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Your Dumbest Theory


scott-martin

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My dumbest theory is one that’s stayed with me ever since I read the intro to Cult Compendium back in 2002 when I first found Glorantha, and has stayed in spite of everything I’ve read since then. Here goes:

 

When I first read the story about Arachne Solara’s Net catching up all the pieces of the world to end the Age of Terror I assumed this was literal and that she had made a net to physically catch all the broken lands. I reasoned that the “Great Darkness” was so called because when the Spike exploded the world of Glorantha had actually been shattered into thousands of islands, separated by seas of void space. Because Cult Compendium mentioned that Chaos might be peaceful when it's not reacting with Law I thought that Chaos “winning” by becoming the substance of most of the universe actually made it less violent and powerful. The world’s remaining pieces were too small to generate much of the cosmic friction that results in mutants and monsters, since that friction comes from Chaos and the world of Being colliding. In this calm Arachne Solara worked with the gods to make a net. This net dredged up the islands submerged in Chaos and caught up the floating islands that carried survivors on them (the future tiny settlements of the Dawn). Once they were gathered into groups large enough to make landmasses the Gods stitched them together to make continents, hold up the sky, and underpin the sea.

To me this idea helped explain the strange geography of Glorantha’s biomes, such as the jungles sitting next to fjords. Jungles next to fjords was what happened when the Gods were fitting the world back together and found that the bit between the Norway analogue and the Congo analogue just didn’t exist anymore. This also means the world of Glorantha is literally much smaller than it was pre-shattering as a lot of parts were not found by the net.

I also thought that perhaps some landmasses were imperfectly added and can phase in and out of alignment with reality. So maybe an island suddenly appears off the coast, or where two mountains used to be touching a valley might suddenly appear between them. Mortals can explore these places but there’s always a chance they disappear again - taking everyone on them. But maybe extinct animals or cultures still exist on these reappearing lands, either inhabiting them or as material traces. These are Glorantha's equivalents of Burrough's Caprona, Doyle's Lost World/Huanchaca Plateau, and Wallace's Skull Island. I’ve sort of brought this idea of “phasing lands” back as one explanation for the disappearance/return of the Brithini, Vadeli, Kylerela, Castle Blue etc. I like playing with the idea it’s possible the destruction of these places were natural disasters that were blamed on rival cultures, creating suspicion and war.

I know this doesn’t really work with the canon, especially since there are maps of the world pre the Spike exploding and it would add a lot of questions about how people like Heort would have had to have travelled from one island in space to another, but the image of Arachne Solara’s web as a fishing net saving the world has stayed with me.

I never found a good way to make this idea of a world remade consistently game-relevant though. One idea I did use was that some temples from the world before have ended up in weird places. Finding a Nile civilisation style pyramid at a 45-degree angle halfway up a snowy mountain does make players spooked and curious!

Edited by RicKaySi
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16 minutes ago, RicKaySi said:

When I first read the story about Arachne Solara’s Net catching up all the pieces of the world to end the Age of Terror I assumed this was literal and that she had made a net to physically catch all the broken lands.

You might find it interesting to read David Scott's notes on the Wastelands and the Hidden Greens. 🙂 

 

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1 hour ago, RicKaySi said:

the image of Arachne Solara’s web as a fishing net saving the world has stayed with me

And if she hadn’t netted Leviathan, too, the shored fragments would have fallen through the holes in the mesh. Slipping through those holes is entering otherworlds/the Gods War. And what is the Spike but an abolished tower?

Spoiler
                                    I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?
London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down
Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina
Quando fiam uti chelidon—O swallow swallow
Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
                  Shantih     shantih     shantih
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21 hours ago, jajagappa said:

You might find it interesting to read David Scott's notes on the Wastelands and the Hidden Greens.

Thanks @jajagappa - I can always rely on this community to have considered and debated every angle - and for you to remember it! Do you have a Rick Meints style guide to the online life of Glorantha? I would love to read your timeline of Glorantha's forums, web sites, mailing groups etc, - and what ideas likely started where. 

20 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

And if she hadn’t netted Leviathan, too, the shored fragments would have fallen through the holes in the mesh.

Love this idea! Some monsters, as big as lands themselves, got preserved to rival the gods in the new world. I'm sure the Waertagi, EWF, and Kralorelans would have had a lot to say about Dragons/Land/the World's Foundations.
I remember reading a comic book years ago, that had a story where a champion travels to the edge of the world, and because he got to the edge he got to decide what new land should appear there. The comic looked a lot like the 70s run of Conan - does that ring a bell for anyone? The idea of a champion travelling to the horizon/edge of the universe, and stretching it by being there feels like something the Khans who fled from Prax into the Wastes would have had to do - and would make a great Heroquest.

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6 minutes ago, RicKaySi said:

Love this idea! Some monsters, as big as lands themselves, got preserved … the World's Foundations.

Well, it might be a good idea, but I cannot claim it as my idea — isn’t it canon that the Devil is the temporal world’s foundation? Although it may also be true that when Gloranthan canon is stated baldly, people think it is heresy. 😉

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1 minute ago, RicKaySi said:

this community to have considered and debated every angle

Oh I don't know. The good parts keep coming up like your fantastic post because they haven't fully expressed themselves yet. You raising it back to the surface assists and enriches the process . . . after all, what the spider stitched together was the decontextualized trash left behind by the previous disintegration like iron-rich plugs that once interfered with the heart of a star and now bind planets together.
 

10 minutes ago, RicKaySi said:

a comic book years ago

If this isn't The Vanishing Tower then some expert in the Conan comics will have to show us where Roy Thomas independently derived that plot.

11 minutes ago, RicKaySi said:

love to read your timeline

 I'd love to have that too. We should figure out how to make this kind of memoir worth @jajagappa's effort.

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2 hours ago, RicKaySi said:

Thanks @jajagappa - I can always rely on this community to have considered and debated every angle - and for you to remember it! Do you have a Rick Meints style guide to the online life of Glorantha? I would love to read your timeline of Glorantha's forums, web sites, mailing groups etc, - and what ideas likely started where.

Nick Brooke's Gloranthan Manifesto is free as pdf and gives you a good perspective on productive community content.

Rabbit hole warning: the old mailing lists and the subsequent Yahoogroups dealing with Glorantha and/or RuneQuest are archived at https://glorantha.steff.in. This is a fairly good documentation of a lot of fan idea developments.

The majority of the ancient Glorantha or RuneQuest fan pages have been lost even to web.archive.com, alas. Lots of weirdness to be found there.

The MIG informs you on all the printed stuff.

Otherwise - just ask. There are yet enough of us around who participated in the crazy exchanges.


 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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3 hours ago, RicKaySi said:

I can always rely on this community to have considered and debated every angle - and for you to remember it! Do you have a Rick Meints style guide to the online life of Glorantha? I would love to read your timeline of Glorantha's forums, web sites, mailing groups etc, - and what ideas likely started where. 

A good place to start is via the Well of Daliath as it has link to various old content: Index of Gloranthan stuff (steff.in) 

(Scroll down the page for the various lists - the descriptions note when these various sites, mailing lists, etc. were active. Note that these are not sorted by timeframe - you'll have to roughly outline that yourself. Search is generally supported.)

There was also a pre-FB forum on Google+ which is archived here: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/glorantha/

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, RicKaySi said:

The comic looked a lot like the 70s run of Conan - does that ring a bell for anyone? The idea of a champion travelling to the horizon/edge of the universe, and stretching it by being there feels like something the Khans who fled from Prax into the Wastes would have had to do - and would make a great Heroquest.

That came out of one of the Elric books by Michael Moorcock. 

I always liked that idea as well - so while there is always an effort by Chaos to destroy the world, there are those who continually work to rebuild the edges. I see the demigods as key figures in this effort: the Altinae in the north, the Luatha in the west, the Agitorani in the south, Vith/Aether in the east, Dayzatar and his choir above in the Sky Dome, and Subere and her minions in Hell, with the Sendereven who sail Sramak's River as those whose rituals help bind the whole.

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

That came out of one of the Elric books by Michael Moorcock.

It’s also a prominent feature of Felix Gilman’s Moorcockian Weird West novel The Half-Made World, which I  commend to you all. (“Is that the book with the evil Lovecraftian railway-trains, Nick?” Yes, that’s the one.)

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4 minutes ago, mfbrandi said:
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PET THEORY: POW sacrifices are to show one is serious and submissive to the divine, not to feed the god.

Once you are an initiate and have put a portion of your soul into the trust of your deity, you are essentially feeding that portion of your soul with your sacrifices. Self-serving worship...

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22 minutes ago, Joerg said:

put a portion of your soul into the trust of your deity … Self-serving worship

I imagine it frying off into the Void like a burnt offering — some smoke, some fireworks, and a small step closer to the heat death of the universe. 😉 (Thoughts prompted by dipping into Burkert’s Greek Religion, where he talks of the acknowledged fiction of sacrifices benefiting the gods. In some versions of the myth Zeus winks at Prometheus’ deception, und so weiter.)

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On 7/8/2024 at 7:21 PM, jajagappa said:

That came out of one of the Elric books by Michael Moorcock.

I can see Immanuel Kant cosplaying Earl Aubec, imposing categories of time and space on the noumenal/Chaos — which remains untouched. Must be some kind of waking cheese dream.

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33 minutes ago, mfbrandi said:

I imagine it frying off into the Void like a burnt offering — some smoke, some fireworks, and a small step closer to the heat death of the universe. 😉 (Thoughts prompted by dipping into Burkert’s Greek Religion, where he talks of the acknowledged fiction of sacrifices benefiting the gods. In some versions of the myth Zeus winks at Prometheus’ deception, und so weiter.)

I was talking about the magic (and other expressions of power) regularly sacrificed in worship.

Godtime is eternal only as long as Time plays along, so ultimately everything is off into the Void. Especially the timeless component. It Is, or it stops being.

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  • One slew the other and took his skin to wear, fooling the ignorant. Initiates know the truth of course: that there were never two at all, but that the hunter and the hunted are always part of one being.
    RQG: Odayla (PDF, p. 300)

Hunter and hunted are always part of one being: Nysalor slew Arkat and took his skin to wear.

Argrath tears apart the Red Moon, so that the new world will be built from his remains? He is the self-slain Ymir of the Fourth Age and a Moon–Devil. (I wonder how the idea of his taking a mortal wound in the slaying of Wakboth was resisted.)

Did Greg own any LPs by Ian Matthews?

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On 7/10/2024 at 12:43 PM, Joerg said:

Godtime is eternal only as long as Time plays along, so ultimately everything is off into the Void. Especially the timeless component. It Is, or it stops being.

For something that is eternal and unchanging, the God-Time sure changes a lot! God-Learners, various ascended gods, Lunars, Orlanth being Dead and then not...

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23 minutes ago, mfbrandi said:

Hunter and hunted are always part of one being: Nysalor slew Arkat and took his skin to wear.

Or another way to put it: only the relationship (web) of desire is real. We may not be able to describe the "matrix" but we know everyone we see it is still plugged in one way or another. This shows up in the horned man figure who negotiates between herd and hunter.

Not sure Greg got a lot of Matthews Southern Comfort (that uh "bunch" was not well distributed over here) but Jim Croce's "Hard Time Losing Man" was the B-side on Time In A Bottle so might've given the phrase more reach.

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

For something that is eternal and unchanging, the God-Time sure changes a lot! God-Learners, various ascended gods, Lunars, Orlanth being Dead and then not...

That's just a temporary perception of Godtime. All the good stuff destroyed by Chaos still is about, but no one can perceive this any more.

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3 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Jim Croce

So what you are saying is that we can boil Glorantha down to four lines from a 7" plastic disc, ABC-11405?

  • A
    If I could save time in a bottle …
    ’Til eternity passes away

  • B
    And sometimes they say that you eat the bear
    But sometimes the bear eats you

… with a cameo from Richard Adams’s teddy bear. Good times; I love it. In your faces Jung, Campbell, & Eliade!

Spoiler

You could probably boil me down to a couple of sentences from an old Lee/Ditko thing:

  • In all the galaxy, no one has ever made an error such as this.
    I, of all the spies in the universe, have caught myself.
    Why Won’t They Believe Me? (Amazing Fantasy #7)

… but I would make tasteless stew and stickless glue.

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Newtlings know of puberty-suppressing drugs in fungi and algae which keep their potency when dried. As long as they consume their “herb”, bachelors do not age, and it is thought that after thirty years of steady dosing, the pharmaceuticals are no longer required and maturity is impossible. (Newtlings consider experimentation on tadpoles unethical, so don’t ask.)

That is one story. Others say that some newtlings spontaneously fail their final transformation and are doomed to an eternal sexless existence, forbidden return to their home ponds. A third school has it that meditation and asanas can extend bachelorhood indefinitely.

This we know for sure: there are wanderers on the way — bachelor sages with (at the very least) hundreds of sea seasons behind them and dedicated to wisdom and the aesthetic appreciation of nature — walking lightly on the world: modestly in it but not of it. They have much useful information (and more useless), but never call such a journeynewt “master” if you hope to learn from them.

How old is old? Some say it was the sight of a newtling with staff and backpack that caused a startled dwarf to nudge the world machine into motion. Perhaps she is wandering still, head cocked, perpetually amused, taking everything in.

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31 minutes ago, mfbrandi said:

How old is old? Some say it was the sight of a newtling with staff and backpack that caused a startled dwarf to nudge the world machine into motion. Perhaps she is wandering still, head cocked, perpetually amused, taking everything in.

Some wise women of Nochet will tell you that this is simply how the newtlings encountered and still see Imarja.

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Some wise women of Nochet will tell you that this is simply how the newtlings encountered and still see Imarja.

You can't trust these so-called wise women: any bird-headed woman clearly wants to consume newtlings.

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