Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Inspired by the Argrath thread, I'm starting a thread about illumination so I can ask a bunch of questions.  Or, more accurately, I'm going to summarize what I think Illumination in Glorantha in its current, published form.  If I get something wrong, or if there's a cool variant, I'm all ears.

 

Illumination is both an in-setting concept one can find characters in Glorantha talking about, and an "out of character" concept authors and players use to describe something about Glorantha. 

 

Illumination, generally speaking and out of character, is a cosmic awareness that allows one to break free of the normal confines of reality and one's specific religious / magical traditions (agents of reprisal, ignoring cult restructions, etc.... being impossible or overcomes dualities seem common).  In character, however, Illumination is specifically linked to Nysalor, and before him, Rashorana in God time.  Lots of other things exist, however, that may be called illumination OOC, even if that term isn't exactly used IC.  

 

Here is an incomplete list of sources of illumination in 3rd Age Glorantha: [EDIT: I will edit this left as discussion develops in this thread]

 

Do I have a basic handle on what illumination is and where it is from?

 

I have other questions, but they make no sense if I have this wrong.

Edited by Nevermet
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll tell you I can't speak for others but I've always said the Jernotians were a different breed. The lore books tell such strange stories about them and there's no apparent connexion to Nysalor or any other group.

Lunars are a branch of Nysalorianism, though. They're definitely a wildly evolved group but they're fundamentally Nysalorian.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some immediate thoughts:

I'm not sure that draconic mysticism is canonically a form of Illumination or brings Illumination, but if it is (and it certainly makes sense that it would be), then Vithelan mysticism should also be on that list, as its own bullet point. 

Yelmic White Sun Illumination is another Pelorian example. 

I don't believe there's any specific examples of MSE schools that practiced Illumination currently and/or canonically. 

My speculation/invention/interpretation (pick any two):

The basic insight that makes up Illumination is simple: "There is nothing to be afraid of." This is of course a Lunar view, but it's also one that has some monomythic support (eg in the story of the Unholy Trio in King of Sartar). This realization confers no fantastical powers in and of itself, but what it does do is allow you to recognize frightening truths about the universe. So you could (to provide the orthodox Yelmic understanding of Yelm's Illumination) understand that the One is Many and the Many are One and therefore that there is no firm line between yourself and other people, or between clean and unclean things. This is ordinarily too frightening to recognize- to accept it would be to accept that everything you believe, as a good Dara Happan, is false. But with the Illuminated intellect, it's possible to understand how both of these things can be true and accept the insight that the One is Many and the Many are One into yourself, and that your Other is really just You. 

Note that this is an insight that is fundamentally nonsensical to a Sartarite because they don't have the culture that produces beliefs in One, Many, cleanness and uncleanness, et cetera necessary to understand why this insight is such a big leap. So Illumination to them means something very different! It might come as, say, a realization that everyone is kin, or that all kinship is fictive. The broad point is that Illumination allows you to peek outside of your cultural perspective for a bit and understand truths that are normally veiled. 

Thus, the reason why Illuminates can become so powerful is because they can peer into truths that they would normally not be able to understand without abandoning some of the truths they knew previously, and they are able to (hypothetically) reconcile these truths together. These are capacities rather than demands, of course, and the notion of Occlusion demonstrates that it's hardly impossible for an Illuminate to conceal the truth from themselves. 

(Or to put it in slightly more game-mechanical terms, Spirits of Reprisal affect you because you're in tension over holding mutually incompatible truths in your head, and by making the truths compatible, Illumination makes it difficult for them to affect you because you're invisible to their radar, as it were.) 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I'll tell you I can't speak for others but I've always said the Jernotians were a different breed. The lore books tell such strange stories about them and there's no apparent connexion to Nysalor or any other group.

Lunars are a branch of Nysalorianism, though. They're definitely a wildly evolved group but they're fundamentally Nysalorian.

IIRC (and I may not), all the Pelorian paths directly tie back to Rashorana.

But you're right that I should have put the Lunar Way "under" Nysalor.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Eff said:

I don't believe there's any specific examples of MSE schools that practiced Illumination currently and/or canonically. 

My speculation/invention/interpretation (pick any two):

I love the "pick two" wording, and I agree with everything you said after it.

 

As for whether the Godlearners have illumination or not seems to be a point of contention over in the Argrath thread.  I honestly have no idea.  However, to the extent that illumination is a kind of metaphysical postmodernism in Glorantha, then it would make sense that the most "modern" worldview (the Godlearners) wouldn't have it, and they're arguably so terrifyingly effective by rejecting illumination and doubliong down on their pre-existing worldview.  This of course brings up the question of whether other forms of Malkionism may have their own "indigenous" forms of illumination (in the OOC sense of the word).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

IIRC (and I may not), all the Pelorian paths directly tie back to Rashorana.

But you're right that I should have put the Lunar Way "under" Nysalor.

The Lunars claim they do, but the Jernotie and Atarks stories date to an earlier phase of mythological time than the Rashoran/a stories (eg they're not taking place in the apocalyptic wasteland in which Rashorana, the Tormented Woman, hangs upside down and impaled, they're taking place in a kind of primordial universe where Jernotie is out and doing things rather than sitting on a mountain.) And the Lunars claim that these are earlier forms of Rashorana/Sedenya, in any case. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trying to decipher the accuracy of Lunar claims or create a reasonable timeline from the Entekosiad (or god time more generally) are both fool's errands.  But there seem to be a lot of overlaps regarding Chaos, lack of fear of others, accepting the artifice of worldviews, etc.  Plus, IIRC (and I may not - again), I really thought that there were documented links during Time between the Lunars and Nysalor.  No?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

Trying to decipher the accuracy of Lunar claims or create a reasonable timeline from the Entekosiad (or god time more generally) are both fool's errands.  But there seem to be a lot of overlaps regarding Chaos, lack of fear of others, accepting the artifice of worldviews, etc.  Plus, IIRC (and I may not - again), I really thought that there were documented links during Time between the Lunars and Nysalor.  No?

Oh, the Lunars are definitely descended from Nysalor, and the vast majority of people accept that claim, whether they remember Nysalor fondly or hostilely. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The official word on Illumination is HQ:G (GaGoG may revise this mind you)

Quote

Rarely is Illumination openly professed,
so reckoning the scale of its influence is highly
speculative. Most common in Peloria, Illumination
is known throughout Glorantha, most notably in
Kralorela, but also East Isles, Ralios, Jrustela, and
Vralos.
The Near Ones or Friends of Pamalt are also
thought to be Illuminates by some. Even Argrath is
believed to teach a form of Illumination, based on
Arkat’s teachings instead of Nysalor’s.

HeroQuest Glorantha p203

There's only two unknowns on that list - Jrustela and the Near Ones.  I think the Jrusteli illumination is based on God Learnerism (although others disagree) but the Near Ones are a mystery to me as they were when first mentioned in Dorastor: Land of Doom.

Draconic Illumination has been the "same" as  Nysaloran Illumination as far back as the Big Rubble Boxed Set (one could get an illumination point by exploring the Puzzle Canal).  

I don't believe the Jernotians to be illuminated.  Yes, their religion is trippy and I believe the Jernotius/Jernotia to have a Moon Rune.  But they are practicing balance rather than striving for mystical insight.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I really hope this thread will avoid.  Lengthy discussions about what it means to be illuminated.  All that boils down to is an argument about the terms. which hardly goes anywhere.

A more productive way of looking at it IMO would be what do the Illuminates do with their new found wisdom?  How do they function within society?

For the Lunars, it's obvious:  Get Lunar Magic.  Ditto for the Kralori.

For the White Sun Lords, this might be something like:

The White Suns Lords were created by Karvanyar to wield Yelm's magic against the Dragons.  Previously such magics were only available to nobles with the correct lineage and the observation of numerous rituals and taboos.  Karvayar changed all that, making such magics available even to the lowest commoners.  After Karvanyar's deposition, the White Sun Lords were heavily controlled, restricted to the nobility and in even extreme cases, forbidden to become illuminates.  The school was a mere shadow of itself when the Lunars came to power and they shunned it in favour of the Yelm Imperators who had a more prestigious predigree.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a chapter on Illumination in Secrets of Dorastor. It describes the various schools, in a short form. It also gives new kewl powerz, because I like kewl powerz. 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


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

But you're right that I should have put the Lunar Way "under" Nysalor.

I'd suggest that you edit your initial post and say you will update it when new info is added. It will produce a useful updated resource.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, metcalph said:

One thing I really hope this thread will avoid.  Lengthy discussions about what it means to be illuminated.  All that boils down to is an argument about the terms. which hardly goes anywhere.

A more productive way of looking at it IMO would be what do the Illuminates do with their new found wisdom?  How do they function within society?

For the Lunars, it's obvious:  Get Lunar Magic.  Ditto for the Kralori.

For the White Sun Lords, this might be something like:

The White Suns Lords were created by Karvanyar to wield Yelm's magic against the Dragons.  Previously such magics were only available to nobles with the correct lineage and the observation of numerous rituals and taboos.  Karvayar changed all that, making such magics available even to the lowest commoners.  After Karvanyar's deposition, the White Sun Lords were heavily controlled, restricted to the nobility and in even extreme cases, forbidden to become illuminates.  The school was a mere shadow of itself when the Lunars came to power and they shunned it in favour of the Yelm Imperators who had a more prestigious predigree.

 

A lot of Kralorelan mysticism is probably actually theistic and sorcerous stuff clad in mystical clothing.  The actual mystics withdraw to monasteries and stay there to pursue ever higher levels of spiritual insight and sometimes people consult them.  They accumlate huge powers but there's an emphasis on *not using them* because they will tangle you in the world.  

When the Godlearners were there, they corrupted a lot of mysticism to be 'do disciplines, gain powers, hit people with them'.  Where you gained a certain amount of insight, then used it to entangle yourself in the world.

There is likely still a fair amount of that.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Nevermet can you add some references to the types so we can all see what has been written eg

Umbarism HQG page 203

EWF draconic consciousness HQG page 203

Kralorelan draconic mystics HQG page 203

Vithelan mysticism HQG page 203

the Umathelan Cult of Silence HQG page 203

Edited by David Scott
oops wrong book
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Eff said:

Some immediate thoughts:

I'm not sure that draconic mysticism is canonically a form of Illumination or brings Illumination, but if it is (and it certainly makes sense that it would be), then Vithelan mysticism should also be on that list, as its own bullet point. 

Yelmic White Sun Illumination is another Pelorian example. 

I don't believe there's any specific examples of MSE schools that practiced Illumination currently and/or canonically. 

My speculation/invention/interpretation (pick any two):

The basic insight that makes up Illumination is simple: "There is nothing to be afraid of." This is of course a Lunar view, but it's also one that has some monomythic support (eg in the story of the Unholy Trio in King of Sartar). This realization confers no fantastical powers in and of itself, but what it does do is allow you to recognize frightening truths about the universe. So you could (to provide the orthodox Yelmic understanding of Yelm's Illumination) understand that the One is Many and the Many are One and therefore that there is no firm line between yourself and other people, or between clean and unclean things. This is ordinarily too frightening to recognize- to accept it would be to accept that everything you believe, as a good Dara Happan, is false. But with the Illuminated intellect, it's possible to understand how both of these things can be true and accept the insight that the One is Many and the Many are One into yourself, and that your Other is really just You. 

Note that this is an insight that is fundamentally nonsensical to a Sartarite because they don't have the culture that produces beliefs in One, Many, cleanness and uncleanness, et cetera necessary to understand why this insight is such a big leap. So Illumination to them means something very different! It might come as, say, a realization that everyone is kin, or that all kinship is fictive. The broad point is that Illumination allows you to peek outside of your cultural perspective for a bit and understand truths that are normally veiled. 

Thus, the reason why Illuminates can become so powerful is because they can peer into truths that they would normally not be able to understand without abandoning some of the truths they knew previously, and they are able to (hypothetically) reconcile these truths together. These are capacities rather than demands, of course, and the notion of Occlusion demonstrates that it's hardly impossible for an Illuminate to conceal the truth from themselves. 

(Or to put it in slightly more game-mechanical terms, Spirits of Reprisal affect you because you're in tension over holding mutually incompatible truths in your head, and by making the truths compatible, Illumination makes it difficult for them to affect you because you're invisible to their radar, as it were.) 

 

For me the most interesting exemple if illumination is Arkat. He is the perfect candidate for it since he transcended many cultures and cults and able to escape spirits of reprisal. However with fall of the stygian empire in the second age Arkat is worshipped buy a load of different sects and cults that include illuminates. 

Since every sect believes to be the ONLY true successor to Arkat I wonder how they feel about one another since they worship and follow different doctrines. Should they believe illuminates from other sects are wrong (perhaps even Nysalorian!) even if illumination gives them the ability to see the "big picture" so to speak?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, David Scott said:

I'd suggest that you edit your initial post and say you will update it when new info is added. It will produce a useful updated resource.

Good call.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, metcalph said:

A more productive way of looking at it IMO would be what do the Illuminates do with their new found wisdom?  How do they function within society?

For the Lunars, it's obvious:  Get Lunar Magic.  Ditto for the Kralori.

And Arkat would be.... joining cults that are normally incompatible and avoiding agents of reprisal?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, David Scott said:

@Nevermet can you add some references to the types so we can all see what has been written eg

I put your citations in.  I will get to other books (stafford Library, etc) starting this weekend.

Edited by Nevermet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, soltakss said:

I have a chapter on Illumination in Secrets of Dorastor. It describes the various schools, in a short form. It also gives new kewl powerz, because I like kewl powerz. 

 

We are gamers.  Kewl Powerz are, like, a basic food group ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, David Scott said:

@Nevermet can you add some references to the types so we can all see what has been written eg

Great idea, I like reference, it will spare us a lot of work ^^
-The Glorantha Source Book CHA4033 : Short chapter about Illumination p148-149-150
-The Guide to Glorantha - VOLUME II CHA4026 : p723-726
-Greg Sez: Humakt Illuminated ? at https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-documents/greg-sez/humakti/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Nevermet said:

And Arkat would be.... joining cults that are normally incompatible and avoiding agents of reprisal?

No.  That's not how his worshippers are described in the Guide and elsewhere, isn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, metcalph said:

No.  That's not how his worshippers are described in the Guide and elsewhere, isn't it?

Clearly not... there are more Secrets protectors of the Hero Plane (mainly why you don't see them in the middle world). And I've just re-read an article in the Four Scrolls of revelation "The Arkati" by a certain ...hum hum... Peter Metcalph; He does not describe them like that ! an I think he know his stuff 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, MJ Sadique said:

Clearly not... there are more Secrets protectors of the Hero Plane (mainly why you don't see them in the middle world). And I've just re-read an article in the Four Scrolls of revelation "The Arkati" by a certain ...hum hum... Peter Metcalph; He does not describe them like that ! an I think he know his stuff 😉

Was was a failed IMO attempt to make the Arkati into a Glorantha version of Nephilim's Major Arcana.  

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, metcalph said:

No.  That's not how his worshippers are described in the Guide and elsewhere, isn't it?

A better answer would start with... defeat Nysalor, at least for Arkat?  for 3rd Age Ralians, perhaps "Help return Arkat to the world?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

A better answer would start with... defeat Nysalor, at least for Arkat?  for 3rd Age Ralians, perhaps "Help return Arkat to the world?"

Think of Buddhism.  Most Buddhist sects don't actually concern themselves with arming up to defeat Mara.  Likewise the Arkati Mural in HeroQuest: Glorantha p207, one god is absent and the barrier to the Truth is the God War rather than Gbaji.

A better way of thinking about the Arkati would be.  Arkat in his struggles found many truths.  During the Dark Empire these truths were syntheseized into a Greater Whole and written down into the Book of Secrets.  But the God Learners smashed this unity, stole the book of secrets and abused whatever knowledge they could understand.

So there would be many different Arkati cults, each convinced they hold the last unsullied secrets of Arkat.  They are earnestly trying to restore the Autarchy which means trying to understand what the other cults know and integrating their wisdom.  Hence the Arkati are not united but engage in magical warfare and occult assassinations  Because they are also city patriots, the rival Arkati within the city are frenemies whereas the Arkati in the next city over a obvious servants of Gbaji..

With that in mind, possible Arkati insights might be:

  • Hunting:  FInding out who might be an illuminate.  Uusually such magics only work if the caster is also an illuminate.  More intelligent Arkati use non-illuminated subordinates to See Rune Magic which is safer.
  • Hiding.  Protecting yourself against spells or magics that might reveal your illuminated nature.  Also used to evade truth spells.
  • Ranging.  Roaming the Heroplanes to make contact with Arkat.  Also being as a Dark Guardian to eliminate servants of Gbaji who undoubtedly seek his assassination.  .  
  • Sorcery.  Use to mystical insights to enhance one's mastery of sorcery against the Rokari.  Practices range from ignoring  spirit magic when calculating Free INT to using rune points to power sorcery spells.
  • Chaos.  An obvious extension of Arkati wisdom but clearly forbidden.  Hence the Arkati restrict themselves to dismissal of chaotic horrors through their knowlege of Primal Chaos.

No cult would know all the secrets therein, rather they would have a number of such secrets and so on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...