Jump to content
Qizilbashwoman

"Bad" acts versus "Chaos" acts

Recommended Posts

I would like to discuss what kinds of things are specifically acts of Chaos. You can do a lot of evil things and just be a bad person in Glorantha, but there are other things that are acts of Chaos.

What makes those things Chaos? Can we outline a guideline for the sort of things that are Chaos?

For a new player, this can be confusing. For example, murder is bad but sexual assault is Chaos. (Looking at you, Beat-Pot.) There's a long explanation for why, both in and out of the game, but nonetheless it can be confusing. Zorak Zoran's followers can swear to fidelity beyond death and rise as undead, who are not Chaotic, but the Undead are the stuff of Chaos.

Similarly, we have debated on this board whether sending disease as a shaman really should be Chaos, or whether it should just be Malian pandemic worship stuff that's Chaos. (Canonically, sending = Chaos, placating Malia =/= Chaos).

Slavery isn't Chaos, nor is torture, but the gods of slavery and torture? Chaos. Confusing.

What acts are Chaos? What acts should be Chaos, but somehow aren't?

I am asking this both because of new players and because I'm interested in a Chaos mechanic thing I'm thinking about inspired by Fantasy Flight's Star Wars game's Force die.

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chaotic acts are those that are not merely bad, but that society isn’t equipped to handle. Let’s take the Orlanthi. Regular murder is kinda bad, but the mechanisms to handle it without social breakdown are in place. Secret murder and Kinstrife are Chaotic - society can’t handle them. Cannibalism is Chaotic - if people started to eat each other during a famine, society would break down. Rape is Chaotic to the extent that society can’t handle it - where it creates strife it’s chaotic, but pushing your attentions on thralls who are in no position to deny you, that’s not Chaotic, because it’s not a social threat. Spreading infectious disease or poisoning a well is Chaotic - that can break society - but envenoming your blade is merely dishonourable. Incest is presumably chaotic - it affects the concept of family, and besides the kids come out weird. Berserking isn’t chaotic (frequently the opposite), but losing yourself so badly in berserking and warrior’s fury that you can’t function in society any longer is - that’s Urain.

Meanwhile, other societies have different standards. Cannibalism isn’t chaotic within the Cannibal Cult as long as formats are met - it’s not a social threat, quite the opposite. Secret murder within Dart Competitions is presumably not chaotic. Some society might not have rape as a chaotic act, if there’s a method to handle it (probably something appalling like the rapist marrying the victim, as is common in real-world patriarchal honour cultures). 

Mallia and diseases is one of the best examples. Diseases aren’t inherently chaotic. Spreading them is.

A shaman slamming someone who offended her with a non-infectious disease, that’s not inherently chaotic - it’s what you get for messing with shamans. The same shaman creating an epidemic, now it’s chaotic.

There is an obvious tension here, though - on the one hand, Chaos is an objectively existing force, even a Rune. On the other, what is chaotic clearly differs between cultures. One way to interpret this is that the supernatural force of chaos creeps in when you break social taboos, even though these taboos in turn may differ.

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Like 7
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Looking at you, Beat-Pot

What did Beat-Pot do? (I'm not aware of anything he did -- I just know he's a character in White Bear & Red Moon)

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

What acts are Chaos? What acts should be Chaos, but somehow aren't?

Good question! My humble proposal is that it's a Chaotic act if the "bad thing" is done in and of itself. So killing, spreading disease, making undead creatures, etc.. are all non-Chaotic if they are done in the pursuit of another (potentially "noble" goal). It doesn't mean these acts are "OK" -- in general they are not, but that's up to society to decide. So killing someone or spreading disease in order to gain political power, push back enemies, and so on might be judged to figure out what happens next. Killing Lunars is definitely OK, sending disease spirits to Lunars can be argued to be OK (depending on how successful you were and who is presiding the tribal moot that is settling the matter), but some people might look at you funny, like you're on a slippery slope. However, if you kill people and raise undead and spread disease just for the fun of it, just for... well, spreading chaos around... then it's a Chaotic act.

Mix that with a few "taboo" subjects, like disease, rape, Broos/Scorpionmen/etc. to give an auto-Chaotic taint to any given act from the point of view of most people around you.

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Slavery isn't Chaos, nor is torture, but the gods of slavery and torture? Chaos. Confusing.

I'm not aware of any god of slavery/torture... who are they? (there's nothing on that topic in Cults Compendium for instance)

Edited by lordabdul
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

god of slavery/torture... who are they?

Ompalam is the god of slavery. He figures most prominently in Fonrit.

Ikadz the god of torture. He is one of Humakt's foes, but also serves to keep great heroes in Hell (e.g. Sheng Seleris).

  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah thanks.

That actually let me find some info in Volume 2 of the Guide to Glorantha (a book that I haven't opened very often yet). There's a chapter on Chaos that seems to indicate that Chaotic acts are basically anything that goes against whatever your culture says. So kinstrife is indeed Chaotic somehow:

Chaos can also enter the world through
the actions of people. For example, in Orlanthi
rituals participants regularly summon and face
their foes, overcoming them to recreate the
world. If they fail in their trials, Chaos may
enter the world. Chaos can also be deliberately
summoned, as when the Unholy Trio brought
Wakboth into the world. Chaos may enter
through violation of divine laws, such as
when Orlanthi commit kinslaughter or Dara
Happans rebel against an emperor who has
passed the Ten Tests. Tragically, even the best
of people, desperate to save themselves and
the things they love, can unwisely invite evil
into the world.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

I am going to go simple here. Things that contribute to the unmaking, entropy, these are chaotic. Things that do not, are not.

Ah, but then how do you tell Chaos apart from mere Disorder (definitionally entropy)?

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

You seemed to be not paying attention... Again the unmaking...

You also talked about entropy. That's just disorder, in itself.

Also, annihilation is only part of Chaos (it’s Kajabor, to be precise). Corruption and moral evil is probably the bigger part. 

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

You also talked about entropy. That's just disorder, in itself.

Or unmaking... or chaos for that matter. But you seem to wish to argue and I do not so I will leave you to find other victims. 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

You also talked about entropy. That's just disorder, in itself.

Entropy in the real world is a measure for disorder.

Entropy in Gloranthan context is annihilation. Removing something from time and space.

Something eaten by a dragon? Probably transcendent. Something eaten by the Bat? Gone (although still has been). Something devoured by Kajabor - cut from existence, like Wheel of Time's Balefire.

 

There is also another kind of Chaos - creative potential. The Greater Gods used to be able to wield it, and to add to Glorantha, but they overdid this and the composite Creation split the seams of its allotted space.

Space seems to be something that Chaos cannot create, although it can destroy it.

4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Also, annihilation is only part of Chaos (it’s Kajabor, to be precise). Corruption and moral evil is probably the bigger part. 

Corruption and Moral Evil are part of Wakboth (and pieces or offspring thereof - including cases like Vivamort, and the Unholy Trio), as is annihilation.

Corruption also has its own greater entity, Pocharngo. Or possibly entities, if you look at Gbaji, Krjalk, Vovisibor or Krarsht.

There is Chaos without Moral Evil. Moral Evil is optional, a choice.

 

Does Moral Evil equate to Chaos? IMO not. But it attracts the harbingers of Chaos, the spawn of the Unholy Trio.

These acts are forbidden because the attract the spawn / kin of Wakboth. They become chaotic when the spawn/kin of Wakboth accept those deeds as worship/sacrifice/dedication.

The ultimate result is pretty much the same - somebody rapes, takes heads, cannibalizes, and Chaos may ensue.

Causation is different, and there are ways to ward off the attraction of these entities. Maran Gor priesthood cannibalizes, and no Storm Bull gets any Chaos tingles. Vadrudi perform a forced marriage or total submission and (barely) escape the Ragnaglar routine. Orlanth beheads Sh'harkarzeel and uses it without invoking Thanatar.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, lordabdul said:

What did Beat-Pot do?

He raped the elderly priestess of Sedenya that had him captured before he killed her.

This was a shocking act. Other rebels found it deeply repellent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Does Moral Evil equate to Chaos? IMO not.

Also not within the game world (usually) - "Trolls are evil, but they are not Chaos" is straight out of What My Father Told Me for Orlanthi.

13 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Causation is different, and there are ways to ward off the attraction of these entities. Maran Gor priesthood cannibalizes, and no Storm Bull gets any Chaos tingles. Vadrudi perform a forced marriage or total submission and (barely) escape the Ragnaglar routine. Orlanth beheads Sh'harkarzeel and uses it without invoking Thanatar.

In one HW campaign, we decided that our clan kept goats and practiced head-taking, and were vehement that it's not chaotic or impure when we do it. Maybe some goats are unclean, but ours aren't! And we're doing our head-taking properly!

And we weren't any more chaos-tainted than anyone else, merely impopular.

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

And we weren't any more chaos-tainted than anyone else, merely impopular.

I am 100% confident that "Those guys are working with Chaos!" is Glorantha's equivalent of claiming people you don't like are assholes. At least when there isn't a convenient Storm Bully around to confirm it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Crel said:

I am 100% confident that "Those guys are working with Chaos!" is Glorantha's equivalent of claiming people you don't like are assholes. At least when there isn't a convenient Storm Bully around to confirm it.

In the real world, a well-known phenomenon in anthropology is that people of one tribe will say “No, of course we’re not cannibals, that would be wrong, and anyone who told you we are was lying. Those people beyond the hills though, they really are cannibals.”

Edited by Akhôrahil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Crel said:

At least when there isn't a convenient Storm Bully around to confirm it.

Mmmmh... Storm Bull cultists have Sense Chaos which tells them that there's a Chaotic thing close by... as in: something tainted by Chaos. That probably translates, in game terms, as something with a Chaotic Feature, right? I don't think Storm Bullies would sense if someone had committed a Chaotic act? (not unless that person did it enough to, indeed, gain a Chaotic corruption?). I don't imagine that you suddenly sprout horns and tentacles immediately after engaging in your first act of cannibalism or rape or whatever? It only happens after a few times, as each occurrence has an increasing chance of letting Chaos into the world? (although I guess there's a non-0% chance that it does indeed happen on the first try). Storm Bullies only detect it when that happens, I think? Before that, you're on trial for doing things that can let Chaos in, even if it hasn't yet, and that's where cultural differences get involved, as different cultures have different opinions about what's a slippery slope, and how slippery it is.

I mean, otherwise, there would be a Storm Bull on every trial committee, who gets to sniff around the accused, no debate or deliberation needed... in reality, the Storm Bully can only probably tell you when the accused has indeed reached the bottom of the slippery slope... which everybody can probably tell because the accused has a third arm. Or maybe not, as I think you can be a Chaotic agent without having any Chaotic feature? For instance, I don't think Cacodemon priests necessarily have any Chaotic feature, which lets them infiltrate society and get to positions of power... would a Storm Bully's Sense Chaos work on such an NPC?

Edited by lordabdul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Mmmmh... Storm Bull cultists have Sense Chaos which tells them that there's a Chaotic thing close by... as in: something tainted by Chaos. That probably translates, in game terms, as something with a Chaotic Feature, right?

Or having a rating in the Chaos rune or being initiated into a Chaotic cult, I imagine?

Edited by Akhôrahil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Or having a rating in the Chaos rune or being initiated into a Chaotic cult, I imagine?

Yes, good point about the Chaos Rune (which I guess is a prerequisite to initiate in a Chaotic cult anyway). So I guess the Storm Bull senses that? It could be rolled on the Resistance Table as the skill vs the Rune score, actually. If you engage in cannibalism/rape/etc. you might get a few percents in the Rune, which only very sensitive Storm Bullies (don't call them that) would detect?

That means that the undercover Cacodemon priest needs to call in sick every time a Storm Bull initiate walks in.

Edited by lordabdul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

If you engage in cannibalism/rape/etc. you might get a few percents in the Rune, which only very sensitive Storm Bullies (don't call them that) would detect?

While there aren't rules about it., this seems sensible.

9 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

That means that the undercover Cacodemon priest needs to call in sick every time a Storm Bull initiate walks in.

Not necessarily - the Cacodemon spell False Form by my reading hides your chaotic nature even from Sense Chaos ("normal human to all senses"), and it has an 8-week duration.

(Or just get yourself Illuminated, that works too.)

Edited by Akhôrahil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Not necessarily - the Cacodemon spell False Form by my reading hides your chaotic nature even from Sense Chaos ("normal human to all senses")

Oh right good point -- I forgot to check the cult's special magic. Good stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see how Cannibalism can be chaotic when many societies that practice it (Trolls, Praxian consumption of herd men, Newtling Tails. etc) are not.  The only statement for cannibalism being chaotic and causing Ogres (aka the Wendigo theory) comes from an in-gloranthan dialogue on Shadows on the Borderlands.  The discussion of how Ogres are made in the Red Cow clan in the Coming Storm makes no mention of this.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, metcalph said:

I don't see how Cannibalism can be chaotic when many societies that practice it (Trolls, Praxian consumption of herd men, Newtling Tails. etc) are not.  The only statement for cannibalism being chaotic and causing Ogres (aka the Wendigo theory) comes from an in-gloranthan dialogue on Shadows on the Borderlands.  The discussion of how Ogres are made in the Red Cow clan in the Coming Storm makes no mention of this.

With trolls its part of funeral rites (except for poor trollkin but as far as trolls are concerned they aren't real trolls), Herd Men are animals not people, it ain't newtlings who eat newtling tails

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JustAnotherVingan said:

With trolls its part of funeral rites (except for poor trollkin but as far as trolls are concerned they aren't real trolls), Herd Men are animals not people, it ain't newtlings who eat newtling tails

You are creating petty exemptions from the original act in order to claim it's not cannibalism.  Nobody would accept this type of reasoning for rape so I find it unpersuasive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, metcalph said:

You are creating petty exemptions from the original act in order to claim it's not cannibalism.  Nobody would accept this type of reasoning for rape so I find it unpersuasive. 

Cannibalism is the practice of eating the flesh of ones own species.

Only the case of the troll eating another troll can really be described as cannibalism and the petty exemptions are ones they would consider quite valid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...