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Steve3742

Grazelander Trader Gods

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So, I'm looking at the Grazelanders and note they worship solar gods, albeit under different names. Now, in RQ III a merchant occupation was clumsily shoe-horned into the Grazeland occupation table. It didn't work that well - the Grazelanders are Nomads and the merchant occupation was Civilised and didn't gel too well - but the fact that it was done shows that trade is important to the Grazelanders, as does the fact that all their towns seem to be trading posts (or the fact that nomads have towns at all).

Now, my take on this was that a bunch of refugees from Pent had emigrated to Dragon Pass and took over the Grazelands, which nobody else particularly wanted. Then Dragon Pass opens up and suddenly they're sitting on top of one of the most profitable trading routes in the world. And, no doubt after a period of raiding, they take advantage of this, guarantee caravans protection (for a price), set up all the trading posts, etc. And this leads to the creation and growth of a merchant class. And probably corrupts their culture, making them soft.

Assuming this to be true, the merchant class would probably worship Lokarnos, no doubt under another name. And I could foresee conflict between the worshippers of Yu-Kargzant, who want to uphold the old ways and resent not being able to raid all these foreigners who pass through and also resent the loss of influence that the warrior class has suffered,  and those of Lokarnos, who are making a pile of money from having total control over one of the busiest trade routes on the continent and want that to carry on. In fact, I figured this might have played a role in the Feathered Horse Queen coup.

But then I discovered the vendref and wondered if that's the way it went after all. The vendref are more used to the idea of trade and settled communities, so presumably they set up the trade posts, no doubt under the patronage of a Grazelander clan. And perhaps they form the bulk of the merchants, worshipping Issaries instead of Lokarnos. This would have gained the vendref considerable power (or at least money) and it's possible the Grazelanders wouldn't notice this. They'd leave all the technical stuff to the vendref in return for high-quality weapons, thoroughbred horse stock to replenish their herds, finely crafted goods and other luxuries. Their life becomes much easier (and softer) and the vendref accumulate money, power and influence. And, again, this probably played a part in the Feathered Horse Queen coup.

So, what does everyone think? Is merchant activity in the Grazelands mainly a vendref occupation or is there a Grazelander merchant class also, presumably worshipping Lokarnos and probably finding out it has more in common with the vendref in the trading posts than it does with the old-school Grazelanders?

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11 minutes ago, Steve3742 said:

So, what does everyone think? Is merchant activity in the Grazelands mainly a vendref occupation or is there a Grazelander merchant class also, presumably worshipping Lokarnos and probably finding out it has more in common with the vendref in the trading posts than it does with the old-school Grazelanders?

Lokarnos is the god of wagons and caravans (and wheels) and carries the trade goods across the continent. Issaries is the god of trade. They will likely work in concert in the Grazelands.

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32 minutes ago, Steve3742 said:

So, what does everyone think? Is merchant activity in the Grazelands mainly a vendref occupation or is there a Grazelander merchant class also, presumably worshipping Lokarnos and probably finding out it has more in common with the vendref in the trading posts than it does with the old-school Grazelanders?

The local name for Lokarnos would be Kanestal One-Hand

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King of Sartar doesn’t mention a trade god for the grazers, but does mention among the vendref deities “Kanestal One‑hand, called “The Counter,” who is the loyal treasurer for his overlords.” I think of Kanestal as a sub-cult of Issaries. I don’t think Lokarnos is a well known cult among the Grazers, they are rider people not wagon (or chariot) people, and warriors not merchants. So I’m going with the merchant class in the Grazelands being a vendref activity, and worshipping Issaries. 

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11 minutes ago, metcalph said:

The local name for Lokarnos would be Kanestal One-Hand

From what I can see, that's a vendref god or hero-cult, not anyone worshipped by the Grazelanders. I'm inclining to the idea that all trade in the Grazelands is done by the vendref, with the Grazelanders looking on disinterestedly (as long as the vendref keep giving them high-quality weapons, horses and luxuries).

Kanestol One-Hand, I'm guessing, was probably the first vendref to convince the Grazelanders to allow them to set up trade posts and let merchant caravans travel through unmolested, in return for the aforementioned benefits. As he was probably a vendref, he's more likely to be Issaries than Lokarnos.

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So, I note that the Feathered Horse Queen "speaks for the vendref" and, after a fifteen year struggle, overthrew the traditional leaders of the Grazelanders in 1470. And that this happened at the time when Dragon Pass had just opened up to trade, trade which, I'm now thinking, was almost entirely managed by vendref merchants. Who built trading posts and, almost certainly, fortified and garrisoned them. At a time when they weren't, strictly speaking, allowed to bear arms. A restriction that was lifted by the Feathered Horse Queen, after her victory, who now has an elite guard of vendref Humakti (a god who, you'd figure, would have been banned by the Grazelanders, just like Orlanth was.)

All of this seems to point to some sort of vendref revolt between the years.1455 and 1470, a revolt in which the Feathered Horse Queen and the vendref were successful and changed Grazeland society from a Nomadic culture to a mercantile culture. The remaining Pure Horse People (probably very much outnumbered by the vendref) were kept on as theoretical overlords in a theoretically equal partnership with the Feathered Horse Queen but, in reality, are used to guard caravans, raid those who don't pay the tolls and hire out as mercenaries. The real power - certainly the money - seems to be with the vendref and the Feathered Horse Queen.

One wonders how this plays out. How are Pure Horse People seen in the Trading Posts? I note the Trading Posts are all under the protection of the Feathered Horse Queen, what does this amount to? She has warriors in each town? Vendref warriors? It's easy to see how an incident could develop between a vendref garrison member and a Pure Horse Person visiting the town, full of his own self-importance and not willing to accept the authority of a vendref. And if that vendref happened to be one of the Queen's Humakti, they'd be touchy about honour too...

Edited by Steve3742
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Heroquest Voices  says that the Feather Horse Queen appoints the leaders of the trading posts and (I think) says that these are run by Vendref. Pure Horse people are enjoined never to worship Vendref gods. In my Glorantha, Grazelander women worship a version of Ekarna (from Six Ages)  and do the bargaining for escorting merchant caravans. 

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2 hours ago, Byll said:

Heroquest Voices  says that the Feather Horse Queen appoints the leaders of the trading posts and (I think) says that these are run by Vendref.

Thanks for that. It basically confirms what I thought - that the vendref were the ones who exploited being on one of the biggest trade routes in the world, not the Pure Horse People. I'm guessing the Feathered Horse Queen came along at a time when these changes in vendref society were starting to make themselves felt and there was an attempt by the Pure Horse People to "turn back the clock", go back to the old ways. The vendref supported the Feathered Horse Queen and helped her win in her 15-year struggle with the Luminous Stallion King. In return they got to run the Trading Posts and get hugely rich.

So we have essentially a mercantile culture where the vendref run the towns, probably fortify and garrison them and make huge amounts of money. They pass on some of this to the Pure Horse People, who believe that they run the place. But real power seems to have passed to the vendref, who supply the Feathered Horse Queen's elite guard and control all of the towns and trade routes and have most of the money. The vendref are content with letting the Pure Horse People play at ruling the country as long as they submit to the Feathered Horse Queen and don't try to interfere with the towns. The Pure Horse People are content with the trappings of power and to believe themselves superior to the vendref, but are careful not to put that to the test. Cognitive Dissonance at its best.

Edited by Steve3742
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6 hours ago, davecake said:

I don’t think Lokarnos is a well known cult among the Grazers, they are rider people not wagon (or chariot) people

The Grazers may not be, but the caravans between Esrolia and Tarsh go through these lands and the wagon drivers worship Lokarnos, so he'll be known (and is one of the planets after all).

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19 hours ago, Steve3742 said:

my take on this was that a bunch of refugees from Pent had emigrated to Dragon Pass and took over the Grazelands, which nobody else particularly wanted.

Only after a detour into the more fertile parts of Prax as allies of Orlanthland, then the EWF.

In Prax, those who would follow Issaries got their horses striped and became kings of the city of Pavis. The remaining True Horse folk may have been less inclined to trading.

19 hours ago, Steve3742 said:

Then Dragon Pass opens up and suddenly they're sitting on top of one of the most profitable trading routes in the world. And, no doubt after a period of raiding, they take advantage of this, guarantee caravans protection (for a price), set up all the trading posts, etc.

It took the contest of Sartar (founder of the kingdom of the same name) with the emerging Feathered Horse Queen to set up the three trade posts in their territory. The Grazers had a terrible conflict between conservatives and progressives around that time, and Sartar and the FHQ helped the progressives to emerge victorious. Ironically, the traditionalists then join the newly founded Pol Joni tribe and return to Prax, but herding cattle.

19 hours ago, Steve3742 said:

And this leads to the creation and growth of a merchant class. And probably corrupts their culture, making them soft.

It makes them soft and almost sedentary, relying strongly on grain as horse fodder rather than pasture. They still delegate the actual trading to Vendref stewards.

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Hmmm.

I'm kinda not digging the enslaved vendref in cities vis-a-vis the Oasis folk of Prax, each embedded in a raiding tribal culture of riding overlords.

The similarities seem too many; too much "lather, rinse, repeat."

Maybe that just is the way it is...

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24 minutes ago, g33k said:

I'm kinda not digging the enslaved vendref in cities vis-a-vis the Oasis folk of Prax, each embedded in a raiding tribal culture of riding overlords.

I don't see it that way. The vendref have power, certainly economic power but also political power (via the Feathered Horse Queen) and military power (via her elite guard and my hypothesised garrisons at the trading posts). The Oasis Folk have nothing like that.

I see it as the vendref being the real power in Grazeland Society with the Pure Horse People only having the trappings of overlordship. The Pure Horse People know that if they try to exert their theoretical overlordship in ways the vendref don't like then, at the very least, all the imported goodies stop coming in. If, as Joerg says, they're now reliant on grain for their horse herds instead of pasture, this alone would cripple them. And worse could happen. The Feathered Horse Queen would stop things before they got that bad, of course, and is probably the reason the Pure Horse People still survive.

Perhaps I've gone too far the other way. But I see huge differences between the Oasis people and the vendref.

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The Vendref are very different from the Oasis people though. The Vendref moved into Dragon pass relatively recently. They have a  permanent relationship with the Feathered Horse Queen, and possibly with 'local' Pure-horse Clans who habitually overwinter at their trading post/ farming valley. They also have cultural ties to more recently arrived free societies. They are probably aware of themselves as part of a wider world and historical process, and have more opportunities to specialise and 'better themselves' within the limitation that Grazelanders still rule their area. As has been noted the Grazers have become co-dependent with the Vendref, and probably could not hold their area against Tarsh/ Sartar/ Esrolia without them. The Vendref are a low caste but part of a society that includes both horse lords and standers. 

The Oasis folk don't care about anything outside of their oasis, there is no other world as far as they are concerned, random savages turn up, sometimes fight each other, and behave weirdly, but there is enough to go around thanks to the ways of the ancestors and the oasis so the important ceremonies of life go on as they should regardless of who is taking levies. Oasis society doesn't take much interest in the ways of Nomads, but harks back to Genert's garden.

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Kanestal is the PHP title for Issaries (remember that Pure Horse People is a Pentan language and its roots are not even distantly related to Theyalan). And the vendref are not slaves. Their ancestors were enslaved, and they are bonded to the ground by the Pure Horse Folk. But Orlanth Thunderous is known to them, as is Orlanth Adventurous. Orlanth Rex is not there at all. 

But more than any deity, the Grazelanders are ruled by ERNALDA.  Yelm survives in the Grazelands by being part of the Earth Pantheon (as one of Ernalda's husband-protectors). 

The Pure Horse people outnumbered the initial settlers, and forced them to accept the arrangement. Of course the peasants would sometimes rebel, and then the Pure Horse People would kill the peasants. That was the context in which the FHQ arrived. The Yelm cult was determined to massacre the Orlanth cult among the settlers. Meanwhile, the Orlanthi kingdom of Tarsh was powerful, and the Orlanthi settlers were quickly growing to outnumber the Pure Horse People.

The FHQ defeated Yelm's representative and forced a compromise. The settlers would continue to exist but under the FHQ's protection. The settlers would give a portion of their harvest to the PHP, pay tribute, and not use the grazelands of the horse herds, plus a bunch of other rules. The Yelm cult would hold the positions of status and authority, but the peasants would not be molested as long as they followed the FHQ's rules.

The FHQ married Sartar and the cults of Issaries and Lhankor Mhy spread in the Grazelands. Issaries proved much more popular, but all of the Lightbringer deities are well-known in the Grazelands. The solar pantheon is marginally more prevalent than the Lightbringer pantheon in the Grazelands at about 58% to 52%. But the Earth pantheon is clearly dominant with 73% of the population worshiping an Earth cult or one of the husband-protectors. That's about the same as Old Tarsh.
 

 

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I'm sure there's no validity to it, because as far as I know Kanestal has been written up long before  Ekarna, but it's kind of funny how Kanestal sounds a bit like Ekarna's thrall. Not that Hyaloring Ekarna would keep slaves other than as trade commodities, but the Pure-horse people seem to have a dash more Wheel / Starlight-Ancestor to them.

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11 hours ago, Jeff said:

But Orlanth Thunderous is known to them, as is Orlanth Adventurous. Orlanth Rex is not there at all. 

Hmmm... I was sure that I read somewhere that the vendref weren't allowed to worship Orlanth and so had taken up Barntar (and, in RQG, he and Issaries are mentioned as the main gods of the vendref, Orlanth isn't mentioned). Should this be retroactively corrected to not being able to worship Orlanth Rex?

 

11 hours ago, Jeff said:

The solar pantheon is marginally more prevalent than the Lightbringer pantheon in the Grazelands at about 58% to 52%.

From various sources, there seems to be about the same number of vendref as Pure Horse People. But, I imagine it could be 52:48, and a few vendref worshipping a solar cult would make the proportion 58% Solar, 52% Lightbringer. From what I understand of the Pure Horse People, a member adopting a Lightbringer deity would be thrown out of the tribe.

 

11 hours ago, Jeff said:

But the Earth pantheon is clearly dominant with 73% of the population worshiping an Earth cult or one of the husband-protectors. That's about the same as Old Tarsh.

As pretty much all women of both peoples worship an Earth Goddess, that's not too unusual. Orlanth and Yelm are both Husband-Protectors, so it seems a little low if anything.

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29 minutes ago, Steve3742 said:

Hmmm... I was sure that I read somewhere that the vendref weren't allowed to worship Orlanth and so had taken up Barntar (and, in RQG, he and Issaries are mentioned as the main gods of the vendref, Orlanth isn't mentioned). Should this be retroactively corrected to not being able to worship Orlanth Rex?

 

RQG P116 says The Vendref worship Ernalda and Barntar as well as Maran Gor... Issaries often called Kanestal the Counter... Lhankor Mhy.... Hiia Swordsman (a local sub-cult of Humakt) There's no mention of Orlanth. In Sartar Rising 3 (Gathering Thunder) the Vendref are said to have transferred from Orlanth to Barntar or Lodril depending on where in the Grazelands they live. The same sort of thing happens in the Lunar Provinces where Barntar gets the festivals, tithes and shrine in the village and Orlanth may sometimes be worshiped impromtu on a hilltop. 

39 minutes ago, Steve3742 said:

As pretty much all women of both peoples worship an Earth Goddess, that's not too unusual. Orlanth and Yelm are both Husband-Protectors, so it seems a little low if anything

Maybe some worshipping Erissa or Chalanna Arroy,  and a few whichever version of Yelorna / Ourania the Grazelanders have

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18 hours ago, Jeff said:

But Orlanth Thunderous is known to them, as is Orlanth Adventurous. Orlanth Rex is not there at all. 

Found my source. GtG, V1, p. 177:

Quote

The vendref worship Barntar and Ernalda, but are forbidden by the Pure Horse People to worship Orlanth.

 

So, like I say, should we retroactively correct this to mean only Orlanth Rex?

Edited by Steve3742
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5 hours ago, Byll said:

RQG P116 says The Vendref worship Ernalda and Barntar as well as Maran Gor...  Hiia Swordsman (a local sub-cult of Humakt)

Hiia Swordsman is mentioned in Storm Tribe where it says:

Quote

The Grazelanders forbid Hiia's worship among the vendref

 

Which never really made much sense -- why would the Pure Horse People adopt a Lightbriger God? Looks like it's been retroactively changed into being a vendref cult. That the vendref are allowed to join a warrior cult (and supply the FHQ's personal bodyguard) shows how much has changed since the FHQ took control.

Edited by Steve3742
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2 hours ago, Steve3742 said:
Quote

The Grazelanders forbid Hiia's worship among the vendref

 

Which never really made much sense -- why would the Pure Horse People adopt a Lightbriger God? Looks like it's been retroactively changed into being a vendref cult. That the vendref are allowed to join a warrior cult (and supply the FHQ's personal bodyguard) shows how much has changed since the FHQ took control.

I Think that the idea was that the Feathered Horse Queen's Stewards pick a small number of loyal Vendref and they are allowed to Worship Hiia and train as foot soldiers to provide the feathered Horse Queen's Guard, but the bulk of Vendref are not allowed to worship Hiia

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3 hours ago, Steve3742 said:

Hiia Swordsman is mentioned in Storm Tribe where it says:

Which never really made much sense -- why would the Pure Horse People adopt a Lightbriger God? Looks like it's been retroactively changed into being a vendref cult. That the vendref are allowed to join a warrior cult (and supply the FHQ's personal bodyguard) shows how much has changed since the FHQ took control.

Storm Tribe is wrong on this as it is on lots of things. There's a reason I tell our authors to no even read TR or ST, but to use the documents Greg and I put together.

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On 3/24/2019 at 4:55 PM, Byll said:

In my Glorantha, Grazelander women worship a version of Ekarna (from Six Ages)  and do the bargaining for escorting merchant caravans. 

YGWV, but I don’t think Ekarna (at least as a cult) survives the death of trade during the Great Darkness. And the Pure Horse Clan of the Storm Age Hyalorings was clearly not mainstream back then.

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11 hours ago, Jeff said:

Storm Tribe is wrong on this as it is on lots of things. There's a reason I tell our authors to no even read TR or ST, but to use the documents Greg and I put together.

Any chance of a list of those documents? (the ones that have been published, anyway.)

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