Tribal (not Clan) organisation for Orlanthi cults.

Date: Mon 27 Jan 1997 - 16:22:55 EET

Tribal (not Clan) organisation for Orlanthi cults.

Orlanthi culture is successful. It has survived in the most dangerous areas of
Glorantha, where powerful empires have fallen. So it must be strong. I
therefore have difficulties with a cult structure based on a clan, in which I
can see weaknesses. Please correct me!

I would imagine priests are rare. My reasons for this are largely gaming, I
want it difficult for PC's to be priests (or whatever). Also I want PC's to be
fairly tough for their culture, and so I do not want however many priests
around, who would then solve all the problems leaving the PC's nothing to do.

So I imagine, in a rural culture, there might be about a priest per 200 people.
This fits with my idea of many cultures: 1 priest per village (though in the
middle ages there were probably fewer priests, one per village + surrounding
hamlets). This means for a clan (population of roughly 1000) you have very few
priests. The range of magic that is important to the clan is vast, the gods
must be propitiated, as well as local and family spirits, also farming and
hunting rituals, healing, magic for fighting, providing protection from the
magical nasties of Glorantha, as well as being the representative of the
community (spokesman, law-speaker). Also stead or tool blessing (after all the
stead is the primary defence of the hearth). There are not enough priests for
specialisation, and so the clan would be magically weak.

A tribe however has enough population to support tens of priests. This seems
enough to allow quite varied specialisation. Thus if cults are organised
throughout tribe, then there is much magical benefit for the individual clans.
Also it is probably good for the god, since instead of largely independent
priests, you now have group of priests whose power is far more co-ordinated.

The Orlanthi prize individual freedom so I imagine that the size of social
organisations would be limited by the maximum benefit with minimum organisation

(i.e. rules). I see that in the tribe there are enough priests to give wide
range of spells without being too large and unwieldy a group.

So I do think that there is a force to grouping together the clan priests to
forming a tribal network. I imagine the official worship of gods would be a
tribal affair, at ceremonies taking place at the gatherings of the tribe
(tribal moot or Thing, which I imagine as a market, law courts, religious
festival etc.).

I like the idea of private worship of clan, which is separate from tribal
worship of the gods. The clan propitiates local, house and family spirits,
probably not lead by priests, but wise women etc. of the clan, or, rarely, a

shaman. I see this as a naturally way of mixing spirit and divine magic - you
get spirit magic from the clan, and divine magic from the tribal gods. I have
never been happy with way the gods are fiddling around with all these spirits
in RQiii.

Stephen Lucek.


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