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About Shimozakura

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  • RPG Biography
    Mostly Heroquest and Fate. Some RQ too.
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    Glorantha, Praedor, Ars Magica...
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    Member or Kalikos in Finland.

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  1. Shimozakura

    On illumination and real world enlightenment

    I absolutely agree with you on a general sense. The real world is not Glorantha, and Glorantha is not just some cheap jumbled imitation of real world phenomena but a truly independent, vibrant universe that makes use of these phenomena but only on its own terms. This is also something that I am going to respect in the actual talk that will be partly based on this thread (see the first post). However, for the interests of gathering material gathering phase for the talk, I'm after the kind of input that allows me to see some of the similarities and differences between Glorantha and the real world, and that's why I'm provoking the good people of the forum with real world examples even though it doesn't quite fit. Like you, I was concerned that it would narrow down the view too much, but I'm happy to see that people seem to be having no trouble "running off into the Gloranthan high fantasy wilderness" like you put it, despite my occasional attempts to ground the conversation with Eartly topics. This supports my understanding of buddhist illumination (at least the kind that happens when you're still alive): you can be illuminated but you still have to do your taxes, clip your toenails and be an individual human being like everybody else. You don't lose the ability to be an individual, you can just choose not to be one. As for contacting illuminati after death; maybe we can raise a parallel from the draconic side. Does anyone know if it is possible to contact an illuminated draconic entity who has performed utuma?
  2. Shimozakura

    On illumination and real world enlightenment

    Sorry for the long silence. The discussion of whether or not God Learnerism can lead to illumination has some counterparts in real life. For one thing there exists the Kyoto School of Philosophy, whose thinkers attempted to reconcile the spiritual traditions of East Asia with Western thought. If we think of God Learnerism as the Gloranthan manifestation of real-world Western naturalism and the scientific method, then the attempt would come close to attempting to define the Invisible God in draconic or lunar terms (something like this is definately taking place at the Lunar College of Magic). I think with God Learnerism and illumination, the matter ultimately comes down to whether the founding myths of Glorantha, with the Ultimate and such, are real to everybody or not. If there is an objective monomyth at the bottom of it, then I guess digging deep enough using the tools of rationalism should reveal something fundamental. Then again, Glorantha is all about relativity, so maybe there exists no single truth to attain. In that case I would rule enlightenment out of the scope of Western rationalism. By the way, one thing that came to mind is whether the division of theravada and mahayana exists in Glorantha. The basic difference is that in theravada-buddhism, only the true practitioners who withdraw from worldly life can hope to achieve enlightenment, whereas in mahayana even a lay member can achieve enlightenment or other form of salvation. One example of this is the Pure Land Buddhism, where it is believed (on a general level) that a normal person who chants a prayer repeatedly or engages in other form of meditation can be reborn by the mercy of a boddhisattwa in a buddhist paradise where attainment of enlightenment is easier. The religious practices include things such as repeating a prayer for every prayer bead in your rosary or for every bean in a whole vat of them. Of course, the enlightenment in Pure Land Buddhism is mostly attained after death, if ever. As far as I know, most paths to illumination in Glorantha rely on closed monastic orders (I count the draconewts as such) or heroic events. But is there a popular cult that sets illumination of the layperson as its goal? The most likely place to look for would probably be the Lunar empire, since most of the leading figures of the Empire are supposed to be illuminated (also there was the excellent entry above about Moonson's parties). Still, I feel that even these people have to be novices first and nobles second if they're going to unveil the secrets of the black moon. The street demagogues are another questionmark for me, but I'm under the impression that bread, circus and politics are more of their thing.
  3. Shimozakura

    On illumination and real world enlightenment

    Ah yes, the paradox where the will to achieve enlightenment becomes in itself a barrier to enlightenment. My heel of Achilles is that I've learned about many Buddhist concepts superfically but I'm not familiar with the Buddhist discourse so I'm lousy at recognizing the allusions. Here I thought you were referring to a Gloranthan concept and scoured the Guide for it. Yeah, that's something I'll definately take up. ありがとうございます。 By the way, to re-iterate something that I said before, where do you think the enlightened go after death? Since they no longer perceive souls and god plane entities as meaningful, I doubt they'd be happy with an ordinary afterlife. Or maybe a better way to frame it would be to ask whether the soul of an illuminated person who is not powerful enough to escape the Underworld after death will be reborn or not? (I'm also assuming that even the enlightened have to adhere to the Great Compromise.) The connection for real world Buddhist practitioners is of course that those of them who endorse the idea of rebirth rely on enlightenment to end it.
  4. Shimozakura

    On illumination and real world enlightenment

    Thanks for pointing this out to me. It's funny how you get these similarities with the Oriental religions when you go digging; apparently Stoicism was also significantly influenced by Oriental philosophy. I'll keep this in mind. Yes, the Riddles are definately going in, but what is this "great doubt"? Do you mean occlusion?
  5. Shimozakura

    Planning a Rathori campaign

    Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks.
  6. Shimozakura

    Planning a Rathori campaign

    In my campaign, all Rathori sleep throught the winter, leaving no guardians but instead relying on their magic to keep their dwellings safe (those who cannot hibernate are not truly a part of the bear people and are exiled from their clans before autumn). The green elves can also have local defence pacts with singular Rathori tribes, and the shamans of other peoples as well as the elves dissuade any opportunistic clansmen from attempting unwanted intrusions. If an intrusion did happen, the slumbering Rathori would briefly awaken to defend their burrow. The other Hsunchen sharing the territory will be much surprised to see the long gone bear people awaken, and further so to realize that the ban has been lifted at the same time. The numbers of the other Hsunchen have doubtlessly grown during the 100 year period but not as much as once could think, because although the Rathori haven't been there to take their share of the forest's resources, they haven't been able to bolster the bountifulness of the forest with their magic either. Still, there won't be much to go around which is one reason why many of the Rathori will leave the forest to hire out as mercanaries for the Janube River States and the Kingdom of War. One of the problems in interacting with the other Hsunchen peoples is the lack of a common language. The God of the Silver Feet is dead and gone so people can't simply just talk to one another as they used to do in the times of the Empire, which to the PCs was just yesterday. I'm thinking of establishing the customs and the language of the green elves as the new benchmark in diplomacy, since that's the one set of culture and language in the region that has been vital for survival. Thanks for your opinions on the runes. I think that Roko Joko's suggestion on runes may be easier for beginners, although it may hinder things if the players want to convert to some of the rivervalley cults later on so I'll need to think about it. I'll also likely adopt David's approach of giving the option to hang the spirit magic on the beast rune, although one thing does strike me as odd. Why do you say having the spirit rune instead of the beast rune would make it easier to become a shaman? Is it because the beast rune cannot manifest as a fetch, or does basing your spirit magic on the beast rune set some limitations on which societies you can join? (I mean, of course it bars you from switching traditions, but do you mean that it limits your choice of spirit societies within the Great White Bear tradition?) Thanks for the link Jajagappa! That's just pure gold.
  7. Shimozakura

    Planning a Rathori campaign

    I'm planning a short beginner-friendly campaign on HQG of a group of Rathori bear people waking up in 1607 as a part of the second awakening. I'm imaging the Rathori family community as a band of 5-20 individuals including men, women and children in both man and bear form. The community would roam the forest from Sea to Earth season, gather together with the tribe into semi-permanent dwellings in late Earth season for their rituals, and sleep through the winter. For runes, I'm thinking of recommending my players a combination of any elemental rune, the spirit rune and the beast rune, but from a purely gaming system perspective I'm questioning the utility of recommending the beast rune to players who already have the spirit rune. While the beast rune will allow them to turn into bears and be bear-ish, the spirit rune will also allow that plus a ton of other stuff. Do you see any reason why a player might want to emphasize the beast rune over the spirit one? For spirits societies, I'm thinking about improvising along the Balazarian lines but without any pig, dog and hawk spirits (I'll probably need to add in a warrior spirit society open to both sexes) and with the (still living) Great White Bear as the tradition spirit. I imagine that the eventual death of the Great White Bear in the hands of Harrek the Berserk will cause the descendants of the Great White Bear to wrestle for supremacy of the Tradition, plunging the Rathori into internal strife and intensive heroquesting. As a side note, I'd also like your opinion on one facet of the Uncoligns, the reindeer people. It says on the Guide that the "Uncoling reindeer folk believe that they are reindeer who just happen to be able to turn into humans". What, then, should one make of the fact that the human members of the Uncoli eat the reindeer members of their flock while the reindeer Uncoli do not? This is something else than the Praxian Covenant because the Uncoli believe man and reindeer to be one and the same. I like to imagine that the Uncoli have a great deal of myth and ritualization surrounding this "interspecies cannibalism" and draw some of their great magical powers from it. The Uncoli are badass. I bet they secretly consider the rumors of Wolverine tribe's cannibalism as cute.
  8. Shimozakura

    On illumination and real world enlightenment

    We have some very interesting replies here, and I kinda guessed when I posted this that my division into Nysalorean (or Vithelan) illumination and Draconic wouldn't be able to cover it. Thanks to everybody for all the keywords this far, and apologies for totally missing the HQG p.30 sidebar. Thank you Joerg for laying out the process in clear terms. I'm going to have to look at those sources myself as I am not familiar with the concepts of the Ultimate and the Void, but right now it sounds to me that the first steps of the creation myth of the universe are very Taoist in nature, as is right and proper. It also seems to correspond closely to the Buddhist idea about the nature of the universe, and seems to include the idea of the obliteration of the self. As for Tarumath's question, I don't know about you guys but this seems to me like a different thing, since by learning the great secret the quester is trying to become one with a particular rune, not transcend it like in illumination. But then again we have Joerg's reference to the Orlanth's Liberating bolt, and I think Orlanth's more transcending adventures like the Baths of Nelat also hint at the discovery of cosmic truths. Any thoughts on this? Like Evilroddy said, real world enlightenment is an elusive concept, and there is much controversy over thing like what enlightenment is, how do you achieve it and how do you know somebody is enlightened. In Japanese buddhism alone, some older sects consider enlightenment to be a permanent state of transcendence that is achieved either during one's life or after death, and they got into a very difficult position when some of the newers sects pointed a finger at them and told them to prove it. On the other hand, among some Zen buddhist sects enlightenment is understood as a transient state of awareness that can only be achieved momentarily during the act of meditation, and the life goal of a practitioner is to live their lives so that every activity becomes meditation. So basically, you're right in that we don't know whether there actually exists a state called illumination and there is no clear idea on what it is. However, we can discuss it as a concept and a philosophy and compare what different people believe about it. In essence my talk is going to be more of a menagerie of different concepts of enlightenment, of what they include and what they don't, and what enlightenment could mean in your game. Now, even though the issue of who is enlightened is more clear cut in Glorantha on the meta level, I don't think it'd actually be as clear to the world's denizens, even to scholars of illumination. Sure, if you have a lunar riddler with an obvious chaos feature you can put a blindfolded uroxi next to them to see if he goes off, or you can compare temple records to search for double initiates of incompatible religions. However, if a mystic is content to not worship chaos, to stay away from true dragons and to not join conflicting cults, then how do you tell he or she is a transcended mystic and not just another lunatic or a worshipper of an obscure god? Regarding chaos, I think the point of whether or not one understands and accepts chaos is a crucial issue here. Methcalph says that an illuminati does not need to accept and understand it, but then again if you take Joerg's definition of illumination as a transcendent understanding of the cosmic foundations of creation, you'll basically have no choice on the matter. In many sects of real world Buddhism, it follows that since reality is by nature random and illusionary, judging anything as good or evil is pointless. If this holds true for Glorantha as well, an illuminati would have no reason not to accept Chaos. This being said, I do think metcalph has a point here since it's one thing to accept chaos as a cosmic truth and quite another to put it to practice. It's just that I think a true illuminati would probably refrain from using chaos for purely practical reasons.
  9. Shimozakura

    Don't lick the duck!

    The funny thing is there's nothing wrong with the translation as such: in Japanese, "not licking" somebody is a way of saying not to mess with them (dunno if it's intentional feature of the language or just a weird accident. Probably the former). I must say I'd prefer the licking too, the current translation is way too bookish. And you don't learn not to lick a duck before you've had to go home with a mouth full of feathers.
  10. Hello. I've been a fan of Glorantha for decades but I've only lately become active in the wider community. This is also my first (though not last) post on this forum. I'm normally pretty shy at starting forum topics, but it so happens that I'm going to hold a talk at Ropecon, a Finnish role playing convention held on July 2018, on the subject of illumination: how it works in the real world on one hand and in Glorantha on the other. For the real world I'm mostly focusing on Japanese buddhism since that's what I'm most familiar with. Just to make things clear (disclaimer time), my practical purpose for establishing this thread is to ask the fine people of this forum to help me sound out some ideas and gain tips and insight for the talk, although as a Gloranthist I'm also otherwise extremely interested in what will come up. In my talk I will publicly give credit and my heartfelt thanks to the participants of this thread, and post a link to the video of the talk here if it ever gets uploaded (some of them do). Please understand that some of the ideas you post here may end up in the talk, so if you don't want that to happen, please say so in your comment. And of course, no comment posted after the end of July 2018 will even make it in. I am not getting a monetary compensation for holding the talk, although it will gain me a free entry to the event. Now, as I understand, enlightenment in Glorantha comes in two basic flavors: Nysalorian and Draconic illumination. Because Nysalorian revelations give you the power to ignore cult restrictions and embrace chaos with few repercussions, I've always had the understanding that the revelations themselves are chaotic in origin, or more accurately transcend the dichotomy between gods and chaos. I guess they are probably based on some insight that all stuff is fundamentally made of primal chaos or such. This form of illumination seems to hold up with the buddhist view that the world is based on nothingness and that the world is ultimately a chaotic and random existence. At least Heroquest Glorantha treats draconic enlightenment as something similar to Nysalorean in terms of gaming rules, but I think the two are quite different. First, where Nysalorean illumination features a dichotomy of gods and chaos, the Draconic kind only focuses on dragons and how to become one. Godunya doesn't seem to do any chaotic or otherwise anti-draconic stuff while meditating to become a dragon (although who knows...), nor is chaos a big part of the Kralorean setting when compared to the lunar one. It's also hard to imagine Argrath's Dragonically illuminated warlocks sprouting tentacles. In short, if you consider all this and the stuff that draconewts and EWF do and did, draconic enlightenment seems to hold up better with another facet of real world enlightenment: the liberation of the soul, or the reaching of a transcended state of existence through meditation. As a side note, although the runic goal of illumination seems to be the gaining of the infinity rune, Orlanthi mystics are also doing something similar with the mastery rune high up on the mountains. In short, it seems to me that the different Gloranthan traditions of illumination are drawing from different aspects of real world enlightenment, and that they are actually quite different from one another. What are your thoughts on this? Also, does anybody know where the illuminated Riddlers and draconic mystics go in the afterlife? Not the primordial chaos, I bet.