Re: types of Orlanthi; Umathela

From: David Dunham <>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 13:10:50 -0800

"dabick" asked

>What are the cultural differences between the different types of Orlanthi?
>What makes a Heortlander a Heortlander and what makes an Alakori an Alakori
>and a Satarite a Satarite. That is other than the last great hero. I
>realize the heroes have a great deal to do with how the Orlanthi culture
>works. What I am missing is the break down that says this here set culture
>on this path and this hero set this path.

I'm not quite sure I understand the question.

In my game, East Ralian Orflanthi bury their dead, while Heortlings burn theirs. This is a cultural difference. Is that what you're after?

Chris Bell wrote:
> > The Umathelans are IMO also descended largely from Harandings (or
> > even a different stock), plus they have been experimented on by God
> > Learners and then isolated for centuries. I believe the Umathelans
> > are only nominally Orlanthi, worshipping their own set of nine
> > Lightbringers (Sandy posted on this years ago).

>Do you have access to this reference, or to sources concerning the
>Umathelans in general? I'm very curious about them. Where can I go to
>learn more about Umathelan culture? Are they Agimori or Wenerian? Does
>their religion Orlanthi Lightbringer/Storm worship with Pamaltelan beliefs?

Why yes, I do have reference to my opinion. And Sandy's stuff is in Digest archives. You'll find a bit on Umathela in Missing Lands from Issaries, Inc.

I eventually plan to publish my stuff somewhere, perhaps on my web site (which has only a minimal amount at the moment). The Umathelans are definitely white-skinned (wareran). Their religion is something of a combination of Orlanthi worship with native Pamaltelan gods both from the inland plains and Fonrit.

Here's my summary of their Lightbringers Quest (building off Sandy's list of the Nine Lightbringers):

The Lightbringers Quest
Chaos enters the world from the north, lifting up the Sky Dome to get in. Lots of stuff slides off the Dome - fire lands on the Artmali. The sun had been set in motion earlier by Umath, and it falls out of the sky and plunges into the western ocean, ending up in Hell. At first things aren't so bad. Heler and the other storm gods invade Umathela (as do the trolls). Tyloque is chief of a clan of gods. But gradually things get worse and worse and Chaos spreads. Eventually, only Dorgalat can make anything burn. Tyloque, his advisor Ropotes, and his bearer Cotoplan set out to return the world. On the way, he discovered Phausia accompanied by the twin sisters Rabilis and Systella. Phausia was seeking vengeance for the sun's destroyer. Although they were from a different tribe, Tyloque persuaded them to join. Systella turns everyone into cormorants so they can dive to the bottom of the ocean (since that's where the sun is). They enter hell, and have many trials. They find Thyla, Neiropha, and Rondella; the latter is searching for her husband, the sun, and they join forces. They face many trials. At one point, everyone is enslaved, but this has no effect on Cotoplan (since he's already a slave); he frees the others, and in turn Tyloque frees him (this is why there are no slaves in Umathela). After more trials, they discover the sun, but he's dead. Rabilis rekindles him. Everyone joins together and defeats Chaos. They send the Bee Goddess out ahead. They return to the surface, Tyloque pushes away the bad clouds and the sun returns to the sky.

Olli Kantola

>IMO the Godlearners made sure that they had a very monomythic
>worldview/mythology - more monomythic than the Heortlings. They also
>identified several local godlings with the monomythic equivalents, thereby
>gaining power over the locals.

Yes. (The God Learners couldn't really mess with the Heortlings, after all, since they were part of the Dragon Empire.)

>Since the Godlearners demise monomyth has been degrading. The Umathelans
>have gone back to their roots.

The problem is that they can't go back to their roots:

  1. Literally, their roots are underwater, in what was once Slontos or that vicinity
  2. After centuries of monomythicizing, they don't know what their roots are

>IMO Issaries is still Issaries in Umathela, but
>with heavy local variations. I think that when the Godlearners molded local
>gods to a universal format, the change was irreversible. Old, local myths and
>pieces of the monomyth, but still identifieble and under the same name.

I agree about the change being irreversible, which is another reason they can't go back to their roots.

In fact, I think they have an Elias Lonnrot (or Harmast Barefoot) figure who assembled an array of deities into a group of Lightbringers, in an attempt to bring down the God Learners. (Harmast assembled a bunch of possibly unrelated myths into a coherent whole, much as Lonnrot created the epic Kalevala by bringing together a bunch of poems.)

David Dunham
Glorantha/HW/RQ page: Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

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