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scott-martin

Black Sails (The Argan Argar Association)

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Fun jokes notwithstanding, pondering whether the Argan Argar Atlas might be a Gloranthan document that reflects the sum total of the Chain Gang's knowledge of the surface world makes me think back to the obscure "frightening armada of pitch-black ships crewed entirely by trolls" the OOO was once said to have launched to consolidate his post-EWF empire.

Presumably the archaic troll maritime tradition (Robber being a darkness entity, after all) remains intact but their continued absence from the Ship Types list reveals that they don't sail much any more. Their original design might've been the ancestor of the modern Kethaelan trireme -- I'm sure experts have already weighed in.

Is there still room for troll navies Since Time? When did they sail and where did they go? (Was the OOO a party to the conspiracy against EWF and received the protectorate over the north and west as his reward?) Did they (re)establish communication with the Pamaltelan cousins?

Where do sea trolls come from? They're apparently omnipresent in the East Isles and Jrustela if the Bestiary can be believed.

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

Is there still room for troll navies Since Time? When did they sail and where did they go?

There's a black galley in The Eleven Lights.

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For one thing I think trolls run trade ships out of the Shadow Plateau along more or less the same trade routes as everyone else.  Maybe using some alternate routes if they have different navigation skills, or help or contact with sea trolls, or contact with different communities like in Jrustela.  But I think sea trolls are mostly not intelligent so they would have to be very primitive materially.

There's a mention somewhere of ice skating troll ships on the frozen White Sea.  Maybe they run west out to the glacier and who knows, maybe even up and around the other way to Koromondol.

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> Where do sea trolls come from?

I dunno, hell in the storm age like everyone else, but through the ocean?

Or maybe they were there before that, since darkness and water are the two oldest elements.

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6 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Fun jokes notwithstanding, pondering whether the Argan Argar Atlas might be a Gloranthan document that reflects the sum total of the Chain Gang's knowledge of the surface world makes me think back to the obscure "frightening armada of pitch-black ships crewed entirely by trolls" the OOO was once said to have launched to consolidate his post-EWF empire.

The trouble is that the source (the RuneQuest Companion p18-19) has the Closing descend after the fall of the EWF which is now not the case.  More recently, History of the Heortling Peoples has the Hendriki conquering large parts of Esrolia in the same period but the Black Galleys on the Mirrorsea are nowhere to be seen.

The Black Galleys are now placed in Jrustela

Quote

Of the Elder Races, only the trolls have
ships. Their black galleys scythe through the
archipelago’s waters at night, seeking prey.

Guide p501

6 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Presumably the archaic troll maritime tradition (Robber being a darkness entity, after all) remains intact but their continued absence from the Ship Types list reveals that they don't sail much any more. Their original design might've been the ancestor of the modern Kethaelan trireme -- I'm sure experts have already weighed in.

I don't think the Black galley is a native troll design.  More likely they plundered it from the God Learner ruins.  

6 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Is there still room for troll navies Since Time? When did they sail and where did they go? (Was the OOO a party to the conspiracy against EWF and received the protectorate over the north and west as his reward?) Did they (re)establish communication with the Pamaltelan cousins?

Of the classical troll countries, there's only a few possibilities.

SHADOWLANDS: Crowded out by the Waertagi and then the God Learners.  Never enough space or time to establish a navy.

BORKLAK: in north Fronela, probably where Oral-Tal is now.  Probably kept in check by the Waertagi until their destruction in the Elder Race Wars.

KOROMANDOL and DOZAKI's NEWHOME.  The Koromandolese I think are too unsophisticated to establish a navy.  The Newhomers could and would have used it to carry out seaborne raids of Kralorela and possibily Vormain.  No longer extant ever since the Kralori conquered them.

ANDIN and ARADINNI ISLES:  Have a navy but may or may not be trollish.

FOZERANTO: Destroyed by the Golden Fleet after attempting to conquer parts of the Eastern Isles.  May or may not be trollish.

6 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Where do sea trolls come from? They're apparently omnipresent in the East Isles and Jrustela if the Bestiary can be believed.

They were apparently allied to a sea goddess that lost a battle with chaos.  

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For the Black Fleet to survive anywhere on the Mirrorsea Bay, it needs access to a cavern depot/shipyard right on the shore, much like the ancient Egyptian .Red Sea naval base. This base doesn't have to be inside the Shadow Plateau, but could be inside a lesser rocky outcrop on the shore - a place like Lylket, or possibly under the ruins of Lylket, which has known troll tunnels connecting to the Plateau proper.

Of course the Black Fleet wasn't seen - it sails in Darkness. How much good that may have done after the Closing is the only valid objection Peter produced. The accounts from the Readjustment Wars are rather scarce and only deal with the Hendriki perception of them. Esrolia - Land of Ten Thousand Goddesses barely mentions it twice in short paragraphs, and that's where they happened. The detail in History of the Heortling People is hardly better, and doesn't have any naval outlook at all.

The Kingdom of Night had some beef with the Islanders - possibly both arms. Gloranthan Sourcebook p.62 times the conflict to the arrival of naval westerners in Dark Esrolia (probably before the Kotor Wars). This initial alliance would explain the placement of Lylket, too, but fails to explain the Slontos invasion of Heortland.

Anyway, Dark Esrolia is the time when Ezkankekko's folk had access to Esrolian ship-building resources and timber.

Fleet implies more than a dozen such galleys, though probably nothing like the Esrolian trireme numbers.

Operating in Darkness, possibly using Sea Troll "marines", such a fleet would have ruled the Mirrorsea at night, but would have needed a shady hide-out during the days.

 

The nature of the conflict of the Esrolian Pelaskites (it is, and always was, their coastal fisherfolk who built and crewed the triremes, as clients of Enfranchised Houses) with the Rightarmer Pelaskites somehow eludes me, to be honest. Could it be about the Rightarmers' open acknowledgement of the Ludoch as their overlords, rather than Ezkankekko's Kitori and Trolls? The mainland Pelaskite settlements are in all likelihood bound into the Kitori Shadow Tribute system, but the Isles may have been an exception from early on, and that might have rankled. However, the OOO probably had lost most of the Heortling tribute following the Tax Slaughter in Kerofinela (even though that mostly may have been against the tribute that went to Dagori Inkarth rather than the Kingdom of Night). Building a fleet of Black Galleys aiming to institute a tributary relationship with the Rightarmers may sound like a way to compensate for loss of a mighty tributary by adding a new one, but the nature of the Kitori Shadow Tribute is really a form of equal exchange, and it would be quite Trumpian to suddenly step up and claim that the Rightarmers are behind in paying for their protection after centuries of ignoring that, and quite dubious Silver Age precedents if there were any at all.

Pelaskites are ubiquitious on the Mirrorsea Bay and in the estuaries of Kethaela. Only the Leftarm Isles and the Poison Shore have no permanent settlements of theirs. Nochet, Karse, Leskos, Sklar, the County of the Isles, the Esvular peninsula, Storos and Rhigos all have significant Pelaskite population. The Rightarm Isles have few humans that aren't Pelaskite, mainly trade agents and specialists in Seapolis.

The Pelaskite culture isn't uniform on the Mirrorsea Bay. Esrolian Pelaskites are bound to have adapted to the Grandmother system, and may at first look be mistaken for weird Esrolians. They probably speak the Esrolian dialect with anyone not from Pelaskite origin and keep their own dialect among themselves, or on the ships.

 

The Black Fleet as a tribute gathering instrument meeting the Rightarmers after the God Learners had been cleared off might make some sense, and wouldn't have been affected by the Closing. (The wealth of the Rightarmers had been affected by it, though, which would mean that they had to pay the tribute in population rather than wealth.) The Kingdom of Night might have collected a parallel to the Danegeld from the Islanders, which would of course make them quite open to promises by Belintar the Stranger.

 

On the whole, I prefer to make weird and apparently contradictory statements about Glorantha work rather than de-canonize everything in sight. The above is an attempt to keep a fleet of Black Galleys in the region, and possibly re-emerging once the Wolf Pirates are off on their Circumnavigation. We don't have any Rightarm Isles military events after 1621.

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Thanks all. Over and above the self parody aspect of wondering whether these really are Argan Argar maps (in which case I need to pay the Chain Gang a black nickel to maintain my subscription) the paracanonical nature of the Black Fleet does open up angles on the Shadowlands that might otherwise be lost or suppressed in the Belintar histories.

For me one of the most interesting is the western thrust. As the Empire crumpled on that front, OOO was apparently either happy or as promulgator of IFWW ritually obligated to absorb desolate populations out that way. As we know that coast is still a mess. Maybe early Shadowlands outreach contributed to that mess, manipulating pig people populations (the troll wars of Dragon Pass as proxy between Argan and Aram?), raising or wrecking weird cities and so on. And of course if there were useful opportunities to loot / suppress occult secrets, OOO wouldn't mind a chance to clean up around Zistor.

Many of these would probably be "Pelaskite" sites and so play into the tension there. Does he need ships to do that? Does their timeline respect the modern Closing dates? (Is a century or two missing from some archaic calendars and a lot of our hobby year dates are wrong? Don't shudder.)

It's also always nice when we can find room for a neglected culture in the niches of the historical maps. I love what's happening with Teshnos. Here's textual evidence for the Shadowlands engaging with its neighbors.

Also selfishly the northern expansion is interesting because it fills the narrative hole in the 1042 coup left as the Blue Moon recedes from the canonical stage. (As is her nature.) OOO can step up and play the troll role closer to home. 

Finally the estrangement of Pamaltelan trolls has always nibbled on me. I get that all kinds of people took all kinds of tunnels up to the surface and ended up in all kinds of situations. But Within Time there are clear efforts from someone to routinize "troll gods" into a somewhat cohesive system. This person might have been a God Learner with deep dark contacts. Might be Arkat or one of his sisters. Might be OOO because that's his thing. Either way, to bring the Moorgarki / Qualyarni  complex into the KL framework requires a way to reach the southern continent. Could be imperial boats and then the texts get redistributed. Could be black boats on OOO's personal imprimatur. 

And since Robber is the mythic patroness of sailor trolls (maybe distinct from sea trolls, who can say) and also the mother of one of the premier naval war gods of the Empire, maybe the deep truth of how OOO and GL interacted is both simpler and more complicated. Guy just kept saying he wanted to get along.

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53 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

as the Blue Moon recedes from the canonical stage. (As is her nature.) OOO can step up and play the troll role closer to home. 

I keep coming back to the "tide-wracked" nature of the Holy Country. If there were uncharted Blue Moon contacts left in Genertela you would think they would be concentrated here . . . but Thorloss comes from Jadnor and doesn't see any of it. He may be foolhardy if not lying. If any Blue Magic did wash up on the beaches of Slontos a "troll civil war" may have been fought on multiple fronts.

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19 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Fun jokes notwithstanding, pondering whether the Argan Argar Atlas might be a Gloranthan document that reflects the sum total of the Chain Gang's knowledge of the surface world makes me think back to the obscure "frightening armada of pitch-black ships crewed entirely by trolls" the OOO was once said to have launched to consolidate his post-EWF empire.

Presumably the archaic troll maritime tradition (Robber being a darkness entity, after all) remains intact but their continued absence from the Ship Types list reveals that they don't sail much any more. Their original design might've been the ancestor of the modern Kethaelan trireme -- I'm sure experts have already weighed in.

Is there still room for troll navies Since Time? When did they sail and where did they go? (Was the OOO a party to the conspiracy against EWF and received the protectorate over the north and west as his reward?) Did they (re)establish communication with the Pamaltelan cousins?

The Black Galleys do roam the seas, but I can't find the reference. Arkati Trolls could steal the Open Seas spell from Dormal, or some Trolls could join Dormal's Cult. The Troll Boat cult is Kogag, rather than Robber, as Robber is a goddess who delights in dragging ships to the bottom of the sea.

I think I read somewhere that Trolls started trading with the trolls of Jrustela soon after the Opening. They would use the Kogagi trolls.

19 hours ago, scott-martin said:

here do sea trolls come from? They're apparently omnipresent in the East Isles and Jrustela if the Bestiary can be believed.

They were corrupted by Pocharngo, in the same way that cave Trolls were, but at different times.

 

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42 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

I keep coming back to the "tide-wracked" nature of the Holy Country. If there were uncharted Blue Moon contacts left in Genertela you would think they would be concentrated here . . . but Thorloss comes from Jadnor and doesn't see any of it. He may be foolhardy if not lying. If any Blue Magic did wash up on the beaches of Slontos a "troll civil war" may have been fought on multiple fronts.

Did Thorloss visit Locsil and the nearby Ingareens?

39 minutes ago, soltakss said:

The Black Galleys do roam the seas, but I can't find the reference. Arkati Trolls could steal the Open Seas spell from Dormal, or some Trolls could join Dormal's Cult. The Troll Boat cult is Kogag, rather than Robber, as Robber is a goddess who delights in dragging ships to the bottom of the sea.

One of Dormal's companions was a troll, and "stole" the secret that had helped discover and that was freely given to everyone on the coasts, however despicable they may have been (Alatan scum, Vadeli, cannibalistic Yggites). The only place where Dormal found no takers was Ramalia (which may have weakened his magic).

 

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12 minutes ago, Joerg said:

One of Dormal's companions was a troll, and "stole" the secret that had helped discover and that was freely given to everyone on the coasts, however despicable they may have been (Alatan scum, Vadeli, cannibalistic Yggites).

I thought that was the case, but couldn't remember. Thanks.

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14 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Did Thorloss visit Locsil and the nearby Ingareens?

Even if he made it out there, he doesn't seem to have put the pieces together, citing only two known human cultures with significant Blue Moon contact. The Veldang were far away and everyone in the texts loves to remind themselves that the Loper People are extinct. Classic Greg tell. Once you take your eye off your enemy you are doomed. They were probably working in secret against the Empire all along.

I wonder if Locsil acknowledged Moon as a Core Rune let alone Blue Moon. She bends just enough of the standard taxonomy that she might not have registered on even a specialist visiting ethnographer's radar, omnipresent but always invisible. 

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I was having a squiz at er... Trolls and Trollkn and there's a suprisingly well-fleshed out history of the trolls in there.  Most interesting for the thread topic is this:

Quote

To favor the trolls for their aid in
the fight Arkat Humaktsson gave them
lordship over the lands of Esrolia, for
the leaders of that land had all been
killed in the war. The trolls that
ruled there instituted, or continued,
the worship of Argan Argar, whose cult
both could find agreeable. The region
was afterwards called Dark Esrolia,
until the Pharaoh Came.


The leaders of Dark Esrolia never
became friends with the islanders of
their shore. When foreigners, a distant
race who also revered Arkat Humaktson,
came from the sea seeking friends they
were repulsed by the islanders, who
were jealous of their own ocean
ancestors, and did not wish to worship
the other seas. Dark Esrolia was glad
to befriend the foreigners, and helped
conquer the islands. And so, for a
time, the dark trolls ruled the isles
and peeked into the depths of the sea.

They were allies of the Empire of
the Middle Sea, and the trolls of
Esrolia became rich and famous for it.
They had time for luxury and great
magics, and raised their miraculous
City of Black Glass, whose appearance
was as a shadow rising from the ground,
even in harshest sunlight.

Trolls and Trollkin p23

Large parts of it are outdated (The trolls didn't rule Dark Esrolia to the degree implied here) but the idea of a conflict between the Islanders and the Esrolians/Trolls is interesting.  I think opposing the trolls were not only the Islanders but the Ludoch and the Waertagi while the westerners may have been the Slontans.  Other interpretations are possible however.

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6 hours ago, metcalph said:

I was having a squiz at er... Trolls and Trollkn and there's a suprisingly well-fleshed out history of the trolls in there. 

That's the text I was referring to from the Glorantha sourcebook, p.62. Nice to learn where it was previously published, though.

6 hours ago, metcalph said:

Most interesting for the thread topic is this:

Large parts of it are outdated (The trolls didn't rule Dark Esrolia to the degree implied here)

It is verbatim in the Sourcebook. What is outdated, and why?

 

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

That's the text I was referring to from the Glorantha sourcebook, p.62. 

 

I had better things to do because any convoluted theory to save the text in RuneQuest Companion isn't worth it. 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

It is verbatim in the Sourcebook.

No, it's not.  There are key differences in the text between trolls and trollkin and the sourcebook.  In particular in the text that I cited, the Castle of Black Glass is described as being raised within history whereas the sourcebook merely claims that Argan Argan ruled from it.  That does not make it "verbatim" by any sane definition.

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