Confusing Carmania

From: Paul McDonald <paul_mcdonald_at_...>
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2000 15:01:41 -0400

Hey again,

After re-reading some carmanian material (Tales 16, HW Glorantha, NB website, ect) I am starting to feel like I am seriously off the mark in trying to describe the Cults of Carmania. I keep drifting in the direction of large homogeneous religious institutions. From what I am reading, that isn't very "carmanian".

I am reminded of two quotes by Nick Brooke:

  1. "The vast majority of Carmanians will follow one or more other "cults" (be they mystery cults, hero cults, oppositional dualist cults, ancestor cults, imported foreign deities or local spirits of place), as well as the defining cult of their caste."
  2. "It would be hard to be prescriptive when describing the religious practices of a secretive, justifiably paranoid, inbred and fragmented noble class, which combines theistic fervour with a pragmatic and manipulative "sorcerous" approach to otherworldly powers, and has survived through the centuries by flexibly adapting to each change in ruling dogma."

>From this I feel that Carmanian cults are small, insular, and fragmented. Further, the carmanians seem to adore the gods they worship less than most theists. It seems more likely that they practice specific rites in order to gain affinities. In other words, they come close to using Improper Worship (i.e. sorcery to worship a God). They wouldn't call it sorcery, since that is forbidden, but their secret rites and ceremonies are probably very different from those of the god's traditional worshipers.

Thus, a Hazar might worship Aronius Joranthir as a primary cult, but also study his family's secret "Liber Turos" for the odd shaker affinity. He might also venerate his House's sainted heroic ancestor, or attempt to control a local spirit (God of the Mountain, ect) for its help in weakening an enemy. If they are in a vassal House, they might be required to participate in a ritual empowering their patron's Founder - and get nothing but the Fazzik's favor out of the deal.

This would answer a question one of my players asked: "Since their cults are so fragmented, shouldn't the Carmanians suck at magic?" The answer would be, "Variety makes up for intensity". The Lunars are powerful because they have *both* variety and intensity.

Am I on the right track, or is this just balderdash?


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