More Haunted Lands Babble, pt. 1

From: Joerg Baumgartner (
Date: Sun 03 May 1998 - 01:04:00 EEST

Page-Down key alert:

If anybody is getting bored about these exchanges, complain, and I'll take
it from the digest and move to private channels (or stop the discussion).

Peter Metcalfe replies to my
>>What new-found freedom?

>No. What I meant is that the power of the Government collapsed (due
>to civil war between OOO and Belintar factions) and thus the clans of
>Heortland were able to draw upon their own traditions to organize
>themselves and their relations with each other. This was much better
>then the bad old days when they had to pay their taxes to the authorities
>so that when Belintar began to put Heortling affairs in order, many went
>north rather than pay taxes to their feudal lords.

Good. I think we are getting an idea about what went on in the eastern
plateau of Heortland during Belintar's ascension.

If you think that taxes played an important role in the new-found freedom,
how had they been collected earlier? I hesitate to make the Hendriki kingdom
of Heortland a thoroughly Malkionized state, with established tithes not
only to the temples but also to the court. Did the king have to travel
around the land, visiting either his most important sub-kings' courts, or
strongholds of his own set up to collect the royal dues (about the method
Charlemagne used when he traveled from palatium to palatium)? Could he send
deputies to collect the dues?


>>A Divination from Greg told me that neither Volsaxi (too recent) nor Kitori
>>(too strange) were considered one of the "four large civilised tribes" of
>>Heortland. This leaves the Hendriki as only named tribe in Genertela Book.

>Which does not in of itself require them to be the largest tribe
>with the other three being 'relics'. We hardly know any of the
>tarshite clan and tribe names but it does not mean that we have
>to expand those we do know of into supertribes.

The Genertela Book says "four large tribes". It also says "Population 500,000".

Looking at First Age maps of Kerofinela, we find single tribes occupying all
the territory of the Grazelands, and even of Sartar. Until Alakoring's cult
of Orlanth Rex burst apart the national tribes of Heort, Lokamayadon, and
even Harmast, all the Heortling and related Orlanthi tribes of South Peloria
and Kerofinela were that large. For instance, a single tribe would have
supported one city, or even more - in modern Sartar, three or more tribes
together support the small cities of Sartar (excepting Boldhome - a strange
phenomenon - and Duckpoint, virtually unpopulated).

You might argue that the EWF destroyed the old tribal organisation. I'm not
so sure about that. IMO the tribes had formed centres which were recognized
as cities by Hrestol Arganitis, and remained the focus of tribal identity
during the EWF.

Anyway, if you disagree with my conclusions, give me a model which allows
the Hendriki tribe to dominate the cities of Jansholm, Backford, Durengard
(the capital) and Duchamp, and possibly the port cities of Leskos and Vizel
as well, without exceeding Sartarite tribal size by one order of magnitude
at least.

If you agree that the tribes of Heortland may have about 80,000 to 120,000
members each (or even as few as 30,000), tell me how large the next level of
organisation would be, and how you call it.

Tell me how large a clan would be.

Don't tell me that all of Heortland is organized like Sartar, because that
doesn't work.

>>>But (back to the point) there IMO should be only minor differences
>>>between Orlanthi in Sartar and Heortland or (to a lesser extent)
>>>Sartar and Tarsh. Claiming a novelty such as sub-clans seems to be
>>>far too drastic for my tastes.

>>Then how do you organize a single tribe with 100,000 or so members? In
>>clans of 3,000 to 5,000 members?

>Not unusual.

A tribe with 100,000 members and clans the size of Sartarite or Aggarite
tribes is not unusual?

>Tarsh was a Tribe in Arim's Day

How was it organized?

>and really only became a Kingdom in the days of Yarandros.

What are your sources for this???

>I suspect the population in those days was between 100 000 to 200 000.

IMO Tarsh was a tribal confederation rather than a tribe in the Heortling
sense. On the other hand, Lunar Tarshite clans (the Orindori, leading a

duchy according to Fazzur's vita) still seem to be larger than Sartarite
ones, while ex-Tarshite tribes (around Wintertop and in Far Point) are of
Sartarite tribe size.

The Pelorian immigrants had clearly different traditions from the Manirians.
I don't know how influential the Kingdom of Saird since the time of the
Three Brothers (Heredesh, Kewetesh, Verenmars) was on the culture of the
northern Heortlings. The leaders encountered by Hwarin Dalthippa don't all
sound like standard Orlanthi to me.

Aggar seems to be very typically Alakoringite (i.e. similar to Sartar). No
big surprise, since Aggar seems to have been Alakoring's base of power
against the EWF.

Holay has a strange form of matriarchy not really detailed anywhere. Steve
Gilham's attempt to describe it in Tales 6 wasn't quite approved by Greg IIRC.

Sylila and neighbouring countries had a few strange concepts ("Blue Deer
Princes of Vanch", cities like Jillaro...). Hwarin and Ingkot ruled over a
vast territory.

>Furthermore the Hendriki
>do not use traditional orlanthi methods to organize their tribes

The Hendriki are one tribe. The one with the dominant western influences.
The other tribes are more traditional Orlanthi, though not necessarily all
of the same detail structure as are the Sartarite tribes.

>but rely on Malkioni methods of rule (ie instead of clan councils, you
>have a noble to tell people what to do).

The Hendriki are also said to be the most freedom-loving tribe of all
Orlanthi. They won't have (much) thraldom, and they won't let a feudal
system keep them from taking part in moots, and from having councils with
real power to influence decisions.

>>>>The Volsaxi tribes were formed as full tribal entities only when their
>>>>tributary and suppressed status by the Kitori was lifted.

>>>So why did they not form oversized clans like those you claim
>>>for the Hendriki.

>>Because they were closer to the Alakoringite tradition, and had the example
>>of the Sartarites right by their side (even amidst their ranks).

>But the neighbouring Sartarites came from Heortland and
>would have also formed the superclans, would they not?

IMO the over-clans only work with a) a long tradition to back them up, and
b) a geography which doesn't isolate single clans from all contact with
other clans. The Quivini settlers were "returning" to an idealized lifestyle

which they didn't necessarily have in their home country. Think of
flower-power city kids going into rural communes for a comparison. Add in
religious fanatics, biker gang-mentality warbands, and you get some of the
flavour of the early resettlement of the Quivin hills.

I still fail to see why it is wrong to have O'Neills on both sides of the
Irish Sea, i.e. to have clan-sized groups identifying themselves as e.g.
Orshanti in somewhat separate locales.

>I shall rephrase the question again. You have claimed that the Heort-
>landers have larger clans (and also have sub-clans) than is the case
>in Sartar

Yes. I can see no other way to bring densely populated Heortland into four
large, civilized Orlanthi tribes.

>and that the Colymar clan (when it crossed the line) is an
>example of this.

That the Colymar is an example of part of a splinter clan separated from the
majority of its clan. The clan formed by Colymar took in members of other

origin, if I read pp.200-201 correctly: (emphasis mine)

: But a _portion of the Orshanti clan_ protested, and rather than submit,
: declared itself to be a new clan, following only the Black Spear.

: When word of this got around, many people from other clans flocked to join.

Blessings of the old clan sound like magical benefits from the common
ancestry to me, but not to Peter.

>Given that _all_ tribes and clans (not just the Malani) who have migrated
>north are from Heortland, why then have none of these tribes and clans
>the super-clans and sub-clans that you postulate?

Because no full clans migrated northward, but only splinters? Because their
"newfound freedom" gave them the opportunity to restart their lives with the
ideal way, made possible by steep ridges and empty (because barely arable)
land separating the clans' territories from one another?

Because many of the clans and "tribes" marching northward came from
backwards high valleys in the Storm Mountains, too. In my vision of
Heortland, the high valleys still resemble Sartar in organisation
(especially since the Quivini tribes have been brought to accept a common
over-lord in the House of Sartar).

Of course, we can expect clarifications in the upcoming Issaries Inc.
publications, but until then, I see no reason to discard my conclusions.

>>>Furthermore how does this relate to switching from an unwalled
>>>village to a hill fort?

>>Unwalled village: no defensive measures against bandit warlords (= Kitori
>>tribute takers).

>So why did the Night Jumpers exist then?

As a secret organisation without a known place to strike against. IMO their
fight against the Kitori was guerilla warfare similar to the BBC Robin Hood
series, based on a special magic kept secret from the rulers until found,
and challenged.

>Claiming that the Kitori
>had tribute over them or stole from them by force does not prevent
>the clans from taking measures against the Kitori.

Openly? I suppose that now and then a clan went into open rebellion, and was
crushed by the trolls and humans of the Kitori tribe, probably annihilated
pour encourager les autres.

In addition to this, the Night Jumpers incident occured when Tarkalor had
already organized the resistance against the Kitori, and the Volsaxi had
been formed.

>>>What does this have to do with the Heortland Orlanthi having
>>>oversized clans?

>>The entire Alakoringite system is based on frequent warlike interaction - on
>>an equal basis - with neighbouring clans (preferably of a different tribe).
>>Oversized clans mean larger homogeneous portions of land, i.e. less raids
>>per capita, and a certain reliance on the borders to hold tight.

>Unless they are members of the tribe. And your postulated super-
>and sub-clans does little to stop this as the hostilities will
>now occur between the sub-clans...

There's nothing to stop kinstrife. Ever read Gisli Saga?

But it is harder to continue hostilities while you visit the same temples.
Or, after being separated by the tides of warfare and transhumant
resettlement, through other clans' lands.

>The Colymar's own History makes this claim.

Written at a time when the Colymar tribe sought to regain the favours of
Prince Sartar lost when Ortossi denied him to build a city in Colymar land.
Claiming a distant kinship may have been helpful.

>I see nothing in
>your stated reasons to traduce this as a forgery. Your
>proposed scenario, that the Colymar came from a region north
>of the shadow plateau which was considered part of Esrolia
>has a number of problems


>(namely the required existance of hitherto unheard of subclans,

like the Karandoli of Pavis city?

I also gain the impression that the old clan of Colymar was happy to send
away part of its clan as a "new Black Spear clan", while expecting that this
clan would maintain the connections to the ancestral clan spirit.

>the disappearance of Esrolians under grazer massacres

or slave raids, neglect of defense? Other border regions close to horse
nomads have been depopulated in both RW history and Gloranthan history -
think of the eastern Arcos Valley, where the Sultanate of Oraya was founded
with the resettlement of that land.

ALso read Tales #13, p.28:

: Beyond the Wall

: Beyond the Building Wall the difference in the countryside is palpable:
: no Esrolian lives here, although a few Ditali and Grazer outcasts camp
: near the walls. The once rich farmlands are deserte, with ruined
: buildings and overgrown fields gradually petering out into featureless
: rolling grasslands."

You can hardly accuse me of having made up a former habitation of the lands
north of the Building Wall all on my own...

>>Even if that is true, there is nothing to keep part of the clan from
>>straying from the main migration or settlement of the clan.

>This requires sub- and superclans which is unheard of for
>the Orlanthi in Dragon Pass.

Unheard of in Sartar, you mean. Well, the Quivini hills have the feature of
providing isolated valleys to most clans, with movement restricted to the
valleys. In more open country, settlement patterns may well be different.

Note that I believe that most of the Heortland-originating settlers in
Quiviniland came from the Storm Mountain foothills (High Heortlings in Jeff
Richard's terminology), where the settlement patterns are different from the
lower plateau.

The Volsaxi have recently (around 1550) settled the country from which they
expelled the Kitori tribe (survivors, into the Troll Woods). Their former
settlement patterns had been dictated by the Kitori; their new patterns may
well have been influenced by their Sartarite allies. Especially since the
Hendriki and other Heortlanders seem to have abstained from taking sides in
the conflict.

>>Ok. So a grouping of clans can be called a Triaty. Is this a fully fledged
>>tribe, or some intermediary construct?

>A fully fledged tribe. It can be found within larger tribes
>but I think these would mostlty be tribute paying clans which has
>been mentioned before in the digest.

Let me see if I understand you correctly: you have sub-tribes within tribes,
and I have sub-clans within clans. If I shift my terminology from
        sub-clan -> clan -> tribe
        clan -> sub-tribe -> tribe
you'll be happy?

>>I say that clan membership won't be forgotten easily even if a clan suffered
>>a diaspora, or was split apart by conquest or similar, _as long as the clan
>>spirits, including many ancestors, still receive active worship and

>The ancestor bit is not required. The Colymar still remember their
>membership in the Orshanti clan of the Hendriki Tribe.

Let's agree to differ. IMO ancestors play a very large role in clan ceremonies.

>>Even if Orlanthi clan worship is not a Daka Fal mode of worship, lost access
>>to the accumulated magical properties of the ancestors is a hard measure
>>IMO. This would limit friendly spirits to be contacted by the godi to very
>>few, and thus put a dent into their magical powers.

>I disagree with the postulated 'accumulated magical properties of
>the ancestors'.

In the Report on the Orlanthi, only tribes are explicitely given a wyter,
but each clan has an analogous ancestral clan spirit.

p.257 (on wyters, and by analogy also on _ancestral_ clan spirits):

: The tribal wyter is analogous to the ancestral clan spirit.
: It is a literal esprit de corps. Like all spiritual entities, the health,
: magnificence, and power of the tribal spirit varies with the number of
: individuals devoted to it.

If for clans this is an ancestral spirit, then this indicates that the
clan's ancestors have a part in making up this communal spirit. Severing
yourself from your ancestors thus weakens your clan spirit.

>The only impact of the ancestors is the bloodlines
>(and resulting kinship ties) and the amount of boasting you can
>do. In older days (1st age), it may have been important but the
>Orlanthi have moved away from that IMO.

The "Report on the Orlanthi" clearly is post-1615 S.T., since it refers to
the land of Sartar, and to the crown test of Leika Ballista.

>>By fleeing into taboo lands and undergoing a rebirth/adoption by Ironhoof
>>the Grazers thwarted these shamans.

>Arim the Pauper had relatives among the Grazelanders (cf Wyrms

Vendref relatives, most probably. "He freed many slaves" (CHDP)

I don't see how a Pelorian Orlanthi would have had (memories about)
relatives among horse riders who had lived beyond the Death Line for the
last 210 years. The best deal I could give you would be a female relative
caught in a raid and having become a wife of a Grazer warrior, perhaps

>>>You postulated a part of one clan living far apart from the rest
>>>of the clan and said that was the norm for Heortland. I am
>>>questioning this assertion.

>>IMO Heortland, at least the plateau, has a different concept of land
>>ownership than the highland clans. More formalized, put down in a book, etc.

>>This may lead to one (thegn) family holding land in very different locales,
>>be it through marriage, feudal land grants or conquest. I doubt that these
>>holdings would be separated from the family's clan.

>But your postulated subclan did not live in Heortland but rather
>Esrolia NotBW.

Actually, I believe that the Colymar clan came from somewhere between the
Runnel River and the Creekstream river.

The sub-clan may have strayed into or too close to Kitori territory, and
have been forcefully driven out of their claimed lands. Even remaining
around fixed tribal centres, IMO the Orlanthi will give up exhausted acreage
now and then and move to better land (i.e. land left fallow for some time).
These migrations (similar to the Helvetii migration) are one of the main
"barbarian" features of the Orlanthi IMO.

>So what need for them to know

their distant relatives? Magical needs, which you don't recognize:

>>I disagree. While usually not practising straight Daka Fal ancestor worship,
>>ancestral magic makes up a fair part of bloodline and clan identity. Things
>>like the ability to breed great black bulls aren't just a consequence of
>>possession and favourable pasture, but also a heroic achievement of one's

>That is not ancestral magic, that is hand-me-down magic. Hareva
>despite severing her ties still can grow the Ice Wine.

Still? "At the place now called Clearwine Temple, Hareva _found_ the first
white grapes, and so they stopped." (KoS p.201, emphasis mine) The Clearwine
grapes evidently are a plant native to Dragon Pass, and could well be the
connection between Tarndisi and the Colymar.


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