[Glorantha]Re: Puddle Scum People

From: Chris Lemens <chrislemens_at_yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 15:57:20 -0800 (PST)


> From: "Joerg Baumgartner" <joe_at_toppoint.de>
> So basically the Oasis spirits have sheltered
> a number of lesser spirits from the pre-Gods
> War habitation? All right with me, although I'd
> have preferred minor families of spirits with
> a still minor family head spirit receiving
> an "organized" form of worship (say the
> equivalent of a bowl of milk outside the door).

Hm. I'm not sure that I get the difference. Are you drawing a distinction between "families" of spirits and groups of spirits that are not "families"? In that case, I'd say some are families, some are not. There's got to be a lot of variability.

> > I think this is common magic. Waha taught the
> > Survival Tricks to anyone, after all.
>
> Not all the Survival Tricks stem from Waha,
> Foundchild being the most prominent example.

Exactly. There has to be common magic among the Oasis people. "Appear meek"; "avoid notice"; "look ugly"; "grovel convincingly"; etc.

> I doubt the oasis folk have many plows.

I was thinking that they use digging sticks and no beasts of burden.

> What little plowing they do might be done by
> donkeys (or where did Issaries get the other
> half of his mule breeding? The Heortlings
> aren't known donkey breeders, either...)

I suppose donkeys are a possibility, especially in peripheral areas, but I don't really see it. I think donkeys probably came from Fronela and Seshnela. I think of Christendom and the middle ages when I think of donkeys (which is never).

> > Also, "city" is a bit
> > much. I'd say they were more ceremonial centers.
>
> By city I was referring to Ex and possibly
> Winter Ruins, those man-built ruins which
> have no oasis attached. Lokarnos has links
> to Sandy's digest descriptions of these...

I agree that they exist and I agree with the little Sandy wrote on them. Just be careful about making assumptions about what a "city" is when you live in paradise. I dislike the word simply because it brings ancient and modern notions about urban living into the picture. I think of these cities as more like the (apparently incorrect) notions of Aztec cities that were only used for important rituals, games, and the like. Tourney Altar is a great example.

[about the Golden Age]
> Not too different from pre-Storm Age Ernaldan
> culture, then.

I know too little about pre-Storm Ernaldan culture to make a fair comparison. I'd suspect so, though.

> BTW, how did Prax fare during the second
> flooding? The first flooding marked the
> arrival of Seolinthur and his tribe/utaries,
> a beneficial event. While raging sea mostly
> stayed south of Prax and Genert's Garden,
> there is an early Storm Age mythical map showing
> Dragon Pass as an Island.

I think I've seen at least one where the Garden and Tada's land were another island. It was one of the maps that was hand-drawn by Greg that used to be on issaries.com (perhaps in a GTA area). It is not there any more (or I can't find it), which is a great shame.

> Like agriculture, this seems to be a matter of
> definition.

Me: Use dictionary 6

[snipped lots of good stuff, with which I largely agree on there being varied densities of trees and varied types of terrain]

> > Indeed. Where did cacti (in the cactus
> > desert / cactus forest (depending on your
> > source) come from?
>
> To give a European parallel, Mallorca's rocky
> slopes have a quite variated cactus population.
> After the ecological changes of the Long Night and
> Oakfeds burnings, these pioneered into the now
> uncontested plains.

Yes, but what's their mythic origin. I have a theory, but nothing to back it up bar a very obscure reference that's impossible to apply unambiguously.

> Basically, I see five groups of humans in
> Prax: Beast Riders who immigrated from the
> south (Spike), Men-and-a-half who immigrated
> from the southeast (Pamaltela, via Teleos),
> Hsunchen who immigrated from the west
> (Basmoli, likely via the great forest of
> Ralios/Maniria), River folk who immigrated
> in the wake of Seolinthur, and indigenous
> Tada-Shi.

I'm dubious that the river folk and the oasis folk have different origins. They are physicially identical in RoC.

> I have no idea how many different cultures
> the Tada-Shi may have had. IMO they are
> unrelated to the Copper People, Long-ears
> or the Aldryami Lords who sometimes re-appear
> from the Eternal Battle (and who IMO are from
> Genert's Realm).

IMO, Tada's land was just one area of Genert's Realm. The oasis folks' ancestors were the regional inhabitants. I'm not sure that it is right to limit the application of the term Tada-shi to them. I'll have to look at some sources.

> >> What we know about the Tada-Shi is that they were
> >> - earth worshippers,
>
> > I don't _know_ this. I don't see any reference
> > that proves it.
>
> Ronance and some of the other spirits of the
> Paps. Unless you have a valid alternative for
> their worshippers.

Maybe I've over-interpreted your argument. I'm not arguing that someone other than the Oasis Folk's ancestors worshipped Ronance, et al. I assumed you were arguing that they were _primarily_ earth worshippers. I don't think you can get there from the fact that one of the remaining god-remnants is Ronance or the other Paps spirits. There are fire and water spirits apparently native to the Greatlands, perhaps even some storm and darkness ones.

My valid alternative is that they were part of a combined pantheon that was not focused on earth as an element. It was focused on the Giants. Genert was the greatest of them. He was the Land Giant. Not "land" in the sense of "earth" but "land" in the sense of region or nation. Within that combined pantheon, you have many entities that are earth spirits. Additionally, you have many other groups than the Oasis ancestors worshipping within this pantheon. Genert put everyone in their place and there was a place for everyone -- except the basmoli.

> > We know that the Ostrich Riders -- another
> > Golden Age remnant from the area -- worshipped the
> > sun.
>
> So do the Impala Riders.

So? They came later.

All of the golden age remnants were part of a single culture. The Tada-Shi were not separate from Genert's garden.

> > I'd say that it is more likely that they
> > worshipped a complete pantheon led by Genert
> > that had its own sun god, river god, etc.
>
> So do the Esrolians - earth worshippers with
> a complete pantheon of sun, storm, water and
> darkness husbands.

There's the point. I don't think you can characterize the Genert religion as primarily earth with some add-ons.

> I doubt you will find any incomplete
> pantheon anywhere except the monotheist West.

Agreed.

> > One interesting question to ponder is whether
> > the current Oasis Folk have always worshipped
> > their Oasis water spirits primarily or, if not,
> > when and how and why this changed.
>
> Possibly a key to understand them, yes. The easy
> answer is of course that they started to rely
> exclusively on the water spirits after all
> other sources of fertility failed, but they
> seem to have a special connection to the oasis
> spirits which goes further.

Another alternatives is that they were some of Seolinthur's people.

> The nature of the oasis spirits is quite unknown,
> too. The perhaps best described spirits is that of
> the Portable Oasis...

Hm. I'm not even sure that's properly a spirit. You think it might be like a fetish?

> I wouldn't include Monkey King and his folk in
> the Tada-shi, and I agree that there may be
> other sources of ruins from the Golden Age, but
> places like Ex or Old are Tada-Shi/Oasis Folk
> remnants.

Well, someone in Genert's realm built them, but don't rule out the other peoples -- the Gold Wheel Dancers, the Copper People, the Long-Ears, etc.

> > Seems strange that there are not
> > more tributaries to the Zola Fel.
>
> IMO that's because the oasis spirits are not
> directly connected to Seolinthur's immigration,
> but are native sources of water.

Might be. Were there rivers before the water invaded the land the first time? Rivers flowed uphill then, remember.

> Besides, much of Prax seems to be a bowl
> emptying into what is now the Dead Place.

Only because that's where the bull's great weight landed when he fell, near where he smashed the block down into the Devil. It probably was not so in the Golden Age.

> Before the battle between Storm Bull and
> Wakboth, this must have been a lake district full
> of flamingos and similar water-loving life.

I'd guess it was hilly, like the land to its north and east. Alternately, if you look back to the time when Genert's realm was apparently an island, it was a shoreline!

> Daniel Fahey:
> > Why would they have these when everything grew
> > in plenty without any effort?
>
> In order for this to continue?

I don't think so, though I agre with your details.

> We know the Pelandan myths about how things
> subsequently went wrong - how cold came,

Yep. Who killed the sun for Praxians?

> how unfriendly neighbors arrived,

Yep: The Basmoli, the Ragnaglar and his goats.

> etc. We also know that Genert's Garden wasn't
> spared these changes from early Golden Age (when
> these Green Age conditions still lingered) to
> Middle Golden Age - e.g. when deciduous forests
> were developed to deal with the changes that made
> the yellow elf forest previously there unviable.

Yep.

> The Golden Age sedentary Praxians had Tada as
> their cultural hero to lead them through these
> changes.

Hero is probably the right word. He was the war-leader, not the ruler. This made him more important as the Golden Age progressed. Since Storm Bull arrived in the later half of the Golden Age (at earliest), his people would have been impressed by Tada.

> If I hadn't quoted the word "agricultural" from
> Cults of Prax I might agree with that line of
> reasoning.

Just because the 48 Old Ones are agricultural does not prove a link to the Oasis Folk, either in the past or today. At best, it supports a suspicion.

> From HeroQuest Voices, Tales of the Wastes:
>
> : Genert and the spirit giants made the world
> : so long ago no one remembers. They were strong,
> : and lived in a fertile garden. Food was
> : everywhere: jackrabbits came freely to the
> : eating, and if you dropped a seed you had do
> : jump back when the tree sprang up with much
> : fruit.
>
> Personally, I read this as "all of this happened
> so long ago no one remembers". The description
> clearly is Green Age, especially the

> jackrabbits bit.

I disagree. I read the reference to remeberance as being about when the Giants made the world, not the subsequent stuff. Your next quote supports my position: the first sentence above is about the beginning, then you have the middle, and now the end:

> : But the dead giants failed at last - they tried
> : to deal fairly with the devil.
>
> Enter "our folk", the Beast Riders (whose leaders
> actually were absent from the Gods' Last Stand).

Sez who?

> Given the fact that Sandy told us the Beast
> Riders gained intelligence in Waha's Contest
> (rather than the Herds only losing it), little
> more details of the Golden Age are to be expected
> from this source.

Agreed, but don't forget that the Khans can summon the Founders.

> Because something brought change to Genert's
> Garden between the earliest and the middle
> Golden Age. The original evergreen broadleaf
> forest was gone, a new species of Aldryami,
> the Brown Elves, tended the new kind of
> forest which replaced the yellow elf forest
> from the earliest age.
>
> This is the usual transition Green Age -> Golden
> Age.

No, it is not. The end of the green age is about differentiation (and alienation) -- from each other, from the world, from animals. Naming is a central feature of this transition. This is when language is really invented. Before then, you could communicate without it.

> In the earliest Golden Age, you get jackrabbits
> offering themselves for lunch, later, when
> things got complicated, people tended the soil
> and grew and harvested their food.

They originally tended the soil and harvested food for the same reason that the dancer dances.

> And learned to take precautions against
> unexpected shortages.

Not until whenever the Basmoli first invade.

> > Similar claims are found about Dara Happa,
> > the Land of Logic and Kralorela.
>
> And all of these were agricultural societies.

Big difference: Prax was a forest, not a plain or river valley.

> Julian Lord :
> > I'm sure the Praxians have magic places where
> > they grow special (or ordinary) plants.
>
> They certainly have places where they harvest
> special harvests, like skullbush, and they might
> use magic to accelerate this harvest before the
> herds move on. However, I don't see any Beast
> Riders planting these plants as a crop. A
> sacrifice of part of the bounty to the spirit
> of the place might be a means of sowing plants,
> but there would be no tending.

Agree 10W4.

> > Some oases are AFAIK controlled by Praxians,
> > not Oasis People, for starters ...
>
> There are a couple of altars of Prax with no
> oasis community attached. (IIRC Tourney Altar,
> Pimper's Block and Day's Rest, for instance).
>
> All oasis communities (except Pavis and the Paps,
> and nowadays Moonbroth) are controlled by Beast
> Riders. The exact group in control may change, but
> the fact of control won't.

Agree 10W3, up until the Hero Wars.

> > I thought that agriculture and horticulture were
> > unnecessary during those days? You could drop a
> > seed to the ground and you'd have to jump
> > back because the seed grew so fast.
>
> "Those days" actually is a long time between when
> the spirit giants made the land and when the devil
> invaded. Lots of things happened, such as Tada
> tricking Death towards the end of Golden Age Prax.

And the Basmoli invading. I wonder if that's when he "tricked death"? What was the first thing to die in Prax? Elsewhere, it was the sun. True here? Perhaps it was Basmol? (Oooo -- nasty thought: was Basmol a sun god as well as being the lion?)

> > Of course, there are the troublesome ruins of
> > irrigation canals that you sometimes find along
> > the Zola Fel, IIRC from Borderlands, so SOMEBODY
> > was practicing agriculture at some time in Prax.
>
> The Sun Domers were present only from 870 onwards
> and didn't expand that far south, IIRC. I doubt the
> Jrusteli colony at Feroda had much if any
> agriculture. This leaves the Oasis Folk,

Ducks. I'm telling you it was ducks. They screw everything up.

There are other possibilities, but they would also be part of the Golden Age culture. Also, canals does not mean grain cultivation. It might have been flower gardens.



Chris Lemens

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