Marriage in Glorantha is seldom about love and rarely a private affair. Most marriages are arranged by parents or elders to further bonds between families, or to gain position, influence, or property. For Gloranthans then, marriage is an obligation; you are introduced to a spouse selected for you, and expected to produce offspring. The Orlanthi cultures are notably different. While marriage and sexual relations are forbidden between members of the same clan, the Orlanthi are quite sentimental about marriage, and actually expect couples to share affection if not love. While wealthy Orlanthi in the more civilized regions, may practice arranged marriage--and the nobles certainly do--life in the tulas is quite different.
*Episode Type: Challenge! (Character Building)
- Begin With: Under the starry night sky, you and the young people of the clans have gathered to sing and dance around bonfires, eating and feasting. In the firelight, you see someone eyeing you...
- Situation: Your clan (or a neighboring one) is sponsoring a Barn Dance. This is a social gathering for young, unmarried members of neighboring clans to get together for the purpose of meeting and selecting potential spouses (it is considered incest to marry within your own clan). Traditionally there are four dances, at the end of Sacred Time, Sea Season, Fire Season, and Earth Season.
- NPCS: Roll a d20 to determine the potential mate;
1-5: Ara Gringledottr/Andrin Gringleson: Beautiful and knows it. In modern parlance, “high maintenance.” Resistance = Base + 6.
6-10: Dara Orstgandidottr/Daralor Orstgandison: Down to earth and practical, looking for a loyal and capable spouse. Resistance = Base + 3.
11-15: Ivarna Kalfsdottr/Ivarn Kalfsson: Deep, highly sexual, and a bit wild. Wants a partner but is less interested in family. Resistance = Base.
16-20: Dushidessa Kulkardottr/Dushilor Kulkarson: To put it delicately...plain, but eager to please and very loyal. Resistance = Base - 3.
- Short Term Goals: To please the clan by finding a spouse and marrying.
- Long term Goal: To produce children and provide for them, to carry on the line when you are gone.
- Scenes: In the words of the immortal Pat Benatar, “love is a battlfield” and is handled in HeroQuest as an extended contest. In addition to the Resistances given above, social status must be considered. In order of highest to lowest, Noble, Thane, Carl, and Cottar. For each step above you the potential spouse is, increase the Resistance by + 3. A cottar attempting to court a noble would face a + 9 penalty. For each step below, modify down (a noble courting a cottar would have a - 9 Resistance). Ideally, courtship should be spaced out over several sessions, with perhaps one round of “combat” each game and the Narrator keeping track of the resolution points. Giving generous gifts to the family, performing great deeds, etc can all add bonuses to the roll.
- Conclusion: The contest is over when one side or the other gains +5 Resolution points. Use the Rising Action Consequence Table for results, adapting the results to reflect the level of rejection or success. If the player wins, their are wedding bells.