Jump to content

why is Argrath considered an asshole?


Recommended Posts

from Kallyr's Dragonrise heroquest

I'm unconvinced that Argrath is any more an asshole than other contemporaneous figures.

I suspect that the animosity is generated from two things:

  1. He succeeded where Kallyr failed. He may have taken credit for some of her achievements, however it's more than possible that some of his fan-bois / sycophants may have tried to credit him without his active encouragement. And Kallyr was not without her own flaws. She had many enemies, some ancestral / political, some from prejudice against a extremely powerful woman worshipper of Orlanth, and some resulting from her own actions / betrayals. Possibly non-canon now, she started out her adult life treating the gods as mere ciphers to gain her powers (do x to achieve power y, with no love, belief, or humility), and then got burned by those gods being reachable entities with some level of agency and personality. And she may even have had a child by Pole-Star only as a path to power, and then abandoned the boy.
  2. With his trickster, he killed the gods, including Orlanth. I'm extremely dubious about this part of his 'history'. The section's breathless style seems reminiscent of the wildest conspiracy theories that we see too much of on social media. It indicates that afterwards there's no magic, however in various places in King of Sartar, the researcher indicates that there is still magic around as if it were completely normal.

What do you think?

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 256
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

It's surprisingly complicated. Greg had already written at least a little about just about every place except for what we now call Central Genertela (Sartar, Prax, Shadows Dance, Holy Country and

1. The historical void Argrath emerges from, and the deliberately contradictory history of himself we receive, limits our ability to sympathize with him. People like Kallyr, Fazzur, the Red Emperor, a

There are places in Glorantha where the magical geography facilitates bringing the God Time into the mundane world. In all of Sartar, the Lunars determined that this was a place of raw power, and not

Posted Images

Oh, to be fair to Artgath, pretty much everyone who has Superhero status is some kind of blood-soaked maniac.  Jar-Eel incarnates the Harmony Rune, and she is a killer.  If the incarnation of the Harmony Rune is most noted for murder, then everyone else hasn't got much of a chance.

It's that the narratives we have about him basically lick his feet and proclaim he is the awesomest while he is stacking the bodies to the ceiling.

Whereas, Harrek is a crazed killer but none of the accounts pretend he is anything but a crazed killer.

(Also, Argath unleashes Sheng Seleris, who is Genghis Khan's flaws and none of Genghis' better qualities, on Peloria just as a diversion.)

King of Sartar is sufficiently self-contradictory and ambiguous it's hard to be sure what he did, anyway.  But it's main job is to scream ARGATH IS THE BEST, while putting forward lots of evidence he isn't.

 

 

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Charles said:

With his trickster, he killed the gods, including Orlanth. I'm extremely dubious about this part of his 'history'. The section's breathless style seems reminiscent of the wildest conspiracy theories that we see too much of on social media. It indicates that afterwards there's no magic, however in various places in King of Sartar, the researcher indicates that there is still magic around as if it were completely normal.

I see this story of Argrath failing in the Ritual of the Net as being very similar to that of King Arthur and the head of Bran.  Arthur digs up the head of the pagan god Bran declaring that henceforth that the strength of men would protect Britain, and becoming the protector of Britain in Bran's place.  It seems much the same thing happened with Argrath, but really, what do you expect from an illuminate?  I'm surprised he stayed "on message" as long as he did.

Consider however that the gods are in fact stagnant and ossified.  Their story changes by iotas every time some desperate mortal hero quests, but for the rest of the time their fate is not dissimilar to the Iron Maiden lyrics of the song "Powerslave".  The name Argrath means "liberator", and in fact, his greatest act was to liberate mortals from the tyranny of the gods, and liberated the gods from the slavery of the trap they had placed themselves in by becoming gods.  Sacred utumas all round.

Edited by Darius West
  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the long and the short of it is that Argrath is the end of Glorantha as we know it. this world we know and love end due to him and becomes something different and unknown.

 

addendum: the struggle of sartar and other free people against the lunar empire is to save their culture, their religion and their way of life. But Argrath changes all these things anyways. 

Edited by coffeemancer
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

My problem with Argrath, as a character, isn't about his assholeness. As other people has already mentioned, there are a lot of candidates for that position in Glorantha. My main issue is he screams Mary Sue to me.

He was forced to leave his clan and was taken as slave by the Praxians, but he managed to set himself free and discovered a spirit society that unified the Praxians around him. He is a Draconic Mystic, equivalent to an Illuminate in all important matters, but with no links to Chaos. He releases Sheng-Seleris in Peloria but it was a just thing because reasons. And so on...

Oh, and he's also the rightful heir of Sartar.

That's the reason I liked the multiple-Argrath theory. It makes a lot of more sense if he is a group of people collated into a single folk hero after the Hero Wars.

 

  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Argrath is a bit of a Mary-Sue. That's by design, as he is a reborn Arkat. Not the full (superhero) package, but 20% of that, the package which liberated Maniria, Kethaela, Kerofinela and much of Saird from the Bright Empire, before the increasing use of Chaos powers led him onward to follow the ways of Zorak Zoran and Kyger Litor.

His role in the White Bear and Red Moon board game was basically Arkat from Greg's ongoing western writings pulled ahead in history, even beyond the era of the God Learners and their collapse. Just like Arkat, Argrath walks many paths, acquiring a number of hugely overpowered abilities from that. But he is far from the only such character. Apart from his exotic magic abilities to nullify the Glowline or Glowspot and to call up the Dragontooth Runners, he is on par with the Feathered Horse Queen, Gunda, and Beat-pot. The Red Emperor and the Inhuman King out-magic him by far. Ethilrist is a better leader than him. Cragspider's exotic magic is the most destructive in the game, and she has a tame dragon at her command.

 

If you look at the Composite History of Dragon Pass (published in King of Dragon Pass), the Salinarg chapter reads like a game report of a WBRM game, with extra characters like the Household of Death added as additional units. No idea whether Greg actually rolled dice and played it out, but I think it's quite possible that he did. At the very least, I expect that troop movements were tracked on the hex grid.

All of the Glorantha that we know and love grew out of this boardgame, its companion game Nomad Gods and the design notes for the third, even more magical one Masters of Luck and Death, little of which actually has been done, although the concepts have been explored in some depth - see Arcane Lore for what became of those early concepts after their contact with rpgs, and RuneQuest. 

Garrath Sharpsword of the Pavis Box is a glimpse at Argrath at an earlier stage. We learn only little about him from his cameos in the Cradle scenario, and otherwise he appears as one possible sword trainer and Orlanth rune master. There is hardly anything about his ties to the Praxians there.

 

The Making of Argrath - A Retrospective doesn't quite sound like something for a pen & paper rpg. On the other hand, it seems to be perfect to me for a first person computer game, although being limited to a male character creates some problems with modern computer rpg design.

A similar set for The Making of Kallyr could be the prequel, offering a female perspective. A completely different story-line might be created for the Feathered Horse Queen.

Not sure whether playing Harrek or Jar-eel in first person would be a good game. Assassinating a demigod emperor only as an  early- or mid-game obstacle certainly sets up the stakes a bit. There might be quite a bit of railroading.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Yes, Argrath is a bit of a Mary-Sue. That's by design, as he is a reborn Arkat. Not the full (superhero) package, but 20% of that, the package which liberated Maniria, Kethaela, Kerofinela and much of Saird from the Bright Empire, before the increasing use of Chaos powers led him onward to follow the ways of Zorak Zoran and Kyger Litor.

His role in the White Bear and Red Moon board game was basically Arkat from Greg's ongoing western writings pulled ahead in history, even beyond the era of the God Learners and their collapse. Just like Arkat, Argrath walks many paths, acquiring a number of hugely overpowered abilities from that. But he is far from the only such character. Apart from his exotic magic abilities to nullify the Glowline or Glowspot and to call up the Dragontooth Runners, he is on par with the Feathered Horse Queen, Gunda, and Beat-pot. The Red Emperor and the Inhuman King out-magic him by far. Ethilrist is a better leader than him. Cragspider's exotic magic is the most destructive in the game, and she has a tame dragon at her command.

I reckon my contact with the character is the Guide, the Glorantha Handbook and King of Sartar, so I don't know about the development of the character itself.

But you made another good point about Argrath's Mary-sueness. He is Arkat, but better. He managed to gain all this powers and cool toys without alienating his allies. It's like Arkat confronting Nysalor in the battle of the Tower of Dreams with the support the of Brithini, the hrestoli, the trolls, the Orlanthi and a chap from Wales.

But I'm starting to derail the topic...

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

1. The historical void Argrath emerges from, and the deliberately contradictory history of himself we receive, limits our ability to sympathize with him. People like Kallyr, Fazzur, the Red Emperor, and even Sheng Seleris have historical contexts that allow us to understand their actions as driven by their experiences. We can see them as underdogs struggling against a cruel or indifferent universe. Argrath is a cipher.

2. Argrath's victories mean that many underdogs lose. The Telmori are exterminated or driven out of Dragon Pass under his rule. Old Tarsh is crushed, first by Mularik Ironeye and then by the Fazzurist succession under Annstad. Belintar and Ezkankekko remain dead and dismembered. Supposedly, half the civilian population of Pent or Pent and Peloria are killed and eaten by the Blue Moon trolls and snow trolls. 

3. The sources we have elide any struggling Argrath did and present his actions as a series of victories via pulling new magic/minor rules of the WBRM boardgame out of his ass. The overall effect as a conventional narrative is, to alter a quote about the American Revolution I cannot find the source for anymore, "Argrath did this, and Argrath did that, and Argrath did another damn thing. Argrath smote the ground with lightning, and up popped Sheng Seleris and his horse, and the three of them- Argrath, Sheng, and the horse- went and overthrew the Lunars together."

King of Sartar is not a traditional narrative, of course, and other similar narratives in Gloranthan writing are not especially sympathy-inducing. What evokes sympathy are things which delve into psychology a bit, which is difficult for Argrath. 

  • Like 10
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Charles said:

I'm unconvinced that Argrath is any more an asshole than other contemporaneous figures.

I suspect that the animosity is generated from two things:

There's definitely an anti-Argrath feeling of late.  The "god-killing" may be one, but I see a couple other reasons popping up in the subsequent posts and those seem in line with what I've seen recently:

The Genocide Bringer

7 hours ago, John Biles said:

Argath unleashes Sheng Seleris, who is Genghis Khan's flaws and none of Genghis' better qualities, on Peloria just as a diversion.

Argrath "frees" or brings back Sheng Seleris, and therefore causes the genocide of the Pelorians.  Yet, we also know that Sheng Seleris is the Red Moon's shadow and may be destined to return whether Argrath is there to shoulder the blame or not.

We also don't know the extent of Sheng Seleris' destruction, any more than we know the destruction that Harrek wrought upon Laskal or the King of Seshnela upon the populace of Ralios.

The loss of the Many-Argraths

2 hours ago, Mameluco said:

liked the multiple-Argrath theory. It makes a lot of more sense if he is a group of people collated into a single folk hero after the Hero Wars.

What is clear is that there is a storyline centered on one Argrath. Whether he performed or ever performs all (or even some) of the deeds from King of Sartar remains to be seen (and I suspect all of our campaigns will increasingly diverge from that).  I always thought the MRQ book Dara Happa Stirs handled that well giving player agency to events later ascribed to the DH Emperor.  Hopefully the Hero Wars campaign will support that.

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

There is also a Lunar-partisan effect where the fact is that the "Orlanthi" (Tarsh/Sartar) view of the Hero Wars was finished and published and the "Lunar" one was not, and the triumph of the Lunar Way is something that has to be read via the gaps in King of Sartar and across the historical sources generally. But I can content myself with noting that the "Malkioni" view is even less developed (and was, as far as I am aware, almost vestigial before the publication of the additional Hero Wars prophetic material in the Guide) and we know even less about other perspectives, even ones right in the Dragon Pass area. Which certainly helps when I get the urge to clutch my Red Moon necklace and chant "We are all Us. The Victory shall be Ours." :V

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

There's definitely an anti-Argrath feeling of late.  The "god-killing" may be one, but I see a couple other reasons popping up in the subsequent posts and those seem in line with what I've seen recently:

The Genocide Bringer

Argrath "frees" or brings back Sheng Seleris, and therefore causes the genocide of the Pelorians.  Yet, we also know that Sheng Seleris is the Red Moon's shadow and may be destined to return whether Argrath is there to shoulder the blame or not.

We also don't know the extent of Sheng Seleris' destruction, any more than we know the destruction that Harrek wrought upon Laskal or the King of Seshnela upon the populace of Ralios.

The loss of the Many-Argraths

What is clear is that there is a storyline centered on one Argrath. Whether he performed or ever performs all (or even some) of the deeds from King of Sartar remains to be seen (and I suspect all of our campaigns will increasingly diverge from that).  I always thought the MRQ book Dara Happa Stirs handled that well giving player agency to events later ascribed to the DH Emperor.  Hopefully the Hero Wars campaign will support that.

 

There is one Argrath in the same sense that there was one Arkat.

  • Like 3
  • Haha 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Yes, Argrath is a bit of a Mary-Sue. That's by design, as he is a reborn Arkat. Not the full (superhero) package, but 20% of that, the package which liberated Maniria, Kethaela, Kerofinela and much of Saird from the Bright Empire, before the increasing use of Chaos powers led him onward to follow the ways of Zorak Zoran and Kyger Litor.

I thoroughly approve of how Prince of Sartar suggests that Argrath is not the Liberator, but the Destroyer.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Not sure whether playing Harrek or Jar-eel in first person would be a good game. Assassinating a demigod emperor only as an  early- or mid-game obstacle certainly sets up the stakes a bit. There might be quite a bit of railroading.

Could be entertaining to just let the Harrek player narrate, with increasing exaggeration, just how he wins every fight he's in. No need to roll, he can't ever lose a fight anyway. 

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Making of Argrath - A Retrospective doesn't quite sound like something for a pen & paper rpg. On the other hand, it seems to be perfect to me for a first person computer game, although being limited to a male character creates some problems with modern computer rpg design.

Modern computer game design decisions would mean that all you need to do is have a separate 3D-model while not changing anything else. Bret Devereaux made this point about Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. It's not just that you can have a woman viking - no-one in the game even bats an eyelid.

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is completely a player and not a character issue. Argrath is scary but get results and the latter trumps the former for the populace. In the words of Patton (or at least the movie), he may be a bastard but he is their bastard! Reasons why players and characters wouldn't care for him:

Players: Argrath is a liberator from the time he was written, the Cold War. He is the leader that will do whatever it takes to eliminate the great satan, the Lunar Empire, and whoever he has to ally or whatever non-Sartarite collateral damage occurs in this pursuit is immaterial. This is no longer as popular an ideal for a leader as it was 30 years ago.

In-game: Argrath is an amalgamation of many things that many people hate:

  • He is illuminated, like the Lunar leader that he is opposing. If you hate illuminates and/or equate them with chaos-lovers, then you may hate him.
  • He has and uses draconic influences. A vast majority of his followers fear dragons, for good reasons.
  • He is equated with Arkat, and a lot of people hate/fear Arkat.
  • He openly allies with those who have no interest in the Orlanthi culture's code of honor.
  • He gradually shifts his part of Glorantha from a polytheistic religious culture rooted in community to an atheistic sorcerous one rooted in the individual. As slow as this is, it is not going to set well with the the traditionalists (see EWF).

 

Edited by Scorus
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Argrath's modus operandi in warfare seem to be a total magical war of extermination, leaving gods knows how many millions of civilians dead. Exterminating the Telmori and then using their skins as crafting materials is small in the scale of things, but seems especially egregious (we do not typically look kindly on genocidaires who skin their victims for crafting projects). I don't think it's a coincidence just how poorly it compares to Sartar's treatment of the Telmori in KoS - my reading of KoS is that it compares Sartar to Argrath, with only one of them looking good in the process. Rescuing Sheng Seleris, waging climatological warfare, eradicating the gods, and being a major part in how the world almost ends, all in the name of his personal vendetta. He's like a Cold War general who decides that if you can kill 100% of the enemy and only lose 99% of your own population in a thermonuclear war, that counts as a win and should be enacted. Even if PCs can be constructed to support all this, many players enjoy aspirational play and don't like the "are we the baddies?" experience, especially not in an extended campaign. Although it would be really interesting to run a campaign and see just where the players decide they've had enough - Argrath in 1627 isn't beyond the pale yet, although wariness and concern about just how weird he is seems called for (and will prove correct).

And yeah, add the Mary Sue thing to it as well - I liked multiple Argraths so much better than one single guy who is just the best at everything and ultimately does everything. When someone on the Lunar side is powerful, it tends to be because of organizational backing, large personal cults, extended magical projects, and the like - Jar-eel feels credible to me (as do Kallyr and Broyan, on the Orlanthi side). Meanwhile, we don't understand how come Argrath and Harrek are such ultimate badasses for no obvious reasons, and "they're adventurers!" feels lackluster and "gamey". Argrath does Arkat:ing better than Arkat ever did, EWF:ing better than the EWF ever did, LBQ:ing better than Harmast ever did, and so on and so on (let's not even get started on how he's much better at Prax:ing than the actual Praxians are, who need him to come save them from themselves). He can never suffer more than the rare temporary setback, and there is zero tension in the certainty of his ever-escalating triumphs until even the gods become disposable small fry. There's no emerging logic to his amazing brand-new powers (that no-one else has access to), they just happen. It screams "Player Character", and one with a lenient GM at that. There are a set of Glorantha characters - Argrath, Belintar, Harrek, and Sir Ethilrist are perhaps the most obvious - who seem (to me, at least, but I doubt I'm alone in this) like they don't belong in Glorantha at all and just dropped in through a magical portal. Steven Erikson at least put his ultimate badass ridiculously overpowered PC (Anomander Rake) far in the background when he wrote his books. HQ suggested "You can be Argrath and change future history!" RQ suggests (it seems - I'm willing to be surprised by the books!) "You can be Argrath's minion while he enacts the metaplot!"

And these are my conclusions from King of Sartar, which is a propaganda piece trying to make Argrath look good! Gods know what it whitewashes.

(Sometimes things almost seem like parody: "This is how we deal with assassins with no respect for life *kills assassin*." Really? It couldn't display more hypocrisy if it tried!)

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

Argrath is like Danerys (of Game of Thrones fame) to some extent:
She starts as an underdog. She does some deeds that pleases a lot of people, making allies that way. She gains magical abilities/weapons (the Dragons). She is the rightful heir to the throne. 
She alienates her allies by forcing her will on them, becoming a ruthless/mad queen. 

Argrath starts as a person that is likable, because he gets things done. 
Later on he becomes a bad guy (in the eyes of a lot of his former allies), but still is a hero. 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  1. Out of all the Tricksters in the world, he doesn't pick "Rudolf with the Jolly Red Nose", he picks Elusu the Murderess.
  2. Nor does he pal around with the Dread Pirate Roberts or Harry the Pissed.  It's Harrek the Berserk.
  3. As @John Bilesbrilliantly writes, "Argrath unleashes Sheng Seleris, who is Genghis Khan's flaws and none of Genghis' better qualities"
  4. He's a superstar Mary Sue.  Boring.
  5. But, most of all for me:  Why?  Why this desperate urge to do absolutely anything to destroy the Lunars?  "Boo hoo, those mean Lunars killed my parents"?  Trite.  When we rolled up Family History for our Colymar PCs, it was extremely rare for any parent or grandparent to still be alive.  Many were devoured by The Bat.  I was so shocked that my granny had survived all those disastrous battles that she is nicknamed "The Survivor".  Some of our PCs have a very high "Hate Lunar", but none, I hope, are monomaniacal psychopaths.
    (edit added) We have had many many past PCs with far far darker backstories than Argrath.
    (another edit added)  The Lunars do horrible things, but they have a philosophy, a vision, that could be used as motivation for True Believers.  I'm not seeing that for Argrath, but maybe I'm missing it?

That said, Argrath does have a lot of interesting and positive qualities, (see the previous thread reference by OP) and hopefully most campaigns will be able to roll with him in some form.

Just saw @AndreJarosch post.  Important advice: don't name your children Argrath yet...

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Why this desperate urge to do absolutely anything to destroy the Lunars?  "Boo hoo, those mean Lunars killed my parents"?  Trite. 

This could serve as an example of why you don't swear on the River Styx - it's absolute and irrevocable and it messes you up. This is Oath of Feänor stuff!

image.png.e2ba5c4b29405f4bf6e293729ad2bb35.png

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:
  1. But, most of all for me:  Why?  Why this desperate urge to do absolutely anything to destroy the Lunars?  "Boo hoo, those mean Lunars killed my parents"?  Trite.  When we rolled up Family History for our Colymar PCs, it was extremely rare for any parent or grandparent to still be alive.  Many were devoured by The Bat.  I was so shocked that my granny had survived all those disastrous battles that she is nicknamed "The Survivor".  Some of our PCs have a very high "Hate Lunar", but none, I hope, are monomaniacal psychopaths.

I find the Argrath "hatred" I see on forums to be quite boring. But here's an interesting one - why did Arkat have a desperate urge to do absolutely anything to destroy Nysalor? Why did the Red Goddess have a desperate urge to destroy the Carmanian Empire? Why did Alakoring have a desperate urge to destroy the Empire of the Wyrms Friends? 

The Destroyer is a theme that runs through Glorantha, and is usually closely tied to the Liberator. Both Argrath AND Jar-eel embrace both sides of the Destroyer/Liberator dualism during their dance to end the Third Age. This is a repetition of Arkat and Nysalor that ended the First Age, and the dance between Alakoring and Drang in the Second Age. This dualist conflict is hard-wired into the setting and its mythos.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Jeff said:

I find the Argrath "hatred" I see on forums to be quite boring. But here's an interesting one - why did Arkat have a desperate urge to do absolutely anything to destroy Nysalor? Why did the Red Goddess have a desperate urge to destroy the Carmanian Empire? Why did Alakoring have a desperate urge to destroy the Empire of the Wyrms Friends? 

The Destroyer is a theme that runs through Glorantha, and is usually closely tied to the Liberator. Both Argrath AND Jar-eel embrace both sides of the Destroyer/Liberator dualism during their dance to end the Third Age. This is a repetition of Arkat and Nysalor that ended the First Age, and the dance between Alakoring and Drang in the Second Age. This dualist conflict is hard-wired into the setting and its mythos.

I feel the same with the 'hatred' for Sheng Seleris.  The Romans derided and hated Attila because he was their enemy, but that didn't make his discipline any worse than decimation or his slaughtering worse than theirs.

Temujin massacred, but so did European, Central Asian and Chinese monarchs.  He terrified them, and they presented him as bestial.  The only reason one can speak of the 'positive' side of Genghis Khan is due to revisionist historians rediscovering the truth of the situation.

I think one should view Sheng Seleris in the same manner.  Does he slaughter?  Yes.  Is he unspeakably evil?  No more than Argrath, Harrek, Godunya, the present Mask... Glorantha surely encourages us to more nuanced approaches to absolutist claims and interpretations.                                                                                                                       Or perhaps we should simply embrace the Dark Side and Make Argrath Great Again?

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

@Akhôrahil's comments bring something else to mind. The difference between Argrath and Harrek and heroes like Kallyr, Broyan, Samastina, etc. is that the former seem to have the power without the responsibility that comes with it. There are no consequences for their actions, no matter what they are. Orlanth's laws are broken? So what. People are killed? Okay. TONS of people are killed? Tons of okay.

It is easy to be famous for your actions when there is no possibility of negative consequences for them. If Argrath had to temper his actions to the political reality (e.g. keeping tribes happy) or had run into the same resistance that the EWF did, it would be a much more interesting and believable story. As it is, he seems like just a counter in a boardgame that only has to worry about movement and combat.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:
  1. But, most of all for me:  Why?  Why this desperate urge to do absolutely anything to destroy the Lunars?  "Boo hoo, those mean Lunars killed my parents"?  Trite.  When we rolled up Family History for our Colymar PCs, it was extremely rare for any parent or grandparent to still be alive.  Many were devoured by The Bat.  I was so shocked that my granny had survived all those disastrous battles that she is nicknamed "The Survivor".  Some of our PCs have a very high "Hate Lunar", but none, I hope, are monomaniacal psychopaths.
  2. (edit added) We have had many many past PCs with far far darker backstories than Argrath.
    (another edit added)  The Lunars do horrible things, but they have a philosophy, a vision, that could be used as motivation for True Believers.  I'm not seeing that for Argrath, but maybe I'm missing it?

The most straightforward explanation is that Argrath had no more desire to annihilate the Lunar Empire than Oedipus had to have sex with his own mother, or Enkidu to get trampled beneath the Bull of Heaven. Fate compelled him to that eventuality. This has the advantage of explaining just why Argrath doesn't unleash the power of his left hand when Phargentes the Younger marches in and forces him to abandon Sartar without a fight, or doesn't do anything about the Kalikos Expeditions before resorting to Sheng Seleris, or more broadly, why Argrath ever suffers reversals at all if his ultimate goal was always the destruction of the Red Moon and the fall of her carcass upon the Lunar Empire.  

 

So with that in mind, Argrath becomes a potentially a human being. The issue, of course, is that our primary source here is not one that relays events as they really happened, it's a collection of documents, and the chief one is written as a narrative with literary technique shaping things. (Mularik foreshadows and mirrors Sheng far too neatly for that to be anything other than a literary device.)

So we don't have the human Argrath with reasonable motivations, even in Prince of Sartar, we have someone who looks like an inhuman entity from afar and painfully human once we get close enough. 

(All of these things apply to Arkat just as much. He didn't step off of Brithos ready to do anything it took to kill Nysalor. That took time and Fate.)

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Scorus said:

@Akhôrahil's comments bring something else to mind. The difference between Argrath and Harrek and heroes like Kallyr, Broyan, Samastina, etc. is that the former seem to have the power without the responsibility that comes with it. There are no consequences for their actions, no matter what they are. Orlanth's laws are broken? So what. People are killed? Okay. TONS of people are killed? Tons of okay.

It is easy to be famous for your actions when there is no possibility of negative consequences for them. If Argrath had to temper his actions to the political reality (e.g. keeping tribes happy) or had run into the same resistance that the EWF did, it would be a much more interesting and believable story. As it is, he seems like just a counter in a boardgame that only has to worry about movement and combat.

To be charitable, maybe this is so that we can easily make our Argraths vary?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The consquence Harrek suffers for being Harrek and doing Harrek things is that he has precisely one friend, and then she goes and dies. It's also that when he kills Jar-eel, he still loses their duel, loses everything that makes him Harrek, and wanders away south, only appearing again in the narrative alongside some very definitely dead people. It's simply that unlike Sisyphus, we cannot imagine Harrek happy, Harrek in repose. Given an opportunity for relaxation and intimacy, Harrek immediately decides to start trashing the architecture, then leaves money to cover repairs. It's almost funny. 

  • Like 7
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.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

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...