From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Fri 10 Jun 1994 - 08:20:01 EEST

Klaus O.K. says:
>The more I think about the Hrestoli caste system, the less sense it
>makes. It seems to me to be a 100% guaranteed insurance against
>excelence in any walk of life.

        Apparently you've been convinced by the Rokari. ;) You're parrotting _their_ line!

        All your points about the Hrestoli are reasonable here, except that you are forgetting that the Hrestoli believe that, in order to be a "full man", you must master all of life. How can you do this without being a farmer? Think of it as spending a year or two in the Peace Corps before continuing on with college, or going through a stint in the army. The Mormon Church, of which I am a member, sends its young men and women on two-year missions when they're around 20 years old. While their skills at missionarying vary wildly, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that the experience they gain on their missions is of enormous use later in life.

        Note also that the Hrestoli have to some degree recognized the unworkability of their idealistic system (which, to work perfectly, would seem to require lifespans far beyond the human norm), and as a result have created the job-categories of Squires and Acolythists, which are technically Farmer-caste, but no doubt have shown talent in the military or magic field. I imagine most Squires and Acolythists spend most of their time learning weaponry or magic, with only a few weeks each year laboring on crafts and farming.

        There is another point you're missing -- among the Rokari and Brithini, Wizards aren't supposed to fight, Knights aren't supposed to farm, etc. But among the Hrestoli I unequivocably state that the Knights are allowed to farm, the Wizards to fight, etc. You still get skilled warriors -- they're just called "Wizards". However, this does not mean that there aren't Hrestoli heresies somewhere in Fronela that follow the Hrestoli promotion scheme, but then forbid acting in one's former caste.

        Finally, I suggest that among most Loskalmi it is considered okay to fail to rise to the next caste. Remember that most humans will never rise above Farmer, or if they become a Knight, won't actually ever practice weapons, but will remain a Farmer in occupation.

        I imagine that, shortly after the Dawn, the first Hrestoli struggled to follow Hrestol's word exactly properly, but found it impossible. Maybe someone is still doing it somewhere -- with only true farmers, true knights, true wizards, etc. And every member of society fit for the previous role, not the one they're actually serving in. Incompetents doing the farming, farmers doing the fighting, warriors doing the magic, etc.

Eric asks:
>Anyone out there know the life-cycle of Bison and rate of
>breeding/longevity? How many calves per year in a herd of 50 say,
>and is the a sex ratio bias in the offspring.

        Bison rut in the spring, have one calf per female every two years (I believe), and there is no sex bias in the offspring, at least not a notable one. When the bison are rutting they form harems and male territories and can't really migrate.

        I don't know how long bison live. Probably similar to cattle.

Mr. S. W. Jones wonders:
>Firstly- the Closing of the Seas, mentioned just a couple of

>times in the Gloranthan myths; but it does say that no-one could
>sail out of sight of land, is there some other reason to stop people
>sailing? It just seems that coastal peoples would be able to trade
>just as effectively by sailing close to shore (relatively)- cutting
>off trade only with the southern continent, but still allowing
>Westerners to ply the shores of Kethaela.

        You had to stop at night, too. In fact, if you got too far offshore, you'd have trouble. But it's true that not all trade was stopped. For that matter, seagoing traffic was still possible in a number of inland bays and seas. For instance, the big circular bay in Kethaela was open to travel. The problem was that it was hard to sail east or west from the Holy Country -- east, you encounter endless tracks of marshes and foot-long mosquitoes. West are the Wenelian barbarians, the haunted Mournsea and Ramalia, etc. All things that you really need to swing out to sea to avoid.

>The other dull question is about the Lunars, and it is a little

>pedantic, but why the hell to Lunar infantry use scimitars, as I
>imagine the Lunars to be similar to Imperial Rome, and that they use
>well trained mass infantry- then scimitars are just not suited-
>shortswords are though

        The Lunar tactics in combat are NOT like Imperial Rome's, though, and it's said so in a number of places -- their infantry is not like Legionaries in organization, but rather they are hoplites, armed with long spears, large shields, and a sidearm sword. If you look up ancient Greece, you'll see that the Greeks carried quite long swords by their side, sometimes curved like scimitars (or even reverse scimitars).

        That said, some Lunar units certainly carry shortswords but, again, it is probably a sidearm to the spear they normally fight with. Lunar units that fight with the sword probably use scimitars.

        No one in Glorantha, as far as I know, has invented the Roman Legion. It would probably kick butt among the undisciplined Orlanthi and rigid Lunar phalanxes. On the other hand, it may not hold up to well against the Pent or Prax nomads.

Joerg wonders:
>Does anybody know why raccoons featured so greatly in pre-God
>Learner mythology? They are one of the prime examples of bad God

        Americans like raccoons. They're clever, tough fighters, keen-looking, have cute mannerisms, and they hang around human habitations. They're "fun" animals, like coatis, kit foxes, or chipmunks. (Yes, we like hunting them for their fluffy pelts, too.)

        They also figure big in Amerind Lore. Hence, when they're killed by Eurmal or the bad God Learners, it has an emotional impact which I suspect is bigger among Americans than it is among Europeans.

Jonas Schiott worries:
>some unpublished Chaosium stuff that was quoted at me a while back
>states that the majority of these 25000 are Damali. But in order for
>the Galanini to fulfil the role we have given them, I feel they
>should amount to at least 10-15000

        As perpetrator of the population figures for Glorantha (though I was advised against it), I hereby grant you full permission to ignore each and every figure written down in those lists. Or, at least, to feel free to adjust them by a factor of 2-5 in _either_ direction. I don't think they're inaccurate by a factor of 10 anywhere but a very few places, but aside from that they're the most remote guidelines you can imagine.

>I don't think the Lunar Empire has any water connections other than

>through Annilla or inherited from the Dara Happans.

        There's the Young Elemental connection. And Annilla's connection is pretty strong, you gotta admit.

        Local vessels were able to sail along all shores. In effect, the Waertagi acted like a slightly less powerful Closing of the Seas. Non-Waertagi ships sailed in Kethaela's harbor, along all coasts, and in the East Isles. On occasion, some power would mass ships and fight the Waertagi, usually losing.

        The First Age Seshnegi invasion of Brithos may have been in defiance of the Waertagi, or the Waertagi, still friendly to both sides, may have been neutral. Or the Seshnegi invasion may have been crushed _because_ of the Waertagi's intervention.  

>But they are also in any major Genertelan port between Northpoint
>and Dombain, possibly even in Lur Nop. Did they spread there during
>the age of the Empire of Land and Sea?

        IMO they spread there today in the Third Age, since the Closing.

I said
>> When Chaos came into the universe, its initial point of entry

>> was at the north edge, above the glacier. They tipped up the sky
>>dome to crawl under it, and the sun fell from the sky, plunging
>>right into the huge inland bay that the Artmali Empire was based
>>around, and burning up everything there, leaving behind the Nargan
Joerg wonders:
>Which sun fell? Yelm was dead and gone to Hell, Antirius shone above

>Dara Happa, the Sun Dragon over Kralorela (?), Elmal over
>Kerofinela, Somash over Teshnos, Kargzant over the Pentan reaches,
>Yelmalio within the elf forests, Yamsur within Genert's Garden.

        Despite the multiplicity of "sun deities" you mention, Glorantha has only ONE sun, Joerg. God Learners or no God Learners, that point's hard to argue. The Sun that was up in the sky fell to Earth. The Sun Dragon was a solar substitute -- the Kralori know that Yelm was killed. Yelmalio was never the Sun, just a "spark" god. And Splendid Yamsur is another "spark" god.

        The sun that fell to the Earth was the only one that was in the sky. However, the Six Legged Empire (remember, descendants of the God Learners) said that it wasn't _really_ the sun that fell from the sky. Because they bought into the Monomyth, their claim was that the Sun had already fallen from the sky when Chaos entered the world, and that when the sky bowl tipped up and caught the Artmali empire on fire, it was just a bunch of Aether and stuff pouring off the top of the universe.

>> Even the water caught on fire in that disaster.
>Tanian's birth? The Artmali are grandchildren of Lorion...

        Probably. If someone wants to resurrect the Forbidden God's worship, all you gotta do is head to the Sea of Fire and bring some back with you. *gulp* Of course, you have to cross the Enmal Mountains first, which are just south of the Nargan Desert (north of the Boiling Swamps).

>What about Rahmuktara south of the Sea of Worms?

        What are you talking about? Where can I read about Rahmuktara? Until I get further info, could be. Almost anything could be south of the Sea of Worms. Who would go there? A wooden ship finds it impassable -- spend too much time in that sea, and your hull is riddled with shipworms to the point that the vessel literally falls apart around your ears. (This happened on Earth, too.)

The Jrusteli conquest of the "Artmali Empire" must have been a reference to a conquest of either the Veldang society that had formed in Fonrit after the first Empire was destroyed, or it could possibly be talking about the Six-Legged Empire's conquest of the interior Doraddi society, which could have been confused with the Artmali, seeing as it's in the same area and all.

        The monomyth suffers severely when you try to fit the Doraddi beliefs into it. I mean, just consider: Qualyorni the troll god comes and cripples Artmal BEFORE the sun falls from the sky. The Origin of People completely contradicts Grandfather Mortal's story. Eurmal the trickster is believed to be the Creator of the world and most life. It's all screwed up. No wonder the branch of the God Learners that conquered the Doraddi had to become a whole separate organization from the Jrusteli to keep things straight.

>why does the [Lunar] empire ignore Ralios?

        What the hell can they do about it? They can't get troops into Ralios. It's hard even to send individuals -- you got to either go through Dorastor, a non-trivial project, or go the loooong way around by sea and then walk overland through Tanisor and Safelster.

        I suspect that events in the uplands of Ralios are not even rumors in Glamour.

        Now, obviously the Lunar Empire is aware that Orlanth is worshiped in Ralios and Wenelia, so why does the fall of Whitewall signify the destruction of Orlanth as a power?

        My answer is twofold: First, it's possible that Orlanth won't have fallen everywhere and the Empire knows this -- but he'll be gone from Peloria and neighboring areas.

        Second, and I view this as more likely -- Whitewall, Sartar, and Heortland (until you, Joerg took it all over with Aeolians) are the Most Advanced Orlanthi in the world. The Ralian and Wenelian Orlanthi are exceedingly crude and primitive compared to them. They don't have cities, they don't have walled towns. They're barbarians, through and through. We're talking unwashed Germanic hordes, here. ;) The destruction of Orlanthi's "head", his most competent. fierce, and well-organized practitioners, could mean the end of the God, at least if the Lunar plans work out.

>Why not leave Illusion with Dormal

        Dormal? You clearly mean someone else, here. If you meant Donandar, instead, we didn't think that Donandar was an important enough deity to deserve an Origin. If you want to attack us on the basis of inconsistency, since instead we made up a god out of whole cloth, mea maxima culpa.

Chris Pound sez:
>Skyrealms of Jorune

        THAT'S the one. I was going to ponder about that one until someone saved me. Thanks, Chris.

Devin, stating that an afterlife can be "proven", says:
> a spirit can be contacted and spoken to with the right magics? This
>when Ancestor worshippers commune with and interact with the dead
>all of the time? This when the Stormbulls can see the Eternal Battle
>with their own eyes. This when Humakti, Zorak Zorani, et al can bind
>the dead into ghosts?

        Now, now, Devin. To respond to all these questions in a row. First, a spirit that's gone to its afterlife can't be contacted or spoken too, just a ghost. Ancestor worshipers worship ghosts. The Eternal Battle is not an afterlife place -- it's a pre-life place, if anything. You can't contact your dad there. Humakti, Zorak Zorani, etc. can make ghosts, yets.

        But a Ghost does not an afterlife make. What about heaven? What about hell? Even Earth has folks who believe in ghosts and don't believe in heaven or hell. A ghost's existence is far from being necessarily interesting and desirable. Even the Ancestor Worshiper's ghosts are in constant dependence on their followers to maintain their existence.

        AND, more importantly, most dead people don't become ghosts. There's certainly no guarantee that YOU will. (Unless you're an Ancestor Worshiper, with a cult structure set up specifically to do this for you.) In other words, when you die, mostly you become unattainable to normal human techniques, or even magic ones. The Ancestor Worshipers, fearing oblivion, have learned how to turn _everyone_ into ghosts, so having at least that pale substitute for an afterlife made certainty. If you're an Orlanthi or Yelmite, you got no guarantees.

>If I worship Ragnalar, I am good if a rape people. So there is
>really no such thing as a Bad God.

        Bunk. Ask anyone in Glorantha. They'll tell you specifically and at great length just who the Bad Gods are. The Bad Gods might vary from person to person, but this doesn't mean there aren't Bad Gods, just that they vary. The fact that you can be Bad according to your own culture's mores implies that you need not follow your culture's ethical standards to get magic. So why bother?

>in a world where everyone else has magic, someone not attached to a
>god will have a rough time of things. Therefore, I don't picture
>Atheists and Agnostics doing too well in Glorantha's Theistic areas.

        They don't get to be priests too often, I agree (unless they mask their lack of belief), but they can get all the spirit magic they want, and that's certainly enough for everyday activity. The God won't deny spirit magic to any initiate, if only because the priest doesn't check every single initiate to see if he's "worthy" for that Healing 2, if he can pay for it that is. 95% of MY characters only have spirit magic, and they get around okay.

Note for all: A number of perfectly standard, conventional Heroquests occur during what is technically Time. For instance, Yelmalio greets the Sun upon his Rise. This happens on Day One of Time.

Graeme Lindsell sez:
>Or should I start ignoring all those introductory parts of the
>Glorantha:Genertela pack that talk about how young all the
>Gloranthan cultures are, and how many modern concepts should not be
>applied to them?

        I quote: "Don't make the mistake of assuming that [Gloranthan] societies are less sophisticated or complex than our own modern, technological societies." To continue, "We hope you will ... not oversimplify Gloranthan societies by imposing Earthly points of view."

        In any case, I'm willing to admit that the Lunars don't have printing presses. They have some sort of mass creation of written forms, though. Perhaps a spirit spell that they manipulate through Lunar Magic: "Duplicate Text".

> Goodwife, Healer, Enchantress and Lady, (for the Malkioni women)

        Sold. Adopted in my campaign. With the tiny cavil that, because it's more fun for players, it _is_ possible for an occasional woman to become an armed knight and go into battle. They may have to join a special Order or something.

> My proposal: The Rokari Church officially says there's only one
>female class, but in practice a women inherits the class of her

        Agreed. I also think the woman is supposed to do certain tasks differently, depending on her nominal class.

Mark S.
>>Loskalm is the one major power not ruled by some god emperor.
Graeme L.
> Esrolia is no great military power but has a large population. It
>seems to be ruled by an oligarchy of noblewomen, and to have
>"normal" politics as well. Seshnela's king is no god-emperor either,
>unless he's the god of obesity.

        Ditto for the Kresh Empire. At least, they don't have a God Emperor (their ruler is unknown to outsiders -- I'll share my own belief at some later date). I wonder if the Elf Kingdoms count as having a god-emperor. They each have a High Council.

Gonn Orta = Genert

        While Gonn Orta is obviously _not_ Genert himself (for one thing, if Gonn Orta is Genert, who's the giant corpse in the middle of the Krjalki Bog?), I concur with the likelihood of his being a Fragment of Genert. Maybe he's Genert's conscience or something. The similarities of names _can't_ be coincidence, knowing how Greg's mind works.

>Try this example: some peasants who were part of the entourage of a
>diplomat return to Loskalm, and then go to the local Lord and say
">We would like to worship the Great Green Mother Ernalda, who is the
>source of all the worlds food. ... We have no desire to disobey you,
>and will continue to server and worship ... the Invisible God."
> What happens to these suckers?

        I foresee several possibilities.

        THE LORD IS CRUEL: he kills them quickly and without fanfare, lest others hear of their heresy.

        THE LORD IS HARSH BUT FAIR: he has them imprisoned and visited by Wizards who try to convince them of the Rightness of Hrestol's Way. If the Wizards can't succeed in getting them to recant (doubtless assisted by mild torture), he leaves them imprisoned forever or he exiles them to a foreign land.

        THE LORD IS JUST: he orders them to cease their false beliefs at once. If they refuse, he exiles them.

        THE LORD IS BENIGN: he forbids them to practice their vile faith openly, to evangelize their neighbors, or to raise their children in this false belief, though they can still believe and practice it privately. If the heresy spreads, sterner measures will have to be taken later on.

        This may sound harsh compared to a modern society, but it's pretty mild compared to most Gloranthan societies. The Lunars claim to accept all religions, insomuch as they aren't Orlanth (or Storm Bull, or anti-Lunar Invisible God, or any number of other possibilities). However, if you complain about the government, even if you're a good Red Moon worshipper, you're looking at some serious personality adjustment. If you live among the Orlanthi and come home claiming to want to worship Waha or Irrippi Ontor or some other outside god, you bet you'll be outlawed. And the Red Moon and Orlanth are the gods of FREEDOM! They're probably the most liberal deities re: foreign cults in the world. Loskalm is, IMO, less liberal in this regard (worship) than is Orlanth or the Red Moon. However, Loskalm may be MORE liberal with regards to certain other aspects of society.

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