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16 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I just read the Glorantha Sourcebook section on Mostali, and it, like the Guide before it, is frustratingly vague about this.

First off, a lot of the texts are, at least to my eye, quite poor at consistently differentiating the eight True Mostali from Clay Mostali (Dwarfs). Secondly, the illustrative images we get of the Mostali in the Guide show radically different bodies, but calls them (for example) "Iron Dwarf" and not "Iron Mostali" in the picture text, iirc., so it seems that even Clay Mostali will appear very, very different based on their caste, even if these differences are only approximations based on what the surviving Clay Mostali remember of their True Mostali forebears.

The term "Mostali" hasn't been used in a strictly cladistic way, much like the term "Orlanthi" hasn't.

The Yelmalian spearmen of Vanntar (to use the example from that effervescent and happily non-hostile bunch of other threads currently running) are Orlanthi by culture (as were the original Aramite ancestors of the Tusk Riders), but they treat Orlanth as an often (or even usually) hostile deity who sometimes repents and does exculpatory honorable stuff, they don't worship Orlanth directly (or when they do, they do it through other names, like Barntar). Yet their general culture is Theyalan, aka Orlanthi, regardless of the many Dara Happan trappings they adopted in true fanboy style (think of the prevalence of blue jeans or rock and roll in the world).

Mostali is the collective term for all the creatures that derive from the work of Mostal. True (or Ancestral) Mostali, Iron Mostali (created without the participation of the original Mostal), Clay Mostali, Nilmergs/Gremlins, Gobblers, Jolanti, Mineral Beasts (both metal and stone). Possibly even Mostali-built structures (like Sartar's Palace and the Pockets in Boldhome).

The original eight castes had these demigod beings that came directly from the containers in which Mostal itself and all the Ancestral Mostali created up to that point had designed and shaped the caste. They are True Mostali.

A case can be made for a further cladistic distinction between Ancestral Mostali who were made when Mostal itself participated and True Mostali who were made when Mostal left the process to be run by the Ancestrals created so far, without its direct input.

In that sense, there are no Ancestral Iron Mostali, only True ones.

If you make this additional distinction - made from the original container (which was lost along with the Spike), or recreated through those unhealthy Clay Container-introduced method of ex-Vitro conception - then I would classify the majority of Iron caste short ones as Clay Iron Mostali or Iron Dwarves.

There are no pictures of True Mostali in the Guide. There aren't any depictions of the Dagori Inkarth Eldest Mother or other true Mistress Race Uz, either.

They wouldn't prove much, anyway, in my opinion, since neither Mistress Race females nor True Mostali are shape consistent. The True Mostali IMO has the ability to reshape itself as the best tool for the task. If that task is Isidilian taking on requests from non-Mostali customers, a regal dwarf hero shape is the one to assume.

16 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The Sourcebook is also frustrating in that it insists that the Dwarfs are all of a single race ("unlike elves and trolls"), and then goes on to list all the different kinds of True Mostali, which at very least SEEMS contradictory, because it also clearly states that the original Mostali were all made through different processes from different sources, which kinda implies a kind of "racial" difference. All Clay Mostali (modern Dwarfs) left might be "of the same race" (though different castes, and if the illustrative images show modern dwarfs and not True Mostali, then certainly highly differentiated ones), which is fine, but they're not the only *Mostali* left. There are some True Mostali left as well. Why don't they count as "different races"? No idea.

They are prototypes still being used, full of experimental or quality control features that weren't necessary for the mass runs. (Possibly a manufacturing difference between Ancestral and True Mostali, too, if you buy into my distinction.) Features that were definitely skipped in the Clay Mostali runs, and that couldn't be implemented in the ex-Vitro fertilization processes anyway. (The Clay Mostali have a development process quite similar to the Aldryami nut being planted into the soil when the proto-dwarf-module is removed from the parental unit and placed into crude machinery derived from those original containers, though with way less sophistication (or rather raw shaping magic) that the originals possessed.

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22 hours ago, Joerg said:

Veering far from the original topic (though it looks like we're pretty much agreed on troll manufacturing), aren't Clay Mostali constructs, too? I had the impression that nilmergs, gremlins and gobblers used the same kind of flesh that was used on the Clay Mostali (which are acknowledged as tasty or at least intoxicating snacks). Not quite so sure about the Jolanti stone creatures - their stone might be more tasty than normal stone, but that's really comparing two brands of vegemite if you are not from Down Under.

Clay Mostali reproduce rather than being manufactured. Elder Secrets describes how they grind away with mortar and pestle before producing offspring.

I am not a fan of "All Mostali are contructs", that is fine for True Mostali, but not for Clay Mostali.

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6 hours ago, soltakss said:

Clay Mostali reproduce rather than being manufactured. Elder Secrets describes how they grind away with mortar and pestle before producing offspring.

Clay Mostali produce a proto-dwarf module by a tasteless and not very well documented means which then is placed into suitable containers to manufacture it into a Clay Mostali. Without the subsequent treatment in the containers, it is doubtful whether the proto-dwarf module would survive, even if taken care of by say nymphs or earth cultists, and it certainly wouldn't make a viable dwarf in any way. Not even a Flintnail dwarf-lookalike.

 

6 hours ago, soltakss said:

I am not a fan of "All Mostali are contructs", that is fine for True Mostali, but not for Clay Mostali.

Clay Mostali are a form of (cy)borg, if we look at the way they are ripened and developed/programmed. Dwarves that aren't constructs are found beneath Pavis - the descendants of Flintnail and the Daughter of Pavis.

I am positive that Ginkizzie had full siblings, and he will have had offspring. I am fairly convinced that the Big Rubble colony lacked most of the ripening/programming equipment used elsewhere in the Greatway and Nidan sphere of influence and made do with Earth Magics and human-style grimoires to make up for the lack.

The elder Jolanti are alive, rather than golems. Their programming / training / upbringing may have been too rudimentary, but the dringi (the jolanti released by Gonn Orta and taken care of by aldryami in the Aggar region) show that that programming or learning can be brought up to rather full development, making them just another of the giant races (and not the most dim-witted one, either).

 

Dwarves are alive. And they are self-replicating constructs that employ methods that bear an unfortunate (to them) resemblance to the magics of Growth. (And unfortunate to any of their foes who have to deal with more of the critters than they can digest.)

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