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Vingans: marriage and childbirth


Rojo

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That’s how I’d read it, too, but most of the discussion in this thread doesn’t seem to be taking that kind of expansive approach, and I think the very ambiguity which allows us to read it in a way that works for us means that others can implement it in an essentialist way that ends up trending towards a very complicated “we have extra genders, but are still going to be essentialist and transphobic” way, which doesn’t make me feel great. I suppose I really want the orlanthi all to apply to pretty much all of this stuff explicitly, and for the gaming culture around it to embrace that, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking on my part.

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4 minutes ago, UnlikelyLass said:

That’s how I’d read it, too, but most of the discussion in this thread doesn’t seem to be taking that kind of expansive approach, and I think the very ambiguity which allows us to read it in a way that works for us means that others can implement it in an essentialist way that ends up trending towards a very complicated “we have extra genders, but are still going to be essentialist and transphobic” way, which doesn’t make me feel great. I suppose I really want the orlanthi all to apply to pretty much all of this stuff explicitly, and for the gaming culture around it to embrace that, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking on my part.

Yes. I lean this way as well, though I think there are some people who are genuinely interested in playing in the scope of a narrow-but-not-cisheteropatriarchal gender system like some historical ones, and that's the only thing that gives me pause from embracing a kind of light gender anarchism as the goal. 

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

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Not sure I have much to add to this (EDIT: I say as I type out several paragraphs like an idiot), but yeah, as far as I understand it vingans and nandans aren't really neat analogues to modern trans identities, partly due to pronoun usage it seems, but also because in Orlanthi society, gendered identity is cultic, and by extension sorta professional. Vingans commonly appear to take on stereotypically male traits by DOING stuff men tend to do. And presumably nandans the opposite, though they are criminally underrepresented. In stateless, labor-divided societies like the Orlanthi, work and ritual practice is identity, much moreso than in a modern capitalist society. (This is not to say that ALL work, or even necessarily most work, is gendered, but some duties, especially religious ones, appear to be.) 

To me, at least, this sorta builds upon the Orlanthi identity as a much more collectivist one than modern society, where the self is conceived of less as an expression of some inner "true" self, which sorta exists independently of other people around, but more as a bundle of professional and personal relations through labor and social obligations. Identity is necessarily interrelational (and therefore conditional and dynamic), rather than "expressed" (or emanated) out of a (commonly presumed) stable self-concept, the way we tend to use it in modern (colloquial and mainstream) parlance.  IF that makes sense. 

This also relates to how some women seem to fall in and out of a vingan identity for specific purposes (and perhaps nandans or even helerings do too, though they don't appear to have specific analogues to the avenger quests of vingans). So someone performing duties that are typical of a man and initiating into Vinga can be a vingan for a while, but then presumably stop doing that and do something else, effectively becoming someone else identity-wise, and that's fine too. (I'm not an expert on how this exactly would work with regards to switching cults and retribution, but hopefully I'm not completely off the mark when we're talking about mutually friendly cults). Hell, we know from Jeff that women can join the cult of Orlanth no problem, so there's even more nuance and complecity here. 

The counter to this idea of Orlanthi identity being more of an amalgamation of ongoing social relations than an expression of inner self-understanding is admittedly the notion of fixed Runic affiliations that sorta just... exist in your soul or something.

I say all of the above with an anthropological lens, mind you, and an inescapable cishet one too. All of this "isn't it neat" is irrelevant if the very premise just really bums you out in an out-of-universe sense, as a player interacting with other players.

To me, it's interesting to see how, for all intents and purposes, the Orlanthi devised a different, but apparently functional system to deal with diverging ways of being a person than we have in the modern west, BUT if this kind of concept, creative though it may well be, ends up alienating trans or non-binary players (who are pretty likely to be "modern Westerners") then... yeah, it's probably a problem.

(On the further topic of Runes, I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of people basically getting a glorified Myers-Briggs test at the onset of puberty that will define their lifepath, but then I approach this setting less as a gamer and more as a reader. At the very least, I would have liked to see periodic opportunities to effectively re-test one's runic affinities throughout life. "Oh, godspeaker, I have felt a change in my heart, I am not who I was yesterday, I seek help to see the change in me so that I may once again have sure footing on the path of my life", or something along those lines, to make it less deterministic and essentialist, but maybe that's dumb.).

tl;dr: I have a fondness for identity systems that are different from the ones most of us are typically familiar with, not just with different categories but also in underlying logic. However, if the basic logic of this system ends up frequently making trans or non-binary people feeling unwelcome or uncomfortable (ie. it ends up being "transphobia with extra steps"), then that should be adressed so that it stops doing that. I'm not gonna die on a hill that pushes trans folks away.

I dunno, just typing out why I think the gender system of the Orlanthi is interesting, but also possibly more difficult to grok than we might think at first glance, while keeping in mind what y'all have said above.

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

At the very least, I would have liked to see periodic opportunities to effectively re-test one's runic affinities throughout life.

Do they not already? An extreme example is the "relife sickness" which I play as an increase in the death rune. Other oportunities to test runes exist and fundamental change is possible. This is probably easier with power/form runes than elemental runes because none of the former are at 0%. Even so there are at least 2 elemental runes that  might overtake as the primary.

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15 hours ago, UnlikelyLass said:

That’s how I’d read it, too, but most of the discussion in this thread doesn’t seem to be taking that kind of expansive approach, and I think the very ambiguity which allows us to read it in a way that works for us means that others can implement it in an essentialist way that ends up trending towards a very complicated “we have extra genders, but are still going to be essentialist and transphobic” way, which doesn’t make me feel great. I suppose I really want the orlanthi all to apply to pretty much all of this stuff explicitly, and for the gaming culture around it to embrace that, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking on my part.

Part of the discussion is working out how "traditional" cultures deal with this.

Part of the discussion is working out how runic affiliation deals with this.

Part of the discussion is working out how the stated multi-genders fit into this.

So, people are tying themselves in knots trying to work out how all these things interact.

For me, it is simple: You are who/what you are.

I treat the Before-Times as like Initiation. Here, "you" means "People in general". You were a child and then you became an adult. You were unaligned and them became an initiate of a deity. You were a man and are now a women, or were a woman and became a man. You were a human and became a troll. In each of these, there is a Transition Point and you are different afterwards than you were before.

Do people say "Ah, but you have only been an Initiate of Orlanth for 3 years, you were not an Initiate of Orlanth for 15 years before that, so how can we forget that and treat you as an Initiate of Orlanth?" Of course not.

Do people say "Ah, but you have only been an adult for 3 years, you were not an adult for 15 years before that, so how can we forget that and treat you as an adult?" Of course not.

So, the same thing applies to people changing gender, at least in my game.

Of course, there may be role-playing opportunities in struggling to fit into/break out of stereotypes. "You didn't accept me into the fyrd as Handra the Seamstress, but now I am Handron the Sword I can join! What do you mean, I am still Handra in your eyes? Take that, and that and that!"

There might be some issues around certain cults. Waha initiates can only be male, so a trans-man should be able to join. However, that applies to people who have been magically transformed from female to male. What about people who identify as male, can they join Waha? I would say no, generally, because they are not physically male. However, it is possible for someone to have been brought up as a boy, acted as a boy and been treated as a boy, to go on an Initiation Quest, if those happen in Praxian Culture, and have been accepted by Waha as a male, and that would be perfectly fine and acceptable.

 

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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7 hours ago, soltakss said:

Part of the discussion is working out how "traditional" cultures deal with this.

Part of the discussion is working out how runic affiliation deals with this.

Part of the discussion is working out how the stated multi-genders fit into this.

So, people are tying themselves in knots trying to work out how all these things interact.

Also, part of the discussion is of the "my Glorantha will vary" sort.  (Anyone remember those John Cleese Accurist ads?  Pay your fifty quid and and you do what you like with it!)  Part of it is attempting to divine authorial intent.  And all points in between -- understandably, as one naturally might want to know what the text reasonably supports, what other people might be doing with it, and where it might go in future as it's expounded in greater detail.

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14 hours ago, Rob Darvall said:

Do they not already? An extreme example is the "relife sickness" which I play as an increase in the death rune. Other oportunities to test runes exist and fundamental change is possible. This is probably easier with power/form runes than elemental runes because none of the former are at 0%. Even so there are at least 2 elemental runes that  might overtake as the primary.

There might be. Again, I'm not really a roleplayer.

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15 hours ago, Rob Darvall said:

Do they not already? An extreme example is the "relife sickness" which I play as an increase in the death rune. Other oportunities to test runes exist and fundamental change is possible. This is probably easier with power/form runes than elemental runes because none of the former are at 0%. Even so there are at least 2 elemental runes that  might overtake as the primary.

You can train Runes in RQG, so at the very least it's possible to alter your runic affinities through instruction and conscious effort on your own part.

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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On 9/25/2021 at 12:38 PM, UnlikelyLass said:

Adding more genders is awesome. But then generating a gender-essentialist “woman bodies with air runes are vingan” structure gets complicated really fast, and isn’t maybe as affirming as you might want it to be, if you are indeed trying to be affirming and welcoming to trans people.  If you are adding genders and physical sexes and *aren’t* wanting to be affirming and welcoming of trans and gender variant people, what exactly are you trying to do?

Dunno.  Just something to think about, maybe.

As I see it, the "'All' means roughly six-out-of-seven." bit is key here. The normative cases are understood and expected to be big humps in the middle of distribution curves, with folk outside that band being also expected and accepted as valid by all.*

* For values of all that also mean 1 in 7 could be intolerant jerks or something, but everybody else knows they are wrong.

Remember also that the runic associations are also culturally defined rather than essential. The Heortlings may think Earth = Feminine and Air = Masculine, but Pamalt is Earth lord across the sea, and Pelorians know Sky = Masculine to be typical and think Orlanthi are bad and wrong for having too many Air men. Heortlings may think their culture norms reflect essentialist truths about the world,  but we who can read about the other cultures recognize that their perspective is not universal. (The prevalence of Earth goddesses and lack of Earth gods in Genertela is also likely reflective of Genert, Tada, et al having been slain in the Gods' War.)

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On 5/21/2019 at 8:22 AM, Rojo said:

- I´m supposing that a Vingan can marry both men (Nandan or not) and women (Vingan too?) alike. 

Yes.  They can marry anyone who will put up with them.  Same as anyone else.

On 5/21/2019 at 8:22 AM, Rojo said:

- What kind of Ortlanthi marriage would they use? I don´t see Vingans subordinating themselves to men, for example. Any canon response about that?

Actually no.  Vingans have no specific marriage arrangements.  Mostly they stay single, drifting in and out of year marriages, as they are warriors first, so much like other people who spend extended periods travelling, their relationships tend to be a bit disposable.  That being said, a Vingan doesn't generally bring much property to a marriage, so she would most likely only be able to negotiate an underwife position, which would be unpalatable.  Of course if she has piles of loot that might be a different story.  Most Orlanth Pantheon women spend their youth organizing a decent dowry to avoid becoming an underwife to a richer older man.

On 5/21/2019 at 8:22 AM, Rojo said:

- Are Vingans able to get pregnant? I´m inclined to think that they can, as they aren´t men but a different gender. Dedicating themselves to childcare is a different matter (that´s women or Nandan stuff).

Some say that the henna Vingans use for keeping their hair red is a useful contraceptive.  As an expedient I play that women cultivate sylphium in their veggie gardens, which serves much the same function as our oral contraception.  Of course most Earth worshippers regard children as a blessing, but after your 8th such self-fouling little blessing, the novelty can wear off and economic reality begins to really pinch.  It isn't that Vingans can't look after children, or don't know how, but that isn't the life they have chosen.  They are the mad warrior aunt who drops in to teach the kids swordplay, or guards them while they go mushrooming.  Mostly Vingans don't put themselves in that position overly often.

On 5/21/2019 at 8:22 AM, Rojo said:

- My final question: any idea if Vinga would be included in the new Gods of Glorantha, or Vingans in general in another book? It would be really useful to have a better (and canon) idea about them.

Vinga is a Thunder Brother.  Followers of Orlanth can pray to her as an associated cult to get her blessing of fearlessness.  I would suggest that rather than a book devoted to Vinga alone, we REALLY need a book that covers all the various Thunder Brothers, and their cults and abilities, that includes Vinga.

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