Re: Runic Symbolism in Gloranthan Art and Culture.

From: Roderick and Ellen Robertson <rjremr_at_6XLD3CHfshXfrGX2IBj7qEcTt7teO5Mt6S-6YtRzsPm3wBvo4ueCeaWw2u-JysZn01ERE>
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2008 08:49:13 -0700

> So I was just considering how the runes, especially their shapes and
> forms, influence
> everyday items that Gloranthans use. Not just their sacred or cult relics
> but common tools,
> weapons, armour, implements, or clothes.
> I am not talking about the crinkle-cut runes painted on but more the shape
> or form of the
> rune used in the design and function of the object in question. One
> example is the use of
> the Mastery Rune in the design of a crown. The crown will have three
> prongs denoting the
> Mastery Rune as the crown is the symbol of mastery of the wearer over
> their subjects.
> Though each crown will be made and constructed differently, a Heortling
> Tribal King's
> crown would look very different from a Dara Happan Emperor's crown, it
> would have the
> common feature of three prongs just like a Mastery Rune. Of course crowns
> would also
> differ as other runes may be used in their construction but the key thing
> is that they would
> three prongs and not four or five as that is the number of prongs on the
> Mastery Rune.

The problem is that the shape of the various runes is not a universal constant throughout Glorantha. The ones we commonly use (the "Core Runes") were collected and collated by the God Learners, and some runes were ignored, others invented from two similary-themed runes mashed together, etc. during the collection process. So "Mastery" might not be a three-pronged crown the wide world over, or "Death" a cross.

The mutability of the runes and the uncertainty about them has been stated in every Gloranthan ruleset starting with RQ1. There have also been new runes added via ruleset upgrades, supplements, and magazine artucles. Some of these have been included in the "Core Runes", some have fallen by the wayside - Real Life follows Glorantha. The fact that we use a "Core Set" of runes should not indicate that all people in Glorantha recognize that particular shape for that runic concept. It's a conceit that we (writers and publishers) use to keep from having 17 "Death" runes to keep track of.

I tend not to worry about it. I, also, paint miniatures, and I often go with invented runic shapes when I use them, and shields are generally just shields. Various peoples will use different shield shapes for a number of reasons - not necessarily magico-religious (though that might occur as well).

He was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that the world was mad R. Sabatini, Scaramouche            

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