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why is Argrath considered an asshole?


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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

I have read fantasies with significantly less violent cultures, some of them with as traumatic or more forms of human on human interactions, never mind nonhumans. These can be done, but they aren't Glorantha, a setting grown out of the publication of a wargame featuring magics of mass destruction.

Your Glorantha may vary, provided it remains an atrocity simulator as God and Greg Stafford intended? None of those "woke sensibilities" held by some religious figures on Earth thousands of years ago allowed, for no one in Glorantha could even conceive of trying to break a cycle of violence. Let's have three ages, with each being basically the same as the last because the only new things allowed to happen are inflections on cataclysms that make things worse.

That's a really small Glorantha; thankfully mine has room for more than "oh, I'm not a murderhobo, I'm so much more refined and better than those types, I'm a culturally rich, societally integrated violence machine re-enacting (a tiny subset of) myths".

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I don't get this brawl, no one is forcing anything on anyone here, let's please not make personal each and every Argrath related topic shall we? I don't know if that's just my reading (fueled by both my personality and misunderstandings from my limited english) or other people think that too but it looks like a real problem to me. Besides this has spiraled off-topic pages ago. 

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23 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

AFAIK there is absolutely no evidence of any anti-slavery polemic before the Achaemenid Iranians.

the Achaemenids are one of the earlier literary civilisations? Like, the Achaemenids used Old Aramaic, ruled from about 700 BCE, and ruled most of the known world at the time.

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22 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

the Achaemenids are one of the earlier literary civilisations? Like, the Achaemenids used Old Aramaic, ruled from about 700 BCE, and ruled most of the known world at the time.

Not really, I'm afraid.  All of the area from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus Valley was literate to some degree  by the Late Bronze (around 1300 BCE)  The Achaemenid Empire was founded in 550 BCE, and while there are copious materials from across the Empire using a variety of scripts, there is no evidence of female literacy in the Iranian heartland.

Cyrus banned slavery across the Iranian lands and introduced humanitarian laws to govern slavery across the rest of the Empire.  For example, if your owner wanted to sell you, you had to give written consent to the authorities!

A very, very different world....

Edited by Ali the Helering
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1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

Cyrus banned slavery across the Iranian lands and introduced humanitarian laws to govern slavery across the rest of the Empire.  For example, if your owner wanted to sell you, you had to give written consent to the authorities!

The Old Testament rules on slavery should probably be read in a similar manner - "well obviously there will be slavery, but there's gotta be rules!"

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Glorantha is, by canon, less nasty than Earth.  Rape and Torture are chaotic, and doing too much leads to retribution.  "Please gods, let the Storm Bulls catch me before the Babs Gors".  They still happen, I'm sure that the sacks of the City of Wonders and Pavis etc... involved some, but much less than would be typical on Earth.

That said, everybody is free to play as dark or light as they want in their groups. Or try to improve things.  I'm playing that my Vingan PC, who, like many PCs, was at City of Wonders, saw bad behavior by Wolf Pirates, even killed one to protect another woman,  and will give Argrath grief for allying with them.

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14 hours ago, jenh said:

Your Glorantha may vary, provided it remains an atrocity simulator as God and Greg Stafford intended?

The current setting is the situation after one group summoned a calamitous dragon to interrupt a final dedication ceremony for a magical artifice that has already consumed the souls of thousands of human sacrifices, adding a possibly slightly larger number of perps and abetters to the death count of that place.

The run-up for that dedication ceremony saw theomachy and the resulting magical hell-on-earth.

So yes, let's pretend none of these things happened or matter.

 

There are aspects of Glorantha that I find very disturbing, like the caste system in the west or the even worse stratified society of Dara Happa.

The Hon-eel corn rites which allow an over-population to develop on the back of human sacrifice are comparatively tame, and played with a setting-inspired mind set, I could imagine having a game where the player characters knowingly compete for the role of that sacrifice. 

 

14 hours ago, jenh said:

None of those "woke sensibilities" held by some religious figures on Earth thousands of years ago allowed, for no one in Glorantha could even conceive of trying to break a cycle of violence.

 

There such populations in Glorantha.

Take for instance the Oasis folk, successfully having pursued their policy of non-aggression for all of history.

The weeders of Dara Happa, successfully holding on to their culture of survival in the wilder wetlands beyond the rice paddies of the Oslir valley.

The Doraddi might be closer to what you imagine - a society not based on warfare, but willing to stand up against aggressors.

 

 

14 hours ago, jenh said:

Let's have three ages, with each being basically the same as the last because the only new things allowed to happen are inflections on cataclysms that make things worse.

A road paved with good intentions.

Harmony and mystical unity with dragons and dragonewts sure does sound like an admirable and noble goal. Who would gainsay that?

Likewise, what can be wrong about getting the ultimate logical insight into the workings of the world. Wouldn't that make all decision-making better for everbody?

 

14 hours ago, jenh said:

That's a really small Glorantha; thankfully mine has room for more than "oh, I'm not a murderhobo, I'm so much more refined and better than those types, I'm a culturally rich, societally integrated violence machine re-enacting (a tiny subset of) myths".

Glorantha has humans, thereby eliminating any need for having orcs. It evidently does have trolls.

 

Just to test your theories - imagine a Glorantha where the Lightbringer missionaries are cordially greeted by the horse rider emperors of Dara Happa, spreading their lore of cosmic compromise and friendship after conflict into the lowlands. Where there were no returns of hostilities among the Elder Races, where e.g. the Mostali internal struggles would allow Nida to proclaim the doctrine and Greatway to continue its World Friends attitude in unity with aldryami and trolls. Where Arkat would have debated with Nysalor, resulting in a synthesis without all those 75 years of conflict.

What would be the theme of your game in this world? What would be the passions of your adventurers?

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A lot of people do bad things in Glorantha.

The Sky Burn and Moon Burn were awful things. The Kingdom of War is very bad indeed. Sheng Seleris was one bad dude. Arkat razed part of Aggar so that little grows there even now. Nysalor/Gbaji cursed a whole species to bear deformed children. Pentians and Praxians kill each other with glee. The Windstop causes widespread starvation and kills a bug chunk of the population. The Dragonrise killed hundreds, if not thousands, of people. The Crimson Bat can eat hundreds of people at a time. 

These things happen.

What happens in play, though, is decided by the GM and Players.

  • You are here during the windstop? Do you emphasise people becoming cannibals to survive or people helping each other through the hard times? 
  • You are here when the nomads sack Pavis? Do you show the looting and killing or do you help some people escape or calm some nomads down so they don't loot and kill?

 

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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8 minutes ago, Orlanthatemyhamster said:

I don't see him as growing at all either in character or in plot. He's still the great hero, he's still the narcissistic likeable rogue/sociopath.

He's not yet the great hero. But then, all of his growth happens off-screen - there are lists of his exploits, but there are no stories about how exactly he achieved those, except for a few (mostly still future) bits in Argrath's Saga.

Narcissism is fairly common in heroes - compare Ethilrist for narcissism turned up to eleven.

Surrounding himself with characters like Elusu, Annstad, Rurik, etc. won't reduce those tendencies.  Add in any player characters once we get a glimpse at some of his achievements in the shape of playable scenarios.

Edited by Joerg
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10 hours ago, Joerg said:

Just to test your theories - imagine a Glorantha where the Lightbringer missionaries are cordially greeted by the horse rider emperors of Dara Happa, spreading their lore of cosmic compromise and friendship after conflict into the lowlands. Where there were no returns of hostilities among the Elder Races, where e.g. the Mostali internal struggles would allow Nida to proclaim the doctrine and Greatway to continue its World Friends attitude in unity with aldryami and trolls. Where Arkat would have debated with Nysalor, resulting in a synthesis without all those 75 years of conflict.

What would be the theme of your game in this world? What would be the passions of your adventurers?

Ignoring the massive excluded middle between no violent conflict and no one thinking twice about genocide after genocide, I might play games based on exploration, discovery of lore, political conflicts that don't devolve into violence, small-scale personal stories of any number of types (romance, investigation, horror; the sort of stuff you often see on TV shows or read in books), people working to ensure that violence doesn't just consume the world yet again, people struggling to find themselves/their place in the world, etc etc etc.

As for what passions they might have: love, loyalty, hatred, fear, devotion, honour, perhaps, if the game is RQG. These aren't things that only arise from, or inevitably lead to, spasms of violence.

Violence really isn't the sole basis for interesting stories (for my part, it is very rarely that), and is not synonymous with conflict.

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On 12/17/2020 at 7:00 AM, jenh said:

Some of you guys seem to really want genocide to be natural and inevitable. I'm guessing it's also immersion breaking not to have every war crime imaginable played out, because every soldier commits them - it's just human nature, after all, no one has ever disagreed with that except in the modern era.

This is gross.

I don't understand, violence is ok as long as it's 'your' kind of violence? Sanitised? Young fit people whacking each other with nice big shiny bronze swords, hot! ? A couple of deaths a session? Loss of limbs but no icky blood? Why are you playing a game with violence in it, if you want to ignore completely the consequences? or the nasty bits? That feels a bit like a modern/fairy tale view, both Disney and a drone strike, it has to be heroic and remote? Are all of the people you fight 'tash twirling villains with gorps up their sleeves? Do they not have spouses, kids, mums and dads, or is that only the people on 'your side'?

'Gross' is one of those words I associate with peoples' sensibilities being offended. Used when someone accidentally farts.

Personally I make sure my players know that killing others will have consequences for them and possibly for their loved ones. And that they can/should/will hopefully try another way. Capturing a city will have consequences, and not just pulling down statues and putting out the bunting.  Innocents will die in clan feuds. Toning it down massively is just as big a problem as revelling in it, more so perhaps. Like switching off the telly when something terrible happens in another country, for me it's most likely to lead to inaction, You can't do something if you don't know about it.

Is roleplaying just about only the things you want to look at?



It's not only those who live by the sword who die by it.

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On 12/18/2020 at 5:46 PM, soltakss said:

 

What happens in play, though, is decided by the GM and Players.

  • You are here during the windstop? Do you emphasise people becoming cannibals to survive or people helping each other through the hard times? 
  • You are here when the nomads sack Pavis? Do you show the looting and killing or do you help some people escape or calm some nomads down so they don't loot and kill?

 

Both?

Show that [how much detail is up to you] and give the players the opportunity to decide for themselves?
Do they help others with the danger they *themselves* might starve?
Do they help their allies, hinder or loot? If they don't help, their allies might die or at the least no longer trust them.

What should the player who has Hate [Lunars] 100% do? The game gives/encourages people to have these strong passions, but then says, but you have to play 'nice' !

*Added for clarity.

Edited by Orlanthatemyhamster
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12 minutes ago, Kloster said:

That is a big part of my problem with the passions.

It's a double bind because they are also an unreliable skills boost, until they get high, and then they kind of become a liability.

I also see them as a crutch, crutches are good initially, but you'll never walk properly with one.

I had a character, loved him to death, Orlanthi Skirmisher who only wore his sling ;)  We had just got the then new character sheets with a HUGE list of traits about 20, 30? I loved it. But in the end I realised I wasn't role playing him, I was dice rolling THEM. I started to ignore them and just picked out the ones that suited him and mostly used them as keywords. Cowardly was the stand out one, when there is only air between you and a sword point you don't do combat, in the end he was a hide and seek combat bunny, but only after loads and loads of play.  :)

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1 hour ago, Orlanthatemyhamster said:

I don't understand, violence is ok as long as it's 'your' kind of violence? Sanitised? Young fit people whacking each other with nice big shiny bronze swords, hot! ? A couple of deaths a session? Loss of limbs but no icky blood? Why are you playing a game with violence in it, if you want to ignore completely the consequences? or the nasty bits? That feels a bit like a modern/fairy tale view, both Disney and a drone strike, it has to be heroic and remote? Are all of the people you fight 'tash twirling villains with gorps up their sleeves? Do they not have spouses, kids, mums and dads, or is that only the people on 'your side'?

Personally, I would say that there's a long, long, long way from sanitized violence to the kind of, frankly, cartoonish positions wherein genocide is just an inevitable consequence of conflict, and that there's still a long way between sanitized and any direct confrontation with genocide in any sense, and that placing genocide at the front-and-center, whether the player characters are supposed to participate in it, or fight against it, or whatever, is something that shouldn't be a default assumption of Gloranthan play, if only because the game as written does not have any kind of upfront explanation that there's going to be crimes against humanity in later modules and the expectation is that you and your group will be interacting with said crimes against humanity. Then there's also the minor point that none of the Chaosium staff have endorsed anything like this view as an official one, but that's honestly the major point for me- no official Gloranthan game has, thus far, placed the player character upfront with crimes against humanity and demanded interaction with them, nor has any official Gloranthan game suggested this would be a normal mode of play. 

There have been Gloranthan products, like "Gaumata's Vision", which do address very serious, difficult topics. "Gaumata's Vision", entirely in my opinion, is not a scenario I would bring to a table without everyone involved understanding what it was about in advance. Also entirely in my opinion, it's very nuanced and thoughtful for a TTRPG product from the early 1990s in a setting that often indulges in wanton silliness, when it comes to addressing said topic, and if I were to run "Gaumata's Vision" for an audience that would enjoy that serious digging, I would say that it would require relatively little work to polish it up for contemporary standards. And, finally, still entirely in my opinion, "Gaumata's Vision" also doesn't make the difficult topic it addresses graphic in any upfront way, giving players breathing room for addressing the topic. 

I do also want to point out that, in the interest of throwing water on flames, the things we are discussing as genocidal are not definitely so, whether we're talking about the return of the Ice to Peloria, or whatever happened to the Telmori to create the Wolfrunners, or the Windstop, or whatever happened to the Grantlanders. The future events are thus far only described in extremely impressionistic language from a deeply, deeply unreliable source. The past/contemporary events are described in ways that say that there was a lot of suffering, but don't come firmly down on suggesting that 1621 in Sartar was like April through July of 1994 in Rwanda, or that Argrath White Bull is pronounced "Yahya Khan" and 1625 in the Zola Fel valley was essentially Bangladesh in 1971, or whatever people's internal vision is when they say these things were or are genocidal. Which is good, because if you want to play games where this is true, then that's your prerogative, and if you want to play games where this is not true, that's also your prerogative, and, perhaps most importantly, if you want to treat Lunar refugees like contemporary refugees, or starving Sartarites lined up at Seven Mothers temples getting their shares of cornbread like contemporary starving people, and invoke those images without having a situation where someone playing a Bison Rider puts their hand up and says, awkwardly, "So did my character ethnically cleanse people last year?", you can and that level of invoking images of suffering without invoking the full brutality is possible. 

EDIT: Honestly, this extends a lot further than this discussion. The ambiguity on what will happen during the Flood allows groups and writers to not have to deal with either "the Flood kills an-Orlanthi-all of the population at any altitude lower than Boldhome" or "the Flood just merrily avoids harming anyone" and to pick whatever level of devastation they want. 

Edited by Eff
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11 hours ago, jenh said:

Ignoring the massive excluded middle between no violent conflict and no one thinking twice about genocide after genocide, I might play games based on exploration, discovery of lore, political conflicts that don't devolve into violence, small-scale personal stories of any number of types (romance, investigation, horror; the sort of stuff you often see on TV shows or read in books), people working to ensure that violence doesn't just consume the world yet again, people struggling to find themselves/their place in the world, etc etc etc.

The games I am playing don't usually involve participating in genocide, or even ethnic cleansing like the 5-eyes temple scenario in Borderlands.  I don't really use broos in my scenarios, either.

I'm on the record for suggesting a villager campaign for (a feudal version of) Rokari Seshnela which deals with such topics:

http://glorantha.steff.in/digests/HenkDaily/v940418p1

The same post shows how a Storm Bull berserk might be brought to research Praxian Golden Age poetry.

All of that is happening in a setting which has these bouts of horror and genocide.

Basically, go to Sandy Petersen's youtube channel Sandy of Cthulhu and listen to his tips for using horror in your gaming. (I am still stumped why these videos get as few views as they do...) Playing with things that make you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it cannot be a pleasant experience in the longer run.

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Hopefully this is back on track in some sort of a productive manner.  Some of the comments that I have read were quite incredible. 

My players are presented with a fairly violent world with their way of life under siege.  This isn't something that they demanded or that I made up.  It is the setting.  We play plenty of games that don't involve violence, such as Catan or Marrying Mr. Darcy.   This, however, is a game of Heroic Fantasy, bronze age passions, and is a weird and savage place.  Some game sessions are run as comedies, some as drama, some as a straight up action film.  But the roots of any RQ session that I run are never far from R.E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Bulfinch, or Bernard Cornwell.

As GM it my job to adjudicate the results, and act out NPC points of view.  This being a mature environment, many NPCs have widely varying view points on different PC attempts and outcomes.   This enriches the environment, and thus the gaming experience.  Straight up black and white Tolkien is fine, but limiting.  To (almost) no one's surprise, my players have universally attempted to save families, rescue children, and defend the weak.  However this has led them in violent conflict with quite a few beings and agencies. 

 

1) In character generation, the large majority of players were given fairly extreme reasons to hate the Lunar Empire, including an actual mechanical hate passion.  The Bat was particularly brutal to my little crew's ancestors.

2) We are going through the timeline in The Coming Storm/The Eleven Lights.   The Orlanth worshiping PC's were not pleased to discover that their God's worship was being suppressed, and their only priest had to be hidden and moved constantly.  This was partly a role playing plot point, but also game mechanically impacted most of the PC's as they lost out on Holy day pow rolls, the ability to gain new Rune Magic, or even regain Rune Points.  The paucity of Rune points and low POW stats on the Orlanthi is a running theme.  Eventually they turned to a series of deals with unusual allies to distract the Lunars during times of ceremony, including the Telmori, the Sazdorf trolls, and surrounding tribes.  Basically this was used as a means of giving the players (who are totally new to Glorantha) a tour of the various communities, as well as a means to have an adventure to gain a Holy day, and have made extra efforts to help the Maboder tribe in this way, once they learned of their plight in thralldom. 

3) After a lengthy period of getting their feet under them with this new (to them) role playing system, and the very bizarre (to them) world of Glorantha, they started to both despise and understand the fence sitting of Chief Broddi.  As a group, they lean strongly rebel, but have always worked hard to keep things under the necessary threshold that might provoke serious Lunar reprisals.  They frequently oppose Broddi in council, and have wound up in dicey situations (read: Heroic) trying to square the circle of their position.  This has led them to tackle very serious adventures such as venturing into the Woods of the Dead, Snakepipe Hollow, and the time in the Big Rubble. 

4) The Lunars are generally presented as enjoying some of the benefits of ruling the land, but without actually doing all of the necessary work normally expected from the tribes.  For example they are not supporting local efforts against the Telmori enough, tax and fine the Red Cows without just compensation (this is right from the book, btw.), and don't really help end feuds in a just fashion.  

Things took a major turn in 1618.  The Lunars wiped out the entire Dundealos tribe -- killed, enslaved, or forced to feed.  (Is this the genocide that has been so frequently referred to?)  This did in fact deter the players from fully committing to the rebel cause, and by now they are acutely aware of just how serious the game world (and game mechanics can be).  Straight up rebellion was considered hopeless, so instead of directly opposing the Lunars with their swords, the players have responded with an interesting gambit by ending the feud with the Two Pine, restoring that clan's magic in a series of adventures, and just accepting that the cost of this is to break a few eggs.  For example multiple steads were sacked during a very serious raid when the PC's negotiation skills failed them, and a lengthy campaign against the Telmori was required as well.  In the end, they had restored the Two Pine clan magics, forged a shaky alliance between the Red Cow and the Two Pine, but at the cost of goodwill with the Lorthing and Greenhaft clans, who were enjoying the period without tribute payment enough to choose to fight for it.   Ironically the actions against the Telmori were welcomed and encouraged by the Lunar settlers in Wulfsland, but the point of doing this was to force justice against the Emerald Sword, who were using Lunar Imperial ties to unjustly harm the Red Cow.  Broddi was opposed to all of this until the Lunars fined the clan 50 cows for their part in the Emerald Sword fued in 1618, an act considered unjust by all NPCs and PCs. 

In 1619 the Bat shows up on the Red Cow doorstop and the PC's desperately tried to save the clan from being fed to the bat.  For once they supported Broddi in not wanting to feed anyone's "body and soul" to this Lovecraftian horror.  Bad enough that the Bat even exists, but so much worse that people are using it as a weapon against other people to enforce their political will.  The session started as a "who will sell out who to avoid getting fed to the bat" type plot, but wound up in a desperate delaying action at night with the PC's, Queen Ivartha, and some other NPC's desperately trying to hold off the Bat Cult, Dogeaters, and Arrowstone Cavalry while the Red Cow civilians fled for their very souls.  This conflict was extraordinary in that it had the typically Runequest ebbs and flows.  It started off as a Robin Hood style ambush, but turned into more of a Bunker Hill with the Imperial troops forming up and going right up the hill that the players were on, then a more heroic fantasy moment when Sunbright lit the hill for all to see (including the Mudhens rushing to the rescue).  Finally the action was so hot that a player broke and fled.  Not the character, mind you -- the player. 

So.....Argrath.  He is not due to show up until 1624.  At this rate I suspect that the players will be embattled enough as to welcome him like he is King Arthur.  Beat up the Lunars?  Light the Flame of Sartar?  Awesome!   Like most people under great stress, I don't expect them to question him too much, especially given the magical tests that he must pass.   This is a common fantasy trope, and it would be a subversion of it to make Argrath a bad king somehow.  But you can run the campaign in any number of ways.  Frankly he isn't even part of my current arc, but I know how I would play him.  He would be like Alexander the Great or Caesar.   A larger than life figure who was master of his culture's skills, norms, and values.  So much so that he is free to go beyond them.  Also someone so determined to do something that he is nearly impossible to stop.   But the evidence that we have is that he is a good ruler, but not a Chief Broddi type. He doesn't maintain the status quo -- he changes it to suit his vision.  This sort of change is frightening to many.  Even just the strength to potentially make the change is dangerous seeming, particularly to those who don't have it.  Argrath will be polarizing.  Both Great and Terrible at the same time.  How will the players see this sort of figure?   That's up to them.

Edited by Dissolv
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11 hours ago, Joerg said:

All of that is happening in a setting which has these bouts of horror and genocide.

Sure; I got involved in this thread in response to Darius and Dissolv saying that not only is that horror and genocide there, but that no one properly roleplaying someone from that world would do anything other than fight, and fight without any qualms about any additional horrors they might inflict. That includes, specifically, the PCs.

While I am all about non-violent games, I'm not interested in rewriting all of Glorantha's history, laser-focused though it is on violent conflict. I do however object strenuously to the notion that no one, including the PCs, can have a problem with genocide or do anything other than continue a cycle of violence.

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1 hour ago, jenh said:

Sure; I got involved in this thread in response to Darius and Dissolv saying that not only is that horror and genocide there, but that no one properly roleplaying someone from that world would do anything other than fight,

You clearly went off on my players and myself without reading, or really caring to fully read what I wrote.  The players were new, we used the family history with random rolls, and holy cow did we get a weighted group of results. 

Warrior and farmer roll ups from a warrior society.  Entire families killed by Lunars.  Souls eaten by a chaos horror employed by men to dominate other men.   Philosopher, family killed by Lunars too.  Hmmm.  Multiple characters with Hate Lunar passion during roll up.  With no immediate families, it was obvious to us that this group of orphans teamed up as a band, likely while very young. (The Praxian is the only one whose family is fully intact, they are back home safe and sound.) 

This is far more dramatic a set up even than Conan's childhood from the 1st movie, and he spends nearly two hours trying to get revenge on Thulsa Doom.  It is also the premise of about a hundred movies and stories where the parents/martial arts master/significant other get killed/kidnapped/wronged in some way.  Heck, John Wick had the murdered puppy as the main driving point in the plot.  

Not only is this a straight forward and obvious trope, the players clearly understood it for what it was -- the character's core motivation.  You are only one who started screeching "genocide, genocide, genocide".  Then somehow torture and rape got involved.  Awesome.  

Now that you have read my account of my campaign, do you still think that this is a "Greg Stafford atrocity simulator?"  Are my players un-intelligent?  Do they have violent and anti-social tendencies?   Are they really bad people playing a bad style of game that you object to?

Two important things that you didn't consider, and did not bother to ask about before you flipped out myself and on my friends.

1) Some people enjoy different levels of things, including mature themes.  My campaigns happen to be generally PG-13 with the really bad things off camera, but they are alluded to and are present as facts in the world.  In other words I don't go full Tarantino, as I find it gratuitous, but neither do I run a Marvel movie, where it all works out in the end (well, sometimes. I am a sucker for a well wrapped up set of plot lines.)  The people who may prefer their Glorantha more graphic or horror-themed are not somehow bad people. 

 

2) There are people, I daresay on this very forum, who read quite a great deal of history, mythology, and subjects I will term spiritualism.  Sometimes their take on history, or even human nature itself, can be different than yours.  That does not mean that they are wrong about it, or are "gaming wrong".   Man's foibles and folly's are well known and predate Cain and Able.  If working through serious history tomes is a chore, consider Dan Carlin's podcast series.  It is immersive, well researched, and highly entertaining.  I would suggest starting with his King of Kings for this particular topic -- re: why ancient societies can be seen as much more brutal than our current comfy one.   https://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-56-kings-kings/

History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind. - Edward Gibbon

 

I would also like to point out, and this may be quite relevant to this topic as well as this sub-discussion, that understanding one's dark side is a necessary part of any spiritual journey.  Not only for what one might do one's self, but also what one might allow to happen because of fear, weakness, or pragmatism.  This is the basic Jungian shadow principle and I believe part of the shamanic tradition as well.  I trust an expert can assist with this concept as I come at it from a psychological perspective.   Argrath clearly has fully integrated his shadow into his personality, from my point of view.

Without difficult situations and hard choices, there is no room for character development or growth.  That's why I found the one player panicking and running from the Lunars, leaving the queen (!) and the other PC's so significant.  Will he feel shame?  Will he start to get flighty when nasty looking chaos monsters come around?  Will he overcompensate trying to earn redemption?  Can they trust him again? These are themes that I now get to poke at with a stick.   They cannot come up if the session had been a diplomatic one.  (Also, how does that work when the bat is going to be fed 25 people, body and soul?  Do the PC's get to try to justly decide on which members of society to sacrifice or something?)

 

So here is my challenge.  Knowing what you know about my player's characters and the campaign so far -- I have a relatively peaceful session coming up in nine days where the Lhankor Mhy philosopher will be called upon to debate a visiting Lunar Priestess.  She will obviously be advocating deeper indoctrination into Lunar rule, but is mainly there to try to calm the area down.  The Lunar military is off attacking Whitewall, and so this is a sort of "peace offensive" with no possibility of violence.   It is a straight up debate and will happen in my campaign with or without forum input.

You tell me what that Priestess should say in response to my player's obvious points and I will put those very words into her mouth as best as I can.  Her goal is to create peace in the area (as it serves current Lunar interests, but let's ignore that for the moment, because she will).  Help me make an argument that the sword should be laid down to my players, for a season, a year, for all time -- whatever case can be made.   It will be assumed by all that the PC's are the visible face of the Mudhens, but this is really directed at any who will listen -- including and especially the PC's.

 

 

 

 

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On 12/17/2020 at 7:24 AM, Nick Brooke said:

And until they learn to write books...

Is that the bar of entry for a dissenting opinion?  Does actually playing them qualify?

For what it's worth, I'm firmly against the misery tourism of playing out atrocity in a roleplaying game.  Furthermore, I don't think anyone's promoted such a thing in this thread (maybe I'll need to read a little more closely).  But atrocious events are clearly baked into the setting as atmosphere and backdrop by the writers.  And, again, I'm surprised by the dismay that contemporary sensibilities might look upon these events and the characters that set them in motion as less-than-heroic.

Argrath might well take a page from the infamous Jessica Rabbit: "I'm not bad.  I'm just drawn that way."

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
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carbon copy logo smallest.jpg  ...developer of White Rabbit Green

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On 12/18/2020 at 11:21 PM, Eff said:

Personally, I would say that there's a long, long, long way from sanitized violence to the kind of, frankly, cartoonish positions wherein genocide is just an inevitable consequence of conflict, and that there's still a long way between sanitized and any direct confrontation with genocide in any sense, and that placing genocide at the front-and-center, whether the player characters are supposed to participate in it, or fight against it, or whatever, is something that shouldn't be a default assumption of Gloranthan play, if only because the game as written does not have any kind of upfront explanation that there's going to be crimes against humanity in later modules and the expectation is that you and your group will be interacting with said crimes against humanity. Then there's also the minor point that none of the Chaosium staff have endorsed anything like this view as an official one, but that's honestly the major point for me- no official Gloranthan game has, thus far, placed the player character upfront with crimes against humanity and demanded interaction with them, nor has any official Gloranthan game suggested this would be a normal mode of play. 
 

 

I must admit I found it difficult to understand what your point was, were you disagreeing with me or agreeing? Your opening sentence was very long, which I found hard to parse.  

Perhaps we disagree on what is mean by genocide,  but let's be clear so that we both are on the right page. 

Genocide. Noun.

The deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.

I assume you agree?

I'll now say what I'm arguing.

For me personally, the first clause is what matters, 'The deliberate killing of a large number of people.' 

The rest, while kind of important is, for want of a better word, semantics. It's not a word I'm comfortable using in such a serious discussion, but it's the best I can think of. If you can think of a better word then feel free to use it on my behalf. 

No matter how you slice it, that first part always happens in a real war, it's pretty much the definition of a war. Genocide is not the same as war, nor is war the same as genocide, but it doesn't matter, the effects are the same. No running away from it, no fingers in ears and eyes being closed stop it happening. But of course it can.

And if Chaosium wants to play around with a nice shiny one where people sign a declaration that they were fully consenting adults when they took part, and it happens where no one who didn't want to gets injured or unhappy or dead, and that the effect of all those people dying has no influence on the people left, that's ok. I don't think it's very honest or truthful but it's their publication.

I also disagree with the idea that no official publication has put the PCs in a genocidal occurrence or a near genocidal one. The attack of the Bat In the Red Cow has it front and centre, and is canon, from what I have read very, very, recently.
I'd also say that the Dragon Rise was a crime against humanity too, but I'm SURE no Lunars took their family to watch the opening of a new Reaching Moon Temple. [roll eyes]


I thought I had made it pretty clear in my last post what my views on RW violence are, but I'll expand further. I've been a pacifist since I was 17, thirty eight years ago, and only once in that time have I hurt someone first, to my dying shame. During that time I have been attacked many times [while trying to help people as a nurse and others times too] had my leg broken, my jaw dislocated, my ear drum burst and been bitten. And I've never done more than try to stop the person harming me in all that time.

Making violence cartoony and making war 'heroic', at least all the time, does everybody a disservice, and we're back to D&D Orks. Not because they're Green or automatically Eeeeeevil, but because they're disposable fodder who die in large numbers. Sanitised 'War'.

So for me the Sack of Pavis should happen as it's supposedly in the past, the ones in the future? Yeah, if they happen and there will be battles, there should be bad consequences too, what ever side the players are on.



 

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39 minutes ago, Orlanthatemyhamster said:

 

I must admit I found it difficult to understand what your point was, were you disagreeing with me or agreeing? Your opening sentence was very long, which I found hard to parse.  

Perhaps we disagree on what is mean by genocide,  but let's be clear so that we both are on the right page. 

Genocide. Noun.

The deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.

I assume you agree?

I'll now say what I'm arguing.

For me personally, the first clause is what matters, 'The deliberate killing of a large number of people.' 

The rest, while kind of important is, for want of a better word, semantics. It's not a word I'm comfortable using in such a serious discussion, but it's the best I can think of. If you can think of a better word then feel free to use it on my behalf. 

No matter how you slice it, that first part always happens in a real war, it's pretty much the definition of a war. Genocide is not the same as war, nor is war the same as genocide, but it doesn't matter, the effects are the same. No running away from it, no fingers in ears and eyes being closed stop it happening. But of course it can.

And if Chaosium wants to play around with a nice shiny one where people sign a declaration that they were fully consenting adults when they took part, and it happens where no one who didn't want to gets injured or unhappy or dead, and that the effect of all those people dying has no influence on the people left, that's ok. I don't think it's very honest or truthful but it's their publication.

I also disagree with the idea that no official publication has put the PCs in a genocidal occurrence or a near genocidal one. The attack of the Bat In the Red Cow has it front and centre, and is canon, from what I have read very, very, recently.
I'd also say that the Dragon Rise was a crime against humanity too, but I'm SURE no Lunars took their family to watch the opening of a new Reaching Moon Temple. [roll eyes]


I thought I had made it pretty clear in my last post what my views on RW violence are, but I'll expand further. I've been a pacifist since I was 17, thirty eight years ago, and only once in that time have I hurt someone first, to my dying shame. During that time I have been attacked many times [while trying to help people as a nurse and others times too] had my leg broken, my jaw dislocated, my ear drum burst and been bitten. And I've never done more than try to stop the person harming me in all that time.

Making violence cartoony and making war 'heroic', at least all the time, does everybody a disservice, and we're back to D&D Orks. Not because they're Green or automatically Eeeeeevil, but because they're disposable fodder who die in large numbers. Sanitised 'War'.

So for me the Sack of Pavis should happen as it's supposedly in the past, the ones in the future? Yeah, if they happen and there will be battles, there should be bad consequences too, what ever side the players are on.



 

Well, I'll hopefully be briefer this time. I disagree completely that the first clause is what really matters. I think that there's not all that much to say in response- I don't believe that the use of the Bat constitutes genocide, I certainty don't believe the Dragonrise was at all intentional enough to even constitute manslaughter, let alone murder, and therefore can't be genocide, because I do believe that the distinguishing element of genocide is the extermination of people, primarily on racial or ethnic grounds, whether via death or via the forcible disintegration of that shared identity through violence. And that having the Bat attack Runegate is morally horrific, an atrocity, but not genocide, because it's not carried out with the intent of exterminating all Colymar or all Runegate Triaty clans or of working towards the destruction of Sartarite/Heortling identity. 

I do think that there are two basic considerations here. One is that I'm not arguing that the depiction of violence or war must be cartoony or universally heroic. What I am arguing is, well, are you familiar with movies like ShoahCome and See, Enemies of the People, City of Life and Death/Nanjing! Nanjing!, or, on the slightly less brutal end of things, Hotel Rwanda or The Killing Fields? I am arguing that the level of brutality in the depiction of violence in Gloranthan official media should be less than how those films depict violence, just like it is currently. I have a somewhat elaborate reasoning for why that level of brutality is largely inappropriate for roleplaying gaming as well, but it's somewhat extraneous. What people do at their own table, as bounded by things like X-Cards and other such methods to ensure everyone is comfortable with what's happening, is their own business. 

Two is that there is nothing that requires play in Glorantha to be focused on experiences of mass violence, either. My own play experiences in official Glorantha have been somewhat limited, but they have largely thus far not been directly concerned with mass violence in the here and now. My Runequest player characters have been shaped by experiences of mass violence like their teenage years being shaped by a parent dying when they were 13 in the sack of Boldhome, or one player character having participated in the Boar Hunt against Tusk Riders when she was a fairly freshly initiated adult. But participating in mass violence from any perspective has been secondary to relatively straightforward heroic adventure where player characters are faced with thorny situations and attempt to use their gods, their magic, their psychological complexes, and their limited experiences to resolve them. And this is, I suspect, the normal mode of play with Gloranthan tabletop roleplaying game, and probably the model future Chaosium products will use. 

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