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SteveMND

Practicalities of being a follower of Ty Kora Tek?

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9 hours ago, Joerg said:

Nandan is mentioned as a gender in RQG p.81, Sex and Marriage box.

Good catch.  Important note that nandan is a gender, not just a deity, as that implies that the stricture that males cannot join the cult is still applicable.

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1 minute ago, jajagappa said:
9 hours ago, Joerg said:

Nandan is mentioned as a gender in RQG p.81, Sex and Marriage box.

Good catch.  Important note that nandan is a gender, not just a deity, as that implies that the stricture that males cannot join the cult is still applicable.

The inverse conclusion is that someone with male sex joining a cult like Ernalda or Ty Kora Tek is by definition of nandan or at least helering gender.

Which gets us to the weird situation that there would be a lot of female sex initiates of Vinga (or other male occupation cults) whose gender is really helering rather than vingan.

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31 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The inverse conclusion is that someone with male sex joining a cult like Ernalda or Ty Kora Tek is by definition of nandan or at least helering gender.

Which gets us to the weird situation that there would be a lot of female sex initiates of Vinga (or other male occupation cults) whose gender is really helering rather than vingan.

I assume that would be weird to non-Heortlings, not to the Heortlings, based on real world societies that have more than two genders (like, increasingly, our own). Helerings are more likely not interested in warrior/'masculine' skills as their main activity.

Still, something like 85% of Heortlings are M or F, I'd estimate. Which means if you really want to hang with multiple people of your gender or orientation (if its not M of F or heterosexual), you either have to move to the city/big town, or form a hero band, much like in our society.

Edited by jeffjerwin
typo

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3 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

I assume that would be weird to non-Heortlings, not to the Heortlings, based on real world societies that have more than two genders (like, increasingly, our own). Helerings are more likely not interested in warrior/'masculine' skills as their main activity.

The archetypal deity for the helering gender is a warrior's companion, and a warrior in his own right, although he also fills the role of the damsel in distress (in the Aroka myth) and has mothered a couple of beings

 In The Coming Storm, the most prominent helering person is Aethelric the girl, housecarl and one of the bodyguards of the Red Cow chief, combining the very male activity of the tough and respected warrior with surprising femininity.

 

 

3 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Still, something like 85% of Heortlings are M or F, I'd estimate. Which means if you really want to hang with multiple people of your gender or orientation, you have to either move to the city/big town, or form a hero band, much like in our society.

Intimate companionship probably is possible even between members of the same gender, as Orlanthi males are very much into hugging and kissing. There are basically only few sexual taboos in Orlanthi society - sex with non-adults, forced sex against the expressed wishes of the partner (aka rape), and possibly bestiality while in human shape. Breaking marital vows is a different issue, but those vows might define the extent of exclusivity of the marriage.

Marriage is more than just a personal relationship, too. Depending on the type of marriage, it can involve adoption into the partner's clan, and many a marriage has served as a peace bond between conflicting clans, creating something of a hostage situation for the individuals moving to the other clan.

Point of the Vingan or Nandan genders is that hanging around with people of your own gender means hanging around with the cis-people of your opposite sex (provided you have exactly one, the number may as well be zero or two). Helering gendered folk hang around with just about anyone in whichever role they feel like, although they are supposed to stick to the role of unambiguous cults whenever performing as such - which means permanent abstention from reproduction even in the male role if a follower of Ty Kora Tek, to get back to the original topic.

It is possible that there are gender-fluid groups somewhere in Heortling society with very few (if any) standard males or females, but they haven't been described yet. Clans with high numbers of Vingan warriors have featured in King of Dragon Pass. I haven't seen a strongly Nandan presence anywhere, yet.

 

I do wonder what the Imarjan take on nandan sons is in Esrolia. As non-mothers, they are barred from deeper mysteries of Ernalda, but they might be eligible for Dark Earth priestesshood. Actually having given birth on the Other Side would remove the barriers to queendom, too, although their fertility would be constantly questioned unless they spent most of their time being pregnant from Other Side intercourse. I have no idea about hermaphrodites in Esrolian society, either - there they might have to form communities of their own to be recognized as female gender.

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Well, my head canon is that Geo's Bouncer was a Nandan Babeester Gor initiate...

 

I tend to interpret Geo's as a refuge for non-standard/normative people. Geo was a male cook and hospitality priest, after all.

Edited by jeffjerwin

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

I do wonder what the Imarjan take on nandan sons is in Esrolia. As non-mothers, they are barred from deeper mysteries of Ernalda, but they might be eligible for Dark Earth priestesshood. Actually having given birth on the Other Side would remove the barriers to queendom, too, although their fertility would be constantly questioned unless they spent most of their time being pregnant from Other Side intercourse. I have no idea about hermaphrodites in Esrolian society, either - there they might have to form communities of their own to be recognized as female gender.

Note that the Earth mysteries include the secret of parthenogenesis. If you want to bear a child, I'm sure it can be done. Hermaphrodites might even be more sacred in Esrolia, as they encapsulate the primordial Mother that is also Father.

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On 7/7/2018 at 4:20 PM, jeffjerwin said:

I assume that would be weird to non-Heortlings, not to the Heortlings, based on real world societies that have more than two genders (like, increasingly, our own). Helerings are more likely not interested in warrior/'masculine' skills as their main activity.

I still disagree with Jeff about this, though the sources (including Greg) have always been conflicting, as they should be.

I do accept that things in Sartar particularly are a little different than elsewhere, after all that "reputation" isn't out of nowhere.

But if you look at Heler, he's principally portrayed as a blue man or as a blue or black ram (his principal feminine subcult is that of a very distant high-flying hawk goddess bearing little rain) -- and in his mythology, he's more of a swift shapeshifter into different creature forms than ambiguous or vague. He's a strong fighter, though again it's fairly clear that in Sartar particularly hes's a lot more subservient.

Also, Heler has a quite tiny cult in Sartar compared to Esrolia, or especially Maniria.

But to me, the whole point about Heler has always been about being able to choose a "shape" for your character, unconventional or conventional against or with the cultural norms of your clan or tribe, then stick to that "shape". But also for me, it's always been more about your animal ideal than any less interesting sexual one.

Heler becomes a cat, a ram, a thundercloud, a blue crocodile, a leaping elk, a little songbird.

There are powerful magic rams among the sheep of the Orlanthi who might be Helerings who have changed their shape, or their sons or grandsons.

But outside of Sartar, warrior/masculine Helerings are a lot more common. And there are always some in Sartar too.

Heler has his aspects too as a male fertility god, impregnating the fields with his life-giving rains, which is intrinsically a masculine power.

Thing is, Heler's deeper shapeshifting power is to become not what's desired, but what's needed for the good.

The actually sexual-ambiguous shapeshifter in the Orlanthi pantheon is of course Eurmal.

Having said that, Heler is one of the rare surviving Blue Age gods (most Water deities are Green Age or later), and they are neither male nor female, as that is a differentiation that emerged in the world-ending crisis between the Blue and Green Ages. Which does not mean that Heler worshippers typically gain such features, but of course those Orlanthi who might typify or seek them will often join this cult.

Outside this bubble though, people are a lot more interested in the Rainmaking.

Edited by Julian Lord

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2 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

He's a strong fighter, though again it's fairly clear that in Sartar particularly hes's a lot more subservient.

The old descriptive saying was "Staunch as Heler."  His great attribute was loyalty and reliability.  He brought his weapons, but I think was only characterized as an average fighter.  As you note, that may be a Sartarite view, but the ancient Helerings were conquered/defeated/subsumed into the Orlanthi culture.

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9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

I still disagree with Jeff about this, though the sources (including Greg) have always been conflicting, as they should be.

I do accept that things in Sartar particularly are a little different than elsewhere, after all that "reputation" isn't out of nowhere.

But if you look at Heler, he's principally portrayed as a blue man or as a blue or black ram (his principal feminine subcult is that of a very distant high-flying hawk goddess bearing little rain) -- and in his mythology, he's more of a swift shapeshifter into different creature forms than ambiguous or vague. He's a strong fighter, though again it's fairly clear that in Sartar particularly hes's a lot more subservient.

It isn't just Tarhelera, it is also the Blue Woman rescued from Enkoshons (mother of Iphara, IIRC).

I realize that you have a big stake in this matter, with your contribution to Storm Tribe.

 

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

Also, Heler has a quite tiny cult in Sartar compared to Esrolia, or especially Maniria.

The subcultitis times may have gone, but I still see room for Heler identity hiding in the envelope of Orlanth or Ernalda.

As to their sexual relations, I agree - Orlanth's love to Heler is usually described as that to a male comrade in arms and bed, and Heler acts as husband to Esrola.

 

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

But to me, the whole point about Heler has always been about being able to choose a "shape" for your character, unconventional or conventional against or with the cultural norms of your clan or tribe, then stick to that "shape".

Doesn't "sticking to that shape" make a person less like Heler?

To the Water Tribe, Heler is the tragic loss. It isn't entirely clear what exactly made him an atmospheric water deity - it may have been that keet sage encounter that prevented is Togaran incarnation from re-joining Sramak's River, leading to the Togaran invasion and the destruction of Ganderland, or it may have been an encounter with Umath breaking him free of the waters. What used to be a bold advance into realms formerly unavailable to the One Water led to a separation from the One Water.

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

But also for me, it's always been more about your animal ideal than any less interesting sexual one.

Heler becomes a cat, a ram, a thundercloud, a blue crocodile, a leaping elk, a little songbird.

I don't think that any animal shape but the ram is widely acknowledged among the Sartarites, and that ram is shared with Orlanth and Voriof.

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

There are powerful magic rams among the sheep of the Orlanthi who might be Helerings who have changed their shape, or their sons or grandsons.

What happens on the Other Side doesn't necessarily stay on the Other Side, but doesn't violate anything legally in the mundane world.

I don't see why Heler would be the only source for magic rams - Orlanth has been around, too, and has been known to dabble with animal shapes, too.

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

But outside of Sartar, warrior/masculine Helerings are a lot more common. And there are always some in Sartar too.

Water fills any mold it is given, and the Blue Woman is a powerful mold. Barntar goes dragonslaying for her, too.

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

Heler has his aspects too as a male fertility god, impregnating the fields with his life-giving rains, which is intrinsically a masculine power.

In Esrolia, Heler probably is connected to irrigation, praised for his gift of life-giving water held back in reservoirs. That's not his male, cloudy side to me, but the Blue Woman. Rain still is some form of active water, but irrigation (and cistern water) is passive, without any motion energy, the kind of water which gives birth to other things.

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

Thing is, Heler's deeper shapeshifting power is to become not what's desired, but what's needed for the good.

I would have placed the shapeshifting power that allows to take the form of beasts etc. with Heler's sister Triolina, and Heler only being a "contractor" and associate user of this specific power of water.

The fluidity of gender expression is a common occurrence with water deities. In the watery triplets, there is always at least one fluid sibling. Daliath comes across as constantly male, Triolina is always the Mother, and Heler fills both aspects.

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

The actually sexual-ambiguous shapeshifter in the Orlanthi pantheon is of course Eurmal.

Shapeshifter, yes, but also the (humorously) phallic character. Losing his phallus and letting that take activities on its own, even on its owner, is part of many a lewd story about Eurmal. Crossdressing, too. Giving birth - never.

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

Having said that, Heler is one of the rare surviving Blue Age gods (most Water deities are Green Age or later), and they are neither male nor female, as that is a differentiation that emerged in the world-ending crisis between the Blue and Green Ages. Which does not mean that Heler worshippers typically gain such features, but of course those Orlanthi who might typify or seek them will often join this cult.

This distinct Blue Age is a rare philosophy among the builders of the monomyth, but it may have meaning inside the immortals of the Sea Tribe (up to and including the niiads, but not their mortal offspring among the Cetoi and Piscoi, or the Malkioni and Ygglings). The Blue Age is the Age before Food. This is really Creation Age according to the Monomyth. The elemental emergence sequence doesn't quite map to the Ages (Creation, Green, Golden, Storm, Darkness),  and the Green Age really is just the state before a major innovation. Grandfather Mortal volunteering to undergo the new power Eurmal and Humakt had liberated from deep within the Underworld was a Green Age event which ended the Golden Age.

9 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

Outside this bubble though, people are a lot more interested in the Rainmaking.

Except where they practice irrigation from runoffs stored in capture reservoirs. This might be the case for much of Saird and Sylila, and definitely for the Lodrili-operated lands of Peloria, but already Orlanth's taming of Oslira was an irrigation myth, most likely from Saird. (And its result is pretty much the opposite of the Aroka Quest outcome, except for getting water for the fields. Water is chained rather than liberated.)

There are only a few water deities that are friendly in the Orlanth pantheon. In Dragon Pass, the most common ones are Heler and Engizi (the local name for the wounded aspect of Lorion aka Sky River Titan, the lord of all rivers). There are of course lesser genii loci, like the Creek and the Stream, but they are completely localized.

The Orlanthi probably have a few categories of water.

Good waters:

Falling water: rain. Heler.

Flowing water: rivers. Lorion/Engizi.

Collected water: reservoirs, cisterns. Heler, but not active - the female aspects.

Protective mist. Huraya.

Neutral waters: Occasional allies, occasional trouble

Salt and brackish waters. Choralinthor, Faralinthor, Syphon.

Searing waters. Daliath, Syphon, Sounder's River.

Dark waters. Styx. Warding off the Dead.

Bad waters:

Stagnant, foul water: marshes. No direct deity (surprisingly), but often associated with whatever badness is lurking there, like Delecti or the Devil.

Floods. A whole array of watery foes of Orlanth (and Ernalda).

Bad (murder) fog, Iphara.

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Doesn't "sticking to that shape" make a person less like Heler?

No, it's more the other way 'round -- Heler has changed shape into that person's shape, because that's the shape that's needed.

Yes there are some Helerings who actively specialise in shapechanging magic, but it's supposed to be magic that's as difficult as it is rare.

Obvious Player Character territory in other words. 😋

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

To the Water Tribe, Heler is the tragic loss. It isn't entirely clear what exactly made him an atmospheric water deity

Actually it's clear, it just seems obscure both from being buried in the sources, and from being an "old" mythology of the Lesser Darkness which has since been replaced multiple times in the Living Myth.

Heler became a water deity of the Middle Air by being the War Leader in the Middle Air who conquered it during the Water Tribe's invasion (the Flood) at that time (they were three ; the leader in the Middle Air, the one in the Surface (basically the River), and the one in the Underworld). Heler's total invasion is one of the explanations of why the Sky is now blue instead of the original yellow (though if you actually go there, it might very well be blue around you, but still yellow high above in the Upper Sky that the water never conquered). Heler ended up as the King of Dragon Pass, briefly anyway, and so technically King of the Gods.

His peace treaty with Orlanth and the surrendering of his claim was, from the Orlanthi perspective, one of the major turning points of the Gods War. From a Helering point of view, Heler simply changed his shape from that of the King of the Gods into that of a faithful minor one.

The sea people clearly must have their own mythology of this, but that part of it does indeed remain unclear.

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

I don't think that any animal shape but the ram is widely acknowledged among the Sartarites, and that ram is shared with Orlanth and Voriof.

The ram/ewe/lamb, cat, and hawk shapes are all familiar to the Sartarites, as are the other shapes most frequently referred to in the typical retellings of his myths on the holy days and the Sacred Time. There's a very weird (and fun IMO) text by Greg going into some detail about clouds from the point of view of the Orlanthi cosmology, half Lhankor Mhy half Godlearner style where those three particular animal shapes are detailed a fair deal. Not sure it was ever published, though some fragments of the writing did make their way out here and there. Voriof's shape as the ram is more of a disguise he used to hide from chaos and death among the flock.

Heler's other animal shapes are less commonly known by typical Sartari, a bit more commonly by Esrolians, a LOT more by Manirians. Wolf, lion, salmon (this one swims up the River and jumps up the Skyfall into the Blue Above), stag, squirrel (one of the humorous child-friendly dew gods, also worshipped among the Manirian Aldryami, and yes I'm just making this up as I go along), boar, mountain deer, cormorant, etc etc.

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

I don't see why Heler would be the only source for magic rams

He most certainly isn't !!

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

In Esrolia, Heler probably is connected to irrigation, praised for his gift of life-giving water held back in reservoirs. That's not his male, cloudy side to me, but the Blue Woman. Rain still is some form of active water, but irrigation (and cistern water) is passive, without any motion energy, the kind of water which gives birth to other things.

No, irrigation is river magic. Different waters. Some waterfalls and lakes are associated with Heler, the Skyfall most especially, but by no means are they generally so.

In Esrolia, Heler is one of the husband-deities, and his magic there (which is BTW stronger than in Sartar, including more rainfall) is in the watering of the fields and the insemination of the Earth. He has a more strongly male cult there than in Sartar because of this husband rôle, though not exclusively so, and it's one of the rare Esrolian cults where the men and women are social equals.

I'd guess that the women in the cult in Esrolia would indeed tend to focus on the magical raincalling magic as an expression of the Fertility rites as you suggest, whilst the men might tend to focus on some more masculine pursuits, including of course the shepherding aspects and the protecting against wolves and other predators (one part of that is why Heler also has a wolf shape), though someone more expert than I am about Esrolia might have better ideas about this.

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

The fluidity of gender expression is a common occurrence with water deities

In quite a few Water entities and deities of the Green Age and later yes, but not so deeply in the genuinely Blue Age beings (VERY few of whom survive), as Heler is, quite simply because there was no such thing as sexual differentiation in the Blue Age. Nor even BTW at the start of the Green Age. At the deepest level of Heler, in his being as Urangu, his "gender" isn't ambiguous -- it's non-existent.

What's specific is each shape he takes. Those shapes are not ambiguous. (But yes, ambiguous people can and will be attracted to the Heler cult for obvious reasons ; but I think there's been some putting too much of the cart before the horse on this particular point, including firstly by me in my own write-up).

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

I would have placed the shapeshifting power that allows to take the form of beasts etc. with Heler's sister Triolina, and Heler only being a "contractor" and associate user of this specific power of water.

In RuneQuest terms, it's a HeroQuest power (easy level HeroQuest probably, though some of the harder shapes might be tougher to acquire) not his basic Rune Magic, though some specific Rune Spells to change into a specific form might exist in some of his subcults or hero cults.

But it's most definitely his own magic.

It's probably an effect of the Great Compromise that Heler's mythically acquired shapes are static within the boundaries of the Compromise. It's also generally why men stay men, and women stay women, though this wasn't the case when the sexes came into being in the Green Age. There's something about that in the Entekosiad IIRC.

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

This distinct Blue Age is a rare philosophy among the builders of the monomyth

Everything about the Blue Age is bloody difficult, because there's virtually nothing in it that you can pin down for sure.

It's really only even called an "Age" by analogy, as it has no History, but it's just a binary state of being defined by a tension between the Dark and the Waters, in their blending into, of, and away from each other.

Things and beings only existed in the relationship between that tension, so that Urangu (Heler) existed from his saying "I am of the Water and I am not of the Dark". Kyger Litor : "I am of the Dark, and I am not of the Water".

In that resolution, the hard distinctions and yet interrelations between the Elements as much as between the Runes destroyed the Blue Age by making possible entry into the World of the Green, which was not of the Dark, and was not of the Water, and of the Fire, similarly, and of the Storm, and of the Chaos, and so on.

It also destroyed the perfect Runic Harmony of the Immaterial Timeless Cosmos. It destroyed the world.

Edited by Julian Lord

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