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MHanretty

Real-World Chronology of Glorantha Concepts

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15 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

In-universe, isn't Argrath explained as just the Thayalanized version of Arkat - sort of like Greek Timotheos and English Timothy? It would make sense for other cultures to refer to Argrath with whatever is their local version of Arkat, then.

Yes, that’s exactly what I was getting at. In the same way that Kaiser and Czar are Germanised and Russified versions of Caesar, and turned what started as a name into a title.

Edited by simonh
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I’m aware that there’s at least a couple of threads on the front page discussing Elmal/Yelmalio but I’d like a bit of real-world context for this (perennial?) topic.

Am I correct in saying that Elmal was introduced fairly late in the day, in the early 90s? More subjectively, is it fair to suggest this was done to inject some ambiguity into Gloranthan mythology? By knowingly creating a similar deity to the already established Yelmalio - with the polar opposite loyalties, politically speaking - does this force the audience to look outside of the God Learner mentality, with their neat, tidy and discrete gods and goddesses?

Of couse, this naturally leads me to the following question: when were the God Learners introduced and in what book? They’re a great concept but seem very on-the-nose for a setting used chiefly by roleplayers. 

Alternatively, maybe I should take Greg’s The Birth of Elmal more literally and just accept Elmal as a logical and necessary myth for the Orlanthi? After all, what culture, historical or fictitious, has ever truly hated a life-giving sun?

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3 minutes ago, MHanretty said:

After all, what culture, historical or fictitious, has ever truly hated a life-giving sun?

The Uz... though it is far from life-giving in their case.  So, yeah, your point still stands.

The Mostali might be a bit upset that it keeps rolling around instead of sitting atop the spike like it ought to. But given that the spike itself is still a looooong way from being repaired, a slightly over-mobile sun is not likely to be anywhere near the top of their must-fix list.

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1 hour ago, MHanretty said:

Am I correct in saying that Elmal was introduced fairly late in the day, in the early 90s?

Yes.  Tied in with the original release of King of Sartar ~1992.

1 hour ago, MHanretty said:

More subjectively, is it fair to suggest this was done to inject some ambiguity into Gloranthan mythology?

I believe Greg did so in attempting to answer the question as to who the Orlanthi thought of as the Sun.  See: http://www.glorantha.com/docs/the-birth-of-elmal/

1 hour ago, MHanretty said:

By knowingly creating a similar deity to the already established Yelmalio - with the polar opposite loyalties, politically speaking - does this force the audience to look outside of the God Learner mentality, with their neat, tidy and discrete gods and goddesses?

Starting with King of Sartar, but more specifically with the subsequent Glorious ReAscent of Yelm and Entekosiad, all of these helped raise the consideration that the God Learner view is not everything, that there are multiple facets to the myths.  However, they don't (and shouldn't) create two deities that are similar but polar opposites.  That is part of the consideration of Elmal/Yelmalio now.

1 hour ago, MHanretty said:

 when were the God Learners introduced and in what book?

First real view into their thoughts is with Cults of Terror, so a long time ago.  However, Greg's earliest writings were of the far west and I believe included the Middle Sea Empire from which the God Learners came.

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1 minute ago, jajagappa said:

Starting with King of Sartar, but more specifically with the subsequent Glorious ReAscent of Yelm and Entekosiad, all of these helped raise the consideration that the God Learner view is not everything, that there are multiple facets to the myths.  However, they don't (and shouldn't) create two deities that are similar but polar opposites.  That is part of the consideration of Elmal/Yelmalio now.

Can I get some clarification on the bolded? I don’t think Elmal and Yelmalio are polar opposites but they do owe their loyalties to opposing camps which potentially makes for a stumbling block in their common identification. Not an insurmountable stumbling block but the lack of explicit mythological connective tissue between loyalty to Yelm and loyalty to Orlanth (seemingly in that order) made me wonder if Greg wanted to keep things fuzzy.

However, the point could be moot and I could be reading too much into things here. My only reticence for adopting the explanation offered in The Birth of Elmal is that (despite coming from the horse’s mouth) it was written in an in-universe style. Still, Occam’s razor and all that - making the sun too much of a bad guy might be a hard sell when sea season and fire season roll around.

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Pardon for maybe appearing ignorant again, but is Yelmalio even that particularly "loyal" to Yelm? It seems that in areas away from Peloria, he's very much his own god, doing his own thing, as it were. I mean, the Yelmic underworld and resurrection cycle is obviously going on in the background, but from what I've seen in my brief time in Glorantha, Yelm seems more like context than anything else. With Elmal, Orlanth seems much more of an active part of his narrative and identity.

EDIT: I guess what I'm saying is that the "watchman" function of Elmal seems more to be taken up by Antirius or Polaris, the former of which is at least partially analogous to Yelmalio, but "cultically" distinct.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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7 hours ago, MHanretty said:

I’m aware that there’s at least a couple of threads on the front page discussing Elmal/Yelmalio but I’d like a bit of real-world context for this (perennial?) topic.

 

7 hours ago, MHanretty said:

Am I correct in saying that Elmal was introduced fairly late in the day, in the early 90s? More subjectively, is it fair to suggest this was done to inject some ambiguity into Gloranthan mythology? By knowingly creating a similar deity to the already established Yelmalio - with the polar opposite loyalties, politically speaking - does this force the audience to look outside of the God Learner mentality, with their neat, tidy and discrete gods and goddesses?

King of Sartar (1992) marked the first new Glorantha publication by Greg after a hiatus of at least five years, with Elder Secrets probably being the last Glorantha project Greg had worked on earlier. From what I learned, it may have been an encounter at Conjunction 1990 that re-kindled Greg's interest in his world again.

The God Learner monomyth was presented as suspect already with RQ3 Gods of Glorantha, and the Genertela Box provided us with a glimpse of the Teshnan pantheon which presented the Solar pantheon in quite different trappings, with somewhat recognizable similarities and quite deep differences at the same time. Solf and Dara Happan Lodril are about as different as Elmal and Yelmalio.

 

7 hours ago, MHanretty said:

Of couse, this naturally leads me to the following question: when were the God Learners introduced and in what book? They’re a great concept but seem very on-the-nose for a setting used chiefly by roleplayers. 

You have to keep in mind that (like the Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth) the published parts of Glorantha was just the tip of the iceberg, with most of its lore a lot deeper and never published. That's what makes a fantasy setting appealing, the presence of lore beyond the mere words you are reading or being told.

I think that the God Learners got their first mentions quite early. The story about the thirteen city states of Jrustela probably was written before Cults of Prax was published. The story about the Sword of Tolat and of Avalor carrying it back to Fronela appears to be about as old.

Greg's huge set of transparent paper master maps for Glorantha include all of western and central Genertela up to the Shan Shan mountains.

In Greg's stories, the Battle of Tanian's Victory and the rise of the Middle Sea Empire must have been present already when he published Nomad Gods, and possibly even before White Bear and Red Moon was published. The first part of the list of the Kings of Seshnela which details the history of the God Learners was attached to the copy of Hrestol's Saga, which would have been written before White Bear and Red Moon by a few years.

The first public mention of the God Learners might be the designer's notes for Cults of Prax that Greg published as a reaction to MAR Barker's review of that supplement. You will find that in Cults Compendium (the Moon Design reprint of Cults of Prax, Cults of Terror and a number of cults published in Different Worlds) on p.330.

Then there is the one (or originally maybe two) page essay on the God Learners from Wyrm's Footprints, reprinted in Wyrm's Footnotes, and they receive mention in the first instalment of the Gods and Goddesses of Glorantha series in the same magazine, mentioned in issue 5's part two of Gods and Goddesses of Glorantha. That predates the publication of Cults of Prax.

 

7 hours ago, MHanretty said:

Alternatively, maybe I should take Greg’s The Birth of Elmal more literally and just accept Elmal as a logical and necessary myth for the Orlanthi? After all, what culture, historical or fictitious, has ever truly hated a life-giving sun?

That appears to be the reasoning that led to Elmal's discovery.

Elmal appears to have inherited Hyalor from Yamsur, the sun god of Genert's Garden, as does Yelmalio with the Kuschile archery skill.

The story of Beren the Rider as founder of the Berennethtelli appears in the background of Harmast Barefoot, whose Lightbringer's Quest is part of the Arkat Saga Greg drew upon when he created White Bear and Red Moon as the first professional Glorantha publication. Beren's deity or ancestor was Hyalor, which made him a Hyaloring. No idea whether that solar ancestry had been pursued much farther - the boat people all over the coasts of Glorantha were the Diroti, the folk of Diros the Boat Builder/Founder.

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