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God Time and objective truth


Ufnal

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I know I tend to come to the forums once in a while to drop another nitpicky question and disappear, and I hope you will forgive me, but I wanted to clearly state a question that seems to have come up in some discussions I've read.

 

What - in Greg's vision and in the current official canon of Glorantha [and perhaps in the older versions/visions of it] - is the "truth status" of God Time entities and events?

Is it that there is a "correct" list of beings, names, properties and events (even if non-linear) that got distorted and changed in the mythologies of various peoples? That is, for example, there is a specific being that was the Sun and the Emperor in the Golden Age and a specific thing happened to it, and the differences between Dara Happan, Pentan, Orlanthi, Six Ages Riders etc. versions of the events are just due to (mis)interpretation, propaganda and loyalties?

Is it that multiple versions of events are true at the same time, because Gods (and their stories) are the kind of beings who don't have to have one linear history but are composites of many different versions? That is, Yelm could both die and go to Hell, and never really die; both Pamalt, Arachne Solara, Yelm and Orlanth/Ernalda could have coordinated the work on the net that caught the Devil; the answer to the paradox of Many Suns is that the Sun can be many things at once, and a being can both be a Sun and not be a Sun?

Is it that the basic runic interactions are true, but how they are interpreted into specific beings and stories depends on who watches them? So the same conflict can involve the Genertelan or Pamaltean pantheon depending on who the heroquester witnessing it is? And the Little Sun can be Yelmalio or Elmal or something else depending on who seeks for it? Perhaps this even changes the very events that exist in the God Time?

Is it based on synchronicity, in that there are numerous independent versions of the gods world and the God Time that occured simultaneously and together changed the universe? As in, Pamalt and Arache Solara did their bindings independently at the same time, both Yelmalio and Elmal did similar things and their actions helped achieve the result they achieved etc.? I remember that the defeat of Chaos and the Sunstop were examples of effects brought forward by separate actions in different contexts and parts of the world

Or is it just a mystery that a mortal mind cannot comprehend so I should stop trying?

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Good questions! :)
You'll soon get more "expert" replies, but this is my humble take:

Normal Gloranthans never wonder about this, because each sees the world through the limited lense of their culture and beliefs.

Only the God Learners, a now extinct sorcerous school from the Second Age, managed to build an all-comprehensive summary of the myths of Glorantha. They called it the Monomyth. However, even that turned out to be limited and wrong. 

Mortals being mortals, and deities being deities means that no mortal is going to ever be able to see the full picture of a god/runic power. Every religion or culture has only a piece of the whole truth, and even if you pieced together all the points of view from different cultures, the picture would still be incomplete. So religions and their myths are just a channel to experience a facet of a particular runic power/deity.

As for your questions, I'd say "yes" is the answer to all of them.

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Read my Runeblog about RuneQuest and Glorantha at: http://elruneblog.blogspot.com.es/

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2 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

They called it the Monomyth. However, even that turned out to be limited and wrong.

Where is that from, that it was limited and wrong?

Because sure, "in character", the answer is "Yes, all of the above". However, "out-of-character", I'm pretty sure I heard Jeff mention that, in order to stay sane as he writes all the various myths and cults descriptions, he considers that all those things are different views on a single general storyline of the God Time (I think it was at one of the previous years' Kraken presentations). I mean, that's probably pretty much why the God Learners were written in: it was probably some meta-justification for the authors to make sense of things and have reason to write "in-world" texts that were gameable (i.e. cross-myth reference documents).

Either way, I guess I may change my mind over the coming years but so far, my humble take is that there is such a thing as a monomyth, but given that the monomyth exists outside of time, and given that the entities involved in this monomyth are then, by definition, not bound to mundane definitions of "being", then they can indeed be multiple things, and do different things that are potentially exclusive... once time and causality are out of the picture, it gets tricky to reason about those things.

Edited by lordabdul
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Ludovic aka Lordabdul -- read and listen to  The God Learners , the Gloranthan podcast, newsletter, & blog !

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Greg was familiar with Eliade's The Sacred & The Profane, which some helpful angel has sampled HERE if you have already bought it or if you want to leaf through it before you buy. It's worth meditating on a few of the fragments:

The myth relates a sacred history, that is, a primordial event that took place at the beginning of time, ab initio. But to relate a sacred history is equivalent to revealing a mystery. For the persons of the myth are not human beings; they are gods or culture heroes, and for this reason their gesta constitute mysteries; man could not know their acts if they were not revealed to him. The myth, then, is the history of what took place in illo tempore ["in that time," which for Eliade is broadly parallel to our "God Time"], the recital of what the gods or the semidivine beings did at the beginning of time. To tell a myth is to proclaim what happened ab origine. Once told, that is, revealed, the myth becomes apodictic truth; it establishes a truth that is absolute. "It is so because it is said that it is so," the Netsilik Eskimos declare to justify the validity of their sacred history and religious traditions. The myth proclaims the appearance of a new cosmic situation or of a primordial event. Hence it is always the recital of a creation; it tells how something was accomplished, began to be. It is for this reason that myth is up with ontology; it speaks only of realities, of really happened, of what was fully manifested. Obviously these realities are sacred realities, for it is the sacred that is pre-eminently the real.

It is true that most of the situations assumed by religious man of the primitive societies and archaic civilizations have long since been left behind by history. But they have not vanished without a trace; they have contributed toward making us what we are today, and so, after all, they form part of our own history.

What is essential is periodically to evoke the primordial event that established the present condition of humanity. Their whole religious life is a commemoration, a remembering. The memory reactualized by the rites (hence by reiterating the primordial murder) plays a decisive role; what happened in illo tempore must never be forgotten. The true sin is forgetting [. . . ] Personal memory is not involved; what matters is to remember the mythical event, the only event worth considering because the only creative event. It falls to the primordial myth to preserve true history, the history of the human condition; it is in the myth that the principles and paradigms for all conduct must be sought and recovered.

-----

So what really happened? Whatever people tell you reveals the true history that matters. Who did it happen to? The people who we say were there. As Eliade says elsewhere in this book, "The many names of the gods designate one sole divinity and all religions express the same fundamental truth -- only the terminology varies." 

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6 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Greg was familiar with Eliade's The Sacred & The Profane, which some helpful angel has sampled HERE if you have already bought it or if you want to leaf through it before you buy. It's worth meditating on a few of the fragments:

The myth relates a sacred history, that is, a primordial event that took place at the beginning of time, ab initio. But to relate a sacred history is equivalent to revealing a mystery. For the persons of the myth are not human beings; they are gods or culture heroes, and for this reason their gesta constitute mysteries; man could not know their acts if they were not revealed to him. The myth, then, is the history of what took place in illo tempore ["in that time," which for Eliade is broadly parallel to our "God Time"], the recital of what the gods or the semidivine beings did at the beginning of time. To tell a myth is to proclaim what happened ab origine. Once told, that is, revealed, the myth becomes apodictic truth; it establishes a truth that is absolute. "It is so because it is said that it is so," the Netsilik Eskimos declare to justify the validity of their sacred history and religious traditions. The myth proclaims the appearance of a new cosmic situation or of a primordial event. Hence it is always the recital of a creation; it tells how something was accomplished, began to be. It is for this reason that myth is up with ontology; it speaks only of realities, of really happened, of what was fully manifested. Obviously these realities are sacred realities, for it is the sacred that is pre-eminently the real.

It is true that most of the situations assumed by religious man of the primitive societies and archaic civilizations have long since been left behind by history. But they have not vanished without a trace; they have contributed toward making us what we are today, and so, after all, they form part of our own history.

What is essential is periodically to evoke the primordial event that established the present condition of humanity. Their whole religious life is a commemoration, a remembering. The memory reactualized by the rites (hence by reiterating the primordial murder) plays a decisive role; what happened in illo tempore must never be forgotten. The true sin is forgetting [. . . ] Personal memory is not involved; what matters is to remember the mythical event, the only event worth considering because the only creative event. It falls to the primordial myth to preserve true history, the history of the human condition; it is in the myth that the principles and paradigms for all conduct must be sought and recovered.

-----

So what really happened? Whatever people tell you reveals the true history that matters. Who did it happen to? The people who we say were there. As Eliade says elsewhere in this book, "The many names of the gods designate one sole divinity and all religions express the same fundamental truth -- only the terminology varies." 

I am always a bit dissatisfied with references to real-world religions and religious studies provided as an answer to a Glorantha-specific question, because an ontology and metaphysics presupposed by Eliade seems quite different from what we have in Glorantha (for example, Eliade does speak of one sole divinity and sacrum, while in Glorantha the Runes seem to be the building blocks of reality that can't be easily reduced and relativized). 

Also, this approach seems to make lots of mythical speculation and identification (who does a name in one mythology represent in the other? Who is on the Gods Wall? Etc.) totally unproductive and pointless.

On the other hand, the idea that it's the telling that matters and makes the myth into objective reality is interesting, fun and with much gaming potential - but it seems to run contrary to what I thought is the official stance on how Glorantha works? 

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10 hours ago, Ufnal said:

What - in Greg's vision and in the current official canon of Glorantha [and perhaps in the older versions/visions of it] - is the "truth status" of God Time entities and events?

In my opinion, there is no single truth, no correct single list. There are many patterns that are usually true but, in specific instances, are broken. And it's kind of fractal, you will find the same meta-pattern of general truths but specifically broken at all scales from the very local to cosmic.

10 hours ago, Ufnal said:

Or is it just a mystery that a mortal mind cannot comprehend so I should stop trying?

Never stop trying. I've spent much time exploring and savouring the mysteries over nearly 40 years.

Edited by Charles
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1 hour ago, Ufnal said:

this approach seems to make lots of mythical speculation and identification (who does a name in one mythology represent in the other? Who is on the Gods Wall? Etc.) totally unproductive and pointless.

I don't think you can divorce it though. As is said elsewhere, Glorantha is a world built by a mythologist and what Greg explored were these types of studies and researches. Works like GRoY and King of Sartar reflect this.  And it does not render the identifications pointless because those will be from an in-character perspective.

5 hours ago, Ufnal said:

What - in Greg's vision and in the current official canon of Glorantha [and perhaps in the older versions/visions of it] - is the "truth status" of God Time entities and events?

I think it is very reasonable to state that these entities and events exist, i.e. they are "true".  

5 hours ago, Ufnal said:

Is it that there is a "correct" list of beings, names, properties and events (even if non-linear) that got distorted and changed in the mythologies of various peoples?

What Jeff has drafted for the Cults/Gods of Glorantha will be the "monomyth" (aka God Learner) view using the "correct" or common names. 

Given that you are looking for the "current official canon" to your questions, it's probably best to see if @Jeff can spend a few moments to provide his thoughts (or to say wait until the Cults book is available).

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The marriage of Storm to Earth is an important myth which keeps happening again and again - Orlanth's wooing of Ernalda coincides with the contests with the Emperor, Durev marries Orane on the Downland Migration even before that event, and in the Storm Age there are plenty reprisals of that. There is a myth how Umath was destined for Asrelia but they were kept apart, too.

All of these stories with their different protagonists touch the same archetypal event, spinning off slightly or strongly different versions of the same event. Eiritha marrying Storm Bull maps on Durev marrying Orane, and an Eirithan cultist may interfere on an Orlanthi re-enacting the Three Challenges in a quest.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

Durev marries Orane on the Downland Migration

I know Durev is the cult of Orlanth Farmer, an alternative to Barntar, but I hadn't realised there was an actual mythic parallel between Durev and Orlanth rather than just a Hero assimilated into Orlanth's cult. Would you be willing to share your insight how he's a storm deity?

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Glorantha is built on archetypes that are eternally recurring and present. The conflict between Air and Fire. The competitions for Earth. The twins dividing the powers between Maker and Grower. These archetypes are built upon by the eternally recurring deeds of the gods. We mortals interact with the gods through worship, ceremony, and heroquesting, and join with the gods for brief moments of Time, only to fall back into Time. We know the gods exist - we see them, dance with them, try to follow in their footsteps, and even wield fragments of their power. But as mortals we are separated from them by Death and thus our experience of the divine is limited and subject to the inherent limitations of mortal understanding.

These are all objective truths in Glorantha. 

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I know Durev is the cult of Orlanth Farmer, an alternative to Barntar, but I hadn't realised there was an actual mythic parallel between Durev and Orlanth rather than just a Hero assimilated into Orlanth's cult. Would you be willing to share your insight how he's a storm deity?

Durev is the pastoralist immigrant (from Dini Valley, high up on the flanks of the Spike, where Umath had his camp) and cultural founder of the earliest Storm Tribe humans, a role very similar to those of Vingkot and Heort.

Durev was carved from wood, but received the divine breath. He is the breath inside the body, and inside culture, making it vibrant and alive. As storms go, that's quite subtle.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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For me, the Gods War broke many things, including Myths and our recollection of those Myths.

Many Cults have fragments of those myths and have built themselves up to worship Deities based on those recollections. Historically, some Temples remembered some myths and some remembered other myths. Over time, a lot of these myth fragments were gathered together to create a consistent story. The Lightbringer Missionaries of the First Age did this, when they met with people who half-remembered the same stories and myths as they told. Harmast did something similar, when he gathered myths about the Lightbringer Quest from various locations, put them together, added some things of his own and created a single story.

Different Cultures view the myths from different viewpoints and angles. So, Umath breaking his chains and rising up against the Evil Emperor is an Orlanthi viewpoint, but the Rebel forcing Earth and Sky apart, destroying the Harmony of the Golden Empire is from a Dara Happan point of view. Both describe the same myth, but their recollections are different.

What the God Learners did was to take the different myths they encountered and analyse them, discarding the bits that didn't make sense and reconstructing the original myths. This is a good framework for Gloranthan Mythology as it is what happened. However, the bits they threw away and the bits they didn't understand add flavour to the general framework. They lost a lot of the subtleties of the mythology.

HeroQuestors can discover the lost fragments of myth, rediscovering old paths and writing them anew as brand new HeroQuests, Myths or Sub-Cults. Or, they can make new Paths that never existed before, changing the mythical framework.

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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Different conflicting myths can be true at the same time.

All the conflicting cults of Arkat, many of which receive some form of power from Arkat, yet all of which believe very different things about their old teacher.

Or the Empire of the Wyrms Friends, the conflict between draconic versions of Orlanth and other cults vs the old ways cultists, who refused to accept draconic myths and forms of worship.

Or the seven mothers cults, the strange relationship they have with the original versions of those cults - Etyries vs Issaries, etc .

One of my favourite heresies is the cult of Yelmalio the Krjalk - a perverted and chaotic version of Yelmalio, accessed by accepting help from chaos during the Hill of Gold hero quest. Don't know if it is cannon, but it makes a deeply intriguing hero cult.

 

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14 hours ago, Ufnal said:

Or is it just a mystery that a mortal mind cannot comprehend so I should stop trying?

I don't think you should stop trying - there is art in the striving, but a definitive answer may continue to elude you.

I think the truth of the matter often appears paradoxical. Trying to resolve that tension (for example by imposing a one true objective explanation) will take you away from a proper understanding and appreciation of Glorantha. I would even say that it's quite psychedelic (if that experience is familiar), in that it it utterly fractal in nature and also that it tends to morph and shift as you look at it. That's not to say that it's entirely subjective and there is objectivity to it. The Lunars might say it is cyclical instead, that it appears different at different times because it follows a pattern that may not be entirely obvious to a non-illuminated observer.

Edited by Grievous
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5 hours ago, soltakss said:

For me, the Gods War broke many things, including Myths and our recollection of those Myths.

True. Many an original antagonist of a myth needed to be replaced with a somewhat acceptable stand-in.

Modern Glorantha is a patchwork of fragments - some of significant size, some of generally continuous even if only half of what was there before, and some fairly isolated ones just salvaged at all, leading to isolated appearances like Firshala in the Elder Wilds.

The God Learner maps of the Godtime are educated guesses based on the modern topography as encountered by the God Learners. They remind me a bit of the cartographer Mejers's attempt at re-construction of the pre-Mandrenke North Frisian coast showing all the known places that had perished not only in the recent second Mandrenke, but also the one that destroyed Rungholt and about half of the former lands in that region.

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Many Cults have fragments of those myths and have built themselves up to worship Deities based on those recollections. Historically, some Temples remembered some myths and some remembered other myths. Over time, a lot of these myth fragments were gathered together to create a consistent story. The Lightbringer Missionaries of the First Age did this, when they met with people who half-remembered the same stories and myths as they told. Harmast did something similar, when he gathered myths about the Lightbringer Quest from various locations, put them together, added some things of his own and created a single story.

Theism as practiced within Time appears to have been invented in the Late Storm Age or the Grey Age, with a few distant (remnants of) gods granting their intercession for sacrifice. People had gods before - often as not so distant rulers interceding in person with their innate powers rather than as grantors of magic.

According to the Heortlings, it was Hantrafal who worked out how to worship and sacrifice in a way that allowed a worshiper to manifest an innate power of the deity as magic. Given the context in which this became necessary, the number of deities available to grant such magic would have been extremely small. Orlanth was on his Lightbringer's Quest, and only rather independent manifestations may have been available for a magical effect. Still, such manifestations may have received worship and sacrifice and shared it with the greater cult entity that we know in the Second and Third Age.

At the Dawn, there may have been a lot more deities that subsequently became mopped up in the major cults, as obscure subcults. Theyalan syncretism, then God Learner simplifications (forcibly imposed on Godtime) and occasional destruction of old knowledge results in cults that may be significantly different from what they had been before. Sometimes new cults crop up, like Orlanth Rex around 900 ST, and they are generally some form of the deity that has been lingering somewhere. Sedenya follows three centuries later, from even greater obscurity.

There are portions of Godtime which remain largely untapped by the Surface World because the mortals forgot how to interact with these, but on occasion they may be re-discovered. Baroshi is a prime case of such.

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Different Cultures view the myths from different viewpoints and angles. So, Umath breaking his chains and rising up against the Evil Emperor is an Orlanthi viewpoint, but the Rebel forcing Earth and Sky apart, destroying the Harmony of the Golden Empire is from a Dara Happan point of view. Both describe the same myth, but their recollections are different.

These are only peripherally the same event really. Rising up against the Emperor is something else than Umath creating the Middle Air. Breaking his chains - if there were any such chains, they would have been parts of the World machine. But then, the Emperor Umath was straining against may well have been Mostal.

 

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What the God Learners did was to take the different myths they encountered and analyse them, discarding the bits that didn't make sense and reconstructing the original myths.

The Stafford Library tome Middle Sea Empire tells us a very different story. Their "analysis" followed uncharted raids into local, then regional holy sites, into random myths that were observed, without any context.

 

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This is a good framework for Gloranthan Mythology as it is what happened. However, the bits they threw away and the bits they didn't understand add flavour to the general framework. They lost a lot of the subtleties of the mythology.

That assumes that they had the inside perspective of worshipers of those deities. The description in Middle Sea Empire doesn't make that that likely.

 

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HeroQuestors can discover the lost fragments of myth, rediscovering old paths and writing them anew as brand new HeroQuests, Myths or Sub-Cults. Or, they can make new Paths that never existed before, changing the mythical framework.

Yes, though usually through the perception of the community that launched them into the myth. You need either another inside perspective or some abstraction (RuneQuest Sight) to get past that "skin" of the mythic nodes you are traveling along. Stripping a piece of literature (like e.g. a Shakespeare play) of all context or translating all that context into memes is very similar to what the God Learners did for their understanding of Godtime. This allowed them to recognize reuse of memetic combinations which gave them entry leverage and patchworking interfaces to create new paths, and occasionally new bridging territory, possibly brought in from an unrelated myth. In a way vaguely reminiscent of CRISPR working on DNA.

Edited by Joerg
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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As the Goddess of Truth was a casualty in the Gods War, there probably aren't any objective truths, just subjective ones, filtered by culture and traditions. The bigger the 'truth' the more diverse beliefs about it will probably be. Even if Heroquesters find out something 'new' it may not be a universal truth.

It's a bit like looking at terrestrial mythology and trying to compare gods - Zeus is widely assumed to be the same as Jupiter (but there are plenty of divergent stories about Zeus, and probably even more in ancient times) but is Zeus the same as other Near Eastern Storm gods such as Teshub? Or perhaps Marduk or Asshur, or Indra? 

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There are some great answers here, thanks! However, I still have some questions, two of which I want to put here:

1. One of the reasons I asked about the "objectivity" and whether there is one true state of things is to help judge the limits of invention in heroquesting. We know a hero can heroquest to prove Elmal is Yelmalio (although I am still not sure about their relation). I guess nobody can heroquest to prove Ernalda is Zorak Zoran, or Orlanth is Yelm. But can a hero find/change/prove Godtime facts so far that, say, he comes to see and show Yelm and Yelmalio to be the same being? Or Odayla and Sky Bear? Or Orlanth and Yinkin? Kero Fin and Ernalda? Is it that the world of the gods is infinitely mallable and changable via human intervention? And if there are limits, what (apart from the forces that destroyed God Learners xD) makes them - the runes of the entities, their images and identities, their roles in the archetypal stories Jeff described? Can Elmal be Yelm, because they are both Sky, or can't he be Yelm, because his role and attitude and archetypal connections are vastly different? Or can't he be Yelm because they clearly opposed each other in God Time and are clearly separate beings?

2. While looking at, say, Dara Happan myths and Orlanthi myths and seeing the same entities in different perspective is quite possible, and while you could do such a trick with Esrolia or Teshnos, I have no idea how to reconcile this Genertelan stuff with myths of Pamaltela or the East. Are these different perspectives on the same archetypes and runic interactions? Or are they referring to completely separate parts of Godtime, or even separate logics and ways of seeing the world (as the gods vs anti-gods distinction seems to suggest)?

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I'd turn it around and ask: can you play, tell or write a plausible story to <whatever>?

If the story passes everyone's plausibility checks then yes. If players/gms/listeners/readers come up with plausible objections then no.

And the answer in one gaming group will be different to the answer in another gaming group (forum, auditorium, whatever). And that's because Your Glorantha Will Vary.

For many of us purists, that's an unsatisfying answer. We want to find the one true right answer. We want to read and write the stuff that becomes accepted as canon. On the other hand, as @Jeff has pointed out, that really only matters to those that want to go through all the effort of writing and then editing something for formal publication by Chaosium.

Edited by Charles
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For certain limited purposes, an "identity" of Ernalda and Kero Fin or of Yelm and Yelmalio can be shown to be true IMO. Shared magic, shared myths (e.g. Lightfore tracing the events of the Young God in the Sky?).

These make good cross-over points for experimental heroquesting, allowing a quester to shift their identification from one entity to the other without letting go of the accumulated magic, but afterwards the entities won't be as exchangeable any more.

The identification game can be a major form of heroquesting wrestling, where a quester may pronounce a recognition of another quester different from the one that quester identifies with and draws his magic from. The fight against the strongman in Morden Defends the Camp has something like this.

 

In the intercontinental comparison, you will find a lot of myths that are virtually identical - e.g. the making of the Agimori and that of the Dara Happans from clay - except for a few bits of local detail. But their context will have shifted, different roles get emphasized.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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7 hours ago, Ufnal said:

One of the reasons I asked about the "objectivity" and whether there is one true state of things is to help judge the limits of invention in heroquesting.

In the immortal words of John Landis (and the underlying tenet of YGWV): you can do whatever you want with heroquesting and Gloranthan gods because Glorantha doesn't exist :D

Now, in my humble opinion, you have 2 big things to consider:

  1. Does it matter?
    1. Will any of your players actually try and prove that Ernalda and Zorak Zoran are the same deity, or some other similarly outlandish thing? I assume not... maybe  you're asking because you're considering having some NPC faction with lots of resources and time doing this. Well at least, I hope so (see second point).
    2. Either way, one would have to wonder why you would want this in your Glorantha... if you want Ernalda and Zorak Zoran to be the same deity, just make it so from the start... that would probably change a LOT of things in your Glorantha, so that would take a lot of work to figure out, but you would probably end up with some really wickedly original world. My point is that if you want your Glorantha to be a bit (or a lot!) different from Chaosium's Glorantha, you can do that right away, and you don't need to "justify" it by figuring out who heroquested to make it different...
    3. ...unless you actually want to play around a theme of mythic transformation, how it wreaks havoc in cultures that previously didn't like each other but now realize they have more in common than they thought, etc. That's a strong theme, by the way, but if that's not what you want your game to be about, I'm not sure there's any reason to go there.
  2. Assuming we want to go there, how easy would it be to achieve?
    1. As mentioned above, I don't think player characters should be able to achieve any of this type of stuff unless they're playing demi-god-level characters or above. Unless they are indeed super super super powerful, it wouldn't make sense for even Rune-lord characters to be able to significantly change myths without spending decades working on it, because otherwise nothing matters because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people around Glorantha who can change things as well. Well, I guess you could also go this way, where the Hero Wars is effectively also happening on the God Plane, where people are changing myths constantly, like an ever-changing front-line, undermining their enemies' forces on a fundamental theological level (which would affect their morale, their magic, their social dynamics, etc.). That could be cool too.
    2. If PCs can't reasonably achieve it, then you might have some NPC faction similar to the God Learners that are either working towards doing some fundamental changes, or have done so in the past and the PCs "discover" the horrible truth.
      1. If the former, then the stakes in your campaign are to effectively prevent some apocalypse of unknown proportions, and, hopefully, the PCs win and not much changes, they saved the world, yay, and it doesn't matter if it was possible or not in the first place (what matters was that someone was going to try and that was dangerous enough).
      2. If the latter, it could be some interesting moral dilemma about whether the PCs want to revert that change -- trolls' mistress race are the main Earth priestesses and having good crops require a death sacrifice! But it wasn't meant to be this way! We were meant to have the way nicer Ernalda goddess as the Earth goddess! Somebody re-wired the myths back in the Second Age but almost nobody remembers! Depending on how you present it, it might feel more like a post-apocalyptic scenario where the heroes are trying to go back to some original timeline. Again, that's kind of cool, but maybe not what you want.

I guess this is all a very long way to say : "anything is possible if that's what you want your campaign to be about".

Edited by lordabdul

Ludovic aka Lordabdul -- read and listen to  The God Learners , the Gloranthan podcast, newsletter, & blog !

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55 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

[snip lots of good stuff]

I must admit I am more likely to engage in theoretical exploration or solo RPG with a GM emulator than in playing with a group. But the thing is - is the idea that demi-gods can actively change things in the God Plane and make identifications and relations where there were none (not just discover existing and forgotten ones) something that already exists in Glorantha, or is it a radical change to the world?

Also, the idea of heroes constantly fighting on the God Plane for the shape of the myths sounds wonderful, just the right amount of Mage [either variety] in my Glorantha. ;) 

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