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Found 2 results

  1. So JMS of Murder, She Wrote fame just posted this Facebook post on the death of Lawrence "Larry" DiTillio, who wrote Ringworld along with the late Lynn Willis. JMS' Facebook post
  2. The Dead of Glorantha One of the greatest magics in Glorantha is the living body of a person. There are magics to partake from this magic for other purposes – voluntary sacrifice of magical energy, blood, emotions, even pain and death, but also involuntary donations such as a wraith's or vampire's drain of life, a sorcerer's Tapping, or gruesome sacrifice to enemy demons or deities. But the dead still retain quite a bit of the magic that the life person had. Why else would there be head-hunters (besides the Thanatari) or reliquiars of ancestors or heroes? Even in societies that destroy the body (by cremation, exposure to scavenger birds, ritual consumption of the dead by friends and family, or unconserved burials leaving the body to the worms), there are remnants of the dead which can (or need to) be interacted with. Death was introduced to Glorantha via the Sword Story and subsequent branches of that story. Apparently, destruction or annihilation of a person or deity was known before Death entered the world – Umath for instance was shattered into more pieces than could reassemble. However, Death wasn't the end of existence. It only marked the transition to another stage of being. Something important was lost, but there remained enough that was recognizably the former person. One of the most important cultural accomplishments in order to start into Time was the Separation of the Living and the Dead, a feat usually assigned to the Silver or Gray Age that followed the Greater Darkness (for those who recognized or remembered such a period). King Heort did this among the Theyalans, and other Darkness survival heroes did so among their own cultures. Even after this separation, the dead didn't simply disappear, but they were excluded from the activities of the living for most of their existence (time). With Death also came Undeath, where the dead prey on the living. The Vivamort (or in Ernaldan myth, Nontraya) myth is a companion of the Sword Story, of sidestepping Death by giving up an important portion of Life. A common tale of horror and woes is the rise of dead bodies that attack their former kin or foes, usually under the influence of some foreign and malign controlling agent. If the dead rise on behalf of their kin/comrades, these actions may be regarded as laudable and beneficial to the community, and not necessarily as undeath. In other places, the dead are made to mimic the actions of the living, or do so out of their own volition – e.g. the Fonritian or Dorastan plantations tended by the dead, or the zombie rowers of Kralori warships. Another not so uncommon occurrence in Glorantha is the prescence of a spirit, shade or other uncorporeal remnant of the deceased, as exemplified by ghosts. Sometimes these are counted among the undead – usually when forcefully attached to some remnant of their dead body – but in other cases they are regarded as restless dead. And not all cultures think that the dead should rest – even the Death fanatics of the Humakt cult accept the continuing service of their comrade's ghost to the cult, although they strongly oppose any case of somebody or something else controlling these ghosts than their cult. Then there are the revenant dead - vampires, liches, draugr, active mummies, or even weirder forms of dead flesh animated by its own spirit/soul/whatever (thinking of the impressive noble undead as seen in Tekumel here), fueled by a self-inflicted or external curse. The different cultures have vastly different ideas about what they are made of, what's important about that, and what changes when they lose Life. The Malkioni regard themselves as embodied intellects and energy, and possibly the impression they make on other minds, including the World Mind. Depending on their school of philosophy, their identity simply disappears (Brithini), enters Solace, enters Joy, or even attains an angelic or saintly existence. Theists say that they are made up of souls (some define their body as one form of their soul), and assign different origins and functions to these souls. They also expect the part of their soul that formed a connection to their god(s) to return to the deity's realm in the Otherworld. (They don't have any problem with that existence to be in different "places" of the Otherworld at once, having experienced the non-linear Godtime themselves in their cultic practices. Hence there isn't a conceptual problem for initiation into multiple cults, either – being in one Otherworld place doesn't preclude a simultaneous existence in another place and/or perception. Illumination makes it clear that these really are perceptions of the Otherworld if viewed from beyond.) The Kralori think of their souls as a unit that goes to the waiting place to join the god/dragon-emperor when he ascends. Animists perceive themselves as part of the spirit world to which they will return after their embodied existence. Possibly to be cleansed of identity, possibly to be reborn, possibly to retain their identity in the company of their ancestors (and after a while their descendants, too). All of these cultures accept that they leave something behind, too, and that the stuff left behind still has some connection to whatever notion of self they have. That's why they have funeral rites or commemoration services, even for absent bodies (like e.g. drowned sailors, victims of "natural" catastrophes, or bodies lost on a battlefield yielded to the victorious side.) All fear the abuse of these remains. I wonder if there is (or was) a culture in Glorantha that had its members turn into a trove of memories (like a book, grimoire, clay tablet, seal, or a crystal storing visual memories, to be left in the care of their surviving kin/company. If the Praxians summon their ancestors to stand besides them in battle, is this viewed as necromancy by their foes? If a dead cultist continues as a cult spirit aiding a living member of the cult, is this sidestepping Death? When a dead hero is manifested by its worshippers to aid them, is this breaching the searation of the living and the dead? When the dead claim the place of the living on those special holy days in Nochet, how do the many non-Esrolians deal with that? And are their own dead – probably having received a funeral service in the manner of their own culture – participating in this parade of the dead? Will smoky bodies of cremated Orlanthi walk in stride with mummified buried bodies of Esrolians, and possibly skeletons picked clean by scavenger birds (in Grazer style), and whatever burial customs the other foreigners in Nochet practice? Would Kralori who expect their dead to wait for Godunya's ascension meet the "rest" of their deceased? How do the Malkioni deal with this (and the proximity of the Antones Estates to their own part of Nochet)?
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