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  • #16425

    There’s hardly any information on what is going on on the cradles. We don’t even know much about Argrath’s ride on the 1621 cradle from Corflu to where he met Harrek, and nothing of its journey from that point to its return in the sky, following the Boat Planet. Some little information on that was in the Sartar Rising campaign part 3.

    Some more general information was in the Annilla cult of (RQ3) Troll Gods, but no specifics, either.

    Don’t sweat too much about contradicting some previously published info that hides in the margins of some obscure magazine article or similar. There is little information in the Guide. If you don’t contradict that, you’re canonical, everything else is not up to date and might contain some misleading info.

    #16423

    Charles, you fumbled your Pavis lore – Paragua was the giant from the Rockwoods who flattened Robcradle in response to the True Giant Cradles being robbed and who planted the stone slabs around Cradlecatch Island. He was overcome by the Faceless Statue, a giant giant jolanti that used to sit on the Throne in the western part of the Eastern Rockwoods. That same statue also wrestled Waha. After both Paragua and Waha had been overcome, the statue lay down and was disassembled to solidify the wall started by Paragua.

    I agree that the Gray Giants (out of Gloranthan Bestiary) are unlikely to be the only other oversized humanoids. Indeed, noone has mentioned the giants mentioned in Anaxial’s Roster (which is the best collection of giant info in one place). Mountain Giants (known as Hecolanti in Dara Happa) are the standard ones, Jolanti and Dringi get mentioned, and then there are the Hrimthur or Frost Giant descendants of Vadrus and/or Valind. (Mentioning the Grotatons in that category expands the term giant quite a bit…)

    Other oversized humanoids of Glorantha include the Luatha and the flame giants of southernmost Pamaltela.

    #16415

    Pavis and Big Rubble basically is built on the history of the True Giant babies on the River of Cradles. The Pavis history revolves about two True Giants (Paragua and Thog) who got overwhelmed by the EWF-backed magics of Pavis and the Arrowsmiths.

    The depiction of giants as dumb brutes doesn’t quite gel with their reputation as builders – both the wall for Orlanth’s village (told in Thunder Rebels) and the citadels of Balazar were built by giants. Other Dawn sites featuring “cyclopean” walls possibly were built by giants as well. While those needn’t have been True Giants like Gonn Orta, Paragua or Thog, they surely would have seen a similar level of sophistication as Boshbisil.

    The Praxian pantheon of (earth?) giants hasn’t seen much publication yet. The Guide offers a few hints in the Prax and Wastes section, with some emphasis on the Plateau of Statues (before it became infested with Chaos).

    Gonn Orta’s rampage in the Nidan Mountains (was it in the First Age as per p.84 or Second Age as per p.193) was told in a little more detail in Dorastor and in the Mostali articles of Different Worlds, but basically that is stuff on the giant jolanti dwarf constructs and the ones given intelligence by elves in Aggar.

    There is hardly anything about the gray giants of Pamaltela.

    Earth giant deities/spirits are a border area. Earth Walkers like Gerendetho or the Earth Kings Genert and Pamalt are gargantuan beings whose steps shake the world. Not to mention Glorantha’s own Bigfoot: Larnste, whose footprint left a depression the size of at least one tribal tula and lifted up the Storm Mountains (or pushed them up more). Other mountain deities are represented as giants, too, whether Quivin, Tobros or the headless one of Stormwalk Mountain.

    #16295

    The feat doesn’t effect a full body transformation in the mundane world, just the manifestation of alynx body parts or abilities relevant to the activity. A full body transformation in the mundane probably is out of the range of ability for most Yinkin worshippers – in Heroquest terms, the resistance would probably be about on par to that for entering the Godworld. Which means if your Yinkini character finds himself in circumstances that make a full body transformation mythically apt, you will have your alynx body.

    On the heroplane, your Yinkini will most likely manifest as an alynx, and will be hard put to solve problems that require an opposed thumb.

    #15868

    Hard to tell, really – the members of the Sartarite Telmori that did breed with the royal lineage may all be descended from Ostling Four-Wolf, who may or may not have been a Telmori before he was presented to the wolf people by Sartar after their chief had been slain.

    The Telmori definitely mated with him and his offspring (even Kostajor, whose mother wasn’t a Telmori).

    #15867

    Orlanth’s descent into the Underworld occurred in an era when life and death became fuzzy – it took major effort in the Gray Age to separate the Living and the Dead, and some places like Esrolia still let the Dead walk about.

    #15733

    Don’t forget that divine entities have the ability of pluripresence – while not being everywhere, they can be in many places at the same time.

    Everybody agrees that there is one original sword of Humakt, or sword Humakt. Even the myth says that a huge number of copies were made, though, still instances of Death, but no longer identical to Humakt. (If it is the original, it can take the shape of a dwarven axe, too…)

    When Humakt wields the origninal sword, he is present twice – once as the wielder, once as the weapon.

    So, in other words, Gloranthans recognize items achieved during quests as copies of the mythic original, and not actually the original item. Even with the passage of time, no one will think that Hendrik’s Sword of Nine Blows is Niall’s original Sword of Nine Blows, but only a magical facsimile that shares some of the power of the original. So they see heroquesting as a sort of magical photocopying.

    The Real Thing retains its position on the Hero Plane _and_ imbues the item that you have brought to the quest.

    I am not so certain that you have to carry the sword through all the encounters before you reach the step where you can take the sword – that sounds disrespectful to the myth, something God Learners would do. Rather, in the moment of return, there has to be a physical object present in order to bring it across.

    There is a question of practicality, too. There are plenty of quests which see the quester denuded of all items he brought along. Having the physical object in this moment could be a heroforming crisis causing you to fall out of the myth.

    #14419

    Fazzur employs Anqus Farquilis as his master of wagons, in charge of the logistics of the Provincial Army and the units of the Cavalry Corps and Heartland Corps attached to the campaign. This suggests at least an existing approach for this problem.

    Much of the food for the army is produced in lowland Tarsh anyway, and the maize is shipped on the Oslir to the Heartland, or on wagons into occupied Sartar. Ritually important food (like rice for Dara Happan regiments) will have to be imported all the way from the Heartlands, but there happen to be plenty of empty grain barges on their return trip to Tarsh. Basically, the logistics for the campaign are centered on Furthest.

    Water is not a problem prior to the Fimbulwinter, which makes supporting the occupation forces a real problem after the Fall of Whitewall. Not to mention the steady flow of building and ritual supplies to the center of that cold, the new Lunar temple.

    I wonder how many tax farmers go broke after the Fall of Whitewall – they have to pay the taxes for their districts even when those districts have fallen into the Greater Darkness, because that’s how tax farming works. And how many cronies of Tatius the Bright sold off their own shares in tax farming just before the final assault on Whitewall…

    (I see some potential for a Lunar campaign here – imagine that you receive a tax farming license for some conquered territory as a reward for good service to the Empire. Then the Fimbulwinter strikes…)

    #14360

    Re Steam technology:

    What a steam engine does is to turn fuel into mechanical force using steel casings and pistons, and various cooling systems. For way too detailed information how to start a steam engine era prematurely, I would point inquiring minds to join Baen’s Bar and search the 1632 Tech discussions.

    There is a certain style in having a huge, hissing kettle on the edge of explosive decompression powering whatever motion that gears, levers or drive belts can convey. I suppose that mostali would be able to construct a stationary steam generator that will explode only rarely by encasing it in layers of rock. Making the steam create a useful motion takes piston rods and translations.

    However, if you already control the elementals, bind them to the translations directly and let them generate the force. Why go through the effort of evaporating water under pressure if you can couple the energy source more directly to the translation? A sylph can blow a windmill, or a series of windmill arrangements on a single axis resembling a turbine. Likewise an undine can operate a water wheel. To get useful motion out of fire elementals would take more effort, but these entities are eminently useful for smelting ores, glassblowing and mining (alternating heat/cooling will crack off layers of rock almost as nicely as drilled holes with TNT packages, especially when you don’t have to wait for the smoke to leave the hole).

    Using steam powered motion for precision instruments like an aeolipile (sp?) may work fine, but anything else can be done with more direct magical applications.

    #14359

    I don’t quite recall at which occasion last year, but I was talking with Jeff (and possibly a couple of other people). We talked about playable elder races, and that playing orthodox Mostali in a non-Paranoia style would be extremely difficult. Jeff said something like even aldryami are quite problematic, but mostali nearly unplayable.

    Imagine the preparatory recycling workgang entering western Umathela. Their leader (likely a junior gold mostali) has a map showing what features are in the greater plan – basically a blank piece of paper, parchment, metal foil or whatever, with a rectangular outline. He also has a wishlist of material from recycling, listing things like plant matter (including aldryami, dryads and swamp goblins), animal matter (including humans, trolls and other sentients) and capturable energy sources (spirits, local deities or essences). A quicksilver mostali will make test essays on stuff they encounter, categorize it, then have tin mostali package the stuff and carry it off, probably using Slonian slave humans and dinosaurs as beasts of burden. An iron mostali and a number of animated tools (gremlins, possibly jolanti or metal/stone beasts) will provide security.

    The workgang approaches a settlement of Umathelans under the woodland protection. The gold mostali will ask the inhabitants to prepare everything for transport, and offer them a position as carriers. Quite likely, the Umathelans will object, again quite likely violently. The gold mostali shrugs, signals the iron mostali, and the mayhem starts.

    The problem with this scenario is that it lacks roleplaying opportunities. The gold mostali might listen to the villagers attempt to dissuade him and his workgang from proceeding, then repeat his demands and offers. There is no give. The iron mostali will unleash terrible destruction only heroic characters will be able to withstand. There is hardly any contest, and very little choice.

    So, where are the roleplaying opportunities for mostali? One might use the same approach as the Icelandic sagas have for Viking raids – “this summer Hralf took his ship and a number of men and went a-Viking in the Sutherlands and Ireland. In the autumn…” and continue with the domestic conflicts that can be resolved at the Allthing. For the mostali, there could be committee sessions where the plans are formulated and delegated. A workgang is sent out, maybe a simple contest or a group contest is played out, the result is carried back to the committee, and the next step can be planned, and put to action. This might work with an approach similar to the experimental heroquest game Jeff ran last year at Kraken.

    As far as I know, Jeff has no plans creating a mostali campaign right now. It is up to our creative efforts to show it can be done in a way that doesn’t go all caricature.

    #14249

    Those umbroli are household spirits/godlings worshipped by the family, and probably are kin, too. The mostali are kin to rock rather than earth, and having them all kinds of animated rock or metal do work for them will pass that kinship test. All other use of elementals or spirits will be sorcerous bindings, enslavement. And as with any other slave holder culture, this will rely on a steady source of replacement slaves as the ones currently in use get used up or escape. It will take something of an openhandist stance to trade mostali export items with surface mortals for these, and I tried to be as orthodox as possible with my views above.

    Re dwarfen literacy, I think that flow diagrams might be in order. Use of specialized icons (alchemical symbols) will restrict legibility to the caste it involves – gold mostali overseers might be able to read the whole process, but other castes will be able to make sense of their work orders.

    Numeracy is an inherited trait, IMO – measuring things appears to be what a lot of non-military devices are shown to do. As a practicing (al)chemist, the value of precise measurements in preparing batches is quite evident to me.

    Boztakang’s R&D items come right out of Mostali Paranoia, which is fine for MGF encounters or one-off convention games. I’m still trying to get around Jeff Richard’s challenge to make mostali characters playable. As overheard in western Umathela: “Our plan for Somelz says square plains. Please cooperate in the transformation of this land and queue up for recycling.”

    Mostali innovations are a tricky topic. The orthodoxy still hurts from the last major innovation, that of the iron mostali, and innovators often appear to suffer from individualism or openhandism in order to get their experimental material, like that obnoxious Isidilian of Dragon Pass.

    Lacepunk is a possibility. IMO mostali go for frills and ornaments wherever they don’t hinder the actual purpose of the item. I wouldn’t be surprised if that lace really was a glassblower’s work rather than textile, though.

    #14239

    My take on Mostali “technology” (better term: artifice and alchemy)

    Force generation: The mostali rely on water power and harnessed muscular power, usually that of constructs like jolanti, metal or rock beasts (as described in Anaxial’s Roster), or themselves. Some mostali enclaves are known to use slaves or beasts, too:

    Isidilian, the (quicksilver mostali) dwarf of Dwarf Mine on the upper Creekstream River, employs humans – who are descended from survivors of the Dragonkill Isidilian sheltered – for crewing both his cannon cult artillery and for crewing his alchemical transformer, a device on several wagons, drawn by blind cave oxen (presumably aquired along with the humans).

    The Slon Decamony has tamed local humans and dinosaurs for their surface activities, including the dinosaurs labouring away at the Capstan in Jrustela.

    Metallurgy: The mostali (more specifically: the iron mostali) know the secret of producing and working iron, and even how to work magic in its vicinity. Their real metallurgists (the brass mostali and their clay dwarf caste equivalent) use the other runic metals, though, and use them for the production of gears, fittings etc. I don’t think that they have anything with properties like the spring steel used in pocket watches of the European 16th century, but they would be able to produce anything the Persian artificers of the 13th century built, and of course their crossbows will use some metal with properties similar to spring steel, too – probably a consequence of lamination and enchantments.

    Mining: If you can get a hand on Georgius Agricola’s De Re Metallica, anything you see in there could be done by the mostali. Up to refining metals out of non-metallic ores that require more than simple smelting. Rock mostali can do more than swing a hammer and place a chisel. They can analyze rock stratigraphy, intuit the best ways to cut or split a rock, and even make portions of a rock temporarily return to life in order to shape and mold it (or order some elemental force to do so). Their clay dwarf equivalents will have to rely on the tools of their trade more than the original mostali.

    I sometimes wonder what they are using to support their excavations. Originally, they had no access to timber, so they must have found ways to provide supporting pillars and arches out of the excavation material on hand.

    Water removal and ventilation are big issues in any subterranean environment. Using bound elementals is one way to deal with this, but I like to think that these are limited to emergency measures or backed up by mechanical artifices able to do that job.

    Mechanics: They are familiar with cog wheels and gears, preferring metal pieces or even carved rock over grown materials like timber. Given the order of descent, the lead mostali will provide a lot of hydraulic solutions where modern engineers would use gears. They will use pressurized air to move actuators, too. Maybe even steam.

    I don’t see the mostali making significant use of wheels on the ground for transportation. Think chain conveyors instead.

    Chemistry/Alchemy: quicksilver mostali are masters of vitriols (what modern chemists call acids, bleaches or saline solutions), pigments, growing of crystals, raffination of all manner of material (including grown stuff). Their approach is that any material will benefit from raffination and refinement – which is also applied to their food. The higher the degree of processing some food has undergone, the more palatable or nourishing it will be to them.

    Rocks as a source of nourishment aren’t unusual in Glorantha. Mostali, uz and some seafolk are able to take nourishment out of certain (often formerly alive) sorts of rock.

    Most clay mostali also process grown stuff for food, which they harvest (preferrably using constructs or slaves) or trade for. IMO they also refine the water that intrudes their underground dwellings, robbing it of any nutritional value before using it to wash away any (often toxic) refuse that has gathered. We know that life in the seas thrives on stuff carried off the land by rivers. IMO mostali would use such a source of accumulated useful stuff, too.

    The Jrustelan Capstan illustrations in the Guide mention energy leads requiring maintenance. Energy traps managing spirits and elementals figure already in the earliest stories about Vadel and his dealings with the mostali. From traps to conductors isn’t that much of a conceptual leap. Modern people will think about electricity being channeled there, but the mostali probably refer to a purer form of energy. The energy IMO is fed into wards that create field effects usable in magical rituals.

    I am not sure that the mostaly are a literate culture. They will have countless glyphs for certain functions, much like the pictograms we use in public spaces or on our mobile devices, but those are indicators of function rather than a means to relate a story. They will create murals or more likely reliefs recounting important episodes of their history, but IMO much of the software is passed on as oral tradition. (Note that we usually don’t print out source codes any more, either…) Both mostali and constructs are used to store that information. It will likely include incantations that make a mostali or mostali-created mind receptive for verbatim memory of the content.

    For a summary: rather than Steampunk, I’d name the mostali technology Etherpunk. Still lots of baroque to gothic ornamentation on their everyday tools and elsewhere, as an expression of the (not quite) individual with its task.

    #13688

    It would be in keeping with the Elder Wilds map to give absolute height above sea shore level.

    Whether that is “above sea level” is another question – Gloranthan bodies of water can define their surface level if they are sufficiently alive. Even after spawning Worcha (yielding all of their active energy to the attempt to crush Kerofinela) the two standing waves across the Rockwoods still remained in place, forming a huge standing wave only pierced by some mountain tops or tree tops.

    A ship crossing the Homeward Ocean might have to row “up” the doom currents, which at their most peaceful may appear like Sahara sand dunes made of water.

    These degrees of being alive also continue underground, within the soil. Cam’s Well isn’t fertile because there is an aquifer, but there is an aquifer rising above the surrounding level of underground water because it is animated by Cam.

    #13624

    I still feel that the insistence on wearing beards is a reaction to the Grandmothers instituting a matriarchy. Maskilinists of Esrolia join Lhankor Mhy.

    (Although I dare say that some of the grandmothers might be able to compete on the shaggy upper lip and chin area…)

    #11893

    To me Mortal Speech comes across as the runic language of the Man Rune.

    On the other hand, the concept of language itself is tied to the communication rune, and we have several groups claiming the origin of language to another source (e.g. the Kachasti of Danmalastan).

    I wonder where the Hsunchen languages fit in. Definitely mortal languages, and possibly influenced by some runic elements, too (spirit would be obvious, but elemental runes might come in as well). The idea that the Likiti-influenced Pendali Warerans of Seshnela spoke the same language as the Agimori-like Basmoli of Tarien would mean that Hsunchen languages are as immutable as Elder Race languages. I would like to see a degree of relations between Hsunchen languages – could the God Learner beast god genealogy also be based on linguistic relationships between Hsunchen groups? And how much did those beast dialects influence the major language groups? Does Kralorelan have Dragon Hsunchen influences to set it apart from other Vithelan languages? Did later assimilated Hsunchen bring elements of their language into the local dialects of Kralorela or Ralios?

    Then there is the question what Underworld dialects have made it onto the surface. Would Mazari amazons and Alkothi Shargashi be able to debate the finer points of Tolat-worship? Would Zaranistangi, Artmali or Teshnans share Underworld language elements?

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