[Glorantha]More Karse

From: Joerg Baumgartner <joe_at_toppoint.de>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 14:04:24 +0200 (CEST)

>But that's fine, why I just want a working outline of Herotland so I can
track politics if
>people want to be involved, I need to work out a good sense of Karse
since the
>campaign is based there.

>> If you want to use Caernarfon for the city layout, about any rough map
>> should suffice, like the one on my website or the one in the Palladium
>> Book of Castles.

>Already have the one on your site bookmarked. (You don't think I haven't
already read
>your whole site on it from start to finish, surely? *grin*)

>>There was a siege, and the latter stage of the siege
>> would have concentrated on the walled city extension of the citadel.
>> Houses outside the wall would have been damaged or destroyed, and
>> need rebuilding. Houses inside the wall may have suffered from siege
>> engines or siege magics. I'll collect a list of key establishments if you
>> like, since I'm re-writing (slightly, to fit the HeroQuest-imbued changes)
>> and expanding my Karse background anyway.

>Would love that. I see no reason to not have the basic structure of the
city consistent
>from my campaign to yours. Concerning the seige, I know they sent
>against the walls. I've always wondered, why would the dragonnewts agree?
>From what
>I can tell, they have mysterious motivations, so for all I know they were
bought off with
>shiny beads, but why dragonnewt mercenaries?

I have a theory. The old city of Karse had been an impregnable fortress which fought off all manner of Greater Darkness foes. IMO the city had a protector deity whose defensive magics were considerable, but which also had some demands on its citizens. Greater Darkness Karse was a Pelaskite stronghold, so I think that if anybody knows how to deal with this deity (I call it Karse for lack of imagination right now) it would be them.

I think that New Karse was protected by the old deity, and any attacks which were deflected at Old Karse during Storm Age and Greater Darkness were at a huge magical disadvantage. So Fazzur had to find attack forms which had not occurred at Old Karse. Hence dragonewts and naval assault.

What do you think?

>> The ruling Heortling re-founders of Karse would be Jondalaring or
>> Gardufari in origin. My old history has them as somewhat dissident from
>> the King of Heortland after Betlintar intervened (yet friendly to
>> Belintar), but using the title of Baron for the city ruler rather than
>> Eorl. Originally, this was a nod towards the Karse supplement which had
>> Carse as a Barony. Now I need to say why... which might take some time.
>> I'm happy to discuss ideas, though.

>Possibly the Baron term is to mark it as a free city/region? Since the
Eorl's are under the
>High King of Heortland (and not directly to Belinar) then Belintar wants
to establish that
>this is independent. At the sime time (since I believe there are people
with the term
>Baron in Herotland) he gives a slightly lower title than Eorl in order to
smooth the ruffled
>pride of the Heortlanders who are upset with this dissident mini-state
getting its own

Or, at the time of the settlement, the people who migrated into the newly won land at the Marzeel mouth had about the size and numbers of an Andrinic Barony, and kept that title. I'm not certain when exactly the New Karse project was begun, but IMO it would have been around 1350. Keep and city walls would have gone up in quite short time - a model case for Sartar's cities 130 years later.

The original, Caernarfon castle and city, was erected as part of King Edward's pacification project for Wales. The castle building was expensive (he could have fought three or four prolonged campaigns instead), but boosted economy and learning considerably all over England.

Here, there would have been no Heortland funding except by the new settlers. Possibly the Pharaoh invested a bit or stood as bail for the considerable investment. Tying in with my idea of the financial fair (some old digest linked from Lokarnos), maybe this started Karse as a centre of financial juggling (as opposed to outright hazard games in Casino Town).

>> IMG, the old city of Karse was largely abandoned when its primary purpose,
>> that of the overseas port for the EWF, became obsolete as the Seas closed.
>> in hiding and maybe one or two decent folks keeping up the shrine to
>> Karse, protecting god of the city and still worshipped by the northern
>> Pelaskites.

>Is Karse a god or Goddess? Given the matriarchal Pelaskite thing, I
thought goddess
>might be interesting. (I don't know if I'm treading on canon here.)

No formulated idea, really. Let's try to sort it out.

If a god, the priestess would be his chief bride (or something similar), as taken to the extreme by the Tolat cult in Amazon Trowjang. If a goddess, her martial prowess in defending a keep not hidden but located at a crossroads of Glorantha throughout the Greater Darkness might have resulted in regular worship beyond city god status, which has not been reported.

There is no mention of a heroic leader in Karse during the Greater Darkness or in the Silver Age, hence I think it was the success of a community and their protector helped by exellent masonry. The place stood off hungry trolls and chaos hordes, and probably raids by hungry human neighbours as well.

The deity has lost an important ally - Engizi, the Sky River Titan - when the Leaden Serpent was killed and blocked the River. Belintar's participation in re-founding Karse may have been something of a reparation.

The deity might (ought to) be a child of the land goddess, just like Choralinthor or Ezkankekko.

>> The same motivations which send lots of clans into the dangerous lands of
>> Kerofinela brought a group of adventuresome thanes, god-talkers and
>> merchants to re-found the city of Karse on the opposite shore of the
>> former Creek-Stream River, now the Marzeel River, closer to the Mirrorsea
>> Bay. Gaining support from the Pharaoh and the Pelaskite fisherfolk whose
>> village still forms a separate but important part of the city, they built
>> a keep and a walled city in the current place as a protected port for the
>> sea traffic across the Mirrorsea Bay. About the same time, Suchara Vale
>> (recently fallen dry as well) was settled, and became the hinterland of
>> the city.

>So the independent clans mentioned in Suchara Vale are really part of the
Barony of

Not officially. They certainly are under the economic influence, and probably are the main local source for agricultural imports to the city, probably big in the dairy business. (Grain would be imported from Esrolia as well...)

IMO Enfrew was not part of the Karse resettlement, but supported it when it turned out beneficial. The Marzeel mouth (the Karse, in the scottish meaning) has enough land to accomodate a wealthy Heortling tribe. IMG the Karse and Suchara Vale border on one another on the eastern bank of the Marzeel. On the western bank, the bog around Old Karse forms a natural border keeping the settled areas apart.

Another IMO Enfrew and his clans had little or no Andrinic influences, whereas the Karse Heortlings were Andrinic in terminology if not organisation.

>> The re-builders contacted the shrine at the Old City and quested to
>> transfer the god of Old Karse into the new city. They invited masons from
>> Nochet for the construction of keep and walled city, which had to be a
>> solid fortress at the demand of the old protector. The thanes also had to
>> compete for the marriage to the Pelaskite priestess of Karse. The victor
>> became the Baron.

>I'm a huge fan of the sacred marriage motif, so this works for me. Also
serves to
>maintain the Pelaskite presence in the city ritually, which has upon
occasion been a
>source of conflict.


>> IMG the Baron is a hereditary ruler (i.e. using Vingkotling rites) whose
>> line has to marry the chief priestess of Karse every third generation, as
>> part of the "deal" with the protector god of Old Karse, thereby uniting
>> the two main population groups of the city.

>Which gives a good reason for the Lunars to not exterminate the Baron
when they take
>over, since the marriage keeps the protector god happy until they can
figure out a way
>around it. (Probably by plotting some kind of future marriage involving
part of the
>Goddess's family.)

Or the Fazzur dynasty marrying in. I like the idea from the Carse supplement that the current baron only has daughters, no sons, and that a heir to the line would have to marry in anyway.

>> The council of merchants and guild leaders includes the thanes, who retain
>> some hand in the business and each are awarded certain privileges.

>So a somewhat hereditary merchant class controlling the area. So to be a
mover and
>shaker in the city, you would have to be part of one of the original
clans. Outside
>businessmen and traders would be limited and forced to use these people as

I'm thinking of something akin to the "gift giving day" in Thunder Rebels: these privileges are partially hereditary, but that's tradition, not law. It is possible that a certain clans lose one privilege and gain another, and argue for ages how they were short-changed.

And I don't think that only the original clans have a seat/vote in the council. The merchants who co-founded New Karse probably were organized in guilds rather than clans, so I think that the city guilds are a way for immigrants to get into the council.

I need to check a couple of pages of conversation I had with Philippe Sigaud (of kethaela.free.fr fame) on the subject of Karse, guild structure etc.

>> So, IMG the answer "why a barony" would have socio-religious reasons
>> mainly. A class of petty rural nobles (the thanes) participating in the
>> urban council via their privileges and economic activities, while doubling
>> as the proto-feudal army defending the city, produces a model not that
>> different from Sartar's cities (which has kings and influential chieftains
>> on the city rings).

>Indeed. The Baron keeps them stitched together and controls the city
proper, which
>needs to be stable as the focal point for all their fortunes.

At least that was the idea. With the Opening of the Oceans, my idea of Karse experienced the growth of a boomtown at the docks, at some walking distance from the walled city, and with enclaves of local laws, and even things like a very small Vadeli ghetto.

>> I'm not sure which terminology to use for the Karse institutions. I could
>> say "clans" for the manorial stead groups and their followers and city
>> residents, and "rings" for the council structures. "Baron" has a Malkioni
>> ring, and we know that the Heortlanders have adopted Malkioni terms to
>> some extent, so I could call the steadholders and thanes "landed knights".
>> (Medieval Galway had a dozen such clans headed by robber knights.) Input
>> welcome.

>I'm utterly lost with lots of the terminology in Glorantha for this kind
of thing. Given that
>Karse is a little unique, I like the term "house". Maybe for "clan" in
this case. Merchant
>House has a nice ring to it, stresses the mercantile nature of the set
up, and
>differentiates it a bit from the surrounding area. Thus the manorial
stead groups are
>House Whatever instead of Clan Whatever. I'm not sure which council
structures you
>mean when you are discussing the rings.

There ought to be an Inner Ring including the Baron, his chancellor and commander of guards and elected representants from the temples, guilds and houses. And an outer ring with representants from every guild, house, temple, or other recognized group in Karse.

> While the thanes could be called landed knights, (especially fun if we
stress the
>roaming Larnsti nature of the knights and king in Heortland), they should
have some
>kind of title, methinks.

Not sure about that. I like the idea "I'm a Montague (/Capulet/whatever), I don't need a title." attitude from urban Italian nobility or the Case Vecchie in Venice. Quite similar to the Scottish clans. Nobility by association, even if one is only little better than a stickpicker.

>> IMG the northern and coastal Pelaskites are different from the
>> Rightarmers:

>That absolutely. Some similar cultural skills and magic from the fishing
point of view, but
>not nearly as beholden to the sea and freer of the Ludoch inflence.

Balanced by a stronger Heortling influence. Basically the people I imagined reading about Pelaskos in Storm Tribe.

>>predominantly theist, quite Orlanthi with Pelaskos taking
>> over several other Allfather functions.

>That seems reasonable.

>>Ernalda would be relegated to a
>> lesser role, similar to Esrola's, with a sea fertility and harvest goddess
>> taking precedence: a variation of Esrola, as mother of Choralinthor and
>> Food goddess, I suppose, and possibly adopted daughter of Triolina or
>> something like this, which would take care of some of the social Ernalda
>> (Queen) functions, too.

>> Or is Esrola similar to Kero Fin, as mother of the main elementar gods of
>> the region (Choralinthor, Ezkankekko, ?)?

>I'm not sure of the Esrola thing. Wouldn't Triolina fill the role of Kero
Fin better?

Pelaskos is a son of Orlanth (and probably Ernalda) in Heortling myth. He married into the sea tribe, was not born of it. Reminiscences of the Njord's Marriage myth from the Edda (with switched genders).

But consider that the sea nearby (Choralinthor Bay) lies on the body of Esrola, the earth goddess, and is her child, too. I'd like to get some tradition taking in both sea and Esrola.

>Certainly you need a food/life goddess to be all mother to Pelaskos as
all father, no?

Yes, with a grain of salt - Ernalda as the feeder is only one aspect in Heortling society. I don't think that the Pelaskites would have a Great Goddess with all the variety as the major female deity in their culture, but I'd like to get some functions in fertility and society combined. It needn't be perfect (the Heortling myth about Pelaskos' unhappy marriage), but then what do the land-bound Heortlings really know about the Pelaskites?

It isn't absolutely necessary that Pelaskos is the husband of the goddess. Pelaskos needn't be the main god, he could be the main occupational god and the founder hero (in a role similar to Heort, who took a foreign woman, too, whose foreign origins the Heortlings keep silent about). There may be something to the perceived licentiousness of Pelaskite women in Karse ("famous for its brothels") which could be cultural, or could be caused by the nature of the city god.

>I wouldn't make it Illuriad the Oyster goddess proposed for the Rightarm
islands on
>http://kethaela.en.free.fr/ But somehow Ernalda doesn't seem right.

I agree. Still, I don't want to make it too different from Ernalda/Esrola. Pelaskites are somewhat strange to Heortlings, but IMO not stranger than Vanchites, Jajalarings or Sylilans. Like Esrolites, they share the same cultural background up to a dividing event. (I wonder whether this is true for the non-Ingareen Leftarm Islanders, if there was such a group different from the Island Pelaskites prior to the Ingareen arrival, the Dawn Age human (?) Kitori, and the Caladraland volcano worshippers.)

>Maybe some
>version of Tholaina (mother goddess of the creatures of the sea), who
brings us our
>bounty from which we eat?

That's the role of a grain goddess, and yes, there should be one or several such.

>> What did the Lunars leave intact in 1619?

>> My current vision of Karse has several somewhat independent sections: the
>> walled city and its overspill outside of the walls, the nearby fisherfolk
>> village on a peninsula, and a docks region boomtown which shot up when the
>> Seas were opened.

>I like putting the fisher village out on the peninsula, and not within
the city walls.

That's a common real world practice, especially where fisherfolk (or woodmen) were from different ethnic stock. The city of Schleswig has a very picturesque and historical clannish fishing village attached.

>> The businesses and residences outside the walled city had been plundered
>> during the siege, or requisitioned by Anqus Farquilis and his body of men.

>Angus Farquilis?

Fazzur's "Master of Wagons", an Etyries priest IIRC, responsible for the logistics.

>> After taking the citadel and walled city, Fazzur established a greater
>> part of his forces as garrison, and returned the rest to the fighting in
>> Volsaxar.

>> Fazzur himself and his immediate staff (as per Genertela Book) remained
>> for a while and sorted things out.

>Yup, I think I'm starting my campaign just as they are heading back out,
probably leaving
>some sort of overseer to "help coordinate things with the Baron".

I expect Karse to be burdened with a full-sized contingent of bureaucrats, garrison and busybodies. Tarshite and Kostaddic Etyries cultists flocking in and grabbing for the privileges. A whole new branch of "Lunar naval affairs" needs to be built up, or transported in from Corflu.

And someone has to oversee the refugees flocking back into the city. Deal with ship captains to make Karse their port of origin once again, etc.

>> Details escape me yet, but keep on asking, and I'll find them...


I'm almost tempted to make this a group development effort, but I won't start a new list. Maybe seed a wikiwiki, though.

I'm off for a long weekend, so replies might be slow. OTOH, I have a long train ride with time to write things...

--__--__-- Received on Fri 24 Sep 2004 - 06:57:26 EEST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Sun 04 Feb 2007 - 19:57:56 EET