Re: [Glorantha] Heortling initiation

From: Donald R. Oddy <>
Date: Fri, 28 May 2004 18:45:30 GMT

In message <> =?iso-8859-1?q?Jane=20Williams?= writes:

>> "In game terms, the New Adult is a
>> communal worshipper of the entire Orlanth Pantheon.
>> They do not learn any specific magic until they actually become
>> initiates of Orlanth, Ernalda, or another deity."
>> The New Adult, therefore, is not an Ernaldan initiate.
>I'd missed that completely - thanks. And as you say,
>it makes a huge difference. So at this point, it seems
>that there are no gender-related differences? The New
>Adults are all the same?

I'm not sure this interpretation is intended by TR because reading on to pg. 60 it then describes separate initiations to Ernalda for girls and Orlanth for boys. That seems to me to refer to the pantheon initiation since there's no reference to subcults. Also later in the paragraph Jennifer quotes it refers to the New Adults taking roles in rituals usually as thunder brothers or weaver women. That implies to me that they distingish between Orlanth and Ernalda and potentially Vinga and Nandan.

>I seem to remember (without books to hand) that the
>"report on the Orlanthi" in KoS mentions something
>about mixed-gender rites being a new idea. Possibly
>this really is a Gloranthan change with time, not just
>retrospective altering of How Things Work? If so, why,
>and when, I wonder?

To quote "Among modern Sartarites, with mixed gender rites and desanctified ceremony, failure results only in the expulsion and outlawry of the child."

It's not clear when this "modern" refers to, but I can't see it being applicable prior to the herowars. Pure speculation, but might it reflect the outlawing of Orlanth by the Lunars so that clans practiced a sham initiation ceremony for boys attached to the girls one and did the real initiation separately in secret. Of course after the herowars the sham might become the only initiation.

>It's one of those things that a lot of us missed back
>when we were generating new HW PCs. Look at
>numeric/powergaming differences between initiate and
>devotee, make PC a devotee. No-brain decision. Since
>then we've looked harder at that time commitment, and
>the idea of concentrated magic has come up. The
>disadvantages of being a devotee are more obvious.

Plus it now costs 3 points at character creation which it didn't under HW.

>> In the Ernalda write-up in TR p. 177 it does say
>> "... all women are
>> Ernalda worshippers." I'm guessing this might be an
>> Orlanthi "all",
>> although I'm boggling slightly at the consequences
>> for the fertility of
>> women who initiate to other cults without passing
>> through Ernalda.
>Depends on whether fertiity and Ernalda are linked by
>cause and effect, and if so, in which direction. Back
>in RQ3 days, I liked the idea that initiation *caused*
>sexual maturity, so sex before initiation wasn't just
>taboo, it was effectively impossible (well,
>unproductive.) We now know better.

Ernalda isn't the only source of fertility in Glorantha, and not all women want it. After all:

Chalana Arroy - if they're called before initiating to Ernalda they're probably so dedicated to healing that they don't want children. Nothing to stop them initiating into Ernalda later if they change their mind but it does add to the Heortling view that Chalana Arroy healers are a bit strange.

Ana Gor - goddess of death, so probably infertile.

Babeester Gor - we know are infertile.

Maran Gor - more Tarsh than Heortling, appears to have some link with fertility there.

Redalda - often a subcult of Ernalda.

Kero Fin - a mother goddess.

Vinga - are required to initiate to Ernalda.

Donald Oddy


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Received on Sat 29 May 2004 - 06:56:40 EEST

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