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Why contradictories things can exist in the same time in Glorantha?


Pheres

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I have noticed that a lot of things that looks contradictories exist in some places in Glorantha (don't missindusrtand me, il like this a lot, it's great!), but how can it be possible?

What are the "rules" behind this? (Not the rpg rules, but the mythological, moudanes, etc... gloranthan's rules)

For exemple of this kind of duality: a god can be worship in the theological way and shamanism way, or a cult can be hostile to some others, but not one of its subcult...

Is it comming only from the opinion of sentients peoples? Does sentients mundane peoples having power over the reallity, can they potentially do everything?

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A big enough body of worshipers can shape and alter reality. The Easterners found out when worship of Avanapur (the name used to have a d in the neighborhood of the p) resulted in this entity surpassing even Vith in power and majesty. It took Mashunasan to present Avanapur with the Ultimate to end his/its reign of nightmare (but order).

In a similar event, the cult of Jogrampur in Umathela (a God Learner experiment) proved to be an effective theist cult even though the deity worshiped started out as entirely imaginary. (or possibly a half-understood memory of Avanapur?)

 

Theism is the magic where worshipers sacrifice to a deity for a magical blessing. The cults of these deities as presented in RuneQuest are a "fairly recent" innovation of the Silver Age or the Dawn Age. There were chief sacrificers before, which we may call priests, and there may have been initiatory secrets shared with the more dedicated worshipers when they crossed over to the Other Side of the Gods Domain (as opposed to the Other Side of heroquesting), but the new rules of Time brought about a distinct change to how theists interact with their deities.

Shamanic sacrifice to deities is pretty similar to pre-Hantrafali interaction with a deity. A blessing was asked for and an offering made, and the deity responded if pleased with the attention.

The Theyalan Lightbringers spread a very effective method to receive blessings from a deity - the cult structure we know from RuneQuest. The Waertagi and the God Learners spread this method or practioners of it all around the Homeward Ocean into places beyond the original range of the Lightbringer missionaries or the Bright Empire.

 

The concept of subcults varies. There are cults who treat their different rune level commitments as different subcults, there are subcults which appear as deities of their own alongside other manifestations of the same deity. There are minor deities and heroes which are treated as their own cult objects, or as just a subcult of another deity.

There aren't any unified, world spanning cults of a certain deity. Variations in worship and perception of a deity are the norm rather than the exception, and at times the identification between different regions' object of worship can be big enough that the identity of the deity worshiped may only be discerned via a third, middle way expression of the cult.

Few Orlanthi would think of Eurmal as the Friend of Men, but in Loskalm the trickster is known as such and held in some regard. In Fronela, Vorthan is a somewhat acceptable cult to the local bull-worshiping Orlanthi, and not the arch-foe that is Jagrekriand or Shargash.

Context is important. Local myths may shift expectations from your previous local interpretation. Orlanth the lord of bulls may be different from Orlanth the Ram God. There will be common myths, and there will be unique myths to one or the other expression.

Orlanth is both the Dragonfriend and the Dragonslayer. The patron of Great Living Heroes like Hardrad Hardblow or Renvald Meldekbane and the royal authority of Orlanth Rex. The red planet of Tolat is counted among the Lunar spirits of Prax where the cult of Shargash is at best tolerating the Red Goddess as mother of their emperor.'

 

I don't see any systematic rule to this, it all depends on the myths that survived the Greater Darkness in a place, and how the current visions of these deities fit into this.

Where there is a myth to that effect that makes a deity different from what your expectations are, an aspect or appearance of an entity may be colored by that.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

A big enough body of worshipers can shape and alter reality....

...your expectations are, an aspect or appearance of an entity may be colored by that.

Or, it could be that Greg was a fantastically creative stoner when he started making this shit up, and remembering the details of Harmast's left elbow years later when he drifted past it again was neither easy, nor much of a priority, setting a standard of incoherence emulated if not outright celebrated by the legions of people forced (by lack of any alternative) trying themselves to fill the gaps however made sense to them.

Or put otherwise: "Consistency," as they say, "is the hobgoblin of little minds."

You choose. :)

Edited by styopa
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11 minutes ago, styopa said:

people forced (by lack of any alternative) trying themselves to fill the gaps however made sense to them.

If you are playing in or reading about Glorantha under duress, where should I direct human rights activists to help you out of that quandary?

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Look at it this way, a myth is one people's view of an event or phenomena, the same event viewed by another culture could generate an entirely different, and contradictory, myth. In Glorantha the reverse is also true, that belief manifests reality. That's all well and good until these two groups meet, or, when some third party tries to artificially homogenise diversity. This tension is where you will find the greatest stories.

 

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10 hours ago, Psullie said:

Look at it this way, a myth is one people's view of an event or phenomena, the same event viewed by another culture could generate an entirely different, and contradictory, myth. In Glorantha the reverse is also true, that belief manifests reality.

 

I like this idea! Ok, it's because it was at the top of my short own list, and i like to like myself! :) According to what i have read in RQG books, gods histories are "frozen" in god time and mortals can alter this stories. So it's seems logical that, after times, mortals have built different stories for a same myth, and that both are true in the same time!

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  • Pheres changed the title to Why contradictories things can exist in the same time in Glorantha?
On 1/31/2020 at 9:45 PM, Pheres said:

For exemple of this kind of duality: a god can be worship in the theological way and shamanism way, or a cult can be hostile to some others, but not one of its subcult...

This is one of those things when the same entity teaches different people the same information.  For example, Orlanth teaches people how to summon a sylph.

The shaman listens to the great Wind spirit, and he hears how to name and shout to the wind, how to call it with rattles and song.

The hill tribesman hears matters differently, and he hears the personified deity telling him the straight truth about how to ask his god to do things for him.

The sorcerer hears the airy manifestation of the Invisible god explaining to him the principles of energy manipulation required to conjure an elemental that mirrors this form, and then he does the maths. 

As to subcults...

The various subcults and associated cults allow for regional variation on major gods.  They allow general worshippers who are initiated into their secrets to obtain insights not commonly available, and learn specific new myths and interpretations, and the powers that such associations bring.  For example, on Earth in the ancient world, people generally don't know that Zeus, normally seen as a King/Storm god was also the creator of werewolves.  You join the Shamanic subcult of Lycaean Zeus, and you too gain the mystic knowledge to become a shapechanger. Of course membership always has obligations.

Never assume that things that superficially appear contradictory actually are in Glorantha.  It is important to realise that when someone says "all" they mean 85%.  There are a few examples of outright contradictions, but mostly the mythology is very internally consistent.  It is also worth pointing out that the united mythology of Glorantha is actually the product of a Second Age Empire called the Jrusteli/God Learners, and they discovered/created the monomyth as a form of cunning supernatural archaeology conducted during Hero Quests.  For most people who live in their region and seldom leave it, they lack this cosmopolitan vision and see only what they know locally.  Traditions often survive in the hinterlands that have long since died elsewhere, but in Glorantha, if you press your enemies too harshly, they will become dangerously resurgent in about a century.

Edited by Darius West
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On 1/31/2020 at 1:02 PM, Joerg said:

If you are playing in or reading about Glorantha under duress, where should I direct human rights activists to help you out of that quandary?

Not sure how you got that from what I said?

There was the burst of creativity that birthed RQ1/2.  Then a big gap (chronologically), a slight creative bump from RQ3...a span of nothing...then a HUGE bump (comparable to the first) of latter RQ3 (whence we get the vast bulk of explanation of non Dragon-Pass stuff, sorcery, etc) then nothing for while, etc.

My point being that the root (many) of the inconsistencies that have cropped up over 50 years or lore are the result of people still playing the game through these official interregnums and having to creatively try to fill the lore-gaps that existed.  Subsequent canon then often tried to amalgamate some of that (very good, imaginative stuff) thus creating inconsistencies.

It was my attempt at a serious answer after my lighthearted snark about Greg being a stoner, hardly a suggestion that anyone was playing under duress.  More the opposite - people playing when there WAS no official support = diversity of ideas.  Amalgamation of those ideas = inconsistencies.

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

Not sure how you got that from what I said?

I think, and i am sure to not be the only one, that Joerg was joking on a part of your text just for fun, i am sure that it was not against your point of view, but on a part of your sentence, when you have written that "people are forced..."... Plus i like the respons you have done, but i have smile at joerg post too!

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On 2/1/2020 at 5:40 AM, Darius West said:

Never assume that things that superficially appear contradictory actually are in Glorantha.

Well, Darius, simply brilliant! Though I quote only one sentence (the most germane I think), I like all the thoughts here.

 

2 hours ago, styopa said:

Not sure how you got that from what I said?

 

You know that teutonic sense of humour, I think you just fell victim to it. Pheres nails it in the quote below, I think. Oh, and now that the laws have finally seen reason in California, I think we can safely say that Greg was a stoner and not have to put up with too much flack for saying it. There have been a lot of creative geniuses that were stoners. Greg was just one amongst many.

57 minutes ago, Pheres said:

I think, and i am sure to not be the only one, that Joerg was joking on a part of your text just for fun, i am sure that it was not against your point of view, but on a part of your sentence, when you have written that "people are forced..."... Plus i like the respons you have done, but i have smile at joerg post too!

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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8 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

... I think we can safely say that Greg was a stoner ... a lot of creative geniuses that were stoners. Greg was just one amongst many.

I think Greg never was a "stoner" in the "spends a lot of his life stoned" sense -- he was WAY too productive for that.

Similarly, I think he quickly moved on from just "pot" to the more vision-quest-y substances, and I think those were far more influential on his work.  ;) 

Which is not to say I think he was a "light" user.  I never got to hang out with him, but my sense was that he was... exuberant might be a good word?... including in how he approached many of those mind-expandng substances.

Edited by g33k
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2 hours ago, styopa said:

Not sure how you got that from what I said?

"people are forced"...

Why I won't vouch for Greg's sobriety at every point of writing his Glorantha material, I feel fairly safe to attest that Sandy Petersen kept the lore as consistent as possible.

But then Greg was really well organized with his lists of deities, locations, etc. accompanying (or possibly firing up) his creativity, and his hand-drawn map layers are quite professional for the time of their creation.

On 1/31/2020 at 7:49 PM, styopa said:

Or put otherwise: "Consistency," as they say, "is the hobgoblin of little minds."

This may have been intended as a liberating "let the creative juices take precedence over canon" kind of statement, but it came across to me as "oh you little minds who long for consistency and the ability to exchange campaign info with others", hence my attempt at a somewhat jocular response to keep me from a nastier response.

 

Your experience of Gloranthan publications doesn't seem to describe creative efforts towards Glorantha that well. The mid eighties saw the creation of a lot of material that was published only significantly later. Significant portions of King of Sartar were written in this time as background for a Sartar Campaign that never happened as a publication. The full write-ups of cults of the rune-owning deities of Glorantha weren't published, instead a short form saw publications as Gods of Glorantha. (I doubt that Avalon Hill could have managed a 200+ pages book, and breaking those write-ups up into several leaflets would have been weird.) The Genertela Box cut about 100 pages of Island and Pamaltelan information, only some of which ended up in Elder Secrets (at a time when the relationship between Chaosium and Avalon Hill seems to have been at an all time low).

 

People cried out for a Lunar book, even though most were (and still are) stuck in the "it's Chaos! Kill, smite, ravage!" mode.

What changed in the 1990ies was communication between fans. Creativity could be shared, like campaign backgrounds, NPCs, locations, rumors...

My mid-nineties Heortland game (trying out Avalon Hill's playtest rules for RuneQuest 4) coincided in location and time frame with another campaign, and there was an exchange of descriptions and characterisations of canonical NPCs.

When I GMed in Sartar in the early 2000s, I had a pretty good idea what went on in the neighboring tribes because I was in contact with GMs playing in those tribes.

A lot of people put their heads together to create a common vision of the siege of Whitewall, as close to canon as we could. Quite a few games used that stuff.

Nothing of that was forced.

 

There are a few pieces of what I think of as "forced canon", like the origin of Redbird (the magician who fetched Temertain) or the munchkinism of the Wooden Sword temple for convenience. And there are a couple of works that argued from the rules rather than from the intentions for the setting, like Arlaten, the RQ3 version of a Rokari sorcerer in Strangers of Prax, or in many fan projects like my own Aeolian Church efforts.

 

I disagree with your position that the inconsistencies are sloppy or unavoidably faulty world building. Some may be the result of sub-optimal communication.

There are a few inconsistencies in RQ2 material - like the date for the arrival of the Pharaoh in Troll Pak.

There are mistaken readings of the material that lead to inconsistencies, like the problem of the position of the Balmyr tribal lands when people trusted a few labels in a low resolution map over ample textual information supported by (rather  more precise) unpublished material. But these are problems in communication, not in world building.

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On 1/31/2020 at 11:45 AM, Pheres said:

I have noticed that a lot of things that looks contradictories exist in some places in Glorantha (don't missindusrtand me, il like this a lot, it's great!), but how can it be possible?

Orenoar, the Celestial Court goddess of the One Truth was slain and ripped up and/or broken and/or cut up into many during the Greater Darkness.

That's the basic (godlearner) explanation in Gloranthan Myth, but because of the nature and meaning of this myth, it necessarily has multiple inter-incompatible variants. (often, one bunch of people blaming another bunch of people for the resulting ontological disaster)

In terms more relevant to RQ gamers themselves, it reflects the fact that we ourselves have only an indirect access to and understanding of the truth as such, so that we are subjected to different and sometimes opposed understandings of truth and reality.

The Biblical story of the Tower of Babylon illustrates the same mystery.

As many attitudes and understandings and misunderstandings exist in these matters in Glorantha as in the RW -- having said that, the Truth Rune and its Owner and the various entities and creatures that belong to it are kept within Arachne Solara's Web and so in Time and so in the world, so that Truth exists in Glorantha.

But really, the way that this is set up cosmologically -- i.e. so abstractly -- means that each GM and each player can invent his own doctrine of what truth is.

Which of course is exactly what the God Learners did ... but in RuneQuest you get to explore these questions as part of a game, which can help to understand them in more real terms, whether philosophical, scientific, religious, political, house party, literary, poetic, "post-modernist", psychological, sociological, X-Files, semiotic, gnostic, agnostic, or whichever approach serious or otherwise you might want to explore within a game.

I guess that you could even suppose that the broken Celestial goddess Orenoar "survived" by becoming the secret and unknown goddess of Mystery.

Edited by Julian Lord
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On 1/31/2020 at 5:45 AM, Pheres said:

I have noticed that a lot of things that looks contradictories exist in some places in Glorantha (don't missindusrtand me, il like this a lot, it's great!), but how can it be possible?

What are the "rules" behind this? (Not the rpg rules, but the mythological, moudanes, etc... gloranthan's rules)

It mostly comes down to point of view. Each culture is confident that their beliefs are absolutely correct and that everyone else's beliefs are wrong in some way. Thus you get contradictory myths and belief systems. This is compounded by the fact that much of what makes Glorantha work is belief, and the ability to adjust reality through HeroQuesting. 

This probably touches upon things like illumination and the God Learners secrets in that Glorantha seems to be malleable in some ways. The core building blocks, the runes are constant, but how they interact with each other can differ and even be manipulated towards other ends.

 

 

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Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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On 1/31/2020 at 10:45 AM, Pheres said:

I have noticed that a lot of things that looks contradictories exist in some places in Glorantha (don't missindusrtand me, il like this a lot, it's great!), but how can it be possible?

What are the "rules" behind this? (Not the rpg rules, but the mythological, moudanes, etc... gloranthan's rules)

The God Time was shattered beyond recognition during the Gods War. Heroes reconstructed it to make Time. When they did so, they did it in their own way, which caused some inconsistencies and contradictory myths.

 

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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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