13 November 2012

Second Age Umathelan Runes

Before the fall of the Middle Sea Empire, Second Age Umathela was a major centre of God-Learnerism. New Hrestolket possibly housed the best and most celebrated God-Learner university within Glorantha. "It graduates more God Learner HeroQuesters per year than any other" (Glorantha: the Second Age, p 105).

The Gloranthan runes themselves are believed to be God-Learner in origin, or at least it was the God-Learners who spread their use throughout Glorantha. As a consequence, they became very popular and well-known in Umathela, even amongst the illiterate Umathings. After the fall of the Middle Sea Empire, their use was not discontinued — contrary to other legacies from the God Learners. The simplicity and the clear shapes of the Gloranthan runes made them even favourite tattoo patterns or shield motifs amongst the uncivilised Umathings.

At the time of my campaign, the runes in use in Umathela are categorised in the manner described hereafter.

32 Core Runes, subdivided as follows:

5 Elemental runes

Darkness
 

Water



Earth

Air



Fire


8 Form runes

Plant



Beast



Man



Dragon



Dragonewt



Spirit

 
Mineral



Chaos


14 Power runes, in opposing pairs:

Cold
 

Heat



Death



Fertility



Disorder



Harmony



Fate



Luck



Movement


Stasis



Illusion



Truth



Light



Shadow


5 Condition runes

Infinity



Law



Magic



Mastery



Trade


Amongst the above-mentioned 32 Core runes, both the Malki and the Umathing add a further subdivision between 15 Major Core runes and 17 Minor Core runes.
The Major runes are: Darkness, Water, Earth, Air, Fire, Plant, Beast, Man, Dragonewt, Spirit, Chaos, Infinity, Law, Magic, Mastery.
The Minor runes are: Dragon, Mineral, Cold, Heat, Death, Fertility, Disorder, Harmony, Fate, Luck, Movement, Stasis, Illusion, Truth, Light, Shadow, Trade.

There are many other Minor runes that are not Core runes, but which are nonetheless quite common throughout Umathela. These have several different origins:
Personal runes
These were found by the God Learners during their HeroQuests. They convey personal power to whomever manages to get them in a HeroQuest, like Defence, Force, Perception.

Defence
 

Perception


Ethnic runes
These correspond to the peoples within or close to Umathela: Malki, Umathings, Fonritans, Doraddi.

Malki



Umathings



Fonritans



Doraddi


Deity-specific runes
These are mostly linked to minor deities— major deities are linked to major runes. These are the ones used in my campaign: Aleshmara, Balumbasta, Eler, Nontraya, Rabilis, Ty Kora Tek.

Special interest runes
These are linked to special "groups" that are neither really ethnicities nor deities: God-Learners, Undead.

Note: the runes not depicted here can be found among this list.

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