From: Sandy Petersen (email@example.com)
Date: Mon 12 Jun 1995 - 23:28:31 EEST
>In TOTRM and other sources the only Veldang people mentioned in
>Pamaltela are slaves in the north, and stone-age, band-level,
hunter >gatherers in Zamokil.
The only two _major_ groups of Veldang are those in Fonrit, and those in Zamokil. The Zamokil-dwellers are not simple stone-age folk any more than the Maori or Zuni or Incas were "simple stone-age folk", and have an extremely complex, secretive, and dangerous culture. In Glorantha, as in Earth, it makes a hell of a lot of difference whether the neolithic folk you're dealing with are tiger hsunchen, ice trolls, or High Llama riders.
>It that it? Do any barbarian or civilized groups of Veldang
remain, >perhaps some last bit of the Artmali Empire?
Of course. There's probably at least one city in Fonrit occupied by rebellious blues, and I'm sure if you went wandering west into Vralos or east into Laskal you'd find occasional tribes and villages composed of former slaves, now living free. In my own campaign, one of the more interesting bad guys is a band of Loper blues who live in the contested plains south of Fonrit. The landowners who rule the large slave-labor farms in this area don't keep soldiers of their own. Instead, the Loper folk serve as general-purpose mercenaries. If there's trouble with slaves, the landowners hire a gang of these thugs to carry out a raid on the trouble-makers. It's hardly a surgical strike, but the fear of an attack by these hooligans keeps most slaves in line. The estate boundaries are marked (with long poles topped by colored flags. Any slave found outside the boundaries can be robbed and killed with impunity, by long tradition.
I think it's highly unlikely that any traces of the Artmali Empire actually remain. Think about it. How many traces of the Egyptian or Olmec empires remain? And they were _much_ newer than the Artmali, who predate the death of the Sun. Even such relatively modern empires as the Moguls or Ch'ing are totally defunct. That said, it's _extremely_ likely that there is a group or two around that _claim_ to be the heirs to the Artmali, in the same way that Mussolini claimed to be the heir to the Romans. Maybe one of the groups of swamp people in Sozganjio are Artmali wannabees. My players in a quest into the Nargan found a gigantic tent-city inhabited by highly civilized, even decadent Veldang, but they'd never heard of the Empire.
Huge cyclopean structures, as described by Peter Metcalfe, are of course de rigeur. Note that since the Artmali Empire was ring-shaped (around an inner sea), the ruins are not in the interior of the Nargan, but in the more accessible areas around the rim. I'm sure they are terribly haunted.
Jraktal & Artmal
Artmal had sunk into impotence in Fonrit before Garangordos's arrival, replaced by Jraktal. What happened? And why did Garangordos win so easily?
When the Veldang began to worship Jraktal, they also began using his power to Tap Artmal. This gave them short-term power at a heavy long-term cost. When Garangordos showed up, Artmal was so weak that his people were spiritually and physically weakened along with him, and they could not resist the newcomers. It's the Fisher King principle.
The Seven Mothers and the Seven Lunar Hells
I'm sure there are Lunar literalists who peg one Mother per Hell, but I don't think this is necessarily fixed doctrine.
What if each of the Seven Mothers is in charge of a different aspect of the otherworld? Thus, Jakaleel is in charge of Hell. Danfive Xaron is in charge of Purgatory -- the halfway land between good and bad. (Note: I believe that the Lunar Purgatory opens both ways, and that sometimes folks are purged in order to enable them to drop into Hell afterwards.) Deezola is no doubt in charge of the Lunar physical heaven. She Who Waits rules the Lunar spiritual heaven. Yanafal Tarnils, Irrippi Ontor rules the Lunar mental heaven. Teelo Norri is in charge of the mundane physical universe. And Yanafal T. rules Limbo -- the gray zone.
On the other hand, I really like Nick Brooke's explanation that Dan5 Xaron is over the Hell of evil imprisoned gods because he is an evil, imprisoned god.
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