Two Legs Good, Six Legs Bad

From: David Cake (
Date: Mon 23 Feb 1998 - 10:18:57 EET

        After writing it, chastened by Michael's calls for excoriation etc,
I considered my response to the latest Peter Metcalfe rant, and decided
that there was almost nothing in either it or the article I was responding
too of general interest to the digest, and sent it straight to him. Should
anyone be curious as to what I said in reply to Peter, you just have to ask
and I'll send it to you.

        Peter did mention the Six Legged Empire, something I think is of
general interest, and David Dunham was curious as well.

>One thing I've never been quite clear on is the distinction between the God
>Learners and the Six-Legged Empire.

        It all, of course, depends on how you define 'God Learner'. I think
the Six Legged Empire was politically separate from the God Learners, but
knew and used God Learner magic. They were probably somewhat more
conservative in their use of God Learner magic.

>It's my understanding that both used god learning techniques, but that the
>6LE ran into religions on the continent of Pamaltela that couldn't be fit
>as conveniently into the Monomyth, so they diverged.

        Actually, I think they did do a pretty good job of fitting the
deities they discovered into the monomyth, requiring no more warping of the
deities true role than usual. Pamalt, for example, becames the southern
Genert, a great earth king. Baba Ulodra is the current name for the deity
that is really very similar to Lodril. Pamalt becomes associated to
Ernalda. And so on.
        I think their divergences

>Also, while we know lots about the demise of the God Learners (such as the
>False Gods Revolt in Umathela), I don't think as much is known about what
>happened to the Six Legged Empire (though their horses certainly failed).

        Why, that is the glorious Hon Hoolbiktu, may his name be be
blessed. The best source on this fantasic fellow is Sandy in Glorantha
Digest V4 #438, in which Hon Hoolbiktu brings plague, starvation, and war
to all the cities of the Six Leggeds. Their horses also failed. I think Hon
Hoolbiktu made both physical and magical war against them, organising the
Doraddi into a standing army, using his jmije to counter their cavalry, and
also waging magical war to destroy their cities, and to make the land of
Jolar naturally less hospitable to people who follow their ways. Hon
Hoolbiktu was relatively non-violent himself (being a coward) but his war
certainly was violent.
        Exactly how much the Six Legged Empire fell prey to standard God
Learner type problems of the mythic landscape rebelling is not something
ever made clear (and to what extent the plagues and such would have
happened without Hon Hoolbiktu is probably something that could be
debated). I think it was the Six Legged Empire that encountered the Broos
of the Black Pus, but this could be me misremembering.
        You could, I guess, interpret things to assume that Hon simply
waged a relatively mundane war, in which he also destroyed their fields and
introduced plague, rather than magically uprooting them, and his true
heroic stature is because he was able to organise the Doraddi into a
standing army, and then disband it afterward. But I think that there were
magical, not just military, reasons for the (near total) destruction of the
Six Leggeds.
        A speculation - most of Jolar and Kothar are not grasslands, but
covered in low clover. Perhaps the clover is poisonous to horses, and
perhaps Hon Hoolbiktu is responsible for it covering so much of central

        I would also suggest that the Exigers, in the nearby mountains, are
a remnant of this battle.



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