More on Balazar

From: Oliver Bernuetz <>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 12:26:37 -0600

I'd said :

>I don't agree that they're theists (the citadel dwellers). I have a
> >number of reasons why I disagree :

>1) Balazar was in charge for such a brief time (32 years and really
>he only became leader in 1087) that I don't think he could install
>wholesale change.

Peter Metcalfe :

>This is _if_ the citadel inhabitants are Votanki. But I don't
>assume that Balazar came in just with his three sons, I feel that
>he came in with a large following. The descendants of these
>followers are the Citadel people, not the Votanki. This makes
>the introduction of pigs, agriculture and citadels a less dramatic
>change as it's really a colonization of Votankiland, not a

An interesting point. I don't dispute the fact that Balazar didn't come alone. However I don't agree that he brought a whole crowd of colonizers though. I agree that your position makes the introduction of those things a less dramatic change. I believe that when Balazar came most of his followers were young bachelors who followed him out of personal loyalty.

>>2) Again, I believe that all able bodied followers of Tharkantus
>>were in the True Golden Horde and no one was left to keep the >>religion
>>going in it's original fashion.

>There's always a fair bit of hyperbole about the amount of men
>that were killed. In any case, the Yelmalio cult in Prax suffered
>a similar catastrophe yet we see from the list of the Counts that
>the first nomad was over two centuries later. So yes, the amount
>of men killed was disastrous but no, the priestly traditions
>carried on. Yes, the Sun Domers in Prax did get taken over by the
>nomads and suffered for it, but no, the Votanki haven't the
>muscle to do the same to the citadel folk.

A valid point however in the Balazaring case the body of followers drawn from was only a small percentage of the Votankiland population rather than a big part of the main culture like in Prax so the impact could have been much more severe.

>>"The hunter chiefs who tended the children of Balazar raised each
>>according to their own tribal interests, so the three sons were
>>quarrelsome rather than cooperative."

>I really read this as an ex-post-facto myth of why the Balazar's
>kids started slugging it out.

Okay I'll buy that.

>>3) Tharkantus isn't enough to base a society on. He's only a
>>warrior/light/leadership god and there's no indication in any
>>writings that the other entities the Balazarings worship are
>>theistic in nature.

>The Sun Domers in Prax seem to live well by Yelmalio.

In Prax though there's always been evidence that the Sun County bunch worship other deities who are part of the Solar Pantheon, Lokarnos, Dendara for two examples. Yes Yemalio's the top deity but he's got lots of other deities backing him up.

>In any case Entra, the swine deity, that Balazar stole is a theistic
>entity. She is mentioned as a subcult of Esrola in Thunder
>Rebels p179 while Mereran, the patron of the Great Vrok Hawks,
>is from Theistic Rinliddi.

I'm not happy with Entra as described on the web site because originally as Mralota she was said to have been stolen from the dragons by Balazar. If swine were brought in by colonists wouldn't they have had their own swine deity? Why would they need to steal one from the Heortlings? And if they didn't bring swine along when they wanted one why would they go for a storm related deity rather than taking a solar associated swine deity. Don't Solars raise pigs?

As far as the great vrok hawk patron I haven't seen that anywhere so I'll take your word on it. However the king of Dykene Skilfil Heartpiercer is said to have hero quested for the ability to raise the giant hawks so he could easily have encountered an aspect of Mereran on the Spirit Plane and gained the ability.

>Yes, there is little mention of the women's goddess in Griffin >Mountain
>but that might be a relic of the pub-crawl ethos in the days >when it was

Too true.

>>Thus I believe that he was changed into a animistic spirit and
>>is offered improper worship.

>The main grip I have about introducing misapplied worship is
>that it creates more headaches than it solves.

I agree that it creates headaches however I think your colonization approach creates the following problems instead.

  1. Instead of having the citadel dwellers being an offshoot of the Votanki, sharing common beliefs, forms of worship, etc. they're now aliens living in Balazar. Yes, enough times passed to make their presence well accepted but I can't see the same sort of dynamic between the citadels and the hearths existing. Why do they see themselves as a common culture (sure the citadel dwellers are seen as misguided by the hearths BUT they still see a common culture).
  2. There's always been the assumption that there are also worshippers of Tharkantus among the hearths (chieftains and warriors) but I have problems reconciling an almost entirely animistic society having a few theistic worshippers amongst them. Yes the Heortlings have Kolat but he's an odd fish amongst them and a very specialized deity for them. Tharkantus is a fairly significant deity for the Balazarings. He's one of the areas major deities especially as far as the rulers go.
  3. Why do the citadel dwellers speak the same language as the hearths? I can't see either group changing their language as a result of colonization.
  4. There's no mention of physical differences among the Balazarings. This is easier to account for with an influx of bachelors rather than families. Marriage between citadel dwellers and hearth groups would be difficult with such extreme religious differences and intermixing would have been rarer.
  5. In some ways it diminishes Balazar's accomplishments. Instead of coming in and uniting the people and trying to better their lot he just brought in his colonists and built the citadels. He's gone from Balazar the builder and benefiter to Balazar the conqueror and imposer. Instead of skillfully bringing the squabbling clans together by bringing his god to them, marrying into their spirit family (thus becoming one of their ancestors in the process) and becoming one of them in the process he's just a failed conqueror. He failed either way but I've always seen him as a lesser version of Sartar.

Yes, the colonization model makes it easier on worshipers but I think the switch to misapplied worship is still more feasible. I'd suggest a different name for the swine spirit worshiped and the vrok hawk spirit is such a recent addition that it's very easy to explain as animistic worship.

Oliver D. Bernuetz

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