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EricW

Was Argrath a hero or a villain?

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Spill over from a fascinating聽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?聽

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

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The only other thing I can think to mention is to remember聽when聽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.

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6 hours ago, EricW said:

Spill over from a fascinating聽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?聽

Happy to also聽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.聽 Same聽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.聽 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
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9 hours ago, EricW said:

Spill over from a fascinating聽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 /聽Lunar villain.

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

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

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

1619 聽Sets up shrine of Orlanth Victorious in the Rubble. -聽Orlanth hero聽/聽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聽Argrath and the Devil, and page 230 In Closing.

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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.聽

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

Good luck, adventurers and heroes!

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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.

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

Edited by Akh么rahil
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By聽the way, the White Bull Society, that hasn鈥檛 aged well. The local primitives can鈥檛 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 鈥滿ighty Whitey鈥 or 鈥漌hat These People Need Is A Honky鈥.

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

Edited by Akh么rahil
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5 hours ago, Akh么rahil said:

By聽the way, the White Bull Society, that hasn鈥檛 aged well. The local primitives can鈥檛 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 鈥滿ighty Whitey鈥 or 鈥漌hat These People Need Is A Honky鈥.

(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聽thier secrets.聽 聽That is far different from Kevin Cosner.

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6 hours ago, Akh么rahil said:

By聽the way, the White Bull Society, that hasn鈥檛 aged well. The local primitives can鈥檛 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 鈥滿ighty Whitey鈥漬.b. or 鈥漌hat These People Need Is A Honky鈥.

(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.聽 Or so I have always taken it to be...

Agreed though that having outsider "Argrath" be the native-standin-people's聽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聽PC munchkin" thing, though ...

Edited by g33k
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Argrath was the destroyer of the world, but destruction is necessary for rebirth.聽

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After a certain level of power, Heroes in Glorantha are almost required to be forces of nature pretending to be horrible people.

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1 hour ago, Eff said:

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

That's much closer to the mark.

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3 hours ago, Eff said:

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

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

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9 minutes ago, Akh么rahil said:

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

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!

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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聽and flees to Prax. He's on the Hero rollercoaster from then,聽聽so Kills an聽Anxank, survives Praxian initiation, and finds the White Bull all within 3 years.

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24 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Sure, his Call to Adventure starts when he was 14, kills the Tax collectors聽and flees to Prax. He's on the Hero rollercoaster from then,聽聽so Kills an聽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.

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6 hours ago, Eff said:

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

Another budding Vadeli :)

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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?聽

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.聽 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?聽 Let's face facts, illumination is a license to riot when employed by someone who wants power.

Then there is the flipside聽issue of illumination as a form of state control.聽 Illumination as enslavement.聽 This effect is literally Orwellian.聽 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.聽 This point is extremely relevant to the use of disinformation on the Internet as a form of "statecraft/propaganda"聽atm too.

If the Temple of the Reaching Moon that was destroyed by the Dragonrise had been built, what would have happened?聽 We know that the Lunars sought to bind the beasts of Prax with sorcerous chains.聽 Was the next step to breach the Block?聽 Or was that a little surprise they were going to develop once they had driven off the Stormbulls?聽 Were the Lunars planning to kill Stormbull too?聽 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聽a facade to placate the citizens who would rebel if chaos became a part of their regular experience.聽 When enough pressure is applied to the Lunars, they become a true Chaos Empire under Ralzakark.聽 As chaos is essentially Glorantha's brush with cancer, and every 600 years there is a relapse, do we really聽think that the Lunar Empire is a benign tumor?聽 My diagnosis is that it needs to come out.

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10 minutes ago, Darius West said:

Then there is the flipside聽issue of illumination as a form of state control.聽 Illumination as enslavement.聽 This effect is literally Orwellian.聽 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.聽 This point is extremely relevant to the use of disinformation on the Internet as a form of "statecraft/propaganda"聽atm too.

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

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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聽Examiners that approve one Illuminate over the other is an Orwellian apparatus of control, and I'd prolly agree that it definitely has that聽possibility as a potential problem, but Illumination itself is an increase of freedom.聽

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聽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,聽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聽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,聽where the only rule is to survive and defeat your rivals,聽no matter what. And if you can break the myth after sucking it dry, stop your rivals following your path to match聽your new power, feat or skill, you win an advantage.

Welcome to the monster empire.

Edited by EricW
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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.

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