East Ralios Hsunchen
The hsunchen are the animal tribes of Glorantha. Each tribe has an animal totem, and knows magic by which they can transform themselves into their totem. In RuneQuest or PenDragon Pass game terms, these are the rune spells of Transform Body, Transform Head, and Transform Limbs. In Hero Wars, this is the Shapechange affinity.
All hsunchen are descended from the Fiwan, the animal folk of Pamaltela.
Hsunchen were the original inhabitants of Ralios. During the Dawn Age, Theyalan missionaries from the World Council of Friends converted many of them to Orlanth worship. Those who didn't convert still follow the ancient practice of finding spirit friends, though they've adopted the more flexible spirit magic introduced by the Theyalans.
The East Wilds of Ralios boasts many different hsunchen tribes:
Several tribes are believed extinct, either because they were exterminated, emigrated, or all converted to Orlanth and stopped practicing the ancestral ways:
- Alekki (moose)
- Basmoli (lion) -- note that the Sandrya and Basim tribes no longer practice hsunchen ways
- Damali (deer)
- Galanini (horse)
- Karoni (mountain goat)
- Lotari (raccoon)
- Pralori (elk)
- Telmori (wolf)
- Udari (otter)
The Sedrali dog-men from the Ballid Forest are considered beast-folk, not hsunchen. They are not usually found in East Ralios.
- Bemuri (cattle)
- Bisami (muskrat)
- Jarvi (wolverine) -- the Sabadari wolverine people still live in Fronela
- Kivitti (elephant)
- Mraloti (boar)
- various reptiles (including lizard, snake, wyvern, crocodile, turtle and chameleon)
- Velori (puma)
The Ghadari (wooly rhinoceros folk), Rathori (bear folk), and the Uncolings (reindeer folk) live in Fronela. For more about hsunchen outside of Ralios, see the Issaries, Inc. web site.
(Thanks to Dag Olausson, Jonas Schiött and Sten Åhrman for some of the hsunchen. Their version is slightly different. See also Martin Crim's Hsunchen Cults, Thomas's Gotschall's Telmori page, and Jaime Revell's Hsunchen page.)
Methe the Traveller, an Issaries worshipper from the Belovaking clan, has more to say about the hsunchen.
In my game, several of the Orlanthi characters were fostered to a hsunchen clan. This helps cement alliances, but it's earned Konall the unfortunate nickname of "Moose Boy."
"We Lapps have the same nature as the reindeer: in the springtime we long for the mountains; in the winter we are drawn to the woods." --Turi's Book of Lappland, in Songlines
Copyright ©2006 David Dunham
Last updated 5 Mar 06 drd
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