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About slavery

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28 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

What kind of chains are strong enough to hold the burning earth?

 

Big magical lead ones. Hey, I'm not Argan Argar, you'll have to go to the Shadow Plateau in God Time to find out ...

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Having just watched a video on the feasibility of casting an obsidian sword, you need a material that will cool down a 2000°F melt (aka moderate red glow, from the color I'd estimate about 1000°C, definitely a lot less than my diploma thesis efforts to melt lanthanum silicate at 1300°C). That's beyond the ability of bronze, or any other unenchanted non-iron metals of Glorantha except maybe dragonbone, although silver might be a sufficiently good heat conductor, and enchantment might help further. Its ability to hurt magic creatures might aid here, too.

The truncated volcanic pillar of the Shadow Plateau could be basaltic or acidic (obsidian) - the only obsidian we know for sure was the Obsidian Palace Veskarthan grew/built out of it after being chained.

The shape of the volcanoes around Kethaela suggests colder lava, more like Aetna and less like Hawaii. Still, enchanted silver remains by best guess for Argan Argan's use of chain. Iron would work - after all the Only Old One did prove that iron didn't hurt his Kitori nature - but wasn't Gemborg somehow allied with Caladraland?

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I must admit, I didn't really consider this event to be quite as literal as it's made out to be. There's a space between the literal and the allegorical that's quite wide and fruitful, imho.

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28 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I must admit, I didn't really consider this event to be quite as literal as it's made out to be. There's a space between the literal and the allegorical that's quite wide and fruitful, imho.

For all we know there's a tantric component in with the alchemy. 😎A lot we still don't know about those Silver Age figures of archaic Kethaela.

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On 9/16/2018 at 9:06 PM, Jeff said:

Imarja is not an "archetype of ruthless authoritarian rule" - she's the Gloranthan Shakti, the feminine Creatrix. She doesn't even have a cult, but is revered by many Esrolians as the distant Universal Mother.

I've been thinking about the idea that Imarja is not a cult, but besides a deity acknowledged in other earth ceremonies, it's a mystic tradition for advanced Earth magicians. My idea is that they are generally Illuminated, but do not usually know how to teach Illumination by any simple means (ie in terms of the HeroQuest rules, their tradition does not normally include the 6th power, Ability to Illuminate Others, which is one of the rarer Illuminate powers)  -- instead, they recognise Illumination as a consequence of heroquesting to the Green Age, which is something that the Earth mysteries are very interested in. So its not an active proselytising or unified tradition, rather a vein of teaching and writing that runs through the high echelons of Earth worship, recognising that sometimes those who heroquest come back changed in particular ways, and teaching how to reconcile that with the Earth powers. There is much philosophising, some magical scheming, etc that goes on between those recognise each other as Imarjans, but to most Esrolians its simply another layer of confusing complexity within the deep mysteries of the Earth pantheon. 

So its about spiritual liberation, and a vision of unity of the Goddess, in many ways the very opposite of authoritarianism.

Which is not to say that, just like the Lunars, sometimes a vision of mystic insights can't be used to justify terrible acts in this mundane world. The vision of unity of the goddess includes the 'Malign' aspects (eg as Durga, Kali are to Shakti, Maran Gor and Babeestor Gor are to Imarja), and your caring, nurturing Ernaldan may suddenly find that they are understanding of the blood thirstiness of her sister and daughter as never before. 

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12 hours ago, davecake said:

So its not an active proselytising or unified tradition, rather a vein of teaching and writing that runs through the high echelons of Earth worship, recognising that sometimes those who heroquest come back changed in particular ways, and teaching how to reconcile that with the Earth powers.

If we follow the material in the Esrolia book, then likely they must visit the House of Shape, the House of Form and the House of Appearance.
"Some of the people did not understand any of this." - however, if they succumb to the temptations of life, then they accept the reality of the Other House instead and clearly fail to understand the deeper mysteries.

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5 hours ago, jajagappa said:

If we follow the material in the Esrolia book, then likely they must visit the House of Shape, the House of Form and the House of Appearance.
"Some of the people did not understand any of this." - however, if they succumb to the temptations of life, then they accept the reality of the Other House instead and clearly fail to understand the deeper mysteries.

Those three houses look quite similar to the early stage in Ingolf's draconic path where the three Otherworlds of the sorcerous, divine and (deep) spirit world are the object of exploration as much as meditation that need to be left behind on the journey onward, mastered in some way, or at least throwing off the mastery these may have had over the candidate for the higher truths.

I still get the feeling that the practicality of the Grandmothers' deeds in the history of Esrolia more often indicates the lack of insight and the triumph of temptation. The flip side of the path to liberation is the "failed mystic", the temptation accepted rather than the ultimate goal. The Third Council of the EWF or Sheng Seleris are such examples on a similar "government" level.

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10 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I still get the feeling that the practicality of the Grandmothers' deeds in the history of Esrolia more often indicates the lack of insight and the triumph of temptation. The flip side of the path to liberation is the "failed mystic", the temptation accepted rather than the ultimate goal. The Third Council of the EWF or Sheng Seleris are such examples on a similar "government" level.

I may be influenced by my own interest in Taoism, but I tend to think that anyone who covets temporal power and claims to be a true mystic is lying.

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3 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

I may be influenced by my own interest in Taoism, but I tend to think that anyone who covets temporal power and claims to be a true mystic is lying.

The Kralori dragon emperors or the Inhuman Kings appear to manage that apparent contradiction, but then they have progressed a lot further than say Ingolf or Isgangdrang, or any of the Grandmothers. I hold my judgement on Teelo Estara and Takenegi.

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Heck, you could raise this question about Nysalor and the WCF/Bright Empire as well.

Is this "falling off before enlightenment" effectively the same as Occlusion, you think? Occlusion is described as essentially being enlightened, but making the wrong conclusions from it (ie. "we are all one" becomes "everything is me"), so it strikes me as a tad different.

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Those three houses look quite similar to the early stage in Ingolf's draconic path where the three Otherworlds of the sorcerous, divine and (deep) spirit world are the object of exploration as much as meditation that need to be left behind on the journey onward, mastered in some way, or at least throwing off the mastery these may have had over the candidate for the higher truths.

Certainly possibly, though I'm a bit more sceptical about Three/Four Worlds based models now in the details. I don't think its necessarily that they must be mastered or left behind, more the divisions between them are seen as immaterial, and all non-mystic paths as largely irrelevant in the pursuit of higher truth. 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

I still get the feeling that the practicality of the Grandmothers' deeds in the history of Esrolia more often indicates the lack of insight and the triumph of temptation.

I absolutely did not mean to imply that I think all the Grandmothers, or even a majority, are Imarjan Illuminates. The true Imarjans are more likely to step off that path entirely. 

7 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

anyone who covets temporal power and claims to be a true mystic is lying

The danger is not just that they become failed mystics (though that is certainly a risk), but also that some mystics tend to see the Very Big Picture enough that they may see a few 'minor' issues like a few thousand 'extra incarnations' (for others), a little bit of suffering (or the torture of many) as unimportant consequences, of little 'real', important in their plans. I do not think the various atrocities of the Lunars are because they are failed mystics as such. But then, who can tell if they are failed except maybe another mystic? 

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On 9/24/2018 at 10:56 PM, Joerg said:

I still get the feeling that the practicality of the Grandmothers' deeds in the history of Esrolia more often indicates the lack of insight and the triumph of temptation. The flip side of the path to liberation is the "failed mystic", the temptation accepted rather than the ultimate goal. The Third Council of the EWF or Sheng Seleris are such examples on a similar "government" level.

I don't think we should equate the Grandmothers' coming to power in Esrolia with an understanding of Imarja.  The creation of the Other House seems to be a rejection of the mystic by Ernalda and the other goddesses and an assertion of their own power.  That the Grandmothers incorporated or transposed stories of Imarja for their own use without delving into its mystical side seems likely.

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24 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

I don't think we should equate the Grandmothers' coming to power in Esrolia with an understanding of Imarja.  The creation of the Other House seems to be a rejection of the mystic by Ernalda and the other goddesses and an assertion of their own power.  That the Grandmothers incorporated or transposed stories of Imarja for their own use without delving into its mystical side seems likely.

So the worst of two worlds - rejection of mystic insight, and then a form of restructuring society based on that in terms of knowledge rather than experience. What could possibly go wrong? That's what ideologies like the Hyperborean Aryans stem from.

You have to be a designated heiress (or at least a prime candidate for that) and a somewhat public figure to pull off the stuff Samastina does against the wishes of her Grandmother, unless she has been manipulated to appear to rebel against her Grandmother's policy while in fact furthering it just as planned (at least as a plan B).

But once you are a social layer or two remote from the heiresses, the autocratic Grandmothers don't respect individual freedom much, especially if you are male.

That said, how common are slaves in Nochet? Does every major house have a stable full of those, or are they much rarer? How easily will indenture land you in a work gang far away from home?

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On 9/23/2018 at 6:59 PM, womble said:

I'm pretty sure the magic suppression effect only applies to iron. Otherwise gold and silver jewelry would be magically inhibiting, and you would be struggling to cast Speedart on your lead slingshot. Copper is also used as adornment in some cases.

According to Elder Secrets, all pure elemental metals have that effect, not just iron.  If the metal doesn't have the effect it is not pure and must have been alloyed.  In the case of jewelery, that would be normal (only 24 carat gold is pure for example), and so too in the case of sling bullets and copper coins.  It is also possible that the process of minting clacks enchants them in some fashion, but that isn't stated anywhere.  As copper and lead are cheap, it would seem sensible to get pure material as a way of controlling slave magic, or else your overseer is going to get befuddled and all your slaves will escape.  That would mean that slavery was immensely impractical and unprofitable, when we know that is not the case in Glorantha.

On 9/23/2018 at 6:59 PM, womble said:

While slaves have no access to 'official' temples, if they are not closely supervised, any Initiate can set up a Sanctified space for worship. Slave-holding cultures where the slaves are part of the population (rather than closely confined like galley crew or mine workers or on a latifunda) would have opportunity for such a space to be created. And even if the slave initially had no Rune Points available, they might have a votive object 'back home' to grant them seasonal points.

Well I would argue that in a world where accessing your gods is accessing their power to change the world that only a very foolish slave owner would allow such a thing.  Consider; the Lunars ruthlessly shut down temples to Orlanth, but allowed Sartarite men to worship Barntar.  I am sure that slave owners won't mind their slaves worshiping comparatively peaceful deities, but they aren't going to let you start holding ceremonies to Barbeester Gor, Humakt, Orlanth, Urox etc. at the edge of the plantation.   As for creating a sanctified space, initiates can sacrifice for that spell in RQ3, but only at a large temple of their deity, not at some little shrine.  We must not confuse RW examples with how Glorantha would work.  Slave owning is and intrinsically cruel and profit driven activity, and curtailing religious practice is immensely practical if you don't want a mass escape on your hands. 

Edited by Darius West
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I'm unsure whether they count as slaves (I've seen them described as both slaves and serfs), but the Vendref have an altered pantheon that aids them in their menial and artisanal tasks, and even one that aids in some form of heroic endeavors it seems, albeit only in the context of defending the Feathered Horse Queen (and, I assume, their homes).

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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm unsure whether they count as slaves (I've seen them described as both slaves and serfs), but the Vendref have an altered pantheon that aids them in their menial and artisanal tasks, and even one that aids in some form of heroic endeavors it seems, albeit only in the context of defending the Feathered Horse Queen (and, I assume, their homes).

The vendref are serf-like. 'Serf' is of course a type of servile class, a not-free group. We tend to use the term for chattel slavery, as in America, but there are many gradations. Concerns for keeping one's serfs low are similar to suppressing slave rebellions...

Of course, the practical solution for the Lunars in Sartar is binding rebel households as thralls to loyal groups, since that uses existing magical and legal language, but Dara Happans I think tend to default to Ergeshi slavery even when inconvenient.

I think that the Ergeshi in Vanntar are deprived of their cultural identity and magical ancestry (Kitori) by being ritually defined as servile group controlled by the magic of Yelm... This is a hostile version of how clans 'adopt' a wyter and the ancestry of their wyter as part of their clan history. Ergesh, god of slaves, is substituted. Perhaps he offers spells like "Endure Hardship" and "Please Master" but in exchange forbids rebellion. This would provide practical safety to the oppressed at the expense of freedom... the old dynamic of collaboration might be strengthened by this tradition. Priests of Ergesh might be slave-catchers, the ultimate sort of collaborator.

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12 hours ago, Darius West said:

According to Elder Secrets, all pure elemental metals have that effect, not just iron.

I was just reminded of how a pure elemental metal will really mess up a lycanthrope skinwalker hsunchen as well, so the forms of "slavery" and domestication run in parallel. Start with a totemic person free and balanced between beast and man natures. Add elemental metal. Sever the bond, releasing a secular human and an animal from the lycanthropic complex. From there, you can theoretically teach the human new and more urbane cults to replace the lost totem. Or not. Either way, they're better workers now that they obey a clock and will wear shoes.

12 hours ago, Darius West said:

We must not confuse RW examples with how Glorantha would work.

Greg often seems eager to stack the deck in favor of slave revolt. There's something inherent in history and/or the soul that ensures that lost gods are rarely suppressed forever and when they come back it's with dramatically satisfying force. Roll the dice enough times and someone with enough POW is around at the right time to get the right initiation, overcome institutional barriers and put the oppressor on the defensive. Whether or not we believe this is true RW it's a nice dream.

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10 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Greg often seems eager to stack the deck in favor of slave revolt. There's something inherent in history and/or the soul that ensures that lost gods are rarely suppressed forever and when they come back it's with dramatically satisfying force. Roll the dice enough times and someone with enough POW is around at the right time to get the right initiation, overcome institutional barriers and put the oppressor on the defensive. Whether or not we believe this is true RW it's a nice dream.

Slave revolts are really great stories to run.  Who doesn't love watching Spartacus etc?  I am totally on Greg's side, with one caveat.  If the revolt is too easy and the stakes are too low, then the story is going to suffer.  Any prison break or great escape follows much the same trajectory.  Plans need to be laid.  Informers unmasked.  Tasks need to be completed in secret, and players kept on tenterhooks.  A planned revolt will always work better than a completely spontaneous one.  On the other hand, a completely spontaneous revolt may have the same effect as an ambush, where, as the saying goes, "the mouse may slay the lion".  On the other hand, after the initial victory of a successful spontaneous revolt, it will almost always be rapidly suppressed by external forces, and the best the characters can expect is that they manage to run away.

In short, if you want access to your magic, you will need to remove your rune metal slave tag and replace it with a good facsimile that will fool the guards.  Time to develop those neglected stealth and craft skills, no?

Edited by Darius West
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22 minutes ago, Darius West said:

In short, if you want access to your magic, you will need to remove your tune metal slave tag and replace it with a good facsimile that will fool the guards.  Time to develop those neglected stealth and craft skills, no?

Keep rubbing with intent, the Ompalam rune (or whatever) stamped on that tag will eventually become something else.

Just want to footnote the rune metals implications while we're here. I would not be surprised if a society structured around metallic castes is a big reason most dwarves are such assholes. The Machine is a system of mutual + perpetual enslavement more insidious than anything in a Roger Waters song, draining all the freedom out of everyone too exalted to be just Clay and too unlucky to ever uh shine on like crazy Diamond. 

Maybe they were people once.

 

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23 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Just want to footnote the rune metals implications while we're here. I would not be surprised if a society structured around metallic castes is a big reason most dwarves are such assholes. The Machine is a system of mutual + perpetual enslavement more insidious than anything in a Roger Waters song, draining all the freedom out of everyone too exalted to be just Clay and too unlucky to ever uh shine on like crazy Diamond. 

Maybe they were people once.

Re-constituted Tadeniti? Those flayers of living foes had been harvested early in the Vadeli wars.

The Dwarf Mine refugees from the Dragonkill of 1120 have re-surfaced in Dragon Pass more than two centuries later (as enslaved personnel and cult of the cannons and the Alchemical Transformer) recognizably as human slaves and not in any way resembling the dwarves they serve. Neither do the Slon humans show any adaptation of Clay Mostali traits. The humans and their cave oxen are as low in rank in mostali society as are nilmergs, gremlins and jolanti.

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Just now, Joerg said:

The Dwarf Mine refugees from the Dragonkill of 1120 have re-surfaced in Dragon Pass more than two centuries later (as enslaved personnel and cult of the cannons and the Alchemical Transformer) recognizably as human slaves and not in any way resembling the dwarves they serve. Neither do the Slon humans show any adaptation of Clay Mostali traits. The humans and their cave oxen are as low in rank in mostali society as are nilmergs, gremlins and jolanti.

Decamonist propaganda notwithstanding I'm increasingly convinced the evolution went the other direction. Once upon a time there were pure mostali in the complexes and humans. Now the humans are gone, but we have twisted and malnourished people who have been told for centuries that they're "clay mostali" (lowest true cogs in the Machine proper). Most of the mostali are gone too so the cycle of clay perpetuates itself as best it can, maintaining the other aspects of the stone ecosystem.

The Slon slave population may be newer and so less acclimated, more recognizably "human" . . . now I wonder where the rest of Brithos really went.

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4 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Decamonist propaganda notwithstanding I'm increasingly convinced the evolution went the other direction. Once upon a time there were pure mostali in the complexes and humans. Now the humans are gone, but we have twisted and malnourished people who have been told for centuries that they're "clay mostali" (lowest true cogs in the Machine proper). Most of the mostali are gone too so the cycle of clay perpetuates itself as best it can, maintaining the other aspects of the stone ecosystem.

The Slon slave population may be newer and so less acclimated, more recognizably "human" . . . now I wonder where the rest of Brithos really went.

The harvest of the Tadeniti falls into the right frame of Godswar events. Mostal had been silenced at the Birth of Umath, as the clockwork was lifted off the axis, and the waters reached to the top side of the Earth, with the rivers invading. Attrition of the demigod Mostali was high, and reproduction or replacement rate was low as Mostal's absence had thrown a spanner into the workings of the crucibles.

It isn't clear how many Danmalastani were converted by the Vadeli, or whether they just bred new ones on their women while working the males to death. Women were scarce in Danmalastan, even though the births produced an almost balanced ratio of males and females after Malkion had come.

Revealed Mythologies p.26

Quote

Women had been declared sacred by Malkion (perhaps because they were much more scarce than men) and were assigned to the castes of their mothers.

Which is strange, as their mothers would have been assigned the caste of their fathers?

Quote

Only some families were allowed to propagate, the sons’ caste being determined by birth order.

Only some men were allowed to marry (i.e. propagate). By removing the women from the other Danmalastan tribes and reserving them for themselves, the Vadeli may easily have outbred the Brithini. I don't think that they bred with slave women taken from the Artmali or Doraddi. Their Danmalastani slaves might have, though.

We don't learn what human racial type we find on Surface Slon slave population. It could be mixed Artmali and Doraddi with an admixture of Thinobutans and Warerans if they received these slaves from the Vadeli empire, and might include Vadeli refugees among their ancestors, too. We don't know how fast the Breaking of the World flooded Endernef.

 

A bit off topic, but on the subject of Brithini birth order:

I don't get the impression anywhere that the sons of Malkion had any children outside of their own caste. The Dromal caste explicitely is of darker hue due to their earth goddess ancestry. The other four castes descended from Phlia come as tinted pale - yellow, blue (twice, different hues for Zzabur and Menena?) and red.

Sons' caste by birth order works for the Phlian castes, but I don't think that the Dromal caste was involved in this.

Both known sons of Froalar were of the Talar caste.

 

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