Heroic Enculturation

From: Donald R. Oddy <donald_at_grove.demon.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2000 22:37:38 GMT

>From: darvall <madamx_at_ns2.mikka.net.au>
>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.

I don't know about that, an officer's skills are quite different to an NCO's and, in Dara Happen units at least, promotion from NCO will be rare. I can see the file leader performing hero quests relating to keeping the phalanx together and ordered while the officers hero quests relate to where and how the phalanx is deployed.

>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.

I don't believe Orlanthi children have much time for play in the sense modern city children do. They are doing tasks which teach them what they need for adult life - most of which is related to farming or hunting not fighting. Furthermore you don't send a child out with a spear until they know how to use it - better for them to run back for help then get killed through clumsyness. To get to that stage requires someone to train them and there is only so much time to do it. That's why I think a day a week is the best they can hope for.

>>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.

Maybe a raid and a defence each week for a season, assuming there's a sufficently hostile clan nearby and the elders don't negotiate a peace deal. Of course a well planned raid doesn't involve combat, the raiders are away before the defenders have time to react.

>>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's an interesting way of looking at it - the Hero as the unit, presumably represented by its standard. Not quite sure how it would work as a player character though.

>>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?

No, 25-33% of steads have a single hero. And while it may be easy to disrupt you have to find out which hill and get sufficent troops there. Of course if you blunder you will strengthen the ritual.

>>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.

Maybe, but the average policeman is probably no match for the brawlers on an individual basis. It's the training at working together that makes the difference and that's true whether it's trunchons against broken bottles or sword against sword.

>>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.

Doesn't appear to be mentioned in KoS then, that only mentions the dragon eating the Lunar priests and troops and the battle when Kallyr is killed.

>>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.

They don't strike me that way, he puts the best Orlanthi fighters on a par with the best Lunar troops (the hoplites). He may well be underestimating numbers but the 10% of adult male population is, if anything, high. My view is that the fyrd would have trouble with an equivelent number of peltasts who are professionals trained in a similar style of fighting while just bouncing off a formed phalanx.

>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.

Precisely what I mean, making sure you only target known opponents and separate them from the bulk of the population with propaganda and bribes. The Malayan Emergency is just about the only RW example I can think of. Whether the Lunars have the time and knowledge to achieve that successfully is the question.

>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.

We seem to be arguing terminology here, to me a weaponthane is person who has specialised in combat and would include most skilled warriors irrespective of who's household he is attached to. You appear to apply the term purely to the clan chief's 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.

To counterbalance healing and protection magics there are hostile, particularly chaos, magics as well as the ability to control fertility. In any case one of the biggest population controls in the RW has always been famine and families the size you suggest would be very vunerable to a crop failure.

I checked the initiation part of Jane's web pages today and her interpretation of the myths fits my ideas - it's very difficult to get killed or seriously hurt even if you fail and decent preparation makes that unlikely.

>>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.

Even in Orlanthi society healing people and animals is going to be more common than fighting. For every combat injury they'll be at least one caused by handling livestock plus twice that number of injuries to livestock.

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