Jump to content
creativehum

What did Greg Stafford think of the Orlanthi and Lunars?

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

In a way, I find Argrath's story a bit unsatisfying from a dramatic standpoint. He swears to destroy the Lunar Empire. And then he does.

Only afterwards the Moon is still there. And Argrath kills all the gods in the course of his obsessive vengeance. So it's a good cautionary tale.

Share this post


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

At least he died on the way, betrayed everyone who ever trusted him, and stuff like that!

Fair points.  if you mean Argrath's story tends, for a while at least, to be a series of battles, then that could be a bit dry.  But part of what we're running up against here is that Arkat is very definitely in the past. His story is known (well, more or less).  If you pin Argrath's story down too much it removes creative space for the GM & players.  So it has to be blank/bland to some extent to allow the group to take it in the direction that works for them.  So yes, the outline of Argrath's story that we have is unsatisfying.  That let's us take it in the direction that makes it satisfying for our games.  And each will be different.  Is Argrath  glorious hero who repeatedly tromps his enemies?  A once great hero who spirals into madness? Someone who reaches out to his enemy as Orlanth did to Yelm?  I don't want to know.  Because I could see each of those (and more) being used to make a campaign that has a rewarding story.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, DrGoth said:

Is Argrath  glorious hero who repeatedly tromps his enemies?

When the Empire gets its act back together, Argrath loses a critical battle against Moonson and his capital is occupied by triumphant enemies. That's apparently what tips him over the edge into genocide and theocide, bringing back Sheng Seleris and eradicating the population of Peloria with snow hurricanes and chaos invasions. He let the Ice come, because it suited him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, DrGoth said:

Fair points.  if you mean Argrath's story tends, for a while at least, to be a series of battles, then that could be a bit dry. 

It's more that he doesn't have a character arc, and that he's so awesome that he can do anything with very few setbacks. What is Argrath's internal life like? Does he ever doubt his life's mission? Does he have any personal conflicts? Does he care about a single other person in the entire universe (even Harrek cares about one other person!)?

I don't get the impression that even Illumination actually changes him one bit - it just gives him a bigger magical toolbox (and perhaps even less regard for anyone else, including gods).

Edited by Akhôrahil

Share this post


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

It's more that he doesn't have a character arc, and that he's so awesome that he can do anything with very few setbacks. What is Argrath's internal life like? Does he ever doubt his life's mission? Does he have any personal conflicts? Does he care about a single other person in the entire universe (even Harrek cares about one other person!)?

I don't get the impression that even Illumination actually changes him one bit - it just gives him a bigger magical toolbox (and perhaps even less regard for anyone else, including gods).

Ah, he's a pc.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies so far!

@Nick Brooke that's fascinating about how folks reading the Gods of Glorantha (1985) drew their loyalties from the "Voices" section of that set. Without greater context I can easily see how it could happen. The Lunars are urban, forward looking. Meanwhile, the first word that describes the Orlanthi is "Barbarians" -- a word that is definitely how the Lunars see them -- but not how they see themselves and definitely not what they are from an objective point of view.

Where did the image you posted come from? It's hilarious. 

image.png.1c716c8b542a74c879f2f0e94ca8ca

I have my own thoughts on the matter, of course. But for the time being I'm still curious about what Greg might have said on these matters or other thoughts. (My big overview: "Extremism is probably not good." But, like some others, I'm not trusting the side that is so confident in itself that it feeds countless people to a giant bat. I think the Lunars are very modern in their hubris and arrogance, and so modern folk can lean into them with more ease!)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Brootse said:

Ah, he's a pc.

Yes, he really is. A powergamer the GM should have a serious talk with.

(Someone noted in the Swedish Facebook group that Sir Ethilrist screams "PC" as well.) 

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Like 1

Share this post


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

Yes, he really is. A powergamer the GM should have a serious talk with.

(Someone noted in the Swedish Facebook group that Sir Ethilrist screams "PC" as well.) 

Yeah, definitely. And the God Learners were the biggest pcs of all.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, creativehum said:

Thanks for all the replies so far!

@Nick Brooke that's fascinating about how folks reading the Gods of Glorantha (1985) drew their loyalties from the "Voices" section of that set. Without greater context I can easily see how it could happen. The Lunars are urban, forward looking. Meanwhile, the first word that describes the Orlanthi is "Barbarians" -- a word that is definitely how the Lunars see them -- but not how they see themselves and definitely not what they are from an objective point of view.

Where did the image you posted come from? It's hilarious. 

image.png.1c716c8b542a74c879f2f0e94ca8ca

I have my own thoughts on the matter, of course. But for the time being I'm still curious about what Greg might have said on these matters or other thoughts. (My big overview: "Extremism is probably not good." But, like some others, I'm not trusting the side that is so confident in itself that it feeds countless people to a giant bat. I think the Lunars are very modern in their hubris and arrogance, and so modern folk can lean into them with more ease!)

It's from the RQ3's Gods of Glorantha.

Share this post


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

It's from the RQ3's Gods of Glorantha.

The two images are from that book, yes. 

I was asking specifically about the two images being placed side-by-side, with colored letters identifying them as "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys." 

(It certainly isn't in the edition of of Gods of Glorantha I'm looking at.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

Yes, he really is. A powergamer the GM should have a serious talk with.

(Someone noted in the Swedish Facebook group that Sir Ethilrist screams "PC" as well.) 

The whole lot of 'em are. Ever read Mularik's bio? IIRC he's literally got the OP banned RuneQuest Sight.

  • Like 3

Share this post


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

@Nick Brooke that's fascinating about how folks reading the Gods of Glorantha (1985) drew their loyalties from the "Voices" section of that set. Without greater context I can easily see how it could happen. The Lunars are urban, forward looking. Meanwhile, the first word that describes the Orlanthi is "Barbarians" -- a word that is definitely how the Lunars see them -- but not how they see themselves and definitely not what they are from an objective point of view.

Where did the image you posted come from? It's hilarious. 

Thank you! I made it this morning, to delight you. The art is from the 1985 Voices: cool modern vaguely sci-fi levitating buddhist chick on the (political) left, who you'd love to hang out with, and some sinister shifty guy who looks like he's about to murder his uncle in a minor Shakespeare play vanishing into the shadows on the (far) right. 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 3

Share this post


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

It's more that he doesn't have a character arc, and that he's so awesome that he can do anything with very few setbacks. What is Argrath's internal life like? Does he ever doubt his life's mission? Does he have any personal conflicts? Does he care about a single other person in the entire universe (even Harrek cares about one other person!)?

I don't get the impression that even Illumination actually changes him one bit - it just gives him a bigger magical toolbox (and perhaps even less regard for anyone else, including gods).

I could think of numerous setbacks Argrath suffers, several of which people have recounted. It's just that we don't actually get very much of a window at all into Argrath as a person in King of Sartar (very much by design), so we can only speculate on how that affected him personally in most cases. The framing of it of someone centuries after the fact trying to piece together a fractured historical record also means that we can't really get a feel for how much work he actually had to put into his victories and his recoveries from the setbacks mentioned; the feeling that none of it ever really bothered him and he just kept on trucking 100% certain of his eventual victory is more just a product of how it's presented through the aggrandizing legends that are all the in-universe author has to work with in a lot of cases. The march of time and the transformation of history into what is essentially a national epic in particular tends to erase a lot of the setbacks and doubts and genuine hardship that accompanied all the grand victories on the battlefield, except of course where it makes "our guys" look even cooler and better.

Heck, the new default year for RuneQuest, 1625, starts off with Argrath's first grand victory - the Liberation of Pavis - that is then immediately followed by his first major defeat, when he and his Praxian allies try to capitalize on their success by moving into Sartar and instead get wrecked by the Lunars just before Kallyr feeds most of them to a dragon. Maybe King of Sartar glosses over that or just mentions that this is where Argrath realized he needed the Sartar Magical Union, but as it actually happened to him I'm sure this wasn't something he responded to with just a subdued "Oh, drat."

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Thank you! I made it this morning, to delight you. The art is from the 1985 Voices: cool modern vaguely sci-fi levitating buddhist chick on the (political) left, who you'd love to hang out with, and some sinister shifty guy who looks like he's about to murder his uncle in a minor Shakespeare play vanishing into the shadows on the (far) right. 

Nick, I think we're all aware that predatory cults use enticing women to lure potential victims.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe this belongs in a topic of it's own, but Glorantha History has a theme of

  1. Some group tries to "improve" the world and man's understanding and control of it
  2. Things go wrong
  3. A great hero or cataclysm sets the world back.

Does anybody know this: was Greg a big fan of the classic post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel A Canticle for Leibowitz?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Maybe this belongs in a topic of it's own, but Glorantha History has a theme of

  1. Some group tries to "improve" the world and man's understanding and control of it
  2. Things go wrong
  3. A great hero or cataclysm sets the world back.

It's a common theme in real and fantasy mythologies.

One factor in Glorantha is that each Age is less magical than the one before it, another theme in real mythologies, such as the Greek myth ages of gold, silver, and bronze. In Glorantha, the magic is gradually going away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing with Glorantha's empires is that they're much like our own: They rise, they innovate, they stagnate, they fall. Maybe there are some brief dips or recoveries and sometimes the whole process gets prolonged and drawn-out with various rump states and successor states and etc., but in the end the simple truth is that nothing lasts forever. But that's not the same thing as everything being "reset the zero" as soon as the latest big empire falls, where everything as bad or worse than it was before and nothing's changed.

In general, I think a running theme with Glorantha is that nothing, neither a Golden Age nor a Dark Age, is going to last forever. Both for good and ill, you're never going to be right where you are for all time. Change is a constant, and men like Sartar prove that people can have the power to make sure that Change is the right Change, the kind that brings peace and plenty and new ideas that improve the lot of thousands of people for hundreds of years, so long as they do things the right way, for the right reasons, and aren't making it all about their own inflated egos or personal vendettas.

  • Like 2

Share this post


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

 

In general, I think a running theme with Glorantha is that nothing, neither a Golden Age nor a Dark Age, is going to last forever. Both for good and ill, you're never going to be right where you are for all time. Change is a constant, and men like Sartar prove that people can have the power to make sure that Change is the right Change, the kind that brings peace and plenty and new ideas that improve the lot of thousands of people for hundreds of years, so long as they do things the right way, for the right reasons, and aren't making it all about their own inflated egos or personal vendettas.

Sartar is probably the only example I can think of where having a vision for change doesn't create something bad that then gets worse and worse and ends in gore-soaked destruction.

Pretty much anyone else with a vision in Glorantha ends up a monster.  Argath's saga is just one of many examples of this kind of thing.

Also the history of Glorantha pretty much says 'If someone is Illuminated, kill them before they burn and destroy the world''

 

Share this post


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

It's a common theme in real and fantasy mythologies.

One factor in Glorantha is that each Age is less magical than the one before it, another theme in real mythologies, such as the Greek myth ages of gold, silver, and bronze. In Glorantha, the magic is gradually going away.

Which is interesting because magic is also the primary locus of invention from what I can tell.  Metalworking was known at the Dawn, but in the last 1600 years, people have developed Heroquesting, developed various ways of hacking heroquests, invented a few ways to create gods, created draconic mysticism, etc etc etc.

 

Magic in all its forms is the primary "technology" of Glorantha, and Argrath is (probably) going to help extinguish it, which is going to be bad for a lot of people (but maybe good in the long term, if one takes a particularly dour reading of Velortinian philosophy - Gods are never responsible for the world - as truth). 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/26/2020 at 3:52 PM, Akhôrahil said:

(There's this odd subcurrent in Glorantha that mixing up religions is bad, while getting isolated from your neighbors by a magical barrier is good for you and leads to a perfect society...)

Magical barriers make it easier for us all to tend to our own gardens.

Share this post


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

Magical barriers make it easier for us all to tend to our own gardens.

That seems to be the theory - isolationism is good for you, while cosmopolitanism is bad (just look at the God Learners or the Lunar Empire).

Who needs trade or cultural exchange? They have nothing that we want!

Edited by Akhôrahil

Share this post


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

That seems to be the theory - isolationism is good for you, while cosmopolitanism is bad (just look at the God Learners or the Lunar Empire).

Who needs trade or cultural exchange? They have nothing that we want!

The problem with the Lunars and the God-Learners wasn't cosmopolitanism, it's that in Glorantha, if you gain large amounts of power, especially if you're illuminated, you go crazy with it and start doing stupid things like monkeying around with Chaos as a tool or screwing with the gods for fun and power.

Ambition is the key; the higher you reach, the more you immolate yourself.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Magic in all its forms is the primary "technology" of Glorantha, and Argrath is (probably) going to help extinguish it.

I think that's very much up to the PCs and GM.  The future displayed in KoS is only one possibility.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:
5 hours ago, Shawn Carpenter said:

Magical barriers make it easier for us all to tend to our own gardens.

That seems to be the theory - isolationism is good for you, while cosmopolitanism is bad (just look at the God Learners or the Lunar Empire).

Who needs trade or cultural exchange? They have nothing that we want!

The Fronelan experience yielded mixed results. Loskalm did thrive, many a prosperous trade city on the Janube did end up without any hinterland and vastly over-populated as the Ban struck, and emerged in ruins with degenerate survivors. Not to mention the Kingdom that emerged from the Black Forest.

There are few cultures that don't appreciate their neighbours' possessions, acquired through trading or raiding.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

Thank you! I made it this morning, to delight you. The art is from the 1985 Voices: cool modern vaguely sci-fi levitating buddhist chick on the (political) left, who you'd love to hang out with, and some sinister shifty guy who looks like he's about to murder his uncle in a minor Shakespeare play vanishing into the shadows on the (far) right. 

The more I think about Nick's (accurate) summation of the Orlanthi image, the more I am struck by how utterly WRONG it is.

The top of the Orlanthi pantheon revolves around Air, Earth, Movement, Life... and we've got this dude twisting up on his own spine, trapped in what seems to be some sort of cave!

The whole image is clearly part of some Lunar propeganda program. No wonder the Brits fell for this nonsense!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

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...