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Forgotten Secrets of Glorantha

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Sandy Petersen spoke at Kraken a few years back and described various Gloranthan events. Are these canon?

I was particularly interested in two troll actions in the Dragon Pass region that take place during the Hero Wars. The first is flooding the DP region with a hoard of gold, thereby crashing the economy. The second was expelling all the trollkin from troll lands to overrun the human settlements.

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I dunno about the destruction of the economy as it looks a little too sophisticated for the Uz, even for the Argan Argar cultists of the Shadow Plateau.

As for the second, that sounds like a variation of the Swarm - an army which moved from Halikiv to Dagori Inkarth circa 1622 ST (Guide p94)

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They flood the area with trollkin loaded with gold who buy up the farms.  Gold crashes the economy and since trollkin cant farm, food becomes scarce.

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There's a caveat at the start of the PDF version of this talk which basically says you can't rely on this all being canon. Though of course it's still a great read.

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Greg and Sandy used to to many of these kinds of panels at conventions, ranging from some knowledge auctions £/$1 per question to things like this. They were always freewheeling, make it up as you go along audience insipired events. Unless the material has made it into “offical” print, I’d treat it as good material to inspire your games. Some of these have transcripts as noted. Perhaps this would be a good place to note where to find then, print, audio and video. 

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10 hours ago, Pentallion said:

They flood the area with trollkin loaded with gold who buy up the farms.  Gold crashes the economy and since trollkin cant farm, food becomes scarce.

Do the Heortlings consider land purchasable with money?

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I'm pretty sure land is public property but if a trollkin came up with enough gold to make my own Sun Dome people would change their tune. Or just kill the trollkin, take the gold and have the same effect on the economy

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10 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Do the Heortlings consider land purchasable with money?

If you had enough money to be a king would you keep working the farm or leave it for the trollkin?

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8 minutes ago, Pentallion said:

If you had enough money to be a king would you keep working the farm or leave it for the trollkin?

I'm sure that many cows and personal charisma is more relevant to kingship than piles of gold... There's a reason why Issaries is not a chiefdom cult, like Orlanth, Elmal, or Ernalda...

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I wasn't inferring they became kings, just that they had enough money to never have to work again.  If you don't think this would cause an economic collapse, take that up with Sandy Peterson, it's his idea.

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19 minutes ago, Pentallion said:

I wasn't inferring they became kings, just that they had enough money to never have to work again.  If you don't think this would cause an economic collapse, take that up with Sandy Peterson, it's his idea.

I think the Colour of Magic put it best:

Quote

"I see," said the Patrician sweetly. "You feel, perhaps, that it would be a marvellous thing to go to the Counterweight Continent and bring back a shipload of gold?"

Rincewind had a feeling that some sort of trap was being set. "Yes?" he ventured.

"And if every man on the shores of the Circle Sea had a mountain of gold of his own? Would that be a good thing? What would happen? – think carefully." Rincewind's brow furrowed. He thought. "We'd all be rich?"

The way the temperature fell at his remark told him that it was not the correct one

If everybody has gold then the price for everything in gold rises.  This won't affect the Orlanthi all that much since they can pay in cows (and silver to a lesser extent).  

Edited by metcalph

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Ahh, but you're assuming everyone has gold.  If only 1% of the farmers get all the gold, however, it spells hell for the other 99%.

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I thought if farmers within local area (e.g. Sartar, or a region within it) obtained a load of gold, enough of them would seek to get out of their situation and go elsewhere to enjoy it (Esorlia may be?). Enough to depart to help undermine the society that is already under heavy strain and already lost a certain amount of the population due to war, famine and events. 

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2 minutes ago, Pentallion said:

Ahh, but you're assuming everyone has gold.  If only 1% of the farmers get all the gold, however, it spells hell for the other 99%.

I think the farmers with the gold would really be worried as their new-found wealth would mark them for attention by bandits and the authorities (not because the rich farmers have done anything wrong but the authorities are always on the lookout for more wealth).

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1 minute ago, metcalph said:

I think the farmers with the gold would really be worried as their new-found wealth would mark them for attention by bandits and the authorities (not because the rich farmers have done anything wrong but the authorities are always on the lookout for more wealth).

Taking the money off those farmers would surely p*ss off them off, or make some of them want to make a run for it, with maybe some local muscle they can pay to ensure safe passage. Divide and conquer.

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1 minute ago, jongjom said:

Taking the money off those farmers would surely p*ss off them off, or make some of them want to make a run for it, with maybe some local muscle they can pay to ensure safe passage. Divide and conquer.

 I'm seeing a problem right there in the bold and underlined section.  What's to stop the local muscle from killing the farmers and taking the gold for themselves?  Or at least ratcheting their payment to 90% of the hoard's value?

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20 minutes ago, metcalph said:

 I'm seeing a problem right there in the bold and underlined section.  What's to stop the local muscle from killing the farmers and taking the gold for themselves?  Or at least ratcheting their payment to 90% of the hoard's value?

You could have died from the Winter, Dragon, war and may still die from the Lunar retribution. Or you could risk it making a run for it with a whole load of money and with people you may or may not know that well (local tribes people might be the muscle) and have a different life in a land where the customs are not too different. 

In other words enough people might want to take the chance given the dire situation that they will take the risk. Also, having half your family dying out might mean they lost one of the Passions keeping them where they are. 

Edited by jongjom
Clarification
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I think that the Mansa-Musa-hajj effect would be much greater in the cities of Sartar, disrupting all trade there. The self-sufficient clans would still be hit by the inflation when trading for stuff they cannot produce themselves, but since they will be selling produce or beasts, they will only suffer from inflation over rather short terms.

I wonder how long it would take to de-couple the gold-silver exchange rate. Sure, the trolls would have captured silver, too, but that has some practical use, too (wounding hostile spirits or werewolves) and might have been traded for lead earlier on.

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5 hours ago, jongjom said:

You could have died from the Winter, Dragon, war and may still die from the Lunar retribution.

This raises a solid point: the winter itself already deranged pricing by hyperinflating commodities (food) and destroying production capacity (farmers). At this stage a lot of acreage is fallow but there isn't even a lot of seed to plant. Meanwhile there'd be a huge currency drain to regions equipped to export grain to what used to be the global breadbasket and I'm not sure who that is. Trolls bearing gold really only add that wonderful touch of Chaosium absurdity to the situation.

Not sure yet how the big players in Nochet Mother Market dealt with it. I know rice futures  get very interesting.

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

Not sure yet how the big players in Nochet Mother Market dealt with it. I know rice futures  get very interesting.

Well they had multi-years of grain stored in Nochet and probably most Esrolian cities.  Controlled of course by the cult of Asrelia, which means the Grandmothers of the Noble Houses had a lot of power over access to and distribution, and what refugees from the countryside might receive (and for what price).

Samastina's coup at the end of the Great Winter (same day as Battle of Auroch Hills) could have had some impact, but since this is not a central, bureaucratic organization, odds are sale and trade of grain went on as normal.  Demand in Heortland and Sartar likely mean those controlling the routes across the Mirrorsea exacted higher prices.  Those cities outside of Nochet with surplus could have used the Trader's Road to gain concessions from Maniria or the riverine route to Sartar/Grazelands.

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6 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Controlled of course by the cult of Asrelia,

One more handful! Bring on the trollkin gold, repay the good grandmother for her "loans" and she'll rebuild her stores when the market permits. Classic qualitative easing with sterilization.

Edited by scott-martin

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

Well they had multi-years of grain stored in Nochet and probably most Esrolian cities.  Controlled of course by the cult of Asrelia, which means the Grandmothers of the Noble Houses had a lot of power over access to and distribution, and what refugees from the countryside might receive (and for what price).

I wonder how they manage the distribution of this somewhat stale, superannuated grain - even if they get the vermin and mold situation under control by Asrelia magic, the quality of the grain goes down as it ages. Who is going to receive this second-rate grain when fresher harvests are brought in? Who oversees this process? How long can they store a grain harvest? How good will these seeds grow up after a catastrophic harvest failure like 1622?

By multi-years, I suppose you mean several times the annual consumption of grain in Nochet rather than several times the annual grain production around Nochet. Few if any Sartarite clans would have been able to afford that luxury under Lunar occupation.

I know that the German federal food reserve regularly sells off canned food approaching its expiration date when it is impractical to donate it directly, presumably to make place for fresh reserves. And the Crop Trust with its vault on Svalbard tries something similar with seed grain (possibly defying Monsanto with its activities).

1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

Samastina's coup at the end of the Great Winter (same day as Battle of Auroch Hills) could have had some impact, but since this is not a central, bureaucratic organization, odds are sale and trade of grain went on as normal.  Demand in Heortland and Sartar likely mean those controlling the routes across the Mirrorsea exacted higher prices.  Those cities outside of Nochet with surplus could have used the Trader's Road to gain concessions from Maniria or the riverine route to Sartar/Grazelands.

Even if Nochet had the grain to feed its population of say 120,000 for say four years, that will take care of only 240,000 extra humans after substracting the seed grain for the 1623 harvest for those people (calculating a generous harvest to seed ratio of 4:1). While that would be enough to feed the population of Dragon Pass outside the Glowline, I doubt that any amounts even approaching this could make their way there. The Sartarites would be lucky to receive enough seed grain for 1623.

Farmers in more recently conquered Heortland might have had slightly better reserves, but few non-urban communities really plan for sieges etc., and anything on the order of magnitude of the Nochet grain reserve would be extraordinary.

Tossing chests full of gold into this situation would enable those people closest to the trolls to buy emergency food and seed at only moderately inflated prices without ruining themselves. Dosakayo would be flooded with gold, buying rice from all over the east while depleting their own reserves. The initial wave of spending would reduce the consequences of the Fimbulwinter to the wealth of the people in Dragon Pass greatly as non-gold wealth migrates in the opposite direction. Even while creating an unprecedented inflation, this gift of gold would pretty much act like a Marshall Plan to counteract the Fimbulwinter. Orlanthi society is not sufficiently layered to make graft and kleptocracy major factors.

 

Samastina's coup would have targeted not just the Red Earth, but would also have involved some Awakener questing, right?

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