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David Scott

Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 10 - Central Fronela

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Akem: I was astonished to see that according to the map Sog City was Thawed only in 1589. The text says it was Thawed in 1582. I'd guess the text wins, and the map might need some re-doing.

The Halkomelem tappees get to wear blue. Does this make them some sort of honorary wizard caste?

 

More Fronelan deities:

p.215 (Krotnon Bullrider): Orlanth of the Flaming Bolt: interesting feat. Who did he strike down thus?

Baklene: besides the already mentioned Drona and the Boar we get Eurmal, the Friend of Men. Sounds like a firebringer cult (and confirmed in Jonatela). Definitely not known in Sartar or thereabouts. The Boar is named Bakan in the Oranor entry, and we get three more names: Oran instead of Drona for the First King, who married Frona, and Ladaral, the quenched volcano god of Sog City.

Cedenelists: Zzabur as the bad anthithesis to the Good World. I wonder why this philosophy isn’t mainstream.

Molene’s Worlath henotheists: another juicy Malkioni creed that deserves a greater distribution.

Tetlor, with a Katharian/Perfecti form of Irensavalism ruling openly.

 

Dalsard and Donaros: two former capitals of eastern Fronela, depopulated by the Ban. Vindoket adds another such city. Given that the cities were empty and not just degenerated, the populations might hide somewhere on the Other Side. The Old Ruins near Gladfield add another bullwhip-and-fedora site for adventuring…

 

Jonatela: Harrek entered long before the Thaw, and before he slew the Polar Bear God. How much bear does he need?

 

More Gods of Fronela

Vorthan, the war god of the Red Planet, worshipped in Jonatela. Why not Tolat? That god was well-feared by the Malkioni.

Bakan, the Phallic Boar, of Bakanos [p.224], brother of Frona.

Ganestos (of Enneserah, p.225), who stole the secret of bronze from the dwarves. Ganesatarus? Eurmal Friend of Men?

Meranos: Hykim as father of men, and Eurmal firebringer.

Redelos: Redal the Bear, the theist variant of Rathor (one might guess). And the Badalisc, a bad trickster entity.

Srodosite: another Malkioni philosophy/heresy.

 

Jonat Big Bear enslaved the Yellow Bear. A precedent for Harrek?


 

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p212 - "Seeing stones".  When reading this I usually go "*Cough*Palanatir*Cough*".  Hence I've been trying to find a non-mirror version.

p212 - Mouse Tower.  I find it interesting that a God Learner is ruling in Akem although I see from the historical maps that Akem was part of the Middle Sea Empire (but was it part of Frontem?)

p215 - I wonder if Harrek's sacking of Sog City was part of the long ago mentioned Greenleaf Rebellion.

p216 - Smiles at the text box of the origins of the Janube river.

p220 - I get the impression that Arnstor for the lowest reaches of the Janube is rarely used now is because it has become part of the Kingdom of War.

p222 - "The Kingdom of Loskalm has recently formed the Brotherhood of the Swallow to
wage a holy war against the Kingdom of War."  What strikes me about this passage is that the Swallow doesn't seem like a particularly robust response to the atrocity that is the Kingdom of War.  I would be more persuaded by a more mythical creature (Phoenix etc) but as it can't be changed, I'm wondering why a swallow?

p222 - I like the description of Jonatela that follows as it becomes a more vibrant country than that presented in the Genertela Book.  I do have a slight case of the giggles when I see or hear Stomble because it reminds me a bit too much of the Wombles.

p227 - Loyal Stone and Olotha both worship stones that fell from the sky.  Jonatela seems to have had a problem with Meteorites in the Gods War.

p228 - I wonder if the Yellow Bear is the son of Androgeus.

Edited by metcalph
Stomble remarks added.
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26 minutes ago, jajagappa said:
5 hours ago, metcalph said:

p228 - I wonder if the Yellow Bear is the son of Androgeus.

That was my thought/impression. 

I'll admit that I missed that reference. I was wondering whether this referred to the Spirit Bear blonde variation of the American Black Bear when I researched the Blue Bear that lives among the Rathori, another such subtype (called Glacier Bear in Wikipedia).

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5 hours ago, metcalph said:

p212 - "Seeing stones".  When reading this I usually go "*Cough*Palanatir*Cough*".  Hence I've been trying to find a non-mirror version.

The Palantiri aren't really that original - crystal spheres have been used as props by wannabe psychics for centuries. Probably a myth formed from the first magnifying lenses.

5 hours ago, metcalph said:

p212 - Mouse Tower.  I find it interesting that a God Learner is ruling in Akem although I see from the historical maps that Akem was part of the Middle Sea Empire (but was it part of Frontem?)

Given that Arolanit was part of the Middle Sea Empire, I see no reason why the Brithini portion of Akem should have been an exception.

Akem appears to have been the homeland of Talor, even though he went on to become the king of Loskalm after his return from Dorastor. Apart from Sog City itself, I see no reason why it should have been a region apart.

5 hours ago, metcalph said:

p215 - I wonder if Harrek's sacking of Sog City was part of the long ago mentioned Greenleaf Rebellion.

Skiing elves would be Vronkali. These and green leaves (rather than conifer needles) somehow don't go together well...

It is clear that Harrek's army wasn't part of the nascent Kingdom of War. Rathori culture is used to cooperation with the aldryami, no idea how much Harrek retained this stance.

5 hours ago, metcalph said:

p222 - "The Kingdom of Loskalm has recently formed the Brotherhood of the Swallow to
wage a holy war against the Kingdom of War."  What strikes me about this passage is that the Swallow doesn't seem like a particularly robust response to the atrocity that is the Kingdom of War.  I would be more persuaded by a more mythical creature (Phoenix etc) but as it can't be changed, I'm wondering why a swallow?

The swallow might be the most elegant aerial predator. As a symbol animal, it does have its problems. Here's a suggestions:

It is a migratory bird, present in Loskalm only in the summers. Which means it may have been absent during the Ban, but re-appeared after the Thaw. The re-appearance of this bird might have been seen as a sign of a new age of normality and goodness. Summer has returned, and by golly, this brotherhood is going to spread it to all the lands.

5 hours ago, metcalph said:

p222 - I like the description of Jonatela that follows as it becomes a more vibrant country than that presented in the Genertela Book.  I do have a slight case of the giggles when I see or hear Stomble because it reminds me a bit too much of the Wombles.

I found myself confusing it with Thonble in Maniria part of the time. It helps that I vocalize both these lands with a long "e" sound.

Given the origin of the wizard order brought to Kerantos I wonder whether Malkionism in Jonatela is Hrestoli Makanism rather than Irensavalism. It does seem to share the doctrine of wizardly celibacy with the Rokari, though - this wasn't the case in the Seshnela of Hrestol's Saga, where a wizard accompanying Hrestol on his first war as a warrior was the son-in-law of the kingdom's supreme wizard Xoranor.

5 hours ago, metcalph said:

p227 - Loyal Stone and Olotha both worship stones that fell from the sky.  Jonatela seems to have had a problem with Meteorites in the Gods War.

Or was blessed with Star Captains.

 

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I have to say I really liked the Red Gates of Sog City image. We have now seen depictions of what people look like in Glorantha. I think this was first image to depict an area or a city from closer view (aerial image of Boldtown does not count). The event in the image is also interesting. I am not sure if the townsfolk looks scared (like said in the boxed text) or if they are more angry to the rulers.

The Kingdom of War is a big part of this area. It is the big bad thing threatening everyone. Even more so I get the gist that Kingdom of War is pure evil. I didn't spot any reason for its lust for war.

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4 hours ago, jrutila said:

I have to say I really liked the Red Gates of Sog City image. We have now seen depictions of what people look like in Glorantha. I think this was first image to depict an area or a city from closer view (aerial image of Boldtown does not count). The event in the image is also interesting. I am not sure if the townsfolk looks scared (like said in the boxed text) or if they are more angry to the rulers.

 

This one is by Per "Perkan" Sjögren, also one of my favourites!

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2 hours ago, JanPospisil said:

This one is by Per "Perkan" Sjögren, also one of my favourites!

One of my favorites too.

I really like the contrast between the Brass Walls and their molten metal and the cold, snow-covered city outside.  

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I first encountered the wonderful city of Sog(oltha Mambrola) in the RQ Con2 LARP "How the West was One" when I played Pelinorius Staarki, the University Vice Chancellor and not only permitted the successful arrival of the Waertagi dragonship but also oversaw the foundation of the new School of Business and the Performing Arts.  [Original writeup still out in the Glorantha Digest archives: http://glorantha.temppeli.org/digest/gd1/1995.01/0707.html ]

Of course, that was still during the days when Fronela was under the heavier medieval trappings and it's nice to see the shift away from that view (though pieces such as the University and the Street Judges clearly survive).  But it's interesting to see how the Brithini influence the small region of Akem.  We've got an ancient city here with the reclusive Brithini, and opportunity presumably to learn some of their ancient spells (or even get a glance into the Blue Book of Zzabur).  And the small city of Zys with its workshop for the immortals Smith and Tinker (I see some conflict with the dwarfs brewing here).  We've got a small swamp of chaos monsters (unclear if there is anything unique, but would like to think so).  The Iron Gate is intriguing with its eldritch runes of terrible power, as is the Mouse Tower.  Then there is Halkomelem, the Munchkinland of Fronela - who can free them from their cursed stature (if they even want someone to do so)?  What can be learned from the Ferrymen of Semple? 

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On 8/30/2017 at 8:23 AM, Joerg said:

It is a migratory bird, present in Loskalm only in the summers. Which means it may have been absent during the Ban, but re-appeared after the Thaw. The re-appearance of this bird might have been seen as a sign of a new age of normality and goodness. Summer has returned, and by golly, this brotherhood is going to spread it to all the lands.

This may be one of the better magical frameworks I've seen for that one. Although they had a wealth of migratory birds to choose from so it still leaves the question open, why a swallow and not, for example, the symbolic goldfinch? As you say, the earthly swallow is best known for its ability to soar so high in search of its prey and to eat on the wing. They are also notably monogamous ("swallow in pairs") even by bird land standards, so there may be a hint toward Meriatan's version of tantra / "courtly love" there as well. And they're so chatty that simply getting them to shut up and pay attention is counted as one of the miracles St. Francis -- that one probably doesn't bode well for their mission, but I've never had a lot of faith in Meriatan's effort. Still, maybe the bird chose him and there's nothing he can do about it but mull the enigma GOD has granted.

(Outside the game I have a dull suspicion they're a double pun on the gorgeous Kate Bush song "(K)night of the Swallow" projected back on the Monty Python armored debates over how much weight a swallow can really carry. The weight of the world, apparently.)

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On 30/08/2017 at 10:23 PM, Joerg said:

It is a migratory bird, present in Loskalm only in the summers. Which means it may have been absent during the Ban, but re-appeared after the Thaw

I like this idea  - nice suggestion. I have my own theory about the big magic rocks all over the place relating to the Maidstone Mountains, Vadrus and Grotarons. 

Overall, I've been very pleased that the Fronela in the Guide doesn't invalidate the Fronela in my History of Fronela boardgame. 

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Is Jonat a fully-fledged war god? Other animal gods are mentioned, including the Black Bear and Bakan the Boar. Aren't the Lightbringers found in Jonatela too? There was a story in Anaxial's Roster telling of how these gods turned to animal forms to escape the knights. How does the cult of Talor fit into this barbarian pantheon?
 

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I find the imagery of the swallow flying upward towards the Law Rune, found on the shields of the Order of the Swallow, relevant to its symbolism. So it may represent the soul ascending towards the divine - swallows fly notably high. 

Compare the dove, which is known for its diving flight pattern, and so represents divine energy descending towards man. This is classic Christian imagery e.g. "I saw the Spirit descending like dove" from John 1:32

or for a non-Christian use of the same image, I'm struck by the Lamen of the OTO, which also features a triangle as a divine symbol (the European occult tradition that descends from new-Platonism/hermeticism is all very relevant to ideas around sorcery IMO, and certain aspects of Crowleys ideas particularly relevant to Irensavalism) 

 

 

So I think of the Swallow as being about man ascending towards the divine, as a complement to the Dove being being the divine descending towards man. The order of the Swallow, being made up of Wizards who have already ascended through the farmer and Guradian castes, certainly would think of themselves as being on a magical/religious upward trajectory through their own effort. 

IMG_0517.JPG

Edited by davecake
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Mother point on the Swallow - yes, it is migratory, but it returns to the same nest year after year, rebuilding it if necessary, so it is a symbol of faithfulness and constancy. 

And I'd add that no single symbolic meaning needs to be the 'correct' one. The sophisticated Wizards of the order are quite capable of finding a symbolism that works in multiple ways to express several core ideas of the Order. 

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The garishness of the robes worn by the Halkomelemites might indicate that it is a different shade of Blue than the Blue of Zzaburi robes (which I tend to think of as a fairly dark, rich blue). Perhaps it's a water Rune thing, for a major river site? 

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14 minutes ago, Tcneseis said:
Is Jonat a fully-fledged war god? Other animal gods are mentioned, including the Black Bear and Bakan the Boar. Aren't the Lightbringers found in Jonatela too? There was a story in Anaxial's Roster telling of how these gods turned to animal forms to escape the knights. How does the cult of Talor fit into this barbarian pantheon?
 

Jonat is a heroic founder whose magic serves to uphold ancient vows when the kingdom was founded. He brought monastic Seshnegi wizards to Kerantos, and also the wizard Ethirajan in High Fort.

Talor is an ascended master venerated by Malkioni warriors, and might also have a hero cult among the Orlanthi whose ancestors followed him against Varganthar and to Dorastor. His state of Joy is a reasonable alternative to bull berserkgang in the face of Chaos and destruction.

 

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Seeing stones - yes, palantir or crystal balls are the obvious, but there are other antecedents. I tend to think of the Shew stones of John Dee, just because they are in the British Museum and I've seen them (and because it's also part of that magic tradition I find useful as inspiration for sorcery). 

The most well known of these is an obsidian mirror of Mexican origin which clearly Dee did not create

but there is also a round crystal sphere among the collection of Dee's scrying equipment.

 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

Mother point on the Swallow - yes, it is migratory, but it returns to the same nest year after year, rebuilding it if necessary, so it is a symbol of faithfulness and constancy. 

How was animal migration affected by the Ban?

Did the swallows return to their ancestral roosts after the Thaw?

1 hour ago, davecake said:

And I'd add that no single symbolic meaning needs to be the 'correct' one. The sophisticated Wizards of the order are quite capable of finding a symbolism that works in multiple ways to express several core ideas of the Order. 

Sure. Exploiting symbolic associations may be a form of wizards' warfare.

Can protective symbols become targeting help? I would say this is true for beneficial magic - those symbols may act as foci, and enhance the effect of the magic. But can hostile magic use these same symbols? Is it enough to know the symbols, or is it necessary to know some of the magical associations behind those symbols in order to use them as foci?

 

1 hour ago, davecake said:

The garishness of the robes worn by the Halkomelemites might indicate that it is a different shade of Blue than the Blue of Zzaburi robes (which I tend to think of as a fairly dark, rich blue).

While we don't know whether these different shades of blue are described by the same color words (I think it does, with qualifiers, rather than introducing a different word like "indigo" for the wizards' dark blue), I still think that this blue garment is a proud "we supply magic" badge of the Halkomelemites, a privilege.

 

It makes sense for scrying artefacts to resemble eyes or eyeballs.

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Good example of why it's often helpful to post the art direction with the art on page 220 - art direction says the Loskalmi soldiers are clean shaven, the one in foreground has a very full beard. 

Good example of why posting the art direction with the art isn't always great on page 215 where several nearly, but not quite, identical sentences about the City of Brass are quite redundant and just next to each other. 

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The Nidan Council of Nine rule "all True Dwarves in Genertela" - one suspects they are True Dwarves in a 'True Scotsman' kind of way. 

I have always presumed that the Queen of the Kiss, as mentioned in Gunda the Guiltys description, was the same as the ruler of Zoria. but nothing says so directly. 

Edited by davecake
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Understanding the symbolism is the same as understanding the magical formula being invoked, which is roughly speaking the sorcerous equivalent of knowing the myth. Which is to say that it might help by avoiding total misunderstanding, but it reveals only possible obvious issues, not secret weaknesses etc. 

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