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creativehum

What did Greg Stafford think of the Orlanthi and Lunars?

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47 minutes ago, creativehum said:

I find the argument "When we invade your lands we'll let you keep the parts of your culture and faith that don't interfere with our cultural and theological imposition" to be kind of a weak-sauce argument on behalf of the Lunars.

I'm inclined to agree.  Praising imperialists for their noblesse oblige is a bit like....well, praising them for their noblesse oblige.  I mean, thank you for the scraps you've left us, because everyone's better off under a stable system of imperialist oppression.  Are We All Us?  Or are We All You?

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
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29 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

under a stable system of imperialist oppression.

Also, let us be clear: While imperialist oppression is present, and covered under the pleasantries of social progress, these two elements cover another agenda: a cosmic shift of the acceptance of Chaos -- which is oblivion. The Lunar Empire can promote any lovely gifts it wants to. But at some level it wants the world itself, and everyone within it, to transcend themselves. 

Glorantha is where this shit becomes literal. If the Orlanthi really love the world -- the physical, muddy, windswept world of blood and passion and life -- and I think they do, then yeah, I can see some problems they have with the Lunar agenda.

"You get to keep that parts that won't fight against Chaos becoming what we all accept" is not much of a deal if -- wrong or right -- you think the world your ancestors fought to save is still worth protecting.

Again, that's my take on things, with my sympathy being anti-Chaos as described in the Glorantha materials I have read.

I completely understand that some folks are utterly certain the Lunars have a handle on All-Things-Chaos and all will be well. Color me skeptical. 

Edited by creativehum
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When I was asked to explain the Orlanthi viewpoint a few years back, I realised that the best comparison I could think of was an ultranationalist right-winger. 

Even if they are correct, it doesn't make them either good or nice in terms most of us would understand. 

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12 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

And anyone who want a to destroy Ducks is pure evil in my book!

The duck pogrome probably started with a Yelmie from Rinliddi taking offense, and Fazzur thinking "yes, that way our need for Karse is even greater. And I know I can take Karse! Unlike that bumbling idiot Euglyptus' bid for Nochet. Thankfully  just had the decency to swallow eel."

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As a guy who was born in North America in 1977, and who generally likes democracy, I probably would loathe about 98% of all political arrangements found in Glorantha, and I also would agree that the Lunar imperial expansion into Sartar and the Holy Country is, by 21st Century standards, unjust and it has wronged the Sartarites, the Heortlings, and (to a lesser extent) the Esrolians.

 

That said, I would happily play Lunar characters, and I would happily do so and make many of them trying to live a good and just life as their community defined and understand it.  I would also happily play an Orlanthi, knowing their understanding of the good is not the one my social and religious communities would promote.

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47 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

When I was asked to explain the Orlanthi viewpoint a few years back, I realised that the best comparison I could think of was an ultranationalist right-winger. 

I am absolutely certain there are many people who see the Orlanthi this way. (Certainly the Lunars do!) 

But I read those words and they are so alien to how I see the Orlanthi they confound me.

Like, if I had to make a comparable contemporary comparison to "ultranationalist right-winger" my counter would be "fanatical eco-terrorists." But both are wrong in my view as they kind of avoid all the Glorantha things that make Glorantha Glorantha.

Edited by creativehum

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51 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Fanatical ecoterrorists?

That they are violently resisting technological expansionists ready to destroy the world... absolutely.

But, again, this bleeds out all the magical and theological underpinnings of Glorantha which are literally true and runs right past the fun and power of the setting.

Edited by creativehum

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On 5/27/2020 at 11:06 PM, Nick Brooke said:

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.

It isn't the same moon.  Not at all.  As for actually finishing what you start, how is that obsessive vengeance?  Who started the War for the Middle Air anyhow?  The fact is that the Lunars are simply the latest form of the Devil, using the masks of false enlightenment to disguise their true form. Anyone fighting for the Lunar Empire is fighting to destroy the world, whether they understand the fact or not. 

Now as to the supposed moral ambiguity of Argrath, his motives are perfectly understandable and internally consistent, unlike the Lunar "enlightened" imperialist doublethink of illumination.  Argrath is privy to illumination, but elects to stay honest and true to his cause.  Why?  Because even if you can commiserate with individual chaos monsters and see them as perhaps being victims of their conditioning, ultimately the Primal Plasma was polluted by the Unholy Trio, and its use endangers the world.  To accept chaos in any form is to become the enemy of the world.  That is not morally ambiguous.  And anyone who tells to that they want to destroy the world to "build a better world" should never be trusted, especially when their personal habits are very unsavory; I mean, do you really want to live in their ideal world?

  As for Argrath destroying so many of the Gods, well, firstly it wasn't really him who did it, but the Devil; failing a ritual isn't intentional.  Secondly, the Gods are ossified and are what keep Glorantha ossified.  Thirdly, we know that gods hardly ever really stay dead regardless of how hard you try to kill them.  I have always viewed this event as being very similar to the instance in King Arthur when the head of Bran is disinterred, and King Arthur then says that the duty of the defense of Britannia will henceforth need to fall to men.  What is interesting is that King Arthur himself then takes on Bran's role as the defender of Britannia in local mythology, as the once and future king who will return in Britain's darkest hour.  LOL, perhaps Hugh Dowding was actually King Arthur reincarnated, defending Britannia from yet another Saxon invasion?  In any case, after the failure of the Net Ritual, Argrath is then forced to take up the slack and create a new compromise.  An intriguing and invidious position for someone who was born a mortal Sartarite down the road from Apple Lane.  The real fight has always been between Glorantha and the chaotic virus that is trying to kill her.  Lunars are just the latest mutant iteration of the virus, and Orlanthi are the immune system.

Edited by Darius West

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9 minutes ago, creativehum said:

That they are resisting technological expansionists ready to destroy the world... absolutely.

But, again, this bleeds out all the magical and theological underpinnings of Glorantha which are literally true and runs right past the fun and power of the setting.

I completely disagree.  The fun and power for me emerge from the anthropological invention of Greg, along with his playful and sardonic humour. 

The Aldryami are out to revert the world into forest, hostile to most of the other sapient races.  They will kill millions if they succeed. 

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This is why things operate best in Glorantha when there's a benevolent troll overlord getting all the different peoples to work together.

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1 hour ago, Ian Absentia said:

Wow.

Is now a good time to discuss the on-going ethnic cleansing in Prax?

!i!

We should absolutely bring up that it's been outright stated that the settlement of the Grantlands and similar policies being pursued in "Civilized Prax" are being done with the actual long term goal of destroying the Praxian nomads' way of life simply because it makes them harder to tax and rule and they constitute a military threat to the empire's expansionist regime.

Like, what, is an expansionist empire taking concerted efforts to undermine and destroy any way of life that doesn't play nice with its model of society suddenly excusable because the Praxians/Orlanthi/whoever are also jerks?

And in what way are the raids for livestock and goods or inter-tribal feuds that comprise the vast majority of military action among the Heortlings and Praxians both comparable to the Lunar Empire wiping out entire tribes and clans of Sartarites, forcing others to violate their cultural taboos just to survive, and literally killing their god because they won't accept their subjugation under a foreign empire?

And, you know, the whole "imposing quotas of your own people that you have to feed to our horrific Chaos demon that eats their very souls" thing that the Lunars have done repeatedly in Sartar to quell dissent. What could the Sartarites have ever even potentially done to the Lunars that would actually morally justify that? Ever?

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I just spend the last 30 minutes trying to write a post and gave up, because I couldn't figure out how to be coherent.  🥺

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10 minutes ago, Leingod said:

 

And in what way are the raids for livestock and goods or inter-tribal feuds that comprise the vast majority of military action among the Heortlings and Praxians both comparable to the Lunar Empire wiping out entire tribes and clans of Sartarites, forcing others to violate their cultural taboos just to survive, and literally killing their god because they won't accept their subjugation under a foreign empire?

Isn't it wonderful that the Orlanthi weren't involved in the horrors of the EWF?  Nor in any way connected with the slaughter and sack of Peloria when Nysalor was murdered? 

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13 minutes ago, Leingod said:

, the whole "imposing quotas of your own people that you have to feed to our horrific Chaos demon that eats their very souls"

How horrific this is rather depends on how much weight you place on an individual's soul heading to the afterlife at death, then getting recycled into a new life, and on what exactly it means for the souls of the Bat's victims to cease to exist.

A Lunar explanation could be that those sacrificed to the Bat are essentially getting the end point of the Lunar Way early: their individuality is dissolved away, while their full potential is returned to the formless pre-existence of Chaos.  One day the energy of their disintegrated soul will return to Glorantha through the Chaosium in an entirely new form, stripped and cleansed of the limitations and biases of its previous state as, well whatever a soul is.  Every person devoured by the Bat becomes a further step on the Goddess's road towards bringing rebirth to the whole cosmos.

Doesn't do anything about the basic, visceral horror of human beings getting devoured in their scores by a huge demonic bat, sure, but the ultimate ramifications can be spun positively within the Lunar Way, in the same way that, say, the real-world Flower Wars and human sacrificial exhibitions of the Aztec Empire had their theological justification in providing the necessary power for the hummingbird god Huitzilopotchli to make the sun rise each day.  Ugly means, limited by the fallen state of the world, towards a transcendental end.

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Come to think of it, the Orlanthi probably would've taken much better to a system where a picked band of ceremonially equipped warriors faces an equivalent Lunar force at a pre-arranged location, with the losers being sacrificed to the Bat, much better than the quota system.  As the ones to set the rules the Lunars would usually win, just like the Aztecs tended to in their Flower Wars, but the opportunity to fight for their lives and sacrifice themselves for their communities--i.e., going to the set-piece battle because without it the Lunars will resort to conventional war and all its horrors--might've mollified the Orlanthi tribes' wounded pride, rather than aggravate it as fixed quotas did.

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ok, here's the most coherent part of what I was trying to say:

Be Like Arkat! 

We Should All Read the Glorantha Voices again!

 

As a game setting, the point of Glorantha is to facilitate interesting and fun play.  It does so by offering a rich array of cultures with extremely different answers to the following questions:

  1. What is good / evil?
  2. When is violence justified?
  3. What are the proper relationships with which supernatural entities?
  4. How does/will our society fall short of its own ideal in practice?

It's important that Glorantha is great at giving answers "internal" to a given community, rather than "objective" answers.  We then get to see how characters become invested in certain ideals, and how their commitments to those ideals work.  And in the process, we as players probably get an appreciation of how their values work and don't work.

 

Like, the Lunars have an obvious tension between their valuing difference (which they do in many ways), and their imperialistic ambitions.  How a Lunar character in Sartar deals with that tension is potentially interesting.  Similarly, Sartarite and Heortling characters have a commitment to both freedom and tradition.  Figuring that out in play could be interesting.  The Trader Princes want profit and mutual understanding.  And so on.  Glorantha as a world is a grab bag of ethical tensions, begging for player characters to be miserable as they struggle to untangle them, for our entertainment as players.

 

 

...this is not a complete post, and it doesn't engage the thread well, but it's something that uses words correctly.

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11 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Isn't it wonderful that the Orlanthi weren't involved in the horrors of the EWF?  Nor in any way connected with the slaughter and sack of Peloria when Nysalor was murdered? 

So the actions of people who have been dead for roughly 500 years justifies the mass enslavement, conquest, etc. of their descendants in the present? Good to know.

8 minutes ago, dumuzid said:

How horrific this is rather depends on how much weight you place on an individual's soul heading to the afterlife at death, then getting recycled into a new life, and on what exactly it means for the souls of the Bat's victims to cease to exist.

A Lunar explanation could be that those sacrificed to the Bat are essentially getting the end point of the Lunar Way early: their individuality is dissolved away, while their full potential is returned to the formless pre-existence of Chaos.  One day the energy of their disintegrated soul will return to Glorantha through the Chaosium in an entirely new form, stripped and cleansed of the limitations and biases of its previous state as, well whatever a soul is.  Every person devoured by the Bat becomes a further step on the Goddess's road towards bringing rebirth to the whole cosmos.

Doesn't do anything about the basic, visceral horror of human beings getting devoured in their scores by a huge demonic bat, sure, but the ultimate ramifications can be spun positively within the Lunar Way, in the same way that, say, the real-world Flower Wars and human sacrificial exhibitions of the Aztec Empire had their theological justification in providing the necessary power for the hummingbird god Huitzilopotchli to make the sun rise each day.  Ugly means, limited by the fallen state of the world, towards a transcendental end.

That explanation means nothing if only the people carrying it out actually buy a word of it, it's pure self-justification.

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I've lost track of what people are arguing about.

I think we can all agree that, by our moral compasses

  • Freedom good
  • Imperialism bad
  • Embracing diversity good
  • Mass slaughter bad
  • Self-Determination good
  • Blind Traditionalism bad
  • At any given point in time, different societies will likely have a different mix of good & bad elements
  • In either our world or Glorantha, it's probably not the best goal to make a single, objective, eternal moral judgment on an entire religion or culture over its 400 - 1600 year history.

What have I missed?

Edited by Nevermet
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22 minutes ago, dumuzid said:

the ultimate ramifications can be spun positively within the Lunar Way

I don't think anyone on this thread doubts the Lunars can go to bed comfortably each night having justified the sacrifice of scores of people for a logic and theology imposed on their victims against their wills.

As an additional indignity: the issue isn't "merely" about the visceral horror of human beings being devoured. If the Lunars are correct in this rational, then the Sartarites are being sent to become Chaos -- which is culturally, theologically, and cosomolgically one of the worst things they believe can happen to them. 

Edited by creativehum
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4 minutes ago, creativehum said:

I don't think anyone on this thread doubts the Lunars can go to bed comfortably each night having justified the sacrifice of scores of people for a logic and theology imposes on their victims against their wills.

As an additional indignity: the issue isn't "merely" about the visceral horror of human beings being devoured. If the Lunars are correct in this rational, then the Sartarites are being sent to become Chaos -- which is culturally, theologically, and cosomolgically one of the worst things they believe can happen to them. 

Oddly enough, l doubt a Lunar prisoner relishes being 'given to the fields' or thrown to an umbroli. 

Cultural prejudice is always unfair. 

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The fact that folks are here having an argument discussion about the my choice good, your choice bad just shows how great a job Greg and Co. did with this amazing setting...

Edited by Fedman Kassad
bad grammer
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11 minutes ago, Fedman Kassad said:

The fact that folks are here having an argument discussion about the my choice good, your choice bad just shows how great a job well Greg and Co. did with this amazing setting...

I never suggested that the Lunars are good.... simply that they could be read that way.  I don't think anybody deserves that adjective without some qualifications, in Glorantha or the RW. 

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