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Who is the Deity of Poison?


Darius West

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While there are quite a few individual deities of Glorantha who employ poison (Aldrya, Bagog, Black Fang, Ernalda, Gorakiki, Mallia, Mostal, , etc) , we don't have a deity of poisons, do we?  I mean, technically we don't have a deity of corrosives, but I suspect that Nelat is the obvious go-to for that, but when it comes to poisons there is no obvious deity.  Bagog is the most likely, but really Bagog is the deity of Scorpionfolk, not poisons.  Malia springs to mind, but Malia is a goddess of disease, and while she spreads her diseases much the same way that others might use poison they are not the same thing.  In terms of the snakes of Ernalda, I generally got the feeling that they were mainly constrictors, not poisoners, but probably include both.  Most of these deities teach something akin to how to use poison, but none is a deity of actual poison.  Does poison need a deity?  If not, why not?  If disease has a deity, why not poison?  On the other hand, if someone knows that there is in fact a deity of poison, please tell me who it is, because idk.

Edited by Darius West
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Who was the first deity to use Death in the form of a poison?

We know that Aldrya gave the Poisonthorn Elves Death as a poison.

We also know that Bagog wields Death as venom.

Krarsht uses poisons, but I don't know of any myth where she gained Death as a poison.

So, I don't know who first came up with the idea of using Death as a poison. Maybe it has been used so often that everyone knows about it, so it doesn't need a deity.

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

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The troll god of natural scorpions is Krolar.  Krolar was born in the Storm Age; he and his divine twin/mate, the first female scorpion, awoke in the ashes of Hell after the dead Sun took up residence and drove the trolls out.  The divine scorpions battled the chaos monster Bagog, which ate the female scorpion and took on some of its qualities.  Krolar ventured onto the surface alone and eventually befriended Humakt, who taught the scorpion to wield Death with his tail.  Krolar hunted down Bagog and slew the Chaos god in the Darkness with his new powers, but was wounded in the process--which has made his children since then smaller and weaker than his first spawn.

Aranea the spider goddess probably has venom-magic too.

I wonder what the Earth myth explaining the difference between venomous and constrictor snakes is.

Edited by dumuzid
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1 hour ago, dumuzid said:

I wonder what the Earth myth explaining the difference between venomous and constrictor snakes is.

What I drafted on this topic was the following:

As Mother of the Seven Serpents (probably more, but I liked that number), Ernalda Talosa gave birth to a number of specific types of snake - each one born to a different father hence each type has different powers and require different skills to handle:

  • Fiery poisoners (earth-fire)
  • Paralysis/Sleep inducers (earth-earth)
  • Swallowers/Blind/burrowing snakes (earth-dark) (including worm eaters i.e. fossorial snakes)
  • Constrictors (earth-air - breath stealers)
  • Swimmers (earth-water) – eat fish and shellfish – can submerge for hours, finned
  • Egg eaters (earth-spirit) - with particular powers to consume the snakes of the Serpentbeast Brotherhood
  • Queen snakes (eat other snakes) (earth-mastery)

The poisonous ones were those of Fire (burning venom) and Earth (paralyzing venom).

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2 hours ago, Darius West said:

Does poison need a deity?  If not, why not?  If disease has a deity, why not poison? 

I don't think it needs a deity. Poison is something you have as either a defense or as an attack. So are teeth and claws. We don't need deities of teeth and claws (or stingers), so why a deity of poison? 

Disease on the other hand is not something creatures inherently have. It is a corruption and decay of life, a force from without. And there is a being responsible for that: Mallia. (And in that way disease is similar to powers such as fertility, movement, etc.)

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Venom probably is the property of Hykim and Mikyh, as at least some types of draconic creatures and lots of animals have that trait.

For mineral poisons, look at Mostal (a way to fight the excesses of Grower), for fungal poisons, Mee Vorala, for herbal pesticides (with pests including beins of the Man Rune), Aldrya.

Poisonous Gas is a part of the Devil, and may be Wakboth's Storm heritage. But then Lodril/Veskarthen does emit poisonous vapors, too.

Edited by Joerg
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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I think the problem here is that we actually probably do need an explanation as to why animals, vegetables and minerals can all have poisons within Glorantha.  Poison can bring death, but it isn't inherently lethal, as it is might be used to put someone to sleep, make them hallucinate, or locally paralyze them without killing them.  In some cases poisons can be used  in specific doses as medicines even.   Poisons also take many different forms, much like medicines, being powders, pills, lotions, potions, injected fluid, dangerous dust, etc.    Arguably poisons can take the forms of solid (earth), liquid (water), or gas (air), but not fire, darkness, or moon, though potentially the last two might have associations with it too.  The issue of poison "runs deep" in Glorantha.  Consider how Iron poisons trolls and elves thanks to the Dwarves.  Poison may well have been invented on the Spike, during a time of co-operation between the races, only to be weaponized subsequently during the lesser darkness.  It is a question worth answering.  My preference would probably be that a deity of poison would be Vadeli in origin, like Ikadz and Ompalam. 

7 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

While Eurmal's vapours are perhaps more noxious than poisonous.

Eurmal is potentially an early adopter of poisons.

6 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Eels are fish, not snakes, so no.  I expect these to be typical water or sea snakes.

We say that because we have Linnaean Taxonomy and Genetics.  The Japanese liked to say that fish was a vegetable so that Buddhists could eat it, and many definitional systems are pretty arbitrary when closely analyzed.  Sometimes it only has to "look like a duck" to be a duck.

10 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I don't think it needs a deity. Poison is something you have as either a defense or as an attack. So are teeth and claws. We don't need deities of teeth and claws (or stingers), so why a deity of poison? 

Disease on the other hand is not something creatures inherently have. It is a corruption and decay of life, a force from without. And there is a being responsible for that: Mallia. (And in that way disease is similar to powers such as fertility, movement, etc.)

I don't think that is an adequate criteron for deciding that poison which is a discrete phenomenon that is life threatening and takes many forms should not have a deity.  Most things that kill wind up with some sort of deity that can be placated to avoid the consequences, or to harness its power for practical use.  For example, in Egypt, Serket is the goddess of healing poisons, as is the scorpion goddess Ta-Bitjet, in Celtic myth it is Balor of the Poison Eye,  in Norse mythology it is Jormungandr who produces Eitr, a poison from which giants spring.  In Hindu myth the goddess of poison is Halahala, who also holds the key to immortality.  In Chinese myth, Shennong identifies the poisons and the medicines.  There are lots of examples. Often in myth, poison in indistinguishable from magic (albeit bad magic).     

12 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

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At least in one Broo's opinion.

I'm not saying that this is wrong, but surely poison is more complicated than just saying "oh it's chaos", because pretty much everyone uses poisons at some level.  If poison is chaos, then anyone dealing with it is being chaotic.  So, is fighting elves and trolls with iron chaotic?  Is poisoning a nest of rubble runners a chaotic act?  Is building a trap for a tomb implicitly chaotic if it includes poison?  Are elves automatically chaotic if they use venom?  Are insects that use poison chaos too?  The moral implications of simply handballing poison into the chaos basket are worse than coming up with a different answer.  I guess we could argue that "well slavery and torture are under chaos deities too, but people still do them", but then the discussion goes straight to Thed, and gets ugly.

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5 hours ago, Darius West said:

I'm not saying that this is wrong, but surely poison is more complicated than just saying "oh it's chaos", because pretty much everyone uses poisons at some level. 

Rather than saying Poison is Chaos, instead say Bagog is the Chaos Deity of Poison. Other deities can be deities of Poison as well, Bagog is just the Chaotic one.

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8 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Rather than saying Poison is Chaos, instead say Bagog is the Chaos Deity of Poison. Other deities can be deities of Poison as well, Bagog is just the Chaotic one.

Poison is Darkness power. Malia is a disease god, perhaps the disease god, but Darkness. She was corrupted, then ... repented? She went back from the Unholy Trio. She has a Chaos side, but she was Disease before that, because it's just a Darkness power.  Bagog has poison power, but that's not, sensu strictu, Chaos, it's Darkness. Bagog's gone Chaos so that's why praying to Bagog for power is Chaotic. Anyone who uses Bagog's power is courting Chaos, just like those who loose Malian Chaos spirits are courting Chaos (but those who pray to Malia's repentant side to ward off disease spirits are invoking Darkness, not Chaos).

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As with head-taking, cannibalism or non-consensual intercourse (like Vadrudi "wife-taking"), it takes a cultural context of condemnation to make these acts chaotic. The Praxians know Chaos from non-Chaos, and while they fear the evil of the Cannibal Cult, they know it is not Chaos, unlike the Parts of the Devil or other Praxian horrors.

Bee or wasp venom isn't chaotic. Neither is a natural scorpion's sting, or a wyvern's, or a manticore's, or a sting-ray's.

A spider's poison basically is a digestive enzyme that liquefies its victim alive, enabling the spider to slurp up all the nutrients in the victim's body. Not chaotic, but truly a survival mechanism from Hell.

I even need to be convinced that the poison attack of a scorpionman is any more chaotic than its bite or strike. It is not like they inject their victims with a miasma that corrodes them from inside, turning them into chaotic slime (gorpstuff). Although a sting like that would be a neat chaos feature.

A krarshtkid's Pratzim is an icky, sticky substance, not something inherently chaotic. The creatures secreting the stuff are racially chaotic and may have chaos features, but Pratzim isn't one of those.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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7 hours ago, soltakss said:

Rather than saying Poison is Chaos, instead say Bagog is the Chaos Deity of Poison. Other deities can be deities of Poison as well, Bagog is just the Chaotic one.

You are right.  This is a good approach.

7 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Poison is Darkness power. Malia is a disease god, perhaps the disease god, but Darkness. She was corrupted, then ... repented? She went back from the Unholy Trio. She has a Chaos side, but she was Disease before that, because it's just a Darkness power.  Bagog has poison power, but that's not, sensu strictu, Chaos, it's Darkness. Bagog's gone Chaos so that's why praying to Bagog for power is Chaotic. Anyone who uses Bagog's power is courting Chaos, just like those who loose Malian Chaos spirits are courting Chaos (but those who pray to Malia's repentant side to ward off disease spirits are invoking Darkness, not Chaos).

I am certainly sympathetic with this interpretation.  It is odd that Malia isn't a chaos deity, but did she repent, or is Chaos merely a disease of the whole world that she has helped create?  What little we have of her myths suggests that she didn't want to kill everyone as that would destroy her food source (Cults of Terror page 26), which isn't really repentance  I am also sympathetic with the idea of poison being a darkness power.  In fact, spreading disease and spreading poison are pretty similar as a modus operandi, and I could see Malia being a poison deity easily due to her cult's skillset, but is she?  Well, no, she doesn't train her people in anything to do with poisons.  Krarsht (poison and acid brewing) and Thanatar (alchemy) do, but not Malia.  I personally would have no problem with Malia also being the poison deity, but she isn't.

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19 hours ago, Darius West said:

I think the problem here is that we actually probably do need an explanation as to why animals, vegetables and minerals can all have poisons within Glorantha.  Poison can bring death, but it isn't inherently lethal, as it is might be used to put someone to sleep, make them hallucinate, or locally paralyze them without killing them.  In some cases poisons can be used  in specific doses as medicines even.   Poisons also take many different forms, much like medicines, being powders, pills, lotions, potions, injected fluid, dangerous dust, etc.    Arguably poisons can take the forms of solid (earth), liquid (water), or gas (air), but not fire, darkness, or moon, though potentially the last two might have associations with it too.  The issue of poison "runs deep" in Glorantha.  Consider how Iron poisons trolls and elves thanks to the Dwarves.  Poison may well have been invented on the Spike, during a time of co-operation between the races, only to be weaponized subsequently during the lesser darkness.  It is a question worth answering.  My preference would probably be that a deity of poison would be Vadeli in origin, like Ikadz and Ompalam. 

 

Here is my personal take: poison in all its myriad forms is an umbrella term for how Death was proliferated, experimented upon and even took partial, incomplete forms during the Gods War. Throughout this process it sometimes became something different, either intentionally or by accident. 

Some of these substances existed prior to Death, much like the tools associated with Death (weapons, etc.), while others came into being as a result of Death. Others again are a mix. 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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9 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Some of these substances existed prior to Death, much like the tools associated with Death (weapons, etc.), while others came into being as a result of Death. Others again are a mix. 

Yes, poisons definitely existed before Death, they just didn't kill you.

Now, with Death, some poisons can kill you.

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On 3/29/2020 at 3:55 PM, dumuzid said:

The troll god of natural scorpions is Kropa.  Kropa was born in the Storm Age; he and his divine twin/mate, the first female scorpion, awoke in the ashes of Hell after the dead Sun took up residence and drove the trolls out.  The divine scorpions battled the chaos monster Bagog, which ate the female scorpion and took on some of its qualities.  Kropa ventured onto the surface alone and eventually befriended Humakt, who taught the scorpion to wield Death with his tail.  Kropa hunted down Bagog and slew the Chaos god in the Darkness with his new powers, but was wounded in the process--which has made his children since then smaller and weaker than his first spawn.

Nice! Where's this from?

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I don't think that there is a god of poison - there are multiple types of poison, and all the different poisons have different sources. Krolar is just the deity of scorpion venom, but other venoms have different sources. 

But Bodkartu in Kralorela is a deity who is a patron of poisoners, and I think to a lesser extent Gorgorma in Peloria. 

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5 hours ago, davecake said:

I don't think that there is a god of poison - there are multiple types of poison, and all the different poisons have different sources. Krolar is just the deity of scorpion venom, but other venoms have different sources. 

But Bodkartu in Kralorela is a deity who is a patron of poisoners, and I think to a lesser extent Gorgorma in Peloria. 

Bodkartu is the best answer yet I think.  Well done davecake.  

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