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Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 11 - Deep Discussion


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This is the Deep Discussion thread for Week 11 - Feel free to speculate, move away from the Guide section under discussion and into other related areas related to Esrolia.

https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6721-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-week-11-esrolia/

 

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The Holy Country section of the Guide has to outshine the presentation in RQ2 RuneQuest Companion, the catch-up book for the original Wyrm’s Footnotes magazine of 1983, combined with the Troll Pak, Genertela Box and Military Experience for Dragon Pass material pertaining to that region, the cult of Caladra and Aurelion, and a certain coverage in King of Sartar.

There certainly was quite a bit of information available then, although hardly any information on the Second Age events (Kotor Wars, Machine Wars, conquests of coastal Kethaela), which was provided by the Stafford Library – Middle Sea Empire, History of the Heortling Peoples, Esrolia – Land of 10,000 Goddesses, and additional, then official stabs at coastal Kethaela in Men of the Sea and Masters of Luck and Death (the Heroquest 1 supplements on hero bands) and some detailed gazetteer in Dragon Pass – Land of Thunder for the northernmost edge of Heortland.

Compared to official information on Sartar (other than the Sartar campaign collected in Wyrm’s Footprints), there was way more information on the Holy Country than on Dragon Pass before Hero Wars. We knew that the Orlanthi who migrated into the Quivini lands left similar folk back home in Heortland and Esrolia. For me, the Holy Country was my first dive into playing in Glorantha, aided by the fact that I learned that the Chaosium house campaign which playtested all the supplements published in a RuneQuest context had playtested the Midkemia city supplement City of Carse in Karse.

I had a previous and intensive acquaintance playing in another universe’s version of Karse, so I felt right at home in the Gloranthan equivalent. My first efforts at web-publishing my Glorantha ideas led to a set of pages on the Holy Country which appears to have seeped into other peoples’ games, even though I provided little more than a gazetteer for the places shown on the Holy Country map from RQ Companion.

Anyway, this section provides the current canon on my heart region of Genertela and thereby Glorantha.

 

Ok, so what has changed to my old vision?

p.234

Quote

To the east, greyish-brown cliffs of the Heortland Plateau rise nearly a thousand feet above the sea;

My old website had white cliffs – a tip of the hat to my overall fascination with pre-christianized Anglo-Saxon England at the time, but also to Cape Arkona and the island of Rügen with its western slavic holiest site (at least after the destruction of Rethra).

 

p.234

Quote

After Orlanth departed this world upon his Lightbringers’ Quest, Vingkot’s great-great grandson Rastagar tore the kingdom apart.

I think that Rastagar is the most maligned of all Orlanthi kings. More so than even Kodig, in Esrolian Grandmothers’ acid propaganda.

The Grandmothers objected to Rastagar leading his army to a fight in a very distant place. I am fairly convinced that that distant place was the shore of Luathela, when Orlanth summoned the Ring of the Vingkotlings to aid him fight the Luatha. The Vingkotlings fought like demigods, but their foes were giant demigods. Still, the Vingkotlings were victorious, but the victory would have cost them dearly. Plus, their god had provided them sacred winds to travel there quickly, but after the battle he descended into the Underworld, onto the Path of the Dead, and he could no longer aid his warriors on their way back to their homes.

Out of the Kodigvari party, Rastagar, Irillo and few others made it home from that crowning achievement of Vingkotling warfare. Ernalda was sleeping, and with her all the good sense of the Earth worshipers. Instead, the illumination provided by Imarja stripped the Grandmothers of all morality. They usurped Rastagar’s kingdom through Kinstrife, and then blamed the appearance of Nontraya on the seed of Kodig rather than on their own chaotic behavior. Rastagar was most fowlly murdered (sic), and he and his descendants demonized and cursed by the coven of chaos-ridden hags that sold what remained good for Underworld protectors (a benevolent one in the figure of Kimantor – still a terror to normal humans when coming at them enraged, and worse left undocumented). The scribes survived in the places ruled by the Grandmothers, any histories that could have told a different story didn’t.

Fowl, goose-footed betrayal remained the main theme of Esrolian history. Palangio, Arkat, the Tharkantus cult, Slontos, the EWF, the Jrusteli, even Ezkankekko, all were betrayed by oath-breaking grandmothers, and I would bet that Jar-eel had received tutoring by some Enfranchised House of Esrolia as well for her dismembering of Belintar. The Spolites should have taken lessons…

For all its fertility and bounty of life, Esrolia remains an outlet of infernal and morally deprived evil on the Orlanthi.

 

The Only Old One and the Kitori and their nature was revealed to us less than ten years ago. Numerous theories on the nature of the Kitori had gone around before, and many of those could be framed as misunderstanding of the nature of the Kitori race by other Gloranthans.

None of that info has made it into the Guide, though. The surviving Kitori are much reduced in numbers, but still a lot more numerous than say the Luatha of Seshnela, so I wonder why they were chosen to keep shrouded in Darkness.

 

Arkat’s command, aka the Shadow (or Kitori) Tribute, may have been a scheme to recompense the troll fighters who followed him into Dorastor to fight the most vile Chaos without much hope of plunder, to participate in the rich tribute the leaders of Orlanthland collected from their short-lived control over Dara Happa. It wasn’t the fault of the trolls that the Orlanthi governors of Dara Happa failed to quench Ordanestyu’s rebellion.

The history section of the Holy Country is a delight to read. An excellent synthesis of the RQ2 and RQ3 era information, King of Sartar, the Stafford Libary books (especially Middle Sea Empire and History of the Heortling Peoples with a smaller side order of Esrolia), and more recent events detailed in the Chaosium house campaign session reports which gave us the history of the Starbrow Rebellion published through obscure APA-zine outlets and in Wyrm's Footprints. Some of the local detail is left to the gazetteer sections, but the synthesis offers a good look at the greater picture.

 

Edited by Joerg
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

I think that Rastagar is the most maligned of all Orlanthi kings. More so than even Kodig, in Esrolian Grandmothers’ acid propaganda.

Really don't like those Grandmothers! 

I, on the other hand, am sure that Rastagar was a Bad Man, and that Nochet was clearly better off without him. ;-)

Irillo (which I believe is simply a title meaning something like "Ir's Chosen" or "Ir's Defender") is clearly the good guy and obviously had to labor to clean up the mess that Rastagar left behind.

2 hours ago, Joerg said:

For all its fertility and bounty of life, Esrolia remains an outlet of infernal and morally deprived evil on the Orlanthi.

Clearly a Heortlander view! Always trying to claim someone else's land for your herds.

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18 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Really don't like those Grandmothers! 

Really don't. The 13G character class Hellmother (available to female trolls only) isn't very far from how I perceive the activities of the Esrolian grandmothers. They are female versions of Al Pacino in The Godfather. The only positive thing about them is that they keep the violence in their conflicts rather limited. This doesn't always avoid collateral damage, but it allows the criminal network of grandmothers to maintain some order while exploiting everyone in their own house and even more so everyone outside of the house to maximize gain for their house.

I find it quite symptomatic that the Adjustment Wars are initiated by the Hendriki, guided by the spirit of Freedom, and not just any old thrall-taking Orlanthi.

The Hendriki aren't exactly altruistic outside of their own clans. The Foreigner Laws by Aventus are the reaction to non-Hendriki people encroaching on Hendriki lands and lifestyle.

 

Quote

I, on the other hand, am sure that Rastagar was a Bad Man, and that Nochet was clearly better off without him. ;-)

Sure. "My grandmother told me so, and my wife does so too."

 

Quote

Irillo (which I believe is simply a title meaning something like "Ir's Chosen" or "Ir's Defender") is clearly the good guy and obviously had to labor to clean up the mess that Rastagar left behind.

This is the conflict between matrilocality vs. patrilocality. Irillo is the willing accomplice for the bad wife. Perhaps her brother, perhaps her lover.

The Esrolians have a different term for the "bad wife" - the "undutiful daughter". With uxorilocal marriage, the very concept of a bad wife is unthinkable, after all the wife is the member of the clan/house. However, the undutiful daughter is a common phenomenon in Esrolian stories and history. Norinel, Bruvala's daughters, and Samastina all are examples of this.

They challenge the authority/dictature of the Imarjan grandmothers as badly as do the Bad Men of Esrolian history and myth.

 

 

 

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

They are female versions of Al Pacino in The Godfather. The only positive thing about them is that they keep the violence in their conflicts rather limited. This doesn't always avoid collateral damage, but it allows the criminal network of grandmothers to maintain some order while exploiting everyone in their own house and even more so everyone outside of the house to maximize gain for their house.

Yes, or Bedouin sheikhs.  But then again, no one said the Earth was all warm and embracing.  It can be that, or can be as cold and hard as stone and as sharp as a flint.  It's also very stable, unlike the on-again, off-again Air worshippers.

 

3 hours ago, Joerg said:

the undutiful daughter is a common phenomenon in Esrolian stories and history.

Yes, I like that.  And then there is the layabout son-in-law, not to mention the bull-headed son.

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

it allows the criminal network of grandmothers

Makes for an interesting twist on criminal networks, and far more effective than some light-footed Lanbril initiate.

One of the criminal cults in my Nochet follows Auntie Nym, the Acquisitive Spirit - which of course might just be an aspect of Asrelia.

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I'd heard essentially nothing about Ketha before this, though of course there is the name kethaela, or her father Entru . It seems very much as if Ketha is another name for Esrola, used by the pig people. Ketha is associated with the boar people at the dawn, but certainly there is nothing about the name Entru associated with the Kethaela area during time, as far as I can tell, and for the most part they seem to have left for Slontos during the Darkness, presumably displaced by the Vingkotlngs (the conflict recorded in the Arrowmound story of the battle against Harand?). It is odd that the name seems to have persisted - whether this indicates that Kethaela and Esrola are not really the same goddess is worth discussing?

Thereafter there seem to be, more or less, the Western pig people, who are proudly Entruli up until Palangio conquers them (and we can talk about later when we get to Slontos), and the Eastern, or Harandings, who have already accepted Orlanth as their leader god by the dawn, but are not Vingkotlings, 

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On the subject of the Elemental Division of the Holy Country, each sixth seems to have a counterpart that isn't subject to Belintar.

Heortland - Volsaxi.

Caladraland - Thonble or the Western Allies

Shadow Plateau - Kitori

God Forgot - Jab?

Esrolia - Old Woods

Mirrorsea - Who knows what lies beneath?

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12 hours ago, Yelm's Light said:

It reminds me a lot of the competition between Houses in Brust's Jhereg series.

I always felt that the Grandmothers come across as 'Bene Gesserit-like' schemers. The power behind the throne, rather than the visible wielders of authority.

Those who live in Esrolia know who the REAL authority figures are, but woe betide foreigners who piss-off the 'little old ladies'!

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5 hours ago, Brian McReynolds said:

I always felt that the Grandmothers come across as 'Bene Gesserit-like' schemers. The power behind the throne, rather than the visible wielders of authority.

Those who live in Esrolia know who the REAL authority figures are, but woe betide foreigners who piss-off the 'little old ladies'!

 

Eh, the Grandmothers' control is somewhat less subtle than the Voice. :D

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18 hours ago, Yelm's Light said:

 

Eh, the Grandmothers' control is somewhat less subtle than the Voice. :D

I can see the Grandmothers having some magical abilities which would be analogous with Voice. Before they were Grandmothers, they would have been Ernaldans, as Asrelia is the 'province' of the older women. As one of Ernalda's aspects is the Earth Queen, surely the power to Command Others would fall within her auspice. Ernalda respects her Mother, so I can see room for an Asrelian 'Voice' as well.

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My theory when the specific Prince of Sartar webzine page first came up was that he was a Teshnan (specifically from Melib) who was part of Selenteen's Landing (a Teshnan enclave at the mouth of the River of Cradles!).  This unusual background would explain why the Only Old One could not identify him yet the wizards of God Forgot predicted his arrival.  It also explains why Belintar sets up the port of Dosakayo on Melib.

Another possibility is that he is a Blueskin from Fonrit (specifically Yrania in Afadjann) as part of an early eruption of Lunar power that presaged the rise of the Yranian Leapers.  He may also come from Zamokil but he seems far too sedentary for that.    

The other known populations of Blue People are the Zzaburi (however Belintar dresses differently than Carvak Zirvan), the Blue Vadeli (Belintar doesn't quite seem so... depraved) or the Oroninae of northwestern Peloria. (which would require Belintar to take an odd way to get Kethaela by swimming).  

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1 hour ago, metcalph said:

My theory when the specific Prince of Sartar webzine page first came up was that he was a Teshnan (specifically from Melib) who was part of Selenteen's Landing (a Teshnan enclave at the mouth of the River of Cradles!).  This unusual background would explain why the Only Old One could not identify him yet the wizards of God Forgot predicted his arrival.  It also explains why Belintar sets up the port of Dosakayo on Melib.

So the Only Old One never had problems with/visits by the Zaranistangi Loper People? We know they controlled parts of mainland Teshnos and Melib, and that they plundered and rampaged in Slontos, hunting down human sacrifices for their blue moon goddess.

How do the Zaranistangi conflicts map onto the Kotor and Choralinthor wars of the Archduchy of Slontos?

 

Melib had already been the jumpboard for the naval access to the mystical east under the Red Sword dynasty of the God Learners. I am certain that the Lhankor Mhy libraries hold quite a bit of documentation or correspondence from the Middle Sea Empire dealing with e.g. the rivalry of ranking officials, intrigues and counter-measures.

1 hour ago, metcalph said:

Another possibility is that he is a Blueskin from Fonrit (specifically Yrania in Afadjann) as part of an early eruption of Lunar power that presaged the rise of the Yranian Leapers.  He may also come from Zamokil but he seems far too sedentary for that.

If Belintar was of Veldang descent, that would explain his personal connection to the Moon Rune.

If he came from Pamaltela, the ocean crossing could have left him in a timeless state for indefinite time, like the Pithdarans. He might even have been a refugee from the Garangordite invasion.

Belintar isn't the only hero or demigod whose arrival thwarted the Closing. Jonat's ocean voyage to Seshnela is another case, as is that of the Luathan ship roughly at the same time, and between 1483 and 1499 the Altinelan lover of Snodal set off across the sea into the west after dropping off her son Siglat

Selenteen's expedition used ships, too, and probably originated on Melib. It arrived 300 years after Av(a)lor, the last of the God Learner dynasty of Eest, had removed the Red Sword when following the abductors of his wife through the wastes. Tracing Av(a)lors journey further was problematic - while the Pure Horse Folk survivors had just entered Dragon Pass, the northern and southern borders marked by the Crossline and the Deathline still were impassable for humans. I don't think that Veldang demigods would have been an exception.

 

1 hour ago, metcalph said:

The other known populations of Blue People are the Zzaburi (however Belintar dresses differently than Carvak Zirvan),

Carvak Zirvan is a God Forgot Zzaburi. I don't think that Belintar originated from one of the Sixths. He might have come straight 

1 hour ago, metcalph said:

the Blue Vadeli (Belintar doesn't quite seem so... depraved) or

He may have been the exception to the rule - much like Chiron was the civilized one among the brutish centaurs of Greek myth, or like Ralzakark's Unicorn Emperor manifestation among the broos. Belintar is a bodysnatcher, quite similar to Delecti, but using (up) living bodies rather than corpses. Even if the winners get a divine existence in their own pocket dimension, outsiders could have all manner of bad and depraved things to say about this practice of his.

1 hour ago, metcalph said:

the Oroninae of northwestern Peloria. (which would require Belintar to take an odd way to get Kethaela by swimming).  

I wonder about the Oroninae - are they riverine Waertagi, are they Kachasti followers of Yargan, or are they former Blue Vadeli broken out of immortality by the victory of Bisos?

A blue-skinned Waertagi from elsewhere but Oroninela would be another possibility, although the Godking isn't heavily into the Innsmouth Look.

Two more local sources of blue people would be a pure strain or atavistic Helering-descended Orlanthi, or an Orlanthi mystic from the EWF era awakening from his meditation having been caught by the floodings.

 

The Harshax issue raised from the sneak mentions in King of Sartar and the RQ3 Troll Gods Jonstown Compendium either suggests previous ties to the Pass region, or a personal aquaintance between Belintar and Minaryth Purple.

 

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On 6.9.2017 at 7:52 AM, metcalph said:

On the subject of the Elemental Division of the Holy Country, each sixth seems to have a counterpart that isn't subject to Belintar.

Heortland - Volsaxi.

Or Sartar.

On 6.9.2017 at 7:52 AM, metcalph said:

Caladraland - Thonble or the Western Allies

Or Gemborg.

On 6.9.2017 at 7:52 AM, metcalph said:

Shadow Plateau - Kitori

The Kitori become his allies against the Volsaxi. No idea whether that means that they accept his overlordship. There is also an uz-inhabited volcano just west of Caladraland.

On 6.9.2017 at 7:52 AM, metcalph said:

God Forgot - Jab?

Maybe the Threestep Isles?

On 6.9.2017 at 7:52 AM, metcalph said:

Esrolia - Old Woods

Or Wintertop Tarsh.

On 6.9.2017 at 7:52 AM, metcalph said:

Mirrorsea - Who knows what lies beneath?

Another candidate for the Threestep Isles, or indeed deeper seas. Wherever the Fish Road past Deeper may lead...

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

So the Only Old One never had problems with/visits by the Zaranistangi Loper People? We know they controlled parts of mainland Teshnos and Melib, and that they plundered and rampaged in Slontos, hunting down human sacrifices for their blue moon goddess.

Slontos is the only place they are mentioned to have harassed.  We don't know how they got there - a naval expedition or mystical roads - nor do we know what other places they may have harassed.  They simply do not appear in Esrolian records to date.   Since the Zaranistangi only controlled Melib circa 700 ST, I do find it dubious that they maintained a major invasion force in Slontos that lasted from 758 ST to 805 ST.  

Of the top of my head, I think the Waertagi transported an army to Slontos before their destruction in 718 to keep them under control.  But when the Waertagi were destroyed, the Loper People in Slontos were now stranded.

 

3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Melib had already been the jumpboard for the naval access to the mystical east under the Red Sword dynasty of the God Learners. I am certain that the Lhankor Mhy libraries hold quite a bit of documentation or correspondence from the Middle Sea Empire dealing with e.g. the rivalry of ranking officials, intrigues and counter-measures.

And safely stored in secure archives such as Zistorwal, Locsil and Feroda...

 

3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I wonder about the Oroninae - are they riverine Waertagi,

The Blue People are Waertagi as is described in the Glorantha Sourcebook.

 

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2 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Slontos is the only place they are mentioned to have harassed.  We don't know how they got there - a naval expedition or mystical roads - nor do we know what other places they may have harassed.  They simply do not appear in Esrolian records to date.   Since the Zaranistangi only controlled Melib circa 700 ST, I do find it dubious that they maintained a major invasion force in Slontos that lasted from 758 ST to 805 ST.  

There is a Zaranistangi ruin in the Fever Trees, Dupanya (p.432), which may have lasted a bit longer than their domination of Melib.

The acclamation of Ordanal as king of Melib doesn't sound like it caused a major genocide against the blue-skins - they rather were likely adopters of the new Malkioni overlordship bringing back their great relic. Modern Melib has a significant portion of blue-skinned natives.

2 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Of the top of my head, I think the Waertagi transported an army to Slontos before their destruction in 718 to keep them under control.  But when the Waertagi were destroyed, the Loper People in Slontos were now stranded.

It is possible that a naval expedition created a guided teleport bridgehead for the Zaranistangi (or their steeds). Their biweekly human sacrifices might have been the necessary to keep that open.

The Archduchy of Slontos included the coasts of Heortland and Esrolia for a short while. Leskos was founded during the reign of Svagad - exactly the time the last battles between Loper People and God Learners were fought in Slontos.

 

2 minutes ago, metcalph said:

And safely stored in secure archives such as Zistorwal, Locsil and Feroda...

;) On the other hand, the libraries are flooded with documents attributed to the Lylket Temple of Wisdom, some dated more than two centuries after the conquest of the place by the trolls. Nochet had a permanent God Learner presence, with at least two families surviving the Devastation of the Vent.

(Unlike the mass assassination of draconic sepakers in 1042, we don't have a distinct date when the God Learner secrets became obsolete.)

2 minutes ago, metcalph said:

The Blue People are Waertagi as is described in the Glorantha Sourcebook.

Those of the Sweet Sea.

Did the Janube flood precede the destruction of the Kachisti continental possessions?

Anyway, Entekosiad has a conflict between King Blue (Oronin) and YarGan (p.46), and the Blue People fought by Bisos are those of YarGan.

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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4 hours ago, Steve said:

Does the Glorantha Sourcebook shed any further light on Belintar? (Very jealous of those who have draft versions via the KS that I missed out on - roll on publication!)

Not really.  Mostly it's familiar.  He's human, but had great powers (not specified).  He arrives by sea in the Rightarm Islands.  He summons the Silver Age heroes and defeats the Only Old One.  He became the God-king.  He was dismembered by Jar-eel.  The tournament to form his new body has occurred 21 times.

The only piece that is somewhat new (though suggested by Prince of Sartar) is this bit about his dismemberment: "While Belintar traveled the paths of the Underworld, seeking to defend the Holy Country against barbarians and Wolf Pirates, he was ambushed by Jar-eel and dismembered. His pieces were placed under magic wards and curses, and hidden in Lunar Hells."

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21 minutes ago, Martin said:

Does anyone know if the city of Dolzar in northern esrolia (soiuth of the Lyksos river)  is still standing in modern times? or it is now a ruin

I think from the position given in Esrolia: Land of Ten Thousand Goddess, it is the same as the modern city of Monros (according to the Guide).  Since Monros is also said to be the name of a King, it probably was part of the Adjusted Lands with Monros as the King of the City (and surrounding lands).

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