So who are the Thunder Brothers, if we ask the Orlanthi? They are the Airy offspring and brethren of Orlanth, who can split the clouds so that rain can fall, shake mountains and destroy forests. They are collective of some three to sixty – once we focus on any specific Thunder Brother (except their leader, Vinga), we aren’t talking about the Thunder Brothers any more.
Scribes and poets love to make lists, but for the most part this is irrelevant. Usually you get a lot of local names that just mean things associated with Orlanth – eg., Donner and Blitzen – plus some local manifestations of Orlanth or named Umbroli. Sometimes Storm Bull, Kolat, Valind, Ygg, and even Gagarth get named. But it’s understood you aren’t talking about them individually (except maybe Vinga). Now Vinga is a very popular subcult of Orlanth, and Vingkot has the occasional cult. Lightning Spear is one of the Four Weapons and gets cult, but the rest are just names like Prancer, Vixen, Comet, and Cupid – we talk about Rudolph or about Santa’s Reindeer collectively. But when we speak of the Thunder Brothers we always are speaking of them as a collective, with maybe Vinga as the leader.
Some entities definitely aren’t Thunder Brothers. Elmal is definitely not a Thunder Brother in any imagining! Same with Polestar. Nor Mastakos – he’s the charioteer of Orlanth, and not part of that group (he’s not a warrior or an Air God). I’m pretty sure Humakt is never listed as one either.
Those figures were listed in the HW material, we reduced them in the HQ supplements, and then decided to get rid of them almost entirely in RQ. Hedkoranth makes an appearance in the Prosopaedia and the Sartar Book as a local incarnation of Orlanth Thunderous worshiped at Roundstone Fort, as does Rigsdal (as the personal guardian of Kallyr Starbrow).
They are the storms that follow in Orlanth’s wake or herald his coming. But they are THEY – not individuals.
It’s like when we speak of the Kauravas in the Mahabharata, we are talking about the “100 sons of King Dhritarashtra”, a big mass of opponents for the five Pandava (who in contrast are definitely individuals) to fight.
Rigsdal ? A Local name for Polaris / Polestar
And when I say a collective of 3 to 60 Thunder Brothers, that’s because if they start naming them, poets always have at least three names, and give up by sixty.
The Thunder Brothers in the Bestiary? Lesser kin, and even if they appear alone, they rarely have much individual identity beyond “one of the Thunder Brothers.”
I for one love the vision of Orlanth flying through the heavens on his chariot, with the Thunder Brothers all trailing behind him in a mass of wind and storm.