Re: Kralori Thieves; Humakti; Rehab

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Thu 26 Feb 1998 - 10:39:03 EET

Sandy writes:

> Of course there aren't "Thieves Guilds" except maybe in the biggest
> Kralorelan cities (Kralorela is so atherosclerotic and ancient and
> rules-ridden that a thieves guild almost makes sense here)

I *do* like the Kralori "hours of the night" from the Glorantha Book:

: Night time is traditionally feared, with the following terms used
: to differentiate relative parts of the night: theft time, murder
: time, curse time, cannibal time, monster time, torture time, spark-
: in-the-sky time. Robbers, witches and criminals generally keep to
: the appointed part of the night for their nefarious deeds.

To be honest, it's almost the only thing I like in the "Time in Glor-
antha" article. (Dwarfs and Trolls are fun, too; the rest seem only
there to annoy and confuse).

Steve Rennell asks:

>> Most Humakti are Thanes and Housecarls first, they embrace the
>> deathbringer because it suits them and their people for them to
>> do so. =

> Although I have some sympathy for this view, and indeed held this
> to be obvious until recently, how does it fit with the "cutting of
> kin ties" that has been mooted as a large part of being humakti? =

In the Greydog Campaign, IIRC, the Humakti were loyal to their chief,
king, or whoever because of their own sworn personal oath, not because
of their kinship ties. A tribal king who wanted to "test" his Humakti's
loyalty could send them to carry out his orders against his own kin.
This is a great scenario-driver, and thus a good enough reason for the
custom to exist:

KING: "Braggi, my loyal Sword: I want you to bring the rebel chief
        of the Longwood Clan to my hall to explain his disobedience!"

SWORD: "...I hear and obey, O King!" (Leaves, in high dudgeon)

SAGE: "But, Sire, that's his own father! Braggi was of the Longwoods
        before he severed his kinship ties to join the Blade Temple."

KING: "My Sword must be true to me alone. If I cannot depend on my
        sworn weapon in combat, then I must cast it aside..."

Also, being human, the 'ritual' nature of the kin-severance (which in
our game only happened when our Sword PC was grievously offended by his
Orlanthi brother snatching his weapon at a peace banquet and using it
to slay his long-time foe, a Yelmalion -- nice how mythic resonance

works, isn't it?) is only really insisted on in formal circumstances,
or when there's heavy-duty family business going on (and we don't want
"outsiders" involved).

(Mind you, since Corwyn got his last set of geases he's been a lot less
fun down the Greydog Inn...),

> I lean away from the cutting of kin ties personally, because I like =

> the idea of family traditions of worshiping Humakt, and serving your =

> family, clan and Tribe honourably to the death.

This is still entirely possible. What you learn from your grizzled old
father (and/or mother, though perhaps we should hold the 'grizzled') is
still hugely important to you in later life, even if you have undergone
a ritual severance of kinship ties. And if your father went through the
same ritual himself, obviously you'll be given the High and Holy Oath
speech about how wonderful it is to be true to your sworn word, etc.

I imagine a Humakti dad would be disappointed if his son *didn't* fight
against him, obedient to his oath. The passion and the pathos you can

generate through set-ups like this tell me:

        1) Severing kinship ties is done, is seen as important,
                but is not universal: it's another Great Leap Forward
                in your progress as a Humakti, and is always accompa-
                nied by a sworn oath to some other leader, cause or
                institution (the Temple, the Regiment, the God Himself).

        2) Humakti can have kids. Some don't -- some don't have
                the time, or the inclination, or indeed the wherewithal
                -- but Humaktishness doesn't require sterility.

Remember, too, that your kin will still make insistent demands on you,
even after your ritual severance, when it suits them to do so. You would
have to be an inhuman automaton not to be moved by the pleas of your ma,
pa, brothers, nieces, etc. All of which adds stress, strain, and role-
playing bonanzas to the aspirant Humakti... think "Samurai Epic!"

S. Charles Perryman writes:

> The concept of "rehabilitation" is a nineteenth century concept
> (late nineteenth at that). You commit a crime, you are punished.
> Naturally in order to maximise the deterrent value it was done in
> public ritual. This whole are of course is true within the Lunar
> Empire, The West and parts of Kethaela...

Our writeup of the cult of Danfive Xaron in Tales #16 explicitly has
the Lunars (or should I say the *Lunar* Lunars) believing in rehabili-
tation through imprisonment. The traditional lawcodes of the Empire,
of course, have no truck with such lunatic notions, and are much more
gung-ho when it comes to brandings, impalings, into-the-lake-with-
weights-tied-to-his-feets, flingings from high rocks, flingings into
deep dark pits, and (of course) the notorious radish and ashes treat-
ment [*]. An old-school Dara Happan judge probably *hates* the inter-
fering do-gooders from the Penitentiary, and hopes they won't make it
into his court before good old-fashioned justice can be inflicted.

Danfive Xaron's cult "presents a last chance for society's most
desperate dregs to rehabilitate themselves" -- GoG Prosopaedia. Many
criminals in the Penitentiaries already have a sentence of death,
mutilation, or other horrible punishment passed against them. If
they don't behave themselves, labour hard, and learn their lesson,
they are deemed "not sufficiently penitent" -- the cult will either
impose disciplines of its own (as a "reminder"), or else release the
recreant former penitent for due legal process (a short sharp shock).

NB: I once read a *wonderful* early version of DX's cult (I think it
was in a beer-stained copy of Pavic Tales), which didn't *quite* get
the point. The trad. description says that "looking at the opposite
sex in the first year merits blinding and dismissal". The inspired
author decided that things got *tougher* the longer you stayed in the
cult thereafter -- so that in the *SECOND* year you could be blinded
for even more trivial "offences"! How we all laughed...

Nick PS: Griselda's "Family" are her family!

[*] And I didn't even mention sacred crocodiles, sacks containing a
cat, a cockerel and a serpent, or the notorious Ralian Chair...)


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 23:12:36 EEST