Re: Ecological Balance in Prax

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Mon 26 May 1997 - 22:15:43 EEST

A discussion has arisen as to why there are still lesser tribes in Prax.
Why aren't they all wiped out? For the same reason that competition from
bison hasn't wiped out pronghorn antelope, or that giraffes and wildebeests
are able both to survive in the same area. The Praxian tribes are not
modern nation-states. They are ecologically, not politically, interactive.
        Praxian tribes don't exist in an ecological vacuum. Many environmental
factors influence them besides the predations of other tribes. In an
especially bad year for hyenas, the Impala tribe is hurt far more than the
Bison. When there is a severe drought, the High Llamas suffer more than the
Sables. Herd predation by other tribes is just one factor in many that
governs a tribe's survival.
        The tribes, whether minor or major, survive because each fills a niche
that is not exactly filled by the other tribes, and because each has some
advantage over the others.
        In addition, the small tribes are NOT inferior to the rest in terms of
herd predation. You must understand that the tribes don't roam en-masse.
Instead, they are subdivided into clans or septs. Take the Impalas -- the
most numerous tribe of all, but that doesn't mean Impala clans are larger
than anyone else's -- it means that the total number of Impala clans
exceeds those of the other clans.
        A typical Bison clan might get raided a dozen or more times a year (the
Bison are the most-raided of all clans). Of these raids, 4-5 are probably
going to be from young Impala bravos. Sables and High Llamas each account
for 2-3 raids in a year, Morocanth pull off 1-2, and the remaining odd raid
or two is mounted by one of the independent tribes. Some raids succeed,
some fail. The bottom line is that the Bison might lose 5-10% of their
animals to herd raiders in a year.
        The Bolo Lizard tribe is much smaller than the Bison, but they, too, only
lose about 5-10% of their animals to raiders. Hence both tribes go right on
ahead and existing, though one is far smaller than the other. When raiders
go out to hunt, they're about twenty times likelier to meet a Bison clan
than a Bolo Lizard one, and so the Bisons get raided more often _because_
they're more numerous.
        The larger tribes don't "crowd out" the smaller ones. Unlike agricultural
regimes, the Praxian animals (a) don't compete for the exact same resources
and (b) must keep moving in any case, so that they'd can't very well hold
title to any land for long.

>the grazing is easily controlled by controlling the oases. In the desert
or >chaparral country, who controls the watering rights controls the land.
>Unwatered land is nearly worthless, no matter how much there is.
        There is no irrigation whatsoever in any part of the Wastes or Prax. The
oases are valuable because they hold sources of useful material -- wood,
dates, fruit, slave labor. They are not essential to the herds' survival.


End of Glorantha Digest V4 #429

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