Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories
Excerpts from Fresser's Gourmet Guide to Glorantha
The exact origin of the man known as Fresser are unknown. It is believed that he was a former high priest of an obscure Lunar cult who incurred Moonson's displeasure by laughing uncontrollably at the sight Moonson's posterior at an orgy. Some mention is made in Fresser's opus magnus, The Gourmet Guide to Glorantha (The GGG), (his only surviving work) about the danger of making full moon jokes in the divine presence. Perhaps unsurprisingly enough nothing exists in surviving Lunar records about this incident. Little is known about the cult Fresser was said to have led as the cult is believed to have been eradicated during the period known as the Monster Empire. Bibliometric research into the number of references in the GGG made about a specific deity suggest that the minor goddess known as Cora of the Two Appetites was the deity Fresser worshipped. What is known about Fresser is that after being exiled he wandered Glorantha writing notes about whatever caught his fancy (most of the surviving notes discuss food in some aspect which is why the work is known as the Gourmet Guide). References in the work suggest he was a decadent sybarite of debauched tastes who traveled over much of Glorantha in his long exile. The text suggests that Fresser was an enormous man of great girth and formidable physical strength.
Ah cheese, I could wax rhapsodic about cheese forever! It is at once a sturdy comestible well aimed at the toiling masses and yet fit for a great gourmand like myself! Virtually every land and every people have their own cheeses, many of humble, yet enjoyable nature and some of great virtue. Since this is, alas, not the Gloranthan Guide to Cheeses I will manfully restrain myself and just mention a few of the most delightful varieties. Plus a warning about another variety!
Lunar Waning Cheese
Naturally I must start with a great Lunar cheese, i.e., the famous waning cheese. Made from milk produced by Moonson’s great herd of moon heifers this delightful greenish tinged cheese is so rare most cheese aficionados never get even a taste. But those in Moonson’s favour (or alas, formerly in Moonson’s favour!) can sometimes be blessed with a taste. The taste of the cheese varies according to which part of the Lunar cycle we are in and each taste has its own clique of admirers! Delicious in each phase but my favourite is the waxing flavour.
Orlanthi Cloud Ewe Cheese
A delightful cheese made from the milk produced by the cloud sheep the Orlanthi revere. This is also a very rare cheese with a bluish tinge and a faint electric aura. It tingles the lips to eat it and the cheese must be housed in heavy stone containers lest it float away!
Immtheran Goat Cheese
Yum, tangy and rustic. The Immtheran’s claim to have originated cheese but of course every nation and people have their own stories about that don’t they? Whether it’s true or not it is quite tasty especially served with a particularly rustic rye. Very well suited to rolling down hillsides!
Herd Man Cheese
Sweet and refreshing. The Morocanths themselves do not of course produce cheese but some canny merchants in Aldachur came up with the idea of producing this cheese. It is soft and creamy and has a frisson of the forbidden about it! It has become quite popular in Glamour and fetches quite a price there.
Ugh, this is the substance I must warn you about. It is not a cheese no matter what any Mostali will tell you! I have no idea what it’s made of though it does superficially resemble cheese. It is sold in thin slices individually wrapped in parchment and the taste is nigh indescribably awful. Please for the love of cheese DO NOT EAT this! I made that mistake and I could not eat any real cheese for the better part of a year. Not until I encountered a delightful Teshnan cheese made from a combination of elephant and …
You speak no doubt of the products of the infamous Three Horn Farms situated conveniently or alarmingly close to the Hollow. It's the only farm where the birth of calves is sometimes greeted by fire, both of the missile and literal type. It is said that no only are no two batches of cheese alike, quite often no two cheeses from the same batch are alike. There is an entire building near the dairy built of inedible cheese which seems to grow between batches. The percentage of inedible cheese per batch ranges from 100 to as low as 5 percent. Despite scurrilous rumors to the contrary there's only been one confirmed case of a cheese having done the eating. It spent quite some time roaming the hills of Vanch trying to do to herders what broos had done to the cow its milk came from. Fortunately it was destroyed. They're pretty sure it was anyway.
The products of the farm rarely, if ever give diners chaos features but strange hungers have been reported and oddly prophetic dreams. It's claimed that one Loceslus Flop earned a small fortune betting on moonbat fights in Glamour. He started a gourmet shop which sold all sorts of chaos tainted comestibles. Unfortunately he disappeared without a trace one day. Interestingly a large man shaped cheese that sighs and mutters was discovered in his shop after his disappearance. Some say the muttering holds the secrets to the universe while others claim they're disgusting recipes. Either way the cheese now resides in Moonson's zoo where it delights no one and basically stinks up its immediate vicinity.
Rumour has it that the Three Horn Farms has been experimenting with slime deer milk to see what sort of cheese can be made from it.
"There was once an occasion once when I feared I would be the dinner rather than the diner. I and my entourage had been forced by the imminent onset of night to stop in a grotty little hamlet named O_____ on the borders of the Lunar Redlands. I selected the least loathsome of the squalid huts to spend the night in and my batsman knocked on the door and informed the tenants of their great honour. Much to my surprise they seemed thrilled to put us up for the night. They almost fell over each other in their haste to make their dive hospitable for us. At the time I thought it a trick of the light but I could have sworn that the grizzled family patriarch almost drooled when he caught sight of my noble immensity. He kept babbling on about how he and his "kinfolk would be plum honored to have us for dinner".
They were quite a strapping family with such neat, white teeth. I had been so long without feminine companionship that I actually forgot myself and had lustful thoughts for the daughter of the family. She definitely forgot her low position and was so familiar as to actually grab hold of my arm whispering that I certainly was a toothsome morsel. I almost blushed I was so shocked by her forwardness. I snatched my arm back from the lowborn hussy and inquired where I could freshen up. This question was met by many blank stares on the part of the yokels until my batsman explained what I wanted. By this time the rest of my entourage had been shown to an out building where they would spend the night.
The littlest yokel showed me to a dark and dank outhouse where I could gratefully if somewhat reluctantly empty my bowels and my bladder. I debated the merits of actually seeing the interior of the structure but decided that a little light would make the operation all the easier. I invoked the Yelm's blessing onto an Imperial I took from my money pouch (far be it for me to trust anyone with my purse). I cursed my somewhat thick, yet noble and graceful fingers as the coin slipped from my fingers and fell into the privy! My father (damn him to Hell) had always impressed into me with his fists that an Imperial saved was an Imperial earned so I reflexively leaned over and looked into the hole.
I was shocked by what I saw. There below me clearly lit by Yelm's Blessing and smeared with excrement were human bones including many skulls the braincases of which had been cracked open like so many melons to extract the tasty brains within. Obviously I had fallen into a nest of ogres!
Forgetting my Imperial I quickly finished my business and stole outside to fetch my entourage from the outbuilding they had been ushered to. What horror met my eyes there but the sight of my entire entourage hanging from the rafters like so many capons with their gizzards slit. I quickly realized that I had no one to rely on but myself so I resolved to steal to the front of the hovel, liverate a horse and ride to the nearest authorities to issue a complaint. (Woe to me that such a talented hairdresser should die so young. And after I finally had him properly trained). I snuck to the front of the hovel. No horses there. I was stealthily gliding to an outbuilding that looked like it might be a stable when I was spotted by a brutish youth with a large mace who accosted me. "Where da ya think you're goin' fatty? Ain't ya staying fur dinner." After uttering this witticism he guffawed heartedly and relaxed his guard. Like many others he made the fatal error of imagining that an individual of my immense girth would be both slow and devoid of muscle and thus no threat. The edge of my hand to his windpipe quickly silenced his laughter and picking up his mace I crushed his skull. I proceeded to the stable and found my noble Blackie tied up inside. I quickly saddled him and we lumbered out of the stable and away to safety.
When we reached what passed for civilization I filed an official complaint against the cannibals but of course they were long gone by the time the troops arrived. My only regret about the whole incident (besides the lack of vengeance and the loss of my hairdresser and batsman) was having missed an opportunity to taste actual longpork rather than herd man. Maybe someday."
"Never in all my many travels through Glorantha have I ever met a more boring, lacklustre lot of dolts than I did in the so-called Sun Dome County in Prax. Their idea of fine dining consists of barley gruel three times a day and all alcohol is controlled by their priests who are the very exemplars of stodginess and puritanism. Their women are kept locked up away from stranger's eyes and the men profess horror at the idea of boy love. The place's only saving graces are the stupidity of the people in charge and the blindness of the authorities to the hazia trade. The Goddess preserve me from having to visit there ever again."
Fresser's Laws of Dining:
1) If it moves not and it is not fastened down, eat it.
Extracted here are the references Fresser made to the Land of Balazar in the GGG. (A surprising number considering his self-avowed dislike of primitive areas).
Some annotated statements by Virgil the Lesser, scholar of the GGG and High Priest of Irripi Ontor at Furthest are appended. These are indicated by the initials VL.
On the Balazarings
"The Balazarings are a fairly uniform race. On the short side, fairly burly and stocky with brown hair and eyes. The men are covered with hair like a beast while the women are not completely lacking in charm. Their bodies are generally covered by tattoos and scars. They live a hard, brutish life and die young."
"All evidence from other sources indicates that Fresser is exaggerating the hairiness of the Balazaring men. They were slightly hairier than their neighbours but not to the extent of being unnaturally hirsute. There is no evidence that they lived shorter lives than their neighbours or peoples who lived similar lives." VL
On the Balazaring Military
"I had the opportunity to speak with the commander of the Lunar garrison at our outpost of Elkoi, one Euryptus the Bold (a diminutive individual claimed to possess surprising physical strength so probably an ogre) about Balazaring military might. After nearly choking to death on his native beer (a foul, repulsive brew I would refuse to use to clean my bottom with) from his amusement at my question he responded thusly. "They are a brave lot I will grant you that. I would not hunt some of the monsters they hunt. However, as a military force they are laughable. My garrison of 200 could conquer the whole lot of them if we cared to. They have no concept of modern battle or tactics and I wouldn't give you a fig for their chances against any decent military force. Once they were finished with their idiotic posturing a group of Orlanthi could beat them. They just don't have the equipment or the killer instinct a true army needs." F
"Many references indicate that the Balazarings were actually extremely adept at what has been termed "guerilla warfare", i.e. lightning raids and attacks making the best use of the terrain. This ability of course wouldn't have helped them in a set piece battle against Lunar regulars." VL
On the Presence of Horses in Balazar
"Cursed with an insatiable curiosity I found myself plying the commander of the citadel guard of Trilus with expensive imported alcohol in order to find out why a non-agrarian society had horses. The commander, a large surly lout typical of the region had no stomach for liquor. He considered himself honoured to possess a metal sword, spear and armour. He was nominally a worshiper of Yemalio but from what I gathered of their version of the cult he would have been burnt at the stake as a heretic anywhere else in Genertela. Once he was deep in his cups he told me that the reason the Balazaring citadel dwellers had horses was that in the time of his grandfathers the following had happened. Certain rich Lunars desired to hunt in Balazar, to experience the "true primitive existence" as it were. These Lunars liked nothing better than to visit Balazar, partake of the primitive lifestyle, experience primitive spectacles, etc., etc. In fact certain of them created a sort of industry where they brought tours of their rich, decadent friends to Balazar. However they found that they had no way in which to pay the Balazarings. The Balazaring kings would have liked to be paid in weapons and armour or gold but the Lunars were not allowed to transport large quantities of weapons or armour or even gold to Balazar. One clever Lunar came up with the idea of bringing breeding stock of horses to Balazar to pay the kings with. On their way out of the region they would claim that the horses had died or been stolen by the Balazarings. If the custom officials in Tarsh had looked a little closer at their own records a little sooner they could have halted this trade earlier." F
"The exact degree of heresy that the Balazaing cult of Yemalio possessed is unknown. Despite Fresser's claim to the contrary it is recorded that several Balazaring Yemalians traveled freely to temples of Yemalio outside Balazar without any problems. Official records from the custom office in Tarsh showed that there was indeed a large "loss" of horses in Balazar by Lunar tourists during the middle of the 16th century." VL
On the Balazaring Religions
"The main gods and goddesses of the Balazarings are Votank, their ancestor god, Balazar, the founder of their "kingdom" hero sub-cult of the Yemalio cult, Foundchild, god of hunters, Brother Dog, a sub-cult of Foundchild, Yemalio of course, and a slew of lesser, local spirits." F
"Strangely enough for the former high priest of a goddess Fresser neglects to mention the main goddess of the Balazarings, the Hearth-Mother or Grandmother Earth. The Balazarings also worship Rigitaina, leader of the hunting nymphs. Another goddess who received proprietary worship at least was the Wild Mother, the goddess of the land. " VL
On Balazaring Worship and Magic
"A great deal of the magic that the Balazarings perform, especially their worship is in the form of dance. Spells are learned in the form of sacred dances and the gods and goddesses are worhipped through dancing. An interesting, if overly energetic approach to religion." F
"It is understandable that someone believed to be as large and bulky as Fresser would not fully appreciate the subtleties of dance in magic or religion. A heavy reliance on dance and music in magic and religion is of course an indication of how primitive Balazaring beliefs and practices were." VL
See also the first two letters under Fresser's Letters.
The following letters were discovered in an archive in Glamour.
A Letter from Balazar that recounts some events that occured in my campaign.
Another Letter from Balazar also recounts some events that occured in my campaign.
The Big Picture recounts the history of a painting in Glamour.
Some of his letters serve as travelogues for places he visited :
Last updated October 07, 2016
Glorantha is a trademark of Chaosium, Inc. Gloranthan material on this page is copyright ©1997-2016 by Oliver D. Bernuetz or by the author specifically mentioned on an individual page. Glorantha is the creation of Greg Stafford, and is used with his permission.
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