Re: The Glorantha Digest V8 #249

From: Martin Dick <>
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2001 16:08:32 +1100

Peter Metcalfe wrote:
> Martin Dick:
> > >"nation building" and "rule" are probably overstatements IMO.
> >[KoS quotes snipped]
> > From what I've read, I don't see it as an overstatement
> >IMO
> I'm really approaching "rule" and "nation-building" from the
> modern PoV about such things. Sartar and his heirs are not
> rulers according to our concepts of a ruler. They are much
> weaker in that their powers only dealt with certain matters
> (such as defense of Sartar or public works) - they certainly
> could not intervene in internal matters of the tribe or clan
> in the way that modern governments can intervene in family
> matters.

Given that the way Sartar managed to build his power and influence amongst the Dragon Pass Orlanthi was to 'interfere' in the affairs of tribes and clans and individuals, I'm sure he didn't stop doing it after he became Prince and I'm sure his heirs did too. As well, given his name of Bondmaker and Peacemaker, I wouldn't see him getting those if all he did was sit in Boldhome and ignored the conflict going on amongst the tribes.

Now it wasn't from an attitude of divine right of kings, as that as you point out is antithetical to the Orlanthi and I would also imagine antithetical to Sartar himself, given that he is a Larnsti.

I'm only guessing of course, but I imagine, Sartar regularly turned up on his tribes/clans doorstep, saying "I hear there is a problem going on, can I help?" and then solving the situation peacefully to the satisfaction of all concerned.

> As for "nation-building", I really think you are relying on
> modern concepts of nation-states, rather than something
> like the kingdom of Scotland, the Holy Roman Empire or
> the Laird of Ireland. Sartar created a strongly decentralized
> state - anything more would have impacted strongly upon the
> Orlanthi notion of freedom.

Actually that hadn't really entered my head at all, my concept of Sartar's nation is that he built it in people's heads, i.e mythically, that yes, many of the trappings of modern nation-states never existed in Sartar, though clearly some did e.g road-building but instead he took the idea of the Storm Tribe and expanded it so that the Dragon Pass Orlanthi felt themselves to be something bigger than their own clan or tribe and that is what the Ring of Sartar is, a very powerful bonding magic which was in parallel to their clan and tribal loyalties and not instead of them.

Of course that means, the Prince of Sartar walks a fine line in ensuring that it stays parallel, but that's probably what the Cult of Sartar's magic is all about.

> > >You really have to quantify what you mean by "strong current"
> > >[for a return to rule of the heirs of Sartar
> >Strong current - i.e I will put aside my feud with the
> >Black Oaks, because X, the true heir of Sartar asks me
> >to so that he/she can rid the land of the Lunars and
> >because he/she is the true heir I will do it,
> Temertain, whether Sartarites like it or not, is a true
> heir. He has the ancestry and he has made the flame
> of Sartar flicker. And secondly, although the Princes
> of Sartar could ask clans to settle feuds, the clan
> could always say "no". That one of them does for Argrath
> is a significant event.
> >Given that Temertain, barely managed a flicker from the
> >flame, many would not see him as a true heir of Sartar,
> Yet when Kallyr does the same thing (KoS p145), the same
> people see her as a true heir?

Yes, Temertain is a true heir of Sartar
technically, but does he wield the magic of Sartar? I don't really think so, so no people won't flock to his banner, even if he could lift it :-)

As for Kallyr, I'd forgotten that she only raised a flicker, and I would hazard that would explain why she always had so much trouble in raising the people of Sartar. Argrath was much more successful in the long run and what did he do with the Flame? KOS page 156

"Argrath stood tall, holding aloft his sacred sword, and prayed aloud to Orkanth for help and aid, and to witness his worthiness to be King. ... And the Flame of Sartar that leapt forth was twenty feet high, and as white hot as iron from the Gustbran's magical forge."

Argrath was then acclaimed as Prince of Sartar, what do you think would have happened if he'd got a flicker. I doubt that he would have been anywhere near as successful, as he would have reverted to being one of the many contestants who wished to rule Sartar. Of course it's not the only reason Argrath succeeded, but in my opinion it was a major victory for him.

Of course being Argrath, he may have faked it (an idle speculation).

> >But of course this is why the Lunars
> >support Temertain, as I said earlier, because he blocks a
> >lot of the political support that would accrue to another
> >heir of Sartar.
> This is IMO simplistic for two reasons. Firstly, the "Lunars"
> are far from a monolithic ideology and their policies on what
> should be done changes every now and then.

And this prevents it from being a reason because? It may not be the only reason, but I'm sure it is a major reason why the factions supporting Temertain, actually do support him. And obviously those factions had sufficient control of the situation to put him in place.

>In 1610 when they

> conquered Pavis, they slew Dorasar's heirs because they were
> descended from the House of Sartar. Yet in 1613, they accept
> Temertain as an heir when they could have killed him with ease.

Could it be because Temertain is an idiot, who is easily controlled by the Lunars? So we'll wipe out Sartar's descendants in Pavis event though it's been 65 years since they've been Sartarites and may have never been to Sartar, just because they are descended from Sartar.

Sounds to me like the Lunars rate the descendants of Sartar as a potential major threat to be eliminated. The exception being Temertain who they have on a string and I'm sure as you point out that there are Lunar factions who disagree with this policy and probably would just kill him.

> Secondly, Temertain is not tolerated because he "blocks"
> support. He is tolerated because he is the legitimate heir
> of Sartar and useful to the Empire because he validates
> their rule.

I can't really see the difference between these two statements, obviously having a heir on the throne, helps prevent other heirs from placing their claim. It may not be the only reason, but it surely IMO a reason why they put him there.

>Currently the policy is to transform Sartar

> from a web of tribal and clan governments into a more
> national government like that of Tarsh.
> >Yes, unrealistic under Temertain, but hardly unrealistic
> >under Kallyr or Argrath,
> Who is Argrath? Kallyr is some bint from the Kheldron
> tribe who lead a foolish revolt back in 1613 and promptly
> fled the country when Temertain appeared. Last time
> anybody heard of her, she was a camp-follower of King
> Broyan (a one-time slave of the pharaoh) and fat lot of
> good she did him. From ruling the Volsaxi, he's now holed
> up in Whitewall.

And when we read about the 1613 rebellion we see KoS page 145:

"In 1613, one of the most widespread and violent uprisings occurred. Attempts had previously been made to reassemble the Ring of Sartar. Although they had always been a failure, they always succeeded in some part, thereby indicating that the spirit of Sartar still lived, someplace. If the Ring could be assembled and held, then it would be a powerful summons to bring Sartar back. If he returned he would bring great powers, and they could cast the oppressors out.

The attempt to forge the Ring of Sartar in 1613 failed, but encouraged the conspirators to strike anyway to preserve what they had gained."

Big mistake. No powers of Sartar, no true heir, bang revolution goes up in smoke. Seems to me, that Kallyr was foolish trying to revolt without the powers of Sartar.

> Only Eurmali are likely to believe that Kallyr will be
> leading a Lunar-free Sartar in the near future. Most
> other Orlanthi make a more sober assessment and conclude
> the chances of a Lunar-free Sartar are dim. When the
> going is hard, Orlanth teaches you to rely on your clan
> and tribe and _not_ some pie-in-the-sky dream.

Agree entirely, the Orlanthi have to come up with something special to succeed in a rebellion, whether it is reassembling the Ring of Sartar or coming up with Draconic Magics or a Dragon itself. Doesn't mean that a lot of people aren't hoping for a sign or aren't prepared to help out with the rebellion or wouldn't rise if a true and competent heir of Sartar appeared. The competent being there as the Ernaldans would never allow their husbands to storm off into a rebellion without a good chance of success.

Sounds like there is a neat campaign in there, find the true heir of Sartar, get him/her to light the flame and lead us to victory.

> >given that we know one or the
> >other manages a successful rebellion in 1625,
> The rebellion only _occurred_ because the Dragon devoured
> Tatius, the Lunar Army and their Sartarite allies. It would
> have been crushed by Tarsh had not Fazzur been stabbed in
> the back by Moirades. Between 1613 and 1625, only fools dare
> dream about rebellion. _After_ 1625, everything has changed.

And the dragon just rose up by accident or did it happen to be part of a coordinated plot by the rebels? I guess Sartar Rising! will reveal the details, but I would be very surprised if it just happened to be a fortuitous coincidence.

> >and given Kallyr's adviser Minaryth is spurred on by the voice
> >of Sartar,
> "We are to expect the return of Sartar because you are advised
> by a madman with voices in his head? Right."

Yes, and I'm sure that many people in Sartar would say exactly that, but when the madman with the voices in his head demonstrates the magic and knowledge of Sartar himself, many will think again and a lot will fall behind said madman. It's far from unknown in the real world even, let alone in a world, where voices in your head aren't that uncommon.

> > >And as for the "significant use" of magic, I think that only
> > >the people to worship Sartar were the rings of the cities
> > >and unconfederated tribes using the magics that had been
> > >gifted to them in the sacred time ceremonies. They then
> > >carried out the sacrifices to him on day 88, perhaps using
> > >about one KoDP checkbox's worth of magic on that day.
> >Hardly sounds like that to me and from reading King of Dragon
> >Pass. Clearly the roads as described are wondrous things
> According to Greg, they are mundane (he says, recently bitten).

Well, not from the descriptions I've read, partly mundane I'm sure, but it's hard to believe that they are totally mundane KOS page 136:

"The mountainous section was the most beautiful and amazing. The wide, paved surface jutted out upon the faces of the cliffs, perched there by stone supports that seemed to grow right out of the cliff. The road went straight over gaps, supported in places by buttresses and towers. At intervals, the road widened to allows inns, temples, or simple wayside rest stops. The road was so secluded in some places that it was virtually untouchable except by those who would have to scale cliffs or architecture."

Sound pretty incredible to me, sounds as good or better than anything the Romans did and 1490s Sartar was no Roman Empire when it came to engineering. If the dwarves did it, then it's still magic as far as I'm concerned.

Maybe Greg if he's still reading could expand on his comment?

> >and would require heaps of continuing community support
> >to maintain, something supported by the very page you suggested
> >[snipped]
> >Why would they fall into disrepair so fast and why
> >suppress his rituals if he was the equivalent of
> >one checkbox of KoDP magic?
> The disrepair starts since 1602 and about twenty years
> worth of non-maintenance is noticeable. This would be
> especially true for the roads as ice forms underneath
> them every winter, swelling and creating pot-holes.
> Five winters without repair and they would be very bad.

True, the mountains of Sartar are probably pretty hard on the roads, still I don't see that as necessarily applying to the walls.

> As for suppressing the rituals, I can only surmise that
> the reason to do so was to reduce the resistance of the
> realm. If every clan and tribe worshipped Sartar (as
> they do Orlanth), then the rituals would be nigh
> impossible to suppress.

Why? It seems to have worked in Tarsh, very little Orlanth worship there and Orlanth is more important than Sartar. And of course if the resistance the worship provides to the Sartarites is equivalent to one checkbox, hey then I can't see why the Lunars would bother.

> >Boldhome is described as an 'impossible city' in Intro
> >to Glorantha, created by Sartar, a significant chunk
> >of it in one day, hardly the magic of one checkbox.
> But Boldhome was made with the aid of the dwarves, not by
> the Cult of Sartar. It was made to validate his kingship
> and provide proof as to why the tribes should support him.

And it was the equivalent of one check box of magic how? Still seems to be an absolutely amazing feat, that I can't see a tribe being able to duplicate let alone a single clan. The descriptions don't seem to indicate that he had any help with building the walls,

"He established the famous city of Boldhome by erecting the walls overnight"

Something he seems to have done quite often. Again even with the help of dwarves, if they helped with this part, (can you give me a reference for the dwarves part in building Boldhome?), still hardly in the checkbox category.

> >So, we have a clear example where a group of three tribes
> >who live right next to each other cooperate to build a
> >city, maintain the city, spend great resources as a group
> >building the Library and maintaining the Library over
> >a century and yet, this has very little effect on the
> >relationships between the tribes making up the confederation?
> You originally contended that there was a _national_ feeling
> of co-operation on the evidence of the Jonstown Library. I
> pointed out that co-operative relations would be among the
> clan first, then tribe and then city. I have never denied
> city co-operation but point out that here it takes the form
> of what's-in-it- for-me? rather than any notion of sharing
> and kinship support.

Actually my original contention was that the emphasis on the disunity of clans and tribes in Sartar has been overplayed.

I gave two examples of how that is not IMO, an accurate description of the situation in the 1620s, one example being the cooperation that must have been engendered by the rule of Sartar and the creation of the nation/Ring of Sartar.

The second example of the cooperation in the society being the Jonstown Confederation and its library.

The two examples are quite different, though that being said, Jonstown would never have come into existence without Sartar.

I really don't beleive that tribes can actively participate in city life, rituals and development for over a century without their being something beyond "what's in it for me" for a lot of people, just the interchange of bloodlines via marriage would ensure this.

> >And that as soon as the Lunars win, that century's worth
> >of cooperation flys out the door?
> It's what the record says. Who among the Jonstown Tribes
> lifted a finger to save the Maboder from the Telmori?

The Maboder had by then defected to the Lunars. So for a rebel this was a good thing. Of course the way I read it, it seems to have been a surprise attack by the Telmori on the Maboder and no one really had time to intervene. I would've thought the Lunars would have if they could. Afterwards, tribesmen came to avenge the Maboder (alternatively kill the Telmori) but also rebels and outlaws aided the Telmori.

Maybe those who wanted to help the Maboder were out-politiced, doesn't mean there weren't people who wanted to.

> >As far as the cities existing before Sartar, I don't understand,
> >according to everything I've read, Sartar was the creator of
> >the cities according to the Composite History.
> They were there before the Kingdom of Sartar. Their existence
> is not dependant on the cult of Sartar as other Orlanthi have
> formed such confederations without Sartar's aid. Sartar was
> instrumental in their making, but not essential to their
> continued existence.

I can't see any evidence one way or the other for this, but I would be astounded that after creating the city rings, Sartar and his line weren't heavily involved in them.

> >IMO, the cities are integrally linked to the nation of Sartar.
> That may be, but they still exist despite the demise of
> the nation of Sartar and the related cult of Sartar. If
> the City Rings no longer existed, then the support they
> receive from the tribes will be far reduced and they will
> suffer for it.

As does many things that Sartar created, doesn't necessarily mean that they are not weakened by his disappearance as the decay of the city walls seems to indicate.

> > >What the Prince is concerned
> > >with is public works and defense of the kingdom. By merely being,
> > >he does create an environment that encourages the peaceful
> > >settlement of disputes in that the leaders are less likely to
> > >choose violence.
> >Yes, but the "merely being" is not just sitting in his castle,
> >to me, it involves rites and worship and community support.
> IMO no. Rites and worship is confined to matters of public
> works and defense of the Kingdom. There are no rites for
> the settlement of clan feuds throughout the kingdom because
> that is not the job of the Prince of Sartar. The Prince
> interacts with the Cities and unaffiliated tribes, not the
> Orlanthi at large.

IMO, yes because given Sartar's name was the Peacemaker and this must be based upon him interacting with the Orlanthi at large. I'll expand upon this in a little bit.

> >Are you then proposing that the princes of Sartar were
> >actively suppressing the enemities between the clans
> >and tribes, so that once they were gone, then the
> >thing broke apart?
> No. Your claim is that a belief in Sartar would have
> kept a lid on such grievances. I believe that such
> grievances were resolved peacefully because of the
> prince's "simply existing" created an environment for
> peaceful resolution. But since the Kingdom is defunct,
> there's no such environment. All the lunars have to
> do is say "well, why not sort it out yourself?" when
> asked to resolve differences and the Orlanthi will fall
> upon each other.

Actually I never claimed that, I said that the Cult of Sartar/Ring of Sartar/Nation of Sartar changed the Dragon Pass Orlanthi from what they were like before Sartar. The position of many people seems to be that they are basically the same culture as 1300s Dragon Pass.

Sure, in the chaos following the taking of Boldhome and the breaking of the Ring of Sartar, a lot of people would've taken advantage of the situation. That doesn't mean that they instantly reverted back to the 1300s and they suddenly lost all capability to resolve their own differences.

I don't believe that in Glorantha, things simply happen, I think that Glorantha is a very magical and mythical place and if things simply happen, it is because someone/thing is making them happen. Now that may be a different conception of Glorantha to other people and yourself, in that case, we'll simply have to differ.

> > >Hence I'd place the
> > >loyalties of most Sartarites to the nation as a distant third
> > >behind clan and tribe (fourth if the cities are counted).
> >But I think the whole point of Sartar the man, was to
> >show people that loyalty to the Kingdom of Sartar was
> >in fact loyalty to their clan and tribe and city.
> You are not seeing things the Orlanthi way. The social
> cosmos is constructed upon kinship ties. You support
> your closest kin (the clan) and then your tribe. Beyond
> the tribe and clan, kinship ties are very thin and most
> Orlanthi ignore them (but the tribal ring members do not).

The recent heavy emphasis on kinship ties is really neat, but we can take it too far. Kinship is a very elastic notion IMO amongst the Orlanthi. Let's look at the LightBringers, all members of the Storm Tribe

Orlanth - well he is related to Umath
Issaries - nope not related to Umath
Lhankor Mhy - nope not related to Umath
Chalana Arroy - nope not related to Umath Eurmal - nope not related to Umath
Flesh Man - nope not related to Umath
Ginna Jar - I don't know

Who were the people that made up the World Council of Friends, the Orlanthi. Who formed the basis of the EWF, the Orlanthi. How many of the people in the making of the Storm Tribe were directly related to Orlanth, all of them by the end of the ceremony. Kinship is very elastic when the Orlanthi think it is in their benefit to be elastic. It's one of their strengths in my opinion.

If most Orlanthi ignore their kinship ties beyond the tribe and clan in Sartar and the tribal clan ring don't then they won't be on the tribal clan ring for long in an Orlanthi environement, IMO.
> Sartar did not affect the ordinary Orlanthi. What he did
> was to work with the Tribal _Kings_. They decide the best
> interests of their people and it is only by convincing them
> that he managed to create the Kingdom. He does not need
> to convince the Orlanthi at large to do so, for once he has
> convinced the tribal kings, they will do their damned best
> to swing in the their people.

This is very different to the Sartar I've read about. Sartar in my opinion was fundamentally concerned with the common folk of Dragon Pass. His deals with the Telmori and the Ducks support this, the following quote for KoS page 137 also supports this

"Sartar was loved by the common tribes people, for he often went among them and searched for those worthy and just enough to help convey the kingsom towards a good future. Those who he found sufficient were rewarded, often in simple ways like their cows never going dry. Some got greater rewards, like swords, or the magical stone of the Anzarni clan which is useless to kings or warriors, but of immeasurable value to a carpenter. The villains and robbers Sartar met were turned into toads and yapping dogs, or plagued with itching disease and bad teeth."

Hardly a story about a man who did not affect the ordinary Orlanthi or who only worked with the Tribal Kings. I think the reason he succeeded was because over 20 years he persuaded the vast majority of the Orlanthi of Dragon Pass, that he could give them a better way of life without giving up their freedom (and being a Larnsti, reducing freedom would be the last thing that he would want).

Finally, don't you think that a Sartar where there is a current of mythical unity and nationalism, not a Sartar, Sartar Uber Alles nationalism, but a mythical/religious one is more interesting than one where such a stream of thought is some insignificant minority. It doesn't have to be the majority, in fact it would be boring if it was the majority, but if the other half of the Orlanthi all (15%) were believers in Sartar the nation, it doesn't stop any of the story lines I've heard proposed and does add new story lines like the ones I suggested on the Hero Wars digest.

The last paragraph is really where I'm coming from, though debating Gloranthan Lore is sort of fun, I guess I'm a Lhankor Mhy at heart :-)


End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #250

Powered by hypermail