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Is Argrath an EWF Orlanth Draconic Worshipper?


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Argrath displays powers associated with the Empire of the Wyrms Friends, yet appears different in some ways, for example he is able to work with and lead old ways Orlanthi without the friction and conflict which marred the EWF.

What does everyone think? Is Argrath a full EWF convert who doesn’t push his faith the way EWF did? Or did he just pick up elements of draconic mysticism, and integrate these powers somehow with the regular Orlanth beliefs?  If the latter, which bits did he leave out?

How does he avoid upsetting the dragonewts with his mastery of forbidden magics?

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Argrath appears to be of a mystical persuasion, but for all his study of EWF mysticism there are equal amounts of Arkati mysticism and Nysalorean/Lunar mystic teachings in his background. Personally, I would name him as a neo-Arkati rather than a draconic or Nysalorean mystic.

In a very real sense, Argrath is Arkat returned. One of five who are going to grace Ralios with their upheavals.

I am not quite clear what exactly his Temples of the Reaching Storm are going to achieve, other than to nullify the altered magical reality emitted by the Temples of the Reaching Moon. If his realm is the carrier of a new mystical identity, what could it be? A Glorantha without the major deities, or without them intervening as strongly as they did in the past?

Or does he bring back the concept of the Great Living Heroes, individuals worshipped like deities, replacing the agency of the traditional priesthood cults? That weird fragment "Orlanth Argrathi" hints at him taking on the mantle of Orlanth in a similar way that Jar-eel is taking on the mantle of Sedenya. Powerful incarnations of the deities, not bound by compromise, but possibly weaker than the original deities in earlier ages?

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15 hours ago, EricW said:

What does everyone think? Is Argrath a full EWF convert who doesn’t push his faith the way EWF did? Or did he just pick up elements of draconic mysticism, and integrate these powers somehow with the regular Orlanth beliefs?  If the latter, which bits did he leave out?

I think that Argrath has reawakend some of the secrets of the EWF and has become a bit of a dragon mystic.

After all, he uses the EWF War Banner,. has the dragontooth Warriors and helped awaken the Brown Dragon, although some say that it was Kallyr. I am sure he uses more later on, even though this might not be documented.

He probably left out Orlanth the Dragon, as that would probably be a step too far.

15 hours ago, EricW said:

How does he avoid upsetting the dragonewts with his mastery of forbidden magics?

He probably asked them for permission and got it, so it is nor forbidden for him.

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

That weird fragment "Orlanth Argrathi" hints at him taking on the mantle of Orlanth in a similar way that Jar-eel is taking on the mantle of Sedenya. Powerful incarnations of the deities, not bound by compromise, but possibly weaker than the original deities in earlier ages?

I think it's very hard to read the Net ritual as anything except removing the competition.

Interestingly, it's also hard not to see the dragons as the ultimate winners of the HeroWars. Should we really believe that Argrath was using them rather than the other way around?

Edited by Akhôrahil
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52 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Why would the dragons want the other gods removed though?

Orlanth fought wars with dragons and killed and imprisoned them, Nysalor / Gbaji enslaved the dragonewts,  Sedenya stole some of their magic, EWF perverted their magic. I don't know what Wakboth did to the dragons but it probably wasn't pleasant. Dragons certainly had plenty of motivation to remove the possibility of future magical assaults on their activities. 

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On 11/26/2020 at 2:29 AM, EricW said:

How does he avoid upsetting the dragonewts with his mastery of forbidden magics?

For me the dragon magic are forbidden to humans who want to become dragon following a "wrong" way. After all dragonewts allowed/teached this magic at the beginning of ewf. They stopped only when they see humans do "wrong" things.

As Argrath seems to not try to become a dragon / or to use in a wrong way the dragon magic he may have, seems to me that  there is not an issue.

in addition, if it is a dragon(ewt) who teached Argrath (do we know how he learned draconic knowledge, sorcery knowledge, shamanic knowledge, all his knowlegde ?) Argrath is a tool, not a master from draconic perspective

 

 

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I do think it’s a bit dubious that the EWF were thousands of people doing stuff over hundreds of years and still ultimately failing, but then Argrath comes along and gets everything right on his first try and is better at it than the EWF ever were.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I do think it’s a bit dubious that the EWF were thousands of people doing stuff over hundreds of years and still ultimately failing, but then Argrath comes along and gets everything right on his first try and is better at it than the EWF ever were.

Well, iirc, they started off doing things the right way, like Obduran, but then later fell into the temptation of using draconic disciplines in a way that did not help disentangle them from the world. 

Now, Argrath seems very much entangled in the world, so not sure why he gets a pass, hence why I'm guessing he's following some different deal than the EWF mystics were.

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11 hours ago, EricW said:

Orlanth fought wars with dragons and killed and imprisoned them, Nysalor / Gbaji enslaved the dragonewts,  Sedenya stole some of their magic, EWF perverted their magic. I don't know what Wakboth did to the dragons but it probably wasn't pleasant. Dragons certainly had plenty of motivation to remove the possibility of future magical assaults on their activities. 

Yeah but... would the dragons *really* care about all that? I can't help but think that the dragons pretty much have everything under control and they only allow this stuff to happen because it's not really interfering with their plans. 

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Yeah but... would the dragons *really* care about all that? I can't help but think that the dragons pretty much have everything under control and they only allow this stuff to happen because it's not really interfering with their plans. 

I kinda like the idea that the dragons want something done about the red moon and the gods, but since they're not supposed to get involved in worldly matters, they merely pull Argrath's strings instead. Win-win (but everyone else loses).

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"I am gonna play with running Argrath differently in each campaign I GM.
For my current, Argrath worships one thing above all else: Argrath."

I rather like this bottom-line perspective. Depending on the story you want to tell, Argrath can be the savior, the villain, or even the next vehicle for Chaos to enter the world, after the Lunars have proven to be too weak and worthy only of exterminion. The opposite of good may not be evil, but power.

 

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4 minutes ago, Storm Khan said:

"I am gonna play with running Argrath differently in each campaign I GM.
For my current, Argrath worships one thing above all else: Argrath."

I rather like this bottom-line perspective. Depending on the story you want to tell, Argrath can be the savior, the villain, or even the next vehicle for Chaos to enter the world, after the Lunars have proven to be too weak and worthy only of exterminion. The opposite of good may not be evil, but power.

 

next time I'll run him as "I just wanted my goddamn sheep back and now I am ghengis-stormjesus and I am just really tired you guys"

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7 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I do think it’s a bit dubious that the EWF were thousands of people doing stuff over hundreds of years and still ultimately failing, but then Argrath comes along and gets everything right on his first try and is better at it than the EWF ever were.

Allowing Argath to do his thing may be the karmic payback for the Dragonkill.  Allowing his rise and revenge cancels out mass slaughter of DP people karmically.

 

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I'm going to take a different tack. 

What do we know about Argrath and draconism?

- He had EWF magic in the form of the Banner of the Second Army, and could use it. 
- He had the Dragontooth Runners, which may or may not be the War Teeth of Ingolf. 
- He had dragonewt assistance sometimes.
- He was falsely believed in later days to have summoned griffins when defending the Cradle. 
- Orlaront Dragonfriend was an associate of his. 
- The Moonfall was attributed to him and his summoning of dragons using the "power of his left hand", which he supposedly had not used before. 

What do we know about Argrath and the gods? 

- He may have declared himself to be an incarnate Orlanth. 
- He was universally believed in later days to have changed the way people spoke to the gods.
- There is a story about him causing the gods to be devoured by the Devil. 

What do we know about dragons?

- Dragons generally are indifferent to the world to the extent of letting themselves be undone by Chaos in the Gods War, and active draconic interference in human activities is noteworthy. 

So, perhaps what happened is that, at some point during or after the Hero Wars, the old rituals and means of contacting the gods stopped working. New ones had to be used and developed. Some of these are attributed to the hero-king Argrath. Argrath is also blamed for this change. 

People attempting to explain why the gods are indifferent come up with a story that the gods are gone. Then they begin to make contact again, and this story clearly cannot be true. So they suggest that the gods had become dragonlike for a while, and then they construct a vision of Argrath as a sort of supreme draconic mystic who brought this about for some higher purpose. Praise Argrath! And as they do so, they take different individual stories, in some cases twisting them directly, and attribute anything draconic they can to him. But this is in turn, based on the Moonfall, where dragons appeared to destroy the Red Moon and tear it from the sky. (But it's still here, and now it's invisible instead.) 

What, then, is the truth? Well, Argrath probably isn't a dragon himself. (It's worth noting that "power of his left hand" is probably a metaphorical reference to the direct use of draconic magic- dragonewts are left-handed, Orlanth carries Sh'hakar'zeel's head in his left hand to symbolize draconic wisdom/power. So whichever sources drawn upon for the Argrath's Saga believed Argrath had never directly used draconic magic before, or at least publicly so.) He also probably isn't a Sheng Seleris, a demon-bodhisattva driven on by trauma and yearning in equal measures. The simplest explanation might be the least satisfying: Argrath was a Larnsting, unable to be fit into any single classification cleanly. 

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On 11/26/2020 at 1:29 AM, EricW said:

What does everyone think? Is Argrath a full EWF convert who doesn’t push his faith the way EWF did? Or did he just pick up elements of draconic mysticism, and integrate these powers somehow with the regular Orlanth beliefs?  If the latter, which bits did he leave out?

How does he avoid upsetting the dragonewts with his mastery of forbidden magics?

Looking at his early life answers some of this. His earliest Dragon encounters are in the Wastes. I have him on his Praxian initiation doing an as yet undiscovered Task of Waha, Waha and the Dragon, at the taboo Dragonteeth hills. Although taboo for Praxians, he's not yet one. so not taboo for him. At the Dragonteeth Hills he meets Meeting All Eyes Open But One, and receives the Dragon tooth warriors. Yazurkial Blue Llama is also there on his khan making, Yazurkial later brings the Shadow Dragon to the Moonfall. I can only speculate as to what happened at the meeting with Dragon, but I suspect he was given the teeth as the seed of some great dragon plan. I play it as Yazurkial is the Dragon vehicle, and Argrath is in his dragon field. The list in KoS, then details his further steps in Argrath Dragonfiend, clearly out of order.

Where did he get Ormsword from?

The EWF Banner was likely recovered from the EWF's old headquarters where ever that was.

It's clear to me that he was sponsored by the dragons, perhaps they needed human intercession to do things like bring down the moon. He gradually added to his draconic repertoire, rather than being a full on member of a draconic order. perhaps the dragonewts understood this and slowly loaded him up.

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11 hours ago, Eff said:

- He had EWF magic in the form of the Banner of the Second Army, and could use it. 

This major treasure may already have been used earlier on in the Resettlement conflicts of Dragon Pass, possibly resisting the claims of the Twin Dynasty on the Quivini tribes, possibly trying to fight Jaldon's great horde (and likely getting lost in that attempt). It never surfaced in the history of the Sartar dynasty.

 

11 hours ago, Eff said:

- He had the Dragontooth Runners, which may or may not be the War Teeth of Ingolf. 

or an equivalent heroquest reward. This sounds like something he acquired during his times in Pavis, as he already has them when he first appears in the battles of the White Bear and Red Moon / Dragon Pass boardgame.

Martin Helsdon's "Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass" gives an origin for the Dragontooth Runners, and the shape they take (p.317).

As these are already depicted by Kalin Kadiev in Jeff Richard's "Prince of Sartar" webcomic, they are obviously something that he picked up prior to the Cradle incident. But as they evidently did not participate in the Cradle scenario, he may only have learned to activate that magic later on.

Armies and Enemies clearly states that the dragontooth runners cannot revert back after having been summoned. That means that the survivors among them hang on to Argrath, forming part of his bodyguard, alongside the White Bull society.

11 hours ago, Eff said:

- He had dragonewt assistance sometimes.

That may be one of the perks of becoming King of Dragon Pass (or possibly even entering the contest for becoming one - Moirades was able to hire dragonewts for the conquest of Boldhome), or it may just be the expression of the diplomacy game of the Full Game of the boardgame. Much of the boardgame background published in 1975 still is our metaplot for the region.

11 hours ago, Eff said:

- He was falsely believed in later days to have summoned griffins when defending the Cradle. 

Wasn't it wyverns? There were wyverns involved in the 1621 battle of Corflu between Cradle defenders, Lunar forces and Argrath's questing companions (returning with Pinchining). They were ridden by the Lunar coders, though - an elite hero band.

There are also the dinosaurs available for alliance in the boardgame, which include pteranodons as one of the few flying units of that game. 

11 hours ago, Eff said:

- Orlaront Dragonfriend was an associate of his. 

That is one of the strongest factors pointing to him using draconic lore and magic besides the dragontooth runners. It may have been Orlaront who taught Argrath to release the Dragontooth Runners when he went to Pavis in exile. Otherwise their absence from the defense of the Cradle makes no sense.

 

Another scholar of draconism who fights for Argrath is Tosti Runefriend, a Jonstown sage who has researched Kralorela and its ties to the EWF and the God Learners, whose methods may have influenced more than his own company of the Magical Union.

11 hours ago, Eff said:

- The Moonfall was attributed to him and his summoning of dragons using the "power of his left hand", which he supposedly had not used before. 

The Moonfall is going to be an utuma that involves dragons, according to Argrath Saga. It is highly likely that the King of Dragon Pass has a hand in this liberation of the Red Goddess. But it is as likely that Jar-eel has inherited some of the covenant her ancestress Hon-eel made with the dragon, and that she is pulling in that covenant to achieve her ascension as the new, even more liberated goddess of the moon to come.

 

11 hours ago, Eff said:

What do we know about dragons?

- Dragons generally are indifferent to the world to the extent of letting themselves be undone by Chaos in the Gods War, and active draconic interference in human activities is noteworthy. 

Do you have a source for dragons allowing themselves to be undone by Chaos in the Gods War? Other than the dragon that rose to save Boldhome in 1602 in mutual annihilation with the Crimson Bat (creating the Chaos Ground near Runegate as the fall-out), I know of no story with a dragon destroyed by Chaos. There are likely to be several of those, though.

But there is a story how the dragons (alone of all denizens of Glorantha) entered the world from the outside, indicating an ability at least of the Ancient Dragons to traverse the Void. It is part of the myth where Larnste meets the dragons while sowing the Rockwood Mountains.

Ingolf's Saga also shows us a way of draconic mysticism (a way capable of leading towards True Dragonhood) which requires that the mystic undergo questing (or soul-cleansing) in some outer, fairly entropic far regions on the edge of the Gloranthan cosmos on their way to the Ultimate. This suggests a certain immunity to the annihilation that contact with the Chaos Void usually brings.

It is possible that there have been dragons who used the confrontation with Chaos as their means of utuma to transcend the world. If that is what you meant in the quote above, yes, there were dragons that allowed themselves to be consumed by Chaos. And the one taking on the Crimson Bat may have been such a case, too.

 

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Thanks for that additional info, David.

10 minutes ago, David Scott said:

It's clear to me that he was sponsored by the dragons, perhaps they needed human intercession to do things like bring down the moon. He gradually added to his draconic repertoire, rather than being a full on member of a draconic order. perhaps the dragonewts understood this and slowly loaded him up.

A bit of this is visible in Argrath's experience of the Initiation of Orlanth, as he releases among others the dragon imprisoned alongside the Strange Gods. The same dragon that appears in the panel of the rebel gods (including Sedenya, btw) failing to achieve liberation by slaying Yelm in Jar-eel's teaching of Beat Pot, or in the last of the Copper Tablets depicted in the Guide.

Orlanth is in many ways the utuma tool of Sh'hakarzeel. Argrath can be such a vessel to dragondom in general, or to a specific draconic purpose in particular. Possibly the still unawakened Great Dragon from the abandoned EWF project?

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