Re: East Ralios Eurmal

From: David Dunham (dunham@pensee.com)
Date: Sun 04 Feb 1996 - 23:12:41 EET


Peter Michaels takes exception to my view of East Ralios:

>What? Lankoring combines both the prophecy role of the fili
>and the adjudicating role of the breitheamh?

>What
>does foretelling fate (and then setting a prohibition to avoid
>that fate) or interpreting oracles have to do with arbitrating
>legal disputes? It makes sense for Lhankor Mhy, the God of
>(All) Knowledge, to provide Divination. It doesn't make sense
>for Lankoring, the God of Lawspeakers, to provide Divination
>and Divine Geas. (I could now ask "So, who does provide these
>spells in the East Wilds?" but as we all know I believe this is
>Eurmal, I won't.) ;-)

Lankoring is the Knowing God. He not only Knows all the legal precedents,
but he also Knows the past (which in Glorantha is how you predict the
future), and can wisely give you a geas to prevent the bad parts from
happening again. He remembers genealogies and the details of cattle loans.
These are the important aspects of Knowing; nobody cares about knowledge

for its own sake.

>So just because Eurmal is reviled and disliked in Heortland as
>an untrustworthy liar and drunken sot doesn't mean that
>ALL(100%) Orlanthi view him that way.

True, though not a single Chaosium source portrays any Trickster as
positive (despite the Firebringer aspect).

>And since when is knowing your geas necessarily a good thing?

Given that it lets you know how not to die, it's a good thing. However, I
agree it's a mixed blessing, which is why the concept didn't spread out of
Ralios (Humath's geases are a somewhat different form).

>Now, doesn't that sort of thing sound right up Eurmal's alley?

No, because they're not arbitrarily assigned to cause trouble. Furthermore,
the other types of geases (Humath's, which make you more like the god, and
the kind you impose on another person) are kind of like laws, and seem to
fit with Lankoring's Law rune. And on the rune subject, geases are true,
and Eurmal has the Illusion rune.

>My whole point in this is that since (presumable) the East
>Wilds culture has elements which make it uniquely "East
>Wildish," what makes the East Wilds Eurmal unique? What's
>his role in the East Wilds culture, that he doesn't provide
>anywhere else? These are the questions that have been guiding
>my thinking. And they are why, when I ran across the Pagan
>Shore description of the fili, a little bell went off in my head.

I agree those are still open questions (and I am not satisfied with my
current Eurmal), but for me, fili is not the answer. I just can't see
taking your newborn to a trickster to have its birth signs read.

> I think a more proper name of the [Firebringer] aspect is Culture
>Hero.

Agreed. Not that all Culture Heroes are Trickster (Quetzalcoatl, frex).

>while many may
>"agree that Trickster, in one form or another, stole fire from
>the Darkness," I think many credit him with doing other "good"
>things. Or at least other things which were required for the
>survival of the people.

Yes, tho I'll bet many were good only accidentally (like Bolongo's eating
all the red headed women).

> Eurmal returned to his true nature, and he broke the
> Cosmic Compact by refusing to be bound by Time.

That's where we diverge.

>Now, although I haven't yet found a copy of the East Ralian LBQ,
>my belief is that what the East Ralios Eurmal did was to
>prophesy the geases of the Lightbringers. This led to them
>_not_ doing something (to _fail_ to do something), which
>(paradoxically) led to their success in the LBQ. Thus he is
>"Eurmal Geaslayer" or "Eurmal the Fili," or whatever.

I haven't done work on the Ralian LBQ (which is not, after all, a native
story), but I suspect Eurmal would be causing his friends to BREAK their
geases (and oaths).

>being beyond the Law, I don't think
>East Ralian Eurmali _can_ swear oaths!

The worth of your oath is probably connected to your honor price, and
Eurmali would have none... If a Eurmali swears oaths and keeps them, does
he eventually gain honor and cease to be a Eurmali?

>Wordwound/1 Point/ Self, Temporal, Stackable, Reusable

I'd rather have something less literal; instead of taking physical damage,
perhaps you lose skills (you're so mad you can't swing your sword straight,
or you're lost in contrition and get distracted, or just gasping in
indignation).

>Insult (Uncommon Skill)

This was one of my favorite skills when I ran a Eurmali, years ago.

David Dunham Pensee Corporation dunham@pensee.com
Voice/Fax: 206 783 7404 http://www.pensee.com/dunham/
    "I say we should listen to the customers and give them what they want."
    "What they want is better products for free." --Scott Adams

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