Jump to content
Jeff

Notes on the Many Suns and the Sun Gods of Prax

Recommended Posts

28 minutes ago, Grievous said:

I dig these, though the third raises some questions. What/who was the Elmal that was worshipped? Some false construct spun by Orlanth? Sounds almost chaotic. How does one arrive at this idea?

And that's really what I would really like to undertstand better in this whole Elmal-Yelmalio debacle. How exactly did the conversion started by Monrogh happen and what were the explanations and mythic concepts that made it possible? As things stand, it seems to me that most people would have gone with something similar 1 or 2 from the above list, but instead Monrogh's message seems to have been very compelling, but we don't get any real information on this, so I'm left without a very key piece to understand how this went down in Sartar and thus how it would look now.

These are good questions. I’ve never been very convinced that many people were would choose #3, but we’re told in the various sources that most (or all in the earliest versions) followers of Elmal joined Monrogh (sometime around 1550) and that the Elmal cult is in decline. I think we’re missing a compelling mythic story that explains how folks were convinced that Elmal and Yelmalio could possibly the same god. The myths and attitudes are very divergent.

The most compelling versions of the story are already contained in the Orlanthi’s Elmal myths, where Elmal was lesser when he served the Fire Tribe and became greater when he changed his ways and joined the Storm Tribe. The Orlanthi myths could easily lead to the belief that the two are different gods (brothers) or that Elmal is the evolution of Yelmalio. Elmal is Yelmalio after he became a much better person (from an Orlanthi perspective). I don’t know what the compelling myth is that convinces the Elmali that Yelmalio was the better version.

We are told that many Elmali were being influenced by the lowland solar cults and were basically in rebellion against their Orlanthi leaders. They sought out more power from foreign solar gods so that they could use the magical power against their foes.

Really, this is Elmal’s temptation in the myth Elmal Guards the Stead. The Teller of Lies tries to convince Elmal that he is the rightful ruler of the people and that he, not Orlanth, should rule the Storm Tribe. Elmal resists the temptation and rejects Teller of Lies.

Quote

The next day, Teller of Lies returned, disguised as a blind oracle known to the Storm Tribe. “Elmal, Elmal,” it wailed, “Your master, Orlanth, is as good as slain, defeated in the land of the dead.” And it showed Elmal an image of his king, trapped in a pit and unable to escape. “You must take his place as King of the Storm Tribe,” Teller of Lies told him, “for Orlanth’s day is done. Without a king, your beloved tribe will wither and die.” Some of Orlanth’s people believed the false oracle and flocked to Elmal’s side, offering him a crown.


This show of devotion moved Elmal so that he smiled, and his smile blinded some of the people. When he saw this, he said, “This ora- cle is false. I would not be loyal to Orlanth if I believed him so eas- ily defeated. If some of you wish to call me a king, I will lead you. But this does not mean that I take Orlanth’s place, for Orlanth will be my king when he returns.” Again Teller of Lies had to slink away, its powers useless in the face of Elmal’s great loyalty.

So really, the whole Monrogh-Yelmalio cult looks very much like the temptation from Teller of Lies. Orlanth is unworthy of your loyalty and you should rule yourselves. It looks very much like Monrogh and most of the Elmali failed this test and succumbed to the Teller of Lies.

This is pretty much what we’re told the Elmal cult believes about Yelmalio’s cult. Those that stayed faithful to Elmal and rejected the Yelmalio cult are staying true to the Orlanthi myths and the story of Elmal Guards the Stead.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking over the Many Suns variations again, it occurs to me how similar they can be to the subcults of Elmal found in Storm Tribe and Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes:

Antirius has an obvious connection to Anatyr the Chieftain, both in name, and as the "leader when there is no (Yelm/Orlanth)" aspect.

Kargzant, with his closer ties to Hyalor is a good representation for the Kingdom of Heroes Hyalor subcult, or the subcult of Beren in Storm Tribe.

Elmal himself is like Elmal Hearthguard, noted in Storm Tribe as the most common form for the Orlanthi, gifted with Orlanth's shield.

 

If the elves have their own variation, it may also line up with that of Elmalhara, the nurturing form of Elmal who married Esrola.

 

I think IMG, some of these variations may still be found wherever the main cult is, and known by appropriate local names.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jeff said:

Yelmalio’s wounds did not deter his struggle or weaken his resolve. He joined with the High King Elf and others to fight against the relentless approach of chaos. He became the Last Light, the strongest god of light in the Great Darkness. Yelmalio fought fiercely in the Great Darkness, and even aided Orlanth, who grudgingly settled their feud. When Orlanth departed on his Lightbringers’ Quest, Yelmalio defended Orlanth's people as well.

As an aside, you can fit almost the entire Heortling Elmal story in the above paragraph.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Jeff said:

As an aside, you can fit almost the entire Heortling Elmal story in the above paragraph.

The Foreigner's Wedding (really the Beren story than the Elmal story, but so what) is a  huge difference to Yelmalio (still husbanding Ernalda whenever she graces him with her presence)

On the whole, there is one problem I have with the Yelmalio description, and that is his birth in the moment the Emperor was slain. That's true for Antirius, but not for the Planetary Son of the Southwest, who (IMO) contributes (to) the body of Lightfore (there was the sun-swirl). Antirius was the ruins of the previous body of Yelm, still an orb, but on par with those of Shargash and Reladivus/Kargzant or Sedenya/Verithurusa/Lesilla, though initially significantly higher in the sky. Both the moon and the red planet are re-ascenders, while Kargzant never really left the sky (follows Umath from behind, but not necessarily down the impact crater at the White Camp).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Jeff said:

As an aside, you can fit almost the entire Heortling Elmal story in the above paragraph.

But how does someone that believes the Heortling Orlanthi myths reconcile the depiction of Elmal’s path away from the Fire Tribe with the Yelmalio myths?

Elmal rejects the Fire Tribe. After he is healed he sees the failures of stagnation of the Fire Tribe and Yelm’s court. He seeks out a better way and his brothers jealousy try to steal his light. Elmal learns humility and learns to serve others.

While you can say that Yelmalio endured and fought against many enemies in the darkness while Orlanth undertook the Lightbringers’ Quest, that version of the story is missing all the specific details of Elmal’s story. It’s missing Elmal’s growth from arrogant and prideful son of the Emperor into the loyal thane of the Orlanthi.

Yelmalio stopped being a complete enemy to Orlanth and fought against common foes is not nearly the same thing as Elmal’s journey and growth in the Heortling myths.

What convinces the Orlanthi to reevaluate their myths and replace them with versions where Yelmalio isn’t a loyal thane? What convinces them to leave Orlanthi society and customs behind?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, daskindt said:

But how does someone that believes the Heortling Orlanthi myths reconcile the depiction of Elmal’s path away from the Fire Tribe with the Yelmalio myths?

How do Orlanth Dragonfriend and Orlanth Dragonslayer reconcile? They are two separate forms of the same deity, incompatible subcults. The god manifested in his respective heroes (Obduran and Ingolf for Dragonfriend, Alakoring for Dragonslayer). For a while, Orlanth tread both paths at the same time.

(On the issue of dragonfriends, I don't think that Isgangdrang or Lorenkartargan/Labrygon bothered much if at all with maintaining Orlanth worship. Isgangdrang still appears to have clung to storm mastery, as I think that Drang the Diamond Storm Dragon really was Isgangdrang manifesting all the dragon powers his supporters gave him access to.)

1 hour ago, daskindt said:

Elmal rejects the Fire Tribe.

Elmal rejects his vengeful and hateful brother(s). Like Shargash. Which is a sentiment most Yelmalios share, I suspect. And yes, at the same time another aspect, Antirius, does his utmost to keep the Fire Tribe together and bound to its former principles. Against the resistance of Shargash and presumably others as well.

1 hour ago, daskindt said:

After he is healed he sees the failures of stagnation of the Fire Tribe and Yelm’s court. He seeks out a better way and his brothers jealousy try to steal his light. Elmal learns humility and learns to serve others.

Antirius finds himself in the role of the humble (if high) servant of others, too, even while granting the imperial authority.

 

1 hour ago, daskindt said:

While you can say that Yelmalio endured and fought against many enemies in the darkness while Orlanth undertook the Lightbringers’ Quest, that version of the story is missing all the specific details of Elmal’s story. It’s missing Elmal’s growth from arrogant and prideful son of the Emperor into the loyal thane of the Orlanthi.

Yelmalio stopped being a complete enemy to Orlanth and fought against common foes is not nearly the same thing as Elmal’s journey and growth in the Heortling myths.

There are intermediate forms, such as in Orlanthi clans which have Yelmalio as one of their minor or even major deities. The Tarshite clans around Goldedge or the Alda-chur clans and the Dinacoli are like that, and never were Elmali like the Heortland-descended Runegate clans or others which lost some of their Elmali population to Monrogh's new slave overlord state of Vanntar in the middle 1500s.

 

1 hour ago, daskindt said:

What convinces the Orlanthi to reevaluate their myths and replace them with versions where Yelmalio isn’t a loyal thane? What convinces them to leave Orlanthi society and customs behind?

Constant harrassment, unfair treatment when it comes to ruling the clan, permanently being cast into the enemy roles in the clan heroquests, which doesn't really help gain personal advancement from those (unlike their ritual opponents, the Orlanthi). Then comes Monrogh with the promise "you all will be lords, and bondaged Kitori will work your fields under your supervision."

Sounds pretty convincing to me, in contrast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, daskindt said:

But how does someone that believes the Heortling Orlanthi myths reconcile the depiction of Elmal’s path away from the Fire Tribe with the Yelmalio myths?

Elmal rejects the Fire Tribe. After he is healed he sees the failures of stagnation of the Fire Tribe and Yelm’s court. He seeks out a better way and his brothers jealousy try to steal his light. Elmal learns humility and learns to serve others.

While you can say that Yelmalio endured and fought against many enemies in the darkness while Orlanth undertook the Lightbringers’ Quest, that version of the story is missing all the specific details of Elmal’s story. It’s missing Elmal’s growth from arrogant and prideful son of the Emperor into the loyal thane of the Orlanthi.

Yelmalio stopped being a complete enemy to Orlanth and fought against common foes is not nearly the same thing as Elmal’s journey and growth in the Heortling myths.

What convinces the Orlanthi to reevaluate their myths and replace them with versions where Yelmalio isn’t a loyal thane? What convinces them to leave Orlanthi society and customs behind?

Worth looking at the Heortling version of the same (GSB pg. 117):
 

"Elmal was a son of Yelm who became Orlanth's loyal steward. When Orlanth departed on his Lightbringers' Quest, he named Elmal to rule the world while he was gone. Elmal defended the last flickering lights of the world against Chaos and was wounded, battered, and weakened many times. Yet Elmal never faltered, and he survived as a last light in the Darkness until Orlanth and the other gods returned with the Dawn."

Same mythic event, just seen from a narrowly Orlanthi perspective (as is the version presented in SKH). What Monrogh saw was that event was part of the greater Yelmalio myth. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Joerg said:

On the whole, there is one problem I have with the Yelmalio description, and that is his birth in the moment the Emperor was slain. That's true for Antirius, but not for the Planetary Son of the Southwest, who (IMO) contributes (to) the body of Lightfore (there was the sun-swirl). Antirius was the ruins of the previous body of Yelm, still an orb, but on par with those of Shargash and Reladivus/Kargzant or Sedenya/Verithurusa/Lesilla, though initially significantly higher in the sky. Both the moon and the red planet are re-ascenders, while Kargzant never really left the sky (follows Umath from behind, but not necessarily down the impact crater at the White Camp).

Actually, that pretty much goes back to KoS, when we got Yelmalio as part of Monrogh's search for an answer to the Yelm/Elmal issues.

Quote

"Monrogh did not know the name of the god for whom he searched, but when he returned to this world he brought back Yelmalio. This deity was already known among the elves, and was said to be the wounded body of the Sun limping across the sky (perhaps even the immortal part, since it was not in the Underworld with the Emperor.) He recited the List of Visionaries, whose works had prepared the way for the liberation of Yelmalio among humans." King of Sartar, p.169

As this pre-dates GRoY it is possible that Greg later changed his mind, but I think that he would have been aware when later surfacing the idea of Yelm spiltting into Bijif etc. that this would make Yelmalio one of the gods created at that point. Anitirius would seem a fair stab at the correlation from what GRoY tells us.

Edited by Ian Cooper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with Elmal-Yelmalio is more two-fold. First Greg said explicitly that Elmal was the Sun, and was not Yelmalio: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/HeroQuest-RPG/conversations/messages/33037  My thread on this forum tries to delve into what was meant by Many Suns, so I don't want to repeat it all here, but the idea that both Yelm and Elmal could be the sun god is at the heart of Many Suns.

Indeed. Elmal's mythology echoes Yelm in a way that a structuralist god learner would adore (emphasis mine):
 

Quote

 

"Elmal is the Orlanthi god of the Sun, a trusted thane of the Chief God who is charged with defending the homestead when Orlanth and his companions depart upon the Lightbringers’ Quest. His priests participate in the great festivals and important Sacred Time annual rituals, and have parts in many of the most widely known stories.


The native mythology tells of how Orlanth and Elmal met, fought while standing upon a precarious bridge, and both ended up in the raging waters. Orlanth rescued Elmal; they became friends and companions afterwards. Orlanth and Ernalda created the Foreigner’s Wedding so that Elmal could marry their horse‑loving daughter and join the clan."

 

Orlanth fights the Sun, it goes badly for both of them, Orlanth saves the sun.

And whilst this does not have the resonance of the Lightbringer's Quest, it clearly suggests an entity deriving from the same ur-mythology.

What is perhaps more at question is what happens after? Does the Elmal cult get replaced by Yelm (Antirius is not an option). I cover that in the other thread here. The answer I think is that Yelm himself gets replaced by Sun Dragon and Idovanus, so it seems unlikely. By Yelmalio? We don't have any post KoS evidence for anything other than that being something outside Saird, especially given the association of Yelmalio with the Yelm revelation of the Bright Empire and the noted rejection of the Yelm cult by the common folk.

The path would seem to be:

  • Dawn: Antirius, Kargzant, Elmal, et al
  • Sunstop: Yelm and Yelmalio
  • Fall of Bright Empire: Antirius, Kargzant, Elmal, et al
  • EWF: Sun Dragon
  • Carmanian Empire: Idovanus
  • Lunar Empire: Yelm and Yelmalio

But a lot of this is in the other thread. 

However, I don't see Monrogh identifying Elmal as Yelmalio here (especially given Greg's comments). Elmal is the sun. Yelmalio is something else. Sure folks gravitate towards Yelmalio due to the pressure caused by a Yelm cult which resurges with the Red Moon, but I don't think Elmal and Yelmalio swap.

That said, I don't think any of this is the line that RQG intends to take. So it's all become YGWV.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ian Cooper said:

Orlanth fights the Sun, it goes badly for both of them, Orlanth saves the sun.

Good eye there. I always saw this as Robin Hood + Little John, Gilgamesh + Enkidu, or the meet/fight/team-up cycle when superheros first encounter one another, but didn't catch that parallel.

1 hour ago, Ian Cooper said:

Sunstop: Yelm and Yelmalio

For values of Yelmalio that include Daysenerus. I don't doubt that the illuminated doodle (Palangio?) back on the first page was looking to subsume the Many into One.

1 hour ago, Ian Cooper said:

EWF: Sun Dragon

Balazar's Yelmalio dates to this period as well. 

1 hour ago, Ian Cooper said:

Lunar Empire: Yelm and Yelmalio

I see a paralllel here between the Seven Mothers in the provinces and Sedenya in the heartlands. The Lunars clearly promote Yelmalio and ally with Sun Domers in their imperial expansion efforts, but I expect you see Antirius more prominent back up in Peloria as the Sun more accessible to those outside the high nobility, especially through Avivath's example.

1 hour ago, Ian Cooper said:

That said, I don't think any of this is the line that RQG intends to take. So it's all become YGWV.

I think part of the frustration/pushback here is with moving from a normal and healthy Your Glorantha Will Vary space into more precarious  Your Gamelines Will Vary territory.

Previously, when I walked into a RuneQuest game, I knew things would be a bit different WRT the particulars of how magic plays out, but could otherwise expect more or less the same world I knew from my HQ books, TGRoY, KoDP (art aside) etc. If (when :) ) it was going to vary somehow, I'd happily trust the GM to call that out and otherwise be confident in what I have learned being useful and applicable.

The fracturing of the common reference Glorantha takes away that baseline, the sense that it was a thing that could be known (insoluble mysteries included), and the confidence in one's knowledge that goes along with it. Without a stable foundation, it's hard to know where you stand.

Edited by JonL
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, JonL said:

Balazar's Yelmalio dates to this period as well. 

I see that as Saird and there are hints in GRoY that the Bright Empire view pervades there. That would also fit with: the number of SDTs in Saird, and the possibility that the cult Monrogh returns with is the Sairdite cult of Yelmalio.

The open question with that model is how does this fit with the history of Yelmalio given in CoP, so at to reconcile Sun County i.e. it's presence in Old Pavis. But fixing that by eliminating Elmal seems drastic, and not to really match with what was happening in the 2nd Age otherwise, given the underground nature of the cult of Yelm, and the Yelm/Elmal conflict being thus in abeyance at this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Ian Cooper said:

Actually, that pretty much goes back to KoS, when we got Yelmalio as part of Monrogh's search for an answer to the Yelm/Elmal issues.

Quote

"Monrogh did not know the name of the god for whom he searched, but when he returned to this world he brought back Yelmalio. This deity was already known among the elves, and was said to be the wounded body of the Sun limping across the sky (perhaps even the immortal part, since it was not in the Underworld with the Emperor.) He recited the List of Visionaries, whose works had prepared the way for the liberation of Yelmalio among humans." King of Sartar, p.169

As this pre-dates GRoY it is possible that Greg later changed his mind, but I think that he would have been aware when later surfacing the idea of Yelm spiltting into Bijif etc. that this would make Yelmalio one of the gods created at that point. Anitirius would seem a fair stab at the correlation from what GRoY tells us.

KoS predates any published information on the slayer (destroyer, dismemberer, chainer) of Umath, although the name Jagrekriand gets dropped. We get Yu-Kargzant, but no explanation other than the identification with the sun, and a Grazer structure pretty similar to the long form RQ3 Yelm cult that no culture I know of is fit to worship as written.

Genertela Box mentioned the orbs above the metropolises and names them as sons of Yelm, but not as planets (or even Middle Sky entities). Where we get Alkor the Green, IIRC, Raiba(mus), and Yuthu.

There doesn't seem to be the concept of the Planetary Sons yet. Tolat and Annilla are twins, not parts of an octuplet.

 

Both the Grazer sun and Elmal appear to be a lot less "one deity" than they appear to be "one stellar body".

And when I played in Greg's Blue Moon troll tribes Hero Wars (or possibly HQ1) game about 10 years later, basically any of the Planetary Sons of Yelm except Shargash and Kargzant was claimed as a precursor of the moon by the Lunar Empire.

 

To me, there appears to be some evidence that the Decapolis shown in the Copper Tablets really had 9 sun gods hovering above the city, each obscuring the One Sun God above. (The tenth city was the celestial city high above...) In that sense, there were the Many Suns way back in the Golden Age, with the One Sun above almost a mystical concept.

So, what happened if you moved away from the city with its ziggurat (or mountain spire, or...)? Until you came into the territory of the neighboring city, the sun would be above you towards the direction of your city, and that direction would change rather abruptly once you passed the barrier into the next city's territory, as that city's sun would shine above. The Silver Shadow everywhere.

Once you left the civilized places, things got unruly and wrong. The sun would sit in the wilderness on a moutaintop, or on the father of all trees, or...

I wonder where (and whether or how) those Dara Happans would have perceived Entekos in that scheme.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Joerg said:

 There doesn't seem to be the concept of the Planetary Sons yet. Tolat and Annilla are twins, not parts of an octuplet.

Side note here, the earliest grunt of "Shargash" I can find in print or the surviving fan chatter is full-formed in GROY, which Greg was effectively finished with by summer 1993. That's really quick on the heels of the Elmal revelation in KOS so he was either moving fast or (less likely) integrating a significant backlog of unpublished material. After all, as you point out, before that we were still in the world of Gods Of Fire & Light and the nebulously complementary tripolitan city gods of the Box.

What's interesting is that reading the Shargash / Buserian view alongside the Lodril / Dayzatar layer indicates that while Yelm might have brought his brothers with him or adopted them when he got to Dara Happa, Lodril and Dayzatar do not seem to interact with Shargash and Buserian. The cross-identifications don't stretch that far.

I forget whether "suns" coexist in drowsy Teshnos or just fires.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Joerg said:

And when I played in Greg's Blue Moon troll tribes Hero Wars (or possibly HQ1) game about 10 years later, basically any of the Planetary Sons of Yelm except Shargash and Kargzant was claimed as a precursor of the moon by the Lunar Empire.

That's kind of in-line with the way Sedenya is described as a sun that comes and goes in TGRoY. If the early Solar culture lacked any concept of a moon as a distinct sort of thing, what other proto-moon might they have also conceptualized as a sun-variant?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Joerg said:

To me, there appears to be some evidence that the Decapolis shown in the Copper Tablets really had 9 sun gods hovering above the city, each obscuring the One Sun God above. (The tenth city was the celestial city high above...) In that sense, there were the Many Suns way back in the Golden Age, with the One Sun above almost a mystical concept.

That brings this TGRoY passage back to mind again as well:

Quote

This began the War of the Many Suns. Many of the other cities revolted. Some had their own favored god. Others admitted to the ascendancy of Antirius, but declared that Lukarius was a false emperor. Many cities withdrew their taxes and support and friendship from him.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Joerg said:

How do Orlanth Dragonfriend and Orlanth Dragonslayer reconcile? They are two separate forms of the same deity, incompatible subcults. The god manifested in his respective heroes (Obduran and Ingolf for Dragonfriend, Alakoring for Dragonslayer). For a while, Orlanth tread both paths at the same time.

Orlanth could have been a Dragonslayer at one time and a Dragonfriend at another.

Orlanth is not opposed to Dragons, or an enemy of Dragons, he simply killed a few of them, for various reasons. When he repented during the Greater Darkness, he may well have tried to befriend Dragons, in the same way that he embarked on the LBQ to mend the world.

Cults represent events frozen in time and only focus on certain Aspects or Powers, they rarely reflect the whole Deity. The Mythos of Orlanth Dragonfriend does not include the slaying of dragons, in the same way tat the Mythos of Orlanth Dragonslayer does not say that Orlanth was friendly to dragons, but the Mythos of Orlanth Adventurous may well include Myths of Dragonslaying and Dragonfriending.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Grievous said:

And that's really what I would really like to undertstand better in this whole Elmal-Yelmalio debacle. How exactly did the conversion started by Monrogh happen and what were the explanations and mythic concepts that made it possible? As things stand, it seems to me that most people would have gone with something similar 1 or 2 from the above list, but instead Monrogh's message seems to have been very compelling, but we don't get any real information on this, so I'm left without a very key piece to understand how this went down in Sartar and thus how it would look now.

King Tarkalor had two problems. The Lunars working cultural imperialism angles on the Elmali communities on his northern frontier, enticing them with all their shiny armor, Solar art & festivals, etc. - hoping to peel them off and assimilate them into the provinces alongside Saird, and Aggar. On his Southern border, he has the Kitori acting up. He sets his Loyal Thane Monrogh about solving both problems. 

Lots of Elmali, weather disgruntled and looking for a different sort of life or not, magically supported Monrogh on his great heroquest - like ya do when one of your cult's great lights is on a mission from the King. For any of the Elmali who were magically supporting Monrogh's heroquest, his revelation/transformation became their reality as well. Some Elmali were itching to step out and kick ass as proud Golden Spearmen, but plenty would have been otherwise regular Loyal Thanes who were sucked along for the ride. That's honestly the only reason I can see for so many people who had up to that point dedicated their lives to protecting their families and communities to abandon that to move to a Sun Dome and become mercenaries/serf-oppressors. (That goes double for any who were in happy marriages at the time.)

Reintroducing the Yelmalio cult into Dragon Pass (where it had been absent since the Dragon Kill) provided a way to co-opt the Lunars' subversion efforts, marshaling up his army of converts to move down South (far from any Lunar sedition) taking over the Elmal temple on the southern frontier (which was probably originally a Sun Dome of Bright Empire Dayanserus or EWF Sun Dragon little sun cults) and conquering the Kitori in Vantar  (Light vs Darkness) - solving both of Tarkalor's problems.

Unfortunately, Monrogh swore fealty to Tarkalor personally, but did not make Sun Dome County a vassal state to Sartar itself.  Monrogh's successors felt no allegiance to Sartar, looked down on Orlanthi, and sold their services to the highest bidder.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It probably isn't an accident that the debates raging here based upon various texts of different ages has a curious similarity to the understanding of the Mesopotamian myths over time. I collect old mythology books, and the one published in 1848 assumes that every non-Christian or Jewish religion is to a greater or lesser extent a corruption of those, and whilst the author was relatively positive regarding the honourable pagans of Rome and Greece, every other mythology was presented in very bizarre ways - with Mesopotamian beliefs based on what the Bible says about them, which is generally nothing good; move on a few decades, and with the translation of cuneiform, Babylonian texts started to be used, and as more were translated, gradually the presentation of Mesopotamian myth became more 'accurate', but there were still things that aren't correct, based on more recent findings. And things are still in flux - we still don't have a complete set for the Epic of Gilgamesh, or understand all the references in it, for example.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Orlanth could have been a Dragonslayer at one time and a Dragonfriend at another.

It's also the case that slaying a dragon that has lost its way is doing it a favor. The Dragonbreaker is also the Dragonfriend.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Joerg said:

How do Orlanth Dragonfriend and Orlanth Dragonslayer reconcile? They are two separate forms of the same deity, incompatible subcults. The god manifested in his respective heroes (Obduran and Ingolf for Dragonfriend, Alakoring for Dragonslayer). For a while, Orlanth tread both paths at the same time.

Folks love to bring up Orlanth and his subcults. So let’s talk about them for a minute. Orlanth Adventerous and Orlanth Thunderous are both Orlanth and both accepted and foundational elements of Orlanthi society. But even though both subcults are the same god, they are treated differently. They have different religious hierarchies, emphasize different cult skills, have different magics available to them, especially different Rune magics, lead different rituals, and play different roles in Orlanthi culture. Because they have different myths and different roles, they grant different magics, and they’re worshipped in different ways. Even though pretty much everyone acknowledges they’re both Orlanth.

What about Elmal and Yelmalio? Let’s not try to address the question of whether or not Elmal and Yelmalio are the same. Actually, let’s just put the debate aside and assume for the sake of the argument that in the great mystery they are actually the same entity (again, let’s ignore all the previous evidence against them being the same god).

Even though we’ve accepted this, the two subcults aren’t worshipped the same. Their followers don’t emulate the same myths. They don’t have the same religious structures. They don’t have the same religious associations. Each is associated with different magics. They don’t represent the same celestial entity. They don’t even share the same Runes in that Elmal is depicted as having access to the Fire Rune. Their followers don’t play the same roles in their respective societies. And at least the Elmali don’t believe that they are a subcult of Yelmalio.

So why should they have the same cult format? Orlanth Adventerous and Thunderous have very different aspects to their cults, especially the Rune Magic, and everyone believes they’re the different ways of worshipping the same entity. Elmal and Yelmalio are not believed to the be same by everyone and they have very different cults and have been depicted with different magics, but the new RQG materials keeps proposing that they can basically be treated as the same. The document in progress has a adopted a couple minor differences, but still proposes they’re basically the same and can be treated as such. Why? Historically the two cults have felt very different even if they have overlapping realms of influence. Treating Elmal as a lesser carbon copy of Yelmalio completely erases the rich differences between the two cults. Would you propose Orlanth Adventerous and Thunderous could be treated as carbon copies of one another with a point or two of different magics? I hope not.

21 hours ago, Joerg said:

Elmal rejects his vengeful and hateful brother(s). Like Shargash. Which is a sentiment most Yelmalios share, I suspect. And yes, at the same time another aspect, Antirius, does his utmost to keep the Fire Tribe together and bound to its former principles. Against the resistance of Shargash and presumably others as well.

What do the Orlanthi think about Shargash and Antirius? How do they figure in Elmal’s myths?

I’m pretty sure the answer to those questions is that they don’t. So while a God Learner or worshipper of Yelmalio might try to make those associations, they have no impact on how the Orlanthi experience Elmal in their lives from day to day.

21 hours ago, Joerg said:

Antirius finds himself in the role of the humble (if high) servant of others, too, even while granting the imperial authority.

 

Again, the question isn’t can the readers of the game setting, or God Learners find connections and similarities between these beings. The question is, when the Orlanthi look at the Sun in the sky and worship Elmal in thanks, do they do so in the same way that Yelmalions worship? The answer, from previous depictions of the cults, is no. The vast majority of Orlanthi around the time of Monrogh’s revelation don’t know anything about Antirius.

21 hours ago, Joerg said:

There are intermediate forms, such as in Orlanthi clans which have Yelmalio as one of their minor or even major deities. The Tarshite clans around Goldedge or the Alda-chur clans and the Dinacoli are like that, and never were Elmali like the Heortland-descended Runegate clans or others which lost some of their Elmali population to Monrogh's new slave overlord state of Vanntar in the middle 1500s.

The source material is certainly not clear on this. The idea of independent clans following Yelmalio seems to be a relic of the time before the initial revelation of Elmal. After his revelation, Elmal seemed to replace Yelmalio in that role. There are several references to Elmal’s cult begin present in Tarsh without the influence of the Heortlings. We’re told the Dolutha for example worship Elmal and that they came to Dragon Pass from the north, not as part of the Heortling migration.

Quote

The Dolutha are proud of being the oldest of the Cinsina clans. When the other clans of the Cinsina were still preparing to leave in Heortland or the North March, their ancestors had already settled along the banks of the Creek. They are immensely proud of their status as ‘first and oldest.’ The Dolutha descend from the Ferfal Alliance: a triaty of horse-riding clans from Saird to the north of Dragon Pass who drove the Grazer clans from the grasslands along the Creek.

The Ferfalings bloodline of the Dolutha clan has a long tradition of worshipping Elmal the loyal thane. The influence of Elmal has set the Dolutha apart from the other clans of the Cinsina for generations. They have had Elmal chieftains throughout their history. The fine horses that the clan raises along the Creek are the envy of their neighbors and often the target of raids.

We’re told Elmal was worshipped in Tarsh too and that those clans and tribes converted to the new Yelmalio cult. The Elmali of the Iron Spike were from Tarsh and not Heortlings and maintained the worship of Elmal rather than converting to Yelmalio.

22 hours ago, Joerg said:

Constant harrassment, unfair treatment when it comes to ruling the clan, permanently being cast into the enemy roles in the clan heroquests, which doesn't really help gain personal advancement from those (unlike their ritual opponents, the Orlanthi). Then comes Monrogh with the promise "you all will be lords, and bondaged Kitori will work your fields under your supervision."

Sounds pretty convincing to me, in contrast.

This is basically what I presented as the real cause of the #3 response the Orlanthi followers of Elmal might have to The Yelmalions when they come seeking converts. It’s a polictical frustration about feeling abused and overlooked. But it requires a severing of the ties the Elmal has to Orlanth which are central to the way in which Elmal’s cult is worshiped, which is to say it doesn’t present a smooth transition, but rather a total rejection of the society in which they were raised and lived. Hence, the need to move to a new homeland in Vaantar.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, JonL said:

It's also the case that slaying a dragon that has lost its way is doing it a favor. The Dragonbreaker is also the Dragonfriend.

Which is also why many Elmal cultists accept that Yelmalio is a mask of Elmal and vice versa.

You all may do with Elmal as you want - as far as the official version is concerned, Elmal has the same basic Rune magic and spirit magic as Yelmalio (which shouldn't be surprising). Elmal does not have Sunspear or Fireblade or Firearrow - despite what *I* wrote in SKH (and if we ever update SKH I will definitely fix some overly broad description I included in that book). 

The biggest difference is that Yelmalio has gifts and geases and Elmal does not, and Elmal is an associate of Orlanth, while Yelmalio is an associate of Yelm (and other Sky Gods). Also Yelmalio temples train their members in Pike and Shield, and Elmal temples do not (although they may have in the past!). 

If we view Elmal as being the cult of Yelmalio restricted to those myths where Yelmalio aided Orlanth and Orlanth's people - as seen by Orlanth and his people - we can see the contours of the Elmal cult. We can also see why Monrogh's revelation was so broadly embraced (and if we look really carefully we can even see why the House of Sartar would support his revelation). For the Elmal initiate, Monrogh's revelation meant taking a gift and a geas from the Little Sun. And also getting a whole series of additional stories about your god that supplement but do not replace the first story. Your god gets a promotion, you get a cool gift, and the other Sun Dome Temples will teach you superior fighting tactics.

Those who refused to accept the "sequels" (I think of them like fans of the original Star Wars movie, who refused to embrace the broader story elements in Empire Strikes Back) had community reasons for doing so. Yelmalio is not associated with the Lightbringers, which means his temples are not going to be supported by the tribal Orlanth cult. Where Elmal is the tribal patron, that's not a problem but for tribes like the Colymar or the Cinsina, it means your temple needs to stand on its own. That's a social problem, not a mythological one.

So even though most Elmal cultists embraced Monrogh's revelations, a few rejected it. Ironically, one could argue that makes Elmal the "purist" and "reactionary" cult. 

  • Confused 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get that you’re changing the Elmal and Yelmalio stories for RQG, but it’s not like the current confusion is simply the result of some “overly broad description“ limited to S:KoH. There’s multiple sources that paint very different versions of Elmal and Yelmalio that are incompatible with your new take.

For example, from the Far Place article in Wyrms Footnotes, vol 15, page 41:

Quote

During these troubled years [around 1460], raids from the Indigo Mountain trolls and Cliffhome grew in frequency and the Aldachuri took increasingly desperate steps to defend themselves from the Darkness and Chaos. A delegation was sent to find allies against the trolls and they returned from the north with the Golden Spearman. They took the god with them the next time they fought the trolls. The lowland god destroyed the trolls with a brilliant sunspear from the heavens. The Aldachuri gave the Golden Spearman a shrine in the Elmal Temple and offered the god regular sacrifices as one of many defenders of the tribe. . . .

Yelmalio
In the mid-1500s, Lunar magicians proved to the tribal priests that the Golden Spearman was a son of Emperor Yelm and an enemy of Orlanth. Rather than abandon the Golden Spearman, many Elmali rebelled against their traditional leaders, weakening the Far Place tribes while they were under great pressure from King Phargentes of Tarsh.
It was Tarkalor of Sartar who ended the strife, by promising the disgruntled Elmali they could have their own lands, and the chance to make their own rules, if they would help him in his task against Darkness. They did, and were rewarded with the Sun Dome Temple in south Sartar. Their leader, Monrogh Lantern, revealed that the god of the Sun Dome Temple was neither Yelm nor Elmal, but the wounded body of the sun limping across the sky, Yelmalio. The god had served Arinsor Clearmind, a famous lord among the dragonfriends and had been kept pure in the wilds of Prax. Yelmalio was now embraced by the disgruntled Elmali at the Sun Dome Temple. The Elmali at Aldachur recognized the Golden Spearman as Yelmalio, although those at Ironspike rejected this and kept to their ancestral traditions.

There’s no acceptance or acknowledgement that Elmal and Yelmalio are the same god. We’re told quite clearly that Yelmalio is “neither Yelm nor Elmal.”

There’s also no love between the Orlanthi and Yelmalio. Yelmalio is named an “enemy of Orlanth.”

The Elmali adopt Yelmalio for magical power, but also, and perhaps primarily, because they are disgruntled. They’re rejecting their Orlanthi leaders and rejecting their role as loyal thanes.

I get confused with the new version of events because almost every detailed account of Elmal and Yelmalio written in the past couple decades is wholly incompatible with the version of the story being developed for RQG.

I loved your development blogs for RQG. It would be fascinating to see a detailed blog about why you’ve chosen to so dramatically change the story of Elmal and Yelmalio after so much effort was spent since King of Sartar was published in 1992 to create a fully formed place and mythology for Elmal within Glorantha.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to point out that the earliest write up of Elmal in Storm Tribe did not grant him any fire powers. His affinity was Light and contained no fiery powers, so it's not as if this is an unheard of change.

(Though I do find it amusing that the variation on the cult who has the most intimate connection to losing their fiery nature in their mythology is the only one with access to fire.)

On 1/6/2019 at 5:14 PM, Jeff said:

ANTIRIUS

This subcult of Yelm worshiped in the Lunar Heartlands shares a substantially similar mythology to Yelmalio, and Second Age scholars viewed Antirius as the Dara Happan version of Yelmalio. Antirius provides Sunbright.

Just occurred to me, that Yelmalio already has Sunbright as a rune spell in RQ:G (309)

Does this indicate that Yelmalio shouldn't have it? Or that Antirius is part of all forms of Yelmalio and provides the spell to all?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Tindalos said:

I would like to point out that the earliest write up of Elmal in Storm Tribe did not grant him any fire powers. His affinity was Light and contained no fiery powers, so it's not as if this is an unheard of change.

(Though I do find it amusing that the variation on the cult who has the most intimate connection to losing their fiery nature in their mythology is the only one with access to fire.)

Just occurred to me, that Yelmalio already has Sunbright as a rune spell in RQ:G (309)

Does this indicate that Yelmalio shouldn't have it? Or that Antirius is part of all forms of Yelmalio and provides the spell to all?

Good catch - that was a bad cut and paste. It should read:

Antirius is normally worshiped as a subcult of Yelm and not as an independent cult.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, daskindt said:

There’s no acceptance or acknowledgement that Elmal and Yelmalio are the same god. We’re told quite clearly that Yelmalio is “neither Yelm nor Elmal.”

What I got from the text was that Lunar Magicians and Monrogh lantern performed local HeroQuests to prove something to those people. So, the Lunars proved to Tribal priests that Elmal was the son of Yelm and Monrogh Lantern, High Priest of the cult in Sartar, proved that he worshipped Yelmalio. As local HeroQuests, they don't always have a global effect, but they could have.

From my point of view, such local HeroQuests have the result of creating cult variants, so some Elmali in Dragon Pass know that Elmal is the son of Yelm and the Yelmalians in Dragon Pass know that they worship Yelmalio, who is the son of Yelm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×