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Do Praxians count Coup?


pachristian

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Some of the Plains Tribes of North America practiced "Counting Coup". This was a way of counting how many brave acts a warrior did.

Quoting from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counting_coup):

  • Counting coup refers to the winning of prestige against an enemy by the Plains Indians of North America. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, which could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories. Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior with the hand, bow, or coup stick and escaping unharmed. Risk of injury or death was required to count coup.

In a previous game, I made "counting coup" from touching a dead enemy a real risk, as the enemy's spirit could (if it was still hanging around, % equal to enemy's POW) attack you in spirit combat and avenge it's own death. 

I'm not sure if I want to keep this in my game, and thought I'd solicit opinions. (a) is the appropriate for "canon" Prax. and (b) does this add to the fun of the game, or simply waste time?

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4 hours ago, pachristian said:

I'm not sure if I want to keep this in my game, and thought I'd solicit opinions. (a) is the appropriate for "canon" Prax. and (b) does this add to the fun of the game, or simply waste time?

You are citing the Amerind tradition; I some think other cultures had similar (but not identical) traditions; it may be fun to create a "unique" Praxian tradition not singularly-derived...?

I'd say that "add to the fun" vs. "waste of time" comes down to 2 questions:

  • Do the players enjoy (have you previously had them pursue) this action "for its own sake"?
  • Is there a game-mechanical reward?  A "Reputation" score; a CHA-bonus for leading raids; etc... ?

If the answer to either question is "Yes" then I'd probably keep "Coup," but if the answer to both is "No" then I'd likely drop it ...

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I payed a Bison Rider (I think that was the tribe, it was a long time ago) in Home of the Bold and counting coup was definitely referenced in the character background. Of course that’s not really canon, but it’s a good point of reference.

Simon Hibbs

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Check out the Runequest Glorantha Wiki for RQ links and resources. Any updates or contributions welcome!

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4 minutes ago, simonh said:

I payed a Bison Rider (I think that was the tribe, it was a long time ago) in Home of the Bold and counting coup was definitely referenced in the character background. Of course that’s not really canon, but it’s a good point of reference.

Simon Hibbs

Convulsion 92?

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There is an equivalent for Waha khans in how many tasks of Waha you have completed (see Waha cult in in HeroQuest Glorantha. You can repeat the same task, but it counts more if you do different ones. This provides ranking for Khans who are not holding a leadership rank. Initiates do simplified Tasks as part of their initiation so this wouldn't preclude players doing them for practice however it's pretty pointless doing them 

https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/4141-prax-and-the-thousand-questions-about-the-place/?page=7&tab=comments#comment-79126

https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/4203-need-a-waha-heroquest/?tab=comments#comment-65087

As for the actual practice that you quote:

Quote

Counting coup refers to the winning of prestige against an enemy by the Plains Indians of North America. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, which could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories. Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior with the hand, bow, or coup stick and escaping unharmed. Risk of injury or death was required to count coup.

The key word here is enemy. Who is the enemy. Killing other tribes' members during raiding is normally avoided, otherwise it starts a revenge cycle that is likely to spiral out of control until a war starts. This is not the way of Waha. So the real enemy are Chaos and most foreigners (those who don't use the Peaceful Cut). Orlanthi aren't foreigners so that leaves in the Occupation period, the Lunars for some tribes Pentans, Kralori and the hsunchen on the Shan Shan boarder. With this in mind, I don't believe counting coup exists in the same form as the Plains Indians.

Edited by David Scott
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On 10/8/2017 at 4:24 AM, David Scott said:

... Killing other tribes' members during raiding is normally avoided, otherwise it starts a revenge cycle that is likely to spiral out of control until a war starts. This is not the way of Waha. So the real enemy are Chaos and most foreigners (those who don't use the Peaceful Cut). Orlanthi aren't foreigners so that leaves in the Occupation period, the Lunars for some tribes Pentans, Kralori and the hsunchen on the Shan Shan boarder. With this in mind, I don't believe counting coup exists in the same form as the Plains Indians.

YGMV....  Here is a thought :   maybe Praxians conducting a raid will avoid killing, but the defenders may not feel so constrained.

Revenge-cycles are avoided, because the ATTACKERS mostly don't kill.

So in addition to the gains of the raid itself is the "coup" of the sub-lethal attack in the face of lethal-force defense; they knew they were risking their lives!

I repeat:  YGMV.

 

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1 minute ago, g33k said:

maybe Praxians conducting a raid will avoid killing, but the defenders may not feel so constrained.

While that's certainly an idea, I think that both sides aim to wound, just not kill. An incapacitated praxian is more of an immediate burden to attackers or defenders. Yes there's healing magic and everyone knows it's limits. But they are just avoiding fatalities, not wounding - no head shots, aim for limbs, dismount them, trampling is out, etc

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18 hours ago, David Scott said:

While that's certainly an idea, I think that both sides aim to wound, just not kill. An incapacitated praxian is more of an immediate burden to attackers or defenders. Yes there's healing magic and everyone knows it's limits. But they are just avoiding fatalities, not wounding - no head shots, aim for limbs, dismount them, trampling is out, etc

I think so, the same should go for Orlanthi cattle raiding. You're trying to steal cattle, not start a blood feud. That's one thing I found a little OTT in the Coming Storm. The Orlanthi tribes were constantly massacring and slaughtering each other in the backstory, happily burning down steads full of women and children. It does set up a very dynamic set of clashing political and interpersonal forces. Maybe it's about showing how bad things can get when there isn't a strong central royal authority to keep the peace and enforce justice, but then the Praxians don't have that either.

Simon Hibbs

Check out the Runequest Glorantha Wiki for RQ links and resources. Any updates or contributions welcome!

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22 minutes ago, simonh said:

Maybe it's about showing how bad things can get when there isn't a strong central royal authority to keep the peace and enforce justice, but then the Praxians don't have that either.

I think there is a difference here, the Praxians have a culture hero who shows them how to live. For example Raiding is part of the culture but war isn't (except against foreigners). Orlanthi have a different model with a different limiter.

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Utterly non-canonical - but I've been attempting to explore aspects of warfare in Dragon Pass. One textbox says:

 

Raiding and Warfare

It is necessary to emphasize the significant difference between the two.

Among most tribal and clan-based societies, neighbors are raided for portable wealth and to gain a reputation, not for killing, because killing fuels a cycle of vengeance and blood feud. Captives may subsequently be rescued or purchased back.

Fighting may occur, but often when a raid goes wrong; any deaths will have long-term consequences for both the perpetrators and the victim’s relatives. This may, among some societies be mitigated by putting the matter to legal judgment by a recognized authority, but ongoing violence is always a possible outcome.

This distinction does not apply when Lunar slave-raiders, whether independent entrepreneurs or state-sponsored, engage in their trade beyond the borders or within newly pacified territories. Killing is often unavoidable, and undesirable only because it culls the strongest.

 

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