Kumbaya -- NOT!

From: James Frusetta (gerakkag@wam.umd.edu)
Date: Tue 20 Jan 1998 - 23:53:53 EET


Sergio Mascarenhas wrote:

> Trolls, hoomans, elfs and dwarfs are all very similar. That's
> because, yes, they are all quasi-humans.
Hmm, poor wording on my part. Yes, they're all man-rune critters. What I

object to is taking Wargh the Troll, stripping him of his trollishness,
and having him live in Orlanthi town. He's now a hooman (at least
culturally) with a big STR and SIZ. I want Wargh to be a troll, and to
keep his distinctly trollish culture.
  
> Why do you think this is an un-human behavior? In which world do you live
> on?
Mars. ;)

No, you missed my point. It is *not* that the Elder Races are not as
cheerfully genocidal as humans -- I'm sure I could stick trolls in the
Banat, elves in the Sanjak and dwarves in Kosovo and they'd gleefully
pitch in against the human inhabitants and each other.

My point is that is that the *Elder Races* don't want to live in peace
with hoomans (where Panu had stressed that hoomans don't want the ER
around). Yes, this is "human." It does not mean they want to live next to
humans -- they want to force humans to fit into troll culture. Very
different, to me. Why make 'em?

> Humm, I can also ask, why limit non-humans (the way you and current
> Gloranthan materials and prevailing approaches do) so that humans cannot
> live as minorities in non-human cultures?
Without meaning to be rude, read carefully what I wrote and what you
responded to: quote, "Not to say this doesn't happen on occasion (or in
the other direction, too), and the results can be interesting, but why
make it a generic standard?" (V5, #341)

Humans can live as minorities in non-human cultures, and non-humans can
live as minorities in human cultures. They *can* understand each other,
IMO. Not a problem at all: offhand, just for trolls, you have the BMP
humans, the Kitori, the friends of AA in Ralios, human ZZites, friendly
human tribesmen in the Yolps.

But in all cases, they've given up some of their culture and adopted parts
of trollish culture. Great! Cool! I've nothing against it, I swear. ;)
Until this stops being a minority and starts being the *standard*. I want
my trolls to defend their culture and heritage, not live on reservations
thoughtfully set aside for them by the hoomans. ("Say, you trolls don't
want to live in Dakori Inkarth! We're moving you to new lands in the
Wastelands, where you can learn to farm! Plus, we'll be sending your kids
away to Orlanthi boarding school...")

> The problem is that the way Gloranthan elder races are described these
> days, makes them unsuited to be acceptable 'player-character species'.

True... though part of this is surely because most ER have good reasons to
be at home. Hard to play a troll without missing KL ceremonies, for
example. Even if there are good reasons for it, I agree it's annoying. But
if you're willing to give up your ER religion and expect a little razzing,
you can still adventure -- and I've always figured that an extra +6 STR,
2d6 POW elfbow or armful of iron is a nice consolation prize. If there's
no cultural problems, who in their right mind wouldn't play a Green Elf?
I'm sure some of it must be game balance.

> A final note: in Glorantha, like in the RW, the most compeling reason for
> people from different origins to live together are:
<snip>
> In both cases, over time both races will build a common culture and start
> to share some interests.

Good point. But this has not stopped horrible inter-cultural disputes in
the RW, after all. Ask a Moor, a Huegnot, a Bogomil, a Jew, a Cherokee or
an Anatolian Greek how much their providing special skills to another
cultural group enabled them to live without oppression or prejudice. If a
big ol' clan of trolls settle down in human lands and continue typical
troll practices, eventually there's gonna be a pogrom. (And note that all
but one of these examples are pre-nationalism -- inter-cultural struggles
weren't quite as bad before 1798, but they still existed.)*

Dan McCl(uz)key's points on this are right-on. It is _not_ impossible to
have an elder race individual, or small group, adventure or settle in
human lands -- or vice versa. Even up to a clan, maybe, under the right
conditions. But large groups? Not unless they either give up huge amounts
of their culture or the majority, ruling group is stand-offish with no
desire to enforce their own culture (eg, the Mongols and Rus -- or the
OOO).

Jamuz Frusetta

* Slightly off topic, note that there could be some interesting arguments
concerning "imagined communities" in Glorantha. You wouldn't have
nationalism along the lines of Gellner or Hobsbawm (two of the big
theorists), but the presence of clearly distinguishable non-human races
throws a spanner in the works.

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