May 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm #5415
Mining ancient sources as one does, a couple points about the Compendium collected here magpie-fashion:
A. The mysterious “Solothi” of Entry 1460 with such a weird take on Pelorian religion may be a scribal error for the the “zolathi” priests of the Seleran Empire and a garble on the hybrid cosmology they espoused. Five worldly elements plus a mystic sixth doesn’t sound like anything we might expect from them, but the sources for that era are still so fragmentary that there’s room for weirder things than this. Can this be made to work? And if “Solothi” wasn’t of the “zolathi,” where did he or she come from? The parallels to Hepheronean elemental mysticism are striking and Rinliddi where Hepherones lived is still “Peloria” after all….
EDIT: Is this a whisper of Thalurznian Alchemy?
B. While Entry 1474 pretends to be exhaustive, it seems to leave out Illusion and Change among core power runes while adding what we now consider Law (Malkion) and Fate (Arachne Solar[a]). Does this reflect anyone’s take on the Gloranthan essentials (MGF), or is it simply a scribal error? Who has Fate and Law together?
C. If the entry numbering system is purely chronological — the next factoid someone enters on the page after entry N receives number N+1 — then internal dating indicates that the beards have started generating data at an exponential rate, scribbling like the fate of the world depends on it.
We know this because Entry 1472 with its reference to Siglat can’t have been added before ST 1582 or so because that’s the first chance anyone outside the Ban had to learn about his adult career. (While old information can be imbedded among new entries in a form of random storage, *new* information is hard to retroactively insert among old entries without infuriating the library guardians.)
By the time Minaryth Purple compiles Troll Facts 3 in ST 1622, the beards have worked their way up to 270,173. This implies a *minimum* of 6,717 entries per year between the earliest possible date for Entry 1472 and Troll Facts 3. At 294 scribbling days a year this is about 22 entries a day, which seems reasonable — but if we extend this rate backward before Entry 1472, we would get a notional Compendium Start Year no later than ST 1581. So either the Compendium is a fairly recent innovation or if it stretches back before ST 1581, the beards have sped up since then.
(Odds are extremely high that Entry 1472 wasn’t added to the Compendium on the day Dormal heard about Siglat so all the dates probably need to come up, accelerating the implied write rates accordingly.)
Plot Hooks: A notional Compendium Start Year of ST 1581 or later means a few generations had to make do with a Library (founded ST 1525) without a Compendium, so how did the beards of Jonstown record their random-access Knowledge before the Compendium started? Is that archive accessible through bizarre channels or has it been lost / stolen / corrupted / misfiled? Have previously strict standards for what gets into the Compendium been relaxed recently or are the beards simply more eager to Write Everything Down ASAP?
I imagine a “Name of the Rose” scenario something like the Garhound Contest only with the contestants trying to get the lost pre-Compendium information while negotiating entire scriptoria scribbling as fast as they can to stave off the apocalypse as well as Purple’s spies. Something about Truestone storage because that’s fun. The wheels clatter and spin out Nine Billion Ways To Spell “Lhankhormhy.”May 2, 2014 at 7:26 pm #7748
Scott, you either have a LOT of time on your hands, or you are Lhankor Mhy priest! Very interesting stuff, though, keep up the good work!
Was there necessarily a predecessor to the Compendium? Perhaps scribes simply tucked odd scrolls and tid-bits wherever they thought best they should go, in the stacks.
PS – Do you have access to some comprehensive Compendium list, and if so, could you post the website? I make do with the odd entries provided in old Avalon Hill supplements and TotRM editions.May 2, 2014 at 8:40 pm #7749
Jonstown Library was founded by Eonistaran in 1525 , so it is believable that the Compendium started slowly and later, as its fame spread, people became attracted to the idea of adding their bit.May 2, 2014 at 10:06 pm #7750
There’s also the distinct possibility that entries were ‘acquired’ or ‘liberated’ from other sources and simply added with whatever numbering existed at those sources. This, of course, creates a whole different Plot Hook where members from the other sources come hunting for missing information that ‘belongs’ to them.
Another alternative is that this structure “270,173” represents a two part code, not a sequential number (kind of a Dewey decimal system) where “270” could be: a shelf number, the assigned number of the sage who made the entry, a code for the year (e.g. 270 years since the reentry into Dragon Pass), or something else altogether. Then the second part is the actual entry number. Other first part numbers might have no entries included at all. Those missing first part numbers might not yet be filed or assigned by the relevant scribe.May 2, 2014 at 11:01 pm #7751
You guys are too kind, keep the thoughts coming. Yes, I have a bizarre amount of free time this week. No, I am no beard myself.
Brilliant list of known JC entries: http://glorantha.wikia.com/wiki/Jonstown_Compendium.
Given the haphazard nature of the long run we have (1458b to 1488 from the old RQ Companion) I wasn’t optimistic about a true subject-oriented filing system but some of these other options may hold up. Even so, year and sage LM codes may not account for the range of known entry numbers — and we know that whatever 14xx stands for was filled in post-Opening so we run up against a lot of the chronology issues anyway.
The Companion describes the Compendium filing system thus: “It consists of scraps of material which various scribes have though[t] worth recording over the ages. These scraps have been culled from the minds of great philosophers, collected from the fantastic memories of tribal storytellers, and transcribed from various odd scrolls and ancient parchments. Each entry was gathered and listed, one after the other, without order or meaning or editorial labor. Each entry begins with a number which is bracketed in our translation.”
The “over the ages” bit is sticky since the Jonstown library is only 100 years old as of ST 1625. On the one hand I want to allow LM entry numbering to be grandfathered if a library copies existing compendium pages from a brother LM installation. But that takes a lot of parallel database maintenance to ensure record number control across versions, and still leaves the Siglat dating problem intact no matter which library ultimately originated the record.
We do know that Purple at least rolls “found” documents with their own numbering into his own JC entries, as Troll Facts 3 incorporates documents from “Stygian” LM Temple (apparently flourished Esrolia c. 600), Nochet (very interesting numbering system) and Irripi Ontor Raibanth Wisdom Temple. Given Purple’s clandestine motives it is also possible that some or all of these documents are outright forgeries.
The Nochet document in particular may be a fake even though Purple stresses that “the Nochet temple registration date is recent, official and verifies the information as being true.” I have yet to figure out all of the Nochet numbering codes but at least in their temple the recording sage is indicated on the document with a concluding four-letter code: ORWT for Orangins Whitefeather, GTGV for Gorlock The Voyager and so on. Numbers are non-sequential and are evidently assigned according to subject or some other system because documents from ST 1213 can get a 450 prefix whereas texts originally compiled in ST 1248 are shelved under 290.
Note that this document is extremely irregular even from the few exemplars we have because it was nominally the find of Jalcques de Galin and so should bear something like a JDGL suffix. Instead, Purple provides an odd “-GV-1614vlb” code and notes that he is personally acquainted with the “vlb” in question so this person is not the original compiler. (The document was supposedly put together in ST 1248 and then went missing for centuries.) Who is vlb and why is it important to note that he(?) hates the Humakti? More than ever, Purple plays it close.May 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm #7752
Hail the Harshax! Purple is like John Dee and Trithemius rolled into one: a master of lore, espionage and steganography alike.May 3, 2014 at 6:34 am #7754
I love this sort of stuff. Good work Scott. Always bear in mind that one of the objectives of a new Lhankhor Mhy high priest is to sort out the Library cataloguing. Obviously, you’ve just been promoted.May 3, 2014 at 8:39 am #7755
Yep, BTW, I am personally convinced that there are several numbering systems within the Compendium, each the product of a Chief Librarian trying to sort out the Compendium. I know we’ve named at least three.May 3, 2014 at 11:38 am #7756
Jeff RichardKeymasterQuote:Quote from Scott Martin on May 2, 2014, 23:11
Hail the Harshax! Purple is like John Dee and Trithemius rolled into one: a master of lore, espionage and steganography alike.
Oh absolutely! Minaryth is one of Greg and my favorites! Think of it, he was Abo to Eonistaran’s William. Think of the amazing life he has already had, his connection with the House of Sartar (and not its tail-end but with Tarkalor and Terasarin (and others as well).May 3, 2014 at 4:21 pm #7758
Minaryth Purple, as a character, has always intrigued me. Unfortunately, all I really know of him (and his past) is what I’ve read in Kingdom of Heroes and the Companion (as well as the tantalizing tid-bit In King of Sartar: “It (the dragon) rose high enough that it snapped off the heels from the boots of Minaryth Purple, who had been killed and was being held aloft by his companions”).
I had always pictured Minaryth as being an instrumental part of a plot by the Argrath to raise the dragon and stymie the opening of the Lunar Temple. I assumed he was killed in a melee between the plotters and the Lunars during the ceremony.
Is there other, more detailed information out there concerning this great Sage?May 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm #7759
A possible explanation:
The numbering of the compendium proceeded rapidly at first as the Jonstown Temple required all acolytes to submit one new fact to it as part of their promotion to the Temple faculty. Later this was expanded to initiates (and the entries grew briefer and ever more haphazard), and after the Lunar occupation some Irippi Ontor nerks tried to show off (and claim instant priesthood and entry to the Library) by submitting an entire volume of facts unknown to the temple with reference numbers scribbled in the margins, upping the count by a couple of thousand entries in one fell swoop.
Diligent work by the acolytes and old MP himself showed that several dozen of the allegedly ‘new facts’ were in fact already in the library (in faked and artificially aged documents whined the Irippi Ontor nerks, but then they would wouldn’t they), and the whole bunch were denied entry for plagiarism and had to set up their annexe nearby.
Documents from the Compendium were still falling into Lunar hands though, and the IO nerks were found to be secretly sniggering about the small number of true facts the barbarians actually had in their supposedly best encyclopedia. Garangian Bronze-Guts’ library staff stole the IO idea and began scribbling numbers in the corners of all the scrolls, tablets, librams, grimoires and what have you in order to make then officially part of the Compendium, but they lost count and some numbers apply to more than one document and whole sequences of entries are missing.
Then it was found that the IO nerks had some kooky magic numerology thing going and could divine some of the actual content of entry x, given the true text of entry x-1 and x+1, even when they were on completely different subjects.
Jorjeria Latish stymied this with some magic ten sided dice from Pavis that never roll the same number twice (allegedly) and all new compendium numbers are assigned based on rolling the set of six, all the better to confuse the IO nerks and their spies within the library. Snarky comments among the acolytes that this system makes more sense than Gargarian’s old one anyway have been suppressed with denial of rights to cuts from temple beef in the college refectory – may the mutton eaters die of shame for disparaging their venerable professor… Anyway, Gargarian has said that once the occupation is over the reference system WILL be revamped, the documents WILL be resheleved and indexed in proper order and order WILL reign. Possibly. When he can get round to it.
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