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The issue of the redevelopment of naval cultures has come up in another question, but it occurred to me that I don't recall ever reading how Dormal sidestepped The Closing.  For those who haven't done the background reading, Dormal is the Sailor God.  He was am Esrolian Nobleman, and is claimed as a son of Belintar, who became infatuated with the "call of Magasta".  He had read about voyages during the second age, found a mosaic regarding how to build a ship on a Nochet boat shop floor, performed subsidiary research, obtained finance, and somehow figured out the sorcerous "Open Seas" ritual.  This meant that in the year 1580 that he was the captain of the first ship to set sail beyond the sight of the coast and survive the Closing, which was a sorcerous ritual curse unleashed by Zzabur. 

The question is, what was the loophole Dormal exploited?  Is the Boat Planet related to the Open Seas Ritual or is that just something that cemented Dormal's place as a deity?  

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56 minutes ago, Darius West said:

The question is, what was the loophole Dormal exploited?

There are several possible lines of thought:

  • He's the child of a god (the God-king) so can achieve things other mortals can't
  • He's the child of Belintar, who swam out of/escaped the Closing (we still don't know wherefrom, and probably won't, but he undoubtedly brought the knowledge of that "loophole"), but Belintar in Prince of Sartar is depicted as blue-skinned so a Water connection is likely
  • He's the child of the Earth as you suggested in the other thread (and this perhaps recreates the connection of Faralinthor and Esrola giving birth to Choralinthor)
1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Is the Boat Planet related to the Open Seas Ritual or is that just something that cemented Dormal's place as a deity?

The Boat Planet existed before the Closing, but was lost at that point.  It's return marks the Opening.

The Open Seas ritual is the first step towards its return, and the first step in Dormal's journey.  But Dormal sailed into the God Plane before the return of the Boat Planet, so already a deity.

The Boat Planet can return when someone (i.e. Harrek and Argrath) completes the circumnavigation of the Seas in one continuous voyage.  They complete their journey at the start of 1624, and the Boat Planet rises shortly thereafter.  

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See Missing Lands pages:

101 - What did Dormal do?

110 - Aftal the Waertagi

and here's a snippet of Greg's notes:

Quote

Dormal maintained that his success was built upon a few simple factors, and as long as they were maintained then ships could sail like he did.  These factors included ship design, a practical stout ship with sails; propitiatory worship, especially to the water gods; and a formal cooperation within the crew.

So it looks like he had a Waertagi ship design, propitiatory worship, and a formal cooperation within the crew.

Dormal himself was worshipped, so had a Hero Soul, had a wizard assisting him. So it could be as simple as a magic point powered spell cast through Dormal achieving a protective effect from the closing (what ever that was). The ritual contains points for the effect, propitiation for the sea, air,  monster and upset gods. 

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Maybe he invented the compass.

In a magical world you don’t need a compass, you use magic to sniff out the right path.

But with regular path finding magic confused by the closing, a compass which works by other means could be the solution.

Glorantha doesn’t have a North Poll, so what would a compass point towards? 
 

The answer could be Magasta’s whirlpool. Enchant a drop of water at the end of the needle to try to seek the whirlpool extra hard, then perform a complex calculation based on say the path of Yelm and other heavenly bodies and you would have a very accurate position and bearing.

Edited by EricW
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2 hours ago, Darius West said:

The question is, what was the loophole Dormal exploited?

For me, some is explained in Strangers in Prax.

Dormal seems to have come to an agreement with all the Guardians of the Closing, except one. He arranged agreements with each of them so they didn't attack him when he was on the open seas.  He also agreed a safe refuge where creatures of the sea could come but where Dormal and his followers couldn't.

 

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28 minutes ago, EricW said:

Glorantha doesn’t have a North Poll, so what would a compass point towards? 
 

The answer could be Magasta’s whirlpool. Enchant a drop of water at the end of the needle to try to seek the whirlpool extra hard, then perform a complex calculation based on say the path of Yelm and other heavenly bodies and you would have a very accurate position and bearing.

Yep, that's exactly what Tin Compasses point to, as described in Plunder.

(Edit: Checking my copy of Plunder, tin compasses actually point away from the centre of the world, but the effect is the same. Mytho-metallurgy is a real science in Glorantha.)

Edited by MOB
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2 minutes ago, MOB said:

Yep, that's exactly what Tin Compasses point to, as described in Plunder.

And Pavis Pointers point to Pavis.

We had a Pavis Pointer and a Tin Compass in our RQ2 game, so we could work out roughly where we were at any point. 

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56 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Dormal seems to have come to an agreement with all the Guardians of the Closing, except one. He arranged agreements with each of them so they didn't attack him when he was on the open seas. 

And he's likely able to do this because he's in the Holy Country (where all the elements, including sorcery, are present) and has the intercession of a god (his father) with the other gods (i.e. Guardians of the Closing) and is able to use a sorcerous spell to counter (or work around) Zzabur's spell.  

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...or the ritual merely said, 'this is not a ship or a boat, move along, move along' in a way the guardians would accept. Sidstepping (and probably eroding) the Closing enough to avoid it.

From a forest overlooking the sea

J Kyer

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Dormal maintained that his success was built upon a few simple factors, and as long as they were maintained then ships could sail like he did.  These factors included ship design, a practical stout ship with sails; propitiatory worship, especially to the water gods; and a formal cooperation within the crew.

You would have thought that getting a decent ship design, a decent crew and sacrificing to the Sea gods would have been the first thing people tried after the closing... 

Edited by Akhôrahil
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7 hours ago, EricW said:

The answer could be Magasta’s whirlpool. Enchant a drop of water at the end of the needle to try to seek the whirlpool extra hard, then perform a complex calculation based on say the path of Yelm and other heavenly bodies and you would have a very accurate position and bearing.

The Red Moon, hanging motionless in the middle air, will surely be a huge help to navigation as well (doubly so as with the phases). Measure the angle between the noonday Sun and the Red Moon, and you will have a relevant metric. 

Edited by Akhôrahil
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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

You would have thought that getting a decent ship design, a decent crew and sacrificing to the Sea gods would have been the first thing people tried after the closing...

They may well have.  Which means none of those were the loophole (or perhaps the key) that allowed the Closing to be bypassed (which is all the Open Seas ritual does until the Boat Planet rises and completes its full journey).

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

The Red Moon, hanging motionless in the middle air, will surely be a huge help to navigation as well (doubly so as with the phases). Measure the angle between the noonday Sun and the Red Moon, and you will have a relevant metric. 

Therefore anyone involved in sea-based trade has a vested interest in keeping the Red Moon in the Sky!

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Using a Waertagi design to beat the Closing seems to be not the easy answer, as the Closing did affect the Waertagi of Edrenlin Island, Sog City, or the "ship islands" in Aftal the Waertagi. On the other hand, the Waertagi appear to have made their way to Jrustela by 1049 despite the Closing. "Damn the torpedoes..."

7 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

The Red Moon, hanging motionless in the middle air, will surely be a huge help to navigation as well (doubly so as with the phases). Measure the angle between the noonday Sun and the Red Moon, and you will have a relevant metric. 

Unless the Upper Sky is always magically directly overhead, except for the annual wobble of the axis and the sunpath.. The Red Moon  is hanging lower, in the Middle Sky/Middle Air, and maintains position. But then, so do Stormgate and Zenith.

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17 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The Boat Planet can return when someone (i.e. Harrek and Argrath) completes the circumnavigation of the Seas in one continuous voyage.  They complete their journey at the start of 1624, and the Boat Planet rises shortly thereafter.  

I don't think the one continuous voyage works as Harrek's circumnavigation includes several stop over three years (Guide p732) whereas Hoom Jhis has already done it three times (Guide p600) and possibly Zedez (Guide p508)

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5 hours ago, metcalph said:

I don't think the one continuous voyage works as Harrek's circumnavigation includes several stop over three years

I know I read somewhere that Harrek's voyage completed some key step in the rise of the Boat Planet.  I figured it was something with the circumnavigation, but perhaps it has to do with the stops made, or encounters met?

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19 hours ago, Voriof said:

...or the ritual merely said, 'this is not a ship or a boat, move along, move along' in a way the guardians would accept. Sidstepping (and probably eroding) the Closing enough to avoid it.

There is a lot to be said for this. Painting eyes on the ship so that it looks like another seagoing creature, for instance.

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44 minutes ago, soltakss said:

There is a lot to be said for this. Painting eyes on the ship so that it looks like another seagoing creature, for instance.

Good thought there - though it didn't help the Waertagi dragonships (which presumably are sea dragons with eyes and look like seagoing creatures).

But it does suggest that the prows might need a spirit bound to it (a ship's wyter) to appear "alive".  

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On 8/31/2020 at 4:35 PM, soltakss said:

There is a lot to be said for this. Painting eyes on the ship so that it looks like another seagoing creature, for instance.

You also have to paint those eyes so that the ship can see where it's going. Duh!

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Let us get a clearer understanding of what the Closing entails.  Firstly it doesn't affect ships that are in sight of land.  Secondly, it could be overcome at great cost, as the Last Ship (The Middle Sea Empire, p27) reveals.  Sometimes it manifests as a becalming, while at other times it manifests as dangerously high seas.  It should also be known that the God Learners used flying spells and flying craft and they too were under attack, but were they attacked by the Closing?  Doubtful.  

I would suggest that the Closing was more than just Zzabur's spell.  I think that the water folk were actively using new methods to attack the Jrusteli, and the Closing spell was helping to identify targets.  There seems to have been Air God collusion involved too. 

On 8/30/2020 at 10:39 PM, David Scott said:

Dormal himself was worshipped, so had a Hero Soul, had a wizard assisting him. So it could be as simple as a magic point powered spell cast through Dormal achieving a protective effect from the closing (what ever that was). The ritual contains points for the effect, propitiation for the sea, air,  monster and upset gods. 

Where does it say that Dormal was worshipped prior to his voyages?  I have not come across that.  My readings only suggest that he was an Esrolian nobleman, and thus worthy of less reverence than his mum.

On 9/3/2020 at 9:57 PM, Akhôrahil said:

You also have to paint those eyes so that the ship can see where it's going. Duh!

It has occurred to me, and probably others, that the painted eyes may actually be central to the ritual of the opening.  Consider, Zzabur didn't want to create a ritual that would destroy all life in the ocean, only to wipe ships from the surface.  So how do you identify what is a ship and what is a large sea creature (you don't want to jeopardise a shaky alliance with Magasta and kill his monsters) ?  Eyes would be a logical point of identification for a living creature.  That smells like a loophole.

On 8/31/2020 at 6:25 AM, Akhôrahil said:

You would have thought that getting a decent ship design, a decent crew and sacrificing to the Sea gods would have been the first thing people tried after the closing... 

Yes, absolutely, the God Learners weren't rubes.  They had even invented a couple of sea gods of their own by that stage.  As the story of the Last Ship shows, it was possible for the God Learners to brute force their way through the closing using their best equipment, but it would be badly damaged.

On 8/31/2020 at 4:50 AM, Voriof said:

or the ritual merely said, 'this is not a ship or a boat, move along, move along' in a way the guardians would accept. Sidstepping (and probably eroding) the Closing enough to avoid it.

Agreed.  But would this have been via a Countermagic effect, or an invisibility effect, or a detection block etc?  Clearly the Closing spell was targeting ships, and clearly the Open Seas ritual allows a ship to bypass the effect. 

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2 hours ago, Darius West said:

It has occurred to me, and probably others, that the painted eyes may actually be central to the ritual of the opening.  Consider, Zzabur didn't want to create a ritual that would destroy all life in the ocean, only to wipe ships from the surface.  So how do you identify what is a ship and what is a large sea creature (you don't want to jeopardise a shaky alliance with Magasta and kill his monsters) ?  Eyes would be a logical point of identification for a living creature.  That smells like a loophole.

 

Personally, I'd be wary of going overtly "science-esque" with this. I'm not sure if trying to list a bunch of diagnostic traits of boats in a spell is how things are done. Perhaps more fittingly, Zzabur may have reached for something like the Platonic ideal of a boat, rendering the sea hostile to that ideal, metaphysical "boatness". That's more Glorantha's style, I think. The spell knows. It just knows. Until it doesn't. 

I also agree that there are more factors at play. The Closing is one of things things I personally prefer to keep a mystery, but I obviously understand why people would want to untangle it. Aside from curiosity, it can help with plot points in RPs.

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22 hours ago, Darius West said:

Secondly, it could be overcome at great cost, as the Last Ship (The Middle Sea Empire, p27) reveals. 

HeroQuesting can overcome the Closing on an individual basis, which is what I think happened there.

22 hours ago, Darius West said:

I would suggest that the Closing was more than just Zzabur's spell.  I think that the water folk were actively using new methods to attack the Jrusteli, and the Closing spell was helping to identify targets.  There seems to have been Air God collusion involved too. 

In my Glorantha, various groups are Agents of the closing, so they were "hired" by Magasta and Zzabur to protect the Closing, or perhaps were mythically obliged to do so.

So, monsters, winds, Doom Currents, merfolk, pirates and so on stop ships from crossing the seas.

22 hours ago, Darius West said:

Where does it say that Dormal was worshipped prior to his voyages?  I have not come across that.  My readings only suggest that he was an Esrolian nobleman, and thus worthy of less reverence than his mum.

He was probably worshipped by his crew, to give him power for the voyages. he would certainly be worshipped by his crew after his First Voyage and by those he met on his Voyages. His Seventh Voyage was to the Otherworld, where he leads the Boat Planet, enabling everyone to sail the seas.

22 hours ago, Darius West said:
On 8/30/2020 at 9:25 PM, Akhôrahil said:

You would have thought that getting a decent ship design, a decent crew and sacrificing to the Sea gods would have been the first thing people tried after the closing... 

Yes, absolutely, the God Learners weren't rubes.  They had even invented a couple of sea gods of their own by that stage.  As the story of the Last Ship shows, it was possible for the God Learners to brute force their way through the closing using their best equipment, but it would be badly damaged.

The God Learners were smashed by the Closing. Zzabur didn't much care for the God Learners, after all they weren't Brithini, so I would guess that he made the Closing so that everything they tried failed, because it was a trick to trap them. Also, with the loss of Zistor, the rolling over of Slontos, avenging Orlanthi and the Closing, they had a lot of things to worry about.

22 hours ago, Darius West said:
On 8/30/2020 at 7:50 PM, Voriof said:

or the ritual merely said, 'this is not a ship or a boat, move along, move along' in a way the guardians would accept. Sidstepping (and probably eroding) the Closing enough to avoid it.

Agreed.  But would this have been via a Countermagic effect, or an invisibility effect, or a detection block etc?  Clearly the Closing spell was targeting ships, and clearly the Open Seas ritual allows a ship to bypass the effect. 

Maybe the First Voyage did "this is not a ship" trick and then Dormal approached some Agents of the Closing and said "Look, you know that you can't let ships through? Well I just sailed a ship across the sea, so you really suck at this. How about you let my ships through again and I won't tell Magasta how bad you suck?"

19 hours ago, Runeblogger said:
22 hours ago, Darius West said:

Firstly it doesn't affect ships that are in sight of land. 

That means you're only in trouble at night and when there's fog/mist and obstacles in line of sight, right?

And that is one of the tricks that the Closing plays on you. Your ship is in sight of land, but it raises a fog bank between you and the land, trapping you in the Closing. I think that some people lit fires or beacons along the shore, so that ships could see land. What happens if someone puts those beacons out?

Edited by soltakss
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4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Where does it say that Dormal was worshipped prior to his voyages?  I have not come across that.  My readings only suggest that he was an Esrolian nobleman, and thus worthy of less reverence than his mum.

As stated previously - What did Dormal do? Missing Lands page 101..

Not prior to his voyages, he created the protestion himself, but others, afterwards had to worship him to get the protection.

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3 hours ago, soltakss said:

Maybe the First Voyage did "this is not a ship" trick and then Dormal approached some Agents of the Closing and said "Look, you know that you can't let ships through? Well I just sailed a ship across the sea, so you really suck at this. How about you let my ships through again and I won;t tell Magasta how bad you suck?"

Haha, love it!  😆

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