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Kinship and Exogamy in Sartar


Bohemond

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I have a question about how Sartarites view kinship and how that affects marriage patterns. In real-world Germanic society, kinship is defined by blood and marital relations. You inherit property from your blood kin and your spouse's kin, and you have a duty to avenge (or assist in avenging) harm done to your kin. If your kin harms someone else, legally you become a legitimate target of vengeance, so kin don't just support each other, they also restrain each other. You don't engage in kin-slaying because you are weakening your own support network and your other kin are morally obligated to kill you, which just makes the harm to the kin-group worse. 

Sartarite society uses a modified version of that system. But its definition of kin seems to be broader than one's blood and affinal kin. It seems that Sartarites view other members of their clan as kin even if there is neither a strong blood nor affinal relationship. Kinslaying produces chaos, which harms not just one's immediate kin but the whole clan. Sartarites are expected to support all members of their clan against other clans and other outsiders, although one imagines that support for other bloodlines might not be as enthusiastic as support for one's own. This inability to resort to violence against one's clan-mates is part of what makes conversion to the Lunar Way such a problem for them--they cannot raise swords against another bloodline without creating the chaos they are trying to avoid.

What I'm wondering is how that affects marriage patterns. It's established that Sartarite marriage is exogamous--you generally marry outside your clan, the way that Orlanth and Ernalda married outside their tribes. But how rigid a system is that? How common is it for members of one bloodline within a clan to marry members of another bloodline within the same clan? To use an example from the Red Cows, how common might it be for a Tormakting to marry a Bolthoring?

  • Would such a marriage be uncommon and perhaps discouraged, but not considered a Bad Thing? (You should reconsider, Wulfstan. Marryng Maralda doesn't bring any wealth into the clan. It won't strengthen our ties with the Blue Berries. It's selfish to put your desires ahead of the clan's needs.) 
  • Would such a marriage be rare and considered disgusting, a form of incest, but not actually a crime? (She's practically your sister! I mean, not literally, but she's still kin! We don't marry our kin, for Ernalda's Sake! Yes, no one can make you do anything, but you don't do that!
  • Would such a marriage be unheard of, something that encourages chaos and is therefore a crime? (If you go ahead with this, we will outlaw you and hunt you down and kill you. We cannot let such filth pollute us! What demon has possessed you to even consider such a thing?)

Marrying other bloodlines would make social kin blood kin and would therefore tend to reinforce the clan's cohesion. If the Tormaktings and the Bolthorings are actually kin, they are more likely to support each other and share resources, but it also means that children who grow up together might be inclined to marry each other, thus reducing the number of exogamous marriages and so reducing the clan's ability to form strong alliances with other clans. 

But given that the Red Cows and the Blue Berries marry each other a good deal, the affinal relationships of one generation will become the blood relationships of the next. Wulfstan's wife is Blue Berry and her sister is married to a Torkmakting, creating an affinal tie between the two bloodlines. When they have kids who marry into the Blue Berries, within a generation of two, the Tormaktings and the Bolthorings are going to share a lot of cousin ties, and perhaps even aunt/uncle with niece/nephew ties. So clans will tend to be composed of loosely-related blood kin, as long as all bloodlines tend to marry into the same 2 or 3 clans. But if the Torkmaktings mostly marry Frithans instead of Blue Berries, that won't happen. 

Is it different depending on what sort of marriage is involved? Are Day Marriages within the clan common but Year Marriages rare? Is in-clan Day Marriage an acceptable thing that all teens do as they are becoming adults, but once they get those first surges of the Life Rune out of their system, they are expected to do the mature thing and marry outside the clan? (Wulfstan, stop being so immature! It's time you acted like a real man and chose a wife from the Blue Berries!)

I want to play up the whole ogre problem among the Red Cows, and one obvious way to do that is for the ogres to seduce other members of their own clan, but if such activity was outrageous, they probably wouldn't do that. Also, strictly exogamous marriage means that PC Ernaldans have to leave the clan when they get married, which makes maintaining an adventuring group a bit trickier (although Esrolan marriage solves that problem). So I'm looking to see what people think about this issue. 
 

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27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

I have a question about how Sartarites view kinship and how that affects marriage patterns. In real-world Germanic society, kinship is defined by blood and marital relations. You inherit property from your blood kin and your spouse's kin, and you have a duty to avenge (or assist in avenging) harm done to your kin. If your kin harms someone else, legally you become a legitimate target of vengeance, so kin don't just support each other, they also restrain each other. You don't engage in kin-slaying because you are weakening your own support network and your other kin are morally obligated to kill you, which just makes the harm to the kin-group worse. 

It's complicated, with all the exogamy, the in-laws, and the children of your sisters etc.

Let's start with property. You don't inherit much if anything - ownership of land and most of the herds rests with the clan, not the bloodline, and even less so the individual. The house you live in was raised by your immediate kin (if you were born into the clan) or by your in-laws you have moved to, but on clan land. The clan chief is the sole arbiter for which clan member gets to occupy which stead, but this is tempered by the outrage of the rest of the clan if he overthrows established occupation or assignments. Still, if a member of a bloodline has severely displeased the chief, the bloodline may see a severe cut-back in their share of clan-owned cattle. There will always be a few head of cattle that will be owned by the bloodline rather than by the clan, and calling on these for purposes of sacrifice or taxation will usually infer an obligation or some replacement - unless there is bad blood between the bloodline and the chief. In that case, mobbing can be quite bitter.

The storyline of The Coming Storm/The Eleven Lights is designed to bring the player characters into dissens with their clan chief, and a petty GM can easily enforce a petty reaction by the chief and his cronies. Disputes like these are the bread and meat of intra-clan politics, leading to weird alliances, personal favors owed, and if things escalate without any side relenting, the split of the clan.

King of Dragon Pass provided this problem whenever the clan outgrew equal participation in clan decisions, but also had the case of a bloodline overriding the clan's peacemaking and pursuing their blood feud, leading to eviction from the clan (or split of it).

 

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

Sartarite society uses a modified version of that system. But its definition of kin seems to be broader than one's blood and affinal kin. It seems that Sartarites view other members of their clan as kin even if there is neither a strong blood nor affinal relationship. Kinslaying produces chaos, which harms not just one's immediate kin but the whole clan. Sartarites are expected to support all members of their clan against other clans and other outsiders, although one imagines that support for other bloodlines might not be as enthusiastic as support for one's own. This inability to resort to violence against one's clan-mates is part of what makes conversion to the Lunar Way such a problem for them--they cannot raise swords against another bloodline without creating the chaos they are trying to avoid.

They cannot. Their in-laws from the neighboring, not always friendly clan can, and might if your sister/aunt(s) living there are sufficiently offended and sufficiently influential in that clan.

Plus the games of favorites with the clan chief.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

What I'm wondering is how that affects marriage patterns. It's established that Sartarite marriage is exogamous--you generally marry outside your clan, the way that Orlanth and Ernalda married outside their tribes. But how rigid a system is that? How common is it for members of one bloodline within a clan to marry members of another bloodline within the same clan?

There's no point in doing so. A marriage is a legal contract between two clans, specifying the residence of the married couple and thereby the clan membership of any of their offspring with the clan of residence. In case of a temporary marriage, the marriage partner will return to their birth (or adoptive) clan when the marriage term ends, and any children will be left behind.

It is possible that consecutive temporary marriages leave children of the couple in both clans - blood siblings, but no legal kin. Think of Yoristina and Saronil. If Saronil had had ambitions to follow his father as King of Dragon Pass, he would have had to woo his own sister (or possibly his own mother) as Feathered Horse Queen. The Twin Dynasty of Arim's Tarsh had no qualms to do so. Saronil went for the next best thing and took a high ranked priestess (or two) from Shaker Temple for his wife (and possibly also for his second wife).

If an unmarried woman of one bloodline in the clan has a child from an unmarried man from another bloodline, that child will be raised as a member of the household of that woman. The same when a married woman gets pregnant from a religious rite with whomever - taking on a divine role overrides even sibling or parental blood ties, and any marriage vows, although those extremes usually will be avoided.

If that mother marries into another clan, the child will remain with her bloodline, and raised by her mother, aunts, or sisters in law. Any child she has in that other clan will be raised by the father's bloodline. If the bride about to marry away is pregnant, marriage may be delayed if the husband is not the father, unless the marriage contract between the clans explicitely includes the unborn child.

A parent married off to another clan will retain visiting rites to their birth stead, even in times of blood feud between those clans. Crossing the border safely may require an escort of a neutral third party, though. A child given over to a bloodline not of your birth place may be lost forever - something which makes divorces a lot rarer than the laws for divorce make it seem.

One of the divorce rules would be that any child conceived during a marriage has to be delivered to the clan of the marriage partner, and probably at that clan, too. In case of a fresh widow the legalities get interesting, once again - story hook material. Forget about Cramer vs. Cramer or the Rose Wars, this gets serious. A runaway pregnant wife might arrange that the persecuting husband suffers an accident, making her a widow. From incidents like that, entire clans were wiped off the maps.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

To use an example from the Red Cows, how common might it be for a Tormakting to marry a Bolthoring?

The only case where such a marriage would be taken into consideration would be a ritual marriage where both partners marry not only as themselves but as the gods in the rite. Such a marriage for magical reason may the the way out for Romeo Tormakting and Julia Bolthoring, and be harder than the case of the unfortunate couple with the Dinacoli neighboring clan, or the incident with the water nymph.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:
  • Would such a marriage be uncommon and perhaps discouraged, but not considered a Bad Thing? (You should reconsider, Wulfstan. Marryng Maralda doesn't bring any wealth into the clan. It won't strengthen our ties with the Blue Berries. It's selfish to put your desires ahead of the clan's needs.) 

If the participants aren't blood cousins, they can have as many children as they wish, as long as both are adult and not sworn in any other way, or divinely legitimated. Members of the Niskis or Yinkin subcult may have provided children within their own clan, and on holy days even with married women. Likewise, a god talker of Ernalda may undergo ritual marriage with subsequent pregnancy multiple times, and her husband may not be the blood father of any of the kids added to his household. This way, a Vingan "husband" may "father" a whole bunch of children to her household.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:
  • Would such a marriage be rare and considered disgusting, a form of incest, but not actually a crime? (She's practically your sister! I mean, not literally, but she's still kin! We don't marry our kin, for Ernalda's Sake! Yes, no one can make you do anything, but you don't do that!

A marriage would be rare. The couple wouldn't share a household - there are no single-person households in Sartarite society. A widow will be taken in as a cottar, or if of thane or prestigious carl rank, will take in cottars to her household.

Sex between unmarried members of the same household will be an incest taboo, even if the two people have no blood relation whatsoever.  Fertility rites with orgiastic free-for-all may still be possible, but I don't know how loose these things get with the Sartarite earth rites.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:
  • Would such a marriage be unheard of, something that encourages chaos and is therefore a crime? (If you go ahead with this, we will outlaw you and hunt you down and kill you. We cannot let such filth pollute us! What demon has possessed you to even consider such a thing?)

Unheard of, yes. Encouraging Chaos and a crime? No, just a possibly spicy little scandal.

Breaking a marriage oath or two to have such a relationship would be a crime punishable by exile. On the other hand, exile for both partners would open the way for such a marriage, and with city guilds a new start not far from the former kin would be possible, though far from guaranteed.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

Marrying other bloodlines would make social kin blood kin and would therefore tend to reinforce the clan's cohesion.

True. But having bloodlines unrelated by direct blood can make it possible to marry a daughter to the son of a woman born to this clan without causing any biological problems.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

If the Tormaktings and the Bolthorings are actually kin, they are more likely to support each other and share resources, but it also means that children who grow up together might be inclined to marry each other, thus reducing the number of exogamous marriages and so reducing the clan's ability to form strong alliances with other clans. 

Children will regard all children growing up at the same stead as their siblings. Chances are that one in three will only have one parent living at the stead without either parent having died. The children aren't raised by their mothers after being weaned, unless that mother has a special knack for raising the children. Most likely they will be raised by their grandmother or grand-aunt, the steadmistress, and whoever she appoints to the current task of watching over the kids.

The concept of a core family (father, mother, full siblings) as the sole population of a stead house is fairly alien to Heortlings. Usually there will be uncles and their wives, grandparents, grand-uncles and their wives, and possibly another family, possibly of lower social standing, occupying the same stead house.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

But given that the Red Cows and the Blue Berries marry each other a good deal, the affinal relationships of one generation will become the blood relationships of the next. Wulfstan's wife is Blue Berry and her sister is married to a Torkmakting, creating an affinal tie between the two bloodlines. When they have kids who marry into the Blue Berries, within a generation of two, the Tormaktings and the Bolthorings are going to share a lot of cousin ties, and perhaps even aunt/uncle with niece/nephew ties. So clans will tend to be composed of loosely-related blood kin, as long as all bloodlines tend to marry into the same 2 or 3 clans. But if the Torkmaktings mostly marry Frithans instead of Blue Berries, that won't happen. 

I addressed this above already. In the old triaty system, this was much less of an issue since your marriage partners would be at least one generation away from having been born to a member of your clan.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

Is it different depending on what sort of marriage is involved? Are Day Marriages within the clan common but Year Marriages rare? 

"Day Marriage" is a polite term for casual sex. I would expect this to be fairly uncommon outside of fertility rites, and extremely common during these. In an officiating role, marriage vows are considered suspended for the time of the rite.

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

Is in-clan Day Marriage an acceptable thing that all teens do as they are becoming adults, but once they get those first surges of the Life Rune out of their system, they are expected to do the mature thing and marry outside the clan? (Wulfstan, stop being so immature! It's time you acted like a real man and chose a wife from the Blue Berries!)

Sex is the prerogative of adulthood. Sex while not initiated can have serious magical consequences. Underage (i.e. uninitiated) shepherd boys seduced by spirits of the land may be lost to the clan, or require an adoption rite. Girls are a lot less likely to experience "underage" sex since their adulthood rites follow their first menstrual blood, even if that means that a 12 year old girl may gain the status of an adult. The implications of this aren't anything to publish, either, if you want to avoid your product being sold in brown paper bags.

It is quite possible that the boys' adulthood rites err on the side of safety (too young), too. In case of the Red Cows, there is the additional problem of the rattle-born...

27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

I want to play up the whole ogre problem among the Red Cows, and one obvious way to do that is for the ogres to seduce other members of their own clan, but if such activity was outrageous, they probably wouldn't do that. Also, strictly exogamous marriage means that PC Ernaldans have to leave the clan when they get married, which makes maintaining an adventuring group a bit trickier (although Esrolan marriage solves that problem). So I'm looking to see what people think about this issue. 

I have embraced this problem for my pilgrimage HQ scenario "The Homecoming of Norinevra", the first part of which has been published in the German HQ scenario book. There the party consists of matrilineal descendants of the deceased Asrelia priestess of Esrolian descent who get charged with her dying wish to be interred in the crypt of her matrilineal ancestors, House Norinel, which she had to leave in disgrace around the Saronil assassination. Basically, this is a mixed clan party, and right at the start of the game there may even be a legal claim between her matrilineal descendants and her husband's bloodline's clan about the release of the corpse for this pilgrimage.

Writing up the Nochet side of this scenario has turned out to be a lot harder than I anticipated, and I am still stuck in research about how to introduce helpful and hindring NPCs for this second part of the scenario.

I would probably run this not as a one or two session scenario, but as an "on the road" campaign with lots of stops with yet other clans at least some of the characters will have in-law relationships with, and side quests due to favors due or wanted.

Maybe I should as a play by forum game.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Heortlings are also based on the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois specifically and intentionally and First Nations people of the Great Lakes watershed more generally. This is most obvious with how land and most valuable property is held communally by the clan (and also how land is used), but kinship structures also seem reminiscent. So, using the Northern Algonquian peoples with whom I am most familiar, and who neighbored the Haudenosaunee, the answer is that your entire clan is consanguine and intraclan marriages and sexual relationships are incestuous and thus illegal. 

Heortlings are actually stricter than these societies in that clans which are recently branched off are still consanguine to one another. 

That said, where does this leave bloodlines? Well, Heortlings do have a need to mark which people are nobles, thanes, carls, etc. within a clan, as opposed to the Algonquian/Iroquoian system with even less formal class structures. 

And the fact that many clans do have interwoven lands with only their central tula being contiguously their territory allows for enough social contact even before urbanization to allow for Heortlings to be sexually active without frequent incest. Of course, incest is not explicitly listed as unacceptable sexual behavior in the Runequest player's book, but that doesn't say much either way. 

Having recently spent some time thinking about how to square the hexagender quadrasexual Heortling society with the presented bigender marriage laws, I suspect that undermarriages are derived from clans expressing client status to one another and that "year-marriages" exist primarily for reasons of numerology to get a perfect, Lightbringerish seven types- it is historically normal for Heortling marriages to be defined as lasting a period of time as an expression of alliance or dominance between clans, and one of those is the contingent relationship of the year-marriage which may be cancelled or renewed at particular intervals, presumably based on how well the parties involved have been living up to their obligations. 

Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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3 hours ago, Eff said:

Heortlings are also based on the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois specifically and intentionally and First Nations people of the Great Lakes watershed more generally. This is most obvious with how land and most valuable property is held communally by the clan (and also how land is used), but kinship structures also seem reminiscent. So, using the Northern Algonquian peoples with whom I am most familiar, and who neighbored the Haudenosaunee, the answer is that your entire clan is consanguine and intraclan marriages and sexual relationships are incestuous and thus illegal. 

That's interesting, because my Pamunkey ancestors - an (southern) Algonquin group - seem to have had had incestuous uncle-niece if not brother-sister marriages within the ruling bloodline. It appears that this was because they were matrilineal and powerful men wanted to monopolize noble status.

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

That's interesting, because my Pamunkey ancestors - an (southern) Algonquin group - seem to have had had incestuous uncle-niece if not brother-sister marriages within the ruling bloodline. It appears that this was because they were matrilineal and powerful men wanted to monopolize noble status.

That is very interesting! I wonder to what extent the difference is due to the different social contexts- the sheer quantity of portages meant that the Great Lakes area was fairly fast to travel around, so exogamy might have been stronger because it was more possible to go from modern Detroit to modern Duluth to marry into a Lakotah family. 

Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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3 hours ago, Eff said:

That is very interesting! I wonder to what extent the difference is due to the different social contexts- the sheer quantity of portages meant that the Great Lakes area was fairly fast to travel around, so exogamy might have been stronger because it was more possible to go from modern Detroit to modern Duluth to marry into a Lakotah family. 

Maybe so. They were fairly isolated linguistically - the Croatan and Roanoke people were the only Algonquins further south I know of.

This suggests in Glorantha that the most exogamous people would be the valley peoples like the northern Tarshites and the clans that neighbor the Esrolians, and in Sartar those on major trade routes, like the Colymar, with the least being people like the Bacofi, the Torkani and Amad...

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The archaic triaty formation which had three clans taking their wives from one of the other clans and giving their daughters to the other was the solution for the more isolated populations, offering a stable set of rules that avoided too much inbreeding. On the other hand, these same rules prevented the clans from taking in new blood, and when one of the clans would break with that tradition, another clan would have a surplus of daughters or a shortfall of wives.

It is interesting that the Colymar clan managed to get by without any marriages outside of their kinship group for half a generation. It probably helped that the newly formed clan had drawn folk from several Heortland clans, making them more like a guild than a clan. Their split into five clans, three of which had children of Colymar, may very well have been an implicit plan when they left. That split might have come naturally with the different steads that were populated outside of the central settlement of Clearwine.

Colymar history also shows cases when reconstructions of failed clans like the Karandoli or the Runegate triaty clan that was replaced by the Taralings received descendants of Colymar as their chiefs. Such adoptions to the top appear to be a common practices, and Argrath claiming his Colymar membership not through his birth clan (the Orlmarth/Starfires/Woodpeckers) but through the disappeared Karandoli clan through which he traced his descent from Onelisin Cat-witch and the House of Sartar as well as to the lineage of the disappeared Karandoli king of the Colymar, Ortossi, who had refused Sartar to build a city in Colymar lands appears to be a similar case.

I am not entirely clear how his ancestors with this secret lineage and royal lineage ended up as low status members of the Orlmarth. Possibly at some point by adoption after the dissolution (or disappearance) of the clan, but the sources are silent about that.

It may all have been polite fiction confirmed by heroquesting.

Onelisin's status when she occupied her house in the forest is a bit of a mystery, too. While she was sister to two kings, she seems to have headed a solitary stead, possibly associated to a shrine or temple to Yinkin in the wilds. Her encounter with Ostling Four-Wolf doesn't really offer a hint to the location of that place, since Ostling would have been a companion to the prince on many occasions. There is also the possibility that Onelisin wouldn't spend all of her time there. Her daughters don't appear to have been brought up at the royal palace in Boldhome, though, but Onelisin may have been in strong disagreement on whether Jarolar should have become prince and not her. King of Sartar only tells us that there were stories about their alynx woman endeavours, and no details.

 

When people leave their clans for other reasons than marriage, the issue of property becomes interesting, in the sense of problematic.

People leaving to enter the retinue of an external leader (like a tribal king, a largely independent temple, a mercenary band, or someone even more prominent) will receive good clothing, basic weapons and probably no steed (that would be provided by the new patron, just like superior equipment, housing and food). This kind of emigration is usually temporary (although death in service has a sigificantly non-zero chance), and the individual will be a contact with that leader or organisation, and often return after some time with wealth and connections, but certainly with experience. The individual will also leave the legal umbrella of the clan for the duration of this new allegiance, but usually with an open-ended option to return to the clan just like someone married out.

People going to the nearest city to join a guild are pretty much the same case, although in that case it wouldn't be unusual to take along wife and children. (But then, it would be more typical to join a guild before becoming part of a contractual marriage, and then to marry from inside the guild.

Clan property is like corporate property, with clan members being shareholders, but the corporation also holding part of the clan wealth sort of independent from the shareholders. Property is measured in land (which cannot be traded normally) and housing, herds, and non-living movable property.

When a clan splits, or even only a portion of the clan packs up and leaves, the emigrants give up on their share of the lands claimed by the clan. They will receive a portion of the communal herds according to their status in the clan, the movable tools of their trades, and their share of food and seed material. They might have a claim on portions of the clan regalia/treasures, which is where things can get difficult.

In my scenario Norinevra's Homecoming the deceased Asrelian had joined the clan of her husband only after the demise of her father-in-law. Her husband had been a thane of Duke Dorasar, and prior to that of Sarotar, which is how they had met. The couple had married in Pavis, and when they returned to Sartar, they brought a number of artefacts collected in the Rubble. When her husband became chief, these artefacts were used by the clan as treasures, and after his demise they remained in use by the clan, and by his widow who remained as a leading earth priestess with her children and grandchildren. By the time of her death, few clansfolk remembered a time when she had not been a leading earth priestess, and the treasures were commonly perceived as belonging to the clan.

Even so, it was within her rights to demand some of these as grave goods, and so she did, and after her death so did her matrilineal offspring (with the legal weight of their clans by marriage behind them).

But in case of a major rift in the clan (or a few generations ago with the exodus of many Elmali households to flock to Monrogh), treasures will be split, too. These kinds of inheritance disputes are the stuff for drama like the Icelandic sagas.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I’ve noticed in this thread, and many others, that there is the assumption that nobility and poverty are inherited and that bloodlines are permanent establishments among the Heortlings. I believe that there is a lot more dynamism in these areas. Admittedly, the Heortlings do have the hereditary Prince of Sartar and, in the Silver Age and First Age, the hereditary King of the Heortlings.

Few (if any) are born noble and grow up noble. The sons and daughters of the clan chief or tribal king are the scions of a noble rather than being noble. Of course, with their magical inheritances and the additional resources put into their upbringing, and in particular, advantageous marriages (primarily advantageous for the parents but also for the young adult), it is much easier for them to grow into a noble position. If a son or daughter is lazy or otherwise useless, then they will get quite a bit of protection from their parents, their children some (at least, while young before their noble grandparent dies), and quite possibly their grandchildren none. With their close blood ties, the 3rd and 4th generation could become servants in the household.

For that matter, the clan chief and tribal king are not permanent positions. Once a chief is replaced, (s)he is no longer a noble.

arriving at work, more later...

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3 hours ago, Charles said:

For that matter, the clan chief and tribal king are not permanent positions. Once a chief is replaced, (s)he is no longer a noble.

arriving at work, more later...

A chief that is replaced loses his nobility and becomes ‘just’ a thane, though possibly a very rich thane. A king that is replaced (usually) drops in noble rank to just a chief, but could also face replacement as chief in his clan.

Note that since the Alakoring renewals at the end of the EWF, chiefs and kings are (mostly) the Priests of Orlanth for their clan and tribe. And, more often than not, their wife is the Priestess of Ernalda, so her position is only as secure as her husband’s. Of course, there are temples to Orlanth and Ernalda that have enough wealth, strength, and reputation to have Priests independent of the clan and tribe structures. And in a tribe, maybe one clan in two can support an additional temple to another god that will get tribal sponsorship. This sponsorship is not necessarily from the tribal king or tribal ring, more likely from the members of the tribe that decide to travel for the holy day ceremonies. However, a temple of Humakt or whatever the tribal ring & king decide is very worthwhile, may get ‘official’ sponsorship.

My opinion on bloodlines is that, while I can believe that some are ‘permanent’, particularly those that claim descent from a Hero, most only last a generation or two. Remember that Orlanth is Change, while Ernalda is Stasis, and these virtues are admired and encouraged respectively as good attributes for men and women.

Except for the very few, bloodlines are where wealth is held, rather than individuals. In matters of ransoms, compensation, etc., the bloodline pays, not the individual. So trust matters and, in a violent kin based society, that only comes naturally to brothers and first cousins (and not even all first cousins). A wealthy bloodline will be larger as it attracts hangers on (usually second cousins) to the wealth and needs hangers on to work and protect the wealth. Less wealthy bloodlines will lose members to other ‘closely’ related wealthier bloodlines. I believe that in each generation, bloodlines will form around the most effective wealth generators, whether farmers, warriors, merchants or whatever, these generators will become Thanes. And the inheritance effect matters, a wealthy father will have more resources to lead their sons in how to become effective wealth generators. And also to arrange more beneficial marriages, both for sons and daughters.

I think that men will always consider their position in a bloodline and where they could fit into related bloodlines. While they won’t change bloodline every year, in their lifetime they may change bloodline once or twice particularly between 25 and 35, when they reach peak (physical) wealth generation. Any man that cannot convince a bloodline to accept him is pretty much doomed to be a stickpicker. And that means their chance of marriage is very low. Huge story material!

Here, I am assuming that the majority of Sartar clans are patrilineal. Matrilineal clans will be very, very different, though they will not the Esrolan level of difference as they have to operate in a patrilineal land.

lunchbreak over...

to be continued, where I’ll try to link back to the original topic of kinship and marriage

 

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1 hour ago, Charles said:

Note that since the Alakoring renewals at the end of the EWF, chiefs and kings are (mostly) the Priests of Orlanth for their clan and tribe. And, more often than not, their wife is the Priestess of Ernalda, so her position is only as secure as her husband’s. Of course, there are temples to Orlanth and Ernalda that have enough wealth, strength, and reputation to have Priests independent of the clan and tribe structures. And in a tribe, maybe one clan in two can support an additional temple to another god that will get tribal sponsorship. This sponsorship is not necessarily from the tribal king or tribal ring, more likely from the members of the tribe that decide to travel for the holy day ceremonies. However, a temple of Humakt or whatever the tribal ring & king decide is very worthwhile, may get ‘official’ sponsorship.

 

Hmm, didn't the Alakoring changes actually separate the Priest role from the Chief/King role, so as to make this a rarer incidence rather than the norm? 

 

Quote

Except for the very few, bloodlines are where wealth is held, rather than individuals. In matters of ransoms, compensation, etc., the bloodline pays, not the individual. So trust matters and, in a violent kin based society, that only comes naturally to brothers and first cousins (and not even all first cousins). A wealthy bloodline will be larger as it attracts hangers on (usually second cousins) to the wealth and needs hangers on to work and protect the wealth. Less wealthy bloodlines will lose members to other ‘closely’ related wealthier bloodlines. I believe that in each generation, bloodlines will form around the most effective wealth generators, whether farmers, warriors, merchants or whatever, these generators will become Thanes. And the inheritance effect matters, a wealthy father will have more resources to lead their sons in how to become effective wealth generators. And also to arrange more beneficial marriages, both for sons and daughters.

I think that men will always consider their position in a bloodline and where they could fit into related bloodlines. While they won’t change bloodline every year, in their lifetime they may change bloodline once or twice particularly between 25 and 35, when they reach peak (physical) wealth generation. Any man that cannot convince a bloodline to accept him is pretty much doomed to be a stickpicker. And that means their chance of marriage is very low. Huge story material!

I think - based on what we've seen (more recently in the Red Cow campaign) - the bloodlines tend to be larger than what you imply - ie. second cousins are par for the course (and even third, maybe fourth cousins). Realistically, I do agree that bloodlines should probably fracture a bit quicker, so that clans would actually have more bloodlines in general, but this doesn't seem to be reflected in the fiction, so it seems this isn't actually a thing and that bloodlines tend to stick together quite far down the line.

Also I don't really see this idea of changing bloodlines reflected in fiction either - and one assumes it would involve marriage at least.

Anyway, aside from these few things I felt I needed to comment on, I like your thinking/ideas here, so thanks!

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1 hour ago, Charles said:

A chief that is replaced loses his nobility and becomes ‘just’ a thane, though possibly a very rich thane. A king that is replaced (usually) drops in noble rank to just a chief, but could also face replacement as chief in his clan.

A king doesn't have to be a chief, although many may have the double role.

A chief's nobility is that of his office. The chief's hall is in all likelihood a structure owned by the clan rather than by any bloodline. While the chief and his (or her) immediate family may take up residence there, it is as likely that any offspring of the chief is still brought up at the stead of the bloodline. Instead, the chief's hall will house the retainers.

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

Note that since the Alakoring renewals at the end of the EWF, chiefs and kings are (mostly) the Priests of Orlanth for their clan and tribe.

I read the Alakorin renewals otherwise.

After the Gbaji Wars, the priests formed a ruling council. The power to rule was held by the priesthood of Orlanth. Alakoring provided the King the priestly power to command the priests.

The king will lead (though not necessarily perform) the sacrifices that pertain to sovereignty and royal fertility in the role of Orlanth, but the role of the priest remains unchanged providing all the other services and worship rites.

On the chief level, I don't think that the Rex cult has that much traction.

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

And, more often than not, their wife is the Priestess of Ernalda, so her position is only as secure as her husband’s.

In the rites, the priestess of Ernalda is his wife. Outside of the rites, both king and priestess may lead a different married life. It is convenient for the two to coincide, but in the rites it makes little difference.

One reason for this may be that a powerful priestess of Ernalda is likely to have an uxorilocal (Esrolian) marriage rather than the normal arrangement of leaving her clan for good. (Year marriages may be a different thing.) If that is the case, there is no point in them having a normal marriage.

I have yet to see a sample Ernaldan player character who married into her current clan in any of the publications. The Red Cow NPC females mostly obey the normal marriage patterns, unless they are Vingans. Queen Ivara is part of her birth clan.

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

Of course, there are temples to Orlanth and Ernalda that have enough wealth, strength, and reputation to have Priests independent of the clan and tribe structures. And in a tribe, maybe one clan in two can support an additional temple to another god that will get tribal sponsorship. This sponsorship is not necessarily from the tribal king or tribal ring, more likely from the members of the tribe that decide to travel for the holy day ceremonies. However, a temple of Humakt or whatever the tribal ring & king decide is very worthwhile, may get ‘official’ sponsorship.

The priests of Orlanth I was talking about above would mainly be clan thanes and/or tribal thanes. Temples outside of a clan structure exist, although they usually are closely tied to the clan or tribe at their location. These are most likely specialized temples, not mainstream ones, though. Specialist Ernalda temples appear to be way more numerous than specialist Orlanth temples, with the vast majority of Orlanth worship conducted by the clan, followed by tribe and city. There is little room for Orlanth temples outside of that. The only one that I can name is Old Wind. Orlanth Victorious is a shrine with only seasonal attendance.

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

My opinion on bloodlines is that, while I can believe that some are ‘permanent’, particularly those that claim descent from a Hero, most only last a generation or two. 

Please elaborate.

If you say that the status of an office held by a prominent member of the bloodline (or several) reflects on the wealth/status/weregeld of the other members of that household only for a generation or two, I am with you. If your great-grandfather or granduncle was the last person in your household who held a significant office, you're at best a carl in status. If your uncle or cousin living under the same roof holds such an office, your status will rise accordingly, though not quite to the level of the office holder.

If a member of your household is on the clan ring (a clan thane by office), your household will have status at least the equal of a carl, even if your economic reality used to be that of a cottar bordering on stickpicker. There will be some economic trickle down, too, though at the time of the retirement of the ring member, the household is likely to fall back into a less prestigious status.

But, that said, IMO a bloodline is permanent. It may split into different households after two generations or so, unless a really bad calamity has shrunk your bloodline so that you share your roof with second cousins. Folk too distant from the head of the household will sooner or later carve a household of their own. That takes quite a bit of wealth or influence, so it is likely that this new household will be founded by brothers. Otherwise, a specialist may always start a cottar household, and given sufficient skill or influence may upgrade that easily to carl status, or use influence on the clan council.

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

Remember that Orlanth is Change, while Ernalda is Stasis, and these virtues are admired and encouraged respectively as good attributes for men and women.

Except that Ernalda embraces any changes coming her way (except Nontraya), while stodgy Orlanthi traditionalists resist change with all their might.

"I am all for Change when it is the right Change, but this Change isn't, because it changes what is."

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

Except for the very few, bloodlines are where wealth is held, rather than individuals.

Steads are where wealth is managed, and a stead may have several households of varying status.

Most wealth is really held by the clan rather than the stead. Clan wealth (like cattle) gets allotted to steads, and these steads usually are managed by a dominant household from a bloodline of thanes or carls, with cottars assigned unless these cottars manage outlying steadings that don't quite qualify as a stead - like e.g. a charcoal cottage out in the woods.

A bloodline may be distributed over several households, but these households will be judged individually for status. In the Red Cow clan, you have this almost kinstrife situation with the Seven Oaks stead of the Osmanning.

1 hour ago, Charles said:

In matters of ransoms, compensation, etc., the bloodline pays, not the individual.

The bloodline has no legal standing outside of the clan. Only the clan has, and the clan chief is responsible for paying the compensation. Whether or not to pay a ransom can become a difficult negotiation, and when the individual concerned has fallen afoul of the chief, his kin might have to appeal to the cult rather than the clan to release the individual from captivity.

Inside the clan, the bloodlines with their "headmen" (another word for chieftain, really) represent one dimension of factions inside the clan. Political affiliation represents another dimension, and cults yet another one.

The clan chief will of course allot the burden of payment to the various steads in the clan, and the stead producing the individual to cause this payment is likely to be hit harder than others. These steads are of course led by members of bloodlines (but a stead may have a steadmaster from one bloodline and cottars from another).

 

There are more modes of payment - providing sacrificial beasts, contributing to the tributes to the Prince, the tribe, and whatever other standing obligations the clan may be under. This load, too, is distributed among the steads, at the decision of the chief. The ring may advise, but the chief is the only one who decides.

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

So trust matters and, in a violent kin based society, that only comes naturally to brothers and first cousins (and not even all first cousins). A wealthy bloodline will be larger as it attracts hangers on (usually second cousins) to the wealth and needs hangers on to work and protect the wealth. Less wealthy bloodlines will lose members to other ‘closely’ related wealthier bloodlines. I believe that in each generation, bloodlines will form around the most effective wealth generators, whether farmers, warriors, merchants or whatever, these generators will become Thanes. And the inheritance effect matters, a wealthy father will have more resources to lead their sons in how to become effective wealth generators. And also to arrange more beneficial marriages, both for sons and daughters.

I think that a bloodline can spread out over multiple steads, with each stead being its own economic unit. The head of a bloodline has no say about the contribution of various steads led by or contributed to by members of his bloodline. He does have influence on them, however, possibly also magically as speaker for that bloodline's ancestors.

I would use the term "stead" instead of "bloodline" in the quoted paragraphs above and below.

1 hour ago, Charles said:

I think that men will always consider their position in a bloodline and where they could fit into related bloodlines. While they won’t change bloodline every year, in their lifetime they may change bloodline once or twice particularly between 25 and 35, when they reach peak (physical) wealth generation.

This clearly addresses steads pr even just households rather than bloodlines. You can pick the roof you live under, but you cannot pick the ancestors you were born to.

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

Any man that cannot convince a bloodline to accept him is pretty much doomed to be a stickpicker. And that means their chance of marriage is very low. Huge story material!

Again, that is stead, and possibly household.

Once you are born to a bloodline, the only way to leave it is through marriage, adoption, severance (greater exile, joining Humakt) or dissolution of the bloodline due to excessive losses, when there are too few survivors left to maintain the ancestral connection. Marriage is only a suspension of bloodline membership - when the marriage ends, the marriage partner away from home usually reverts to the previous bloodline. Widowing is a special case - widows (or widowers) away from their birth clan may continue their bloodline by marriage, leaving their birth bloodline in suspension (but harder to re-activate, possibly requiring a re-adoption).

In a way, any person who married into a bloodline leaving offspring with the bloodline joins the ancestors of this bloodline, even if the marriage was only temporal. A person adopted into a bloodline joins the ancestors, too.

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

Here, I am assuming that the majority of Sartar clans are patrilineal. Matrilineal clans will be very, very different, though they will not the Esrolan level of difference as they have to operate in a patrilineal land.

Matrilineal bloodlines exist in a patrilocal environment, IMO. Ernaldan magic runs in matrilineal lines, and blessings will not stop at clan membership.

Matrilineal clans will be matrilocal clans. I don't think that there are many (if any) in Sartar. Matrilocal bloodlines obviously do exist, like Enferalda's line. Magical contest marriages like Sartar's with the FHQ ensure both patrilocal and matrilocal offspring. Such full siblings will have different ancestors at their call. The ancestors of the non-local parent can be invoked, but this requires additional effort of proof and maintaining contact.

 

I do see a matrilineall network in the patrilocal environment of Sartar. The stronger the Earth magic in the bloodline, the further the matrilineal bloodline will extend.

In fact, I would use Charles' description of bloodlines above which I said would apply to patrilocal steads also for matrilineal bloodlines.

Maternal lineage should be expressed more strongly in female offspring, and should only very rarely be inherited from males of such a lineage unless explicitly declared (claimed, adopted) by that male. (Like Argrath claiming descent from Sartar through the matrilineal line of Onelisin.)

 

In matrilocal clans or larger social units (tribe, queendom) the male lineages would be a lot weaker. Even in patrilocal marriages, the connection to the clan is formed through the mother's ancestral ties at the birth of the child, and possibly by her marital state at the conception.

 

Imagine an Orlanthi Leda, mother of two simultraneous pairs of twins (through magical birth from shared eggs). Castor and Helena are demigods through their swan father, while Polydeikes and Clytemnaesta are purely Spartan nobility. Still, it is through Helen that the Spartan kingship is continued, not through the Dioscuri or Clytemnaestra (who continues the line of Atreus). The myths I have seen remain silent about any offspring of Menelaos and Helena, although there should have been some up to age five or so at the contest of the three goddesses - Odysseus has a newborn son when he sets sail for Ilias, and he was a contestant for the hand of Helena before undertaking the effort to woo and marry Penelope. Agamemnon has two teenage children when setting sail, and I think his and his brother's marriages were joint affairs.

Making Helena the continuity of the Spartan kingship indicates that Leda's marital status at the time of her conception trumps even the divine seed of Zeus when it comes to ancestry. (Though that "seed" may have been largely epigenetic, giving the shared eggs of both the male and the female twins - presumably identical in their human genetics. But then this may be a case of "don't mix modern genetics with myth"...) Or Zeus claimed paternity over both the Dioscuri, making Polydeikes uneligible for the succession of his biological father.

 

Considerations like the above digression into Greek myth would be right at home in Orlanthi discussions of genealogy.

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

to be continued, where I’ll try to link back to the original topic of kinship and marriage

Looking forward to that.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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3 hours ago, Grievous said:

Hmm, didn't the Alakoring changes actually separate the Priest role from the Chief/King role, so as to make this a rarer incidence rather than the norm?

I have not found the references yet, so can’t completely argue this out.

My memory is that in the mid to late second age, Heortling society was completely dominated by the priestly hierarchy. It was a great time to be a stolid farmer or merchant or artisan, you got peace and stability, feuds were quickly resolved, raids were few. But for those inspired by Orlanth Adventurous, there was little that they were allowed to do. Alakoring instituted the Rex rites that ensured that the chief or king dominated the priests. To me, this makes the chief and king a Priest. And in a poor clan, the only nobles that they can afford are the chief/priest of Orlanth and priest of the wyter and his wife, the priestess of Ernalda.

3 hours ago, Grievous said:

I think - based on what we've seen (more recently in the Red Cow campaign) - the bloodlines tend to be larger than what you imply - ie. second cousins are par for the course (and even third, maybe fourth cousins). Realistically, I do agree that bloodlines should probably fracture a bit quicker, so that clans would actually have more bloodlines in general, but this doesn't seem to be reflected in the fiction, so it seems this isn't actually a thing and that bloodlines tend to stick together quite far down the line.

 Also I don't really see this idea of changing bloodlines reflected in fiction either - and one assumes it would involve marriage at least.

I agree that the published scenarios do not agree with me. But that’s fine, there’s lots of room for different stories. With ‘my model’, there’s only one thane in each bloodline, and the bloodline is all concentrated around one or two stead’s. 

The root document that is worth a re-read is the Report on the Orlanthi in King of Sartar. I think that the rest of my sources comes from memories of threads from Yahoo Groups and it’s predecessor (GeoCities ?), where Greg used to participate. And, of course, I’m cheating 😉 I discussed this topic with Greg (easily 15-20 years ago, maybe more) and remain influenced by those conversations.

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It’s worth digging deeper into my mental model of a bloodline.

In a patrilineal clan, the bloodlines are typically based on male descent. Each bloodline contains 5 to 10 adult men, descended from a common grandfather or great grandfather, noted as the Founder. There may be more than one bloodline from the same Founder. Wives and children belong to the bloodline. Typically, each bloodline is organised around a Thane, who may be a priest, a warrior, a high entertainer or the best provider (usually a farmer, but could be a fisher or hunter or herder). There are likely a Carl or 2 and a half-Carl or 2 and several cottars. They live close together, in a stead with 2 to 4 buildings arranged in a defensive form. They live communally, all children brought up together by elders, all livestock managed as a single herd. There may be some associated stick pickers used for labour and odd-jobs, however they are not members of the bloodline.

The Thane represents the bloodline on the outer ring of the clan and act as the first among the equals of the rest of the bloodline, they are not the boss, but the most influential. If the clan appoints a second Thane from the bloodline, then unless the two Thanes are unusually close then there’s a strong chance the bloodline will split. If a bloodline loses a Thane, then after a while if they cannot get one of their members appointed as a replacement Thane, then the bloodline will likely breakup.

Typical clans only have 20 to 30 Thanes.

more later, battery about to die...

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continuing my mental model:

Sisters that have never married or have divorced and returned to the clan are full members of the bloodline. Some widows may choose to return to their clan and bloodline. A bloodline will likely encourage an elderly Thane to get his status transferred to another member to ensure continuity.

Most bloodlines will have an unusual member or two: The Thane could be a sister in an Esrolian marriage, and her husband get's his membership of the bloodline though her. The first male could get his status from his wife that is a Thane in her own right. A bloodline could find value in a stickpicker or even an outsider and adopt them as a Cottar into the bloodline. Another bloodline breaks up and the bloodline admits a second cousin or two.

Each clan will have at least one bloodline with an unusual form or arrangement: A bloodline could be made up of unrelated men that share some other bond, such as a (former) warband.

The bloodline will be the primary organisers of marriages for their children, however they will need the approval of the chief/inner ring/outer ring. Marriages are _always_ outside the clan. Much of the contact is organised through the wives who have cousins in their original clans and also in clans that their (original bloodline) 'sisters' have married into. I assume that there is politicking, that the husbands are oblivious of, among the women. This politicking would likely be about personal status and about ensuring that the bonds with their original clan are strengthened so that it is easy to travel home, oh! and their children's status too. An older woman might want to bring in a high status young woman while a younger woman, to improve her status, might want to bring in a lower status young woman.

I think that there will always be an absolute ban on unmarried sex within a bloodline. Depending on how close other clans are, there will be a tendency to strongly discourage unmarried sex within the clan. But young adults have strong emotions that may bypass these prohibitions.

2 hours ago, Joerg said:

The bloodline has no legal standing outside of the clan. Only the clan has, and the clan chief is responsible for paying the compensation. Whether or not to pay a ransom can become a difficult negotiation, and when the individual concerned has fallen afoul of the chief, his kin might have to appeal to the cult rather than the clan to release the individual from captivity.

King of Sartar, revised and annotated edition, page 221

"Bloodlines are responsible for all their members. The group shares in the punishments incurred through the actions of its members. The group also shares in the rewards, such as judgments awarded to them."

2 hours ago, Joerg said:

But, that said, IMO a bloodline is permanent. It may split into different households after two generations or so, unless a really bad calamity has shrunk your bloodline so that you share your roof with second cousins. Folk too distant from the head of the household will sooner or later carve a household of their own. That takes quite a bit of wealth or influence, so it is likely that this new household will be founded by brothers. Otherwise, a specialist may always start a cottar household, and given sufficient skill or influence may upgrade that easily to carl status, or use influence on the clan council.

This is my opinion, which as I have admitted above, is not fully supported by much or even all of the published material.

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The bloodlines as presented in the Red Cow books are very reminiscent of the Germaniic "Sippe" or "hundred" in size, consisting of patrilocal patrilineal blood-kin, distributed over several steads. These steads may be shared with followers who aren't directly blood-related.

The bloodlines as presented in Coming Storm are based on a set of common ancestors they provided to the clan. This set complements the sets provided by other bloodlines plus the founder and hero sets of ancestors which may have come from other sets no longer present in the clan but adopted before the other bloodline set disappeared.

The Red Cow have about half a dozen headmen of their respective bloodlines that fit this definition. These headmen would automatically have thane rank, regardless of the wealth of the bloodline.

I think that your narrower concept maps to subsets of the bloodlines as presented for the Red Cow. Possibly more than one stead.

 

The Red Cow name about two dozen thanes on the inner and outer ring, including the five weaponthanes. These include magical folk, master crafters, heads of the larger bloodlines. There may be a few thane-status semi-dependents of the ring members and the chief's household, too.

Then there are a number of clansfolk on permanent leave as royal companions who have thane rank thanks to their tribal positions, and their partners/offspring or other such closest kin.

 

The "band of unrelated men" would be something akin to a warband or a joint workers gang, e.g. a group of miners or charcoal burners, loggers or similar economic activities away from the clan. Possibly also unmarried herders.

I don't deny the existence of such sub-units, I only disagree with the identification of these with the bloodline.

 

3 minutes ago, Charles said:

King of Sartar, revised and annotated edition, page 221

"Bloodlines are responsible for all their members. The group shares in the punishments incurred through the actions of its members. The group also shares in the rewards, such as judgments awarded to them."

Yes. That's inside the clan (who are legal kin), where they will bear the brunt of fines levied unto the clan.

However: The clan provides representation to the outside, and will have to cough up the fine when the negotiation demands it, not when the kinship group is able to pay. It acts as an insurance for the bloodline, and the bloodline will be in internal debt to the clan for quite a while.

That means that they will receive only "minimum wages" from efforts that enrich the clan, beyond the bare minimum required to survive and maintain herd and seed integrity. Income due to personal efforts of members of this bloodline will be mostly consumed by this internal debt, although the chief may allow some portion of the reward for the people who contributed to the clan wealth if he feels he wants to encourage such endeavors.

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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8 minutes ago, Joerg said:

However: The clan provides representation to the outside, and will have to cough up the fine when the negotiation demands it, not when the kinship group is able to pay. It acts as an insurance for the bloodline, and the bloodline will be in internal debt to the clan for quite a while.

I suggest that you read the whole section on justice again. I know that it is at least 10 years since I last read it through

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Normally Orlanthi kinship is a formal thing determined by the marriage contract of the parents.It is always with members of another clan. So Harvald Varmandi, a thane, marries Kera Hiording, a tenant. Their kids are going to be Varmandi. However, later Harvald becomes a year husband of Yanioth Ernaldoring. She's an Earth Priestess, so the kids are going to be Ernaldoring. In most clans, marrying members of the same clan is not possible - it isn't taboo, it simply is not legally expressible! Marriage by definition is an alliance between two clans - marrying the same clan is like an alliance with yourself!

As an aside, despite inferences in the Argrathsaga to the contrary, high status Orlanthi often practice polygamy and polyandry. Additionally, because they do not practice primogeniture inheritance and don't worry that much about patrilineal descent, they also are quite adulterous by the standards of the Dara Happans. Of course the Orlanthi say they strictly adhere to their marriage contracts - but those mainly deal with rights, treatment, status, property, and children, and rarely contain requirements that the married couple confine their sexual activities (since neither Ernalda or Orlanth ever did that).

Jeff 

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25 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Normally Orlanthi kinship is a formal thing determined by the marriage contract of the parents.It is always with members of another clan. So Harvald Varmandi, a thane, marries Kera Hiording, a tenant. Their kids are going to be Varmandi. However, later Harvald becomes a year husband of Yanioth Ernaldoring. She's an Earth Priestess, so the kids are going to be Ernaldoring. In most clans, marrying members of the same clan is not possible - it isn't taboo, it simply is not legally expressible! Marriage by definition is an alliance between two clans - marrying the same clan is like an alliance with yourself!

As an aside, despite inferences in the Argrathsaga to the contrary, high status Orlanthi often practice polygamy and polyandry. Additionally, because they do not practice primogeniture inheritance and don't worry that much about patrilineal descent, they also are quite adulterous by the standards of the Dara Happans. Of course the Orlanthi say they strictly adhere to their marriage contracts - but those mainly deal with rights, treatment, status, property, and children, and rarely contain requirements that the married couple confine their sexual activities (since neither Ernalda or Orlanth ever did that).

Jeff 

From an Lunar Heartland source about traveling in Dragon Pass:

"The Orlanthi are barely human. They rut like barnyard animals, kill each other over insults and slights, and allow their Earth Priestesses to demand that their rulers satisfy their whims both carnally and in deeds. They marry their half-sisters and women abandon their children to the temples. Men and women wander around naked and without shame, and they keep snakes and black cats in their homes. I tell you that the tree people have far more to offer us than those hill barbarians. "

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Normally Orlanthi kinship is a formal thing determined by the marriage contract of the parents. It is always with members of another clan. So Harvald Varmandi, a thane, marries Kera Hiording, a tenant. Their kids are going to be Varmandi. However, later Harvald becomes a year husband of Yanioth Ernaldoring. She's an Earth Priestess, so the kids are going to be Ernaldoring. In most clans, marrying members of the same clan is not possible - it isn't taboo, it simply is not legally expressible! Marriage by definition is an alliance between two clans - marrying the same clan is like an alliance with yourself!

In practice, what percentage children are born outside of formally negotiated wedlock? Sex between adults is paraphrased as "bed wife" or similar, unformal forms of marriage.

In cases of unmarried conception, I suppose that the children will join the matrilocal bloodline - if the father wants to add the child to his bloodline, he had better arrange at least a year patrilocal marriage once he learns of the pregnancy.

I guess there is little doubt that the Gloranthan humans are savvy to  conception and fatherhood, and to the cases of parthenogenesis where there is no father. Ritual couplings at religious festivals will doubtlessly lead to childbirths, and such births most likely are considered blessed by the deities in whose name the conception happened.

 

Apart from determining clan membership and ancestral ties of the child, what other consequences are there for being married?

There is the question of bridal price and/or dowry when making the contract - basically a sort of weregeld for taking on the product of this worker from the birth clan, and an insurance for the case the marriage gets divorced. More often than not these marriages also serve as networking between clans - you're a lot less likely to raid a clan your sisters have married into, and they won't tolerate their husbands raiding their birth clan, either.

 

I am considering writing something like a story or a campaign arc about a few women marrying into a distant clan and uncovering some major intrigue people from their new bloodline are involved in. With all the detail available on the Red Cow, imagine the story of a few brides marrying into that ogre bloodline, finding out that your future children might be drawn to that unspeakable part of the Devil. (But it doesn't have to be Chaos and can still be very Gloranthan.)

 

Quote

As an aside, despite inferences in the Argrathsaga to the contrary, high status Orlanthi often practice polygamy and polyandry.

Simultaneous polygamy/polyandry, or serial?

And in case of two such high status individuals having one such marriage tie, will they tolerate all the side flings? How much simulltaneous polyandry is an alpha male high status Orlanthi going to tolerate if the child is supposed to be patrilocal? And how much will the magic for the wife suffer if the husband practices polygamy?

 

Quote

Additionally, because they do not practice primogeniture inheritance and don't worry that much about patrilineal descent, they also are quite adulterous by the standards of the Dara Happans.

Starting with the fact that Orlanthi are expected to actually enjoy sexual intercourse, rather than just performing their dynastic duty.

But then, the half-citizens and lower worshiping Lodril and Oria or other alpha-female deities like Surenslib are the epitome of adultery in Dara Happa, too. And the Lunars haven't improved the morals in Dara Happan high society, either.

 

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Of course the Orlanthi say they strictly adhere to their marriage contracts - but those mainly deal with rights, treatment, status, property, and children, and rarely contain requirements that the married couple confine their sexual activities (since neither Ernalda or Orlanth ever did that).

If these marriage contracts rarely confine sexual activities, then how does adultery become a problem in Orlanthi marriages? Does this only pertain to those contracts that require clear identification of the husband as father of the offspring?

And, from a bloodline point of view, does it matter which male from the bloodline the female married into was the biological father? Will the dominating mother-in-law really care?

 

A matriarch in a patrilocal culture like the majority of the Dragon Pass and Heortland Orlanthi may well take pride in the web of daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters distributed over a huge variety of clans. The cult of Ernalda propagates both matrilineally and patrilocally. The Ernaldan god-talkers of a clan will mostly have been born in other clans than the clan of their children. A prospective god-talker married into the clan will bring her birth-clan's schooling in the Earth rites, but she will also get introduced into the local tradition formed by a multitude of wives having come before her, passing on a hybrid wisdom from all those various sources.

There may be occasions like a sequence of mutual year marriages where a high ranking individual will spend a year (or however long it takes to produce offspring) in the clan of the marriage partner, leaving one child of the contract with the father's clan and one with the mother's clan. In these cases, a high profile Ernaldan might be powerful enough both in social standing and in magic to overrule her local mothers-in-law in terms of seniority in the cult, and introduce new ways of doing magic over the heads of the local council of mothers.

For the women living in non-temporary marriages, their main work on behalf of their clan is directed to the welfare of their children. The children will thrive if the household they grow up in thrives.

Chances are that the mother giving birth to a child will play less of a role in raising the child once it has been weaned than her steadmistress, who may be her mother-in-law (or her husband's uncle's wife, or her husband's cousin's or brother's wife). If a stead has hearths from multiple bloodlines, there is a good chance that the children will grow up like siblings even though not sharing a bloodline. A multi-generation household will mean a lot less direct parental influence on the children, and upbringing distributed to all the daytime residents of the stead. This might extend to sleeping arrangements in almost "communist" or kibbuzim creches.

Still, the continuation of the self within the children will be a major source of pride and status for the biological parents. King of Sartar mentions the Wanderlore rites/tradition of childless clansfolk (and so does Thunder Rebels) past a certain age bracket (not too late to produce children).

 

5 hours ago, Charles said:

I suggest that you read the whole section on justice again. I know that it is at least 10 years since I last read it through

The Justice section describes court procedure, with jurors selected by the plaintiff. This actually sounds like procedure for complaints inside a clan rather than resolving inter-clan conflicts. Other than sacred judgement e.g. by the Holder of the Lawstaff, I would expect a majority of "cases" being solved by diplomacy between clans, weighing complaints and possibly counter-complaints and determining settlements.

 

I was lazy and did a text search for bloodline instead.

Under "Society", the concentric circles of an individual place the bloodline inside the household, then the clan. (p.210)

 

In the Justice chapter, the paragraph under the Bloodlines heading details the legal status of conflict inside bloodlines (excluding marriage conflicts, which are subject to contractual relationship to the birth clan of the marriage partner residing within and contributing offspring to the bloodline). Any unresolvable unhealthy rivalry between siblings is best resolved by living in separate households, or taking on honorable positions with accaptable powerful leaders outside of the clan - more or less what the Froalar solution does in Western society, too.

There should be no Gisli's Saga in Heortling society, because kinstrife...

 

Thunder Rebels is a lot more detailed on points of weregeld and similar issues.

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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19 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Ernaldan god-talkers of a clan will mostly have been born in other clans than the clan of their children. A prospective god-talker married into the clan will bring her birth-clan's schooling in the Earth rites, but she will also get introduced into the local tradition formed by a multitude of wives having come before her, passing on a hybrid wisdom from all those various sources.

Maybe the young women that show high potential to become strong in Ernalda and low potential to rock the boat will be kept in the clan and married Esrolian fashion or to Under Husbands to keep her (and her children) in the clan. Perhaps for extraordinary women, the 'independant' Ernalda temples will offer extraordinary bride price or dowries to get them as a priestess. 

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10 minutes ago, Charles said:

Maybe the young women that show high potential to become strong in Ernalda and low potential to rock the boat will be kept in the clan and married Esrolian fashion or to Under Husbands to keep her (and her children) in the clan.

Either that, or only "rented out" in temporary marriages, spreading some of their offspring to the clans of her temporary husbands, in exchange for lasting alliances etc.

 

10 minutes ago, Charles said:

Perhaps for extraordinary women, the 'independant' Ernalda temples will offer extraordinary bride price or dowries to get them as a priestess. 

I think that a god-talker joining a prestigious temple will be handled similarly as an exceptional thane becoming the companion of a tribal king, or even a member of the royal household. These folk will be on extended leave, acting as the clan's voice and entry-point wherever they serve.

I don't think that an Ernalda temple paying a bride price would be regarded as proper procedure, although it is possible that the children of the priestess in service of the temple will belong to the temple rather than to her birth clan.

Something like this is likely for the biggest earth temples, like Shaker Temple, Ezel, or Grace Temple in Nochet. I am not sure whether the Greenhaven or Clearwine earth temples qualify as such quasi-clans with claims on children, or whether the priestesses serving there are automatically members of the clan hosting the temple.

 

A similar quandary is membership in an urban Sartarite guild when coming from one of the rural clans. Guilds in Nochet are effectively urban clans, quite often over a number of generations, but in the much smaller cities elsewhere, retaining links to the birth clan (or marriage clan in the case of couples moving into the tribal city) would be the norm, leading to some unsatisfying double membership/non-membership.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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The marriage laws come from Early Irish Law codes, and you can find as much in the Orlanthi as described in the 'Report on the Orlanthi' in King of Sartar or Sartar, Kingdom of Heroes that comes from the Early Irish as the Germans. Of course the importance of cattle, and cattle raiding comes from the same place. Back in the day the book 'Cattle Lords and Clansmen' was something a lot of those of exploring the Orlanthi. We played with the ideas of cattle loans for example, based on our reading of this text (I think Enclosure?).

Other ideas clearly come from Germanic tribes, partially as described by Tacitus, and partially ideas from the Vikings such as blood feuds, odal property etc. (though odal has far more in common with the idea of the Irish clan as an economic unit).

Or to put it another way, the Orlanthi are a composite of what we know about the Germanic and Celtic peoples of Europe.  And if you think about Greg's other passion, Arthur, and his Dark Age and Celtic associations, it is easy to see what he was drawing on.

Nowadays we also tend to draw on things like Urnfield culture (one of the strongest influences in Thunder Rebels is Urnfield culture and it is far more ancient world than the RQ presentations were).

How does that help  us?

I assume that a bloodline is a group that is similar to one of the 'fine' groups here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Irish_law#Kinship   In essence it is an economic unit (hence responsibility for fines etc) within the clan based on kinship. The closest thing in Early Irish Law would be a derbfine, or common descent from a Great Great Grandfather. How big would that be? Well it depends on how many sons survive each generation etc. but if you had three sons in each generation, assume that the fathers are all married and have five children each (sex does not matter as they are children) you get 70 odd individuals of whom about half are adults, rising to bigger numbers if you have four or five sons. Remember larger families would be the norm.

My personal experience of African clan structures through my partner  (where descent is through the great grandfather) would be that in addition to blood kin there are a number of 'adopted' kin whose on bloodline fell on hard times etc, whose relationship would be slightly more distant, but get adopted by the more successful branch.

Overall I think that creates quite a range for bloodline size, from as low as 20 or so and as high as a couple of hundred. I think that when a bloodline descends to the size of one household though it would tend to combine with other households for greater influence, so I suspect a lot more would be about 60-70 than 20. I suspect that once you pass the Dunbar number (150) the bloodline becomes unwieldy and begins to risk breaking up without a strong leader.

Now, The Coming Storm has 'historical ancestors' for many of its bloodlines, not the Great Grandfather. I also think that is common, because the bloodline identifies with the 'famous' ancestor in its male line, not just the Great Grandfather that they all have in common. It's "bigging up" your connections. Now a number of bloodlines might share a historic ancestor, but history or tradition probably lets one group assert that (the most powerful) forcing others to choose "lesser" ancestors to identify with.

Of course any GGF dies, and his children in turn become a GGF. So any view of a clan, such as that in TCS is a snapshot in time of the bloodlines. So what happens, do they divide into new bloodlines? Perhaps. Or perhaps the most significant grandfather takes the mantle of being the common ancestor but his brother's branches remain part of the bloodline as adoptees. From talking to my wife's family it's clear that this is a decision for negotiation as much as law. In other words, we might all get together and decide that we are going to measure our bloodline from Koschei, but that we will also include the children of Koschei's brothers in our bloodline. This is a decision around economics, power, influence etc. as much as 'law'. The bloodline understands how it is formed, it doesn't need to conform to 'rules'.

Now both bloodlines and clans are exogamous. I think that really means that folks from a bloodline would not take partners from another clan who shared the same paternal grandfather. Generally that is an issue when a female descendant of your GGF has children in that other clan, who are then excluded from marriage into your bloodline. That is one disadvantage of a larger bloodline, more partners are excluded. That may create pressure on large bloodlines to break up.

What does this mean for a game? I think that worrying about too many bloodlines is hard work for the GM. I would have a few large bloodlines, more medium sized ones, and some small ones for flavor if you wanted. I think the 6 we have in TCS is on the limit of players and GM caring, though you could handwave a lot of 'small' branches that you don't need to identify the leadership, or name of, until you need them. Anything over 12 is a lot of work for you as a GM. Story-wise bloodlines let you have internal conflict based on folks trying to gain economic advantage through law and politics, within the clan. A bloodline also gives you the ability to present a smaller number of NPCs to a player (your bloodline patriach etc.) for them to care about within the clan initially.

i'd always remember what Greg used to say: "what story do you want to tell" and allow the flexibility of the bloodline size to hep you set that up within your game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 8/16/2018 at 5:13 PM, Joerg said:

A similar quandary is membership in an urban Sartarite guild when coming from one of the rural clans. Guilds in Nochet are effectively urban clans, quite often over a number of generations, but in the much smaller cities elsewhere, retaining links to the birth clan (or marriage clan in the case of couples moving into the tribal city) would be the norm, leading to some unsatisfying double membership/non-membership.

I suspect that if your clan cannot provide the 'benefits of membership' to you whilst you are in the city, you quickly join a guild, brotherhood etc. to provide the same benefits, if you can. It's a very harsh world to be alone in and your distant kin in the clan can only do so much.

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2 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

I suspect that if your clan cannot provide the 'benefits of membership' to you whilst you are in the city, you quickly join a guild, brotherhood etc. to provide the same benefits, if you can. It's a very harsh world to be alone in and your distant kin in the clan can only do so much.

My view of Nochet is that the urban clans are 'guilds' where they've gained particular privileges over a craft (e.g. House Ternvok is one of four clans that have rights as carters/wheelwrights) or part of a larger fabric of society where they pursue particular functions that serve common neighborhood needs (e.g. participation in one of the larger Societies of the Cloth).  This creates a certain nominal balance until factors such as success/failure of a prominent clan leader, luck/fate, or population pressures (e.g. Sartarite and Esrolian refugees from wars) through things out of balance.  

If you don't come with a large group at your back, you'd do well to bring your craft/skills and marry or be adopted into an existing clan with a need (e.g. a small clan who suddenly find they don't have any craftsmen to compete with someone else pushing into their 'guild' territory).

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