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David Scott

Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 13 - Sylila

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I don't quite remember how I discovered the existence of Wyrms Footnotes, but I did, and was able to get original copies of WF11-WF14 back when I started investigating Glorantha.  For someone starting a campaign in the Lunar Provinces, having the Redline History available was/is a treasure - so much good material there (and the whole history is finally available in the Gloranthan Sourcebook).  WF12 with the History of the Second Wane led me to discover the Conquering Daughter, the Daughter's Roads, and Sylila.  All were important aspects in my original RQ campaign, and the Conquering Daughter was my first cult writeup.  It reflected what I knew/thought at the time associating roads and the like with the Stasis Rune.  It would be different now.

Needless to say, I love the illustration on pg.320 of the Conquering Daughter confronting the Black Eel.  While not the most finished work (and I'm not sure that the buildings behind are quite what I'd picture, particularly where the water seems to flow through the gateway), there's a nice sense of the magical confrontation getting underway.

"The New Fire will burn away the guardians of the Black Eel River, break the gods protecting Mirin’s Cross, and leave a hard and indestructible bridge across the river, as clear as the purest crystal."  My personal interpretation of the four-day battle is that Hwarin courts and wins over the Black Eel in a duel of Love, and that the Crystal Bridge is in fact the child of Hwarin and the Black Eel.

Given familiarity with the Redline History, (and helping crowd-source edit the whole Lunar chapter) was there anything I found particularly new here?  Yes, still a few items!  (Such is the richness of the Guide)

  • the Errio-Unit are clearly key players in the provinces, married into many of the provincial dynasties.  This puts them squarely into a rivalry with the Eel-Ariash and the Tarshites.  Be interesting to see how that plays out post-Dragonrise.
  • Palace of Flowers (large city): Also called Elmsam - the name Elmsam was new.  Suggestive of Yelm as the Bringer of Flowers. 
  • Verenmars’ Golden Coffin was stolen by Tarshite or Pentan raiders in the Third Age and lost. - Anyone wishing to resurrect Saird may need to find it.  Tarshites of course would not want it to be found.
  • Pir the Lawmaker is the patron god of Thubana and the source of its superiority. - I think this is the first appearance of Pir the Lawmaker.  What's his or her origin?  DH would seem most likely given Thubana's tall towers, but could have some other origin.
  • Sword Hill, sacred to Humakt - sounds like a good pilgrimage site for Humakti.

 

 

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:
  • Pir the Lawmaker is the patron god of Thubana and the source of its superiority. - I think this is the first appearance of Pir the Lawmaker.  What's his or her origin?  DH would seem most likely given Thubana's tall towers, but could have some other origin.

Elder Secrets contains an odd parable of ancestral Pir, "a woman of ancient times" who provides descendants ultimately fatal magic and receives organized worship at a shrine in an undisclosed locale. While the story feels almost like a fragment pieced in from the wrong notebook, Thubana may be the place.

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p319 - I had heard of Vorwaha Bisonlord as long ago as Dorastor: Land of Doom but this was the first time I heard that he became King of Sylila.

p321 - Does a masterful job of explaining the two Cafols.

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On ‎9‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 1:46 AM, jajagappa said:
  • Palace of Flowers (large city): Also called Elmsam - the name Elmsam was new.  Suggestive of Yelm as the Bringer of Flowers. 

It's always struck me as interesting that Peloria in our world relates to a type of flower, and comes via Latin from Greek peloros, from pelor, meaning... monster.

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19 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

It's always struck me as interesting that Peloria in our world relates to a type of flower, and comes via Latin from Greek peloros, from pelor, meaning... monster.

Isn't that "peloria" about an abnormality, though?

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16 hours ago, Steve said:

Isn't that "peloria" about an abnormality, though?

Yes. It's when a plant that normally produces zygomorphic flowers produces actinomorphic flowers instead.

There was also a Thessalian religious festival resembling the Roman Saturnalia called the Peloria.

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Cardinals eggs are mentioned as the treasures that Hwarin Dalthippa acquires in trade for Ingkots Dwarven weapons. A cardinals iron egg is also in Gringles Pawnshop, as long ago as Apple Lane, but explained in the Sartar Companion. They hatch into magical metal (presumably iron) birds. Perhaps this is the same as Palangios Iron Vrok? 

Interesting that, although they are supposed to be from sacred birds of Rinliddi, none of the mentions of them are very near Rinliddi. 

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

Cardinals eggs are mentioned as the treasures that Hwarin Dalthippa acquires in trade for Ingkots Dwarven weapons. A cardinals iron egg is also in Gringles Pawnshop, as long ago as Apple Lane, but explained in the Sartar Companion. They hatch into magical metal (presumably iron) birds. Perhaps this is the same as Palangios Iron Vrok? 

Interesting that, although they are supposed to be from sacred birds of Rinliddi, none of the mentions of them are very near Rinliddi. 

I seem to recall that Moirades re-established some bird in Tarsh as part of his quest to become King of Dragon Pass, which may have been a red-breasted cardinal.

The Golden Age birdlands used to be much greater than Rinliddi. I am not certain whether there were humans in the Ratite Empire when it began, or whether they got adopted later on as useful riders. While there are heron fiwan in Tarien, IMO the southwestern Heron Hegemony was Surenslib's wetland empire in Darjiin and Doblian.

Except where the humans were made by earth deities or ancient mothers, I think that bird beings were dominant in the earlier (not so) Golden Age. I have a suspicion that Brightface conquered them and replaced them with humans east of Naveria. Alternatively, those wars may have been fought between King Griffon and Vrimak.

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11 hours ago, davecake said:

Cardinals eggs are mentioned as the treasures that Hwarin Dalthippa acquires in trade for Ingkots Dwarven weapons. A cardinals iron egg is also in Gringles Pawnshop, as long ago as Apple Lane, but explained in the Sartar Companion. They hatch into magical metal (presumably iron) birds. Perhaps this is the same as Palangios Iron Vrok? 

I'd probably play these as the same.  One of the supposed Iron Cardinal's Egg retrieved by Hwarin, makes it's way south to Tarsh, and somehow ends up with Gringle.  But it is in fact the egg of an Iron Vrok.  Yelmites or Yelmalions would love to get such.

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Rereading on the history of the Orlanthi lands of Peloria, I noticed another deity overlooked previously: Senbara, wife of Odayla, worshiped in Cafol (Old, or Larger) (p.321). Clearly an earth goddess: "From here they visit their parents in the Air and under the Earth"

Each city of Dara Ni has its own patron deity: Pir in Thubana, Jeru the Staff in Nothium (a god of wine and pleasure), Kistium with its "temple made of water" (presumably to Erinflarth), Suda with its temple of Biselenslib, Everina and (the Manimati entity) Ostodaka whose ribs keep away the river crocodiles.

I wonder how the "temple made of water" looks - are these magical walls and roofs made of water? Are they artesian springs arranged in the manner of walls, or alternatively a cunning set of aqueducts constantly leaking out a water curtain to make up those walls? The structure was erected in the Second Age, possibly under the aegis of the EWF.

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On p319, in the box on the Errio-unit, they are said to be related by marriage with barbarian ruling houses from the Provinces.

Don't such marriages come with gifts of lands or something?

If the Errio-unit marry Provincial noble daughters, they may take them home in Sylila, but they may also receive lands in the Provinces and own them.

The reverse would also apply.

Now Sylila is not really owned by the Errio-unit clan. They rule it with the Emperor's agreement.

 

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2 minutes ago, Tcneseis said:

Don't such marriages come with gifts of lands or something?

Not necessarily.  It's not a feudal-based economy where there is some implied dowry or the like. 

For the provincial houses, they get the prestige of a tie to a Lunar noble family (which generally have some connection to the Red Emperor, i.e. the offspring have claim to imperial blood).

For the Errio-unit, they get influence over the provincial kingdom (to some extent). Of course, there are gifts and tribute involved as well, maybe agreements to found temples, etc.

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4 minutes ago, Tcneseis said:

On p319, in the box on the Errio-unit, they are said to be related by marriage with barbarian ruling houses from the Provinces.

Don't such marriages come with gifts of lands or something?

In Orlanthi society, land is never bound to personal property, so under Orlanthi law this isn't possible. A marriage may bring property in terms of cattle or goods.

There is the possibility of a clan chief or tribal king granting use of land to a third party - as happened with the Lunar Manor in Colymar lands under Blackmor, or the grant of Apple Lane to Gringle.

Under Lunar (or Dara Happan) law, such land yields are possible. In the Provinces, this may lead to Orlanthi law being overruled. In the end, the Orlanthi may oppose the acquisition and be transformed into the unfree work-force for that land, or they are forced to emigrate.

 

4 minutes ago, Tcneseis said:

If the Errio-unit marry Provincial noble daughters, they may take them home in Sylila, but they may also receive lands in the Provinces and own them.

The reverse would also apply.

The reverse has happened (under Lunar/Dara Happan law?) for the royal house of Tarsh and the Blacktooth family of Fazzur. These worthies were granted lands in Sylila, presumably during the reign of Palashee and/or Phargentes.

It isn't quite clear to me who exactly is the land-holder under Lunar or Dara Happan law. Are there individuals with the title to the land as a person (rather than as the holder of an office), or is land ownership bound to the family (and the patriarch or matriarch of the family)?

But then, property laws or customs in Glorantha are quite different from those of our players of GMs, and pointing out these differences again and again may just alienate the players who want their characters to own whatever they rob and conquer personally, and fudge Gloranthan realism.

 

4 minutes ago, Tcneseis said:

Now Sylila is not really owned by the Errio-unit clan. They rule it with the Emperor's agreement.

Parts of Sylila probably are in family possession of the Errio-unit, although when they get ousted by the next winner of a Dart Competition, the family is more likely to keep land outside of the satrapy than under the new satrapial family.

The only satrapial family still at large after losing a satrapy are the Eel-ariash, who did so by having a spare satrapy.

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33 minutes ago, Joerg said:

It isn't quite clear to me who exactly is the land-holder under Lunar or Dara Happan law. Are there individuals with the title to the land as a person (rather than as the holder of an office), or is land ownership bound to the family (and the patriarch or matriarch of the family)?

If as in Orlanthi culture land is held by virtue of the upper echelon's agreement, then Sylila and the Provinces cannot work together very well.

 

Edited by Tcneseis

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34 minutes ago, Tcneseis said:

If as in Orlanthi culture land is held by virtue of the upper echelon's agreement, then Sylila and the Provinces cannot work together very well.

But bear in mind that Sylila was effectively a provincial kingdom until Hwarin Dalthippa.  She married into the kingdom, and it became a satrapy by virtue of her presence, but functioned similarly to other nearby kingdoms through the 3rd and 4th wanes (i.e. while Sheng Seleris ruled the Heartland). If it wasn't for the Conquering Daughter, and the region's strength and independence through those wanes, Sylila would likely be very similar to the other provincial kingdoms, particularly Tarsh. But Hwarin was a daughter of the Red Emperor, and she is the protective goddess of Sylila, so that makes a distinction.

Sylila, Tarsh, Imther, Vanch - all are ruled by royal clans/dynasties. Sylila happens to be called a satrapy, and only owes tribute to the Red Emperor.  The other owe tribute and obedience to the Lunar Provincial Admin and through his to the Red Emperor, so the obligations are heavier.

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1 hour ago, Tcneseis said:

If as in Orlanthi culture land is held by virtue of the upper echelon's agreement, then Sylila and the Provinces cannot work together very well.

The empire can (and will) offer the chiefs and kings of the provinces offers that they cannot refuse, in bureaucracy-backed Godfather style, usually tempered with some form of bribe. On the whole, the provinces that change from purely Orlanthi to a hybrid Lunar--Orlanthi system thrive or at least get by, while the provinces retaining their Orlanthi ways carry additional burdens to their normal obligations. Compare p.270 in Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes (very much a reprint from Barbarian Adventures p.38) or p.25 of Thunder Rebels (You Are Being Plundered).

 

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11 hours ago, jajagappa said:

If it wasn't for the Conquering Daughter, and the region's strength and independence through those wanes, Sylila would likely be very similar to the other provincial kingdoms, particularly Tarsh. But Hwarin was a daughter of the Red Emperor, and she is the protective goddess of Sylila, so that makes a distinction.

The Sylilan emphasis on Odayla too, makes them different, but I understand that they have the same marriage customs.

The satrap is not a native from Sylila but he is able to form alliances with royal dynasties in the Provinces. It's true King Pharandros was not really a typical Tarshite. Their families may be more like rich merchants than traditional Orlanthi nobles.

 

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6 hours ago, Tcneseis said:

The satrap is not a native from Sylila but he is able to form alliances with royal dynasties in the Provinces.

There's nothing written to date about whether the Errio-unit are native to Sylila or not, but the satrapal palace is in Jillaro and that's the center for the Hwarin Dalthippa cult over which the satrap presides.  The prior satraps, from the Hwarin-ony clan, were all descended from Hwarin Dalthippa who settled Jillaro.

6 hours ago, Tcneseis said:

Their families may be more like rich merchants than traditional Orlanthi nobles.

Probably better association is as hereditary temple/cult leaders. 

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9 hours ago, jajagappa said:
15 hours ago, Tcneseis said:

Their families may be more like rich merchants than traditional Orlanthi nobles.

Probably better association is as hereditary temple/cult leaders. 

I see. The Hwarin Dalthippa cult is their main job in Sylila. I'm not sure I understand this very well. I don't think it's a major satrapal duty, but it makes sense that the relationships with the Provinces allow them to arrange marriages, though other cults are available.

 

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3 hours ago, Tcneseis said:

I don't think it's a major satrapal duty

Temples are the cult centers of worship. Temples and access to the gods (and control of access to the gods) mean magic, power, wealth, prestige. (Remember that temples receive the tithes/offerings of their worshippers.) Hwarin is an important Lunar provincial cult, particularly in Sylila, Imther, and Vanch. Also she is the goddess of Jillaro. (Just like Hon-eel is the main Lunar goddess for Tarsh.)

These positions are very central, very important for any satrap. 

Edited by jajagappa
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I think there are other ways to confirm a political marriage than to set up a priesthood. The groom could assume the military command of a friendly foreign troop in the bride's kingdom, for example. But there are many cases of magical religious alliances in Glorantha so I like this suggestion.

 

Edited by Tcneseis

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2 hours ago, Tcneseis said:

I think there are other ways to confirm a political marriage than to set up a priesthood.

Certainly the case. I was just noting that the Satrap of Sylila IS the high priest of the Conquering Daughter. Politics and religion are not separate, but reinforce each other. 

The satrap owes tribute to the Red Emperor. Some he gains from the obligations of the cities and tribes to the satrap. Some he gains from the obligations of the temples to the satrap. The temples receive considerable tribute from the folk they support and those villages, clans, etc. which celebrate the various gods. 

A good marriage of an offspring into a provincial kingdom helps secure allegiances with those places. If the offspring gains position in one of the local temples (e.g. of the Conquering Daughter), then they will be channeling tribute from that temple not only to the provincial king, but also to the high priest of the Conquering Daughter (aka Satrap of Sylila). And they will marry in offspring from the provincial kings, perhaps as officers in military regiments that the satrap supports, perhaps in temples such as Issaries, Etyries, Lhankor Mhy, Irrippi Ontor, etc. There's a whole web of obligations and tribute and loyalties created.

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Certainly the case. I was just noting that the Satrap of Sylila IS the high priest of the Conquering Daughter. Politics and religion are not separate, but reinforce each other. 

Suppose the satrap is actually invested with a heavy religious burden, like this -- the Red Emperor rules Sylila, with the satrap as a representative. But otherwise the satrap is the Red Emperor. Now Hwarin Dalthippa is the Emperor's daughter. But the Red Emperor cannot be his own daughter's high priest, because she should worship him, not the other way round. So the satrap cannot either.

 

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

A good marriage of an offspring into a provincial kingdom helps secure allegiances with those places. If the offspring gains position in one of the local temples (e.g. of the Conquering Daughter), then they will be channeling tribute from that temple not only to the provincial king, but also to the high priest of the Conquering Daughter (aka Satrap of Sylila). And they will marry in offspring from the provincial kings, perhaps as officers in military regiments that the satrap supports, perhaps in temples such as Issaries, Etyries, Lhankor Mhy, Irrippi Ontor, etc. There's a whole web of obligations and tribute and loyalties created.

I don't know how strict this would be. Why would the temple owe any tribute to the Provincial kings?

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