Stuck in rabbit hole. Please send Pleistocene era carrots.

I might be in a rabbit hole and Berra is sleeping and can’t save me. I was thinking about climates and that led me to thinking about flora and I got to wondering about what plants and trees are common in Dragon Pass. Looking through the RQG sources that I have, I ran across a statement from the Bestiary about Genertela being a bit like that of the Pleistocene in N hemisphere of the real world.1Bestiary, p. 197. [There is as much diversity in Gloranthan flora as with fauna. Like Gloranthan fauna, Genertelan flora is broadly comparable to that found in Earth’s northern hemisphere during the Pleistocene with some flora surviving from prior epochs.] My brain went boom. Which part of the N hemisphere? Asia? Africa? Europe? N. America? How far north? Anatolia is often my go-to. It’s got so much diversity. So I went there mentally.

But then, which part of the Pleistocene? It’s a period of huge climatic change and many folks simply call it the Ice Age (though it’s more complicated than that).

It’s also the period where we have diverse species of humans (H. habilis through to H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens). The Holocene, which follows, is the one where we end up with only one species of human and that’s where we have periods like the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and eventually the Bronze Age that inspires Glorantha.

All of this reminds me that it’s important not to try to see Glorantha as a version of our world. And despite that, I shall go back to pondering plants.

Oh… but then I found this map…

Map of vegetation types at time of Last glacial maximum
Vegetation types at time of Last glacial maximum (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Glacial_Period#/media/File%3ALast_Glacial_Maximum_Vegetation_Map.svg)

So now, I’m remembering that there are distribution maps in the Bestiary. So back to that.

Distribution of Aldryami (RuneQuest: Bestiary, p. 12)

Alas! Best map relating to flora is the Aldryami map. I may have to create my own and this one might help to inform it somewhat. Maybe there’s something relevant in the Guide or the Sourcebook!

Not much in the Guide, but skimming the Sourcebook reminded me of this map.

Screenshot of the Dragon Pass map.
Dragon Pass map (partial) (Glorantha Sourcebook, pp. 4-5)

That might help me approximate a vegetation distribution map. But, I should take into consideration just how small the region is. Dragon Pass is likely to fall mostly into one zone. I suspect that a lot of it is forest steppe, heading towards boreal forest in some areas. Aim for Prax and you shift through tropical semi-desert or temperate semi-desert, before ending up in the Wastes. Go towards the Grazelands instead, and you likely find the forest steppe giving way to temperate steppe grasslands. What was the Holy Country like before it was converted to large-scale agriculture?

Back to Late Pleistocene/early Holocene Anatolia for a moment. This is where we have the earliest evidence of agriculture in our world. Found an interesting paper on the environment of Anatolia in this period.2(Senkul & Dogun 2013 Vegetation and climate of Anatolia and adjacent regions during the Last Glacial period. Quaternary International 302: 110-122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2012.04.006) However, I might be getting sleepy, because I’m having a hard time holding onto the pieces of it.

Also… why am I obsessing about this again? Oh right! I was pondering dye plants in the area around Clearwine.

I think I might just sleep here tonight. I’m sure one of the BWT crew will drop a rope down to rescue me when they wake up. Goodnight.

1 Comment

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While regional zoning may be somewhat limited in a region as small as Dragon Pass, rain shadow or cloud accumulation figure greatly, and you get vertical zoning.

You also get the permanent torrent down the Skyfall which generously may spin off clouds for the rest of the Pass. In other words, Dragon Pass is wetter than any Fertile Crescent Bronze Age place could ever hope to be, wet enough that an urban high culture is only an option, not a necessity, and that water works are occupied with drainage more than with irrigation.

Pleistocene Anatolia might be spot on – the Black Sea basin should have been mostly dry land in that zonal map, and the Mediterranean much smaller, too.

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