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Notes on the Many Suns and the Sun Gods of Prax

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44 minutes ago, Jeff said:

BTW, in case it helps, here is a section on the Many Suns that appears in the Yelmalio cult writeup in Gods and Goddesses:

As someone who's a big fan of Elmal, and many other regional deities, this is exactly what I love.

(Well, maybe I'd let Elmal or some others learn Firearrow, even if the cult itself doesn't provide them. But that's it)

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Okay. I think I'm a little more on board with the idea now, since it's been better explained, though I'm still a little dubious. My main question now is whether or not Elmal will keep the minor fire powers which he'd been given in HQ. Personally I'd say giving him fire-based spirit magic is a fair exchange for losing Yelmalio's gifts, especially since the Elmal cult doesn't have the Hill of Gold myth iirc.

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5 hours ago, Jeff said:

Yu-Kargzant is Yelm, Kargzant is Yelmalio. Kargzant appeared before the Dawn, Yelm appeared with the Dawn.

Cheers Jeff, I had missed that nuance.

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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

BTW, in case it helps, here is a section on the Many Suns that appears in the Yelmalio cult writeup in Gods and Goddesses:

Yes, that helps.

The one thing that might be added is regarding the different Runes associated with the different avatars (?). Yelmalio lost his fire powers; Elmal did not. Rather than this being a definition of the deity, it may be because of how the different worshippers perceive only a portion of the actual god?

We obviously have two (possibly three) competing myth cycles: Sairdite, Heortlander, Pentan, of which two of the cultures were out of touch for a considerable time (I note that Pentans and at least one Sun Dome Temple revere the ruins of the Yellow City - and I have no idea what culture/gods that is associated with other than it being Solar but possibly an enemy of Dara Happa). Sorry about the digression. So what we might require are some more contradictions to add favor and 'doubt and uncertainty'.

So some lesser variation might be beneficial?

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As someone that has been quite vocal about being disappointed in the change of direction on Elmal in the RQG materials (and on social media and these forums), I’d like to say that I’ve never been bothered by the idea that Yelmalio and Elmal are believed to be the same entity my many people. That’s fine and a lovely belief. It may even be true (for whatever truth is worth in a fictional world setting).

I have absolutely no problem with that.

Where I have a problem that frustrates me greatly is when we’re told that the Heortling Orlanthi believe this version of the story.

This flies directly in the face of 25+ years of mythmaking surrounding Elmal. Whatever the actual nature of the relationship between Elmal and Yelmalio, we’ve been told that the Orlanthi believe Elmal and Yelamalio are two separate entities.

Here are some of the beliefs that we’ve previously been told the Orlanthi hold regarding Elmal and Yelmalio that we’re now being told are false or wrong. We’re told that the Orlanthi don’t actually hold these views, not that they hold these views but are ultimately mistaken. There’s even views expressed from the viewpoint of Yelmalio worshippers that the new material seems to now be discrediting.

1) Elmal is the Orlanthi Sun God (Glorantha Sourcebook, pg 100).

1a) “Elmal is the Sun that rises in the morning and descends into the Underworld in the evening. It still shines upon the world because Elmal is constant and enduring.” (S:KoH, pg 151).

2) The Orlanthi name Lightfore as Yelmalio, a separate celestial entity (Glorantha Sourcebook, pg 102).

2a) Yelmalio is “A foreign God of the Winter Sun” (Book of Heortling Mythology, pg 167).

3) Monrogh and his followers betrayed Elmal when they followed Yelmalio:

”What the Sartarites think: The Sun Domers are a strange cult who betrayed Elmal for the Cold Sun. They speak our language and know our ways, but their own customs are strange. They ape the ways of the foreign Dara Happans and offer sacrifices to Yelm and the Fire Tribe. However, they were the good friends and allies of King Tarkalor and can be trusted to keep their word, for good or for ill.” (S:KoH, pg 255)

4) Yelmalio’s cult and the Teller of Lies: “Initiates should always be loyal to the chosen leaders; Elmal’s priests teach that internal dissent is the work of the Teller of Lies, criticizing the Yelmalio cult as an example of just such a deception.” (S:KoH, pg 153)

5) Orlanthi and the Many Suns:

“The Many Suns
The Orlanthi acknowledge that multiple gods are associated with the Sun, among them: Elmal, Yelmalio, Yelm the Emperor, and Yu- Kargzant of the Grazers.
Each of these are Sun gods and yet each are different gods. And yet, there is only one Sun in the sky. The paradox of the Many Suns has often been a source of conflict and strife in Orlanthi history, most recently between the cults of Elmal and Yelmalio.” (S:KoH, pg 154)

6) Yelmalio’s cult is hostile to outsiders and Orlanthi:

”The cult wields little influence outside of its own members. Cult members are often accused of treachery by their Orlanth-worshipping neighbors. Members of the cult return the world’s distrust, for they tend to regard outsiders as unclean.” (P:GtA, pg 380)

7) Yelmalio vs Elmal:

”Yelmalio is friendly towards most Fire and Sky deities, although his cult stands outside most Fire and Sky religions. However, as a result of their intertwined history, the cults of Yelmalio and Elmal are mutually suspicious of each other.” (P:GtA, pg 381)

These are some of the Orlanthi beliefs about Elmal and Yelmalio that the setting material has been supporting for the past several decades. These beliefs might all be false. Maybe Monrogh and his followers are truly enlightened and know the truth. The Red Goddess is correct. Illumination is the way. Orlanth is an obsolete barbarian god. But that’s not what we’ve been told that the Orlanthi believe.

It would be one thing if we were still being given the Orlanthi perspective, even if the game acknowledged that the Orlanthi are wrong about Elmal. But we’re instead being told that the Orlanthi never actually believed these things that we’ve been told for decades are a vital part of their culture and mythology.

Elmal appears all over in the Heortling myths. He’s part of the Orlanthi Sacred Calendar when they celebrate Victorious Sun Day. Survival Day is honored by all Orlanthi during Sacred Time. Elmal has stories and myths and celebrations that were presented as vital parts of Orlanthi culture that are now being ignored or erased. Previously, we were told that Elmal and Yelmalio only shared a single seasonal holy day (in Dark Season), but now were given a calendar that only presents Yelmalio. It doesn’t mention Elmal anywhere. We’re told that Elmal is just a subcult of Yelmalio whose worship is functionally identical.

But the cults have been treated as distinct and different. Elmal has the Fire Rune while Yelmalio has the Light Rune. Yelmalio has Gifts and Geases. Elmal does not. Their structure and beliefs and practices are wildly different. They’re fundamentally opposed in their relationship with Orlanth.

Anyway, I’m happy to see complicated relationships in the cultures and mythologies of Glorantha. The new attitude towards Elmal though seems to be trying to stamp out several decades of beautiful myths and stories and cultural details though. There’s a lot of previously written material that has to be ignored, erased, or deemed wrong in order to pave the way for the new material. And again, it isn’t that we’re getting in world stories that contradict each other, but rather we’re being told that entire attitudes and beliefs previously attributed to people, particularly the Orlanthi, were simply in error and are no longer that case. That’s a frustrating problem for me.

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7 hours ago, Jeff said:

The Elmal cult resembles Yelmalio’s cult in most respects (including spells) but does not have gifts and geases.

If Elmal actually does not have the restriction on fire-based spirit magics and even had access to Ignite and/or Firearrow, it would help with the in-game distinction and provide a bit more consistency with the prior SKoH-era writeups.

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On 1/3/2019 at 5:23 PM, Jeff said:

I see far more differences within the Orlanth cult than the Many Suns. Dragon-friend, dragonkiller, adventuring rebel, king, atmospheric thunderer, etc.

One of the Many Suns cults is worshipped by plants in large part as a god of photosynthesis. Just the fact that it has a huge non-human following should be a case for pretty significant divergence. 

Leaving aside the various other more minor issues, including that Yelmalio alone has been both dragon friend and major dragon fighter, that the cult has been both specialists in fighting horse cults and the major horse cult in different places. And then there is the issue that that many of the differences aren't there only because you retconned them away.

If you don't think there is significant divergence within the Many Suns, it is because you aren't looking. 

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18 hours ago, Jeff said:

Is it better to treat Elmal, Yelmalio, and Kargzant as:

1. Independent cults like Orlanth and Storm Bull. Sure they are both associated Air deities but everyone knows that Orlanth is not Storm Bull and vice versa. 

2. Separate write-ups like Ernalda and Dendara. One core cult writeup, with another short writeup saying that the God Learners (and others) believe that the cults are the same, and even managed to transpose worshipers with no ill effects, but they never succeeded to get either deity to admit identity with the other.

3. Treat them all as variations of each other. Y(Elmali)io and Kargzant are just different masks for the same solar deity, and generally recognised as such by their worshipers. They might have some different spells (and only Yelmalio has gifts and geases) but they are working off the same template.

Honestly, I have absolutely no idea why, for major variations within the area covered by play, you would not do option 2 when the opportunity presents itself, just with a short writeup that instead says 'many people believe these two cults to be the same cosmically, but here are the pragmatic differences between the religions as practiced'. Presenting option 2 as inappropriate by referring to what the God Learners said seems to me to be conflating the issues of mythological difference with the practicalities of writing and publishing.

I appreciate the practicalities of the very 'God Learnerised' approach of just treating very similar deities as regional variations, especially when it is deities that PCs are unlikely to play (eg Buserian). But if there was every to be published a Pamaltelan supplement, for example, I'd hope it had an 'option 2' properly explaining the myths of Balumbasta, rather than saying 'you can probably figure it out by putting it together the mentions in a Pelorian focussed writeup of Lodril'. Whether or not to provide more focussed detail on regional variations should depend on being able to find a reason to spend the time and effort on doing so, rather than harking back to in world mythological debates. 

Of course Chaosium are the publishers, and I certainly accept that when trying to cover as much as possible in a big foundation book like Gods of Glorantha you need to make a lot of decisions about which things to prioritise and what can instead be covered with a quick paragraph about using another deity as a template, but this explanation of why regional focus is always inappropriate for God Learner reasons seems weird to me. 

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12 hours ago, Jeff said:

Of course, both names are anachronisms and are used more consistently by us scholars than by their cult. I am sure Yelmalio gets called "Elmal" at the Sun Dome Temple in Sartar, and the temple at Runegate calls their solar deity "Yelmalio".

I would have thought the implied subservience to the Northern Emperor in the name Yelmalio was one of the big points of separation - I could see Sun Domers continuing to call their deity Elmal (Yelmalio is really more a title than a name, after all), I think loyal Sartarite Emali would feel pretty awkward about 'Yelmalio'. I guess it still happens, but I think it would be mostly outsiders who say it (eg the way many non-religious people today tend to think of all Protestants, if not all Christians, as the same)

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12 hours ago, Jeff said:

During the reign of King Tarkalor, the Sartarite hero Monrogh the Founder revealed that Elmal was a mask of Yelmalio. Most Elmal cultists joined the new Sun Dome Temple that Monrogh founded in Dragon Pass, although some remained with their traditional tribal cults.

Please re-write this paragraph - "In the youth of Prince Tarkalor, the Sartarite ..."

The revelation was in the last decade of Prince (or King) Saronil. The process sort of ended in Tarkalor's reign, and all of it was in his lifetime and with him in the critical places, but not in his reign.

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12 hours ago, Jeff said:

BTW, in case it helps, here is a section on the Many Suns that appears in the Yelmalio cult writeup in Gods and Goddesses:

 I really appreciate that this excerpt has evolved significantly from earlier drafts. It still has a fair bit of the retconned 'Elmal non est hoc' flavour, but much less. 

I think it demonstrates, though, that the issues of publishing format and retconning the nature, history and powers of Elmal are quite separate. Elmal in that excerpt is still quite different from the God presented in S:KoH, Coming Storm and 11 Lights, such as removing the deep horse/Redalda connection, and it is hard to reconcile the history presented in Six Ages with Elmal being a regional Kethaelan variation. A few sentences could fix most of the game information to be compatible with those sources, and effectively remove 90% of the retcon issues. 

For example: Elmal is able to use the spirit magic spells of Fire Arrow and Fire Blade. Elmal has the spells Shield from Orlanth, and Command Horse from Redalda. He is also associated with Pole Star, under the Orlanthi name Rigsdal, and receives the spell Star Sight. Elmal is not associated with Yelm. Their worshippers generally do not receive gifts and geases. The warriors of the cult generally fight with spears and bows, but as Orlanthi warriors, they do not generally fight in a phalanx, and they tend to be light cavalry and strongly associated with the raising of horses. There is a tradition in a small number of clans that allows Elmal warriors to become chiefs or thanes — this is similar to becoming a Thane of the Orlanth Rex cult, and uses similar Orlanthi tribal rites, but Elmal initiates do not get access to the Command Priests spell. 

 

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Please re-write this paragraph - "In the youth of Prince Tarkalor, the Sartarite ..."

The revelation was in the last decade of Prince (or King) Saronil. The process sort of ended in Tarkalor's reign, and all of it was in his lifetime and with him in the critical places, but not in his reign.

I’ve been trying to get someone to pin down official dates for Tarkalor’s vision and then the battle finally driving the Kitori out of Vaantar, but no one seems willing or able to provide dates from existing texts. I haven’t seen more definitive dates than it started sometime around 1550 and Vaantar was granted to Monrogh’s Yelmalions in 1579.

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6 hours ago, davecake said:

 I really appreciate that this excerpt has evolved significantly from earlier drafts. It still has a fair bit of the retconned 'Elmal non est hoc' flavour, but much less. 

I think it demonstrates, though, that the issues of publishing format and retconning the nature, history and powers of Elmal are quite separate. Elmal in that excerpt is still quite different from the God presented in S:KoH, Coming Storm and 11 Lights, such as removing the deep horse/Redalda connection, and it is hard to reconcile the history presented in Six Ages with Elmal being a regional Kethaelan variation. A few sentences could fix most of the game information to be compatible with those sources, and effectively remove 90% of the retcon issues. 

For example: Elmal is able to use the spirit magic spells of Fire Arrow and Fire Blade. Elmal has the spells Shield from Orlanth, and Command Horse from Redalda. He is also associated with Pole Star, under the Orlanthi name Rigsdal, and receives the spell Star Sight. Elmal is not associated with Yelm. Their worshippers generally do not receive gifts and geases. The warriors of the cult generally fight with spears and bows, but as Orlanthi warriors, they do not generally fight in a phalanx, and they tend to be light cavalry and strongly associated with the raising of horses. There is a tradition in a small number of clans that allows Elmal warriors to become chiefs or thanes — this is similar to becoming a Thane of the Orlanth Rex cult, and uses similar Orlanthi tribal rites, but Elmal initiates do not get access to the Command Priests spell. 

 

David what RQG material are you basing this on? If the answer is none (which I am certain it is), perhaps you shouldn't speak so authoritatively. 

Jeff

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2 hours ago, daskindt said:

I’ve been trying to get someone to pin down official dates for Tarkalor’s vision and then the battle finally driving the Kitori out of Vaantar, but no one seems willing or able to provide dates from existing texts. I haven’t seen more definitive dates than it started sometime around 1550 and Vaantar was granted to Monrogh’s Yelmalions in 1579.

As far as I am concerned, 1546 (Sarotar's death) sounds like a good time to have Tarkalor absent from Dragon Pass, in distant Teshnos, laying the foundations for his career as Trollkiller. (He may already have earned the name in the Rubble around 1539/40, though...)

The Guide offers dates for Vanntar and Whitewall:

1550 (p.259, victory over the Kitori aided by Belintar, pushing them into the Troll Woods)

1560 (p.247, victory over the Kitori, Whitewall re-established)

1579 (p.189, Sun Dome County recognized)

Note that those date aren't contradictions, and apart from recognizing the autonomy of Sun Dome County, none fell into the reign of Tarkalor. 1550 saw the Elmali/Yelmalio take-over of Vanntar and the establishment of the Ergeshi, and that will have taken some preparation. 1560 pushed the remaining Kitori out of the lands south of the Crossline, likely still spearheaded by the Yelmalians who may have needed more serfs. In 1579 he finally has the necessary sovereignty to make the deal with Monrogh permanent. (His dalliance with the FHQ obviously started a lot earlier, if you look at the birth date of Saraskos - the person with the most Sartar blood in him of his generation, from both sides.)

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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

David what RQG material are you basing this on? If the answer is none (which I am certain it is), perhaps you shouldn't speak so authoritatively. 

Ho, ho ho, are we playing that game?

Do we ignore everything that has come before and only rely on RQG material now?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear ...

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51 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Ho, ho ho, are we playing that game?

Do we ignore everything that has come before and only rely on RQG material now?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear ...

If you are going to authoritatively say that a god possesses a given spell, yes. If you are going to say you think that a god should possess a spell, no. David quite authoritatively said, "For example: Elmal is able to use the spirit magic spells of Fire Arrow and Fire Blade. Elmal has the spells Shield from Orlanth, and Command Horse from Redalda. He is also associated with Pole Star, under the Orlanthi name Rigsdal, and receives the spell Star Sight." etc.

Now maybe David intended to say, "For example, let's say that Elmal is able to use..." But as it is, a reader can very easily assume that is what the rules have said. Which they largely don't (although Elmal does get Shield from Orlanth).

Jeff

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

If you are going to authoritatively say that a god possesses a given spell, yes. If you are going to say you think that a god should possess a spell, no. David quite authoritatively said, "For example: Elmal is able to use the spirit magic spells of Fire Arrow and Fire Blade. Elmal has the spells Shield from Orlanth, and Command Horse from Redalda. He is also associated with Pole Star, under the Orlanthi name Rigsdal, and receives the spell Star Sight." etc.

Now maybe David intended to say, "For example, let's say that Elmal is able to use..." But as it is, a reader can very easily assume that is what the rules have said. Which they largely don't (although Elmal does get Shield from Orlanth).

Jeff

The full text of his comments seemed fairly clear that he was making a recommendation as to how you could fix the passage you shared to make it feel more compatible with previous material published about Elmal.

 

14 hours ago, davecake said:

 I really appreciate that this excerpt has evolved significantly from earlier drafts. It still has a fair bit of the retconned 'Elmal non est hoc' flavour, but much less. 

I think it demonstrates, though, that the issues of publishing format and retconning the nature, history and powers of Elmal are quite separate. Elmal in that excerpt is still quite different from the God presented in S:KoH, Coming Storm and 11 Lights, such as removing the deep horse/Redalda connection, and it is hard to reconcile the history presented in Six Ages with Elmal being a regional Kethaelan variation. A few sentences could fix most of the game information to be compatible with those sources, and effectively remove 90% of the retcon issues. 

For example: Elmal is able to use the spirit magic spells of Fire Arrow and Fire Blade. Elmal has the spells Shield from Orlanth, and Command Horse from Redalda. He is also associated with Pole Star, under the Orlanthi name Rigsdal, and receives the spell Star Sight. Elmal is not associated with Yelm. Their worshippers generally do not receive gifts and geases. The warriors of the cult generally fight with spears and bows, but as Orlanthi warriors, they do not generally fight in a phalanx, and they tend to be light cavalry and strongly associated with the raising of horses. There is a tradition in a small number of clans that allows Elmal warriors to become chiefs or thanes — this is similar to becoming a Thane of the Orlanth Rex cult, and uses similar Orlanthi tribal rites, but Elmal initiates do not get access to the Command Priests spell. 

 

The final second paragraph is not intended to be an authoritative declaration of what the RQG materials say, but advocating for what they might say to create less disruption with the version of Elmal most recently presented in HeroQuest.

Edited by daskindt
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As a newcomer to this setting, I never fail to be baffled by the strength of feeling the Elmal/Yelmalio issue causes. That's absolutely not a criticism, by the way, it is a genuine sense of confusion (and maybe a little alienation) at the level of emotion the subject stirs amongst the learned.

Also, as a neophyte, the fact that this hasn't been explored to exhaustion within officially published materials is surprising. An entire campaign focusing on a struggling Elmali clan during the Yemalio takeover seems entirely plausible as a microcosm of the Solar/Storm conflict that underpins Sartar (and, for better or worse, the most visible part of the setting). If I had the talent, I'd construct a scenario focused on a young Elmali heroquesting to prove Elmal is Yelmalio post-Hill of Gold, satisfied more in his domesticity and household duties than he ever was as an ascetic in his youth. To spice things up further, said Elmali could be disturbed by clues he encounters in the Heroplane that suggest Orlanth's return to the stead post-LBQ may have ultimately unsettled Elmal and caused him to reconsider eternity as "merely" a thane; maybe the true Yelmalio is older than the protagonist of either the Hill of Gold or Elmal Guards the Stead, having shed his personality (and thereby his insecurities) to exist solely as the post-Dawn personification of the Light Rune. Or maybe the simultaneity of Godtime makes it equally possible the depersonalised Yelmalio is the "youngest" incarnation of the Little Son, immediately after emanating from Yelm (Antirius?).

I dunno, maybe that goes too far and shows up my ignorance of Dara Happan mythology. I do think that making the Y/Elmal/io controversy a more visible issue within the published materials might make the issue less fraughtwithin the fandom - if it's treated as a fundamentally contentious part of Orlanthi culture, it might, paradoxically, make differing opinions within the fandom more acceptable?

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52 minutes ago, MHanretty said:

As a newcomer to this setting, I never fail to be baffled by the strength of feeling the Elmal/Yelmalio issue causes.

As someone who has played in Glorantha since 1982, I am as baffled as you are.

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2 hours ago, MHanretty said:

As a newcomer to this setting, I never fail to be baffled by the strength of feeling the Elmal/Yelmalio issue causes. That's absolutely not a criticism, by the way, it is a genuine sense of confusion (and maybe a little alienation) at the level of emotion the subject stirs amongst the learned.

Also, as a neophyte, the fact that this hasn't been explored to exhaustion within officially published materials is surprising. An entire campaign focusing on a struggling Elmali clan during the Yemalio takeover seems entirely plausible as a microcosm of the Solar/Storm conflict that underpins Sartar (and, for better or worse, the most visible part of the setting). If I had the talent, I'd construct a scenario focused on a young Elmali heroquesting to prove Elmal is Yelmalio post-Hill of Gold, satisfied more in his domesticity and household duties than he ever was as an ascetic in his youth. To spice things up further, said Elmali could be disturbed by clues he encounters in the Heroplane that suggest Orlanth's return to the stead post-LBQ may have ultimately unsettled Elmal and caused him to reconsider eternity as "merely" a thane; maybe the true Yelmalio is older than the protagonist of either the Hill of Gold or Elmal Guards the Stead, having shed his personality (and thereby his insecurities) to exist solely as the post-Dawn personification of the Light Rune. Or maybe the simultaneity of Godtime makes it equally possible the depersonalised Yelmalio is the "youngest" incarnation of the Little Son, immediately after emanating from Yelm (Antirius?).

I dunno, maybe that goes too far and shows up my ignorance of Dara Happan mythology. I do think that making the Y/Elmal/io controversy a more visible issue within the published materials might make the issue less fraughtwithin the fandom - if it's treated as a fundamentally contentious part of Orlanthi culture, it might, paradoxically, make differing opinions within the fandom more acceptable?

I'm pretty new to this whole thing, too, relatively speaking, and yet I've managed to find myself with a very strong opinion on which is better. Funny how that works.

When I try to consider Elmal and Yelmalio as the same god, I tend to think that, once you strip out obviously cultural stuff like the phalanxes and such, the major difference in how the deities are viewed is that Yelmalio places emphasis on "what" Yelmalio does, while Elmal is more about "why" Elmal does it. That is, the cult of Yelmalio lionizes the strength that comes from enduring, while the cult of Elmal lionizes those who help others by enduring.

Yelmalio's myths always seem a lot more impersonal and abstract than Elmal's; there's no real identity attached to the people Yelmalio helps through his actions, which makes them feel more like an afterthought IMO. Like, in "The Hill of Gold," Yelmalio just kind of decides that he wants to go face off against Inora, with no real focus or value attached to his motivations for doing so. Yelmalio endures and Yelmalio sacrifices, but you get the idea that the value comes from the act itself more than anything.

Elmal's myths, on the other hand, tend to give a lot more focus on Elmal's reasons for doing things and how that relates to those around him. He doesn't defend against Chaos in "Elmal Guards the Stead" just because, he does it because the people of the Storm Tribe are counting on him. He doesn't keep faith in Orlanth despite all the temptations of the Teller of Lies simply so he could say he was true and pure the way Yelmalio does when he spurns Inora, he does it because he believes in the man he's accepted as his king.

Yelmalio and Elmal are both big on duty, on truth, on endurance and sacrifice for something nobler than yourself. Where they seem to differ is how much they focus on the intrinsic value of the act itself.

Of course, maybe that's just my pro-Elmal bias talking.

Edited by Leingod
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12 hours ago, Jeff said:

David what RQG material are you basing this on? If the answer is none (which I am certain it is), perhaps you shouldn't speak so authoritatively. 

Jeff, no one is questioning your authority, even if we seem confused about your decisions and motivations. 
I think I was being very clear - if you wanted to make RQG more compatible with other material, including your own companies HeroQuest products, Six Ages, etc. I was suggesting how it would be easy to do so. I have absolutely no idea whatsoever why you do not want to do that, but I respect your authority to not do so. 

However, as someone who regularly plays more than one of your companies games, and enjoys other current Glorantha material, I prefer it when they all refer to the same Glorantha, and will generally house rule accordingly. 

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So it occurs to me that that Orlanthi have several ways in which they might respond to Monrogh and his followers when the Yelmalio missionaries show up and start trying to persuade followers of Elmal to join the cult of New Elmal, AKA Yelmalio. When challenged with the revelation that Elmal is just a mask of Yelmalio the Orlanthi have a couple answers already built into their myths about Elmal.

What will the Sun Priests tell the rest of the Storm Tribe when Yelmalio claims to be the true face of Elmal?

Is Elmal Yelmalio?

1) No. Elmal is not Yelmalio.

Elmal left the Fire Tribe after he was healed by Chalana Arroy and he realized he wasn’t a very nice person and his tribe weren’t very nice people. Elmal’s brothers were angry that Elmal left the Fire Tribe and were jealous that Elmal possessed the most brilliant light of all of them. Yelmalio was the greatest of those little jealous brothers. That Yelmalio’s followers claim that Elmal is just a mask of Yelmalio is a manifestation of that anger and jealously and fueled by the Teller of Lies (see: Chaos, see: Nysalor-Gbaji).

2) Yes. Elmal is Yelmalio.

Elmal left the Fire Tribe after he was healed by Chalana Arroy. He wasn’t a very nice person and used to be called Yelmalio. His tribe weren’t very nice people. Chalana Arroy healed Yelmalio’s broken body and broken spirit and restored his lost power after his defeat(s) at the hands of his enemies. Yelmalio was no longer Yelmalio and now became Elmal. A wiser, nicer, and all around more chill fellow. This brought Elmal to Orlanth who proved worthy of Elmal’s service. Now Elmal uses his strength and brilliance to serve and protect others. In the process, he proved himself worthy to carry the burden of the Sun Disk across the sky. That now Yelmalio’s followers claim that Elmal is just a mask of Yelmalio is a manifestation of that anger and jealously and fueled by the Teller of Lies (see: Chaos, see: Nysalor-Gbaji). They worship the broken and unworthy Yelmalio before he was healed by Chalana Arroy. Our Elmal is the true version of what became of Elmal and a much nicer person.

3) Yes. Elmal is Yelmalio.

Elmal is Yelmalio. Enemy of Orlanth and Son of Yelm. We have been lied to and Orlanth has abused our loyalty and service. Orlanth is unworthy of our loyalty. Yelmalio, the Cold Sun, survived without the aid of Chalana Arroy. Yelmalio is greater than the Storm Tribe and does not need them. We should make our own rules and follow our own ways. No follower of Orlanth is fit to rule us.

Edited by daskindt
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8 hours ago, Leingod said:

Yelmalio's myths always seem a lot more impersonal and abstract than Elmal's; there's no real identity attached to the people Yelmalio helps through his actions, which makes them feel more like an afterthought IMO. Like, in "The Hill of Gold," Yelmalio just kind of decides that he wants to go face off against Inora, with no real focus or value attached to his motivations for doing so. Yelmalio endures and Yelmalio sacrifices, but you get the idea that the value comes from the act itself more than anything.

Elmal's myths, on the other hand, tend to give a lot more focus on Elmal's reasons for doing things and how that relates to those around him. He doesn't defend against Chaos in "Elmal Guards the Stead" just because, he does it because the people of the Storm Tribe are counting on him. He doesn't keep faith in Orlanth despite all the temptations of the Teller of Lies simply so he could say he was true and pure the way Yelmalio does when he spurns Inora, he does it because he believes in the man he's accepted as his king.

Yelmalio and Elmal are both big on duty, on truth, on endurance and sacrifice for something nobler than yourself. Where they seem to differ is how much they focus on the intrinsic value of the act itself.

Of course, maybe that's just my pro-Elmal bias talking.

Good points! I think that is a by product of the different sources. Here's the current Mythic History of Yelmalio as it appears in Gods and Goddesses:

Yelmalio was born when Yelm was murdered by Orlanth, as a blindingly bright glare of magnificence which radiated from Yelm like light from the sun. He became known as the Little Sun or “Yelmalio”, although he has been given many other names and titles. 

Confronted by a broken world, Yelmalio remained true, though it cost him dearly to do so. During the early wars in which mortals supported their gods, Yelmalio led his people from the warm lowlands into the cold hills, carrying high the magic and power of his father. He protected Ernalda, Yelmalio fought against the growing Darkness; he swore to protect many so that they might survive the Gods War.

Yelmalio did not always succeed. Among those he swore to protect was Ernalda the Earth Mother. Orlanth stole Ernalda from Yelmalio, so Yelmalio struck the Three Blows of Anger, killing three air deities, but he never regained Ernalda. At the Hill of Gold, Yelmalio was disarmed by Orlanth, fought Inora to a standstill, and then he was ambushed by Zorak Zoran, who stole his fire powers. The Cold Sun fell and bled out his life-giving heat and power upon the Hill of Gold. His favored weapons of bow and sword fell also and were absorbed into the knowledge of the whole world. However, he did not abandon his oath to protect those under his care.

Wounded, robbed, and hounded from place to place, Yelmalio carried the spark of life throughout the Darkness. Frozen, limping through the leafless forests, the glow of Yelmalio gave hope to the elves and humans who clung to the light. 

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.

Yelmalio survived the Great Darkness, and the sky overhead was sometimes a distant grey color, and then the stars reappeared. Yelmalio grew stronger and became larger, and the survivors crept out of hiding to offer thanks. He wandered about the sky at first, to better aid the survivors, but eventually adopted a constant path.

Yelmalio greeted the rise of his father, the Sun god Yelm, at the Dawn. Since that time, Yelmalio has lived in the mountains and hills, and even the staunchest Orlanth worshipper admits the presence of the Son of the Sun. Yelmalio provides his light even when and where Yelm’s Sun Disk is absent.

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2 hours ago, daskindt said:

So it occurs to me that that Orlanthi have several ways in which they might respond to Monrogh and his followers when the Yelmalio missionaries show up and start trying to persuade followers of Elmal to join the cult of New Elmal, AKA Yelmalio. When challenged with the revelation that Elmal is just a mask of Yelmalio the Orlanthi have a couple answers already built into their myths about Elmal.

What will the Sun Priests tell the rest of the Storm Tribe when Yelmalio claims to be the true face of Elmal?

Is Elmal Yelmalio?

1) No. Elmal is not Yelmalio.

Elmal left the Fire Tribe after he was healed by Chalana Arroy and he realized he wasn’t a very nice person and his tribe weren’t very nice people. Elmal’s brothers were angry that Elmal left the Fire Tribe and were jealous that Elmal possessed the most brilliant light of all of them. Yelmalio was the greatest of those little jealous brothers. That Yelmalio’s followers claim that Elmal is just a mask of Yelmalio is a manifestation of that anger and jealously and fueled by the Teller of Lies (see: Chaos, see: Nysalor-Gbaji).

2) Yes. Elmal is Yelmalio.

Elmal left the Fire Tribe after he was healed by Chalana Arroy. He wasn’t a very nice person and used to be called Yelmalio. His tribe weren’t very nice people. Chalana Arroy healed Yelmalio’s broken body and broken spirit and restored his lost power after his defeat(s) at the hands of his enemies. Yelmalio was no longer Yelmalio and now became Elmal. A wiser, nicer, and all around more chill fellow. This brought Elmal to Orlanth who proved worthy of Elmal’s service. Now Elmal uses his strength and brilliance to serve and protect others. In the process, he proved himself worthy to carry the burden of the Sun Disk across the sky. That now Yelmalio’s followers claim that Elmal is just a mask of Yelmalio is a manifestation of that anger and jealously and fueled by the Teller of Lies (see: Chaos, see: Nysalor-Gbaji). They worship the broken and unworthy Yelmalio before he was healed by Chalana Arroy. Our Elmal is the true version of what became of Elmal and a much nicer person.

3) Yes. Elmal is Yelmalio.

Elmal is Yelmalio. Enemy of Orlanth and Son of Yelm. We have been lied to and Orlanth has abused our loyalty and service. Orlanth is unworthy of our loyalty. Yelmalio, the Cold Sun, survived without the aid of Chalana Arroy. Yelmalio is greater than the Storm Tribe and does not need them. We should make our own rules and follow our own ways. No follower of Orlanth is fit to rule us.

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.

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Elmal was not a false construct but merely a part of the whole. Like Orlanth Adventurous is part of Orlanth. 

 

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