Orlanthi and Others

From: Joerg Baumgartner (joe@toppoint.de)
Date: Wed 20 May 1998 - 22:09:00 EEST


Julian Lord on Unorthodox Orlanthi Sorcery

> Hm. I'm fairly sure that there are sorcerors among the Orlanthi, but
> are they accepted in their society?

Why not? The Orlanthi are fairly accommodating here and there. Most
Pelorian Orlanthi have no problem to include Lunar worshippers (a few
have problems to exclude them, but that's a different problem).

In Talastar of 1625 entire regions of Orlanthi worshipped Malia -
propitiarily, but they did sacrifice to her.

> Another kettle of fish ... If they're
> initiates of the CA cult, or similar, perhaps : ... grudgingly.
> The blanket answer: No.

If they are companions of the chieftain, they will be accepted. Other
former arch-enemies have been accepted as well, as for instance a
horse-riding sun god called Elmal, or a slave sea god called Mastakos.

Yelmalio is described as a (cultural) Orlanthi cult (or to use Mikael
Raaterova's term, an Orlanthing cult). It is accepted to some degree all
Orlanthi society, and in certain parts of Sartar Yelmalio is a tribal
deity (Dinacoli, Vantaros).

> Remember: there *are* worshippers of chaos divinities among the
> Orlanthi. (Krarsht, Mallia, ... ) Are they accepted by society?

Maliants are accepted as a fact of life where there is no other way to
avert disease. Maliants who go around happily spreading disease are
another kettle...

The same can be said about sorcerers working towards the good of the
community vs sorcerers going around tapping the community's members.

>> Jose Ramos about Orlanthi sorcerers:
>>> And who would teach sorcery? Just wondering...

>> An Orlanthi relying on home sources only will have no
>> opportunity unless the missionaries come into his lands.

> All true, even the snipped bit, except IMO & IMG for the last one. I
> believe there are underground unaligned sorcerors in Orlanthi lands,
> who have some kind of marginal existence in orlanthi society.

Three witches meeting at road crossings-like stuff? Sure.

In fact, one of our oldest published sources on the Sartarites suggests
that there is a lot of non-cultic magic going on. Dragon Pass says about
the Sartar Magical Union:

"the mounted battalions that Argrath organized were a dizzying
array of bush priests, good witches, twisted warlocks, wandering monks,
crazed holy men, a mystic or two, and various masters of talismanic
devices."

Sounds like all kinds of different magicians, including non-standard
Orlanthi magicians. Warlocks sounds interesting, as well as masters of
talismanic devices.

> One thing that seems to have been inferred by other contributors to
> this thread: "sorcery" means "western sorcery". (Am I wrong?)

Sorcery as in "a magic system based on the Logicians' world-view and
magics" does mean western sorcery, yes. It has been spread throughout
Genertela by various means, the God Learners being only one possible
distributor. The EWF had non-draconic magicians (at least not primarily)
- - for instance the Remakers of modern Beast Valley, or Pavis - whose
magics appear to have been based on the same principles as western
sorcery. And the Barbarian Belt is adjacent to western societies along
its south and west, and by Carmanian migration also to its north and
east (though to a much lesser extent).

I might accept another source of sorcery if you can give me a plausible
origin, but I don't know of any.

> The existence of orlanthi sorcerors (barring the few isolated cultural
> exceptions like Chalana Arroy, maybe Issaries, etc..?) hasn't been
> demonstrated.

That's because almost all of our information on Orlanthi comes from
regions recently colonized by religious regfugees (Sartar, Pavis County,

Risklands). You cannot describe the religious situation of 17th century
Europe if Pennsylvania and the Mayflower settlers are your only objects
of study.

> If they did, though, I think that their magic would be
> different in many ways to humanist sorcery. [Snip]
> someone with theist beliefs would have difficulty with the
> abstract nature of sorcery, although he could, with great
> difficulty, and little cultural support, master the concepts. IMO.

In what way would this be different from humanist sorcery?

> Making enemies of most of his friends, family, and neighbours, of
> course,

You mean, like joining a Humakti regiment doing service in Esrolia? Or
joining the Sun Dome Templars? Or the Lunar Army? Running away with a
Donandar circus? Taking an apprenticehood with a travelling Issaries (or
Argan Argar) trader? Or even Etyries? Join a Storm Bull (biker) gang?
Become a professional prostitute, aka Ulerian? A torturer in the service
of a cruel chieftain? A "wind-walking thane" of Harvar Ironfist (i.e. a
Gagarthi?)?

Or meet an Orleving girl if you're a Varmandi?

> with his evil heterodoxy ...

Heterodoxy: maybe. Evil: why? "Because he's different from us, we're no
longer good enough for him"?

Becoming a Eurmali would be worse, IMO.

>> OTOH, the Chalana Arroy sorcerers are nowhere stated to be Orlanthi.

> Well, the RoC cult write-ups are (supposedly) written with a Praxian
> POV in mind, so I suppose this is a valid quibble; but: Are there
> sorcerors among the Praxians?

In Pavis. Pavis with its trade contacts to the Jrusteli Empire did have
a sorcerous minority in its prime, at least. I think this was given as
one reason for Arlaten's visit to Pavis, too.

>> Arroin sorcerers using healing spells somehow are contrary to the
>> idea of a spell-less healing, no?

> 1) Among the Aeolians (or other sorcery-using "Orlanthi") a
> theoretical St Arroin, or Stygian Arroin would likely have a
> martyr status similar to the one he has among the Orlanthi.

Arroin is a patron of surgeons, but doesn't exactly grant spells like
"bless bone saw", "bless cauterising bronze" (not iron), "monitor heart
beat", or "detect blood leakage". I could imagine there to be a "Codex
of Arroin" with extensive knowledge of the physician's trade, though,
study of which might increase the skill chances.

> 2) Among the mainstream Orlanthi,

Which ones are these? The rural people of the backwaters? Would they
have practising surgeons to speak of?

> IMG, Arroin gives no Rune Magic, and
> has no spell spirits at his command. Does this mean that his
> worshippers are forbidden access to magic from other sources?

Apart from a marked absence of "initiates of Arroin" IMG there is
nothing to stop a worshipper of Arroin (these exist IMG, in the sense
that there are people who worship a deity associated with Arroin in
cultic services) to learn other magics.

IMG most deities have no interest in forbidding their worshippers to use
magic from other sources - as long as they get their due share of the
worshippers magics. For many lesser deities, being included in an
invocation has to suffice as form of worship. No magical quid-pro-quo
involved.

> Arroini *may* learn sorcery,

Sure. Surgeons may. Carpenters may, too. Several trades have learned to
adopt useful magics of a non-cultic nature, without their practitioners
becoming adept sorcerers or shamans.

A "Cult of Arroin" with hierarchy, worship services and Holy Days is
fairly unlikely IMO, unless you have a leading medical facility training
surgeons for all the lands around it. All the cities, that is - what

rural community would run for a surgeon to treat their wounded? Can't
they even take care of their own?

This gives us a quite small number of adherents to this hierarchy. The
prominent ones could easily be described if you want a game useful
description of that cult. Rather than "The Cult of Arroin teaches" I'd
prefer "Old surgeon

Remember we have a limited total number of Orlanthi to work with.
Obscure cults need a fringe society to support them. Secret societies...

To all the authors of obscure Orlanthi cults: it would help if fringe
cults were delivered with the names and characterisations of its
priests, and prominent initiates. A description of the location and
interactions would help, too. That way there would be a complete
encounter to stage within one's campaign.

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