[Glorantha]Yet more Karse and Pelaskos

From: Joerg Baumgartner <joe_at_toppoint.de>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004 10:22:20 +0200 (CEST)


Simon Bray

> I cannot and will not go into great detail, but Oyster Girl (She has a new
> name, but I wont reveal it) is the wife of Pelaskos amongst the
Rightarmers.
> However he has different wives in different locations, the Orlanthi of
> Heortland who worship Pelaskos use the deity from Storm Tribe (can't
remember the
> name).

I think that the northern Pelaskites would be similar to the few Heortlings sharing their occupational god. Among these people, Pelaskos fulfills the role of Barntar or Orlanthcarl.

> Esrolia is worshipped amongst the islanders as the Mother of Islands,
> but her husband is Choralinthor, Father of the Bay.

Don't they remember Faralinthor?

> Many of the Rightarm
> deities and practices are quite minor even there and are unknown
elsewhere, it is a
> lot to do with the unique geo-meta-physical nature of the place. Whoever
> they worship they all know they are at the mercy of Magasta and thank
him for
> it. I do not beleive that Pelaskos has an Allfather aspect or similar, he
> represent the lonely man sitting in his boat, resisting the elements
and feeding
> his children. He is a little god, not a great one, that role is left to
the
> Sea and Storm.

Having some practical experience with coastal fishing, why do you think that Pelaskites fish solo? Ok for harpooning or handline, I suppose, but netting fish usually is a group effort. (Nowadays an outboard motor may take over the role of part of the group, but hauling in the nets still profits from extra sets of hands...)

I see Pelaskos as a Darkness leader or cultural hero for a number of peoples along the sea coasts. Many have been drowned or otherwise swallowed by the Greater Darkness, but there were two centres of survival, in the south on the islands, sheltered by the local Ludoch (and/or newtlings), and north of Choralinthor Bay at Old Karse, sheltered by a massive fortification.

IMO the other peoples Pelaskos can have met after leaving the Vingkotlings most likely included leaderless Dureving or Helering groups With Heler having lost his sea connections, I can believe that his people lost their skills to gain nourishment from the seas, too, and needed a cultural hero.

Pelaskos may be to many coastal groups what Foundchild is to Praxians or Pentans - an important side-track to their general way of life. To others, he might well define the culture (like Votank to the Balazarings).

Storm Tribe hints at various fishing seasons. Is there anybody around here with fishing experience in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Biscaya or southern Atlantic (climatically closer to the Homeward Ocean and Choralinthor Bay)? My own fishing experiences are limited to the colder waters of Baltic Sea, North Sea and Norwegian Fjord Coast, meaning I can tell about cod, haddock, mackerel and herring. At least some familiar real world fish ought to be among the catch opportunities.

How do Gloranthan eels travel? Do they breed in the Sea of Worms?

Light Castle

> <Dragonnewts>

Me:
>> 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.

And helps defining Old Karse.

> 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?

That's an older theory of mine: he who gets acknowledged as King of Dragon Pass by the Inhuman King gets the option to hire the dragonewts (usually at inhuman prices, but Tarsh is extremely rich).

> <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,

So am I. Roughly a large Sartarite tribe, I'd guess.

 <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.

Also consider that even during the Closing, the new city of Karse was quite successful. Its port facilities were mostly self-serving (importing Esrolian grain to feed the city, which lacks agricultural land to be fully self-reliant, except for the fishing), so there had to be a few other factors to keep it going. An annual fair does wonders to an urban community and economy.

<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.

Sure, especially since the God Learners built Lylket just a day's easy rowing to the west below Shadow Plateau. The ruins are still there, riddled with trolls and trollkin.

>> 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.

And the Pharaoh doing the Orlanth thing once more.

>> 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 the
> 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, Belintar
> blocked Engizi and killed Ezkankekko, he owed Karse something.

Old Karse was never part of the EWF, but being the cosmopolite place we figure, had lots of EWF sympathizing citizens or even outright dragon worshippers (while the seas were open). While the Only Old One would have been the overlord, I'm not sure that he would have been very present in city life. The Fleet of Black Galleys most likely was not stationed there.

> <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?

I'd say about 2/3 the distance to Enfrewstead (which gets the hinterland all the way to Vingaford). And I'd make that stretch of the river newtling or hidden ducks territory - boggy, unsuitable for the plow.

> 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)

While either could do without the other (before the Opening), both profited from mutual support. Living in a riverine valley it would be a mistake to raid the boating neighbours regularly, and lacking a direct border the usual neighbourly disputes remained low intensity.

>> 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.

Enfrew arrived as a refugee from the EWF, from the north - i.e. pre-1020. (DP:LoT p.25) His successors expanded into the new acreage and pasture offered by the River bed after Belintar slew the Serpent, not downriver.

<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?

Probably a question the Baron has heard, too. And IMO one answer is to train one of his daughters as priestess ASAP...

In Tarsh, the political fiction of continuity of the Illaro dynasty has some magical reality, so I suppose that Fazzur will respect or humor the local sovereignty cult while hoping to suborn it.

A pity that I have Prince Orontes (of Tarsh War fame, err..., notoriety) already planned as "Prince Kittycat" in Refuge IMG. Maybe Fazzur has a nephew or bastard son of dubious use, too...

<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?

Indeed. It's obvious. Gift Giving day marks the start of the fair, which stays on for two weeks (in order to allow guests to participate in their rites and then arrive), IMG. Thanks.

>> 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.

Especially since there will be cults not represented in the council. Like the local Lanbril ring, or the Ulerians (which IMG are separate from the Pelaskite goddess, situated in two of the brothels of the Carse supplement).

>> 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).

Good. Still, I mean to get this onto a wikiwiki for mutual development.

<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?

I have a bunch of Kostaddi Etyries cultists with Sable antelope caravans in the city as early as 1583 (i.e. as soon as news about the Opening reached Tarsh). For those who own the Carse supplement, they are the Hazara Khan caravanserai.

<terminology>

>> 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?)

Sort of, yes. The Baron's guard is more a garrison force than a chieftain's hirdmen, closer to soldier than warrior. There will be swashbuckling personal retinue fighters among the houses, probably doing fancy Humakti stuff with lace, thin moustaches and slim blades. Berserks are sooo outre. Light infantry or shipboard fighters rather than shock troops, however elitarian.

Heavy cavalry will be the Baron's hird and possibly one or two of the clan leaders' households each.

<Goddesses>

>> 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.

Yep, at least as far as sovereignty is concerned.

>> 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?

Not really. Now, who's the father? Engizi? Not Faralinthor (father of Choralinthor).

> Some kind of goddess of the river delta? Land and river and sea meeting?

That would fit the name Karse (low-lying wetland).

>> 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.

Monogamous goddesses are almost a minority, yes.

>> 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?

No reason not to come up with a local Uleria myth. Possibly tied to the survival during the Darkness. But I hesitate to make her that important.

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

Married Orlanthi are prudes, if only for contracts' sake. The city seems to have a more Helerite attitude. Which might be an idea to study as possible origin for (some of) the Pelaskites here.

>> 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?

Pelaskos in a double role as founder (possibly a variant of the chieftain role) and everyman (replacing Durev).

> And if so, is Ernalda (in some form) the wife? Or do we have a
different couple?

I'd prefer a variant of Esrola or Triolina (or both) for the wife occupational cult (replacing steadmistress). Which might be one reason why Pelaskite marriages aren't as strong as Heortling ones.

> Is Karse their child, or a child of Esrola (making Choralinthor and OOO
brothers of Karse)?

A daughter of Esrola and Engizi would be one option. Rain isn't really important, but maybe some offspring of Heler before he lost his/her sea powers might work, too (now enstranged from Heler, but possibly keeping androgyny?)

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

On the other side, the God Learners were farther from them then from Karse.

<What did the Lunars leave intact in 1619?>

>> 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.

Unfortunately (?), there are at least two different Etyries factions - Fazzur's Tarshites (plus Rugbagian, who probably financed the Corflu fleet), and the Kostaddic Hazara Khan clan who have been resident for decades.

> So what would be the term for the City overseer? (that might be the term)

At least in Dara Happan. A Tarshite term could be royal reeve, but I suppose the real office will mirror that of Gordius Silverus in Sartar. Chief of Karshin and Overseas Affairs, or something like that.

> Someone on
> the bureaucrat team under the Provincial Overseer. Given that it's still
> Fazzur in charge, I would tend to think a Tarshite.

Not necessarily. Fazzur's family has holdings and followers in Sylila, and he has been known to recruit talent wherever he found it. (and dump it when things got rough, like Sor-eel found out...)

>> 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.

Indeed. IMO Fazzur's objective in taking Karse is at least as much to make long term money as it is getting a sea port for the logistic support in the conquest of the rest of Kethaela. Jeff and I liked to compare Fazzur to Wallenstein - making war a business. IMO Fazzur's holdings are main suppliers for the Cavalry Corps and other parts of the Provincial Army.

>> 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've got me an account at seedwiki.com. I'll announce when there is a bit of content.

>> 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. :-)

Well, you wanted info about main features. I'll prepare some stuff for the wiki.

> Jerome Blondel wrote:

<Triolina>

>> 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.

God Learner stuff. Bab is the entirety of dry food, said to be called Gata as well. However, Esrola is how Theyalans would understand 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.)

Provider of seaweeds could be a grain goddess function. Since Isbarn the Goose Girl is not the beast mother of water fowl but still provides related magic, I don't quite see why there couldn't be an aspect for harvesting sea food known to the Pelaskites.

> 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?

Another possibility, but not my favourite one.

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

>> Certainly Illuriad 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.

Not really - she is his treaty wife, given in exchange for the release of Oskippos. There was no wooing, just an afterthought for releasing Oskippos. Oskippos is called a sea demon, i.e. an unpleasant deity of the wet deeps. While he could be a husband or child of Tholaina, it is as likely that he was the ruler of some mertribe.

> 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?

Tholaina is a fairly general fertility goddess of the sea, worshipped by (mostly unintelligent) sea creatures. She will be propitiated by fisherfolk (Pelaskos' deal with Oskippos). Oskippos appears to have been her champion or avenger (aspect? - we know nothing about its real gender, often a moot questions with the Water Tribe anyway).

Unrelated: What is Natelna's role as a deity? Netmaker? Smoker of fish? Who is her father (if any - possibly from the fire tribe?)

Is Heler the mother of the Fisher Twins? Were they born during (or rather as a result of) Orlanth's roaming with the Vadrudi?

> Maybe sticking with Esrola is better.

Illuriad as an aspect of Esrola might work - while she is no daughter of Esrola, she offers similar magic. Unlike Redalda, I wouldn't make her a different Ernalda aspect.

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