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Toward a Better Kralorela

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Kublai Khan's china as reported by Marco Polo is the source for many a fantasy china.

I think at the very least, doing what we can to switch Kralorela from a Western Fantasy China to a Chinese Fantasy China would improve its richness immeasurably. So I care very little about what Marco Polo thought. 

(though I think we can do better than that)

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

There are sides to Sheng or his minions which should make us wary about accusing him to have brought an era of invigorated prosperity to those who accepted his rule,

Sheng hated agriculture and cities. While his organised campaign of monstrous rape and torture was bad enough, he also caused widespread famine and misery by forced return of agricultural land to grazeland. Not only was his reign not 'invigorated prosperity', for a lot of Peloria at least it was like living under the Khmer Rouge. 

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Another major source for our uninformed Western impression of mythical china comes from the kung fu action movies churned out by Hongkong. Leaving aside all the ones playing in modern times, there are many set in a historical context. And apparently, the target audience isn't necessarily the western market, as you don't really see dubbed versions of these in your cinemas. Wuxia movies are a fringe market in western media, although a well-beloved one by its fans. I don't recall Marco Polo reporting anything notable about chinese martial arts, he was way too busy admiring their technology, food, and administration. What military and martial exploits he described was that of the mongol rulers, like their postal system.

And this demonstrates why relying on Marco Polo is a terrible idea. Marco Polo wasn't reading their literature. The roots of wuxia are believed to go back to 300-200 BCE or so. By the Tang dynasty they were big, by the Song dynasty (a century or so before Marco Polo) essentially wuxia stories like Outlaws of the Water Margin. So at the time Marco Polo was visiting, there was already a vibrant tradition of wuxia literature. Chinese Mythic China is far more interesting to me than Marco Polo, and far more relevant to Glorantha. 

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Yet there are dojos (what's that Japanese term doing here) of martial artists all over Kralorela, and for some reason quite a lot of those martial arts involve weaponless combat.

I think in Glorantha, unarmed martial arts are practiced largely for magical reasons - it is far easier to control the magical power within your own body, and the mystic origins of many schools see extending control outside ones own body to increasing attachment to the world. Though there are plenty of weapon forms too. 

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

A friend of mine has given me a couple of textbooks from his Wing Tsun martial arts classes (which he practices now in the lowest teacher grades, last things I heard). Yes, that's the same school that Bruce Lee branched off when he included opera styles in his movies.

If you are interested in the Wing Chun style, you might want to check out the Ip Man films, especially the first, Donnie Yen at the height of his powers. The film Wing Chun (1994), allegedly a biopic of the founder of the style,  starring Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen, isn't quite as useful in learning about the style, but is definitely entertaining. 

I don't know what you mean about opera styles, you might be confused, Lee is more known as a serious martial artist who took his martial arts teaching and practice as seriously as his acting. You might be thinking of the more cinematic style later popularised by Jackie Chan and his cohort (Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, etc), who all trained primarily as Chinese Opera performers, and had a far more performance oriented style. 

 

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11 hours ago, GianniVacca said:

For what it's worth-- we've only explored Northern Shiyang so far, but we've already found three different human cultures:

  1. People of Ignorant descent living under Kralori rule. Some of them are OK with that, some others resent it, some others mind their own business. They worship the monstrous demon who lives below Tzu Ling.
  2. Kralori of various clans and origins. Mostly worship Kralori deities but some of them worship other deities eg Thrunhin Da
  3. The Untouchables. They speak Kralori but don't belong to any of the Kralori clans. They clean the city and handle the dead. They live in their own quarter where they herd giant insects. They worship Gorakiki.

Absolutely ethnic Ignorants in Northern Kralorela. I think they worship a wide variety of things, but absolutely some of them should worship monstrous demons of various kinds.

The Untouchables in my game would probably be ultimately also from Chern Durel, though maybe from a different wave of immigration - there are a lot of Gorakiki trolls, and they have shared their religion with humans over the years. I like the idea of a lot of insects and insect cultists, but detaching the idea from certain racist tropes (for example, racist 'Yellow Peril' character Fu Manchu is fond of centipedes and uses them as assassination weapons in one of the better known stories (mind you, he also resorts to envenomed kittens at one point)) and instead making then always linked to troll culture seems like a valuable step to take, while still making them possible villainous tools. 

In lots of Kralorela, especially near the mountains and in Boshan and Shiyang, many of the 'ethnic Kralori' are obviously descended from hsunchen clans and retain many customs and some physical characteristics of their ancestors, and form distinct ethnic minorities. 

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9 hours ago, Joerg said:

Neither is there much evidence of Sheng doing anything with or about the Bridges of Godunya.

He tries, and fails, to assault the bridges. 

 

Edited by davecake

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So, thought provoking idea of the moment - in RM, Greg has a footnote 'dragon=Kundalini' - what if the most appropriate (or at least intended) spiritual inspiration for Darudism is not any of the religions present in China, but is in fact Hindu tantra and kundalini yoga? (not the sex stuff, but the orthodox tradition, at least for mainstream Darudism)

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4 minutes ago, davecake said:

So, thought provoking idea of the moment - in RM, Greg has a footnote 'dragon=Kundalini' - what if the most appropriate (or at least intended) spiritual inspiration for Darudism is not any of the religions present in China, but is in fact Hindu tantra and kundalini yoga? (not the sex stuff, but the orthodox tradition, at least for mainstream Darudism)

Well, there's Tantric Buddhism, which was actually practiced in China. That's a goldmine of strangeness, decadence, and innovation. If you read David Gordon White's The Alchemical Body there's a great deal of evidence that older tantrism (before 'orthodoxy') had a lot more sex and transgression in it than later stuff. I wonder though: Taoism would seem closer to draconic mysticism in my mind, since tantrism is derived from a materialist position, that sacralized the body. The overlap between South Asian tantrism and the Buddhist stuff is in the meditative and ecstatic praxis more than the theory I think.

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32 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Well, there's Tantric Buddhism, which was actually practiced in China. That's a goldmine of strangeness, decadence, and innovation.

There is definitely Tibettan Vajrayana and its offshoots, and I think a lot of the Eastern stuff of meditating mystics confronting monsters comes from that. But not sure it links to Darudism, though I guess there are some similar elements. 

33 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

If you read David Gordon White's The Alchemical Body there's a great deal of evidence that older tantrism (before 'orthodoxy') had a lot more sex and transgression in it than later stuff.

Yes, absolutely. And both traditions are in Eastern Venfornism - Sivolic and Kivolic tradition. I'm all up for Kivolic transgressive sex magicians in Glorantha. But again, not sure it specifically is a good fit for Darudism, in any of its variations. I hadn't heard of the alchemical side, interesting (and we could, I guess, base the story of Thalurzni and Halisayan on sex alchemy rather than esoteric Taoist alchemy). 

39 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

I wonder though: Taoism would seem closer to draconic mysticism in my mind, since tantrism is derived from a materialist position, that sacralized the body.

Well, that was somewhat my original thought, but the mention of Kundalini would imply that Greg thought Darudism was a tradition that sacralised the body, right?

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3 hours ago, davecake said:

Ebe the Wild Man is Grandfather Mortal, Allgiver is Uleria. 

Or vice versa, and each and every concrete myth about one of these entities involves an aspect or avatar.

Ebe is also Iste/Majadan, or at least an aspect of that principle. That's Vogmaradan.

The story of Malkion mating with various goddesses before finally mating with Tilnta (=Uleria) to breed the three higher caste sons is similar. But then, we aren't given any runes for Malkioni entities other than the Invisible God.

3 hours ago, davecake said:

The Runes assigned in the Guide are usually a dead giveaway. 

Assigning such runes is what the God Learners did, and they were mostly quite correct. At the same time, their attempts to reduce everything to just these runes usually made them miss crucial differences.

Any such combination describes only one way at looking at these entities. The Core Runes are shared between Theyalan and Malkioni cultures, and adjacent cultures like the Dara Happans of the Gods Wall have derivatives which share such representations.

 

3 hours ago, davecake said:

TarnGatha is both Aether and Vith - Vith is Aether as the source of mysticism, in the same way Bamat is Pamalt as the lord of shamanism. But with such an abstract entity it hardly matters. 

Vith is the directional ruler, same as Yelm the Celestial Emperor. The source of mysticism is Oorduren, of whom Vith was a disciple. It would be interesting to see a quest proving that Vith really is Sedenya.
Lord of Mysticism - no doubt. Source of Mysticism?

 

3 hours ago, davecake said:

HeenMeroun is just as it says in RM - Yelm as ruler, equivalent to Murharzarm. Which is the same as Govmeranen. I don’t think there is anything draconic at all (at least, no more than any other deity). Pre-Darkness Kerundarath is solar and mystic, but not draconic, except only in that the modern Darudists refer to them as dragons to imply a continuity that never existed. 

Interestingly, Govmeranen has a dragon as father, Dogsalu, represented by Draconis Stella, elsewhere known as Sh'Harkazeel.

About the non-draconic nature of the Emperor, take a look at Sandy Petersen's take of the Emperor mini for Gods War. Rather than limiting the dragon to the throne, we get the Emperor in draconic splendour.

Trying to look for identity or significant differences between HeenMaroun, Govmeranen and Yelm in Revealed Mythologies is confused by the (IMO mistaken) chapter sub-headings for the Gods Cycle - it should be Govmeranen's Reign, not Osdero's Reign.

Govmeranen is overcome by Oorsu Saru. Afterwards, we don't hear about him any more.

Govmeranen's Palace or at least a stairway down (?!?) to its ruin is located on Mokato.

3 hours ago, davecake said:

Metsyla is essentially Nysalor but not Gbaji - God Time Nysalor, uncorrupted. 

That was my impression before we got into this fragmenting imperial sun business started with GRoY, too, so I don't really disagree. But then, we have a name for a Storm Age enlightenment deity - Rashoran(a).

The Kralori name Metsyla the Eagle Phoenix Emperor, and HeenMaroun's teacher in Enlightenment. That's a bit of a parallel to Vith studying under Oorduren, but also like Rashoran teaching the Pelorian and select Theyalan deities.

Osdero is specifically the son of Harantara (known to the Kralori as Thrunhin Da) and thereby kin to the seas that mark his end. Metsyla shares the end, but no mention is made of his origin.

I wonder about the significance of the Phoenix in Metsyla's/Osdero's title.

 

Kralorela having TarnGatha, HeenMaroun and Metsyla as distinct from Vith, Govmeranen and Osdero suggests to me that earliest Kralorela does deviate from Vithela in some respects. Ebe the Wild Man surely is not one of the Dancers. Okerio as child of Earthmaker suggests a Hsunchen connection, but Shavaya may represent yet another tradition of which little survived.

It is a bit like the fragments of Kesinliddi bird influence on the mainstreamed Dara Happan myth. A rather strong series of myths like the Ratite Empire and various Kestins left unexplored, or subsumed in Antirius/Yelmalio.

3 hours ago, davecake said:

Shavaya is Shavaya - he is uniquely Kralorelan, because he is the Culture hero of Kralorela and the god of the Empire (compare Heort)

Shavaya is the culture hero Emperor. Aptanace is as much the Culture Hero, though probably of a different part/province of Kralorela - probably the Hsunchen side. The Dara Happan correspondence might be Anaxial. Vormain has Valzain?

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4 hours ago, davecake said:

So, thought provoking idea of the moment - in RM, Greg has a footnote 'dragon=Kundalini' - what if the most appropriate (or at least intended) spiritual inspiration for Darudism is not any of the religions present in China, but is in fact Hindu tantra and kundalini yoga? (not the sex stuff, but the orthodox tradition, at least for mainstream Darudism)

Does this address the yogic means to achieve Kundalini, or is this in the context of Jung's analysis of Kundalini, or the physiological symptoms thereof?

There is no indication in Kralorela for split brains or split tongues in their pursuit of draconic wisdom, unlike the EWF practices.

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5 hours ago, davecake said:

I think at the very least, doing what we can to switch Kralorela from a Western Fantasy China to a Chinese Fantasy China would improve its richness immeasurably. So I care very little about what Marco Polo thought. 

That wasn't the thrust of that post. It is more an attempt to find where the Marco Polo effect impacts Seshnegi perception of Eest and Kralorela, and how it may have impacted the False Dragons Ring and possibly alterations to the previous traditions.

Seshnegi interaction with and reception of Kralorela remains a formative part of Glorantha, and it explains at least in part why Kralorela was presented that way. This is what we have, it is what affects us as alien observers of a mythical Cathay of our (ancestors') own making, and it probably is what prompted this thread.

 

5 hours ago, davecake said:

Sheng hated agriculture and cities. While his organised campaign of monstrous rape and torture was bad enough, he also caused widespread famine and misery by forced return of agricultural land to grazeland. Not only was his reign not 'invigorated prosperity', for a lot of Peloria at least it was like living under the Khmer Rouge. 

Are you referring to the terror tactics in Puchai and then Jaubon which he used to challenge Godunya to an (unprecedented) second contest?

His third return in 1442 allowed Sheng to conquer all of Kralorela - presumably including the bridges - and to remain in power until 1460.

 

5 hours ago, davecake said:

And this demonstrates why relying on Marco Polo is a terrible idea. Marco Polo wasn't reading their literature. The roots of wuxia are believed to go back to 300-200 BCE or so.

Possibly in the wake of the spread of Herakles worship in the wake of Alexander's campaign, with the traditions of Pankration. (At least that was suggested in some of the Wing Tsun literature.)

But then Marco Polo might simply have deemed the Chinese ways of boxing and wrestling as irrelevant or not exciting as there were contemporary European boxing and wrestling styles and martial literature not very different from the Chinese ones. Albrecht Dürer's book on combat shows many moves that are standard in Wing Tsun style kung fu.

 

5 hours ago, davecake said:

By the Tang dynasty they were big, by the Song dynasty (a century or so before Marco Polo) essentially wuxia stories like Outlaws of the Water Margin. So at the time Marco Polo was visiting, there was already a vibrant tradition of wuxia literature. Chinese Mythic China is far more interesting to me than Marco Polo, and far more relevant to Glorantha. 

Although, to be honest, the guerilla warfare of Alfred of Wessex against Guthrum is very similar in theme.

 

5 hours ago, davecake said:

I think in Glorantha, unarmed martial arts are practiced largely for magical reasons - it is far easier to control the magical power within your own body, and the mystic origins of many schools see extending control outside ones own body to increasing attachment to the world. Though there are plenty of weapon forms too. 

Most of the wuxia I have consumed is full of weapons (and weird ones at that).

The Wing Tsun advice I have read for e.g. fighting weaponless against an opponent with a blade, or against multiple sources of missiles, can be summarized as "don't".

If those Gloranthan weaponless styles add some magic enhancement to the unarmed combat, ok. I haven't seen any evidence of that yet, though, all that has been used ruleswise in RQ3 (players book) is the same Martial Arts skill that affects weaponless attacks that is in RQG.

Meditative katas certainly are a thing, whether armed or unarmed. They can be useful for building up weapon proficiency (including bare hands and feet), but relying on them exclusively in a combat situation probably is a liability.

 

5 hours ago, davecake said:

I don't know what you mean about opera styles, you might be confused, Lee is more known as a serious martial artist who took his martial arts teaching and practice as seriously as his acting. You might be thinking of the more cinematic style later popularised by Jackie Chan and his cohort (Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, etc), who all trained primarily as Chinese Opera performers, and had a far more performance oriented style.

Already Lee borrowed from showy styles in some of his work, as the very economic style of Wing Tsun doesn't always lend itself to good cinema. The wood puppet training probably is quite straight from his school, but other than a warm-up excercise those air strikes in the initial stages of a combat aren't anything like the teachings I got to read. Jackie Chan doing drunk monkey style is of course more extreme, but I haven't seen much of full contact ground combat or lat sau in any wuxia movie (which are admittedly few). It just is the opposite of cinematic.

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I'm surprised Journey to the West - the tale of the Monkey King  - hasn't been brought up. Fantasy China by real Chinese.

Martial Arts, magic, gods, demons, dragons...

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2 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

I'm surprised Journey to the West - the tale of the Monkey King  - hasn't been brought up. Fantasy China by real Chinese.

Martial Arts, magic, gods, demons, dragons...

Perhaps because they adopted and transformed Hanuman to create the stories. :D  Hindu deity by way of Buddhist mode of transmission, Tripitaka.

One might even suggest that the irreverent Chinese were parodying the sacred truths of India in a piece of imperialist utter awfulnesssss….. B)

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8 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

One might even suggest that the irreverent Chinese were parodying the sacred truths of India in a piece of imperialist utter awfulnesssss….. B)

Cultural appropriation 😬

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22 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

One might even suggest that the irreverent Chinese were parodying the sacred truths of India in a piece of imperialist utter awfulnesssss….. B)

Suddenly 沙悟浄 makes a lot more sense. We are probably all profoundly flawed companions of 唐三藏, piggy people born in a bad place. Could be worse though, could be Damon Albarn's version although that one is catchy.

With two of the Four Great Masterpieces on the board now, what kinds of texts would a modern Kralor canon need to include? Has this changed Since Time? Is there, for example, a Scroll of Vith or however they represent the age before the flood?

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It's not like this is a unique thing. Aladdin is set in China, but has Sultans and Viziers and morning prayer to the Abrahamic God. Unless you subscribe to the view that it's set in Muslim Xinjiang, then it really is just an example of people in one place setting strange events in somewhere else sufficiently distant.

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Aladdin and Ali Baba weren't among the tales told by Sheherazade... IIRC the French translator added them to the collection.

The Tsortean imitation of Djelibebi's culture still applies, only now it also mixes in Ephebian history.

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51 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Aladdin and Ali Baba weren't among the tales told by Sheherazade... IIRC the French translator added them to the collection.

The Tsortean imitation of Djelibebi's culture still applies, only now it also mixes in Ephebian history.

True, but the French translator apparently got it from a Syrian author, so the point more or less still stands (unless the Frenchman's diary was forged).

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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11 hours ago, Joerg said:

Ebe is also Iste/Majadan

Yes. Explicitly so. 

11 hours ago, Joerg said:

Kralorela having TarnGatha, HeenMaroun and Metsyla as distinct from Vith, Govmeranen and Osdero suggests to me that earliest Kralorela does deviate from Vithela in some respects.

They are literally different names for the same entities, and both would agree - Kralorela is not separate from Abzered then, so the one Emperor rules over both. The way modern Kralorela talks about them is different, which is the modern Kralorelans claiming superior insight. 

11 hours ago, Joerg said:

Shavaya may represent yet another tradition of which little survived

I think Shavaya represents another tradition, of which quite a lot survives - the basic design of the Empire and the civic structure of Kralori life still comes from Shavaya, it just now has a dragon at the top. Many of the laws are still essentially from Shavaya, and so on. 

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9 hours ago, Joerg said:

Are you referring to the terror tactics in Puchai and then Jaubon which he used to challenge Godunya to an (unprecedented) second contest?

Actually I was thinking of the fragments of the Greya story describing her early life in Peloria under Sheng, among other things. But there is no story of life under Sheng that makes it sound anything except horrific for those not part of his Solar hierarchy (and pretty terrifying for those near the bottom of that hierarchy too). 

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9 hours ago, Joerg said:

the guerilla warfare of Alfred of Wessex against Guthrum is very similar in theme.

Marshes aren’t the important part, the epic fantasy part is the important bit. 

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7 hours ago, davecake said:

They are literally different names for the same entities, and both would agree - Kralorela is not separate from Abzered then, so the one Emperor rules over both. The way modern Kralorela talks about them is different, which is the modern Kralorelans claiming superior insight. 

None of Vith's myths are found for TarnGatha in Kralorela - the three threes of Parondpara, the dual wives, the Adpara offspring...

Govmeranen has Dogsalu (a dragon, the Mover of Heavens) as his father and Yothenara (Uleria?) as his mother. I looked hard to find how Govmeranen's rule ended, but all I found was that he was defeated by Oorsu Sara.

The entry for HeenMaroun reads that he was a True Dragon. Not became, was - which would require Yothenara to have been a dragon, too (which should certainly be within the powers of a Parondpara). The Mother of Many?

The Kralori don't have much to say about Oorsu Sara - HeenMaroun created a demon as the instrument of his utuma, then manifested as the Bolt of Enlightenment to destroy the demon and start the world anew.

 

The Kralori have no origin story for Metsyla, other than that he was encountered early on by HeenMaroun, then sat steadily in his abode in Abzered until he was drowned. No mention of Thrunhin Da being his mother and a green deity his father. (I wonder whether Angen the Green might have been an earlier form of Tolat, or rather an Earth Walker or Elf deity?)

Osdero rules Abzered (of which Kerandaruth would have been a part) already under Govmeranen, and continues administrating the northwestern successors of Govmeranen's Empire until he gets drowned.

 

7 hours ago, davecake said:

I think Shavaya represents another tradition, of which quite a lot survives - the basic design of the Empire and the civic structure of Kralori life still comes from Shavaya, it just now has a dragon at the top. Many of the laws are still essentially from Shavaya, and so on. 

I was contrasting Shavaya to Aptanace and how this Hsunchen origin dominates mainland Kralorela. Shavaya instituted government. All the "invented civilization" is at best tied with Aptanace, possibly as parallel development, otherwise taken over.

What is the opinion on Ebe fathering the Hsunchen? Are the Hsunchen the result of his mating with animals, and is he the Hsunchen who got civilized by mating with Okerio? Or were the siblings of Aptanace still Korgatsu folk that needed the sage's teachings?

 

7 hours ago, davecake said:

Actually I was thinking of the fragments of the Greya story describing her early life in Peloria under Sheng, among other things. But there is no story of life under Sheng that makes it sound anything except horrific for those not part of his Solar hierarchy (and pretty terrifying for those near the bottom of that hierarchy too). 

To be honest, that is just the standard Solar hierarchy way, the very thing Orlanth went up against. Sheng does inflict initial hardness as he (in his eyes re-) established the ideal state of the Jenarong dynasty.

Low tier Dara Happans have always had it extremely hard. Maintaining the strict dress code in the severe winters mustn't have been fun in any time, under whichever rulers.

Around 1460, Sheng had ruled in both Kralorela and Peloria for most of a generation, had cross-transplanted Dara Happan and Kralori bureaucrats, and even his Praxian followers had managed to insert themselves as local middle class in Hongguan. (There are no sad tales of extermination told for Boshan Province...) Those that had adapted to that new way probably were well off, or at least no worse off than under the previous regime. Those who fought against the imposed order suffered the fate of all rebels, even if their rebellion consisted of loyalism to the previous regime.

I think that the Brightface usurpation of Peloria was little different. A lot of peoples were forced to change their way, with little regard to their well-being.

 

There is one detail in Kralorela's history which I find weird. When the False Dragons Ring took over control under ShangHsa MHNBC, the dissident exarchs managed to conquer Ignorance without any significant resistance, and establish a regime of Enlightenmen in Exile. Pretty convenient to find Ignorance to be that easy to push over, isn't it?

 

 

7 hours ago, davecake said:

Marshes aren’t the important part, the epic fantasy part is the important bit. 

So more Beowulf or Siegfried than Alfred... not that there isn't a legend about Alfred, but in the end, history was written by him and hs scribes, so no alternate and fantastic history was needed.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

None of Vith's myths are found for TarnGatha in Kralorela - the three threes of Parondpara, the dual wives, the Adpara offspring...

And the Orlanthi don't know all the stories about Yelm, and the Malkioni don't know all the stories about Orlanth even though they acknowledge Worlath, and so on. The East Isles and Kralorela had the same Emperor then, but they've had a few thousand years to diverge, during which they the Kralorelans were biased towards dragonifying all their previous Emperors. Though I assume the Kralori have their own versions of some of those myths. 

We are talking Golden and Green Age cosmic entities here. If their cultural understanding did NOT diverge quite a bit, that would be unusual. A few stories unshared does not mean they are talking about meaningfully different entities. 

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Kralori have no origin story for Metsyla, other than that he was encountered early on by HeenMaroun, then sat steadily in his abode in Abzered until he was drowned.

I do not think we should draw much significance to what mythic details we don't know. We know only a few paragraphs about Metsyla - the Kralorelans don't mention his origins, but that doesn't mean they don't know - at most it means they don't care enough to put it in a one paragraph summary. When in doubt, about anything to do with the Abzered era assume the Kralorelan answer is similar to the Eastern answer, but maybe they care a bit less. 

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

I wonder whether Angen the Green might have been an earlier form of Tolat, or rather an Earth Walker or Elf deity?)

It is a good question. Angen the Green could be stretched to Alkor the Green I guess... but he seems to be a mystic, so not convinced by most of these theories. 

 

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

I was contrasting Shavaya to Aptanace and how this Hsunchen origin dominates mainland Kralorela.

Very different, I think. Aptanace creates civilisation from an individual perspective, rather than a social one. I think Aptanace is a form of ancestor worship again, only now linked to professions, while Shavaya creates the law and the Empire. 

 

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

What is the opinion on Ebe fathering the Hsunchen? Are the Hsunchen the result of his mating with animals, and is he the Hsunchen who got civilized by mating with Okerio?

The Hsunchen are mortals, right? And they even practice Ancestor worship. Ebe is the reason they are part human. I think the civilisation part comes later - though possibly involving Aptanace who is just one divine generation down the line. 

 

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

To be honest, that is just the standard Solar hierarchy way, the very thing Orlanth went up against.

I do not think that at all. It is not the standard Solar hierarchy way to rape and murder, or to cause massive famine deliberately. 

 

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Sheng does inflict initial hardness as he (in his eyes re-) established the ideal state of the Jenarong dynasty.

So deliberately pushing society bad to pre-Dawn levels, for personal power. Yes. Not very Solar to me. 

 

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Low tier Dara Happans have always had it extremely hard. Maintaining the strict dress code in the severe winters mustn't have been fun in any time, under whichever rulers.

Sure, but Sheng would have turned up in the severe winter and destroyed your house, destroyed your farm, stolen your food and then raped every he could and murdered a few just to keep you afraid. 

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

So more Beowulf or Siegfried than Alfred... not that there isn't a legend about Alfred, but in the end, history was written by him and hs scribes, so no alternate and fantastic history was needed.

You continue to miss the point here - we think of epic high fantasy like wuxia as a 20th century phenomenon, but to the Chinese reading high fantasy novels for fun goes back centuries. Journey to the West for example, is not something people thought was history or even fantastic history,  but a fantasy novel, read for pleasure. They actually had the real historical version of events for centuries when it was written, a whole big pagoda dedicated to the sutras and the history of how they came to China. I'm uninterested in bad Western fantasy takes on historical China because there is a huge vibrant tradition of fantasy there already that is a better source in just about every way. 

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3 hours ago, davecake said:

And the Orlanthi don't know all the stories about Yelm, and the Malkioni don't know all the stories about Orlanth even though they acknowledge Worlath, and so on. The East Isles and Kralorela had the same Emperor then, but they've had a few thousand years to diverge, during which they the Kralorelans were biased towards dragonifying all their previous Emperors. Though I assume the Kralori have their own versions of some of those myths. 

We are talking Golden and Green Age cosmic entities here. If their cultural understanding did NOT diverge quite a bit, that would be unusual. A few stories unshared does not mean they are talking about meaningfully different entities.

I am talking about meaningfully different aspects. Vith comes across as quite different from the primal sky god mating with his mother, the primal earth, for all his fornication with his twin wives (which is almost Lodrilesque in its fecundity). TarnGatha the Ancestral Dragon of Being (as opposed ot the True Dragon of Bein, Daruda) presents yet a totally different facade.

Golden Age cosmic entities are fairly concrete, more so than the (Theyalan) Celestial Court deities (shared with the God Learners). The elemental tribes detailed in the Sourcebook (originally Wyrm's Footnotes) remain the basis for our understanding of the god world of Glorantha, and are reflected in the Prosopaedia. (Is that part of the GaGoG manuscript, or is that another separated document? Any Gen-Con buyer reading this?)

3 hours ago, davecake said:

I do not think we should draw much significance to what mythic details we don't know. We know only a few paragraphs about Metsyla - the Kralorelans don't mention his origins, but that doesn't mean they don't know - at most it means they don't care enough to put it in a one paragraph summary. When in doubt, about anything to do with the Abzered era assume the Kralorelan answer is similar to the Eastern answer, but maybe they care a bit less. 

But then we don't know whether Marco Polo never read or heard about what later (in the Qing dynasty) would be called wuxia literature or whether he just thought that the contemporary form of theatrical/literary entertainment in Venice was so similar that a mention would have been trivial rather than awe-inspiring.

 

3 hours ago, davecake said:

It is a good question. Angen the Green could be stretched to Alkor the Green I guess... but he seems to be a mystic, so not convinced by most of these theories. 

You do realize that your objection "he seems to be a mystic" is on the same level as my attempt to argue the case for a significant difference between TarnGatha and Vith and again HeenMaroun and Govmeranen?

Glad you pointed to Alkor the Green in the same train of thought I had when noticing this possibility.

It seems fit that Tolat may have several connections to floodings and counteracting them in the Abzered region.

 

3 hours ago, davecake said:

Very different, I think. Aptanace creates civilisation from an individual perspective, rather than a social one. I think Aptanace is a form of ancestor worship again, only now linked to professions, while Shavaya creates the law and the Empire. 

Shavaya is clearly a Storm Age entity, possibly Flood Era. There is conflict in the world, but then the Dogsalu uprising (the flight of the Mover of Heavens, possibly tied to the Initiation of Orlanth, which in turn is tied to the dismemberment of Umath) places conflict prior to Govmeranen's birth (which makes a direct correlation to Brightface problematic, although it allows the equation of Govmeranen and HeenMaroun with Murharzarm).

3 hours ago, davecake said:

The Hsunchen are mortals, right? And they even practice Ancestor worship. Ebe is the reason they are part human. I think the civilisation part comes later - though possibly involving Aptanace who is just one divine generation down the line. 

Yes, but then any offspring of Ebe with ancestral animals would produce mortals as much as initally demigods, too.

Grandfather Mortal is at least a demigod before accepting Death.

3 hours ago, davecake said:

I do not think that at all. It is not the standard Solar hierarchy way to rape and murder, or to cause massive famine deliberately. 

The Horse Warlord emperors like Eater of Flesh or Eats Women at least point to very similar practices. The Red Emperor unleashing Chaos almost at a whim feels little different.

I am notorious for my low opinion of Solar Emperorship in Glorantha. It was one of my formative discussions with Sandy on the Daily. And even Sandy commented that the Solar faction in The Gods War is as much a bully as are Darkness and Chaos when I chatted about my playtest experiences with him.

Causing massive famine deliberately, or rather not caring that a whim or a pet project causes massive starvation and death of marginally recognized parts of the population is pretty much in keeping with the Dara Happan policy towards the Orlanthi of Dragon Pass. Creating the Windstop for the heck of it... very Solar. Plundering Dragon Pass in 1042 when all the draconic crops and herds failed - very solar. Marching on a genocidal expedition eradicating every dragonewt nest and every storm barbarian on the way is very solar.

Sheng didn't treat his followers that way, only conquered non-entities/former foes. Yes, he used mass executions as a means of magical and political pressure. And Godunya regretted the victims, sent his thoughts and prayers, and continued his policy.

Yes, Sheng's conquest and occupation and that of the ISIS caliphate have too much in common for us to condone either. Looking at how the Boxer uprising or the Herero rebellion were treated doesn't make me proud of Imperialist Germany either. SImilar tactics to the Herero massacre were used on the Cherokee or the Armenians.

The Dara Happans condone "We Hate Darjiin Usurpers". They were happy to let all the non-obedient imperial subjects perish in the ice when hiding under the Dome. They massacred or enslaved the Pentans again and again whenever they had both the opportunity and the power to do so. Likewise, the Kralori interact with Pentans or Ignorants like Yelm with Umath and his sons.

The templars of Sun Dome County demonstrate quite the merciful side of a solar rulership with their treatment of the Ergeshi. (And the Ergeshi are about as miserable as food trollkin.)

No, the Solar track record isn't much better than Sheng's. If Sheng had been given a century in power longer, the survivors in his empire would have fought tooth and nail to get him back from the Dragon Emperor/Red Emperor. With just 18 years of uncontested reign, the birthing pains of his empire vastly overshadowed his vision of empire.

When Avanapdur and his dream realities were banished, the survivors confronted by the keet sage Ezel Balurenesh (and Oren Parond - who became Thella) expressed honest regret at the loss of the consequences of Avanapdur's reign. Whatever new order Sheng's reign could have brought would have received a similar regret by those profiting from it.

A similar appalling nostalgia is professed by any former beneficiaries of any toppled unjust regime, whether the confederate southern slave owners, European settlers in the Imperialist colonies, or the yearning for the benefits of the former Soviet Union or German Democratic Republic.

3 hours ago, davecake said:

So deliberately pushing society bad to pre-Dawn levels, for personal power. Yes. Not very Solar to me. 

Windstop. So very Dara Happan.

 

3 hours ago, davecake said:

Sure, but Sheng would have turned up in the severe winter and destroyed your house, destroyed your farm, stolen your food and then raped every he could and murdered a few just to keep you afraid. 

Windstop again.

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6 hours ago, Joerg said:

I am talking about meaningfully different aspects. Vith comes across as quite different from the primal sky god mating with his mother, the primal earth, for all his fornication with his twin wives (which is almost Lodrilesque in its fecundity). TarnGatha the Ancestral Dragon of Being (as opposed ot the True Dragon of Bein, Daruda) presents yet a totally different facade.

Comes across because the Kralorelans have had thousands of years of interpreting these early myths through their lens of wanting to make everything about dragons, and the East Isles have had thousands of years of interpreting these early myths through a more orthodox mysticism centric framework. They are, however, the same mythic entities. The Orlanthi Emperor myths come across as very different aspects of Yelm too, and Worlath is different to Orlanthi, and so on. Both are so distant from modern humanity the differences seem of practical importance only to advanced mystics - who would probably mostly argue that they were only artifacts of imperfect human perception anyway. 

6 hours ago, Joerg said:

Golden Age cosmic entities are fairly concrete, more so than the (Theyalan) Celestial Court deities (shared with the God Learners).

Aren't we, in several cases here, literally talking about the same entities? 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

You do realize that your objection "he seems to be a mystic" is on the same level as my attempt to argue the case for a significant difference between TarnGatha and Vith and again HeenMaroun and Govmeranen?

Not in the least. With Vith etc, you are arguing directly that equivalencies we are told are widely known and accepted and there is significant evidence for, aren't really true, based on what I think are fairly disagreements about the nature of Gloranthan divine entities. With the Angen the Green we are talking very deep speculation about an entity we know almost nothing about, and I'm just saying one of the approximately three things we know about him doesn't support your theories much. Sure, he could be an elf or an earth deity based entirely on the word 'Green', but given the dearth of elf or earth deities in the various mysticism stories, it doesn't seem like the best fitted speculation. 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Glad you pointed to Alkor the Green in the same train of thought I had when noticing this possibility.

I can speculate with the best of them. But you have to weigh the arguments, and I still think this is weak - the coincidence of colours is one thing, but making a God of War a god of Peace is a stronger counter-argument. Plus we have no evidence anyone outside of Alkoth ever associates Tolat with any colour except Red. 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Red Emperor unleashing Chaos almost at a whim feels little different.

You have to imagine him unleashing Chaos on everyone in the Empire that isn't Lunar regularly, the way Sheng tries to turn the lives of everyone in the Empire that is not some form of Sun worshipper into a living hell. He does not. 

Again, you seeming to see things in a moral binary (as with Zzabur/Vadel), the Red Emperor does some awful things in the service of the state, but the majority of his citizens live relatively happy pleasant lives, and only experience the Imperial dark side if they try to rebel against imperial rule. Sheng  tries to grind the lives of the majority if its citizenry into a torturous half existence, as deliberate policy. 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Sheng didn't treat his followers that way, only conquered non-entities/former foes.

Only because he had already convinced his core followers to live lives of harsh discipline and unflinching loyalty, even when ordered to commit atrocities, voluntarily, and having them rape and loot served his purposes. 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Dara Happans condone "We Hate Darjiin Usurpers".

I think the rest of the Tripolis does not condone the periodic Alkoth initiated civil wars and unrest, but reluctantly accepts it as a periodic disaster. But it is notable that even the worst tendencies of the Shargashi are still less horrific than Sheng - the Shargashi do not seem to actually want to smash the Darjiin civilian population into the stone age that way Sheng does. 

 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

The templars of Sun Dome County demonstrate quite the merciful side of a solar rulership with their treatment of the Ergeshi. (And the Ergeshi are about as miserable as food trollkin.)

Every Ergeshi in Sun Dome County lives a life that would seem like a comparitive paradise to the life recorded for the civilians under Sheng in the Greya story. You get to live under a roof? Actually work in a farm and have enough regular food to still be a good healthy worker? Not deal with regular rape and murder squads? These literally are the things the freed Lunar populace are getting excited about in the story. Don't get me wrong, freedom is important. But Sheng denies them food and shelter, basically as much of Maslowes hierarchy as he can manage. 

I also think the Ergeshi are a lot happier than food trollking, not being considered food for a start. Worker trollkin, you could make a case, but even that would be pushing it, 

 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

They were happy to let all the non-obedient imperial subjects perish in the ice when hiding under the Dome.

Well, not necessarily happy, but willing to make harsh decisions to survive. As Great Darkness survival stories go, it is about par for the course. 

 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

If Sheng had been given a century in power longer, the survivors in his empire would have fought tooth and nail to get him back from the Dragon Emperor/Red Emperor.

Sure, because Sheng would have drastically reduced the population in both Empires, and killed pretty much everyone who wasn't a solar nomad, led by harsh ascetic demigods. None of those remaining people are going to want to return to a rich, flourishing, diverse happy civilisation, having never experienced anything like it. Plus, if any of them did express the idea that maybe agricultural civilisation has its virtues, a harsh ascetic demigod will probably rape or torture them then stab them in the neck. Or a zolathi will offer them to the sacrificial fires while still alive or something. 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Windstop. So very Dara Happan

Empires tend to allow disastrous things at their periphery - the Lunars are no different. Few attempt to gut and lay waste to their own richest assets. But if it helps, sure, you can imagine Sheng as being equivalent to, eg the Belgian Congo only he regards most of Peloria and Kralorela as the Congo. Or treating Peloria like the Khmer Rouge treated Cambodia. Or like Stalin creating the Holodomor. None of this makes Sheng look like anything other than a monster, you are just sort of weakly claiming 'other Empires did terrible things' - well, yes, but rarely approaching the scale, enthusiasm, deliberateness, malice and cruelty that Sheng pursued as explicit policy. Other Gloranthan historical Empires can rarely approach him on one aspect or the other, but none come close on all at once (eg Fonrit is also a cruel slave state, but it likes to keep everyone fed, and allows religious diversity, The Windstop is also a great famine and disaster, but not deliberate or extended. The Ergeshi are thralls, but allowed the normal comforts of civilisation if not freedom, and so on). 

 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

No, the Solar track record isn't much better than Sheng's.

Your case is weak. I have no idea why you want to rehabiliitate Sheng, when he is clearly portrayed as horrific for his acts in both Kralorela and Peloria, but it is extremely unconvincing. 

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

 

Quote

Sure, but Sheng would have turned up in the severe winter and destroyed your house, destroyed your farm, stolen your food and then raped every he could and murdered a few just to keep you afraid. 

Windstop again.

And this  is where you seem to really explicitly be overstretching, because you are explicitly ignoring the bits that don't fit your thesis. No, the Lunars did not come around during the Windstop and destroy housing, destroy what little food producing facilities there are, and gratuitously rape or murdere everyone they could find. You are just making that up, to stretch a failing argument. The Empires actions are documented in detail in Eleven Lights etc, and they are very different - they offer food to the starving, they try as they can to recruit to the Lunar cause but by offering them hope, they generally allow the Orlanthi to gather in towns and villages, they did sometimes take food - because they hadn't planned it and were left largely short of food as well. 

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

But then we don't know whether Marco Polo never read or heard about what later (in the Qing dynasty) would be called wuxia literature or whether he just thought that the contemporary form of theatrical/literary entertainment in Venice was so similar that a mention would have been trivial rather than awe-inspiring.

It doesn't matter whether Marco Polo didn't know about Chinese literature, or was just silly enough to think it was the same as early medieval romance. The point I am making is it still makes 'random observations of Marco Polo' a vastly less fruitful and interesting resource for Fantasy China material than the great actual fantasy literature tradition from actual China. I am confused as to why you still feel the need to argue otherwise. 

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