[Glorantha]Re: Karse

From: Light Castle <light_castle_at_sympatico.ca>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 15:14:48 -0400

On 24 Sep 2004 at 6:56, Joerg wrote


> I have a theory. The old city of Karse had been an impregnable fortress
> which fought off all manner of Greater Darkness foes.

> 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?

That makes perfect sense in terms of why you would attack with Dragonnewts. I was more wondering why the Dragonnewts agreed to be mercenaries for the Lunars. I know you can never predict what Dragonnewts will do, but hiring out as a seige gang seems rather odd. What was in it for them? Especially since they didn't stay?  

But I do like that as a rationale for Fazzur using them.

<The term Baron>

> 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.

I suppose that's a nice, decent straightforward idea on it. I'm unclear on what the size of an Andrinic Barony would be, but I'd certainly accept that as a reason for the title. I think that Karse certainly counts as an early model case for Sartar's cities.

 <The Castle and City>  

> 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).

That's interesting. I *love* the financial fair, btw, and fully intend to incorporate it into my Karse. I think the Pharoah secured the loans in some way. I like that he encouraged what they were doing, backed them, but left it somewhat in their hands. A political move.

The Casino Town idea... that makes some sense. You want something that can allow some of that same purpose without having to deal with the extreme dangers inherent in messing with Casino Town.

<Karse the God/dess>

> 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.

But may also have simply been abandoned/stomped out, or subsumed into one of the other powerful goddesses in the region by the God Learners.

> 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.

I like this idea very much. A restoration to some glory after the loss of Engizi.

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

Huh. Brother/sister to those two? To be honest, I have been wondering why we think Karse was an EWF port. Shouldn't it have been a port in the Empire of Night? Especially if it was a haven during th Greater Darkness, then it seems it should absolutely been part of Ezkankekko's realm, no? This works very well if Karse is his sibling. Then the reparations thing becomes even more true, Beltinar blocked Engizi and killed Ezkankekko, he owed Karse something.

<Suchara Vale>

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.

I'm still not sure how big the "Barony of Karse" is. How far up the valley should it go? Here you're suggesting that it pretty much occupies the mouth, and then further north we get what is referred to as Suchara Vale. They become two separate and somewhat indpendent neighbouring groups. (And fairly staunch allies)  

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

So Enfrew and co were already there, having moved up before the Andrinic thing really took hold? Then why didn't they settle the Mouth of the river, which would have had lots of the best land? Or did they get relocated by the influx of Andrinic Karse-founders.  

<The Sacred Marriage>

> 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.

That's interesting. Here's a question. If the marriage has to go the Priestess every so often, and the Baron only has daughters, then why not try to marry the Priestess and skip the whole "marrying into the Baron's family" step entirely?

<The Merchant Houses>

> 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.

Yup. I'm takin this. Too good an idea not to use, and it lets me accommodate one of my player's backgrounds. Would they incorporate this into the Financial fair, which is a settling/renewing of old debts and such? It's the resetting of the order of things, the renewal of contracts and a sort of cleaning house, any reason not to do all the things together?  

> 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.

Excellent point. There will be multiple power structures here, with ties to guild, ties to clan, ties to cult. Prime material to put different alleigances at odds with one another.

> 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.

I think Philippe sent me some of that (or some of his side of that).

<Karse's growth>  

> 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 definitely want a bit of that seedy underside, so I will have the boomtown docks and ghettos. I certainly wanted a Brown Vadeli sleazy trader who deals in things others don't want to touch. A small ghetto works. Would these people be somewhat outside the guilds? Might this be where we see Etyries traders before the Lunars move them up?  


> 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.

OK, I can live with that structure.  

> 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.

Huh. so landless knights is just a term more than a title. Rather they just drop their House name casually. (Maybe something a bit like the Mayflower families in the States, where there's a cachet of being part of the original founding families, even if the family isn't hugely important anymore?)  


> 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).

Gotcha. And I realize I misread what you were saying above. Since Esrola is mother of the local gods, she does serve in a more Kero Fin role.

> 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.

You know, do we have any good reason for Karse not to be this goddess? Some kind of goddess of the river delta? Land and river and sea meeting?

> It isn't absolutely necessary that Pelaskos is the husband of the goddess.

And we certainly have Gloranthan traditions of goddesses with more than one husband, as well.

> 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.

This would tie in with the fertility goddess side of things? I do like cultural bias at the origin of the Karse: Vice City idea. Wait a minute, what about Uleria? Work her in somehow and get the famed licentiousness, even if it isn't true?

But really, it's not like Orlanthi are prudes, so maybe this cultural idea isn't going to fly.  

> 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.
> >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.

So what are we looking for here? Do we have Pelaskos in the Orlanthi role? And if so, is Ernalda (in some form) the wife? Or do we have a different couple? Is Karse their child, or a child of Esrola (making Choralinthor and OOO brothers of Karse)?  

I think the Island Pelaskites were radically changed by outside invasion, personally, and so their should only be minor links between the two.

<What did the Lunars leave intact in 1619?>  

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


> 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.

I guess Angus leaves with Fazzur. But yes, I certainly think the Etyries cult coming in and making a major play to take over from the Issaries merchants (to the point where some may risk spirits of retribution to switch sides, greed is a powerful thing) has to happen.

So what would be the term for the City overseer? (that might be the term) Someone on the bureaucrat team under the Provincial Overseer. Given that it's still Fazzur in charge, I would tend to think a Tarshite.  

> 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.

All too true. And all the time figuring out how to marry either the Baron's daughter or the Priestess of Karse, etc. etc. All without ruining the port as a useful port and trade center.  

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

That would be a good idea. Might make it easier to keep track of suggestions as well. I'd be up for that project.

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

Oh, because you write so little NOW. :-)

> -- __--__--

Jerome Blondel wrote:


> I like that. Ancient, mysterious cult of the proteiform Mother of Life.
> But IMO it's way too weird for most humans, who are too rational to
> awaken their inner protozoon.

LOL. I had also misunderstood what Joerg was saying.

And I forgot I would sneak in a reference to Oralprath the dredger, mentioned in the HQ rule book as still having a couple of shrines on the coasts of the Holy Country. :-)

> I'd like to find something better. It's based on an older
> Tradetalk article (by the authors of the upcoming Mens of the Sea, I
> think), but I am to blame for the wrong interpretations.

Really? What wrong interpretations?

> What's needed is the fisherfolk's female role-model as Ernalda is to
> Orlanthi farmers. In doubt, I'd choose Esrola : she's the great
> goddess of the Holy Country, a mother of life (and children), and a Food
> goddess whom even the mermen recognize as the primal source of food
> (they call her Bab and she is the great floating earthcube). YGWV.

Oh really? I hadn't realized Esrola was also Bab. Hmmm.. It certainly seems she should still be the one then, even if more in a role as provider of the fish rather than the grower of grain. (I somehow thought she was more of a grain goddess.)

I could live with that. Pelaskos and Esrola among the Pelaskites, Orlanth and Ernalda still in the city.

Could Karse then be a child of Pelaskos and Esrola?

> > Maybe some
> > version of Tholaina (mother goddess of the creatures of the sea), who brings us our
> > bounty from which we eat?
> Certainly Iluriad or Oyster Girl is a daughter of Tholaina. Her wooing
> by Pelaskos has a parallel in Odayla's wooing of the Lady of the Wild.

I still stand behind Tholaina as a possible goddess, as she is the goddess of creatures of the sea, which would work for a fisher people. Or if not her, one of her daughters (for creatures that you fish?). Not Oyster Girl, I'd leave her to the Rightarmers, but possibly a similar myth?

Maybe sticking with Esrola is better.  



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