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How do you feel day-to-day praying looks/feels like in Glorantha? I've been reading Songs of Ice and Fire and in that world there is the (pretty familiar) idea that humans ask/hope/pray gods do some good deeds for them. They assume gods play tricks on them or cause certain things to happen etc. Of course I mirror this to Glorantha and I feel the premise is a little different in Glorantha.

In Glorantha the world keeps on going forward (or doing it's cycle) because the Middle World folk (humans, trolls, everyone) do their deeds and strengthen the gods. So, in a prayer, they wouldn't be asking stuff from the gods but sending some divine power to the gods to strengthen them. If they want something from a god they don't really ask the god to do something but they emulate the things the god did during God Time to achieve that. That is because the gods don't really have power to change things anymore (Cosmic Compromise). So, the mother of a family is not praying "Ernalda, protect our family" but "Ernalda, I will hit our door hinges with a broom thrice this evening as you did so that you have strength to protect your house from terrors." If something bad happens do they curse a god for causing it? Or do they feel that their god is losing their strength and succumbing to bad gods?

On the other hand ancestors and spirits can be petitioned to do something for the family. "Oh grandfather, protect our family from terror. We will leave this porridge for you to eat during the night."

Does this sound like Glorantha to you?

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I doubt prayer does much in Glorantha. The gods require sacrifices - mere prayer isn’t something they’re concerned about. It might be of psychological help, I guess.

Prayer with just a minor sacrifice could work, though. Food sacrifices to the ancestors or the household guardian seems appropriate.

Oh, and in RQG, ”Ernalda grant me the strength!” might just be how you invoke your Earth rune. This will be efficacious, but it’s doubtful whether Ernalda is involved at all. It could be how you use your Devotion (Ernalda) passion. Same thing if the prayer is just a part of spellcasting as flavour.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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1 hour ago, jrutila said:

On the other hand ancestors and spirits can be petitioned to do something for the family. "Oh grandfather, protect our family from terror. We will leave this porridge for you to eat during the night."

People interested in this can build out Divine Intervention a little as a hinge between ad hoc ("animist") petitions and routinized worship. Perhaps providing conditions sweeten the deal for a spirit and enhance success percentages. Then once you know what the entity likes, you simply offer it again. 

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2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

The gods require sacrifices

There's a grey line between prayer/ritual and sacrifice. Theatrics might count. Burning incense (or fatwood for common folk) while reciting mantras/prayers might count. "Dedicating" your meal to a god before eating it, or leaving a portion of it somewhere suitable (altar, campfire, on top of a rock or stump) might count. That sorta thing. 

 

Not talking about RQ mechanics here, of course.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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6 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

There's a grey line between prayer/ritual and sacrifice.

Also, the prayer is part of the sacrifice. The Romans ridiculed the idea of sacrificing without asking for something in return. What was the point of that?

Edited by Akhôrahil
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4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Also, the prayer is part of the sacrifice. The Romans ridiculed the idea of sacrificing without asking for something in return. What was the point of that?

That's true. Ancient religions - and many contemporary ones of course - were and are transactional in nature. Gods are worshipped because they provide a service. That is, esseentially, what makes them worthy of it. 

Given the mechanics built into RQ with POW it looks to me like the fundamental mentality behind this relationship is similar in Glorantha.

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To get a Rune spell you are required to sacrifice a point of permanent Power. (RQ II) Haven't had the opportunity to play RQG so don't know if that is continued, If not I would probably continue it. But I am also reminded of a joke/story that went around about a flood where a pastor lived. He had to climb on top of his house to escape the flood waters. So he prayed for a miracle for God to save him. So a boat comes by and the man in the boat calls out to him to get in the boat. He replied that No, that he had called upon God for a miracle and he believed that God would do so. So the boat left. Later a helicopter came by, people called upon him climb a rope that they cast down to him. Again he replied, that he believed that God would send a miracle to save him. The helicopter left. Later the flood waters rose and he drowned. He comes before God and asks God why he did not send a miracle to save him. God replies, "I did. I sent a boat and a helicopter, and you refused them." 

 

I like to have my players ask out loud (the prayer) what and how the characters ask for spell/miracle. Then decide how the God answers.

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Thank you everyone for interesting pointers.

The Divine Intervention (rule in some version of RQ, at least) where the god does something direct for the worshipper really steers to the direction that people tend to ask things from the gods and they can grant it. Would a god in Glorantha send the boat to the man on his roof plagued with flood?

But still I would like to think this other way around to make a distinction to a "normal" way of praying. Maybe we could say that in Glorantha the worshipper "works" for the god and not the god working for them. And as they do the "work" (praying, sacrifices) the god gets stronger and as the god is stronger the wheat grows better etc. In the case of flood the worshippers should strengthen the flood-removing aspect of one god to get out of the trouble. Not asking for flood removal but working for the god to get the flood removed.

I don't know if this really matters but this is just, in my opinion, another neat difference to every other fantasy world out there.

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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

Or frequently, because they run a protection racket. Nice city you've got there, would be shame if anything happened to it...

Priests can run a protection racket but the Gods can't, because they can't act freely and can only punish their worshippers with spirits of reprisal.

So a Dara Happan could have a picture of Yelmalio beating Orlanth to death while Ernalda cheats on Orlanth with Eurmal on the side of a mountain and be fine.  Until the worshippers find out.

 

 

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4 hours ago, John Biles said:

Priests can run a protection racket but the Gods can't, because they can't act freely and can only punish their worshippers with spirits of reprisal.

They can't act freely, but they can be what they are.  Displeased Orlanth?  That windstorm just blew the roof off your house.  Displeased Ernalda because you've been brawling in her fair city?  Oh, she's withdrawn her protection against Mallia from you and your kin.  The gods still have some potency in the world, not just spirits of reprisal.

 

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I think a lot of prayer in Glorantha is part of everyday life. I go to the market to buy food, and as I enter the market I tip Issaries (i.e. toss a clack in the market-bowl) and say "Issaries aid my wits and my words to bargain well". On the way home I see clouds building and pray "Blessed Helar, gift my crops - but could you wait a half an hour, please?" As I understand it, the Orlanthi in particular see the gods as participating in everyday life; so the work-song the smith humms is also a hymn to Gustbran - although we might not see it as such. An example of this is the Hymn to Ninkasa (https://www.ancient.eu/article/222/the-hymn-to-ninkasi-goddess-of-beer/), which then turned out to be a practical beer recipe (https://www.realmofhistory.com/2017/09/22/oldest-beer-recipe-mesopotamia-ninkasi/). 

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6 hours ago, jajagappa said:

They can't act freely, but they can be what they are.  Displeased Orlanth?  That windstorm just blew the roof off your house.  Displeased Ernalda because you've been brawling in her fair city?  Oh, she's withdrawn her protection against Mallia from you and your kin.  The gods still have some potency in the world, not just spirits of reprisal.

 

And like in the real world, it probably works the other way around too. The windstorm blew off the roof of your hourse? Displeased Orlanth, didn't you? 

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

And like in the real world, it probably works the other way around too. The windstorm blew off the roof of your hourse? Displeased Orlanth, didn't you? 

Although if any god would do that kind of thing accidentally, it would be Orlanth...

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On 8/7/2020 at 5:21 PM, pachristian said:

I think a lot of prayer in Glorantha is part of everyday life. I go to the market to buy food, and as I enter the market I tip Issaries (i.e. toss a clack in the market-bowl) and say "Issaries aid my wits and my words to bargain well". On the way home I see clouds building and pray "Blessed Helar, gift my crops - but could you wait a half an hour, please?" As I understand it, the Orlanthi in particular see the gods as participating in everyday life; so the work-song the smith humms is also a hymn to Gustbran - although we might not see it as such. An example of this is the Hymn to Ninkasa (https://www.ancient.eu/article/222/the-hymn-to-ninkasi-goddess-of-beer/), which then turned out to be a practical beer recipe (https://www.realmofhistory.com/2017/09/22/oldest-beer-recipe-mesopotamia-ninkasi/). 

Tossing the clack is a (for poor people fairly substantial) sacrifice to the god of the market.

But then, a lot of magical ritual is hidden in our modern day-to-day rituals. "Good day!" - that's a blessing, with the monotheistic culture of modern Europe and its colonies having no need to point towards the source. Other such rote exchanges are of a similar nature, like wishing "bon appetit" in place of a prayer of thanks even in atheist households. The magic of well-wishing, calling it down from a divine source, pervades our cultures, even the most profane forms of it.

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On 8/5/2020 at 3:49 PM, jrutila said:

Does this sound like Glorantha to you?

Sounds pretty good, I like the idea of moving myth forward and meta gaming backwards. At least in RQ, the meta gaming actually works pretty well in d&d...

 

On 8/5/2020 at 6:48 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

There's a grey line between prayer/ritual and sacrifice. Theatrics might count. Burning incense (or fatwood for common folk) while reciting mantras/prayers might count. "Dedicating" your meal to a god before eating it, or leaving a portion of it somewhere suitable (altar, campfire, on top of a rock or stump) might count. That sorta thing. 

 

I like to think the effort put into the little things that you describe help to make the myths the reality.

 

On 8/7/2020 at 9:21 AM, pachristian said:

think a lot of prayer in Glorantha is part of everyday life. I go to the market to buy food, and as I enter the market I tip Issaries (i.e. toss a clack in the market-bowl) and say "Issaries aid my wits and my words to bargain well". On the way home I see clouds building and pray "Blessed Helar, gift my crops - but could you wait a half an hour, please?"

Yes, as above... its the little things that make the world rich and rather than quoting @Joerg, let me simply say, yep! 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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On 8/7/2020 at 10:21 AM, pachristian said:

I think a lot of prayer in Glorantha is part of everyday life. I go to the market to buy food, and as I enter the market I tip Issaries (i.e. toss a clack in the market-bowl) and say "Issaries aid my wits and my words to bargain well". On the way home I see clouds building and pray "Blessed Helar, gift my crops - but could you wait a half an hour, please?" As I understand it, the Orlanthi in particular see the gods as participating in everyday life; so the work-song the smith humms is also a hymn to Gustbran - although we might not see it as such. An example of this is the Hymn to Ninkasa (https://www.ancient.eu/article/222/the-hymn-to-ninkasi-goddess-of-beer/), which then turned out to be a practical beer recipe (https://www.realmofhistory.com/2017/09/22/oldest-beer-recipe-mesopotamia-ninkasi/). 

Prayer and mini-heroforming is basically how I would see subtle magics working.  Whereas, bigger, flashier magic is keyed to sacrifices.

The clan offers up a collective sacrifice for the fields, then you imitate Barntar as you plow your field.

The clan needs a storm to destroy their foes in battle and they sacrifice; you perform Orlanth's Battle Dance from before he fought the Evil Emperor to prep yourself.  

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