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Joerg

Galanini and Western Hsunchen in the (real world) evolution of Glorantha

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Phwoah. I feel like a dog that has bit onto the rear bumper of a car. I am following. But barely.

Where does all of this leave the Beastmen that reside in Old Seshnela post-Quake? Are they recent immigrants of the Modern Age, or were they always there? Are they animal-totemism taken to an extreme through some kind of atavism? Or do they actually originate from EWF like the ones in Kerofinela?

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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Love it. Sometimes all we can do is set our jaw and hang on for where the ride takes us.

13 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Where does all of this leave the Beastmen that reside in Old Seshnela post-Quake?

People have floated various extremely arcane theories about the (re)occurrence of Beast People in areas where more conventional human life vanishes or reverts to a kind of ambivalent "hsunchen" state. Since I'm in an ecological frame of mind today I like the one where these entities are a kind of therapeutic symbol the land spontaneously generates to keep humans out while it recovers, a sort of forced return to Green Age systems. For me that's a sign magic is moving in the right direction.

However the fact that centaurs have not erupted in the wreckage of Jrustela makes it more likely that even if this model is valid the right totemic substrate is required.  Seshna and Kerofin both remembered horse people and bull people and goat people so those forms were available there. The island at best had its bug people who may serve the same broad purpose. 

To test the hypothesis I would look for grand, terrible and beautiful hybrid forms emerging in the Hero Wars as civilized people with beast tribe backgrounds are pushed back to the origin to survive. Charg may well be full of minotaurs and worse.

I have not made it out to Guebelle yet but suspect the King there will insist that they've always been there and that all the intervening history is the myth. If so, I can't say I blame him. While some might also have escaped from some imperial reservation or living museum similar to how the stitched people were built by the EWF for zoos, I appreciate the romance of the stitched mutants making it into the forest and meeting their perfect and beautiful cousins waiting for them for the first time. 

(Guebelle probably contains a nest of the "puma people" to take the place of the extinct lions, but we won't talk about that.)

Another complicating factor is that there aren't a lot of true Beast People in these texts. We meet pony tribes and vrimakites but I haven't run across an actual centaur or "winged folk" yet. Likewise, bull people but no minotaurs, none of the weird hybrid forms you can summon in Nomad Gods. Greg wasn't really interested. That doesn't mean they weren't there.

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Continuing my minor probes - I am getting the impression that Greg (at one point, as in no longer, maybe?) imagined that Kralorela had a Beast Totemic past, more accurate a kind of conflict between Beast Totemic and Bird Totemic peoples. (EDIT: Obviously a good chunk of Kralorela had a Beast Totemic past in that we know several populations were converted by the Emperors, I was more digging into the possibility of complex Beast Totemic states/empires).

How does this tie into the (current?) model where Kralorela emerged as a draconic system from previous unity with the East as Abzered, which seems to have had a more Solar system (with some of the pre-Time emperors having been equated with Yelm, Aether Primolt, Ezelveztay (or whoever is before Aether, I forget).)

The presence of Phoenix Emperors in Abzered (if I remember correctly) in Revealed Mythologies, and the fact that Vrimak has both beastly and celestial aspects seems to open up a possibility of reconciling these visions - but I'm not sure if they were ever intended to be, ie. one being discarded for another.

Also - you guys had some talk about how Kralorean Hsunchen/Vrimakites and Western Genertelan Hykimites had some contact? Or at least that the historical documents written by Greg made it seem like they were aware of each other at some point? I know that the God Learners probably got the term "Hsunchen" from the Shan Shan beast totem people, but what about first age or even pre-Time? It's all a bit confusing to me - especially trying to separate the in-universe chronology and the out-of-universe chronology.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I know that the God Learners probably got the term "Hsunchen" from the Shan Shan beast totem people, but what about first age or even pre-Time? It's all a bit confusing to me - especially trying to separate the in-universe chronology and the out-of-universe chronology.

While I hate to introduce a third dimension of complexity, over the years I've come to embrace "emic historiography" as a way to negotiate the apparent contradictions. Current publishing reveals the most accurate information we have in the Gloranthan present about the Gloranthan past. The smartest people in 1625 accept these things as true. But Time changes the world and in the past, they told other stories that were a mix of supposition, useful lies, garbled insight and so on. This is especially true in the West where we've seen multiple grand visions rise and fall and leave a lot of once-settled facts up for reexamination .

In this approach, some of those stories were the ones Greg fiddled around with when it was called "Glorinthael." My conceit is that somebody in Glorantha somewhere believed that this was how the world worked, just like at one point at least a few fans built their games around settled facts that the publishing has moved away from. Those games happened. The characters and adventures were as real as any other exploration of the setting. We know differently now . . . but what these stories reveal is what somebody believed before the rest of us figured out it was wrong. That tells us a lot about the culture. 

And I like the idea of somebody in the West concocting these elaborate fantasies about various clerical models or mounted heavy cavalry or "chivalry" and "crusades" and Malkion alone knows what else. The archaeological record doesn't support much of it any more than it supports a bright and gleaming Camelot whipped up to inspire people in mud huts, but when the story inspires people it influences their magical landscape. I've always seen the West as a profoundly alienated mentality because that's the academic theology Greg ran into at the university: cut off from the moment, denied sacred time, prisoners of the self in a world that murdered God. When these alienated people try to figure out how they fit into the world, they tell these stories of fallen empires, world-shaking magic, dramatic upheavals, hubris, decline and regret. 

Greg did a lot of that too.

So the upshot is that for those of us who bought into these stories, the seeds of redemptive reading are in there. This is where it started. This is not who they were but what they thought was important, and because that's how Gloranthan magic works, this is how their magic could work otherwise. This is how you kill or forgive zzabur, overturn LePlain and just maybe heal the world, resurrect God. This is how their hero wars feel from the inside.

Now I am no expert on the back half of Revealed Mythology but sometime in maybe 600-650 ST the Western sages truly believed that Kralorela, "Teshnon" and a third Hykimite Empire were the successor states Genert established in the east. Whoever they meant by these terms is vague but broadly it means Hykimite dragon people in the river valleys, Vrimakite bird people in the northern highlands ("Kralor") and a mixed race of Neralite sheep people and (N)Agi migrants in Teshnon. The intricacies of Abzared were lost on them as well as me but I think the Eagle Phoenix Emperor concept (killed by greedy sea gods, a/k/a Western adventurers) is extremely compelling here as a way to recover the lost bird empire before the Kralorela we know. Their wing could have stretched across Pent into Peloria, bringing a form of solar / sky civilization with it that only exists now in the hauntology. I don't know if they had horses but maybe they were the ancestors of at least one horse people. Another branch might have deteriorated as the Qa-Ying or some of the avian forms of Eastern Chaos I vaguely remember. Vengeful forms may even be behind Senbar, Orathorn, wherever. 

Greg had yet to expand the chronology so the Seshnegites come at them fast in this version, using dragon magic to conquer the Vrimakites / "Kralorelans" before ST 80 (remember "year 1 = solar time") and held on until shortly after the Closing in 224 [!] Clearly these dates conceal a lot of history that nobody wants to talk about or were once considered boring "dark ages."  We know a lot more now. However, it's useful to get a sense of how official historiography in Kralorela has changed . . . these are not static Asian stereotypes without history but their own sense of their past is as dynamic as everyone else's. After all, when you work for a Dragon Emperor, it's politically advantageous to say you've always been a Dragon civilization, forever and ever amen. (不要) 

There is clear crossover between the animal civilizations, or at least the Pendalites, who were are told are of the line of Fralar and Hykim. These are more fully developed in the eastern "Hsunchara" empires, which creates an obvious question. Is this the origin story the Pendalites told about themselves or the one the Seshnegites invented for them and substituted? The former version implies that the lion people have cousins in the Shan Shan. The latter requires the Seshnegites to encounter the East first and then retroactively apply it on their rivals back home. 

They might all have been solar people as well or had solar apparatus that would later show up in Peloria. Sometimes the East shows up as "Yelm" territory after all. Maybe this is also the lost bird influence, phoenixes and eagles in particular being his people.

 

Edited by scott-martin
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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Continuing my minor probes - I am getting the impression that Greg (at one point, as in no longer maybe?) imagined that Kralorela had a Beast Totemic past, more accurate a kind of conflict between Beast Totemic and Bird Totemic peoples.

More specifically, there was not that much of a difference between beast totemic ancestry and dragon ancestry. The earliest description of the Beast Rune that I have seen named it the representation of a dragon's scale.

3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

How does this tie into the (current?) model where Kralorela emerged as a draconic system from previous unity with the East as Abzered, which seems to have had a more Solar system (with some of the pre-Time emperors having been equated with Yelm, Aether Primolt, Ezelveztay (or whoever is before Aether, forget).)

I am not sure that the Easterners make much of a distinction between Kralori dragons and Vithelan Phoenixes.

Then there is the equivalence between TarnGatHa and Aether, HeenMaroun and Yelm, Metsyla and Antirius. Not yet fully draconic, but enough so to be contacted as such by modern Kralori. Mikaday appears to be the main exception.

3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The presence of Phoenix Emperors in Abzered (if I remember correctly) in Revealed Mythologies, and the fact that Vrimak has both beastly and celestial aspects seems to open up a possibility of reconciling these visions - but I'm not sure if they were ever intended to be, ie. one being discarded for another.

There is also the theme of the Twin Phoenix saga near the Andin Isles.

The God Learner classification in Anaxial's Roster has two solar expressions of the first two beasts before splitting into Hykim and Mikyh, which were both beast and dragon to the God Learners IMO. The Dragon bit wasn't important to the Seshnegi (at least not until the wars with the EWF).

3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Also - you guys had some talk about how Kralorean Hsunchen/Vrimakites and Western Genertelan Hykimites had some contact?

Ancient migrations are known, after all we have stories about Basmol's arrival in Tada's Prax (and subsequently him being skinned to prevent him from re-viving).

The floods of the Storm Age and Dark Age will have forced some refugee movements of Hsunchen/Hykimi/Fiwan populations, but IMO the expansion migrations of these people happened a lot earlier - probably in the Green Age.

(In the "Collision of Worlds" model under the Separate Otherworlds doctrine that Greg discussed at various Tentacles conventions, the interaction of the theist and animist worlds in the north and the south date way back. The Hsunchen dispersal would have happened at this dawn of Gloranthan myth, I suppose.)

3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Or at least that the historical documents written by Greg made it seem like they were aware of each other at some point? I know that the God Learners probably got the term "Hsunchen" from the Shan Shan beast totem people, but what about first age or even pre-Time? It's all a bit confusing to me - especially trying to separate the in-universe chronology and the out-of-universe chronology.

First Age and earlier documents talk about the Hykimi of western Genertela, AFAIK.

Seshnegi contact with Kralorela seems to have been initiated by Guilam D'Estau, the inventor of the False Dragon Ring. The portions of Genert's Wastes bordering to the Shan Shan were just about to be re-discovered as Hidden Greens by the Beast Riders, which indicates a previously highly fragmented nature of the place. Treack Markhor and Avalor may have been the first humans to cross the Wastes from East to West. (This also indicates a rather recent origin of the Iron Forts, or otherwise a different original enemy.)

I wonder when the Praxians started to raid Teshnos. The historical maps in the Guide make it look like contact may have been made

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Good point on both accounts. Both on history-as-perceived-by-Gloranthans, and more prosaically, that Beast and Dragon are intertwined (or the former arguably derives from the latter).

I agree on the point that the more dynamism we get injected into Kralorela, the better.

Also, this does remind of the deeper context of the various Western Hykimi organizations (Brotherhood, etc.). Not only were they focal points for Beast Totem groups, and arguably communing with the primal Earth powers (Snake-As-Earth-Guardian is a common theme in the West, after all), but they were accessing or approaching draconic unity between Beast Totems as well. In a way, I think of it as a kind of ritual Reverse-Tower of Babel situation. 

Makes me wonder whether the Snake Dancers/Serpent Brotherhood weren't simply shamanic in their approach, but possibly mystic as well... and part of me wants to consider how their philosophy compares to those of Kralorelan Dragon Worship and the EWF, respectively. I don't assume they're overly similar, but whatever similarities and contrasts exist are sure to be fascinating.

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PART TWO

On 7/8/2019 at 4:42 PM, Joerg said:

Some of this unpublished stuff had been processed in the making of the Broken Council Guidebook

I got to pull that one down again this evening and it's interesting how little overlap there is with the Roots of Glorantha series. The Enerali descriptions, for example, start out recapitulating the old material but the technological / religious revolution that created the Galaninites is new. Seshnela in that period was busy consolidating Tanisor so if Greg knew or cared what was going on farther north, the narrative doesn't give him an opportunity to say.

The early Seshnegites never pushed inland beyond Vustria and seem ignorant of anything beyond Wenelia along the southern coast so most of the Lands of the Council never enter into this layer of the text. There are scattered references to Srvuela on the other side of Kartolin where Gbaji has his power base but the point of view doesn't really encourage detailed description -- ironic, given your observation earlier that later development would focus almost exclusively on regions that contributed to the God Project. 

Much of it builds more directly on the Genertela box. Halikiv will never be a nation of human metal workers again . . . we have trolls now, they can be trolls. I don't recall an earlier reference to Hrelar Amali so the whole thrust of the Dangim and the Dari changes. The entirety of the Nysalor story now derives from the Cults of Terror version . . . the extant texts focus on Argat and if Greg gave much thought to Gbaji's origins beyond "bad god causes trouble" those pages are regrettably lost. I don't even recall seeing the name of any of the countries Argat devastates along the way. 

They are full of Kolati and Sunchen though. And endless waves of Krjalki.

The most interesting new material in the BCG seems to be the development of Ormsland into the "Serpent Beasts" zone showing up on the Guide maps at the Dawn. The notion of this being a "reptile hsunchen" ecosystem that later gets organized under Gita Flatsnout is pretty amazing. I also suspect the motives of everyone who signed off on planting a dragonewt colony there. While the Genertela Box showed us the dragonewts, the dynamics around hsunchen/newt interactions probably prefigure EWF in a lot of ways. I'm not sure Arkat killed all the hsunchen. Maybe some laid eggs or took flight.

Later on the Serpent Beasts had always been there. And so it goes!

 

Edited by scott-martin
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