Ulerians and cities

From: plarsen_at_mail.utexas.edu
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 10:22:03 -0600 (CST)

Mark Galeotti says:

> I did say caricature

Well, yes you did. Just trying to be a Texan (not doing a very good job, either).  

> Definitely. I'd imagine calling on a Kolating is a drastic option to
> most
> heortlings, to be avoided if at all possible. Of course, what we call
> spirits might actually be daimones in HWspeak, or even if they aren't,
> Orlanthi, not being privy to AR, might assume any otherworldy
> manifestations
> to be daimones unless given reason to think otherwise. I wonder if
> 'spirit'
> then becomes a convenient alibi - your godi fails to get rid of a
> troublesome entity and he mutters 'it must be one of those spirits'...
> Just
> as the shaman is an unpredictable and frightening force, even when on
> your
> side, spirits that don't 'follow the rules' to which you are accustomed
> must
> be especially unsettling.

All good points. Yep, "spirit" can equal daimon, especially when translating from RW material that generally fails to recognize Glornathan jargon. Still, how do theists deal with spirits? Some theistic areas are almost void of spirits, I'd think, but Dragon Pass has a larger than average population (if only to give Heortling animist player characters something to do). Assuming Kolati and other animists are 1% of the Sartar population (this may be high), spirit-talkers are going to be pretty thin on the ground (at even 1 spirit-talker per 10 animists that's only 90 in all of Sartar, and the proportion is likely a lot lower). So what does the average Heortling do? I'd guess the local spirits, unless particularly unfriendly, have some sort of relation to the Storm Tribe -- each clan would have traditions on how to appease the spirits of their tula. "Stay away from those rocks, kid, or the Hungry Ghosts will get you. We feed them the blood of a sheep once a year to keep them quiet." "When you go into the woods to hunt, do not break the branches of trees marked with a blue cord; we have a treaty with them. If you sense that you have angered the trees, cut your finger and smear blood on one of the marked trees, saying "my apologies, grandmother, I hurt you out of clumsiness not malice." Do this quickly, or you may not return."

I wouldn't make a big deal out of this, unless I had some animists that needed something to do, but it would add flavor -- give the players the sense that there are things theists just can't deal with, and they should be treated very gingerly. "Halgerd the Clan Champion was unstoppable in battle, but she offended the Sleeping Cave and died mad in its depths."

Ian Thomson says:

> in a world where sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy
> could be managed magically, spending a few years as an Uleria initiate
> might prove to be surprisingly popular amongst young women (and men)

Even if you don't like the Heortlings thinking of Uleria as a demon, she isn't, as far as I know, part of the Storm Pantheon. So spending a few years as a Uleria Initiate would rob those young people (and, more importantly, their clans) of vital magic.  

> possibly this would be still a more Dara Happan cultural phenomenon
> rather than in the clan-based Heortling society, but nonetheless...

I'm not sure what her status in Dara Happa is. She is a better fit, but Yelmites aren't so good with sexuality, and I can't imagine Dendara's worshippers being to keen on the Queen of Estatic Union. Being the Goddess of degraded prostitutes (I don't imagine Dara Happans giving her more room than that, at least officially.) I suspect that Uleria flourishes most in urban societies where mystic (not necessarily Mystic) exploration is accepted. The Bright Empire and EWF probably had no problem with her, and her worship would have survived better in Dara Happa than Dragon Pass. The Lunars may have gone a long way to renew Her worship in central Genertela, and I think their are some cities where her cult is quite wide-spread. The Darjinites probably worship Her in some way, most likely as an aspect or predecessor of their own godesses (whether She is or not).

Peter Metcalfe says:

> It's not whether Uleria is a demon, it's whether the Heortlings
> _believe_ she is and TR p192 indicates that they do.

Which is very much the point I've been trying to make. Shargash and Urox have about the same amount of anti-social behavior. Heortlings accept Urox, because He is part of the Storm Tribe. Shargash on the other hand, is the demon (heck, can't remember, starts with a J). The Dara Happa, on the other hand, see Shargash as an important son of Yelm and Urox as a demon (especially when His followers hack up those nice Seven Mothers missionaries). It's pretty subjective. Who knows what the gods think?

Dom Twist says:

> Uleria worship isnt about young people.

It could be, in the right society.

> Which is to say pretty much like real world prositution......young =
> people (with the exception of soldier types) dont have the cash for it!
> =
> In Gloranthan Sartar there isnt a standing army and clansmen warriors =
> probably find plenty of willing mates (very glamourous profession =
> SwordThane) so Ulerians are going to be dealing with middleage 'buisness
> men' types.

There are other problems -- Sartar, even in 1625, doesn't have much of a cash economy, so paying prostitues would be difficult. While there is no doubt that adultery occurs in Heortling culture, and (I suspect) sometimes it's associated with "sugar daddies" and other "cash (economic support, rather) for sex" deals, there is just not that much room for institutionalized prostitution in a cashless, agrarian society with relatively lax sexual mores. Not to mention the existance of magic that can identify a cheating spouse. The punishment for adultery is pretty steep, detection is likely, divorce is relatively easy (your bloodline won't like it though; it's costly one way or another), and, while those reasons won't stop it, they will put a damper on the process.

> Of Course in the Towns and Citys things will be very =
> different...especially ones with large Lunar Army presence.....

I don't know if Heortling cities are all that urbanized. Clans will have "steads" and interests in cities, but they will still report to the Ring, like everyone else, and will likely be dependent on the clan for food. I could see young people being "fostered" back and forth, so that the city dwellers don't lose touch with their roots and religion (how do you worship Orlanth Thunderous in a city?) and country cousins (especially those called to "other" gods) have a chance to learn skills and magic that the clan can't teach them (not every clan will have an Issaries or Chalana Arroy god-talker, much less a priest). It would also be a place for those interested in tribal-level affairs (like lawspeaking for the Tribe) might go to learn the legal nicities of other clans. The cities are, however, a great place for young people to meet each other, facilitating some of the inter-clan mingling that the list has been discussing lately. Boldhome is a different story; it's probably the one place in Sartar with an established urban (in the full sense of the word) population.

Peter Larsen

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