Hero Husbandry

From: darvall <madamx_at_pop.mikka.net.au>
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000 13:13:18 +1100

>Not true, the nomads of Prax and Pent will have at least as high a
>proportion of fighting heros as the Orlanthi.

True. I forgot them & the Char Un (don't ask how cause I don't know.)<blushes>

>Nor are you comparing like with like, the proportion of fighting heroes in
>>a Lunar army unit

Which unit would this be? A Char Un unit is a tribe. Peltasts are more individual than Hoplites. See below.

>will be far higher than any Orlanthi tribe. That's because Pelorean
>>culture is more specialised with full time soldiers, scholars, magicans
>>and even tax collectors.

The specialist *soldier*, as opposed to Tarnils type officer, is unlikely to fit even our broad definition of hero. The training emphasises comformity & group action not the circumstances likely to push up a hero. Note that RW decorations are for "valour beyond the point of duty" & what makes them special is their rarity. Even their magic is tailored to group effects. Granted Peltasts do vary from this as do the Char Un (Who are'nt specialist soldiers so much as specialist Char Un, another *warrior* culture) but the Phalanxes have this at their core. I guess what I'm saying is that Warrior heros are more likely to come from 'Warrior' cultures than from the more specialised 'Soldier or Farmer' cultures. Soldiers are not the same as warriors. A soldier may also be a warrior but not neccessarily.
Additionally a culture in which everyone is exposed to warfare as part of daily life is more likely to produce warrior heros than even a unit of soldiers recruited from a populace whose main combative experience is rioting & not much of that. By initiation the average O/i has seen more Warfare than the average Pelorian Peasant recruit, ie 14 years as opposed to none.

>Indeed a Lunar military hero may not be a particularly heroic fighter.

(Heros of Polaris spring to mind. Box Step 15W2) I agree here cf example of martial artist vs trained soldiers taking the O/i warrior style hero as the Martial artist.

>Certainly a clan will have several [heros], but under the Lunar occupation
>a fair proportion of those will be either exiled or in hiding.

Hiding where? Among the farmers & in the hills. One might even say among the farmers on the hilltops.

>I can'timagine every stead of half a dozen families having a hero.

Why not? The culture encourages it. The circumstances encourage it. The Hero Wars are called that for the land is aflicted with not one but many heros. O.K. a bit extreme, but there should be a number in every clan.

>>>We accept an heroic lawspeaker as a poor fighter and leader,
>>Leadership is, IMO, much *more* neccessary for heros than any other >>trait.
>But a lawspeaker isn't usually the leader, <snip>

Donald (from abv)
>an heroic lawspeaker

Me (with emphasis)
>>Leadership is, IMO, much *more* neccessary for HEROS than any other trait

i.e ANY hero. Not just the bash-'em-onna-head type. Remember the 999 supporters you have to lead, & convince to donate their efforts, & possibly their well-being.

>The fact that almost every Orlanthi is ready to brawl at the drop of
>a cow turd doesn't mean that they are going to be all that good at

You don't get to west Queensland pubs a lot do you? Let me assure you them what fights the mostest is likely to be best at it. Small communities in which the main entertainment is drinking & bluing throw up a disproportionate amount of good fighters. Recalling that the O/i pub blue is not limmitted to fists & bar furniture & that insults are often answered by mortal combat (not the computer game either) I would tend to say that the regular brawling (a thing unlikely to be tolerated in a diciplined army) either improves the locals' skill at fighting or kills off those who can't.

>Indeed KoS gives a Lunar assessment of the Orlanthi as fighters and
>>estimates that less than 10% could match regular Lunar troops in battle.

KoS p233 "However, most of those will be Fyrdmen.They carry weapons & know how to run round in the hills & woods, but not how to fight." Thirteen years after this report was composed 1300 Lunar troops were massacred at the beginning of Starbrow's revolt (Wyrm's Footprints). Now either the report was in error about the fighting abilities of the Fyrd or about the numbers of the Colymar, or most likely both. The stats from Questlines (Based on figures by GS) in fact give the Colymar a population of 18000 in 1610, just 11 years later. Perhaps the Rat was not so good. Perhaps (indeed probably) his contemptuous assessment of the fighting ability of the Fyrd can be compared to the French assessment of the Viet Mihn. Dien Bien Phu.

>That's why the Lunars conquered Sartar,

The lunars conquered Sartar for many reasons, chief amonst which must be the inability of any one Orlanthi to agree for more than 4 minutes with any other. Notably the conquest was only achived after the Sartar dynasty, the kingdom's unifying force, was assassinated & even then it took massive assaults & remains a drain on the Empire.

>10 minor heros, 90 decent warriors and 900 fyrd couldn't stand against
>>even 500 regular soldiers.

I would not be putting money on that. The invasion took slightly more than 500 regs, notably the 1300 victims of *Colymar* agression & then some.

>> I'd be rooting the practice out

>In preference to the known danger from Gunder Stormvoice who you know
>is stiring up trouble?

Yep. We're talking about 1) Gunder's support base, both magical & mundane. 2)The source of the next Gunder & the one after that. The problem with Guerrilla wars is that provided the support base remains they can drag on forever. 3) Those most likely to be stirred by Gunder. 4)Places that are Gunder's temples, regardless of what the urban mob thinks. Cut all this from under him & eventually he will either capitulate, flee the region, or be killed or captured. Topping him personally just gives the rebels another martyr whose boots many will strive to fill. The breaking up of tribes & outlawring (ie cutting off from family) of individuals is Lunar policy for a reason.

>I don't think of weaponthanes as the chief's bully boys. I look at them as
>>combat specialists who are attached to a wealthy thane's household.

Why are they there? Because the Thane needs persons who can perpetrate violence on others. Specialist or no "bully boy" depends on how the boss uses you. You don't get the attachment (with perks) for free.

>The chiefwill usually have more than anyone else in the clan but less than
>>half the total.

I believe the O/i call this 'politics'. I have argued pretty much the same in the post to which this is a reply; hence my point: >> those with the
>>best weapon skills will not nesseccarily become weaponthanes.

>This dispersal round the tula makes more sense from the point of view of
>>training the fyrd

and makes it likely that many are included in the farmers on the hill

>I don't think weaponthanes can avoid farming entirely,

Nor do I, at least not all of them. The Tribal Champion probably doesn't get too mucky & the local Sword has an adverse effect on fertility but the rank & file will probably be called out for big harvests (little not none). This increases their chances of being among the hilltop farmers, thus increasing the significance of that merry band.
>>The first initiation for the O/i male is the ordeal of the Pits
>I'm not sure the Heortlings recreate the Initiation of Orlanth as
>the story is told for every male when they reach adulthood.

Remembering that initiation is a small Heroquest. Deviating too far from the myth is a greater hazard than performing it.

>Even if they do the test will be modified so that there is a much lower
>mortality rate.

Why? This is part of the proof of adulthood. If they don't cut it you don't want them. Surival of the tribe is not enhanced by members who are notably deficient in the basic skills of that society unless they have a significantly valuable specialty, most likely gained after basic initiation & at the expense of renouncing those skills, not being deficient in the first place.

>Certainly it has nothing to do with the cult of Ernalda which most females
>are initiated in.

Unfortunately the only Ernalda initiation I can find has yet to be canonised (Has this changed Jane?) While I use it myself I can't argue from it. It does note, however, that all Ernalda initiates learn 2 handed spear as the shield is too heavy.

>One of Greg's objectives with Hero Wars is that lone Heroes can't
>defeat warbands[1].

Morden Defends the Camp.

>They rely on followers who make up their own warband

Morden is part of his Chief's warband, i.e. a follower, in as much as an O/i is such a thing.

>so while an Hero can appear from anywhere they are goingto need the
>>training and support of weaponthanes.

Why? They've spent their lives from walking playing with weapons, using weapons, training with weapons. Warfare is part of daily life. There are cattle raids on a regular basis, predators on the flocks, & hunting. Everybody fights & everyone Farms. (O/i all) I don't argue that they'll need their support, only the training. They should have that already precisely because of the mechanism which discourages the concentration of the majority of the best fighters. A mechanism on which we seem to agree.

>Just as they will need the help of Lawspeakers, Healers, etc.

Support not training & then for a very specialist role. The warrior is not a specialist role in O/i society, there are those who specialise in it but they do not have the monopoly on violence that 'civilised' armies do. The only non-warriors are dedicated healers & small children.

>[1] At least that's what I understood him to mean, and it's borne
>out by the combat system.

Really? Here I was thinking that the write up stating that Heros were to be empowered to wade through hordes of faceless spear carriers meant it. Particularly with the multibump mechanism. (digests passim)

>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

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