What Mostali Look Like

From: felixtimestwo <felixtimestwo_at_Fo44iJUznbZu3DIiWOuAXnwXl1fIPpCiQpFHR_G2w6pKprxcUEaJMl8RuDI3ur>
Date: Tue, 06 May 2008 19:25:28 -0000

What Mostali Look Like

I've been vaguely dissatisfied with how Mostali have been described ever since I started learning about Glorantha, back in the RQ2 days. Gloranthan elves and trolls were identifiably Gloranthan-but the Mostali looked (and originally behaved) like identikit fantasy dwarves.

There has come a point in my game where one of my players wanted to play a dwarf, and I had to ask him not to, until I'd got my ideas of what Mostali (by which I mean clay Mostali, common or garden dwarves) looked and behaved like a bit straighter in my head, and I wanted to run my thoughts past you guys.

Dwarves as ancient looking misshapen and hairy is the classic dwarf look that Mostali seem to conform to, all of which (along with short stature, I suppose) signify great age-which seems appropriate, as we know that orthodox Mostali are immortal, and what's more those craggy old men's features are evocative of rock faces.

But, to me what these features signify is imperfection and decay of the form of the man rune. Mostali runes are man and stasis, and the nature of Mostal and the proper working of the World Machine should be of perfection of form and function. So bearing this in mind, it seemed to me that ancient looking, imperfect hairy dwarves aren't what you'd expect from Mostal as the master manufacturer and embodiment of stasis.

We know that dwarves are short, and that would seem to make sense for subterranean men who might frequently need to follow narrow seams of rock, (in the same way that woodland creatures are suited to following narrow forest paths). We know also that they have beards that may be connected to their `earthsense' (if I'm remembering this right, that was a suggestion by Sandy Peterson).

We also know that male and female dwarves are compelled to carry out a harrowing biological task that delivers a proto-dwarf module after a period of 3 weeks or so. This is then placed in a container (leaden pot, quicksilver alembic etc) for a few years after which a young adult dwarf is produced.

It seems to me that it would make sense if these dwarves were young-adult in appearance, and not misshapen. They would be short, as they are well designed for their environment-and perhaps with disproportionately large heads (large eyes are better for seeing in dimly lit mines, and big brains are better for operating complex machinery). They could have beards-if their beards are sense organs, then they would have them, although there's no need for them to be either grey or long-in fact their stasis nature would tend to weigh against either (perhaps their beards wouldn't grow at all-just heal if they were cut..)

So, you might imagine a Mostali like this with a normally proportioned, albeit small, body with a large head and large (ish) eyes, perhaps with a short well kept (ie never growing) beard and looking equivalent to a 30-35 year old human. Perhaps, a bit like a creepy porcelain doll-a very tough and strong iron wielding creepy porcelain doll.
This, it seems to me, might be quite a pleasing appearance for the machine like orthodox Mostali.

Of course, heretic Mostali loose their immortality as their association with stasis is loosened-they have immense longevity, but they age-so perhaps these guys might start getting long grey beards and become bent and gnarled with age, although living communities of heretic dwarves (eg the Flintnail temple) would have young and old dwarves who would, I guess, look different, like we do.

Just an idea-but is it consistent with the feel and theory of Glorantha, and what do you guys think?            

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