The Hero Farm

From: darvall <>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2000 13:35:29 +1100

 Mikko Rintasaari
>:A different way to look <snip> Sartar is a notable exception.
>I do think that the orlanthi recognize heroic lawspeakers, farmers,
>smiths, cow midwives... and not for their combat skills.

Except that, as I argue below, all these folk have combat skills greater than is the norm among their equivalents in other cultures as the base level of such skills is higher in Orlanthi society. Which, IMO (correct me if I'm wrong Keith), is Keith's point below.
>The orlanthi aren't too god at building and maintaining kingdoms and
>empires, because that is not what they want. They are anarchistic and
>individualistic. <snip>

and this very individualism in a very dangerous piece of the landscape demands high weapon skill.

>>The point being that Pelorian peasants don't stop being peasants until
>>>>they are dead. Orlanthi peasants, OTOH, often stop being peasants and
>>become Heroes, fighting Dara Happan Soldiers.

>I reckon you've just upset a lot of Orlanthi, they're free farmers not
>peasants. Peasants are tied to the land they farm and subject to their
>I would dispute the "often" regarding Orlanthi farmers becoming Heroes,

Often is a relative term. Relative to other cultures the frequency is astounding. This is founded in part in the fact that AFAIK all other Genertelan cultures are based , as you noted above, on peasants not on free farmers

>the fighting Hero is the exceptional fighter

Barring heroforming or other divine assistance which may well significantly increase combat ability, meaning that Heros could well be of a lesser standard at combat than their peers relying on heroforming to give them superiority.

>, the 1 in 100 or 1 in a1000 who makes a difference and can count on the
>>support of the 99 or 999 others.

There are rough figures on this somewhere but HW seems to indicate that all O/i communities will have some combative heros, albeit of a low level.

>We accept an heroic lawspeaker as a poor fighter and leader,

I'd argue the leader bit. You want the support of 99 other folk on your quest? You'd best be pretty convincing, esp. if they stand to lose by it if you fuck up. Leadership is, IMO, much *more* neccessary for heros than any other trait.
And, indeed, my acceptance of the Lawspeaker as a poor fighter, poorer than the local champion perhaps but certainly capable of taking a place in the fyrd & very possibly capable of some quite serious mayhem. Remember that even the Ernalda Gwyda learns long spear combat. The whole society, with the notable exception, of a few healer devotees blues when required & often when not required. Fighting is not just the continuation of politics, it is also survival, sport, legal arguement & entertainment. Those who can't or won't are more exceptional than those who do.

>what's the difficulty with accepting an heroic farmer has the same

No problem, but your initial arguement was that
>A handful of farmers praying on a hilltop is not of great significance<
 V8 #119
My argument is that they are significant & were I the local commander I'd be rooting the practice out as vigourously as resources & politicians would allow

>> Daily life in Heortling society develops those skills as a matter of
>>>>course. You plow with a spear in one hand, especilly in these
>>interesting >>times.

Donald Oddy
>Then why are there weaponthanes (specialists in combat) ? These people
>are better than the average farmer because they have concentrated their
>efforts on learning those skills rather than the more generally useful
>farming ones. Those individuals who show apptitude for weapon skills
>will usually become weaponthanes rather than farmers. Doesn't mean
>they won't do any farming but they won't be Heroic farmers.

My take (& I may be well out here) on weaponthanes is that they do little or no farming. They are indeed specialist head kickers to the chief. That's why there's so few of them, they're not productive. However, those with the best weapon skills will not nesseccarily become weaponthanes. 1) The Humakti are probably the best swordsmen & will most likely be W/thanes. But they make bloody awful heros of Orlanth. 2) Followers of O Warrior could be expected to be W/thanes except when they are of an opposing bloodline/clan/tribe, or have really pissed the bloke off, or just plain don't want to be (cf. Rastaluf Vanak Spear). & these could comprise anything up to 90% of the best warriors as O/i society is the premier faction fight, i.e. you don't need a majority to take power, just the strongest faction.
3) Cf. Myth of Big Man in Morden Defends the Camp. A non-warrior but still fighting (& good at it or he wouldn't have a hero cult) hero from among the general O/i.
4) Joe initiate of O Farmer spends Fire season as a cattle duffer. In this society that is a violent & dangerous proffession, akin to performing armed robbery on a military payroll. His weapon skills want to be good. 5) 'The Orlanthi....Their deities have all performed heroic deeds (even the farming deities!!)and their culture is defined by the heroic ideal.' M. Laurie Op.Cit. giving each individual the impetus to embrace the ideal of the Heroic Warrior.
The first initiation for the O/i male is the ordeal of the Pits (G. Stafford 'The Initiation of Orlanth' in KoS). That is their first adult act has to be one of heroism, & one that kills a number of initiands on a regular basis. Thus each & every adult O/i male & most of the females (Vorians excepted) has to have already performed heroicly by virtue of being an adult.

Finally, you need specialist weaponthanes a) as chief's bodyguard, in which role they'll use more unit oriented tactics than the average O/i hero & hence need to specialise.b) to provide the specialist leadership the fyrd will require (even in the very rudimentary sense the O/i use this term). These blokes don't need to be the best *individual* fighters (i.e. heroic warrior types). RW example: A martial artist with decent training will kick the crap out of 90% of soldiers, on an *individual* basis. Let those same soldiers work together as trained & your artist is gonna die. Heros, of course, can defeat warbands; but the O/i warrior hero does not have to spring from the weaponthanes. The general population has sufficient expertise at arms to throw up a hero. A fact I believe the Lunars greatly under-appreciate but that is not ignored by the Tarshite Vichies.

>From quiet homes & first beginnings

Out to the undicovered ends
Theres nothing worth the wear of winning But laughter & the love of friends.
Hilare Belloc

End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #136

Powered by hypermail