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The God Learner Secret


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Is there any consensus about what the God Learner Secret was supposed to be? (I've heard "it's only a game!" proposed, but I understand Greg specifically said that wasn't the case).

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The secret was a very "doh" moment. Unless I am mistaken:

The God Learners knew how to change the myths.

The know-how was the secret. The fact that they could is pretty much not a secret.

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Barely by 240 years, and no, Arkat did not undertake to change the myths. Arkat's great innovation was mapping the myths and their intersections, and the ability to use those intersections to go off another tangent.

Arkat's heroquesting was "always with respect and humility". That's not the attitude you bring for re-decorating the mythical tapestry of Glorantha.

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6 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The secret was a very "doh" moment. Unless I am mistaken:

The God Learners knew how to change the myths.

The know-how was the secret. The fact that they could is pretty much not a secret.

It's noted in the Guide p.135: 

"By 776, the heirs of these wizards, popularly called God Learners, had developed unusual magical methods to look at the world. The secret is dead with its initiates, but was evidently called the RuneQuest Sight. It apparently allowed initiates to see the world as a series of patterns, relationships, and repetitive reflections which could be organized according to the now famous Runes. Their Heroquesters followed the paths of their Runes through the Otherworld, and then shaped the Otherworld by planting those Runes into other parts of it."

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“Yes I have [said what the GLS is]. I told Robin,and he wrote it down, and it was published.” -Greg

“_Glorantha, The Second Age_ by Robin Laws states the God Learner secret on page 13.” -Greg

The sidebar from Glorantha, the Second Age. It’s short, 118 words.

Quote

 

The God Learners’ Secret
“God Learners gifted with RuneQuest Sight have perfected techniques allowing them to punch back through the Hero Plane into the God World, permanently changing what they find there. This is how they pulled off the notorious Goddess Switch. It is the ability to permanently change the Gods World. The God Learners can go into the Theist Otherworld and do things that have consequences in the ordinary world. Normally these are little things, but lately they effected the Goddess Switch, proving they can do more powerful things as well. They are certain that these changes are good, permanent and have no subsequent effects. They are wrong but will not discover this for a long time yet to come.”

At many many conventions Greg would do a Q&A, one of the seven (?) questions he would never answer was "What is the secret of the God Learners". I always thought this was a wind-up aimed at obsessive gamers. One of the other questions was what are the other questions you won't answer? I've no idea what the other five were. There might be more on this in the Forgotten Secrets of Glorantha and / or chapbooks (links at end).

For reference start here:

my favourite is the first line - "There now. That is settled. Wasn't it worth seven pages of back and forth?"

http://forum.mongoosepublishing.com/viewtopic.php?f=79&t=25050&start=100

https://www.glorantha.com/forums/topic/whatever-happened-to-the-god-learners-secret/

Forgotten Secrets links (remember Sandy's & Greg's Glorantha weren't always the same.

https://www.chaosium.com/forgotten-secrets-of-glorantha/

https://www.chaosium.com/more-forgotten-secrets-of-glorantha/

https://youtu.be/ELsZKL1XGe0 Part 1

https://youtu.be/FEAR8pjwSp8 Part 2

 

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46 minutes ago, David Scott said:

can you add the page reference. Thanks.

Now I can't find it explicitly, which raises the question whether I made it up/analyzed what was there and conflated it with canon... I mean, we do know that they could permanently alter the Gods World, and Sorcery was their preferred tool (and what the Guide's definition makes it sound like).

Anyway, the Guide still has one explicit definition: "The secret is dead with its initiates, but was evidently called the RuneQuest Sight. It apparently allowed initiates to see the world as a series of patterns, relationships, and repetitive reflections which could be organized according to the now famous Runes. Their Heroquesters followed the paths of their Runes through the Otherworld, and then shaped the Otherworld by planting those Runes into other parts of it."

Combine it with the other definition in the Guide: "A man whose name is lost made a discovery thought impossible. Mixing magic was always a dream of the God Learners, but seemed to be impossible due to some mysterious internal structure of the world. Yet, around 700, that forgotten person did it: he learned how to use sorcerous manipulation to alter divine Rune magic."

Which are both in complete harmony with the text you quoted. Taken together, it seems reasonably clear to me that the Secret was all about applying a naturalistic sorcerous world-view and methodology to both the physical world and the God World.

That said, I'm super unclear on the relationship between the God World and the Hero Plane(s). They keep sounding like very different things, but I'm not sure how they differ so fundamentally. HW made it seem as though when you go to Orlanth's Hall, you're in the God World, and then you can exit from there to Hero Planes.

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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

the God-Learner secret is the ability to change the Gods World using sorcery.

Actually, I think it was more that they could manipulate Rune Magic using sorcerous techniques.  As it also notes on p.135: "Their unified theory of mythology allowed the God Learners to deal with many mysteries previously incomprehensible to the rationalist Malkioni mindset. This gave the God Learner wizards tremendous insight into the magical workings of Glorantha
and enabled them to develop spells previously unimaginable."

17 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

I'm super unclear on the relationship between the God World and the Hero Plane(s). They keep sounding like very different things, but I'm not sure how they differ so fundamentally.

If you go to the Far East or Far West in the mundane world, you can reach the Gates of Dawn or Dusk.  Or if you follow the route of Dormal you can sail past Brithos and out into Sramak's River.  Or far into the northeast you can enter the Sea of Fog, and perhaps find Kylerela.  All of these are part of the "Hero Plane".  Those parts of the world within Time that are so powerful that you likely need to be a Hero in order to survive.  And they closely border the God World - the ways to enter the world "outside of Time" are very easy in these parts.

 

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12 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

If you go to the Far East or Far West in the mundane world, you can reach the Gates of Dawn or Dusk.  Or if you follow the route of Dormal you can sail past Brithos and out into Sramak's River.  Or far into the northeast you can enter the Sea of Fog, and perhaps find Kylerela.  All of these are part of the "Hero Plane".  Those parts of the world within Time that are so powerful that you likely need to be a Hero in order to survive.  And they closely border the God World - the ways to enter the world "outside of Time" are very easy in these parts.

However, the Hero Plane(s) are also where you go when you HeroQuest, correct? And those parts, while changeable to an extent, are outside Time (but also in different mythical time periods - for instance, when HeroQuesting, you can tell when you are from the color of the sky).

To an extent, tSotGL makes it sound as though they could HeroQuest the God World and not merely the Hero Plane(s).

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On 5/8/2020 at 7:38 PM, scott-martin said:

 

Today I like "nothing is true / everything is permitted."

That sounds more like Illumination to me. The God Learners were very interested in what’s true.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

However, the Hero Plane(s) are also where you go when you HeroQuest, correct? And those parts, while changeable to an extent, are outside Time (but also in different mythical time periods - for instance, when HeroQuesting, you can tell when you are from the color of the sky).

The Hero Planes include the Sky Dome and Hell which are both in and outside the mortal world, and therefore both in and outside Time.

Generally, it's the God's World that you go to when you HeroQuest (and are not on a "this world" heroquest).  E.g. you quest to the Golden Age to challenge Yelm to a contest, or to the Storm Age to help Orlanth drive back the Seas.  That's where all the God Time maps in the 2nd volume of the Guide come in handy as those are the eras outside Time where the myths are real.

The Hero Plane(s) are not outside of Time, but they also haven't changed much within Time so it's easy to enter the God's World.  E.g. the Sun descends through the Gates of Dusk each day and that is within the land of Luathela.  The Luathans are demigods, but a couple generations removed from the gods, and they interacted with them.  They will generally keep you from entering the Gates of Dusk within Time, but potentially you could arrive there and demand they open the gates to you, and then you can descend into the Underworld.  At that point, whether you are still in a Hero Plane or the God's World is largely irrelevant.  Similarly, you could go to the Gates of Dawn, greet Yelm when he rises, and climb aboard his chariot (assuming you are pure enough and don't get burned to a crisp).  You could then travel across the Sky, and still just be within Time and not on some mythic quest.  But you really need to be of Hero quality to do so.

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46 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

The God Learners were very interested in what’s true.

The God Learners were very curious.  They wanted to understand how it all worked and fit together.  And they wanted to figure out how to manipulate and game the system.  Nothing mystical here - might be easier to think of in "business" terms like "optimizing" the "supply chain" of magic.  If you move the Darkness from this point in the story to that point, then you can exchange the Harp for the Sword (i.e. Harmony for Death) here, and then "kill" Darkness when you later reach that point.  This then becomes a sequential formula for a powerful spell that you can use to cripple the trolls.

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9 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

That said, I'm super unclear on the relationship between the God World and the Hero Plane(s). They keep sounding like very different things, but I'm not sure how they differ so fundamentally. HW made it seem as though when you go to Orlanth's Hall, you're in the God World, and then you can exit from there to Hero Planes.

Greg wrote this article that might be of help, Charles Corrigan drew the diagram to help. Some may consider this to be outdated, it is slightly as I believe that the 3 planes overlap slightly (like a venn diagram) and the lunar plane is the result. But just think of it as a teaching tool:

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/catalogue/publishers/issaries/issaries-heroquest-1-products-2003-20xx/heroquest-1-archive/heroquest-1-support-material/heroquest-1-scenarios-and-articles/accessing-eternity/

 

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The God Learner Secret is the RuneQuest Sight, which allows the 4th wall of roleplaying to be breached. It is literally access to the RQ Rule Book so you can munchkin the crap out of it.  Case closed.

Did Arkat do it first?  Yes.

Edited by Darius West
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On 5/10/2020 at 3:43 AM, Akhôrahil said:

Maybe this?

”I reject your reality and substitute my own!”

I think this is a major part. 

The God Learners started off with the ideal that they could simply observe and record "truth". 

Then they learned, perhaps to their frustration, that "truth" is affected by the act of observation and altered by recording. 

Then they ultimately embraced this, I think. They were no longer simply charting and recording. They were manufacturing truth. As they thought it should be. 

I might be biased, because it's a self-criticism Social Anthropology (and probably other social science disciplines) have struggled with for a long time.

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3 hours ago, David Scott said:

Charles on “why the diagram is wrong”

by Greg and Charles, has even more info...

This is quite useful as it helps to highlight where a lot of confusion about the "Hero Planes" comes in.

In many places over the years, the term "Hero Plane" has been used to = "The Outer Worlds".

In many other places, the term "Hero Plane" has been used to = "The Hero Planes or Gods War".

A primary reason for this is what it noted: "Only the areas close to the center are truly Mundane – becoming increasingly extraordinary as one moves away from the center. " 

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On 5/11/2020 at 4:55 AM, Darius West said:

The God Learner Secret is the RuneQuest Sight, which allows the 4th wall of roleplaying to be breached. It is literally access to the RQ Rule Book so you can munchkin the crap out of it.  Case closed.

Did Arkat do it first?  Yes.

If Arkat knew how to do Godlearner stuff, why was the Dark Empire so vulnerable to God Learner manipulation? Did Arkat keep this secret to himself? Did God Learners discover a few new tricks? Or did the Arkati deliberately surrender to limit the damage, because if they had continued to resist the God Learners would have done something really bad?

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1 hour ago, EricW said:

If Arkat knew how to do Godlearner stuff, why was the Dark Empire so vulnerable to God Learner manipulation?

Did Arkat keep this secret to himself?

Did God Learners discover a few new tricks?

Arkat learned how to map the Hero Plane, so clearly his contribution was in understanding that you could connect and intersect and link myths together (or step out of one story and into another at a point of intersection). I think these linkage points become points of vulnerability (i.e. the Goddess Switch).  The Arkati guard some of them, but there are a lot of mythic intersections.

Arkat did not keep these to himself.  His followers are those who even now guard specific intersections (some of these are noted in Arcane Lore - IIRC the Raven of the Crossroads is one).

The God Learners got very good at exploiting these vulnerabilities, but yes, I think they learned new tricks and the RuneQuest Sight is one.

I don't think the Arkati necessarily surrendered, but just may have hidden deeper.  As it was the God Learners did several really bad things and the world clearly struck back and wiped out knowledge of the RuneQuest Sight.

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