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Posts posted by Jeff

  1. Why did Magic World fail? Personally I think it was a perfect storm of things. It took the (very good) Stormbringer rules and dropped them into a bland and unmemorable generic fantasy setting that had nothing to tie it together (unlike Stormbringer). It had an utterly forgettable name. And its production values were low. Greg and I had zero interest in it, none of the rest of the team had any connection to it. And its sales were minimal. Given the bandwidth that any product line takes up, why would we devote resources to a game that we didn’t have any interest in and didn’t generate enough revenue for us to do it anyways?

    If you have fond memories of Magic World or disagree with my assessment of the book, that's totally fine. This stuff is subjective after all (except for the sales data - that is what it is and Magic World did not even reach mediocre sales). But that's why it failed from my perspective.

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  2. 5 hours ago, Richard S. said:

    Which can be expressed as a combination between specific aspects of Movement and Harmony. Equal Exchange. RPG isn't saying Issaries doesn't have the Communication rune, it's just breaking it down into its component parts. People in-world can still express Issaries as having Communication, or they can mark him and his followers with Harmony and Movement, or both; it's all the same.

    Correct. And this is how the Communication (or Issaries) Rune was presented back with Cults of Prax.

  3. 2 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

    Bacteria exist in Glorantha? I thought diseases, rot etc. were caused by spirits and such...

    Prokaryotes ("before nut") fit within the God Learner schemes as life before Flamal, Mee Vorala, or Triolina. Or maybe the embryonic stuff that was later worked into those forms. They are entirely hypothetical of course, but then again, so is that entire schematic.

  4. Here's an interesting late Second Age document that I find deep in the Library of Nochet. Although it was written in Theyalan, I suspect it is of Jrusteli origin, given its materialist nature.


    1.      All was Darkness and Water. Then came Earth and Aether. 

    2.      Earth formed a perfect lozenge floated atop the water, rooted or pillared to the ancient base of Darkness. At first there were only gods, but later came life - algae, prokaryotes, arthropods, and fish.

    3.      Earth became irregular as it grew faster in some areas than in others. Flamal was born and plants grew atop the earth, followed by arthropods, and then by the first amphibians.

    4.      The Spike grew in the center and the first River flows uphill onto land. General mixing on surface world of elements. Other mountains are grown or made at this period. Reptiles rule the land, and True Dragons nest. Grandfather Mortal created.

    5.      Intense light begins above the Spike and grows in brightness. The first birds appear. 

    6.      Sky encircles all the earth. Yelm rules the north, Lodril the south. Flowering plants appear, and insects flourish. Giant reptiles dominant.

    7.      Ratites and other great birds proliferate. Growing conflict among gods. Age ends with Yelm slain by Orlanth.

    8.      Storm gods dominate. Seas drop, many clouds, and more rivers. Mammals become dominant land animal. Conifers proliferate. First trolls appear on surface. 

    9.      A predatory age. Valind conquers much of the world. Daga, Mallia, and Ragnaglar are big leaders. Trolls are very powerful. Brithos persists.

    10.   First Chaos gods appear. Age ends with the destruction of the Spike and departure of the Lightbringers.

    11.   Age of Chaos. Mortal revival and resurgence. Increased victories against Chaos, including I Fought, We Won.

    12.   Age of Time. The Dawn. History begins.


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  5. 51 minutes ago, Starcarr said:

    Uh oh, the guy presently responsible for all Gloranthan magic is sending out curses! Hide under your hats guys!

    David is good at deflecting my curses. I think it bounced off him and hit UK Customs, which is why our pallet of Malleus was turned around. Let that be a reminder kids, don't thoughtlessly curse!

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  6. 6 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

    Well, you are mistaken.  At least how I understand Yanafal.

    Yanafal was a Humakti who dies, self ressurects, yet, by the power of some Sedenyic mumbo jumbo, and in honorable ceremony / duel with Humakt, maintains his Honor and becomes a God.

    Unlike ZZ, Yanafal is not a hated enemy of Humakt.

    Correct on both accounts.

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  7. Without a Prince, tribal warfare is going to be endemic but usually low key. The Culbrea rebelled, stopped paying tribute, and even engaged in guerrilla activity and banditry-in-force, but refrained from taking actions that would alienate the anti-Lunar population in other tribes. They could raid and humiliate leaders of the Cinsina, holding specific people for ransom, rustling cattle, and the embarrassed Cinsina leaders can't really do anything about it. The Culbrea are folk heroes for blowing off the Lunars (who are too distracted to do much about it as long as the Culbrea don't force their hand), and the Cinsina have their own needs to remain friendly to the Lunar Army (Jomes after all is a General). Nobody appeals any of this up to Prince Temertain, who is too disinterested to do his job.

    In early 1625, Temertain is gone, and there are a lot of Lunar soldiers (more than 10,000) gathered around the New Lunar Temple. They are focused on other things (like major Praxian nomad activity and an army of Hendriki around Whitewall), but nobody wants to give them an excuse to march two days north and crush the Culbrea.

    And them the Dragonrise happened and the chessboard got knocked over. And when the pieces got picked up, there were almost no Red pieces left. And Kallyr was there in person leading the Orange pieces.


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  8. 11 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

    Thank you, I have been trying to explain to folk the what they see as simple is not necessarily simple. A truly frustrating experience. Having a 20th century individual tell you that crafing x is simple does not carry a lot of gravitas with me. 

    Lord yes. 

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  9. 6 hours ago, scott-martin said:

    So we all know the Uleria spell reflects a divinatory technique promoted under that name by Aleister Crowley. Greg was in touch with a lot of deep cats, read widely and Chaosium publications have always been packed with in-jokes, so the nod and the wink make sense, right?

    But there's a problem. Unlike the public "Energised Enthusiasm" available to all, Crowley never published the technique or any description of it in his lifetime. It's still officially a secret teaching. The details only appear in manuscript instructions for very high level initiates (maybe 20 people worldwide in 1985 if you squint), and sub rosa in Kenneth Grant's Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God as well as a few bootleg publications. It's not the kind of thing you just have on the shelf and decide to incorporate into your game world. And while Greg was hip, the treatment of Lovecraft in Call of Cthulhu would probably have bent in a very different direction if he was conversant with Grant. 

    Of course the technique circulated by word of mouth in the Bay Area as hardcore seekers made pilgrimages to Grant and brought back a book or two. The original bootlegs stem from this source and once it was in print it kept circulating around the fringes to this day. Was this Greg's milieu circa 1984-5? While some overlap is always possible (the original manuscript of the Book of the Law, for example, wending its way to the Change of Hobbit bookstore), you had to be pretty far inside to get this kind of word of mouth and I've yet to hear anyone from that crowd mention Greg hanging around.

    Nonetheless, the existence of the spell requires transmission from somewhere, right? Today I think I solved the case:


    Man, Myth & Magic, ladies and gentlemen. Ubiquitous desk reference into the 1980s and readily available to someone hunting spells for the courtesan of heaven. A little less heavy than the alternative hypothesis, but it fits the biographical data a lot better.

    Where did MMM get their information? Tantric scholar Benjamin Walker, who read Grant and bears further scrutiny.

    That’s Cavendish right?

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  10. Yelmalio was born when Yelm was murdered by Orlanth, as a blindingly bright glare of magnificence which radiated from Yelm like light from the sun. He became known as the Little Sun or “Yelmalio”, although he has been given many other names and titles. 

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  11. 8 minutes ago, GianniVacca said:

    Mentioned in WF #1, on p28: "MASTERS OF MAGIC are the most advanced individuals in the thaumaturgical arts, and possess powers which are denied to any others. The Lunar Mistress of Magic is the daughter of the Red Moon. The Sartar Master is the Royal Librarian, while the Independent is Aristos the Philosopher, who often spends his years meditating in the Pass."


    Who is he?

    An idea that Greg quickly abandoned. 

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  12. 6 hours ago, Leingod said:

    Bringing back the talk of Tatius and his choice of location for the temple, the Sartar Companion has this to say on page 80:

    The "Broken Ring" is a Dara Happan name for the Ring of Orlanth (also called the Broken Planet); it was Umatum, which was broken by Shargash, and it corrupts and pollutes the perfect order of the Sky. So if we go with this, it's Tatius trying to bring back a "fixed" Orlanth/Umath/Rebellus Terminus who will fit neatly into some Lunar or Solar notion of a "perfect sky" to put his own family on top politically. Which probably helps explain why bringing back the Ring of Orlanth with its Three New Stars into the middle of this was such a serious disruption of his plans even before a dragon rose up and ate everyone.

    There are places in Glorantha where the magical geography facilitates bringing the God Time into the mundane world. In all of Sartar, the Lunars determined that this was a place of raw power, and not associated with any Orlanthi cult. A place of raw power, undefined (and unknown) by the local Orlanthi, the Lunars concluded they could use this place to transform Dragon Pass.

    They did this by recreating the Perfect Sky in ceremony, reversing the As Above, So Below and using the power of the place to establish a correlation between what went on in the ceremony and what that meant in the heavens and God Time. This was a big ritual and Tatius carried some of the Emperor's power as he served as his Proxy in the rites.

    A group of Orlanthi hero questers infiltrated the ceremony and appeared AT THE WRONG TIME. Orlanth's Ring emerged on the wrong day and time from the Stormgate and cut its way through the ceremony. The Lunars could not simply send troops to stop it without breaking the ceremony, they could not move outside of their roles without breaking the ceremony, and the Orlanthi were tougher than expected. They cut a spiral through the grounds, and stars fell from the heavens and planets were disrupted. 

    Then when the Orlanthi got to where the Star Dragon's head would be, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. A True Dragon awakened. I do not think anyone planned this, except perhaps Orlaront Dragonfriend. The Dragon devoured the ceremony, the priests and heroes, and even several of the Orlanthi hero questers. It is known that Kallyr and the Sartarite leaders were horrified by this, although Argrath White Bull welcomed it and seemed to have some expectation of this or something like it (he had tried to attack the Temple grounds the previous season with his nomad army but was rebuffed at Hender's Ruins).

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  13. I think at this point the Sartarites are easier to explain as their own thing than try to say they are like so and so. For example, with my players who know nothing about Glorantha, I say, "They are an ancient world warrior culture, with feuding tribes and caravan cities. Hospitality and honour are very important to them, and they hate being ruled by outsiders, although they are very loyal to their warlord Prince (who they claim is descended from a founder god). Their main gods are a Storm God and an Earth Goddess, and have lots of minor deities, most of which share in the myths and stories of their main two gods."

    Some might visualise Kafiristan of the Man Who Would Be King, or they might think of Thrace and Macedon, Vedic India, or even ancient Slavic cultures (I have one campaign where all the players are Polish). But that's just for visualisation - they know it is actually none of the above.

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  14. On 1/6/2021 at 12:03 PM, Jeff said:

    And assassins did wipe most of the claimants out. All of the descendants of Tarkalor (which would represent the main lineage of the family) were killed. It was bad enough that the only adult family member able to claim the throne after Terasarin's death was a second cousin through a lesser wife (that would be Salinarg). It was so bad that when the Colymar went hunting for an heir in 1613, the only one they could find was another second cousin of Salinarg's.

    By 1625, there are only a handful of descendants alive. Two of those known are Kallyr (grandfather was the brother of Prince Jarosar), and Argrath (great-great-grandmother was the sister of Prince Jarolar). These are slender reeds indeed, but are enough for the magic to work.


    1 hour ago, soltakss said:

    Blinding and castration was also popular.

    As much fun as discussing how the Byzantines and Ottomans dealt with royal claimants, we've gone far off topic. 

  15. 17 minutes ago, Eff said:

    If every Sartar descendant has an average of three children, across, let's conservatively say five generations, there should be about 3,000 descendants of Sartar hanging around by the modern day. An average of two children does produce 486, a number just sufficient to make three or four modern survivors plausible. (An average of four children produces 12,500 modern descendants. And really we should be looking at 110 years as five and a half generations...)

    Now, normally, the claim would go extinct for most of these descendants, but the precedent of Temertain, Kallyr, and Argrath shows that distant descent still produces a valid claim. We might well argue, too, that Sartar's descendants might only intermarry with higher nobility, but that also doesn't seem to be the case. The numbers are strange, because free interfertility is something that's practiced by the Sartar royal lineage, but the (prospective range of) numbers remain small enough that assassins can credibly wipe them all out. 

    And assassins did wipe most of the claimants out. All of the descendants of Tarkalor (which would represent the main lineage of the family) were killed. It was bad enough that the only adult family member able to claim the throne after Terasarin's death was a second cousin through a lesser wife (that would be Salinarg). It was so bad that when the Colymar went hunting for an heir in 1613, the only one they could find was another second cousin of Salinarg's.

    By 1625, there are only a handful of descendants alive. Two of those known are Kallyr (grandfather was the brother of Prince Jarosar), and Argrath (great-great-grandmother was the sister of Prince Jarolar). These are slender reeds indeed, but are enough for the magic to work.

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  16. You all are welcome to do what you want with your Glorantha in your games, etc. But in forthcoming publications and licensed material, the rulers of Sartar are well-defined. And it is assumed there is a single leader named Argrath, assisted by many companions and friends, who led Sartar in the Hero Wars, just as there was a single leader named Alexander who, assisted by many companions and friends, led Macedon in the conquest of the Persian Empire.

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