scientific education, and not limited to Creationism but to other fields of science. It may be a side effect of P-value worship...

I find it quite amusing that debunked early theories like the Phlogiston-theory or Ether as the medium in space find a return into serious science in the shape of energy equals mass times the speed of light squared, or vacuum energy and dark matter.

If you have read "The Science of the Diskworld", you will be familiar with the concept of "lies for children". As we progress through our understanding of scientific phenomena, we constantly change the narrative explaining the how and why. Allegories from myths are as good a starting point for this journey as are false parallels - and you will encounter more of those when explaining natural phenomena than you will describing Gloranthan cultures using historical cultures from our world.

A good story makes a good mnenonic. As an educational tool, this is invaluable. However, it is as invaluable to teach critical thinking, questioning the narratives you have been served, comparing them to your observations.

 

48 minutes ago, Darius West said:

The theme of time travel isn't much covered in Greek Myth, but temporally displaced characters are a feature of some Irish myths regarding travel to Tir-na-nog and other faerie lands.  

One way time travel forward, only. Basically a myth of hibernation, found in other myths as well. How long did Odysseus enjoy the company of Circe, a full year? How long with Calliope? Seven years passed in the outer world, but in effect their affair may have been quite timeless. The sleeping king or hero is a common trope, whether Artus, Friedrich Barbarossa, or Tannhäuser, and probably countless others. Likewise the Einheriar of Asgard.

 

48 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I am not so sure.  With the loss of literacy, and the death of the Gods, can we really be so sure that Glorantha retains its magical traditions intact?

Few magical traditions of Glorantha rely on written documents. Rites remaining unanswered may fall out of practice, but may still remain in the oral tradition lore.

Which gods exactly were fed to that rite? Was it a local effect, like the slaying of the God of the Silver Feet which entrapped Fronela into the Syndics' Ban, but only Fronela, or like the Windstop that didn't affect the Solanthi or the Talastari Orlanthi at all? All we have is one cryptic document in King of Sartar, and a thoroughly vague local future history that mentions Cliffhome and Nochet, but no other lands outside of this range. For all we know, Genert's Garden could be in full bloom just across the Zola Fel River, and Prax could be a Redwood savannah at the time of Zin writing and receiving his letters. The continued existence of Nochet suggests that at least some form of record-keeping survived even through the Illiteracy.

 

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2 hours ago, Darius West said:

With the loss of literacy, and the death of the Gods, can we really be so sure that Glorantha retains its magical traditions intact?

From the 4th Age pieces in King of Sartar, some magical abilities remain, such as what seems to be a truth detection spell, but the magical capabilities of the 3rd Age are going, because the cosmos is changing. Eventually all the magic will be gone, but perhaps in the 5th Age, humans will be using coal, and later oil and gas. And perhaps Elmal 11 will land men on the moon.

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On 7/12/2017 at 3:18 AM, Joerg said:

Bronze Age societies didn't have triremes or multiple sail rigging on their masts. The horizontal bow isn't that far away from the ordinary bow, and that was found in the late mesolithic hunter culture of the Ahrensburg reindeer hunters, a little more than a millennium after their introduction of an atlatl-like harpoon-thrower device (and that was used shortly after the glaciers gave way in that region of northern Germany).

True, a trireme didn't have those things, but a trireme would also not survive the Pacific, whereas an outrigger canoe can and does.  Triremes are coast huggers and were primarily for military use, not ocean voyages.  You are comparing apples and oranges with that example.  Obviously a trireme is larger and more complex, and was not built during the bronze age, but we are selecting here for "ocean going".

Horizontal bow?  Well there are the engineering issues of scaling up such a weapon and retaining its strength.  I thought I ware referring to onagers and similar tech, not just toxates and early ballistas.  There is no evidence for such siege weapons in the bronze age btw.

On 7/12/2017 at 3:18 AM, Joerg said:

Little surprise - the Evangelists came from a culture that had experienced two centuries of hellenistic Seleucid rule, in addition to their Hebrew traditions. They wrote their holy texts in Greek. If I look at the literature I had to read in order to learn Latin I am not surprised that Hesiod's theories were familiar to the authors of the New Testament.

My surprise was at the fact that such ideas weren't treated as pagan thought crime by the monotheists.

On 7/12/2017 at 3:18 AM, Joerg said:

This form of biased thought experiment is mistaken for science even by people who should know better, having a so-called scientific education, and not limited to Creationism but to other fields of science. It may be a side effect of P-value worship...

I find it quite amusing that debunked early theories like the Phlogiston-theory or Ether as the medium in space find a return into serious science in the shape of energy equals mass times the speed of light squared, or vacuum energy and dark matter.

If you have read "The Science of the Diskworld", you will be familiar with the concept of "lies for children". As we progress through our understanding of scientific phenomena, we constantly change the narrative explaining the how and why. Allegories from myths are as good a starting point for this journey as are false parallels - and you will encounter more of those when explaining natural phenomena than you will describing Gloranthan cultures using historical cultures from our world.

A good story makes a good mnenonic. As an educational tool, this is invaluable. However, it is as invaluable to teach critical thinking, questioning the narratives you have been served, comparing them to your observations.

The saying goes that "Statistics are like a lamp post; a wise man uses them for illumination and fools and drunkards use them for support."  I personally regard statistics in general as a form of rhetorical art, i.e. a form of emotion laden fibbing under the guise of reason.  I agreed with all these points and thought you made them well.  Gah!  Bloody phlogiston theory!  With regards to why it seems odd, well, I suppose I don't hang out with enough creationists?

On 7/12/2017 at 3:18 AM, Joerg said:

Few magical traditions of Glorantha rely on written documents. Rites remaining unanswered may fall out of practice, but may still remain in the oral tradition lore.

True, but writing is a good way of recording what is known and what was done, and oral traditions are often pretty fragile.  The destruction of the Mississippi Mound Builder culture springs to mind as an example.  When Hernan De Soto introduced smallpox to the region, within only 2 generations the locals had forgotten who built the mounds because all the intelligensia of their former societies had died out from the epidemic.  Had they had writing, it is possible that the cultures may have survived the event better.

On 7/12/2017 at 3:18 AM, Joerg said:

Which gods exactly were fed to that rite? Was it a local effect, like the slaying of the God of the Silver Feet which entrapped Fronela into the Syndics' Ban, but only Fronela, or like the Windstop that didn't affect the Solanthi or the Talastari Orlanthi at all? All we have is one cryptic document in King of Sartar, and a thoroughly vague local future history that mentions Cliffhome and Nochet, but no other lands outside of this range. For all we know, Genert's Garden could be in full bloom just across the Zola Fel River, and Prax could be a Redwood savannah at the time of Zin writing and receiving his letters. The continued existence of Nochet suggests that at least some form of record-keeping survived even through the Illiteracy.

I think that the ritual of the net failed to restrain the Devil and so pretty much all the gods died and Argrath had to step in and kill the devil and something new was created instead of the Compromise.  But yes, the whole thing is vague, and clearly texts survived, its just no-one could read them.

Edited by Darius West

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5 minutes ago, Darius West said:

True, a trireme didn't have those things, but a trireme would also not survive the Pacific, whereas an outrigger canoe can and does.  Triremes are coast huggers and were primarily for military use, not ocean voyages.  You are comparing apples and oranges with that example.  Obviously a trireme is larger and more complex, and was not built during the bronze age, but we are selecting here for "ocean going".

Triremes are a quite advanced form of rowed ships, and rowing is quite a progress compared to paddling.

When it comes to seaworthiness on the Atlantic, primitive oxhide on a wicker frame carried Irish monks to Iceland, and St. Brennan to the Islands of Youth. Venetian galleys made reliable voyages across the Atlantic to Brugues, and Phoenician biremes maintained contact with the tin and gold mines of Cornwall from Cadiz.

The ship shape of the Hjortspring boat dominated naval travel in the northern Atlantic and the Baltic for possibly two millennia, if those rock engravings in Scandinavia were dated correctly. (Beats me how you date such engravings, btw.) Those things were paddled just like the outrigger dugouts of the Polynesians.

 

5 minutes ago, Darius West said:

Horizontal bow?  Well there are the engineering issues of scaling up such a weapon and retaining its strength. 

The so-called cross-bow as wielded by Brithini horali and possibly their distant Malkioni kin. Scaling up is hard.

I don't think that there are siege engines using torsion. The trebuchet is an up-scaled staff sling, but I don't know which culture would use those. Wall-destroying siegework is done by magically powered rams, or ramming by giants or giant animals, and most commonly by liberal use of earth elementals for sapping.

5 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I thought I ware referring to onagers and similar tech, not just toxates and early ballistas.  There is no evidence for such siege weapons in the bronze age btw.

I haven't seen evidence for Glorantha, either, with the possible exception of the Mostali. We know of the Cannon cult (but we don't know how many cannons this cult tends to) as a weapon capable of damaging a stone wall, or the devastating hail of moonrock summoned by the Crater Makers. The most efficient anti-fortification unit are the Earthshakers with their exotic magic in the Dragon Pass boardgame.

5 minutes ago, Darius West said:

True, but writing is a good way of recording what is known and what was done, and oral traditions are often pretty fragile. 

Depends on how they are conserved. Rhyming provides excellent mnenonics and preserves such oral traditions quite faithfully. At least that's what Snorri Sturlason based his use of skaldic quotes in the Heimskringla.

 

5 minutes ago, Darius West said:

The destruction of the Mississippi Mound Builder culture springs to mine as an example.  When Hernan De Soto introduced smallpox to the region, within only 2 generations the locals had forgotten who built the mounds because all the intelligensia of their former societies had died out from the epidemic.  Had they had writing, it is possible that the cultures may have survived the event better.

I doubt it. They could have preserved the knowledge in Linear A, and neither we nor any of their descendants could make sense of that.

Without a living tradition, the purpose of these structures becomes irrelevant to the successors. They may assign such places or items a new meaning in their lives - apparently that is what happened to the more durable astronomic tools like the Sky Disk of Nebra or the stone rings of Stonehenge. Certain megalith dolmen were covered with dozens of small votive pits (in the roof rock), probably used as votive altars, in the local Bronze Age. Mound graves became fairy hills, whether in Slavic Germany or in Ireland.

All these new uses had meaning, but none had the original meaning. The decimation of the mound builders may have been so bad that those structures may have been regarded as cursed, and therefore abandoned and wilfully forgotten. Much like the Nebra Sky Disk was buried after its second period of use simply as a display of power, without regard to the astronomical meaning which had made the artifact so valuable to its creators, and even that display fell sour at some time, or sacrificing this to the gods was regarded as more helpful than continued display of the item.

If the people survive in sufficient proximity to the location, their tales will tell at least a variant of the original purpose, unless they choose not to talk about it any more.

 

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8 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I don't think that there are siege engines using torsion.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used torsion siege engines - the oldest known dates to the 4th century BC. Alexander used a number in the siege of Tyre.

It is likely that tension and torsion siege engines are used by humans in 3rd Age Glorantha, certainly by the Zendamalthan School.

Edited by M Helsdon
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Just now, M Helsdon said:

The ancient Greeks and Romans used torsion siege engines - the oldest known dates to the 4th century BC. Alexander used a number in the siege of Tyre.

It is likely that human tension and torsion siege engines are used in 3rd Age Glorantha.

Who does so?

The Lunar sieges and assaults focussed on ramps or grapples to overcome the walls, and to negate the spirits inside which might have hindered the climb. No city walls were destroyed at Runegate, Boldhome, Whitewall, Karse, or anywhere else in Fazzur's campaign.

The Seshnegi conquests in Ralios might benefit from such things, but again, no major city or castle had its walls destroyed this way. Neither do any Ralian condottieri appear to use such equipment.

The Kralori have a choice between technology and dragons, They choose the more efficient approach - dragons.

Fonritians use Vadeli sorcery or elephants.

 

The Ballista is well-documented in the Dragon Pass and Zola Fel area - basically a horizontal bow, the one in Harpoon upscaled in the EWF/God Learner era. It is an anti-ship or anti-monster weapon, not a siege engine, though.

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46 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Who does so?

As noted, at the very least, the Zendamalthan School. There are also references in the Guide to ballistas, and a ballista uses torsion springs of twisted sinew or hair. I suspect you are confusing ballistas with flexion devices such as the gastraphetes or oxybeles.

46 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The Lunar sieges and assaults focussed on ramps or grapples to overcome the walls, and to negate the spirits inside which might have hindered the climb. No city walls were destroyed at Runegate, Boldhome, Whitewall, Karse, or anywhere else in Fazzur's campaign.

Fazzur's campaign seems to have lacked a siege train.

Edited by M Helsdon

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

No city walls were destroyed at Runegate

Well, some of them were when the Bat landed on them (both the northern earthworks and Jarolar's towers).

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

I don't think that there are siege engines using torsion. The trebuchet is an up-scaled staff sling, but I don't know which culture would use those. Wall-destroying siegework is done by magically powered rams, or ramming by giants or giant animals, and most commonly by liberal use of earth elementals for sapping.

The Liornvuli had a trebuchet which they called Culgak (History of the Heortling Peoples p14) which they used against the Stravuli in the Stampede

Emperor Kerunebbe of Dara Happa had a catapult which he used to throw his wife over the walls of Hematuran to punish his Rinliddi in-laws (Glorious ReAscent p81).

In both these cases, the weapon was probably acquired from the nearby Mostali.  

Engines are described as being on the walls of Glamour (Guide p318)

The Zendamalthan School has ingenious stone-throwers (Guide p208)

New Pavis had defensive engines on its walls after it was founded (Pavis: Gateway to Adventure p41)

Then there is Harpoon in Sun County which uses torsion.

King Congern of Jonatela is described as a siege expert which implies the use of siege engines rather than magic.

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I tend to be less precise and use Ancient World, it's often easier in play.

A simple part of the problem here is that the labels Bronze Age, Iron Age etc are pretty dubious in our own world. Iron was used throughout the bronze age, but was inferior to bronze until charcoal made manufacture more successful etc. We might want to talk about culture, but the palace economies of Greece based on elites control of trade are quite different to the cultures of Dartmoor in Britain.

Look at the Orlanthi. Their depiction in Thunder Rebels certainly draws on Urnfield culture, but some parts seem to be more early Iron Age  Halstatt or La Tene culture. Post HQG we tend to throw in Mycenean and Etruscan influence as well, amongst others, drawing on many of the peoples between the Mediterranean and the Baltic post-Neolithic.

We have talked before about the fact that in Dragon Pass bronze, like iron, can be directly mined, which tends to favor the chieftainships of Iron Age over the organized states that existed to source both copper and tin.

So I tend to say Ancient World as it gets past a lot of that by being imprecise.

But it certainly helps to avoid 'creeping Dark Ages' or 'creeping medievalism' if you try to limit or exclude certain technologies such as barrels over amphorae or heavy ploughs etc.

Where anachronisms do exist, such as chainmail and crossbows, many can be explained as 'rare' dwarf gifts.

As we know that Dormal produced new ship designs as part of his sidestepping of The Closing, it may be biremes and triremes came from his influence.

Although this trope can be over-used and tends to shift Glorantha later-and-later by exception. Avoid this if you want to retain some of its unique flavor.

 

 

 

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Great reference from Martin, it wouldnt surprise me in the slightest if Hesiod was one of the influences on the Gloranthan Ages.

I'm with Ian as a rule, Ancient World is evocative, descriptive and less prone to nitpicking. After all, even up to the Spanish discovery of the Americas half of the populated continents of the world - both of the Americas and Australia, were entirely Stone Age. Can we really expect Glorantha to be any less diverse technologically? Especially with the occasional bit of Mostali tech and magic around.

BTW I was there in Leicester when Greg pointed out of the window. As best I remember he was asked something like wat Glorantha looked like in the 4th age and he pointed out the window and he said something along the lines of 'it looks like that'.

Some people took that to mean that our world is the 4th or later age of Glorantha, but I'm certain that is not true. The ages of Glorantha are not so much physical changes in the world as changes in the nature of consciousness. I think what he may have meant was that 4th age Gloranthans have a more modern world view and so they look at their world more in the way that we do, but that's mainly supposition on my part.

Simon Hibbs

Edited by simonh
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On 12/07/2017 at 5:25 AM, Joerg said:

The Ballista is well-documented in the Dragon Pass and Zola Fel area - basically a horizontal bow, the one in Harpoon upscaled in the EWF/God Learner era. It is an anti-ship or anti-monster weapon, not a siege engine, though.

The Harpoon of course was originally an anti-Dragon weapon: http://rpgreview.net/mob/goldengun.htm

Built with the aid of dwarves at Pavis, who had fled there from EWF persecution.

Edited by MOB

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Glorantha is both Bronze Age in terms of Hesiod categorization and in terms of technology (with plenty of exceptions of course). Although bronze CAN be directly mined (in places where lots of Storm Gods fell, like in Dragon Pass, atop Valind's Glacier, etc.), it is more commonly created as an alloy of tin and copper (most bronze found in lowland Pelorian or Kralorelan is an alloy).

In terms of social organization, Glorantha is better described as bronze age than iron age (although I've read plenty of sources to suggest that there is not as big of a difference there as people made it out to be). There's no Roman Republic (although arguably Loskalm might be a fair comparison), no Athenian democratic imperialism (although again Loskalm).  Most civilized realms - Orlanthi or Pelorian - are ruled by priest-kings (be it the Red Emperor or the Prince of Sartar). 

Most importantly, by saying "Bronze Age" we make it clear that it is not the post-Roman Dark Ages and that Glorantha belongs to those mists before Athens or Rome. Broaden yourself beyond Classical Antiquity to Mycenae, Knossos, Troy, Ur, Hattusa, Uruk, Mohenjo-Daro, Thebes, Akhetaten, Susa, Unetice and Urnfield cultures, Sea Peoples,  and more. Of course there are elements of the Classical there as well, but reach beyond and before it. 

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