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Runes for Vithelan Gods and Antigods


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Namaste all:

After a long time away from Glorantha, I've been drawn back by the possibility of co-running a game set entirely in the East Islands, sometime in the 3rd Age, prior to the Opening.   I've been collating all my resources for Vithela (which is fairly scant, but it is what it is), and at the moment I'm trying to assemble some background materials before recruiting players.

I know in the Guide to Glorantha there is a partial listing, but I was wondering if there were any more complete lists for both the Parloth and Adpara.   Island deities should be fairly simple single rune entities to figure out.

Edited by aumshantih
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2 minutes ago, aumshantih said:

I know in the Guide to Glorantha there is a partial listing

That's probably the best source.  I think it captured most of what was included in the Missing Lands.

However, Tales of the Reaching Moon issue #17 also had content on the East Isles.  

 

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My opinions

Since the Guide made Vith and Yothenara the equivalents of Aether and Uleria respectively, I've generally prefer to see the Vithelan Gods as more conventional Gloranthan Gods under a different name - Govmeranen has the same runes as Yelm for example.

Korudel would then be the equivalent of Lhankor Mhy, Karki for Lodril, Maluraya for Yelmalio etc.

The Sages are generally the founders of what would be sorcery schools except that they are not concerned with manipulating external energies (except for Martalak) but comprehending higher energies.  Kabalt could be the same force of Humakt

I see the Adpara as Darkness equivalents rather than Chaotics because that generally fits the mythology that Greg was reproducing.  Yes, Avanpdur ruled large parts of Glorantha during the Great Darkness but then so too did the Uz.  After all, to quote an ancient passage  "This is one of those many cases where the mortal victims of the Greater Darkness confused the real enemy of Chaos with those People of Darkness, who were not only allies but bearing the real brunt of the fight against the invading Krjalki, often unsupported or opposed by humans" (Glorantha Sourcebook p60).  While there is a chaotic element among the Adpara, I generally don't see it as very strong.  

Oorsu Sara has Storm as he represents the emergence of Storm.  Some of his followers may be better known in elsewhere as the sons of Umath

Avanapdur has Illusion and possibily Moon considering that he is .connected with the Dream World/White Moon mythology.

Herespur could be either Shargash, Zorak Zoran or Orlanth.  

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As you mentioned with Oorsu Sara, I'd put the Storm Gods into the Adpara as well, and unless it gets too wild, probably many of the Sea gods as well. 

Generally, the gods that can be seen as opposing the Vithelan ideals of cosmic order (vague as that might be) feel appropriate in there. This is purely a personal take on it, but I'd associate the Parloth with Stasis/Harmony and the Avadpara with Change/Disorder maybe moreso than specific elemental alignments, although I suspect trying to enforce that in an absolute fashion will fall together pretty quickly. It's not like the East Isles haven't got their share of rambunctious, adventurous types in an Orlanthi mold (thinking of something like RW Polynesians or Malay for example). 

Vith is depicted with a bright and a dark side, and a bright and a dark wife (Gebkeran (Gorgorma? Ty Kora Tek?) and Laraloori (Ourania? fem-Arraz? fem-Dayzatar? "fem-Aether" proper?)), which admittedly raises some questions. Aether was all bright, it would seem, and it's rather Yelm who has darkness and light aspects to him (ie. life and death in his case), and only in Time. Then again, Vith has retired, so the whole issue is kinda moot as I don't *think* Vith is directly worshipped anymore. 

I always read the Sages as mystics rather than sorcerers, but I'd be open for both (or rather, a mix). I do recall there being talk some some sorcerous schools in the East Isles, although they might also be relics of the God Learners, I forget. But mysticism HAS to have a much more widespread presence here than in Genertela. It should range from a something massively mythical, to an oddity, to something that lots of people engage in for a while before going back out into society, etc., imho. IMHO it should also add to a undercurrent in society that human sages can and do go up against deities, and that deities are perhaps not as absolutely powerful and enlightened as they're seen in certain other parts of Glorantha (mirroring Buddhism's spread and mythology). Admittedly, this doesn't mean that you'll have tons of mystic murderhobos running around, most of them are just living ascetically, some might take a limited route and applying it to specific tasks (including combat) and some might essentially be Tom Bombadil-esque figures: very powerful in their own sphere, but largely uninterested in the wider world ("entanglement") beyond giving some sage advice, shelter, and comfort.

Again, maybe I'm waaaaay off.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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5 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I always read the Sages as mystics rather than sorcerers, but I'd be open for both (or rather, a mix).

Mysticism is not an either/or but enmeshed with other forms of religion.  In an around Dragon Pass, the Yelmalions, the Lunars, the Arkati and the Draconists and perhaps even the Humakti have strong elements of mysticism that form part of their religion.  

 

 

 

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Sivoli and Kamboli

Venform magics are described as using the Six Eyes and One Jewel.  Since these are also spiritual organs, my thinking is to equate them with rune affinities, such as the One Jewel being the strongest elemental affinity (thus Fire is Ruby, Earth is Topaz) and the Eyes being the dominant Power Runes (which would require two more runes, perhaps Luck and Fate).

The Kamboli magics are *like* Spirit Cults, the practitioners worship a Great Spirit (an Organ of the World) with the guidance of a spirit-talker.  The condition of the Spirit Cult is that you must keep performing a specific action (ie daily light fires or cast ignite to maintain membership in the Ruby school).  In return they get a Rune Spell which is considered an emanation of their own self.

Sivoli Practices are far harder in that they have to refrain from specific actions (ie if studying Death, they must not Kill, if studying Life then they must not cast healing magics).  When the time comes to manifest that rune - one time and one time only - they go on a HeroQuest.  Success gives them a Hero-level power instead of the more mundane rune spells of the Kamboli.  

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Thanks for all the responses.    I'm not inexperienced in exploring Vithela - I ran a several year HQ1 campaign involving Lunar missionaries travelling to Teshnos, Vithelan and Kralorela over 10 years ago, back in the dark Ages Before The Guide.   

While the Lunar in me appreciates the God Learner-isms of making parallels between the Parloth and the Orlanthi and Solar pantheons, I'm personally more interested in exploring the East Islanders on their own right.   The correspondences are still useful to think about, and I'll probably post a link here to the gdoc that I start for the game.

 

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On 8/28/2020 at 1:19 AM, aumshantih said:

Thanks for all the responses.    I'm not inexperienced in exploring Vithela - I ran a several year HQ1 campaign involving Lunar missionaries travelling to Teshnos, Vithelan and Kralorela over 10 years ago, back in the dark Ages Before The Guide.   

While the Lunar in me appreciates the God Learner-isms of making parallels between the Parloth and the Orlanthi and Solar pantheons, I'm personally more interested in exploring the East Islanders on their own right.   The correspondences are still useful to think about, and I'll probably post a link here to the gdoc that I start for the game.

 

I don't know what his handle is on here but it might be worth talking to David Millians on Facebook, he's the guy who has done the Kralorela manuscript and I know he was doing some piratie stuff around the East so he might have some ideas for you.

Hope this helps.
A.

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On 8/26/2020 at 10:54 PM, metcalph said:

My opinions

Since the Guide made Vith and Yothenara the equivalents of Aether and Uleria respectively, I've generally prefer to see the Vithelan Gods as more conventional Gloranthan Gods under a different name - Govmeranen has the same runes as Yelm for example.

Namaste Peter:

It's always a pleasure getting your opinion on things, and thanks for the work you do on your wiki.   It's super helpful.

So, while, I see the Yothenera / Uleria connection (and have explored that a bit in the games I've run), the Vith as Aether correspondence, IMHO, seems like a weird God-Learnerism.   Vith's story cycles from Revealed Mythologies have no connections to Fire/Sky from what I can see.   The elemental connections are far more the domains of his wives - Laraloori as the "good or friendly" elements such as Fire, (Fertile) Earth, (Calm) Air, (Fresh) Water, and Gebkeran as "bad and unfriendly" elements like Darkness, (Dark) Earth, (Stormy) Air, (Salt) water.    Instead, Vith seems more like a Mastery / Infinity / Mysticism entity to me.

I hate to contradict the Guide, but I think My Glorantha Will Vary, and I'm OK with that.

Quote

Korudel would then be the equivalent of Lhankor Mhy, Karki for Lodril, Maluraya for Yelmalio etc.

For our game, I'm going to go with Sorcery for the First Sounds / Third Dancers.   

I did a write-up for Karkal for a PC in HQ1 for a previous game.   I had his affinities as

  • Lord of Burning (Fire)
  • Friend to Man (Man)
  • Champion of War (Death)

I suppose subbing Man -> Fertility and Death -> Disorder would work, and fit the Lodrili mold.

Regarding Maluraya:   " The Vithelans do not accord the sun with great wisdom or personality."     I don't see the Yelmalio/Lightfore correspondences myself.

Quote

The Sages are generally the founders of what would be sorcery schools except that they are not concerned with manipulating external energies (except for Martalak) but comprehending higher energies.  Kabalt could be the same force of Humakt

That's an interesting way to approach some of the philosophical schools of Sagecraft in the East.    Regarding the Humakt/Kabalt connection - the guide has them have some runes in common - Death/Truth/Death vs Truth/Death/Mastery - so I could see it.

Honestly, I'm going *way* back to HW1 and looking at some of the writings there for Refutations, Counters, and Strikes.   There are some really great ideas there that didn't carry forward, but I like the idea of "Low" Mystics / Martial artists have things like "Refute Gravity" or "Counter Arrows while Unarmed" and the like.

Quote

I see the Adpara as Darkness equivalents rather than Chaotics because that generally fits the mythology that Greg was reproducing.  Yes, Avanpdur ruled large parts of Glorantha during the Great Darkness but then so too did the Uz.  After all, to quote an ancient passage  "This is one of those many cases where the mortal victims of the Greater Darkness confused the real enemy of Chaos with those People of Darkness, who were not only allies but bearing the real brunt of the fight against the invading Krjalki, often unsupported or opposed by humans" (Glorantha Sourcebook p60).  While there is a chaotic element among the Adpara, I generally don't see it as very strong.  

I'm in mild agreement, though many of them are definitely Chaotic.   Ezran the Chaos Sorcerer to me always seemed similar to Jraktal the Tap.   Fer Retheven the Queen of Sickness as Malia is easy enough.      I'm a little less concerned about their Runes, as I'm in the writing things up for the players (many of whom are new to Glorantha), and I don't think and of them will be wanting to play a Hidden Priest of the Adpara.   

Quote

Oorsu Sara has Storm as he represents the emergence of Storm.  Some of his followers may be better known in elsewhere as the sons of Umath

Oorsu Sara to me looks like a mashup of Orlanth / Vadrus and Ragnalar.   His birth story syncs up with the Unholy Trio as well.

Quote

Avanapdur has Illusion and possibily Moon considering that he is .connected with the Dream World/White Moon mythology.

Herespur could be either Shargash, Zorak Zoran or Orlanth.  

The last campaign in the East had a great deal of Dreaming / Mirrors / Moon related stories, and followers of Adlanari the Black Mirror featured prominently.   I'm unsure if the players will take the story in that direction.

Herespur is a weird one, and I agree that he's one of those "not chaotic but still a problem" Adpara.   Again, from my last campaign, one of my players was a Hensarava / Vai Madar Sa follower, so there was some exploration of the Herespur / Bodastu / Akorgat / Sekever stories.

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On 8/29/2020 at 10:42 AM, Orlanthatemyhamster said:

I don't know what his handle is on here but it might be worth talking to David Millians on Facebook, he's the guy who has done the Kralorela manuscript and I know he was doing some piratie stuff around the East so he might have some ideas for you.

Hope this helps.
A.

Thanks for the advice!   I'm going to pick up the Kralorela WIP/unofficial PDF and look through it, although for this game I want to focus almost entirely on Vithelan island culture.   Vormaini might show up as xenophobic bad guys, Teshnans as slightly cooky foreigners, and a few rare Kralori as scary Dragon mystics... but honestly most of that will be happening on the Other Side, rather than in the "real world".   The campaign is somewhat deliberately set during the Closing (roughly in the 12th century), and I'm not super interested in having that much contact with the rest of world at large. 

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14 hours ago, aumshantih said:

So, while, I see the Yothenera / Uleria connection (and have explored that a bit in the games I've run), the Vith as Aether correspondence, IMHO, seems like a weird God-Learnerism. 

It stems from the earliest sources (Aether being the first ruler who is succeeded by Yelm - RQ Companion p6 PDF) and is even repeated in Revealed Mythologies itself p104 where only their draconic nature is denied rather than their light nature).  Since, as you say, there's no trace of his fiery nature in his myths*, I interpret Vith's nature as being a pure mystical light that is not sensed by worldly eyes but through the soul.  Thus no sunspears or fireblades for a worshipper of Vith!  His wives, Laraloori and Gebkeran are better understood as being Day and Night through which he progenites most of the material world.

*which lead me and others astray for a while.

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Feels like far too much of Glorantha is being shoe horned into Dragon Pass with 'funny hats on'. Fook that for a game of soldiers.

Kudos to you, aumshantihfor going against the grain. Maybe see it in print one day? :)

The Kralori WIP isn't him by the way. My point about contacting him was that his sailors (PCs) were visiting all sorts of places in the East, so he might have some ideas about Vith, not about info for other lands your players might visit.

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4 hours ago, Orlanthatemyhamster said:

Feels like far too much of Glorantha is being shoe horned into Dragon Pass with 'funny hats on'. Fook that for a game of soldiers.

I keep flip-flopping between the one and the other, personally. I appreciate that it makes things easier to grok for people, and that it's definitely more user friendly, but on the other hand it's not as FUN I guess, and it doesn't quite take advantage of Glorantha's built-in mythic relativism, which few other fantasy settings have. 

/endmusings.

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When I was first discovering Glorantha, I fell in love with the God Learner philosophy, as it quickly allowed me to "categorize and syncretize ALL THE THINGS" and gain a foothold into the setting.   I quickly became disillusioned with that, and then rather wholeheartedly became Lunarized, and credit Sedenya with my Sevening.   Then I listened to what Mashunasan said, and now am wholeheartedly engaged in the trenches of the Realization War.

/endmysticalgibberish

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On 9/1/2020 at 4:28 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

I keep flip-flopping between the one and the other, personally. I appreciate that it makes things easier to grok for people, and that it's definitely more user friendly, but on the other hand it's not as FUN I guess, and it doesn't quite take advantage of Glorantha's built-in mythic relativism, which few other fantasy settings have. 

/endmusings.

For me I'm very much in the middle ground, that HeroQ/W went too far in, 'This IS a new deity that ISN'T Orlanth really, and the fact that it name is almost exactly like his and is found in the same area, and has exactly the same runes and has a very similar function is purely coincidental, Honest.' and RQ:G's, 'This deity over the other side of the world which has a completely different role, different runes and a different place in its Pantheon, REALLY IS Orlanth, Honest.' Is bad too.

People new to the game don't need to know about the whole world, and if they want to, Chaosium should have bit of trust in them and not treat the like children.

What would really also help is having a better index in publish materials, a glossary even. The ones so far are awful. A index and glossary should not be an after thought, it should be one, if not 'The' first thing this type of book should have.

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Namaste all:

I've continued working on this, and have recruited some players through my (once in person) gaming circles.   Nearly all are new to Glorantha, which will be an interesting experience.   So far character concepts include a washed up Kralorelan Alchemist, a paraKeet Karkal Temple Guard, and an unassuming fisherman inspired by the selfless stories of Mairnali.

I've been working on trying to figure out how to best model various kinds of mysticism and martial arts in HeroQuest.    I think the Spirit Magic rules (if stretched a little bit) are actually very evocative for VenFornic martial arts.   Charms are integrated, and instead of a physical object and a taboo, they now have a bodily location and a restraint/indulgence.   So the Sivolic adept can have "Iron Lotus Kata" with the bodily location being her skin and the restraint being "never sleep on a comfortable surface", while the Kambolic adept can have "Intoxicating Fragrance Aura" with their bodily location being his sweat, and the indulgence being "eat a flower every day".

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I figured it was time to post an update.

The game has started, and my co-GM and I have twelve players (12) between us!   It's an awful lot, but with covid and our crowd's usual LARP schedule cancelled until post-pandemic, I'm not too surprised.   We're attempting to do the thing with one central narrative that keeps being split into two different groups (run by each of us), and then recombining and splitting up into different groups again.   We'll see how it goes in the long run, as folks tend to drop away from online games.

Out of our 12, 4 of them have played in different Glorantha games I've run, and the rest are new to the setting.   Considering a conceit of the game is amnesia and discovering your identity, most of these folks are playing Vithelans who have been washed up onto the mysterious island of Oro's Respite.

(Did I mention "Lost" is a big influence on the game?)

Magic wise, we have had everyone pick their Three Runes ala HQG, and then offered them potential magical connections to the various Parloth or Mystics that might interest them.   Some players have had more bandwidth or familiarity with the setting, so have started with some specialized magic.   Others will remember things about who they once were, or perhaps join some of the local cults.

I have a few WIP documents with the Runes I've assigned the Parloth, and how I'm handling martial arts and mysticism.   In short, I'm using a bunch of the ideas suggested above:

  • VenFornic magic is Animism, as described above.   It can be accessed through the Spirit or Man Runes, or the runes more specific to that particular tradition.
  • The Bolt is Theism, but can be accessed through various deities.   Kabalt (Truth/Death/Mastery) can be worshipped directly, and is likely the most common way Vithelans reach the Bolt.    However, there are other deities - Hensarava in particular - that experienced The Bolt.   Drawing on RW parallels, we are open to discovering new myths about how other Parloth might have brought forth The Bolt during other conflicts with the Antigods.   
  • (useful) High Mysticism is most like Sorcery.   Various collections of Sutras (grimoires) with various Chants and Mantras (spells) that mostly Refute (dismiss) various impediments to enlightenment.   Runes will vary depending on the teacher - Mashunasan is mostly Truth, Nenduren is Stasis/Law, Mairnali is Harmony, etc.   Some might be stand-alone abilities without any Runes associated with it.
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So because player's make choices:    One of the newbies to Glorantha has picked the Disorder Rune as their primary and most powerful source of magic, and is likely interested in pursuing this further.

To my eye, Disorder seems like something... a little more antigodly from the perspective of Vithelans?   Not that everything can be harmonious all the time, but I can certainly see it frowned upon from the POV of those in charge.

Which reminds me.. there isn't a Trickster analogue I can see amongst the Parloth.   Nor can I easily find any of the greater Parloth or Mystics listed that would include that Rune.   (Larn Hasamador, perhaps?   Moon/Disorder/Harmony or Moon/Stasis/Change all strike me as possibilities for that mystic's teachings.)

Of course, this Lost one could be following their own strange island's Parondpara, but that rediscovery is likely to take some time...

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A Trickster could be analogous to some mystical traditions that deliberate violate social norms as a means to advance in enlightenment and provoke others, like the RW Vamachara ("Left-Handed Attainment") of Hinduism, amongst others including the Aghori who dwell in cemetaries, charnel grounds, etc. 

Not necessarily a FUNNY trickster archetype, but that's besides the point. They're disruptive and, arguably, disorderly, which could be useful. 

Sadly I am not sure which named character in-universe to attach this idea to. 😕 My first idea was Dogsalu (perhaps one of the first "disruptive" entities in the Vithelan mythos), but the more I think about it, the less it fits (too mythologically distant, was enlightened ending his disruptive nature, etc.).

 

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17 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

A Trickster could be analogous to some mystical traditions that deliberate violate social norms as a means to advance in enlightenment and provoke others, like the RW Vamachara ("Left-Handed Attainment") of Hinduism, amongst others including the Aghori who dwell in cemetaries, charnel grounds, etc. 

Huh, I wouldn't have made a connection between Disorder and the Vamachari or the Aghori .   Now that you mention it, it makes some sense, but I would default to a more Law/Chaos or even Fertility/Death dichotomy in my mind.   

I think however, this PC is definitely leaning in the more anarchic funny divine-fool trickster than a subversive dangerous mystic angle.   

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15 minutes ago, aumshantih said:

Huh, I wouldn't have made a connection between Disorder and the Vamachari or the Aghori .   Now that you mention it, it makes some sense, but I would default to a more Law/Chaos or even Fertility/Death dichotomy in my mind.   

I think however, this PC is definitely leaning in the more anarchic funny divine-fool trickster than a subversive dangerous mystic angle.   

Are there any Vithelan gods vaguely similar to, say, Hanuman or something? Heroic, but playful, as it were?

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4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Are there any Vithelan gods vaguely similar to, say, Hanuman or something? Heroic, but playful, as it were?

The deities (or at least the non-antigods) in Revealed Mythologies appear to me quite stodgy, a typical Celestial pantheon problem.

A possible trickster character could be Larn Hasamador, one of the three sages, who meditated on Nothing. All mentions of him run like "And Larn Hasamador? Oh, nothing." Other than Nenduren and Mashunasan, this sage has no heroic moments. 

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7 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Are there any Vithelan gods vaguely similar to, say, Hanuman or something? Heroic, but playful, as it were?

Amongst the larger named Parloth named in Revealed Mythologies... no, not really.   There is of course space in Vithela to discover new Parlothi (or ennobled antigods) to possess those aspects, and we're willing to do that.   A Parondpara or Demigod would make the most sense, in that case.

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