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Qizilbashwoman

Fifth Hells

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Let's discuss Hell!

  1. Who has unique Hells, and are they separate parts of the same Underworld or, like, separate pocket dimensions? Are, like, Lunar Hells on the Red Moon? Where are Sheng Seleris' Pentan Hells?
  2. What is a fifth Hell, and who has them?
  3. What else do we want to talk about regarding Hells?
  4. H E L L
  5. If you crawl out of Hell, where do you show up?
  6. Let's review Alkoth again because I'm confused about whether you die every time you enter the center city (the part enclosed by the Green Ring, which I've nicknamed "Shadzoring Alkoth" since greater Alkoth has now grown up around it)
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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Let's discuss Hell!

Just Hell, or also the magical/fantastic Underworlds in the upper region of the Earth Cube?

Hell is another word for underworlds, a vast volume of space mostly occupied by solid earth or (deeper down) somewhat solid darkness. The named regions probably refer to vast cave complexes in the Underworld - think cheesy Hollywood interpretations of Jules Vernes' Journey to the Middle of the Earth, and you get some visuals for the less hostile ones, think Dante's Inferno for the more hostile ones.
If Earth is even vaguely cube-shaped, then the Earth Cube alone is 4000 miles deep. That is, despite the really small surface area, as deep as the distance from the real world surface to its solid metal core. If you allow say fifty miles per "layer" of cave complexes, you get 800 levels of three-dimensionally networked cave systems before you even reach the river Styx (if this Greek goddess name still is used for the Gloranthan deity with the similar function).

However, moving away from the Middle World makes distances fuzzy, so maybe you get only 200 such layers inside the Earth Cube where all manner of Underworld stuff may be located.

The Deep Earth is both part of the Earth Otherworld where life retreats during Dark Season, and the fertile source of Life that Ernalda and the Land Goddesses share on the Surface world, and on the Sea-covered surfaces of the cube - including the four rifts created by the Implosion of the Spike (also known as Zzabur's Great Blast) and occupied by the Doom Currents.

 

In other words, the Underworlds are an almost limitless expansion to the Gloranthan surface world, with possible interaction with lots of surface world deities, as visitors, husbands of the earths.

 

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

1. Who has unique Hells, and are they separate parts of the same Underworld or, like, separate pocket dimensions? Are, like, Lunar Hells on the Red Moon? Where are Sheng Seleris' Pentan Hells?

 

The numbered Hells are a Dara Happan concept and describe something like layers in the Underworld, possibly limited to the surface area of Peloria. The four Hells named in Glorious ReAscent of Yelm are all associated with Lodril and the other Lodril-like deities (Turos, ViSaruDaran) named in Entekosiad.

The first hell is just underground, and while there is no way for Yelm or any other celestial light to reach down here (except maybe for the Hell Crack), this part is not associated with Death. Dara Happans call it Dubgrulub.

While usually dark, there may be sources of weak light down here.

The Second Hell is known to the Dara Happans as Veskerelgat, and ruled by a son (or aspect) of Lodril (or Turos). This is the first level that may be reckoned as a realm of the dead. This and any lower levels may exist less and less within linear Time and more and more in Godtime, making them the equivalent of hero planes.

The Third Hell is known to the Dara Happans is Voshtyagut, ruled by Deshlotralas, another son/aspect of Lodril whose name I take to be "Deep Lodril".

The Fourth Hell known to the Dara Happans is Ershkintu, ruled by Deshkorgos the Monster Man, Lodril's Other.

Other Hells and underworlds are known to the Dara Happans, starting with the Shadzoring Hell that connects to the Surface World at Alkoth, the Hellgate. Shadzor is the Hell aspect of Shargash, and the Shadzorings are a monstrous race of underworld demons that have taken on human shape, and haven't shown their true monster selves since around the time of the Battle of Argentium Thri'ile any more. The monster shape may resemble Deshkorgos or Zorak Zoran, or the description of Vorthan. And yes, there is a connection to the Red Planet, which is at home in the Underworld Sky and on the Southpath.

But Alkoth isn't the only metropolis with its own entrance to the Underworld.

Glamour sits on the edge of the Crater, possibly the biggest open entry to the Underworld. The inside of the Crater has a weird topology that defeats sanity unless you have (Lunar) illumination. My theory is that the surface of the Red Moon is a reflection of the inner surface of the Crater - whatever is on the Red Moon in the Sky is at the same time on the inside of the spherical hole in the Pelorian Earth. The Crown Mountains that mark the visible edge of the moon in the sky should have the same profile as the Crater walls, which I like to think of as a rugged sierra rather than a perfectly cirular rim. The Silver Shadow is the area of Peloria which also doubles as the surface of the moon, the missing upper pole, mirrored along the crater wall.

Nochet has its own hellgate, the Blackmaw, now surrounded by the Antones Estates (the local necropolis) and guarded by a huge (though not necessarily that high) fortress named Watchtower, a part of Irillo's Wall. The Blackmaw already existed in the Green Age or early Golden Age (the map on p.27 has a Shadow rune, Darkness without Cold, the sub-rune of Darkness shared by Xentha, her son Argan Argar, and Moorgarki), but the need to guard it arose only with the release of Death from Subere's vault.

 

Not included in these tiered hells is the realm/prison of Bijiif, the underworld abode of Yelm, formerly known as Wonderhome to the uz. I like to think that this underworld is exposed to the Underworld sky, a hemisphere of Darkness continuing the hemisphere of the Upper World. It lies on the Sunpath.

The Underworld Sky is a two-dimensional realm of vast surface, and could have as many constellations and myths as the night sky. Due to the tilt of the Sun Dome, portions of the Underworld sky are visible on the southern and northern edge of the sky from the Middle World at the solstices respectively. The stars and planets on this rim area look no different from those in the celestial sky.

If you think about it, the Jumper stars Theya, Rausa, Kalikos and the fourth, southern Jumper light up the upper quarter of this lower sky bowl half of the day, making this part of the Underworld a lot less dark or daunting than the rest.

The eery light of Dead Yelm passes through each night. In the days, an underworld portion of Lightfore might continue the travel of the planetary body. The other planets all move across this hemisphere, too. Where the daylight sun is life-giving, the underworld sun might be vampiric, draining life-force of those unlucky enough to be exposed to it.

Adventuring in the sky is a great opportunity for quite psychedelic stories. Adventuring in the Underworld Sky would be a continuation of that, with a darker tone, and possibly ever more nightmarish.

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

2. What is a fifth Hell, and who has them?

IMO the Fifth Hell is a Dara Happan concept of those Hells that have no mythical interaction with Lodril or one of his cognates.

This doesn't seem to include Yelm's/Bijiif's underworld abode. The Fifth Hells are often directly bordering on the Void, places of Chaos. The one where Sheng Seleris and Hofstaring were imprisoned may be an adjunct of that deepest place where Sedenya encountered/joined/is being lovingly devoured by Blaskarth, the personification of unfettered Chaos.

There should be no limit to such hells. The various antigod races of the East probably have such demesnes, home to their antigod lords. The named Chaos deities, foes of the gods, probably have their little corners in such regions, too (with the possible exception of the Sky Terror which may have its special chaotic heaven instead).

A diferent concept are the draconic Hells (or realms of testing) that are documented for Ingolf Dragonfriend's spiritual journey to dragonhood, and apparently previously traveled by Obduran the Flyer. These Hells are outermost worlds and exposed to the reality-defying forces of unlimited potential of the Void, but they needn't be underworlds. They are highly inimical to anything of Creation, and to maintain one's existence in the face of these influences requires very advanced degrees of (draconic) enlightenment.

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

3. What else do we want to talk about regarding Hells?

I sort of did already talking about the Underworld Sky and the draconic outer realms.

What I left untouched are the basements of the Spike, extant only in Godtime as they were removed from reality in the Greater Darkness and replaced by the Chaos Rift, and then encapsuled by Magasta's Pool.

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

4. H E L L

This leaves me baffled.

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

5. If you crawl out of Hell, where do you show up?

The most used exit are the Gates of Dawn. There are secret passages known to the native denizens of the Underworld that may emerge anywhere. Alkoth, the Darkmaw in Nochet, the Tarpit and below it the basements of the Obsidian Palace, the Castles of Lead in Dagori Inkarth and Halikiv (and probably elsewhere), and if you are a flying hell creature, possibly the Hell Crack.

There are more one-way entrances to the Underworlds - the Gates of Dusk, Magasta's Pool, Hellcrack, which don't have any known means to escape.

But then there are founts of hellish emanations, like Drospoly's pool, which are some sort of exit (the same way a birth canal is an exit).

The underseas are a liquid hell.

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

6. Let's review Alkoth again because I'm confused about whether you die every time you enter the center city (the part enclosed by the Green Ring, which I've nicknamed "Shadzoring Alkoth" since greater Alkoth has now grown up around it)

There are other similar places scattered over Glorantha. The Necropolis in Esrolia differs from Alkoth as it has no significant portion of living people interacting with the surface world - the Alkothi manage to emerge as living creatures when they leave the green wall. They also experience linear time while on the surface of that city.

I don't have anything to add to the material in Enclosure 1. Shargash is one of my least favorite entities from Dara Happa, less even than Brightface who imprisoned Night for what the Dara Happans say 100,000 years.

Dezarpovo in Spol, the Descending Pyramid, has similar issues.

The descending pyramids in Chen Durel aka Ignorance may be man- or antigod-made artificial gateways linking to nasty underworlds, too, though not constantly functional. Presumably they can be activated by vast amounts of freshly shed lives and blood.

The various power spots of the eastern Antigods are such places - Sortum north of the East Isles, Huan-to infested Senbar in northern Pent, the capital of the Andins in the East Isles. Others that we don't know about yet, or which are less obvious.

In a way, the Castles of Lead are such places, too.

IMO the Brass Citadel of Sog City (at least its basements) and Castle Blue are border sites to the Underworld, too. A different, volcanic Hell, between life and Death.

 

Marginal on topic on the issue of Darkness and Death, the recent video of Sandy on Game Design brought up the weird dark/dead side of the Red Moon. Worth taking a look:

 

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Trolls have a Hell in the Sky, where bad trolls are burned for eternity, but I can't remember the reference.

Joerg has detailed the Hells quite nicely, especially the fact that Hell is just the part of the Underworld where the Dead go.

The Sazdorf Clan has a door that leads into Hell.

The Six Stones is a place in Sartar that has a corresponding place in Hell and you can perform a ritual that takes you from one to the other.

I think that Cragspider's Castle has its basement in Hell and it's Spire in the Sky, so you can travel to both places from there, if you ask her very, very nicely.

In my Glorantha, Orathorn Castle is partially in Hell, so you can go to hell through there, although it is not advisable.

Volcanoes are a portal into the Underworld, but you have to jump into a pool of lava to get there, probably not advisable.

 

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6 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Let's discuss Hell!

Hell of a good topic! 😉

6 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Who has unique Hells, and are they separate parts of the same Underworld or, like, separate pocket dimensions?

Joerg covered the numbered DH Hells, but as hinted at in the GS (p.21 & 76), the Orlanthi count Seven Hells. 

Or, as the Guide p.10 shows "Six Hells are shown, including those of Annara Gor and Deshlotralas, Netta, Yelm, Natha, and Deskorgos the Monster Man."

That view is missing the 7th, which is noted on p.162: "Hidden deep underneath the center of the bottom of the lowest Underworld is the Chaosium, the Fount of Chaos, which spews forth both monstrosities and raw unformed “stuff ” into the world."

So, in this view, those with unique Hells are:

  • Annara Gor (aka Ty Kora Tek) - with the Caves of Silence
  • Deshlotralas (aka Lodril) 
  • Netta (aka Xentha/Night) - where she and her minions hide during the day
  • Yelm - the Bright Hell
  • Natha - which could equate to the Lunar Hell; or perhaps to the Court of Judgment where Daka Fal rules since she represents Balance
  • Deshkorgos - the Monster Man holds the keys to the Deeper Hell

Are they really separate though?  I don't think so, or at least not in ways we'd really discern. As it says on p.162 of the Guide: "The Underworld is the irrational ancestress of known Glorantha.
It precedes all that can be known, and thus cannot be truly known. It houses mystery, spawns mystery and is a mystery itself."

Both SKoH and 11L provide examples of Underworld quests. Both take you through some section of Hell where you have places like the Nightwood and eventually reach the Paths of Silence. The Styx/River of Swords is a divide. Beyond is the City/Court of Judgment, and only from there can you reach the Afterlife/Otherworld of your cult, wherever that happens to be. But that's also the place with the Adamantine Gate, guarded by Monster Man. Through that is a Deeper Hell, which includes the Lunar Hell where Ikadz rules and Sheng is bound.

But those are just examples of how it could be organized by forcing a quest upon it.

6 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

What else do we want to talk about regarding Hells?

We have lots of fun denizens, including all your nightmares, of which we've only scratched the surface with a few noted guardians. 

Other interesting questions to posit:

  • Is it hot or cold? in my view you can find both (bubbling hellpits filled with noxious brimstone; places where even spirits freeze solid; as well as dry, barren, ash-coated plains)
  • Does it have a Sky? that was posited at one time (grey with black stars, IIRC), and maybe that exists somewhere, and though I find it less interesting or needed, it could
  • Is the Styx a river, a puddle, a lake, an ocean? yes
  • How do western sorcerers approach Hell? very carefully, and armed with tomes with all the known True Names
6 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

If you crawl out of Hell, where do you show up?

Depends on whether you are talking Hero, result of a cult quest, or something else.

  • Ethilrist crawled out a few times. I don't have a sense that he was far from his known world when he did so.  Same with Arkat.
  • Red Goddess/Jar-eel. Both flew out of Hell atop the Crimson Bat. Probably via Artia, and right back into Peloria.
  • In SKoH, Hofstaring leaps them out of Hell and back to Sartar, probably right back to the Orlanthi holy ground.
  • In 11L, they climb from Hell up to the top of the Sky.
  • Previously in my HQG game, the heroes briefly passed through Hell as they went through the Boneyard and the Whispering Lands and then found the Crossroads of the 100 Roads (where the Riddling Raven waits), and found their way to the Fog of Ignorance in which sits LM's Tower of Knowledge. Entering the last, they passed through the Endless Stacks and found themselves in the Jonstown LM temple.
  • Currently in my HQG game, the heroes descended through the Earth upon the Never-ending Stairs, passed Nontraya to the Gate of Death. Beyond that they emerged by the Chasm of Forgotten Tombs, crossed part of the Black Ash Plains and through the Whispering Lands again and are approaching Ty Kora Tek's Caverns of Silence, where they hope to bargain for Orane's return. Not sure where how they'll exit yet, but if they survive will reemerge in the Earth shrine on Orlmarth lands.
6 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Let's review Alkoth again because I'm confused about whether you die every time you enter the center city

In my view, you ritually die each time (just like you ritually die each time you venture into the Underworld).

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55 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Hell of a good topic! 😉

There is a special hell for punsters. See you all down there...

55 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Joerg covered the numbered DH Hells, but as hinted at in the GS (p.21 & 76), the Orlanthi count Seven Hells. 

Yes - I thought the question was framed in this Dara Happan context, as the fifth Hell is the one out of the Golden Age context of Dara Happan myth.

Unlike Dante, I don't think there is a point in enumerating Hells, or circles thereof, at least not outside of very narrow cultural context. There are plenty, and quite a lot of them are not the destination for the dead of the surface world, but simply places that would be lethal for unprepared visitors (no matter whether that preparation was planned or accidental). The outer draconic realms where Ingolf learned his draconic manifestations aren't normal afterlives for mortals, for instance.

The pits of the Initiation of Orlanth are hells of a kind. They are dungeons, in the medieval sense of the term, and like Dante's circles, they group the inmates by their crimes.

In our real world myths, Hel(sheim) or Hades are lands of the dead, neither pleasant not unpleasant, often rather featureless waiting areas for some future participation in a catharsis or cataclysm (or both). The realm of Ty Kora Tek is such a place in Glorantha.

(Now, it can be said that waiting in a featureless room in company you didn't ask for can be torture or hell. But then, time doesn't quite work like on the surface world, either.)

But there are also Happy Hunting Grounds in the Underworld, places that the living want their souls to go to after death, like Ernalda's palace. Or, for the uz, an unburned Wonderhome/the intact womb of Hellmother.

 

(GS: not Greg Stafford, but Gloranthan Sourcebook... took me a while.)

 

 

55 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Both SKoH and 11L provide examples of Underworld quests. Both take you through some section of Hell where you have places like the Nightwood and eventually reach the Paths of Silence. The Styx/River of Swords is a divide. Beyond is the City/Court of Judgment, and only from there can you reach the Afterlife/Otherworld of your cult, wherever that happens to be. But that's also the place with the Adamantine Gate, guarded by Monster Man. Through that is a Deeper Hell, which includes the Lunar Hell where Ikadz rules and Sheng is bound.

I am somewhat disappointed that this approach has been toted as the default entry into Hell. Sure, it is the trail of the Lightbringers, following Yelm following Grandfather Mortal.

But I'd hate to narrate all my underworld heroquests as "you follow the Lightbringers' path for the umpteenth time. After you crossed the River of Swords, ..."

The underworld quest in Sartar:Kingdom of Heroes gives you three typical departure points into Hell and a number of alternatives, but all of them force you onto the path of the dead and to Daka Fal's court of judgement.

That's fine for your first quest, of course, and tolerable for a second one. (So, how often do you expect your heroes to go to Hell and back? As often as it takes...)

I am fine with the Path of the Dead to get into Hofstaring's Hell - while I would probably have left Hofstaring rotting down there until Argrath uses up all his companions to get there and release Sheng, this seems to be the way down there for non-Lunar questers.

 

I mean, if you have a plot hook like the Darkmaw or the Dekko Crevice, or a backdoor into the basement of the Obsidian Palace through the Styx Grotto, why not have a good series of spelunking in your own and other people's myths on your way down?

Sure, it takes quite some mythical background to be able to grab a piece of Gloranthan myth and twist it so you questers can enter it, getting side-tracked from the path they thought they could follow. The (admittedly goal-oriented rather than sand-boxy) quests into the Underworld make a big deal out of the questers getting lost in Hell and failing the quest as a result.

Hell is a place you are supposed to get lost in.

You cannot complete the Lightbringers' Quest without a complete clusterf*ck following the banquet in the Obsidian Palace and Eurmal's murder of the OOO's son. Sure, your party may have come prepared and may manage to avoid that specific death trap. You have two options for railroading here - "fate is unavoidable", either you cannot prevent the murder, or while you managed to prevent that murder, you advance to another situation that ends in a Lost In Hell situation - possibly worse to recover from, but granting a unique and new power - or you can ignore the next step (and the boons from that step, which are necessary later on in the quest).

King of Dragon Pass has a nice series of episodes of Lost in Hell that at least give you a chance to retrieve your questers from a failed quest. I don't know whether the game offers a chance for a lost quester to chance back onto track, and I am fairly certain that it doesn't offer the opportunity to jump onto another quest. The engine behind the game is impressive enough to deal with such quests, and my approach to creative ways of losing the way and picking up a new one might require an unmanageable explosion of situations that need to be covered.

Or a different approach, with a sandbox logic.

 

55 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

We have lots of fun denizens, including all your nightmares, of which we've only scratched the surface with a few noted guardians. 

You can book your cruises at Kogag boating, Path of Silence 114 b, right next to Jeset's ferry.

 

You can place entire weird cultures and/or ecologies in the niches down there. Each to their own tastes - for instance the Hero Wars narrator book included an underworld encounter with a "shredder Saranakti" on p.162.

 

55 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Other interesting questions to posit:

  • Is it hot or cold? in my view you can find both (bubbling hellpits filled with noxious brimstone; places where even spirits freeze solid; as well as dry, barren, ash-coated plains)
  • Does it have a Sky? that was posited at one time (grey with black stars, IIRC), and maybe that exists somewhere, and though I find it less interesting or needed, it could
  • Is the Styx a river, a puddle, a lake, an ocean? yes
  • How do western sorcerers approach Hell? very carefully, and armed with tomes with all the known True Names

There is an art of conveying the atmosphere without overtaxing the fellow players. Sandy Petersen's video on how to create a scary atmosphere gives good basic advice. Narrating Hell, nightmares, or cosmic horror really uses the same toolkit. (Make sure to watch the other videos, too... I can't believe how low the viewer numbers are.)

Appealing to multiple senses in a sentence or two does wonders to set the atmosphere. HInting at further menace way beyond the capabilities of the party can be effective, too - like feeling the breath of an immense creature passing over you, in at first evenly rhythmic patterns, with increasing olfactory and acoustic components, then suddenly stopping or changin in intensity.

(But then, there are players who take any such scene dressing as a personal challenge. Be prepared to deal with that.)

 

55 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

In my view, you ritually die each time (just like you ritually die each time you venture into the Underworld).

In fact, some of the early RuneQuest heroquesting stories and certainly character descriptions like Hofstarings include stuff like known backdoors from Death/Hell, in keeping with the save rolls that the capital H heroes and superheroes receive in the Dragon Pass boardgame. But these may be just temporary visits, and not entire quests.

 

As a whole, I think that the Outer Worlds of Glorantha, whether hells, heavens, the shores of Sramak's River, or the realms of clouds or the edges of the earth cube adjacent to the middle and deep seas, are heaps of unused Gloranthan potential.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

There is a special hell for punsters. See you all down there...

Like when my kids shake their heads at me... 🙂

I think it's in the Uncertain Realm near the Ratslaff Rocks.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

The pits of the Initiation of Orlanth are hells of a kind.

Yes, some of those can clearly be connected to specific hells: the Combat Pit with Kargan Tor's Court of Conflict, the Strange Gods with the Hell of Monster Man, ...

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

it can be said that waiting in a featureless room in company you didn't ask for can be torture or hell

Certainly Sartre thought so. And picture an LM sage placed in a room with a Boggle for company. Or a Dayzatar worshipper forced to grovel in a hell with lusty Lodrili.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

But I'd hate to narrate all my underworld heroquests as "you follow the Lightbringers' path for the umpteenth time. After you crossed the River of Swords, ..."

That's why I don't . 🙂 But it is one.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

I mean, if you have a plot hook like the Darkmaw or the Dekko Crevice, or a backdoor into the basement of the Obsidian Palace through the Styx Grotto, why not have a good series of spelunking in your own and other people's myths on your way down?

Quite agree - thinking you're off on the Westfaring and then tumbling down the Rabbit Hole makes for a good change of pace.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Hell is a place you are supposed to get lost in.

Yes, and in fact the best way to get to where you want to go is to Despair of ever getting there. 

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

the shores of Sramak's River

I always like the old map in RQ2 which hinted at unknown mountains beyond the Sea of Fog (not to mention Kylerela lost within it). Maybe there's a nice broken chunk of the Sky Dome off that way that looks like mountains if looked at in a certain way. And perhaps it's also possible to sail off the edge of Sramak's River and find yourself upon the Dark Ocean.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

I am somewhat disappointed that this approach has been toted as the default entry into Hell. Sure, it is the trail of the Lightbringers, following Yelm following Grandfather Mortal

In a recent piece, I used a much simpler path for Orlanthi into Hell, which is clearly noted in the description of Karulinoran (i.e. Storm Home). You enter Storm Home while Orlanth's Ring is in the Sky, just before it returns to the Underworld. You depart from Storm Home into the Underworld, into the dead ruins of Karulinoran. Of course, the Bad Dog/Hell Hounds are lounging around there, but you did want to go to the Underworld...

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2 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

I always like the old map in RQ2 which hinted at unknown mountains beyond the Sea of Fog (not to mention Kylerela lost within it). Maybe there's a nice broken chunk of the Sky Dome off that way that looks like mountains if looked at in a certain way. And perhaps it's also possible to sail off the edge of Sramak's River and find yourself upon the Dark Ocean.

It is the Outer World, and different rules apply there, as has been made clear by the description of Altinela (Guide p.158). The towering Mountains of the Sky are part of the same chain that appears to run along the shore of Sramak's River here. Their presence and size may depend on your mode of arrival.

In my idea of Sramak's River, it (and possibly Orlanth's Storm, too) extend outward beyond the rim of the inner Sky Dome layer forever and ever in one mode of approach. This is an endless sea under a Chaos sky, with monsters usually reserved for the depths of Drospoly possible at any time. You need a legendary captain with a legendary ship with legendary provisions willing to get lost here... and you might chance on a different world, or not. Some of the western expeditions sent out by the Seshnegi might hang out here, shipwrecked on a floating monster or similar.

But that's only one expression. Another approach brings you to the circular river at the lower rim of the sky, and towards that port where Lorian branches off upwards. And there might be journeys where you sail on the inside of that dome, with the world of Glorantha overhead, and others where you sail on the outside, with Glorantha appearing like an undeep under the surface of the river, and all locations mirrored.

Just now, jajagappa said:

In a recent piece, I used a much simpler path for Orlanthi into Hell, which is clearly noted in the description of Karulinoran (i.e. Storm Home). You enter Storm Home while Orlanth's Ring is in the Sky, just before it returns to the Underworld. You depart from Storm Home into the Underworld, into the dead ruins of Karulinoran. Of course, the Bad Dog/Hell Hounds are lounging around there, but you did want to go to the Underworld...

That's what I meant. But then, that path doesn't necessarily connect to the same destinations as the Path of Silence.

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2 minutes ago, Joerg said:

In my idea of Sramak's River, it (and possibly Orlanth's Storm, too) extend outward beyond the rim of the inner Sky Dome layer forever and ever in one mode of approach. This is an endless sea under a Chaos sky, with monsters usually reserved for the depths of Drospoly possible at any time. You need a legendary captain with a legendary ship with legendary provisions willing to get lost here... and you might chance on a different world, or not. Some of the western expeditions sent out by the Seshnegi might hang out here, shipwrecked on a floating monster or similar.

This is great because it defines a clear dilemma. Someone who attains legendary resources can circulate out there forever and have strange adventures (which really resolve into no adventures at all until they come back and have an impact on the Inner World) but most of us simply go down the whirlpool to the bottom sooner or later. In the former scenario you can remain yourself for a staggeringly long time, which is its own doom. Otherwise, with luck and friends in the right places, you can navigate back around and rejoin the world. Sea Chaos might grapple with this and we see the Waertagi make their choice in historical times.

I'm no lunar technician but odds are good Natha Hell is the transition from dry hells to the wetter ones below, a kind of inheritance. Go down too far and it's neither wet nor dry.

 

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9 hours ago, Joerg said:

This leaves me baffled.

sorry, this is an internet thing you do in lists to indicate both excitement and mockery at yourself for having repeated a word a lot out of excitement, imagine a girl intoning H E L L S very slowly and feverishly with crazy eyes

this thread rules, thank you everyone for your ongoing input

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Based on a chart I created whilst proofreading something:

 

Title

Inhabitants

First Hell

Deepest Hell

Gorgorma, Subere

Second Hell

War Hell

Veskerele, Natha, Humakt, Zorak Zoran, Babeester Gor, Shargash

Third Hell

Bright Hell

Deshlotalas (Lodril), Yelm

Fourth Hell

Grey Hell

Xiola Umbar, Deshkorgos (Monster Man), Daka Fal, Ty Kora Tek

Fifth Hell

Wonderhome

Kyger Litor, Aranea

Sixth Hell

Dark Waters

Styx, Jeset

Seventh Hell

Night

Argan Argar, Xentha

Edited by M Helsdon
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16 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

 

  1. Who has unique Hells, and are they separate parts of the same Underworld or, like, separate pocket dimensions? Are, like, Lunar Hells on the Red Moon? Where are Sheng Seleris' Pentan Hells?

A friend of mine ran a RQ3 campaign set in hell for years. I didn't play in it, but all the PCs were different Chaos races that had never seen the surface, each with its particular hellish culture. He told me his players had a great time playing that. While Yelm crossed the underworld sky, everyone hid, so it was their own particular kind of night down there. They had all kinds of psychedelic adventures, it seems. I'll try to have him comment more on it here, if you are interested.

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12 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

A friend of mine ran a RQ3 campaign set in hell for years. I didn't play in it, but all the PCs were different Chaos races that had never seen the surface, each with its particular hellish culture. He told me his players had a great time playing that. While Yelm crossed the underworld sky, everyone hid, so it was their own particular kind of night down there. They had all kinds of psychedelic adventures, it seems. I'll try to have him comment more on it here, if you are interested.

That friend is me. I developed Chaossehorm, that is a part of Gamataler, the underground hero plane. It's not hell, hell, but a sort of Gloranthan Underdark. Of course, it's connected with Hell (intended as place where the souls go after death), it's also the home of several gods, for example I placed there Ikadz, Aranea, a giant god of living flesh that is the fluids of Wakboth splattered by the Block. I started to develop it in the early 90s, so it lacks of the current division in several hells. It can be downloaded here: http://www.mastergollum.com/tanuki/blog/chaossehorm-pdf-0-4

Edited by MasterGollum
fixed hell division
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As Martin has documented, there is more than one numbering of hell, by different cultures. The Dara Happans number four or five, and 1 is the shallowest and you number down. There is another list that has seven, and goes in the reverse order (and might be Theyalan). There are probably a bunch of other lists - the Kralorelans May have many. 

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5 hours ago, MasterGollum said:

I developed Chaossehorm, that is a part of Gamataler, the underground hero plane. It's not hell, hell, but a sort of Gloranthan Underdark.

It seems amazing, but I speak Coloradense pidgin with what I can figure out based on my Québecois French. There's little chance it's available in English, is there?

(I find it unlikely it's available in Yiddish, but I guess that'd work, too!)

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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5 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

It seems amazing, but I speak Coloradense pidgin with what I can figure out based on my Québecois French. There's little chance it's available in English, is there?

I have only the Spanish version I posted on my website. It's a huge document of 150 pages, so I'm afraid I will not translate it :(I know of people who used google translator to read parts of the pdf. The result is not that bad. It allows, at least to pick the meaning. Here is the automatic translation's sample of the first sentences: <<This book is included in the world of Glorantha, although it is possible to use it in other universes. It describes in detail the chaotic plane of Chaossehorm, one of the many underground worlds of Gamataler, delving into its geography, fauna and flora, as well as the cultures that inhabit it and other special rules.>> I bought some RPG books in Czech, and I'm sure my Czech is worst than your Spanish :P and I managed to translate them in that way. But if you have any questions I'm open to answer all them.

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3 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

It seems amazing, but I speak Coloradense pidgin with what I can figure out based on my Québecois French. There's little chance it's available in English, is there?

Try Google Translate:

https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=es&sp=nmt4&u=http://www.mastergollum.com/tanuki/blog/chaossehorm&xid=17259,15700023,15700186,15700191,15700256,15700259,15700262,15700265&usg=ALkJrhh-PjBDalG9eulhLvvLMJKh6hAcig

I haven't made this work for the pdf yet, though, only for the introductory web pages.

 

A nice feature is the original text you get on mouse-over.

I like some of the mis-translations. Apprentices of the Gods for God Learners...

Edited by Joerg
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29 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I haven't made this work for the pdf yet

it was more for the pdf, I can handle the pages. The pdf is so pretty...

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A bit of a tangent, but doesn't the Guide say something about the Otherworlds and the Underworld really all being part of the same thing? I don't have my copy with me lately.

Also, the idea of a setting based on the Gloranthan Underworld(s) sounds awesome, will check out.

Honestly, I feel super-bad for the Uz. They just wanted to gnosh giblets back home in Wonderhome and wuzn't bothering none. Then kablam. Bloody surfacer godlings and their squabbles!

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23 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Honestly, I feel super-bad for the Uz. They just wanted to gnosh giblets back home in Wonderhome and wuzn't bothering none. Then kablam. Bloody surfacer godlings and their squabbles!

That's profoundly good. You've captured an essential aspect of otherworld experience: the weird macaronic sliding quality between words and things, which in hell isolates us and in other places melts barriers. Uz consciousness. Eller höra danska.

krazy.gif

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

Uz consciousness. Eller höra danska.

i can't be the only person to have this feeling about the uz:

imbaby.jpeg.13bd1c2ecc3c7213bfc76c8ac5841ed5.jpeg

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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For info,  Edan Jone wrote a nice in world Underworld summary on his blog:
https://zzabursbrownbook.blogspot.com/2016/12/

Quote

This text comes from a God Learner treatise on the Underworld, found in a Lhankor Mhy knowledge temple.
It represents one school of thought during the time, and is a useful illustration of the God Learner's attempts to apply logic to the illogical.
Scholia from an unknown third age commentator has been reproduced as footnotes.


 

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This seems like a good place to tease a wee bit of the upcoming Trollpack material...
 

Quote
A THOUSAND HELLS

With the universe turned on its head, and the natural order inverted, it was inevitable that the cracks beneath Arrquong’s well would widen, and leak horrors into the broken world. Bad Man, Weak Woman, and Traitor Spirit performed unspeakable acts, and together vomited forth the Devil. The Devil performed many terrible and unforgivable deeds, but by far the most foul was the destruction of the Great Queendom and the Spike at the center of the world.

The destruction of the Center breaks the underworld into Ten Thousand Hells. Each one an isolated fragment of what was there before. Most of them are consumed by chaos and vanish as if they had never existed, Half of those that remain are corrupted so badly that no one can visit. Half of the ones that can be visited have been lost, and no one knows how to reach them. As a result, only one piece in ten of the original underworld remained to be bound by the great web, and can be reached by mortals within the bounds of time, and each of those has been damaged or corrupted to some degree.

Humans claim to know of as many as nine distinct hells, but Uz can reach many many more than that. Most are terrible, broken places that offer little more than novel ways to suffer and die. Others provide subtle variations on the common themes of better known fragments of the underworld. Each major pantheon has at least one fragment of their own, where their devout dead go to await rebirth, and where their gods of darkness and death hold court. Important and well-known myths can overlap many such fragments, providing some modicum of stability to scenes shared by many gods and peoples. But nothing in the underworld is ever entirely certain.

Connections between the thousand hells are irrational and ever-changing. It is common to shift unexpectedly from one reality to another in regions where the underworlds diverge or combine, and there is no map that can accurately predict where or when such events might occur. Even established and well-rehearsed myths might change drastically from one telling to another. Each of the underworld scenes described above have multiple reflections in the Thousand Hells, along with innumerable other locations, events, and happenings.

 

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According to the Book of the Drastic Resolutions: Darkness the Uz organize the Underworld in Seven Hells:

  • First Hell, aka Dark Waters, ruled by Adzurana
  • Second Hell, Realm of the Mother Night, ruled by his son Argan Argar
  • Third Hell, aka Waiting Ground, Grey Hell, Outer Womb, ruled by Zurgoteg, the Darkness within Earth
  • Fourth Hell, aka Inner Womb, is the Troll Paradise, ruled by Kyger Litor
  • Fifth Hell, aka Burning Prison, Bright Hell, where the Enemy Bright Eye goes every night
  • Sixth Hell, aka War Hell, ruled by Zorak Zoran
  • Seven Hell, aka Ratslaff's Rocks, Boggle Range, Rokotor's Dungheap, Disorder Deep, Uncertain Realm, the last stand against chaos. The gateway at the lowest part is called Arrquong
  • Beyond the Seven Hell is only chaos

It's uncredited, but may be from Greg.

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1 hour ago, MasterGollum said:

It's uncredited, but may be from Greg.

The credits page lists it under "by or based on material by Greg Stafford," if that helps.

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