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EricW

Can Chaos be Hidden?

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How likely is it that a dip in the ooze, a chaos feature, would cause an obvious mutation?

Do Storm Bulls need Sense Chaos? Or can they just look at the monster and know?

There seem several paths to hidden chaos, like Krjalk magic or the Lunar Goddess “Chaos Gift”, is this because raw chaos is too likely to make someone’s appearance socially unacceptable?

Thoughts?

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2 hours ago, EricW said:

How likely is it that a dip in the ooze, a chaos feature, would cause an obvious mutation?

Some taints might be invisible such as changes to attributes, whilst others might be hidden by clothing. Even some Chaos creatures might not look chaotic, such as a succubus disguising her appearance, or an ogre or vampire - Chaos isn't always obviously repellent, which is one of the reasons it is so insidious.

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I remember when we played RuneQuest way back then. There was always at least one ogre character in the group that was disguising themselves from others. The way to disguise was filing your fangs so that they look like normal human teeth. Nowadays I would rule that something else would also give out their chaos taint. At least when they meet Storm Bulls, that is.

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5 hours ago, jrutila said:

I remember when we played RuneQuest way back then. There was always at least one ogre character in the group that was disguising themselves from others. The way to disguise was filing your fangs so that they look like normal human teeth. Nowadays I would rule that something else would also give out their chaos taint. At least when they meet Storm Bulls, that is.

And a born-ogre inside a clan like the Red Cows wouldn't even necessarily have any physical markings. Their ogrishness comes out only during their initiation! It might only start to appear when an ogre breeds true.

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On 9/5/2019 at 9:37 AM, jrutila said:

I remember when we played RuneQuest way back then. There was always at least one ogre character in the group that was disguising themselves from others. The way to disguise was filing your fangs so that they look like normal human teeth. Nowadays I would rule that something else would also give out their chaos taint. At least when they meet Storm Bulls, that is.

This is why you also want to be Illuminated. Otherwise they pick you up just with their Sense Chaos.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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Some Chaos Features are obvious, some aren't. An extra limb is obvious, as is Appears Harmless, but one is clearly chaotic and the other isn't.

I play that Chaos features are only really obvious if they are clearly visible. So, extra skin armour might be scales, horny hide and so on, but increased Strength might just be a muscular physique. 

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

I play that Chaos features are only really obvious if they are clearly visible.

That's my approach as well. That's why Sense/Detect Chaos is important - the non-obvious features are particularly dangerous (including ogres).

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Now I want to run a Gloranthan murder mystery where there is an ogre killing people off in a caravan on the Manirian Road, and the PCs need to uncover the chaotic murderer before they're all doomed.

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58 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

Now I want to run a Gloranthan murder mystery where there is an ogre killing people off in a caravan on the Manirian Road, and the PCs need to uncover the chaotic murderer before they're all doomed.

The great thing about ogres is that they are really careful about what they do, until they get near a Cacodemon shrine, in which case they revert to type and can carry out their deeds in the open. If the PCs fail to uncover the killer, you could always have them come near such a shrine and have the killer make a simple mistake.

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12 minutes ago, soltakss said:

The great thing about ogres is that they are really careful about what they do, until they get near a Cacodemon shrine, in which case they revert to type and can carry out their deeds in the open. If the PCs fail to uncover the killer, you could always have them come near such a shrine and have the killer make a simple mistake.

 

I would LOVE to run or play this game, but alas my only outlet for glorantha gaming at the moment is PbP, and that is not the right medium for a murder mystery IMHO

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2 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Now I want to run a Gloranthan murder mystery where there is an ogre killing people off in a caravan on the Manirian Road, and the PCs need to uncover the chaotic murderer before they're all doomed.

what's the motivation?

the problem with ogres is that they are are insular. they breed incestuously, they prey on travelers so as not to attract notice, and they don't endanger themselves with exposure or pilgrimage or the like. they also exist as an internal cult: a strongly hierarchical internal society with absolute control. an ogre who travels to another ogre's enclave will just get eaten (or enslaved).

you'd need to think of a really good motivation for why an ogre was on the move... maybe their family was exposed, Little House on the Prairie-style?*

*if you don't know about this, IRL a hotel near Laura Ingall's father's house was discovered to have been cannibalising its clients - the Bloody Benders

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10 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Now I want to run a Gloranthan murder mystery where there is an ogre killing people off in a caravan on the Manirian Road, and the PCs need to uncover the chaotic murderer before they're all doomed.

You could have heaps of fun with that. There’s an excellent old story Brak the Barbarian which might serve a a good template, if you can find s copy - a caravan murder mystery which turns into something worse.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mark_of_the_Demons 

 

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On 9/8/2019 at 1:55 AM, Qizilbashwoman said:

he problem with ogres is that they are are insular. they breed incestuously, they prey on travelers so as not to attract notice, and they don't endanger themselves with exposure or pilgrimage or the like. they also exist as an internal cult: a strongly hierarchical internal society with absolute control. an ogre who travels to another ogre's enclave will just get eaten (or enslaved).

you'd need to think of a really good motivation for why an ogre was on the move... maybe their family was exposed, Little House on the Prairie-style?*

Not always, some ogres do move about. Ogres do breed with non-ogres, as they like to spread ogreness around.

Gondo Holst has a caravan in Griffin Mountain, for example.

Ogres in the Lunar Army would be posted elsewhere and have the opportunity to murder folks near their postings. Ogres who have infiltrated society might kill the odd person, to satisfy their cravings, or to remember the good old days.

Edited by soltakss
Because some people haven't played a 30-odd year old supplement and because Bill the Barbarian made me

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19 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

what's the motivation?

the problem with ogres is that they are are insular. they breed incestuously, they prey on travelers so as not to attract notice, and they don't endanger themselves with exposure or pilgrimage or the like. they also exist as an internal cult: a strongly hierarchical internal society with absolute control. an ogre who travels to another ogre's enclave will just get eaten (or enslaved).

you'd need to think of a really good motivation for why an ogre was on the move... maybe their family was exposed, Little House on the Prairie-style?*

*if you don't know about this, IRL a hotel near Laura Ingall's father's house was discovered to have been cannibalising its clients - the Bloody Benders

Yeah, I would need a good motive, and the one you suggested would be a good one.

Part of what makes a good mystery is that motivations are obscure, either because everyone has a motive, or because it doesn't seem to make sense.

"Why are the ogres risking detection?" is a good element that should worry the PCs greatly.

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19 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

*if you don't know about this, IRL a hotel near Laura Ingall's father's house was discovered to have been cannibalising its clients - the Bloody Benders

Oh. Little House on the Prairies, how little I know you!

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On 9/8/2019 at 4:35 AM, soltakss said:

Gondo Holst has a caravan in Griffin Mountain, for example. Ogres in the Lunar Army would be posted elsewhere and have the opportunity to murder folks near their postings. Ogres who have infiltrated society might kill the odd person, to satisfy their cravings, or to remember the good old days.

]Spoiler/]

Spoilers....

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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On 9/8/2019 at 8:55 AM, Qizilbashwoman said:

they also exist as an internal cult: a strongly hierarchical internal society with absolute control. an ogre who travels to another ogre's enclave will just get eaten (or enslaved).

I didn't get that impression about ogres at all. 

The Cacodemon cult gives them a reason to travel from time to time to ceremonies - and it also serves as a secret society that allows initiates to identify each other. This has been true in every Cacodemon writeup. While ogres are certainly capable of violence towards one another, those in the Cacodemon cult seek to have a lot of incentive to cooperate. Cooperating with other ogre groups helps them get magic. 

And any group of ogres that doesn't move around is going to have to be incredibly careful not to arouse any suspicion from locals. Travelling groups are going to have a lot easier time of it, as long as they are careful not to approach known Cacodemon holy places when others are around, and prey mostly on other travellers. While ogres are not a unified people, and individual ogres can join all sorts of cults (and sometimes may never have met another ogre), the Cacodemon cult does appear to be very common amongst ogres, and to substantially increase their prospects of survival in a hostile investigation (thanks to the False Form and Detection Blank spells). Occasional group rites allow them to learn more magic. And if the visitors are willing to share some of their kills, it is in interests of any group they meet to welcome them (as they get to satisfy their craving for human flesh with minimal risk). And ogres who do travel to engage in larger Cacodemon rites are going to meet other ogres, and so do not have to rely on incest to reproduce (which is going to be alleviate suspicion from their neighbours further). 

So I tend to think of the Cacodemon cult as often acting more like the Thuggee. Every so often they go off on a seeming innocent bit of travel, murder a few travellers or people who live in seclusion, meet up for some hideous rites, and then return home talking about what they did at the big market, or other similar cover story. Many of them probably claim to be hunters, thus having lots of reason to disappear for a few days. 

My local groups favourite running joke about Ogres is how the random Encounter table for Prax and the Wastes in the old RQ3 Shadows In the Borderlands supplement had an entry for "Ogres masquerading as traders" - but no entry for traders.... so any traders are always presumed to be ogres. 

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5 minutes ago, davecake said:

So I tend to think of the Cacodemon cult as often acting more like the Thuggee.

I really like this, and thuggee killings in the traditional descriptions are probably a good model for how ogres might do it. Join travelers on the road, have others in the cult join in later posing as mere other travelers until you have isolated the victims and put them at a disadvantage, then the kill (and robbery to help keep the economy going). With the ogres,  there's also the obvious way of disposing of the body afterwards.

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Ogres don't necessarily use garottes like the thuggee (or Thanatari), but no reason why not either. They also can stab from surprise, hunt humans like game for the fun of it, lay vicious traps and scares, seduce people and strangle or bind them in their sleep - ogres are a diverse bunch. I'm sure lots of them torture if they have a chance just for the sadistic joy of it. Cacodemon teaches them to be sneaky (hide, sneak, conceal) and they do enjoy a good ambush. 

They can use incapacitating poisons if they are lucky enough to have a little Alchemy knowledge (though ogres probably never kill with poison, because they want the meat to be good - they might use incapacitating poison, and then keep them captive long enough to get the poison out of their system, if you want a reason why ogre captives (even PCs!) might still be kept alive for a while). 

Not quite sure if Cacodemons signature Vomit Acid rune spell is something they hate doing (because it eats away the meat) or if it is like marinating or pre-digesting, and so something they love doing.  

The really odd thing is that if ogres know that Illumination keeps them safe from Storm Bull Sense Chaos detection and potential similar things, they are going to go out of their way to become Illuminated. Some will join the Lunar religion obviously. But it implies that ogre mystics, who have set out to study mystic philosophy with the end goal of continuing to eat people, exist and may be relatively common. What mystic teachings do they end up with having studied that? They must be weird awful people - and the Thuggee are not a bad comparison there too. 

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

The really odd thing is that if ogres know that Illumination keeps them safe from Storm Bull Sense Chaos detection and potential similar things, they are going to go out of their way to become Illuminated. Some will join the Lunar religion obviously. But it implies that ogre mystics, who have set out to study mystic philosophy with the end goal of continuing to eat people, exist and may be relatively common. What mystic teachings do they end up with having studied that? They must be weird awful people - and the Thuggee are not a bad comparison there too. 

In the RW, most practicioners of transcendent practices that seek spiritual enlightenment would probably argue that going into such practices with such selfish goals would preclude them from actually ever achieving enlightenment.

Obviously, Glorantha is a game world, and functions by its own internal logic - but how does motives and other such elements affect the chances of Illumination (or, I guess, the TYPE of Illumination one ends up with). This applies not just to Ogres, of course, but all sorts of Chaos entities that might want to remain hidden from Storm Bulls or other anti-Chaos measures.

This is all with the caveat that such argument of selfishness  (or malevolence, etc) precluding Illumination isn't just one practicioner's "no true Scotsman" argument against fellow practicioners they disagree with.

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20 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

In the RW, most practicioners of transcendent practices that seek spiritual enlightenment would probably argue that going into such practices with such selfish goals would preclude them from actually ever achieving enlightenment.

Some would, maybe even most, but certainly not all. 

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14 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

In the RW, most practicioners of transcendent practices that seek spiritual enlightenment would probably argue that going into such practices with such selfish goals would preclude them from actually ever achieving enlightenment.

Obviously, Glorantha is a game world, and functions by its own internal logic - but how does motives and other such elements affect the chances of Illumination (or, I guess, the TYPE of Illumination one ends up with). This applies not just to Ogres, of course, but all sorts of Chaos entities that might want to remain hidden from Storm Bulls or other anti-Chaos measures.

This is all with the caveat that such argument of selfishness  (or malevolence, etc) precluding Illumination isn't just one practicioner's "no true Scotsman" argument against fellow practicioners they disagree with.

There is a section in RQ3 Lords of Terror which discusses this;

Quote

 

Illumination is not achievable through the deliberate efforts of the character (or player). Illumination is a state of awareness transcending the normal limits of an individual's perceptions, and there is no way to prepare oneself for it. Indeed, those who actively seek to become illuminated (as opposed to merely exercising an interest in the phenomena) rarely if ever attain the state.

If Illumination is not directly accessible, neither is the dark side. Many evil being know of and seek the dark powers available to worshipers of Gbaji, but without success. People with such bad intentions lack a critical requirement for Illumination, and can never attain the proper state of mind for any form of enlightenment. The Underside of existence is not directly accessible: one can fall, but one cannot start out at the bottom.

 

I would argue that intentions are subjective.

By this reasoning Lunar trainee illuminates genuinely believe in the goddess' mission to heal the world. It doesn't matter that Orlanthi have a very different view of Lunar illumination, what matters is what is happening in the head of the Lunar trainee who is seeking transcendence. 

If the Lunar illuminate subsequently in the heat of battle accepts their goddess' gift of chaos to give them the strength to overcome the barbarians, or seeks darker powers to further their holy mission, didn't their goddess choose chaos over failure when she was confronted by overwhelming odds?

The light bringers who claim chaos is an irreconcilable enemy are really hypocrites, because when they made the great compromise, they chose to negotiate, to accept the continued existence of the surviving chaos gods, rather than risk the existence of Glorantha by completing the purge of their defeated enemies.

The Goddess merely seeks to continue the dialogue, she works to create a harmonious future in which everyone has an opportunity to find fulfilment, a future of mutual respect free from the pointless bloodshed and meaningless conflict inflicted by uncaring paternalist gods who are too arrogant to admit their own hypocrisy and prejudice to their worshippers.

Edited by EricW
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@EricW

Your summary, and quote, seems a lot more in line with how I imagine illumination in Glorantha to be myself. Yes, obviously motivation is going to be subjective, but even so, I've noticed that whenever Chaos cultists or monsters are brought up together with Storm Bull PCs, there very often seems to be mentions that one or more of the Chaos folks could be Illuminated. This, at least to me, seems like a very gamey approach to the concept, with it being almost being treated just as a monster buff, as opposed to thinking about how that illumination would come about (it's not exactly a reliable process at the best of times - Sevening seems the most semi-reliable, and even that requires exceptional individuals), nor what it would do to a Chaos entity (would they even feel any attachment to their previous motivations and urges? Possibly, possibly not. Illumination changes you in ways that are impossible to predict.)

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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9 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

@EricW

Your summary, and quote, seems a lot more in line with how I imagine illumination in Glorantha to be myself. Yes, obviously motivation is going to be subjective, but even so, I've noticed that whenever Chaos cultists or monsters are brought up together with Storm Bull PCs, there very often seems to be mentions that one or more of the Chaos folks could be Illuminated. This, at least to me, seems like a very gamey approach to the concept, with it being almost being treated just as a monster buff, as opposed to thinking about how that illumination would come about (it's not exactly a reliable process at the best of times - Sevening seems the most semi-reliable, and even that requires exceptional individuals), nor what it would do to a Chaos entity (would they even feel any attachment to their previous motivations and urges? Possibly, possibly not. Illumination changes you in ways that are impossible to predict.)

I would posit that a lot of illuminated chaotics would be "occluded" rather than "enlightened". For them the world being a transitory stage has much less impact on their self-awareness as for a non-chaotic who tends to regard the physical world as a universal constant. Any chaotic being is already exposed to the Void, and it is that exposition that makes them different from the rest of Creation.

Chaotic taints like cave troll regeneration or Telmori Wildday rampages may be less chaotic than the hole in the soul of Vivamort vampires. For many illuminated chaotics, illumination may be just an insight why their existence is as f...ed up as it is, putting it into a frame of reference that was missing prior to the experience.

Advanced mystics can avoid the taint of Chaos even when exposed to fairly ultimate sources (like the Devil, or the Maggot fought by Baroshi), and so can draconic mystics with previous exposure to soul rendering outer worlds.

Quite a lot of Chaotic Illuminates have probably gone insane from the experience, but that too is not that much of a difference to their previous state of mind.

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Outside of the Empire, Illumination is going to be incredibly rare for Chaos creatures. There was one broo in Prax who I believe was a natural Illuminate. It cleansed itself of Chaos through Zola Fel, became a great priest of that deity, and is now a subcult. This is like one in a million. More.

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