Re: RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 04 May 1993, part 1

From: paul@phyast.pitt.edu
Date: Tue 04 May 1993 - 19:24:01 EEST


  Reply to Mike Dawson's reply to my article on Etyries:

  First, I'd like to thank Mike for the well-thought-out reply. While we are in disagreement on several points, he caught the true underlying significance of many of my points. At a fundamental level, we agree on the profound effect that certain financial practices would have on Gloranthan Society. I want to incorporate these effects into my version of Glorantha as part of the revolutionary changes leading up to the Hero Wars; he wants them kept out of his Glorantha.

  Now to address individual points:

  Mike writes:
> Now, I am no accountant, but I do know that double entry bookkeeping
> is a lot more complex and significant thna just keeping two copies of
> everything.

> Double entry bookkeeping is the BIG STATE SECRET that allowed the
> Hanseatic League of the late medieveal period to dominate european
> trade with tremendous monopolies.

   Exactly right! I am a big fan of the history of the Hanse. This is where I got the idea! Etyries magic weak compared to Issaries... I see this accounting advantage as a MAJOR source of the economic strength of the Lunar Empire! I'm glad that someone realized the importance of the practice. I envisioned the accounting system as Etyries' BIG CULT SECRET!

> Double Entry bookkeeping is a major tool in a government's ability to
> control trade, money, and people. Without it, exchequers must relyu

  Again, exactly what I had in mind for the Lunars. What is the point of all those forms that Chaosium implies the Lunars having if they don't have the ability to keep track of the paperwork?

> I STRENUOUSLY object to the idea that ANY organization in Glorantha
> currently uses double entry bookkeeping. Reread the Glorantha Book

  Well, it's just a suggestion! In any case we see MANY examples of technologies (and accounting is a technology) in Glorantha that were NOT developed until the late middle ages (the period of the Hanse):

  (Fronelan) Full plate armor - developed here only in the late 15th century.
  (Fronelan) Fantastically organized army structure - Renaissance level at least
  (Lunar)  Bureaucratic form in triplicate with a CODED FILING SCHEME!
  (Lhankor Mhy)  Information filing system equivalent to NINETEENTH CENTURY
  (Mostali) Cannon, guns, etc. - fourteenth century and later here
  (Kralorelan) Empire-wide magic-funneling system with universal membership
  (Dormal) Deep Ocean-going vessel technology, like 14th century China or
		15th century Europe

  (GOD LEARNER) Practically everything.   

> D.E.B. is another example of things from the modern world that

					     	^^^^^^

The Hanse are less modern than MANY other features of Glorantha. It all depends on what you want the level of organization in your Glorantha to be - the 'official' sources are quite inconsistent. I picture the Lunars as innovators - and innovators are often squashed by the traditionalists throughout Gloranthan history (Nysalor, EWF, Jrusteli, etc.)

>I suppose the Jrusteli might have had D.E. Bookkeeping.
  Quite probably. And the Lunars are SPECIFICALLY condemned (I can quote 'official' sources if anyone wants me to look it up) for embracing God Learner practices.

  The Carmanians always struck me as STRONGLY influenced by the God Learners - they use all types of magic, have 'engineered' the Aspects of traditional gods (like Humakt), etc. I believe that Carmania (due to G.L. influence) will have actually banking practices.
In our campaign there is a revolution going on in Carmanian banking, equivalent to that sparked in early Renaissance Italy by Cosimo de Medici. Remember that this is the prophesied time of the Hero Wars - and some of those heroes could be of the 'merchant' cults. We also have an insurance industry developing in Carmania - out of gambling rings! This does not parallel Earth history, where insurance grew out of shipowners associations. Instead, some individual in the Dart Wars thought of placing a bet - that he would die. His heirs collected, and others copied the practice. Soon merchants were betting that their caravans would be lost in the desert, etc. Again, this is revving up for the financial side of the Hero Wars - many revolutionary things are happening.

> Reread the Glorantha Book
> intro about levels of organization--the societies are not taht
> developed, not that capable of controlling the flow of resources.

  I posited that WITHIN the Etyries cult they are that capable - but their system is far from universal even within the Lunar Empire. Will the Yelmic Theocracies (Raibanth, Yuthuppa, and ?) on the Oslir willingly reform their accounting system (dating back to Yelm's reign) on the say-so of some upstart cult less than 400 years old? The Glorantha Book is one source but other sources contradict it to some extent - look at Loskalm's level of organization described in the Genertela Book. And Carmania is an offshoot of Loskalm.

>Do you think that Malkion prohibits the lending of money at interest?

  What an interesting question. It's plausible, given the origins of Malkionism among the Brithini - they value stability above all else and interest is 'unstable'. Perhaps they outlaw compound interest only. It would be fun if the different sects had different rules, and priests railed against evil heretic banking practices. I'd say the Brithini and Hrestoli would be most restrictive, Rokari would make rules favoring the nobles, anything goes in Carmania, and the many sects of Ralios would have violent differences of opinion.

  Well, Thanks for the interesting discussion!


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