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Nevermet

Non-Book Grimoires, and Caste

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This may be an odd question, but I'm curious and I'm pretty sure this is the right forum (as opposed to one of the specific game fora): Are all sorcerous grimoires written texts in Glorantha?  Are there any cultures that have secret songs (for one example) that function as a grimoire, something one can study and gain insights into the impersonal forces of the universe, allowing the individual to cast a certain number of specific spells? 

 

A related question: in western, caste-based societies, how likely would it be for one to find, say, a donari who is basically a powerful sorcerer based in an exclusively agricultural school of sorcery?  Or is it expected that Talari, Dronari, and Horali may know a couple of spells, but its always the literate Wizard Caste that bring the big spells in big books?

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The Third-Eye Blue clan teaches their sorcery orally I believe. In cases like that each song is probably a grimoire, with separate sections being the specific spells. It's also possible to learn sorcery spells individually without a grimoire, which is harder but probably doesn't always need a book either. And yes, each caste is supposed to know some sorcery appropriate to their work I believe, though the Zzaburi are the only ones who fully understand the principles behind it and who can do anything more than small blessings and cantrips. I'd also imagine that outside of the ur-western society that is Brithos most non-Zzaburi would also use Rune and spirit magic, perhaps even moreso than sorcery, as it's much easier to learn and use, and in the case of farmers especially it's valuable to have an actual working relationship with the land (aka its spirits and gods), rather than simply bending it to your will.

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5 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Are all sorcerous grimoires written texts in Glorantha?

No, as far as I can tell a grimoire can be anything that can effectively impart the knowledge needed to work the spells. As one example, in The Coming Storm, the first book of the Red Cow Saga, the Grimoire of the Brazen Skull (which was stolen from the Provincial University in Mirin's Cross) is described as an actual talking skull that teaches spells.

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5 hours ago, Nevermet said:

This may be an odd question, but I'm curious and I'm pretty sure this is the right forum (as opposed to one of the specific game fora): Are all sorcerous grimoires written texts in Glorantha?  Are there any cultures that have secret songs (for one example) that function as a grimoire, something one can study and gain insights into the impersonal forces of the universe, allowing the individual to cast a certain number of specific spells? 

Greg was pretty insistent that Sorcery was written magic and I assume that this would include abstractions and symbols.  That said, A philosopher could apply logic to actual myths and we have an examples of such:, Khormesha the Sage who was a Philosopher of Light at Raibanth (Glorious ReAscent p40) and Verlotina (Entekosiad p54) who helped the Pelandans deal with Dead Gods.

In such cases, the Philosopher isn't studying the myths to get spells.  That's easy work.  What is being done is to study the myths to better understand the God.  The population and priests support them in this because with better understanding of the God, they also get better magic (ie a Philosopher could look at the actual surviving rituals and conjecture a ritual that must have been performed in the Golden Age).

So a sorceror could study a secret song but it would not be a grimoire but a manifestation of magic that he seeks to understand and duplicate.

5 hours ago, Nevermet said:

A related question: in western, caste-based societies, how likely would it be for one to find, say, a donari who is basically a powerful sorcerer based in an exclusively agricultural school of sorcery? 

Sorcery is big magic and reserved by custom and by practice for the Zzaburi.  A Sorceror might study plants, ancient fertility rituals etc and use his knowledge to bless the farmers but he will be a Zzaburi, not a Dronar.

 

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5 hours ago, Richard S. said:

The Third-Eye Blue clan teaches their sorcery orally I believe.

I doubt that Piku and the like actually use sorcery spells (when they ally with Daxdarius, they are described as magicians who want him to destroy some sorcerors Fortunate Succession p82).  More likely it's rune magic of how Piku stole the metal-making secrets from the dwarves.

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6 hours ago, Nevermet said:

A related question: in western, caste-based societies, how likely would it be for one to find, say, a donari who is basically a powerful sorcerer based in an exclusively agricultural school of sorcery?  Or is it expected that Talari, Dronari, and Horali may know a couple of spells, but its always the literate Wizard Caste that bring the big spells in big books?

A wizard will probably perform sorcery for the other castes, but as only talars and zzaburi are literate (with a few exceptions, especially Readers taught to read appropriate extracts for their caste), but it is very unlikely that Workers or Soldiers will cast sorcery themselves. Instead, they may utilize magics derived from spirits and (say it quietly) gods. In Seshnela the holari of the War Societies probably obtain magics from their totem Beast, and Workers from the pagan cults of the land; so long as these don't do anything non-caste specific, the Rokari will probably, mostly, turn a blind eye.

The zzaburi will cast spells for their community, using 'power' obtained by the worship of their community of the Invisible God.

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8 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Are all sorcerous grimoires written texts in Glorantha?

From Pavis GtA page 371

Quote

 

Secrets of Stone 

This series of Mostali ideograms has been engraved on small thin mica sheets. The sheets are placed in a small box containing a light source, permitting the text to be "projected" onto a flat surface for reading

 

 

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2 hours ago, metcalph said:

I doubt that Piku and the like actually use sorcery spells (when they ally with Daxdarius, they are described as magicians who want him to destroy some sorcerors Fortunate Succession p82).  More likely it's rune magic of how Piku stole the metal-making secrets from the dwarves.

This is off-topic, but the Third Eye Blue clan are just... a mess.  The Guide refers to them as sorcerous, but also worshipping a God who enslaved Dwarves.  And more confusing, the Sourcebook claims they came to Carmania with Syranthir, essentially retconning several Stafford Library works.

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Just now, Nevermet said:

This is off-topic, but the Third Eye Blue clan are just... a mess.  The Guide refers to them as sorcerous, but also worshipping a God who enslaved Dwarves.  And more confusing, the Sourcebook claims they came to Carmania with Syranthir, essentially retconning several Stafford Library works.

Just start a new topic, I'm sure people would be interested.

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The god learners proved that sorcerous heroquests are possible, so this surely implies is possible for a sorcerer to learn new magic from sources other than scrolls.

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29 minutes ago, EricW said:

The god learners proved that sorcerous heroquests are possible, so this surely implies is possible for a sorcerer to learn new magic from sources other than scrolls.

sure but is the magic they discovered identified as sorcery or divine ?

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ok, so, I'm seeing partial consensus that Grimoires are text of some kind (whether it's written, projected, etc).

 

And I'm seeing more consensus that "orthodox" Western societies tend to centralize sorcery in the Wizard caste, to the partial exclusion of the other castes (especially Horali and Dronari).

 

Is that accurate?

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14 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

sure but is the magic they discovered identified as sorcery or divine ?

They blurred the definition? Their worldview mostly remained sorcerous, but they found ways to tap divine powers?

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2 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

sure but is the magic they discovered identified as sorcery or divine ?

Using the standard Theism is something you are, spirit magic is something you have and sorcery is something you know. You can't use divine magic unless you are connected to the God (point of POW to become an initiate). I suspect GLs could identify a magic type as one of the three, but could only use the divine by proxy (another being connected to the god, likely enslaved for the purpose) or by sorcerous means (an enchantment created sorcerously that includes the divine link) and is manipulated by sorcery. They could likely do the same with spirit magic and spirits. Heroquesting with these arrangements would allow the GL to accompany their divine slave as a follower with more sorcery. They become the receptacle for the divine powers and on return, the magic can be moved from the divine slave to an enchantment. A sorcerous version of spell trading. 

The main outcome of all this makes up a few of the GL secrets - we can take your magic, we can manipulate your magic and ultimately we can make your magic.

We can see echoes of this in all the enchantment spells - nearly all rituals produce a particular effect (sorcery is something you know). These are the remains of some GL experiments, I think spell trading is one too. I realise that this means that only sorcerous enchantments existed before the GLs, but who is to say otherwise?

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10 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

ok, so, I'm seeing partial consensus that Grimoires are text of some kind (whether it's written, projected, etc).

 

And I'm seeing more consensus that "orthodox" Western societies tend to centralize sorcery in the Wizard caste, to the partial exclusion of the other castes (especially Horali and Dronari).

 

Is that accurate?

Horali do not get magic because Seshnela is iron-heavy environment. The chances of horali being outfitted in a suit of unenchanted iron is much higher then everywhere else. Iirc iron does not cancel magic cast on you before putting it on, so it makes sense for them to get buffed to insane levels by their zzaburi while not knowing any magic (well, maybe basic spirit magic) themselves, they couldnt use it.

Edited by Borygon
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34 minutes ago, Borygon said:

Horali do not get magic because Seshnela is iron-heavy environment. The chances of horali being outfitted in a suit of unenchanted iron is much higher then everywhere else. Iirc iron does not cancel magic cast on you before putting it on, so it makes sense for them to get buffed to insane levels by their zzaburi while not knowing any magic (well, maybe basic spirit magic) themselves, they couldnt use it.

That's the dwarves who go into battle in full unenchanted iron. The west has a lot of iron compared to central Genertela, sure, but not even close to enough to armor up every Horali with it. Remember that literally every soldier, from city guards to tax collectors, are Horali. I do imagine the Zzaburi spell them up before battle, but I wouldn't go so far as to say they have no magic of their own. Even if they don't have sorcery, we know in Seshnela at least most of them are part of warrior animal societies which are basically thinly veiled Hsunchen cults 

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1 hour ago, EricW said:

They blurred the definition? Their worldview mostly remained sorcerous, but they found ways to tap divine powers?

yes they found a way, a believe

1 hour ago, David Scott said:

Using the standard Theism is something you are, spirit magic is something you have and sorcery is something you know. You can't use divine magic unless you are connected to the God (point of POW to become an initiate). I suspect GLs could identify a magic type as one of the three, but could only use the divine by proxy (another being connected to the god, likely enslaved for the purpose) or by sorcerous means (an enchantment created sorcerously that includes the divine link) and is manipulated by sorcery.

My view differs a bit (but not sure) :

God learners knew gods. They didn't worship them, they didn't consider gods as "superior" entities but "strong" entities than average mortals

they knews that average mortels, using the standard Theism (pow / rune pool / ...) , obtains divine powers.

 

scenario 1 :

Then as defender of logic, a GL could identify that the link between the initiate and the god is "just" communication / channel / ... That means you don't need to worship / believe, you just need to ... ask for the power against something (pow / rune pool).

So it could just be to mislead the god:  Orlanth, recognize you as initiate so Orlanth gives you the storm power you ask.

I suspect that god learner who stole divine powers (so not all god learners) had found a way of illumination (illumination = you are not suspected by the god to be a bad initiate, you can avoid geas, limitations, ... without impact on your divine powers )

 

scenario 2 :

Then as defender of logic, a GL could identify the source of the initiate powers. Following the track, (s)he could identify how the god manipulates it's own nature (the runes he is). Then the GL could by sorcery (manipulating the runes themselves) create the same effect than the god. The limit is not cha/runepool but free int.

Something like a scientist IRL able to create life by associating / manipulating inert chromosomes

 

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5 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

yes they found a way, a believe

My view differs a bit (but not sure) :

God learners knew gods. They didn't worship them, they didn't consider gods as "superior" entities but "strong" entities than average mortals

they knews that average mortels, using the standard Theism (pow / rune pool / ...) , obtains divine powers.

 

scenario 1 :

Then as defender of logic, a GL could identify that the link between the initiate and the god is "just" communication / channel / ... That means you don't need to worship / believe, you just need to ... ask for the power against something (pow / rune pool).

So it could just be to mislead the god:  Orlanth, recognize you as initiate so Orlanth gives you the storm power you ask.

I suspect that god learner who stole divine powers (so not all god learners) had found a way of illumination (illumination = you are not suspected by the god to be a bad initiate, you can avoid geas, limitations, ... without impact on your divine powers )

 

scenario 2 :

Then as defender of logic, a GL could identify the source of the initiate powers. Following the track, (s)he could identify how the god manipulates it's own nature (the runes he is). Then the GL could by sorcery (manipulating the runes themselves) create the same effect than the god. The limit is not cha/runepool but free int.

Something like a scientist IRL able to create life by associating / manipulating inert chromosomes

 

The God Learners had access to illumination,  they conquered Arkat's dark empire and plundered its secrets, though I'm not sure if they used illumination extensively or just used sorcery to manage spirits of retribution. I doubt they had much respect for the gods they manipulated, they were well aware that many of the myths were contradictory, so it could be questionable whether they thought any of them had validity beyond a simple source of power to plunder.

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19 hours ago, Richard S. said:

That's the dwarves who go into battle in full unenchanted iron. The west has a lot of iron compared to central Genertela, sure, but not even close to enough to armor up every Horali with it. Remember that literally every soldier, from city guards to tax collectors, are Horali. I do imagine the Zzaburi spell them up before battle, but I wouldn't go so far as to say they have no magic of their own. Even if they don't have sorcery, we know in Seshnela at least most of them are part of warrior animal societies which are basically thinly veiled Hsunchen cults 

Yeah I admit it was just a random thought I had when reading through Elder Secrets of Glorantha, back when westerners were knights and not sino-italo-tochariano-bactrians.

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On 5/29/2020 at 11:45 PM, EricW said:

they were well aware that many of the myths were contradictory

Well... they might've known it, but they were *heavily* in denial about it. Hence the Monomyth.

On 5/29/2020 at 4:24 PM, Nevermet said:

ok, so, I'm seeing partial consensus that Grimoires are text of some kind (whether it's written, projected, etc).

 

And I'm seeing more consensus that "orthodox" Western societies tend to centralize sorcery in the Wizard caste, to the partial exclusion of the other castes (especially Horali and Dronari).

 

Is that accurate?

I believe that's Chaosium's stance on things, yes. 

 

Personally, I must admit I have a bit of an insistence on that Dronar guilds (masons, engineers, merchants, smiths, jewelworkers, you name it) might/can have some sorcerous spells passed down as part of their common rituals and training. Whether they view it as sorcery, or just as "the customary gift of guild traditions" is up for debate. A mix of a fellowship of professionals and a mystery cult, if you will.

This is, I admit, mostly rule of cool, but it's also inspired by the various sorcerous roles of the different Danmalastan peoples (Kadeniti, Tadeniti, Kachisti, etc.), as well as the mention of the two ancient Brithini Dronars living in Akem. Smith and Tinker, they are called, and they reportedly have an "ancient rivalry with Nida". Sounds to me like if you're going to compete with Dwarves, sorcery would be a good aid. 

 

But your assesment fits the Chaosium canon/current approach.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Well... they might've known it, but they were *heavily* in denial about it. Hence the Monomyth.

It's not that they were in denial of it, they just believed they could make it consistent.

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11 hours ago, Richard S. said:

It's not that they were in denial of it, they just believed they could make it consistent.

And in the process, the GLs became anti-narrative, as they focus increasingly on archetype over process.

At least, that's what the Asharan wizards of Maniria argue IMG.

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14 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Personally, I must admit I have a bit of an insistence on that Dronar guilds (masons, engineers, merchants, smiths, jewelworkers, you name it) might/can have some sorcerous spells passed down as part of their common rituals and training. Whether they view it as sorcery, or just as "the customary gift of guild traditions" is up for debate. A mix of a fellowship of professionals and a mystery cult, if you will.

This is, I admit, mostly rule of cool, but it's also inspired by the various sorcerous roles of the different Danmalastan peoples (Kadeniti, Tadeniti, Kachisti, etc.), as well as the mention of the two ancient Brithini Dronars living in Akem. Smith and Tinker, they are called, and they reportedly have an "ancient rivalry with Nida". Sounds to me like if you're going to compete with Dwarves, sorcery would be a good aid. 

If you're interested in modeling that in a game, the worker guilds in The Design Mechanism's Sorandib in the Thennla setting for Mythras has some interesting rules for chorus-leaders and workers doing magic in unison to create objects of high art and artifice.

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1 hour ago, Nevermet said:

And in the process, the GLs became anti-narrative, as they focus increasingly on archetype over process.

At least, that's what the Asharan wizards of Maniria argue IMG.

Well, I would say the bigger problem with the God Learners was their lack of any actual respect for the gods or myths they were messing with. They treated Heroquesting as nothing but a means of gaining magical power and the God World as much as a resource to exploit as a subject of study.

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15 minutes ago, Leingod said:

Well, I would say the bigger problem with the God Learners was their lack of any actual respect for the gods or myths they were messing with. They treated Heroquesting as nothing but a means of gaining magical power and the God World as much as a resource to exploit as a subject of study.

Shoving people (and gods) into inert archetypes, rather than pay attention to their distinct stories, is always an act of disrespect and misunderstanding.

(I'm about... 50% in-character right now :) )

Edited by Nevermet

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