Home Forums Glorantha Glorantha Discussions 3 Lunar Questions

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  • #5407
    Profile photo of Scott Martin
    Scott Martin
    Spectator

    1. Given the xenophobic nature of bronze age life, is polyglot experience itself a distinctive characteristic of the “lunar” way? That is, do the “lunars” in a given sultanate, province or territory (for example, the population percentages in ILH) reflect both those who primarily identify with “lunar” cults as well as those who reside far from their birth culture (expats in a “foreign” sultanate, for example) or who no longer have a pre-1220 tribal identity at all? Hyphenate identity politics and multiculturalism are new to Glorantha and relatively rare even in the empire. But are they earmarks of “lunarism” in itself?

    2. I misremember who lived in Silver Shadow before the empire and especially in the land now given to the Crater — an area comparable to modern Sartar. What were they like, culturally? Who are their descendants? Is this one historical source of what we now call “lunar?”

    3. Where does the doctrine of the Young Elementals come from? It feels like a West Reaches concept now, a tool of lunar sorcery. Yes?

    #7687
    Profile photo of Peter Metcalfe
    Peter Metcalfe
    Spectator

    I would rephrase question 1 as what proportion of people in the Lunar Empire have the Moon Rune. I would say between 1 and 5% in all Sultanates (excluding the Silver Shadow). Every clan or family, noble or peasant, will have at least one Lunar. If not leading the clan or family, they are consulted on important decisions and so forth.

    As for 2), Greg has said nobody lived there. I think the place is the same place as the Ervuthan Lava Beds which destroyed a Horse Nomad Emperor in the Dawn Age Rebellion of Blows From Within.

    #7688
    Profile photo of Scott Martin
    Scott Martin
    Spectator

    I suspect that between your 1 and mine, we might triangulate something about the Moon Rune and its old association with madness (consciousness in conflict with culture). Alienation, culture shock, being that “touched” or moonstruck kid in every town. Not quite the shamanic path and not quite illumination, but not really fitting in anywhere but the moon. 1% to 5% is great, though. Split the difference, maybe 200,000 Moon Runes lurking outside the Shadow.

    (I guess every citizen of the Mad Sultanate(s) has the Moon Rune now?)

    The answer to 2 makes me a little sad: the next-to-last Blank Land? If I were doing a dance of apotheosis and farewell I would try to do it somewhere other than a howling wilderness, and I would try to take some of my favorite people, places and things with me when I go — but I am not Her.

    #7689
    Profile photo of Peter Metcalfe
    Peter Metcalfe
    Spectator
    Quote:
    I suspect that between your 1 and mine, we might triangulate something about the Moon Rune and its old association with madness (consciousness in conflict with culture). Alienation, culture shock, being that “touched” or moonstruck kid in every town.

    As an aside, when Jeff and I were making a first draft of the Lunar Rules that made its way in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure, Jeff mentioned his thinking that the Moon Rune could be used for anything as part its message “we are All Us”. My initial reaction was like “What?! That’s Insane!!”. Then I wondered how it could work and came up with the idea of using the Seven Steps (as interpreted in the Entekosiad).

    Which leads to question 3) about the Young Elementals. I think the Damosel Darkness, Liege Light, Squire Sea stuff is as outdated as Christian’s Bay and Dolebury. The Young Elementals are the nascent part of the goddess and that people who study it are trying to master the raw elements through the Moon Rune.

    Quote:
    (I guess every citizen of the Mad Sultanate(s) has the Moon Rune now?)

    Either that or the Chaos Rune (Greyskins, what have you)

    #7690
    Profile photo of Scott Martin
    Scott Martin
    Spectator
    Quote:
    Quote from Peter Metcalfe on April 26, 2014, 22:36
    “What?! That’s Insane!!”

    Love it. Poor old Dolebury though — the ground beneath old Carmania still needs to shift a little here and there to reflect the West we now have.

    Quote:
    Either that or the Chaos Rune (Greyskins, what have you)

    I’d argue for Moon because while the trigger was the sight of the Bat, the Bat is not known for being one of the contagious forms of Chaos. Instead, the Sultan and his people received a kind of forced conversion to the Way of the Goddess — which helps me understand the flavor of their madness beyond greyskin booga booga. A tower of babel effect, an implosion of culture.

    (Also the Bat is known for being contagiously lunar, i.e., generating the Spot.)

    But that said, I wonder how much of what people associate with the Moon Rune (hard to distinguish from Chaos, we are all us) can be attributed to the rune itself and what is the Red Goddess’ personal property distinct from other moon deities. Thinking of the old generic Moon Goddess template in RQ3 as the baseline for how the runic identity might evolve into divergent cults — the troll form of the Blue Moon may or may not promote “we are all uz” and may or may not dabble in chaos, but it’s good to know. OTOH blue moon revelation is classically crazy-making.

    #7693
    Profile photo of Michael Hitchens
    Michael Hitchens
    Spectator

    I’ve always taken the Bronze Age description a little loosely, but YGWV. The Sartarites have always struck me as owing at least something to Celts, Vikings and even Anglo-Saxons, all iron age cultures. To me the Lunars have parallels in Rome and Persia, again iron or later. Even in the Bronze Age middle-east, some empires existed and trade between different societies and cultures existed. Bronze-Age Egypt did occasionally push into the Levant, for example. I’m not sure we even know enough about historical Bronze age culture to label them any more xenophobic than later cultures.
    The Holy Country is also somewhat polyglot, having Uz, Heortling and Western influences.
    While not common, and definitely in the minority, I think there are places outside the Lunar Empire that mixing of cultures can be found.
    And, of course,
    http://www.glorantha.com/forums/glorantha-group1/glorantha-discussions-forum1/glorantha-cultures-cross-pollination-and-changes-over-time-thread259.0

    #7699
    Profile photo of Jenx
    Jenx
    Spectator

    Like michaelh, I really feel like you are making quite the assumption about the Bronze Age (Hm, your Bronze Age Will Vary? I dunno) being xenophobic. Don’t forget, that historically one of the main characteristics of the Bronze Age was, well, the use of bronze. Which is an alloy of two other metals that are rarely found together, forcing various peoples and cultures to trade and be open towards (to an extent, obviously) other cultures and people in order to acquire the missing ingredient they needed. That’s just bronze too, Mesopotamia for example doesn’t have much in the way of trees, so a lot of raw material had to be imported from elsewhere.

    On a lot of Gloranthan cultures being more close to Iron Age cultures in our world – Eh, sure, that’s possible, but do keep in mind that the Bronze Age and the Iron Age are constructs. A lot of people used both iron and bronze for a long, long time.

    The Sartarites really do have some bits of Celtic culture in the way they structure their own peple(so do they of Germanic and Scandinavian culture. Not viking though. Because you literally can’t go viking(-ing) without a sea around), but that doesn’t mean that they have to look like such.

    And just so this post won’t be a complete derailment of the thread:
    1. By polyglot experience, do you mean people who speak various languages interracting with each other, or a multicultural set up where people of various cultures live together? Because polyglotism is, in fact, quite common through a lot of Glorantha, and especially Genertela – Issaries is a very widespread cult, and his followers know their own language(s), Tradetalk, and usually several other languages, to deal with other trading partners.

    Also, multiculturalism isn’t anything new, at least in Genertela – The Holy Country has existed for quite a while by the time of the Hero Wars, and it’s almost as big of a mash-up as the Lunar Empire is. Also, the Middle Sea Empire and the EWF were quite wide-spread and as such were mixing and exchanging ideas and concepts from various cultures all throughout the Second Age (in the case of the Middle Sea Empire – to disastrous results, but that’s another story).

    #7700
    Profile photo of Charles
    Charles
    Keymaster

    There’s evidence of widespread ‘international’ trade during the neolithic age, at least in Western Europe. Several of the larger neolithic monuments have stone from many hundreds of kilometers away from their location. However, I’m too lazy to look up the references…

    #7702
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster
    Quote:
    Quote from Scott Martin on April 26, 2014, 21:09
    1. Given the xenophobic nature of bronze age life, is polyglot experience itself a distinctive characteristic of the “lunar” way? That is, do the “lunars” in a given sultanate, province or territory (for example, the population percentages in ILH) reflect both those who primarily identify with “lunar” cults as well as those who reside far from their birth culture (expats in a “foreign” sultanate, for example) or who no longer have a pre-1220 tribal identity at all? Hyphenate identity politics and multiculturalism are new to Glorantha and relatively rare even in the empire. But are they earmarks of “lunarism” in itself?

    Given that all ages of humanity are pretty xenophobic (including our much-overrated modern era), let’s put it this way – given the xenophobic nature of most Gloranthan cultures, is polyglot experience itself a distinctive characteristic of the Lunar Way?

    Yes and no. Here’s the yes. Unlike most Gloranthan religions, the Lunar Way is open to all, regardless of tongue, ancestor, tribe, gender, caste, status, or other condition.

    Here’s the no. The Lunar Heartlands and West Reaches are largely a collection of Pelorian-speaking communities, united by an emperor who combines in his person the two main empires that divided Peloria for the last seven or eight centuries. The emperor’s mother and personal patron is the Red Moon, but his authority is annually recognized by the other gods of the Heartlands. A Pelorian dialect called New Peloria is the lingua franca, and it uses a simplified script related to the sacred alphabet of Dara Happa.

    The Emperor also rules a diverse group of non-Pelorian kingdoms that speak Orlanthi languages (although here too New Pelorian is the lingua franca). The Orlanthi rulers emulate the rulers of the Lunar Heartlands in style, and are often intermarried with that group (and get called “Lunars” in the population maps).

    In this regard, the Empire is no more and no less tolerantly polyglot than any Gloranthan empire – be it the Theyalan Councils, the Silver Empire, Bright Empire, the EWF, the MSE, the Carmanian Empire, etc.

    Quote:
    2. I misremember who lived in Silver Shadow before the empire and especially in the land now given to the Crater — an area comparable to modern Sartar. What were they like, culturally? Who are their descendants? Is this one historical source of what we now call “lunar?”

    The Silver Shadow is basically carved out of the lands of Vonlath and Naveria (with a little bit of Doblia as well). For most of its history most of it was ruled by Dara Happa, although the southwest has a long history of Carmanian rule.

    Quote:
    3. Where does the doctrine of the Young Elementals come from? It feels like a West Reaches concept now, a tool of lunar sorcery. Yes?

    These are the elemental forces that were released by the ritual performed by the Seven Mothers when they gave birth to the Red Goddess. They reconstructed the world, just as the original Elements did (note only Darkness, Earth, Fire, and Water – no Air), in order to defeat the Carmanian foes of the Red Goddess.

    #7703
    Profile photo of Michael Hitchens
    Michael Hitchens
    Spectator

    The bronze age can sure give you the look – check, for example,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Urnenfelder_panoply.png
    But for my Glorantha what we label iron/classical cultures give me the feel I’m after

    #7706
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    At the most basic use of the word, of course Glorantha is Bronze Age, since bronze is the main metal used in Glorantha. Unlike in our world, bronze can be mined in its own right, but most bronze is made by alloying tin and copper. There is no commonly found bronze ore that is the equivalent of the iron ore widely used in the ancient world beginning between 1200 BC and 1000 BC (Gods bones bronze is more analogous to meteoric iron). In this regard, Glorantha is stubbornly Bronze Age.

    The most complex hierarchies in Third Age Glorantha are Kralorela, the Lunar Empire, Esrolia, Loskalm, Seshnela, Mokato, and Fonrit. I can’t say any of those political entities are more complex than Kassite Babylon, New Kingdom Egypt, Old Kingdom Hittites, or Shang Dynasty.

    #7711
    Profile photo of Simon Phipp
    Simon Phipp
    Spectator
    Quote:
    Quote from Scott Martin on April 26, 2014, 21:09
    1. Given the xenophobic nature of bronze age life, is polyglot experience itself a distinctive characteristic of the “lunar” way? That is, do the “lunars” in a given sultanate, province or territory (for example, the population percentages in ILH) reflect both those who primarily identify with “lunar” cults as well as those who reside far from their birth culture (expats in a “foreign” sultanate, for example) or who no longer have a pre-1220 tribal identity at all? Hyphenate identity politics and multiculturalism are new to Glorantha and relatively rare even in the empire. But are they earmarks of “lunarism” in itself?

    I wouldn’t put too much stock on the “Bronze Age” life, personally. Sure, Glorantha is bronze age in technology, but it makes little difference.

    The Lunars have been around for 400 years. This makes them part of the establishment.

    The Red Emperor has been the Emporer of Dara Happa for 400 years. This makes him an integral part of the Dara Happans.

    There will be some people in the Heartlands who stick rigidly to their own ways and don’t have any truck with the Lunars. There will also be people who want to break the caste barriers and follow the Lunar way exclusively. However, I think there will be more people who mix and match the Lunar ways with their own cultural beliefs. So, you will get Dara Happan Yelmites who also belong to the Red Emperor cult and those who do not belong to the Red Emperor cult. Both are good Dara Happans.

    The Provinces are slightly different, as they have been newly conquered and have different views on the Lunars. Many stick to their old ways and reject the Lunars. Many belong to both their old cults and the new Lunar cults. Many belong to their old cults but accept the Lunar cults as part of their old cults. So, Humakti in the Provinces could regard Yanafal Tarnils as a threat, or as a version of Humakt, or as a co-deity with both being worshipped.

    Quote:
    Quote from Scott Martin on April 26, 2014, 21:09
    2. I misremember who lived in Silver Shadow before the empire and especially in the land now given to the Crater — an area comparable to modern Sartar. What were they like, culturally? Who are their descendants? Is this one historical source of what we now call “lunar?”

    Many of the people in the city that sits on the Crater are descendants of those who used to live there. They are blessed by the moon and many are mad. Some of those who lived in the lands where the Crater now is remained on the lands and were taken up as the Red Moon. They are blessed and their descendants still live on the Red Moon. Many just moved to the Silver Shadow and their descendants remain there, favoured with the right to dwell there.

    Nobody lives in the Crater itself, except the mad, desperate or holy.

    Quote:
    Quote from Scott Martin on April 26, 2014, 21:09
    3. Where does the doctrine of the Young Elementals come from? It feels like a West Reaches concept now, a tool of lunar sorcery. Yes?

    The doctrine of the Young Elementals comes from the standard Gloranthan creation myths. Any culture that has the Celestial Court as part of their creation accepts that many deities devolved from the Celestial Court members, including the Elemental deities. The Young Elementals doctrine simply reflects this and says that the elementals formed anew once the Spike was destroyed, in the void that developed there. The Red Goddess recognised them on her HeroQuests and freed them. The Young Elementals are her servants and provide her with a concrete link to each of the major elements.

    The fly in the ointment, of course, is the absence of Sir Storm, the Young Elemental of Air. Umath was not a devolved element, instead being born from a union of Fire/Sky and Earth. Perhaps the Young Elementals did not have time to make Sir Storm. Perhaps they did but the Red Goddess overlooked him. Perhaps he is there, waiting for a HeroQuestor to make contact with him. Finding the Young Elemental of Air/Storm would be the focus of a number of HeroQuest bands. If the Lunars find him, then they could try and integrate Air/Storm into the Lunar Way. If the Orlanthi find him first then they could prove that Air/Storm has no part in the Lunar Way.

    Whilst the Young Elementals are a source of Lunar Sorcery, I would expect them to be the head of a series of subcults, providing elemental powers to the Lunars. Hon-Eel, for example, is an Earth Goddess in her own right, but should have a subcult to the Young Elementals as well, providing her with extra Earth magic as well as access to other elemental powers.

    All, of course, in my opinion.

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