compasses, slaves

From: David Cake (
Date: Thu 08 May 1997 - 05:30:42 EEST

>On a more serious note, I'm not sure I care for the "magical triangulation"
>idea. Making it too easy to navigate has a somewhat "anachronistic" feel,
>and it seem to presuppose that one can readily obtain two "compasses" which
>point to conveniently separated loci within the inner world (and a
>arbitrary third, either within or outwith same).

        I think I am with Alex.

        My take on the whole compass debate is that it is largely
irrelevent. Gloranthan tin compasses are not 19th century ships compasses -
Gloranthans, by and large, do not have the manufacturing skills to be able
to determine their position with any accuracy. Very few of them, in
addition, have a great enough grasp of geometry, or access to anything like
an accurate map, to be able to use a couple of compass readings to say
where they are.
        And compasses other than tin compasses that point to Magasta's pool
are rare, and not necessarily useful. A Pavis pointer, for example (AFAIK
the only other 'compass' magic described) is both cumbersome, innnacurate,
and points to a city whose precise location is unlikely to be known with
accuracy by most sailors. So most ships will have one reading to go on, not
two, like most earthly navigators.

        Tin Compasses, however, are extremely valued by all sailors, for
one simple reason - as long as you are not sailing in the direction of the
compass, you are not sailing towards Magastas pool, which must be a great
comfort to everyone. Their prime navigational function is to avoid the pool
- - telling where you are is a lesser priority....
        I imagine most Gloranthan navigators make use of the stars
extensively, plus most have a tin compass, plus most have a large array of
extremely dubious maps. Generally, they get to where they are going. But
they often do not take the most direct route.

        Perhaps the dwarves, sutck inside their concrete ships, and with
access to better manufacturing tolerances, might rely on multiple compasses
- - but then again, perhaps they take sightings from Zenith.

>Perhaps Orlanth has been
>encouraging his people to abandon slavery, as this is a Yelmic and Lunar
>practice that goes against his principles. Gods may be perfect, but men
>and women aren't. ;)

        Oddly enough, it would appear that Orlanth has rather been tacitly
condoning 'slavery' since the dawn of time, at least in Dragon Pass/
Heortland, as Heorts laws are the foundation of Orlanthi society, supported
by the whole Orlanthi religion, and they are the laws that define the
status of thrall.
        Of course, slavery is a vile Yelmic and Lunar practice that goes
against Heorts laws, while thralldom is an honest Orlanthi idea. The main
difference is that children of thralls are not thralls, while children of
slaves are slaves. To the Orlanthi, this makes all the difference. Lunars
consider it a minor point, and perfectly acceptable if a given landholder
should choose to follow Orlanthi custom or not.




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