Heroic Enculturation

From: darvall <madamx_at_ns2.mikka.net.au>
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2000 11:43:31 +1100

<snip of clarifications>

>>Soldiers are not the same as warriors. A soldier may also be a
>>warrior but not neccessarily.
>Why should a soldier not be a hero?

Because his training militates against it.

>the file leader who holds the phalanx together when all the officers are
>>slain and the enemy has decimated the ranks with horrible magics

Has performed an heroic act. I doubt that he will be worshipped as a minor cult.

>is just as much a hero as the Humakti last stand (both most likely
>>recognised after death).

And unless the Humakti has quested for a sigificant power both have little chance of becoming the basis for a hero cult. Here's the dif'. The Humakti comes from a culture (presuming O/i extraction) which encourages the individual to perform these quests. The Lunar file leader, should he quest in this way, is headed for officer status damn quick or execution for dereliction of duty. A soldier's life leaves little time for that sort of individual advancement.

>>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.
>So heortling babes in arms fight?

No but their elders do & they are exposed to war & weapons from birth as the pelorian peasant is not. Enculturation, its a big part of how you lead your life.

>More likely three or four years
>of scaring off predators and eight or nine years of weapon training
>at not more than a day a week.

How do you learn to use a knife & fork? Why can a Chinese 5 year old make a neater meal with chopsticks than I can? O/i are exposed to weapons in much the same way, they're an accompaniment to daily life. You go herding with spear & sling. You take dad his lunch carrying a spear. He eats it next to his spear. You then go off & play with your mates. Whats the game? Hill of Gold, or Braggis best cattle raid, or any one of the multitude of very violent stories you've been told. RW example is the report of a police chief into one of the American school massacres. The kid acted like a proffesionally trained shooter. Aim for center of seen body mass, double tap & move on. He learnt the technique from constant exposure to computer games, ie in his play. Our society discourages that kind of behaviour, the O/i promote it.

>Just about competant to go on a raid
>without sticking his spear in his leader's backside. Remember the
>frequent raiding of the Orlanthi isn't a daily or even weekly activity
>- - they'd never have time to farm if it was.

Fire season.

>The Pelorian peasant by
>comparison gets several weeks basic training and then practices every
>day except when on campaign.

Starting at the time of his recruitment when he starts with drill, a subject no O/i needs. The several weeks will just about qualify him to carry a spear in file without tripping up the whole phalanx. Drill is often maligned as mindless but even with the very short modern rifles it takes time & concentration to learn. To do so with a 12 foot or even 6 foot lump of wood & use it as the basis for unit tactics is a process at which I would blanch. After 6 weeks recruit training I still square gaited & I started from a higher knowledge base than a Pelorian peasant would. I did not need to learn the reason for latrines for instance.

>He starts from a lower base than the Orlanthi but


>rapidly surpasses him.

>Of course the styles of fighting are so different that either can best the
>>other in different circumstances.

My point exactly. The Pelorian peasant has a very limmitted repetoire in terms of fighting, even after some years of service. Put him in a situation where he can't use those group tactics & he loses. While the Heros are backed by groups they are still out front doing the kicking. Soldiers, by comparison, are the group who do the backing the *Unit* is effectivly the Hero (thats why its called a Unit. It is a single entity , hopefully greater than the sum of its parts but often not.)

>That means most steads will not have a hero, maybe one in four or one in
>three <snip>
>That's why the handful of farmers from one stead gathering on
>a hill aren't worth the effort of supressing.

What? between 25 & 30% of the population has the potential, via an easily disrupted act, to produce a major security problem & you'd leave it be?

>Theres a difference between good at brawling and good at fighting. When
>the police are called to your Queensland brawls how long does it take
>for them to break them up?

Not long granted but then as I said last post O/i pub blues aren't limmitted to a few blokes going the knuckle. The RW equivalent would be allowing your local TA unit to remain under arms at all times plus having the cops take sides in the brawl plus having every male over 14 as part of said TA unit & having played with those same weapons from a much earlier age plus being part of a society which viewed violence as a natural part of the system instead of as a crime requiring policing. The result would be extremely bloody.

>Isn't that the battle where a large chunk of the Lunar army were eaten
>by a dragon? Of course not all Lunar troops are regulars - e.g. the Tarsh

Nope. Its the start of Starbrows rebellion.

>Equally a population of 18,000 would provide a lot more than 1,000 troops,
>probably 4-5,000.

Yep, but my point is that the Good Rat is operating on guesses informed by Pelorian (it looks like) experience only.Thus his assumptions about the fighting qualities of the fyrd are equally suspect coming as they do from a premise based on his feeling of cultural superiority. A mistake common & commonly fatal in the RW.


>That's the mistake many governments make when fighting guerillas. Sure
>the fighting martyrs end up in the songs and tales and inspire the
>hotheads of the next generation but they don't keep the populace
>behind the guerillas. That happens when government troops attack and
>kill people who are suspected of supporting rather than actively
>involved in the insurrection. And since the government can't accurately
>determine who is who that happens as soon as they try and attack the
>support base.

To which I can only say 'Malayan Emergency'.ie. there are very many tactics available that do not involve wholesale slaughter of villages nor indeed the alienation of populations. They take longer & have a greater start up cost but their results are far more enduring. The Seven Mothers cult is a greater threat to O than the Granite Phalanx.

>Only if that is their primary purpose in Orlanthi society,

I reiterate >depends on how the boss uses you. You don't get the attachment (with perks) for free. You want to remain the chief's weaponthane? You do what you're told. If you don't you take Rastaluf's path. Secondly that appears to be their primary purpose in O/i *politics*.

>my argument
>is that their primary purpose is to provide weapons training and a
>limited amount of group fighting knowledge to the average farmer.

But there is already a preponderance of skilled warriors out among the populace. The chief just has the most impressive warband, not the majority of the tribe/clan's best warriors.

>Because you don't spend 10 - 15 years raising children and then kill
>off one in seven because they don't meet a high standard. You set a
>standard of basic competence which has some risk (usually of injury
>or humiliation rather than death) and find other tasks for those who

Assuming human levels of fecundity for Gloranthan humans & adding in Bless Pregnancy & various healing & protection magics to reduce deaths in childbirth & indeed in childhood we can expect the average group of siblings to be at least 5 & probably between 7 & 10 with sibling groups of 12 & upward not uncommon. It doesn't make the loss any easier to bear but this is what your God requires. Medieval noble families faced a similar problem with all the RW horrors thrown in. They still invested the effort & trained their sons to warfare & the return on this training was a great deal lower than the return on initiation into O is for his people.

>>>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.
>I think we are meaning different things by training, most Orlanthi
>training will be weapon handling with a bit of basic formation work.
>That will start as children but continue into adult life with regular
>weapon practice. While it is possible to learn entirely by experience,
>it is a lot faster and safer to be taught with experience re-inforcing
>the lessons. A fighting hero needs to follow that route even if he has
>the natural ability which makes it easy.

Yes & this occurs. A great part of weapons training is just hanging with the more experienced & talking about it & being walked through it. This is equally true of RW training in both weapons & team sports, which fighting is to the O/i. Thus the nightly bull session after ploughing is a continuation of training, weapons & other, as is the lunch break, & listenning to the myths in the evening. And then there's the cattle raids. Weapons & warfare are an integral part of the society as befits a culture whose first rule is 'Violence is always an option'. I'm not arguing that weaponthane quality warriors aren't out there but why would the chief disperse his best political arguement when there is over 50% of the warriors of that quality already out there doing that training? As I said this depends very much on how your chief chooses to play it & indeed if the steads are going to accept his inserting his warriors among them.

>You could say the same about healing, everyone knows how to bind minor
>wounds, treat routine illnesses and a bit of healing magic. The
>specialist healers teach those skills and are called for the more
>difficult problems.

Except that healer is not a core occupation in the society while warrior is Sure everyone knows how to deal with the daily bumps & scrapes but rarely with the same expertise as their spear handling. After all it is still prefferable not to be clubbed by the Uz in the first place.

HW rulesy stuff

>Work through an extended contest <snip>

(I still don't like the fact that it invalidates my fave Gloranthan quote 'Its only a trollkin' Rurik Runespear.)

>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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