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Living in Loskalm

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Staying at Home on the Farm

Despite the opportunities offered by Hrestoli Idealism, Loskalmi farmers don't all try to increase their social class, for a number of reasons. Often, they love their family and home comforts too much. They don't want to be separated from their parents (now) or their children (when they come of age). They like life in the village or town where they were born, and if you stay a farmer, it never has to change.

If a farmer's son does come over all idealistic, and wants to leave home and join the Army, his family might try to talk him out of it ("We need you to help us work the land, my son: a fosterling, the soft-handed son of a Lord, wouldn't know nearly as much as you, nor work half as hard: he'd be harnessing the pigs to the plough, and grazing them in the barley-field!"). Or they could make sure he's shepherding in the high pastures next County Fair so he can't get to the recruiter's booth. For his own good, of course: soldiers can get hurt (especially fighting against the Kingdom of War!).

Being Sent Away to the Farm

On the other hand, for the children of Lords, being sent away from home aged twelve to their work as Farmers could be like children being sent to boarding school by their traditional upper-class English parents. "Now, keep a stiff upper lip, young man, and don't let the family name down. It'll be hard work on the land, but very rewarding, and your mother and I are expecting to hear great things of you. Now kiss your mother goodbye, and we'll see you at Sacred Time. Stop that sniffling, Timmy! Is that any way to behave on your first day at the farm?"

(And, in the coach on the way back to the estate, as Mother weeps into an embroidered handkerchief: "Don't worry, my dear: Farming never did me any harm. It'll make a man of him, that's all. And I'm sure the Squire will allow you to send him a cake for his birthday." Meanwhile, poor young Timmy is making his first new Farmer-class friends: most likely not the local kids, who aren't disoriented and missing home like he is, but among his fellow fosterlings or dormitory-dwellers or whatever the local system is).

This is presuming most of the "Farmer class" children of higher class parents are separated from their family. If they aren't, of course, advancement is much easier, as their parents could readily arrange softer duties, additional tuition, better equipment and the like, by shows of concern or by out and out corruption. Even if it is just smuggling another cake into the dormitories, "Hereditary Rights are Hereditary Wrongs!" I'd suspect it's an abuse of position for a high-class family to "arrange" for their child to be a Farmer locally (though it probably still happens out in the boonies where the Watchdog Council can't see).

Note that this is the classic case, "Farmer means farming", which is probably the most common. Other children of good family are sent to be servants to guildsmen, knights or wizards (the Crafters, Squires and Acolythists of the Genertela Book), again being removed from their roots and thrust into a strange and unfamiliar environment. [1]

Where is this Farm, anyway?

It is unclear from our sources how Lord's-son "Farmers" are integrated into the rural economy. They could be stuck in a dormitory, workhouse or labour camp; fostered out to needy widows and families whose sons have joined the Army; sent as groups to complete big projects which the locals aren't working on; etc. Loskalm is a big place, and probably all these different things can happen, depending on luck, local facilities, and the whims of the local Lords.

From the "servant" examples above, it appears likely that fosterage to families in need might be the natural way to do it; on the other hand, given the "barracks" (Soldier) / "collegiate" (Wizard) atmosphere of the higher class structures, lumping them together would make sense, and has a more modern feel to it (like the State Orphanages supported by some extreme Idealists). Some parents prefer one or the other, or think it's a better way, or have no say in the matter. (Others just want their son to have the same upbringing they did: "Never did me any harm", again).

Pageantry and Spectacle

Loskalmi nobles tend towards overstated displays of lavish costume and pageantry when appearing in public. The King has to look like an Ideal Monarch; his Grand Knights and Grand Wizards have to look like exemplars of Chivalry and Sorcery. This lavish spectacle inspires the people of Loskalm as they follow their Ideal rulers.

Now, of course, this doesn't mean the King and nobles like dressing up in these gaudy, uncomfortable old robes whose silken cloth and golden threads could be sold to feed a peasant family for three years. Maybe they are more ascetic in private. But they are doing what's best for the State. A nobleman might piously say that he isn't so much displaying his own station as trying to make himself look worthy of it: he is living up to an Ideal.

One common complaint levelled against Loskalmi Idealism is that it's all outward show. In this spirit, there may well be festivals celebrating the brotherhood and unity of all Loskalmi folk, when everyone from the King down to the Farmers specifically dresses in Loskalmi ethnic costume and celebrates their equality. But Loskalmi public events are outstanding for their the panoply, pageantry and spectacle (like the Queen's revels in Moorcock's Gloriana): magnificent public appearances to reinforce a positive popular view of the establishment.

The Loskalmi despise the Jonatelans, who don't dress up splendidly and engage in these public rituals, but rather go grunting around in iron and furs and locking themselves up in castles away from the view of their downtrodden populace. How's that going to inspire and enthuse their people, eh? Let's liberate them now!

[1] A series of letters home from a Loskalmi boy recounting his progression through the "Farmer" class and on into the Army would be an enjoyable way of showing how their society works; I might try my hand at it some time.

Glorantha, HeroQuest, Hero Wars, and Issaries are trademarks of Issaries, Inc. The contents of this page are copyright by Nick Brooke , 2001; any material derived from Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha is also copyright by Greg Stafford. Glorantha is the creation of Greg Stafford, and is used with his permission.

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