"The legions of the Reaching Moon came a generation ago, desecrating our temples, destroying the Old Ways. In the lowlands and the towns, the hand of the Red Emperor is at the people's throats, but here in the highlands we still live free as the wind that roars over the mountain peaks. We are the Haraborn of Black Stag Vale, and our clan has outlived false gods, Western sorcerers, and the lies of dragons. The Red Moon now thinks she can break us, and bend us to her filthy foreign ways. I say Shepelkirt is wrong. When Argrath comes as prophesied, and tears the Red Moon from the sky, we will still be here, faithful to our gods, loyal to our ancestors, and mindful of the ancient ways..."

- Joddi White Hart, Haraborn Lawspeaker

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


When players come to the table, the only thing they start the game with is a gender, a name, and the Clan Haraborn "Keyword" (more on those later). In this post, we'll talk briefly about gender.

"...The Orlanthi view the genders as being different but inseparable. Despite the external appearance of masculine dominance, women maintain social and personal equality. All adult women can speak in clan assembly, and if a clan “Weapon Taking” vote is called any meat cleaver, spoon, cooking pot used for three meals or sewing kit qualifies women for a vote. Men, by contrast must provide a shield, long knife, large spear, sword, and “strong hat.”

Gender roles are divided and typical. Thus plowing, wood crafts, hunting and smithing are masculine tasks, while cooking, sewing, weaving, and household management are feminine. Men perform most jobs requiring heavy physical work, save for the perennial need for all hands to tend the harvest. Women manage the domestic economy of the hearth and household, negotiate marriages, and rear children. Almost all women are weavers; weaving is not generally considered a specialized craft.

Orlanthi men are feisty, unpredictable, and passionate, while Orlanthi women are cool, calculating, and self-possessed. Emotional expression is common to both genders, but is more common among men who habitually burst into rage, grief, happiness, fervor, or gloom. The contrast is expressed in the poem, “Orlanth’s Wooing of Ernalda,” wherein the earth goddess manipulates her wooer to ensure the rights of women among the Orlanthi. Men are expected to protect women, especially women of their clan.

The Orlanthi are open minded concerning individuals choosing the alternative gender role. History and legends include several famous women warriors associated with Vinga, Babeester Gor, or Humakt. Likewise, one famous male cook, Geo, has been enshrined as a minor but important cult figure.

Compared to many Gloranthan cultures, the Orlanthi have relatively few sexual taboos. They prohibit sex with people who have not been initiated as adults; with married people; with members of their own clan; and with not-people such as foreigners, Elder Races, animals, rocks, and the dead. Even those few taboos may not apply to members of certain cults or during certain religious rituals..."

- from Sartar, Kingdom of Heroes, Greg Stafford and Jeff Richard

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