Re: sandy's maunderings

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Thu 18 May 1995 - 23:00:56 EEST

Ville Vaikkonen
>1. Currencies. Clacks, wheels, lunars and bolgs.

        LUNARS: they are called lunars in Peloria and lands adjacent. Most barbarian lands, for instance, don't mint their own coins, but just use the Empire's. The Holy Country mints a similar coin called a guilder. In Pavis you sometimes see some silver coins from the Mint, which are something yet different. All central Genertela seems to stick to the same money system, no matter what their coins are named. This might be a holdover from the EWF or something.

        WHEELS: large gold coins with an image of the sun on one side. Originally they all came from Peloria, but the Sun Domers mint their own. I don't think that the Holy Country makes these, only Peloria -- and probably only Dara Happa itself.

        CLACKS: the dwarfs are given credit for making these. No doubt the dwarfs also make tin, aluminum, and similarly worthless tokens -- one for each metal they recognize. Morons. In Peloria and environs, clacks are of such size that they are 1/10th the worth of a lunar. Probably clacks are the same exact size everywhere, since they are dwarf-made, but their values in terms of local coinage might vary. Nowadays, of course, the vast majority of clacks are minted by humans, not dwarfs.

        BOLGS: troll lead money. In places that accept these (lots of people won't), they're considered worth 1/10th of a _clack_. I mean, jeez, they're made of _lead_ for crying out loud. Trolls who have humans at a disadvantage will sometimes inform the luckless humans that bolgs are worth some other value, commonly a lunar each. Then the hapless humans have to sell their goods to the trolls for the thrice-damned bolgs. This is a relatively sophisticated troll prank, two levels higher than cutting off one of your limbs and eating it.

Most of Glorantha uses barter, not coins.

>How would you Gloranthaphiles out there describe the role of XU in
>troll societies?

        OK, there's only one main troll "society", and it seems to vary by environment, not by culture. Of course, there _are_ differences between troll groups (Dagori Inkarth, the Blue Moon Plateau, and the Kingdom of Ignorance, for instance, are about as different as three groups of trolls can be), but these differences are less than you find among human sects, and are more comparable to the differnces between, say, parallel Malkioni cultures, or the Orlanthi of Sartar as compared to the Orlanthi of Aggar. This is in line with the general trend that the Elder Races are more orthodox and regular than flightly humans, plastic as water.

        Anyway, Xiola Umbar serves the role of the Comforter -- Darkness that protects and envelopes. Her role is not a complete parallel to _any_ human cult, because trolls aren't humans. But the Xiola Umbar worshipers carry out the following societal tasks, as observed by trollwatchers:

  1. protect and nurture trollkin. But they also kill them when they need to.
  2. mitigate the destructiveness of the Zorak Zoran cult. Priestesses of XU seem to have influence with the Death Lords. Sometimes the war gangs are kept from killing others, sometimes from getting themselves killed.
  3. care for troll children -- there's almost always a XU priestess or acolyte in the trollbaby warrens. Their known protection of trollkin may stem from this habit.
  4. Limit troll losses in disaster. Their healing abilities are of obvious use in this.

>How about relationships between Kaarrg's Sons and Zorak Zoran?

        In small troll communities, either one or the other will take charge of the community's defense. Sometimes there will be feuds, plots, etc. until one side wins out. If the ZZ wins out, then any Kaarg's Sons that the community produces are shunted aside into minor positions, such as "bodyguards" to the queen, or Leaders of the Trollkin Hordes, or cavetrollherds. Sometimes the ZZ even dictates to the queen and other tribe leaders. If KL wins out, then the ZZ leaders are subordinate, and form a single company nominally under the Kaarg's Son's command.

        In large troll communities, ZZ and Kaarg's Sons both exist, and both command part of the defenses. The Kaarg's Sons are generally dominant, because they have the support of the KL priestesshood.

>What about the role of sorcery in troll society?

        Trolls do not have "sorcerers" in the human sense. A troll sorcery-user is still an initiate of Kyger Litor, for instance. Most are just magic specialists, serving various functions within their tribe. Since sorcerers cannot become Rune level leaders or shamans, they have no role in the tribal command structure, but they may be highly valued, even inculcated.

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