Jump to content

Was Argrath a hero or a villain?


Recommended Posts

Spill over from a fascinating discussion in "Mortality in Glorantha"; was Argrath justified in what he did, or did the harm he caused outweigh any good he might have achieved? Was the Lunar Empire a civilised nation which didn't deserve the attentions of a fanatic barbarian determined to tear it down? Or was it an imminent threat to the world which had to be stopped at any cost? 

Happy to also discuss Arkat or other heroes whose actions are open to interpretation, in the moral ambiguity which is Glorantha.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 326
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

It is interesting how quickly people on these forums quickly descend into the worst excesses and mistakes of the God Learners in their assumptions about how mythology works.

He was both. I thought that was pretty intentional on Greg's part?

Glorantha has lots of examples of good Illumination. Daruda was a great teacher who achieved union with Nothing and then re-entered the world in order to share his bliss with those who needed it.

The only other thing I can think to mention is to remember when we're talking, and from what POV.

Sartarites in 1630 will have a distinct opinion that may not be generalizable to too cultures at all times.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, EricW said:

Spill over from a fascinating discussion in "Mortality in Glorantha"; was Argrath justified in what he did, or did the harm he caused outweigh any good he might have achieved? Was the Lunar Empire a civilised nation which didn't deserve the attentions of a fanatic barbarian determined to tear it down? Or was it an imminent threat to the world which had to be stopped at any cost? 

Happy to also discuss Arkat or other heroes whose actions are open to interpretation, in the moral ambiguity which is Glorantha.

He's whatever you want him to be for the needs of your story.  Same goes for your questions about the Lunars.

The more interesting question to me is, once you've decided what you want,what is the best way to develop it.  So for each of the the answers you propose, what is the best way to frame it to make an enjoyable game?

Edited by DrGoth
ideas developed
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, EricW said:

Spill over from a fascinating discussion in "Mortality in Glorantha"; was Argrath justified in what he did, or did the harm he caused outweigh any good he might have achieved? Was the Lunar Empire a civilised nation which didn't deserve the attentions of a fanatic barbarian determined to tear it down?Or was it an imminent threat to the world which had to be stopped at any cost?

Different answers on different levels, for example:

1613 Kills Lunar tax collectors - Sartarite hero / Lunar villain.

1614 First spirit miracle - Kills the Anxank. - Praxian hero

1616 Third spirit miracle - on Orlanth’s High Holy day returns with the White Bull at Orlanth’s Holy place - Paring Stone - Orlanth hero

1617 Forms the White Bull society (WBS). - Praxian hero

1619  Sets up shrine of Orlanth Victorious in the Rubble. - Orlanth hero / Lunar villain.

and so on.

The key part for me is when he was drawn onto the Return of the Devil Path? This is when he tips over from local hero to World Hero. Is he already on this when he kills the tax collectors or do the other events in his life add to it? Is it latent within him or develops.

The same with Arkat - when does he slip onto the same path.

Have a look at KoS 2ed page 198 Argrath and the Devil, and page 230 In Closing.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Argrath cleansed a world rotten with chaos, which was a drawn-out and painful, but also necessary, process. Though one must add, he still didn't entirely succeed. 

What form would the Devil take at its next and positively final appearance? In my game, it would be that of that chaos-tainted Spider Spirit.

Good luck, adventurers and heroes!

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Heroes in myth are often agents of change, intentionally or inadvertently ultimately bringing death and destruction to those around them and often to themselves. Hercules, Jason, Beowulf, Arthur... the list goes on.

Very few leave their world more stable. Gilgamesh might be an example.

The same is true in Glorantha, where one person's hero is another's antihero. Even Snodal's heritage of a perfected society is ultimately doomed.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Genocidal villain who helped ruin the world because of his life’s obsession. Kallyr was the real hero, fighting for freedom instead of vengeance.

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, the White Bull Society, that hasn’t aged well. The local primitives can’t get their act together, so they require a white (well, kinda white) saviour to reach them how to do their own culture right? The trope is commonly called ”Mighty Whitey” or ”What These People Need Is A Honky”.

(It worked so much better with multiple Argraths, when Argrath White Bull was just a Praxian warlord.)

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

By the way, the White Bull Society, that hasn’t aged well. The local primitives can’t get their act together, so they require a white (well, kinda white) saviour to reach them how to do their own culture right? The trope is commonly called ”Mighty Whitey” or ”What These People Need Is A Honky”.

(It worked so much better with multiple Argraths, when Argrath White Bull was just a Praxian warlord.)

He was from a neighboring kingdom and was enslaved by the Praxians at a young age, joined thier culture and was initiated into thier secrets.   That is far different from Kevin Cosner.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

By the way, the White Bull Society, that hasn’t aged well. The local primitives can’t get their act together, so they require a white (well, kinda white) saviour to reach them how to do their own culture right? The trope is commonly called ”Mighty Whitey”n.b. or ”What These People Need Is A Honky”.

(It worked so much better with multiple Argraths, when Argrath White Bull was just a Praxian warlord.)

n.b. the real-world White Buffalo is sacred to many North American tribes; this isn't humano-racist "white," but (I think) a nod to the indigenous / First Nations / Native American culture.  Or so I have always taken it to be...

Agreed though that having outsider "Argrath" be the native-standin-people's saviour-figure looks a bit hinky these days (though skin-tone is ALL THE FRACK OVER THE PLACE in Glorantha).

I put it down to the "Argrath is the Marty-Stu PC munchkin" thing, though ...

Edited by g33k
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Eff said:

Argrath was the destroyer of the world, but destruction is necessary for rebirth. 

That's much closer to the mark.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

We had to destroy the world in order to save it? 🙂

The old world's gotta die to make room for the new world. As for whether the new one is better than the old...? Eh. Hail Harshax!

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

So, when he's 16 years old, he's on his **third** miracle?

Sure, his Call to Adventure starts when he was 14, kills the Tax collectors and flees to Prax. He's on the Hero rollercoaster from then,  so Kills an Anxank, survives Praxian initiation, and finds the White Bull all within 3 years.

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Sure, his Call to Adventure starts when he was 14, kills the Tax collectors and flees to Prax. He's on the Hero rollercoaster from then,  so Kills an Anxank, survives Praxian initiation, and finds the White Bull all within 3 years.

Plus he was already marked out for special things since his initiation (at least if we take the webcomic as canon), given that he managed to get through all of the optional stations of the initiation quest when very few can even complete the first.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/29/2020 at 1:08 PM, EricW said:

Or was it an imminent threat to the world which had to be stopped at any cost? 

Straight up, I think it is pretty obvious that the Lunar Empire might seem, superficially to be a nice place, but it is anything but.  The Red Moon Goddess with the Crimson Bat as her steed is a clear example of an illuminate using chaos, and when that starts, does it ever really stop?  Let's face facts, illumination is a license to riot when employed by someone who wants power.

Then there is the flipside issue of illumination as a form of state control.  Illumination as enslavement.  This effect is literally Orwellian.  When you are trained to accept contradictions, the possibility of reason collapses, and the people who actually know the truth use a maze of falsehoods to hide it as a means of keeping power to themselves.  This point is extremely relevant to the use of disinformation on the Internet as a form of "statecraft/propaganda" atm too.

If the Temple of the Reaching Moon that was destroyed by the Dragonrise had been built, what would have happened?  We know that the Lunars sought to bind the beasts of Prax with sorcerous chains.  Was the next step to breach the Block?  Or was that a little surprise they were going to develop once they had driven off the Stormbulls?  Were the Lunars planning to kill Stormbull too?  I'd say that was very likely, hence the binding of Eiritha's beasts so she couldn't aid her husband.

Yes, we know that the public face of the Lunars was all about being seen to be anti-chaos, but this is a facade to placate the citizens who would rebel if chaos became a part of their regular experience.  When enough pressure is applied to the Lunars, they become a true Chaos Empire under Ralzakark.  As chaos is essentially Glorantha's brush with cancer, and every 600 years there is a relapse, do we really think that the Lunar Empire is a benign tumor?  My diagnosis is that it needs to come out.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Darius West said:

Then there is the flipside issue of illumination as a form of state control.  Illumination as enslavement.  This effect is literally Orwellian.  When you are trained to accept contradictions, the possibility of reason collapses, and the people who actually know the truth use a maze of falsehoods to hide it as a means of keeping power to themselves.  This point is extremely relevant to the use of disinformation on the Internet as a form of "statecraft/propaganda" atm too.

Except, well, that's prettty much the opposite of what Illumination is about. You could argue that a system of state-supported Examiners that approve one Illuminate over the other is an Orwellian apparatus of control, and I'd prolly agree that it definitely has that possibility as a potential problem, but Illumination itself is an increase of freedom. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Grievous said:

Except, well, that's prettty much the opposite of what Illumination is about. You could argue that a system of state-supported Examiners that approve one Illuminate over the other is an Orwellian apparatus of control, and I'd prolly agree that it definitely has that possibility as a potential problem, but Illumination itself is an increase of freedom. 

illumination is the freedom to lie, to borrow but not repay, to mock your benefactor without consequence, to take every gift and geas Yelmalio, Humakt, Thanatar and anyone else offers, then spit in the face of the gods which offered gifts as payment, as fair trade for loyalty.

Unconstrained freedom is great - until someone chooses to exercise their unconstrained freedom on you, help themselves to your stuff.

So how do you protect yourself in a situation where your rivals could come at you with magic from every corner of the cosmos, every gift, every spell, stolen heroic powers from a hundred contradictory quests, no constraints, all rolled into a shimmering bundle of hate and malignant potentency? Lethal magic twisted into new forms, impossible combinations?

The answer is to be the first - to be the fastest, the strongest, the cleverest thief. The ultimate magical arms race, where there are no rules, where no perversion of ritual or myth is unthinkable, where the only rule is to survive and defeat your rivals, no matter what. And if you can break the myth after sucking it dry, stop your rivals following your path to match your new power, feat or skill, you win an advantage.

Welcome to the monster empire.

Edited by EricW
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I reject the premise. There is no reason that a Villain cannot be a Hero and no reason a Hero cannot be a Villain, even ruling out the matter of perspective of which side one takes. The terms are just not binary choices however much we might wish it to be so.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Jeff locked this topic
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...