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Grievous

Orlanth's look (and other significances of visual representation)

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Multiple arms, multiple selfs - the Norse depiction of Sleipnir as eight-legged horse may have had to do with the problem already present observing horse legs of fast moving horses in real time, and an extra fast horse may appear to have more legs.

Deities break limits of ordinary mortals. Assigning them multiple body parts in artistic representations is one way to show this fact.

Artistic representation needn't reflect reality. I strongly doubt that Siglat and his fighting companions faced the barbarians who had the bad luck to be enclosed in the same bit of Fronela that contained Loskalm sky-clad. Meriatan's get-up from his encounter with Congern is way more likely.

 

Personally, I don't recognize the multiple head depictions as showing Arkat, but they might work out for me in a gif which shows these heads in sequence, merging from one to the next. But that's just my personal approach to visual media. I am fine with two entities in the same place, each one the halo of the other, but I couldn't pencil even a simple sketch of that concept. I might be able to use translucent layers of two separate images to approach that effect on the screen, however, and I might have an idea about two stained glass layers of either picture blending from one to the other depending on the color filter behind the two stains. And I guess some ingenious Gloranthan artists might have done similar things, or multi-layered mosaics using transparent crystals or pieces of glass to achieve such an effect.

Basically, we are the children of an era with a multitude of visual media that we may find more appropriate to depict a concept. In some cases, that hunch may be right, in others, the limitations of low tech, low magic artwork might provide more honest depictions of the un-depictable.

 

I liked the formalized depictions of the Orlanthi deities in Thunder Rebels and Storm Tribe as carved (and presumably painted) relief in wood. But that probably is too Slavic for the "Bronze Age vibe" meaning the temporally displaced Greek city state hoplite amor for the Ilias (about as in-period as the use of 15th century plate armor in that horrible Arthur flick with Sean Connery and Richard Gere, never mind that Mallory's ideas may have been close to that - my image of Arthur is Roman Iron Age, with some Roman leftovers).

But then, while I seek deep immersion in my roleplaying, I am often quite detached from visual representations of the Other Side or the Godtime. Not to the level where one sees abstract power lines, or the primordial runes piercing whichever visual representation of gods and antagonsists are provided (or on how many levels).

I might perceive a giant humanoid on a platform as one visual (and possibly physical) representation of a deity in Genert's Garden, to use the imagery David Scott suggested for interaction of less divine inhabitants of the Garden with the Greater Deities of Genert's court, but such manifestations are just one mask, and not necessarily the one representing the entity behind it best.

So, how many arms does Orlanth have in bed with Ernalda? Two, and as many as necessary. Not to mention other parts of anatomy. Will this get depicted? Some weird shrine, guaranteed. Quite likely in an earth temple. In an official publication? Not likely, due to US censorship rules dictating the main market.

 

One thing often overlooked about Godtime: This is when and where things get created. Establishing an extra arm or head in a situation is nothing impossible. A deity could lose its head, and keep it (although that would make the cult of Thanatar as presented a bit pointless, so not really). But the beheaded deity and the deity before the beheading are the same.

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On 2/21/2018 at 1:40 PM, Grievous said:

To be honest I don't really remember a place where Orlanth was consistently and definitely depicted, but I'm talking about a general feel for his appearance I've picked up from Hero Wars/Heroquest era material (and also some Runequest stuff I've seen). Basically, I remember him as a bare-chested ur-Orlanthi, not much different from the Orlanthi you might otherwise see or maybe even from a generalized vision of Thor. I guess he could've been blue back then as well, but I only remember black and white pictures.

OK, well *I* remember zero pictures in which Orlanth is depicted directly, rather than as something like a statue or a fresco, except for in the HeroQuest stills in King of Dragon Pass.

If you can't remember any either, your impression might not be a true memory.

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30 minutes ago, Roko Joko said:

OK, well *I* remember zero pictures in which Orlanth is depicted directly, rather than as something like a statue or a fresco, except for in the HeroQuest stills in King of Dragon Pass.

If you can't remember any either, your impression might not be a true memory.

I grant you that - they might also well be pictures I have (wrongly) assumed to be depicting Orlanth. I could go digging, but actually finding the pictures is - to my mind at least - less relevant to my point than the impression that I was left with.

Certainly there are at least the woodcut representations, which Joerg mentions above, and which I do remember from the time I was introduced to Glorantha. No four armed deities there. I always liked the woodcuts actually, and still do, even if I'm a bit unsure how to place them in the "new order" (they definitely hearken to a time when the game was more viking/dark age in feeling). I could see them having a role as "common art" depictions of the gods that you could find around clan tulas and in/around houses, as opposed to more erudite art that would be found at temples and holy sites. The first would be done by people less familiar with the gods (though really pretty much everyone in Orlanthi society is somewhat familiar even on a personal level), thus depicting them more or less as regular people, reflecting roles and tasks one finds in society, while the latter would be done by (or for) holy people who have deeper knowledge.

Edited by Grievous

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One way to reconcile different in-world art styles is to say they're from different eras.  For example it's easy to imagine that the Icelandic aprons in King of Dragon Pass were worn at the time, but have gone out of fashion 400 years later.

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41 minutes ago, Roko Joko said:

One way to reconcile different in-world art styles is to say they're from different eras.  For example it's easy to imagine that the Icelandic aprons in King of Dragon Pass were worn at the time, but have gone out of fashion 400 years later.

Or from different cultural traditions. Even amongst the Orlanthi there is likely to be a wide range of representations, due to local traditions and the influence of neighboring cultures.

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Orlanth in KODP wears a blue cloak:

 

latest?cb=20130316205347

 

and the "reenactor" depicting Heler (?) is painted blue:

 

latest?cb=20130316204140

 

You can also see that Orlanth here has a beard. If you look at recent depictions (in the sourcebook and 13th Age Glorantha), you can see he's got a moustache. 

lightbringers.png


What's that all about? Well...the artist is Michelle Lockamy who also did art for Six Ages. There just may be some continuity there. ;) (if you watch the trailer that just came out...)

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Funnly enough Orlanth in most of the in-universe depictions I've done of him tends to have a beard, no moustache. Guess Michelle just felt like balancing that out with her own take? :)

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3 hours ago, Roko Joko said:

OK, well *I* remember zero pictures in which Orlanth is depicted directly

HQ1 p. 118 - black & white, so no sense of skin or hair coloration though I could easily picture it with blue skin and white/grey hair.

image.png.dd760810f2f3dab593ffa0254d554a91.png

Simon Bray's woodcuts are another example from Thunder Rebels, but those are fairly standard human forms/appearances.

Also cover of the Cult Compendium.  Though not explicitly stated, I think we'd presume this to be Orlanth.

image.png.92a910915ddf6f88174e31c785d7992d.png

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11 hours ago, Roko Joko said:

One way to reconcile different in-world art styles is to say they're from different eras.  For example it's easy to imagine that the Icelandic aprons in King of Dragon Pass were worn at the time, but have gone out of fashion 400 years later.

Or are by different artists, or depict different aspects of a deity, or are from different cultures, or are from different clans.

I don't like the idea that all depictions of Orlanth should be the same, otherwise why have different depictions?

Orlanthi depict Orlanth as the Ultimate Chief, or Ultimate Warrior. Yelmites depict Orlanth as a barbarian upstart. Trolls depict Orlanth as a Thief. Westerners depict Orlanth as a Traveller. Which is right? Orlanth wearing Woad will be different to Orlanth the King. Orlanth the Husband of Ernalda will be different to Orlanth the abductor of Nymphs. 

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9 hours ago, jajagappa said:

HQ1 p. 118 - black & white, so no sense of skin or hair coloration though I could easily picture it with blue skin and white/grey hair.

image.png.dd760810f2f3dab593ffa0254d554a91.png

Simon Bray's woodcuts are another example from Thunder Rebels, but those are fairly standard human forms/appearances.

Also cover of the Cult Compendium.  Though not explicitly stated, I think we'd presume this to be Orlanth.

image.png.92a910915ddf6f88174e31c785d7992d.png

I've gotta say, I'm not a fan of either piece and wouldn't use either as reference pieces for other artists. Here's my go to reference piece for Orlanth:
 

ORLANTH-2.jpg

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15 hours ago, JanPospisil said:

You can also see that Orlanth here has a beard. If you look at recent depictions (in the sourcebook and 13th Age Glorantha), you can see he's got a moustache. 

We are in serious danger of getting silly here.

I have had a beard, moustache and been clean shaven at various points of my life, all such representations of me are correct and different.

There was a spoof Glorantha Digest discussion about "What colour are Uleria's Panties?" and "What colour are Zoran Zoran's eyes?" back in the day, showing that Glorantha fans will argue passionately about anything, even inconsequential things. Nice to see that things haven't changed at all.

 

 

 

Edited by soltakss
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52 minutes ago, Jeff said:

I've gotta say, I'm not a fan of either piece and wouldn't use either as reference pieces for other artists. Here's my go to reference piece for Orlanth:
 

ORLANTH-2.jpg

I find this one much more interesting and inspiring than all the celtic and viking warrior Orlanths.

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

We are in serious danger of getting silly here.

I have had a beard, moustache and been clean shaven at various points of my life, all such representations of me are correct and different.

There was a spoof Glorantha Digest discussion about "What colour are Uleria's Panties?" and "What colour are Zoran Zoran'e eyes?" back in the day, showing that glorantha fans will argue passionately about anything, even inconsequential things. Nice to see that things haven't changed at all.

 

 

 

I find that religious iconography is often like anime. (great sentence to be typing in the morning btw :D)

It can be very stylized and characters are often distinguished only by their attributes like accessories or hairstyles and hats. 

And often the characters reflect parts of society and their fashion. If you look at 1st or 2nd century buddhist statues from northern India and Afghanistan, you'll see a whole lot of moustached dudes, because that was the noble fashion then. If you see a guy with a full beard who also carries a weird club or a stick, there's a very good chance of him being Vajrapani (Herakles).

When it was time to draw the gods, we definitely looked at how the people worshipping them dress and groom themselves. (I think that'll be clearer once the game is out)

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2 hours ago, goldenwheeldancer said:

I find this one much more interesting and inspiring than all the celtic and viking warrior Orlanths.

I agree. Especially since the pseudo-Celtic or pseudo-Viking stuff doesn't look at all how those people represented their gods.

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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

I've gotta say, I'm not a fan of either piece and wouldn't use either as reference pieces for other artists. Here's my go to reference piece for Orlanth:

Fully agree.  I really like the updated looks provided in the Sourcebook.

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31 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Fully agree.  I really like the updated looks provided in the Sourcebook.

Oh yes indeed - if anybody thought this thread was anything but a love song to the new looks, well, they were wrong

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On 2/20/2018 at 6:16 PM, Jenx said:

As the person who drew all of those halos, there are two simple answers:
1. They look cool, I like drawing them, so I put them on people.
2. In-universe, I'd say it's a visual representation that the Pelorians use in their religious artwork, so it is included in this as well. The Halos on the Solar pantheon are  a sunburst, and only important figures in that pantheon have them, usually some the highest ranking one or the most important in a grouping. Yelm is basically all halo on there. The Lunars probably use that instead to signify a direct connection to the Red Goddess - notice how none of the Seven Mothers (save for She Who Waits, of course), has a halo, but everyone who comes from the Goddess does.

Working my way through the Entekosiad, I find this mention of halos which brings me back to this thread: "Bisos has received the halo which is characteristic of Carmanian divinities." So, maybe this idea wasn't motivating the halos in the new material, but an interesting aside anyway!

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Nah, I never managed to work my way through the Entekosiad, I'll admit it. I've given it a try several times, and it just doesn't work for me.

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I'd like to see how Orlanth is depicted in art by his enemies. A powerful demon to be feared or a weakling, to be scorned and trodden underfoot?

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36 minutes ago, Iskallor said:

I'd like to see how Orlanth is depicted in art by his enemies. A powerful demon to be feared or a weakling, to be scorned and trodden underfoot?

While Orlanth had plenty foes, most of those he vanquished beyond maintaining a culture that produces artistic representations. The Kralori and other easterners don't differentiate much between Orlanth and other foes from the west. The Dara Happans recognize him as a foe, and reference him by a number of names and representations - especially Plentonius, whose research mostly was done prior to extended contact between Dara Happa and the Theyalans other than battles with the horse warlords. 

Harald Smith aka @jajagappa had a nice downsized version of Orlanth in his Imther mythology published in New Lolon Gospel - non-canonical, but highly enlightening nonetheless.

Quite often, the enemy storm god is known by a different name, and ends up with a different subsequent myth. How much Orlanth is in Aerlit, and vice versa? What about Kahar, the storm god ancestor of the Zabdamar, or Desero in Pamaltela? The various herding tribes that descended on Fronela, Peloria and Pelanda? How much did the Lightbringers "re-unite" such deities, how much did Harmast, how much did the God Learners?

The storm god leadership role doesn't automatically mean that Orlanth was in charge. For many activities, Vadrus was the warleader of Storm, and Umath himself liked a good shake-up of others, too. "Violence is always an option" reaches a long way back.

And I wouldn't be surprised if some of the enemies of the EWF continue to picture Orlanth as a dragon.

Edited by Joerg
Editor stuck again with no line feed...

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Harald Smith aka @jajagappa had a nice downsized version of Orlanth in his Imther mythology published in New Lolon Gospel - non-canonical, but highly enlightening nonetheless.

Yes, Orlantio was cast into a largely trickster-type role by the Yelmalions (Khelmali).  Someone needed, but who tended to cause lots of trouble.  I'll have to see if I can dig out the cult writeup.

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On 2/20/2018 at 10:16 AM, Jenx said:

As the person who drew all of those halos, there are two simple answers:
1. They look cool, I like drawing them, so I put them on people.
2. In-universe, I'd say it's a visual representation that the Pelorians use in their religious artwork, so it is included in this as well. The Halos on the Solar pantheon are  a sunburst, and only important figures in that pantheon have them, usually some the highest ranking one or the most important in a grouping. Yelm is basically all halo on there. The Lunars probably use that instead to signify a direct connection to the Red Goddess - notice how none of the Seven Mothers (save for She Who Waits, of course), has a halo, but everyone who comes from the Goddess does.

 

Not to mention for the Lunars, if you're going to plop your new religion down in a monocultural region it certainly doesn't HURT to appropriate/absorb/adopt as much of the iconography of the supplanted culture as you can...Cf Christmas/trees, etc

Edited by styopa

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