Re: Sandy's maunderings

From: Sandy Petersen (sandyp@idpentium.idsoftware.com)
Date: Fri 17 Feb 1995 - 23:56:44 EET



Joerg:
> IMO the difference between a clan and a tribe is the rank of its

> leader, and the rites the leader has to perform.
Alex:
>Tribes are typically more federal, and more mutable. Clans can
>generally only change by "losing" members to a Founding within its
>own ranks, while clans can jink in and out of tribes relatively
>freely.

        My understanding, further, is that clans are at least nominally based on bloodlines, to the point that exogamous marriages are often prescribed, whereas tribes are, as you say, a political beast. No doubt one of the anthropologists on staff can comment sensibly on this.

        It is my belief, incidentally, that the Praxian tribes and the Sartarite tribes differ in almost every respect but the name.

Angus Laidlaw nobly strives to find ways to be a vegetarian in Prax, mentioning importing veggies from outside, being less strict (i.e., permitting fish) and eating elves (yech).

        It all comes to much the same thing in the end -- the only place in Prax that could support CA healers is Pavis -- it's on a river and gets regular trade from outside.

        Theoretically the Paps could do it, too, but I don't think members of a foreign cult, even one as benign as the White Lady, would be welcome there.

>I see Prax's inability to support humans on the local plants as a
>curse

        Well, that's one way to look at it. Another way is to note that the soil is highly alkali hardpan, with hardly any ability to hold water (it just runs off or sits around in stagnant pools). A Sartarite might say, "The land's cursed." while a Westerner says, "This soil sucks.", but it comes to much the same.

        But I doubt many Sartarite plants would thrive in Prax. Maybe in the oases or river valley with extensive cultivation.

>The question isn't what happens to the Miserable Ingrate Dead, but
>to those who go to the Courts of Silence, and go unclaimed (not a
>member in good standing of any cult, say), or are judged unworthy
>(broken cultic precepts), etc.

        Everyone who makes it to the Courts of Silence is judged by Daka Fal, Magistrate of the Dead. If you do not have a psychopomp, you may well fail to make it to the Courts of Silence, remaining a ghost, wraith, or other lost soul. Yes, this means that members in good standing in cults almost never become spooks.

Short List of Psychopomps

	LIGHTBRINGER OR ASSOCIATES: Issaries
	HUMAKTI: Humakt, of course. 

	NON-ORLANTHI EARTH CULTISTS: Ty Kora Tek (this may be one of  
the reasons so many Earth cultists have joined up with Orlanth or other husband-gods. Ty Kora Tek is hardly the most reassuring of afterlife deities.)

        SOLAR CULTISTS: Yelm. This is true for both Pent and Peloria, regardless of differences in their solar cults.

        SMALL CHILDREN, IN ORLANTHI, EARTH, AND SOLAR SOCIETIES: infants and underage children are taken to the afterlife by Voria, and don't have to be judged by Daka Fal or go through the Courts of Silence. This is a fairly widespread belief in Genertela.

        LUNAR CULTISTS: Probably one of the Seven Mothers otherwise - -- Danfive Xaron makes sense, but the Lunars may have no fast and hard rule, since they don't emphasize an afterlife much anyway.

	PRAXIANS: Waha
	MALKIONI: most common folk believe that one of your patron  
saints escorts you to heaven.

        KRALORI: ultimately, Godunya. One's own ancestors take one to Vithela to await the Emperor's demise.

        TROLLS: Jeset the Ferryman, of course.

        DWARFS: none. No afterlife, no psychopomp.

        MERFOLK: Magasta. This despite the Mermen's disbelief in an afterlife. Who ever said they had to be consistent?

        ELVES: dunno. Suggestions?

        EAST ISLES: the White Moon

        DORADDI: your mother, if she's dead. If not, then your grandmother. If _she's_ still alive, keep working your way back till you get a direct-line ancestress who's (a) dead and (b) loves you. However, if you _are_ a mother, and you have lost a little girl dead, then _she_ is your psychopomp to the afterlife. So there.

Of course this is a bit off the point, since Alex asks what happens to you if you're NOT a member in good standing. Well, you probably don't get the psychopomp to escort you to Hell. This may not be so bad, because most spirits can find their way to the Courts of Silence anyhoo, but it does present some risk of being stuck as a ghost.

        Once you're at the Courts, Daka Fal judges you. Some cultures provide you with an advocate. Of course, if you've been a bad little boy or girl, you won't get aforementioned advocate to help plead your case. Anyway, Daka Fal makes his judgment, and you go to the afterlife he sees fit to place you.

        Note that for some reason, he's pretty much down on people who have killed other people (wonder why?), and so if you are a warrior (or, of course, adventurer) it's not a bad idea to worship some god who can point out for Daka Fal that you only killed Bad People who deserved it. Harrek, with no gods to plead for him, will no doubt end up in the darkest hells available. Or he would, if he weren't a damn superhero with his own star in heaven. Dang.

        What kind of bad afterlives are available from Daka Fal? Depends on your culture what you believe in, but plenty of Orlanthi in Dragon Pass believe that you end up in what amounts to the troll afterlife. You know how the trolls believe that other races become their prey in Hell? Well, lots of Sartarites agree, but only if you're a bad person. THis, of course, makes trolls even more frightening -- they are the demon-tormentors of the afterlife!

>It's hard to quantify stuff like training and discipline

        True enough. But consider: Polybius reports that the ancient Greeks never did learn true obedience to their officers. Take Xenophon as an example. He reported with pride that he had taught his men to fear their commander more than the enemy (as if that was an impressive accomplishment), but when he beat a soldier for failing to help a sick comrade he was actually brought up on trial before a soldier's assembly because of it(!). It's impossible to imagine a Roman centurion being court-martialed for beating a soldier, even for the most trivial of reasons. Killing a soldier, yes. But there were occasions when good Roman commanders had soldiers executed for not wearing their sword when working on some fortifications. Stiff penalties. Combine this with the extreme drill that Roman soldiers were inured to, plus the fact that they were worked like mules (they had to carry heaps of equipment, much like a modern soldier). Compare this to the Greek hoplite, whose equipment weighed _less_ than a Roman soldiers, but who needed a servant to accompany him on campaign, to carry his stuff!

        In essence, the Greeks were good fighters, but knew only the rudiments of what we'd call discipline. The Romans were stern. Again, while the Lunar army is clearly equipped much like hoplites, I once more state that their discipline and drill is probably much more thorough. Maybe not as deep-going as the Romans, but good nonetheless.

Incidentally, the Roman centurions were NOT officers -- they were more like unto a sergeant in rank, though they had the responsibility of a captain. A centurion was drawn from the ranks, and his pay was only twice that of a private soldier.

>I reckon there are quite a lot of non-Thunder Delta missile troops
>around. Eol isn't such a populous area, and I think you'd be doing
>well to wring 10 DP counters, to cover the whole empire, out of
>them.

        Indeed. I had reckoned only 4, myself. But that's enough for the whole Lunar army, IMO. You must understand that a large Empire, like the Lunars, does NOT want a huge big disorganized army. What it needs is a small, fast-moving, professional army.

        Some medieval Italian writers agree that the best size for an army is somewhere around 10-30,000 men. Larger than that, and you can't stay on campaign long enough. Smaller than that and you can't fight. Think of the problems of a big empire -- you could have problems anywhere in it at any time. If you have a humongous army, then you'll never be able to respond to troubles, because a huge army is reallllyyy slooowww moving, especially when you consider the enormous amount of supplies you got to put together to send 'em on their way. And when they get to the troublespot, if they don't settle things up quite quickly, then they have to spread out to forage, and so the enemy can defeat you in detail.

        For this reason, throughout the history of the world, empires have opted for high-cost, quality units, rather than low-cost quantity ones. It only makes sense.

        No, I think the entire Lunar army is probably not much bigger than what is shown in the DRAGON PASS game. Now, of course every single province has its own militia force (like the Native Furthest) - -- such a levy can hold off feeble enemies, and also serves as a useful source for many types of back-up units. For instance, Alex mentions Lodril farmer-types as peltasts. The Lunar army may only have four Thunder Delta skirmishers, but when it is fighting in, say, Saird, the locals muster to the flag, and some of them can serve as additional peltasts and various support.

>Against most Orlanthi, I bet cavalry is often the decisive offensive
>arm. Whereas against Praxians or Pentans, the above is probably
>very true, though a phalanx will be able to make sizeable dents in a
>nomad force if it acts with its customarily charming strategic
>naivety.

        This may well be the case, but I betcha the magic colleges still make an impact. The Lunars haven't fought Praxians enough for me to figure out a standard tactic (and vice versa). I picture the Pent nomads as quite sophisticated in combat, like the ancient Huns or Scythians. I don't think they've yet had their equivalent to Genghis Khan to make them a continent-conquering force, and maybe they won't ever. I'm sure the Pentans know not to charge hoplites, except on the flanks. This of course makes the hoplites crucial to a Lunar battle against the nomads, even if they never bloody a spear on a horse's body.

After defending the decision to remove certain RLs or RPs from the cult writeups,

>I sort of miss Healers of Arroin, though.

        I hereby decree that Healers of Arroin still exist in certain Chalana Arroy temples. Probably in the solar-oriented temples, but not the Lightbringer ones. They're probably somewhere between the High Healers and the Healers in status, a kind of High Initiateship.

>The only problem I had with this idea was that because of the post
>hoc way it was done, it made these potionions relatively more
>attractive to powergaming PCs.

        Well, what cults do _you_ think powergaming PCs should be joining instead?

>On the other hand, I think there _is_ a case for Humakti acolytes.
>Though only a limited number per temple -- the limit often being
>Zero. Larger temples probably have the odd synecure which doesn't
>really require waving around a Very Large Sword

        I predict that Humakt acolytes are, in effect, retired Swords, on reserve status if you will. That said, there's nothing that prevents a Sword from singling out an initiate and decreeing that he's higher rank than the others, even with no new special cult status. This is especially the case in a military-oriented temple like Humakt. Probably the the Humakti mid-level acolytes are called Swordmasters, because they are (i.e., 90% at sword, but not yet of Sword status). They can train in their weapon as good as a Sword, plus do some of the dogwork. If they're especially good, the Swords might reward them with an extra geas.

Nicky:
>BTW, is anyone thinking of organising a [Kralorela] Pack from all
>the odds and sods that have been developed?

        Nils and I have toyed with the idea. right now we're hot on the East Isles instead, though.

Then, suddenly, I see from Peter M.:

>I am working on some Kralori stuff with Nils at the moment.

        Holy shit! Apparently I'm being two-timed. Peter, it looks like you and me are two-thirds of the Eternal Triangle. I wonder whose favors Nils will finally succumb to.

Obstetric Magic

        Clearly the Gloranthan goddesses need obstetric magic. No doubt about it. This in no way means that I am advocating killing a female PC in a random Childbirth roll. However, it can potentially add to the game fun if players must please a local earth priestess or at least find one, in time for the kid to get born.

        That said, here's Sandy's Handy Rules for determine death by childbirth (only to be used to threaten PCs with, or to kill off NPCs you don't mind having die in this rather romantic fashion): I decree that in my campaign, a human woman must roll her CONx10 or less, or die in childbirth. Hence, an especially feeble woman might be advised by her doctors to avoid bearing any children. Appropriate childbirth magic:

        Vigor is used to help the mother (by increasing her CON), but of course must be maintained throughout the critical part of labor, which could cost quite a few MPs.

        Fatigue can also help out, by keeping the mother from exhaustion (a source of some deaths -- the mother's simply too tired to push any more).

        Strength can give mom that extra burst of energy needed at the crucial moment.

        And of course Healing can stop bleeding, if too much is happening after the kid's born. It can also keep the kid from too much injury, so long as the midwife is skilled enough to tell when he's in distress.

        Ernalda, Dendara, Faranar, and Eiritha all provide spells to help an expectant mother. I see no reason that the spells can't be more or less standardized across cults (like Berserker and Heal Body, for instance). Here are my proposals for them.

Enjoy Pregnancy (spirit magic)
1 point
temporal, touch

        This spell dispells morning sickness for one hour when cast. If you're one of the few unfortunate women who are sick all day long when pregnant, you may need help, or reserve the spell for when you're the very most sick.

Shorten Labor (Rune magic)
1 point
temporal (length of labor), touch, stackable

        This spell eases labor by speeding up the process without increasing the pain. The total length of time that the woman's labor would normally last is divided by the points in the spell. For instance, if a 4 point spell is cast, and the resultant labor lasts 6 hours, the midwife can be assured that it would have lasted a full 24 hours. Note that a single point of this spell does nothing -- at least 2 points are needed for action.

        If the spell is cast after the start of labor, the spell only affects the remaining time, on a prorated basis.

I also believe that there is a relatively-standardized abortion spell. This is practiced by other cults than Dendara & co., of course. Maran Gor & Gorgorma are likely candidates (not because they're "bad", because they're anti-fertility, and an unwanted abortion is a heck of an attack spell/curse).

>Do we need a Sanity stat for RQ?

        All RQ adventurers are stark raving mad by CoC standards.

Nick
>I'd also cast my vote for various of the 3-3-4 units in Dragon Pass
>(on both sides) to be considered "light infantry" of one type or
>another, rather than "light cavalry".
David C.:
>I think of these units as being basically medium infantry but with
>quite a few horses

        I think David's on to something here. These are all locally-recruited units, presumably without too much standardization. What if they simply represent mixed groups of horsemen and infantry (presumably sopmething like an 80/20 split), probably equipped with wagons to carry gear and speed up the unit a bit. Or some might even only have mounted officers, with unarmored soldiers (explaining both the high movement and low combat factors).

Scott Haney:
>what exactly is the famous lethargy of Teshnos?

        Trust me, Scott. This is one can of worms best left unopened.

Truls Parsson
>I just wanted to point out that you were wrong when you said lots of
>japanese are vegetarians and tried to use it as an argument.

        I hate this. I was NOT wrong -- lots of Japanese ARE vegetarians. Give me a break. Takehiro admits it. Many many monks are vegetarian. Certainly at least as high a percentage of the population of Japan (in feudal times) were vegetarian as any region of Glorantha has CA healers.

>If you want to be a vegetarian in Sweden nowadays it's not hard. If
>you remove remove all imported stuff it is still possible but you
>have to work for it (but still no problem if you set your mind to
>it). Now remove all non-indigenous plants and it is difficult. Now
>confine your self to only a small part of Sweden and you might not
>be able to make it at all.

        Now see here. Since when did the ancient Swedes eat only indigenous plants? Not since the neolithic. Didn't they have cabbages? Carrots? Turnips? They had some kind of grain, if only rye, barley, and/or flax. And how about fruit -- probably had apples? And lingonberries I know for sure? Raspberries? If you're smart enough to bury your apples or dry your berries, you get it year-round. And let's not forget booze (beer is food!). We KNOW they had that, and no one has ever claimed CA to be teetotalers. Plus they could (and did) import wine.

        And remember you get to drink milk and eat cheese, too. There's plenty of that around. The typical medieval Swede probably had a more varied diet than the renaissance-era Italian farmer.

        Hell, I grew up in Utah, which is about as barren a state as you can find with humans living in it. But, having taken a survival course there, I can report that even without storing your food, you can get enough variety in the various native plants to live for quite a while. If you were allowed to culture the native plants and store the proceeds, you could live year-round without eating meat. I'm sure Sweden has a more varied and more lush environment than the arid Utah.

        I repeats. If you can get fruit, a grain, a vegetable, and cheese, you have all the vitamins, minerals, etc., you need. The path to dietary deficiency is NOT by living in a cold environment, but by living in a rich one that emphasizes a monocultured crop. The Nile river valley, India, and the American South, which were all prey to vitamin deficiencies, are all lush places, but they only grew one crop -- the most efficient. That meant they didn't get enough of other things.



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