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Prophecies! (Of The Hero Wars)


scott-martin

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Where do Gloranthan prophecies come from? We are told the gods, like the human unconscious, do not recognize the distinction between past, present and "future." But not all divinations are literally true. They require expert interpretation. Perhaps these divinations function as "prophecy" until someone emerges to decode them correctly.

Or perhaps all the "prophecies" we have are not magically supported at all but are instead consciously constructed as wish fulfillment, propaganda or to serve some other goal. This would make me a little sad. While I'm sure plenty of mystagogues actively promote fake visions of the future, it seems like a waste to attribute the entire Hero Wars complex to this kind of activity. Moreover, in a world where the gods are real etc., it strikes me as extremely dangerous to lie like this . . . sooner or later, the right people will find out and you will get in big trouble.

Either way, where does all the foreshadowing come from? Who sells it? How is it made? Where are the margins?

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The Deities of Glorantha are bound by The Compromise. The Compromise prevents deities from seeing into the future, as they are bound to Time. So, any prophecies that allow you to predict the future must be done outside the Compromise.

What lies beyond the Compromise? Chaos.

Where is Chaos? Outside of Glorantha.

How do you do Prophecy in Glorantha? You go outside Glorantha, through the Chaos and re-enter Glorantha, recording what you see and returning.

Who has done this? Dayzatar climbed up the outside of the Sky Dome, looking into the Chaos. He may have taught this to his children. Cragspider seems to have done this, but it is unclear how, maybe she manifested Arachne Solara, who exists outside the Compromise as she made the Compromise. Some Troll Gods might be able to, for example the chap who looked into the Primal Chaos where it gained entry into Glorantha and saw its secrets.

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Prophecy, in the sense of the Old Testament, was frequently conditional. Repent and do this, or else something terrible will happen. Prophecy, according to the literal Greek word from which the English descends, is the interpretation of the will of god. Maimonides said that prophecy was a emanation from the divine, to both the rational and imaginative portions of the mind, needing the Aristotleian "active intellect" for it to be understood. 

So, we have fairly basic components here- the god talks. You hear. You listen. You think. You dream. Finally, you prophesize. And what does the god say? What does the god speak for those who have ears to hear? 

Well, that is the question, isn't it? Perhaps what they say is quite simply, "This is what I will do, if this other thing happens." 

The thoughts of gods are not like those of ordinary people- they are quite simply larger, perhaps even with lifespans and names of their own. It is thus understandable that it is primarily those of mystic or ascetic inclinations who prophesize most often- they quite simply clear out the static on their god's channel and proceed to learn more of the god's thinking. 

And some gods, of course, have greater plans for the universe, ones so refined and abstract it's almost as if they have no influence on Glorantha at all, offering no Rune Magic, no refuge in personal potency. Perhaps these ones whisper out just what it will take to bring this Modern Age to a close and move forward to a Fourth Age. Would it be called "Postmodern"? 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

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Patterns in the web of Arachne Solara, emerging shapes that attach themselves to foreshadowings. There is that prophecy by Isidilian that foreshadows the heroes of the Dragon Pass boardgame.

Perceiving these patterns or developments may require special senses, or the perception may come as a revelation unasked for by the (random?) recipient. As such developments are emergent, taking away some of the strands of the web may alter or even prevent a prophecied outcome.

Sorting out prophecies from nightmares may be problematic. Possibly, parallel observations might be needed. But then, there may be nightmarish memes afflicting multiple recipients, too. Shamanic sendings can be of such a nature.

Finally, a prophetic perception needs to be communicated to become a prophecy. Things beyond normal experience need to be put into terms of communication or recording modes unprepared for such content.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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11 hours ago, Eff said:

The thoughts of gods are not like those of ordinary people- they are quite simply larger, perhaps even with lifespans and names of their own. 

I've recently begun to think of the nature of gods as thematic templates, that when invoked are overlayed on the temporal world and cause events to trend according to the god's nature or will.  Like a mix-tape, put it on at a party and you can expect the people to dance a certain way.  The annoying thing about gods is that you can reliably expect them to behave a certain way, but with little or no deviation.  Their ability to define the world defines their actions.

So where do prophesies come from?  To polish an old chestnut: mortals may be dumb, but they ain't stupid.  And the gods may be vast, but they're predictable.  Every time the gods are invoked on the mortal plane, events reliably proceed along largely consistent paths.  Like speculative fiction writers, wise folk apply the predictable themes and superimpose them upon new generations.  Plenty of room for error, but like Nostradamus or a 20th century weatherman, if your predictions approach anything like 30-40%, you're hailed as a seer.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
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if it is true prophecy (not imagination) I would say it is link to fate and time;

so it could be by accident: the "prophet" finds a kind of nexus from runes power (no conscious being emits anything)

or a god decides to give the knowledge to the "prophet". Buf few gods master of these runes, I suppose. My favorite would be Arachne Solara but why did she provide any prophecy ? to manipulate the future ?

there is no need of prophecy if there is nothing to change.

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On 12/19/2020 at 8:44 PM, soltakss said:

Some Troll Gods might be able to, for example the chap who looked into the Primal Chaos where it gained entry into Glorantha and saw its secrets.

Going all the way down to the Chaosium and dunking one's head in it, as it were, might offer some outside perspective. It might also be an illuminating, mystic heroquest of some kind. Just spitballing.

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Visiting temporary breakdowns of the compromise is a possibility. Just as it should be possible for a third age Gloranthan to visit the first age Sunstop, would it also be possible for a dawn Gloranthan to travel forward to the Sunstop? What about visiting Castle Blue? Or the battle of Night and Day? Or the moment when Orlanth struck down Zistor? Or the moment Argrath tore down the Red Moon?

Obviously journeys to visit cataclysmic compromise breaking events would be horrendously dangerous, both physically and spiritually. And most of the people participating in such events would be too busy with their own problems to answer stupid questions, so any information gleaned from such events would be fragmentary and very limited in perspective.

Perhaps rather than visiting the event itself you might be more likely to encounter a refugee from one of the events on a hero quest, or perhaps a hero who dies and is resurrected might remember details of an unsettling conversation they had with someone they met on the path of the dead.

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5 hours ago, EricW said:

Perhaps rather than visiting the event itself you might be more likely to encounter a refugee from one of the events on a hero quest, or perhaps a hero who dies and is resurrected might remember details of an unsettling conversation they had with someone they met on the path of the dead.

Or maybe you're not so much seeing the event itself, but a ripple or echo emanating through time as the Compromise is temporarily shattered. A shadow imprint, reflection, afterimage... any such metaphor might do the job. Not the real thing, but enough for certain people to realize that there's something special about those visions.

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On 12/19/2020 at 2:44 PM, soltakss said:

Who has done this?

In addition to the gods you listed, the current form of the Blue Moon spends most of her time climbing up the outside of the Sky Dome.  And wouldn't you know it, she's a premier oracular deity.

On 12/19/2020 at 2:44 PM, soltakss said:

Some Troll Gods might be able to, for example the chap who looked into the Primal Chaos where it gained entry into Glorantha and saw its secrets.

Bozkatang, who looked into the Chaosium and learned the secrets to fighting Chaos in advance.  And whose followers helped worship the Blue Moon into her current form...

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All these replies are sizzlers but today I just want to tease out one juxtaposition:

On 12/19/2020 at 2:44 PM, soltakss said:

How do you do Prophecy in Glorantha? You go outside Glorantha

 

On 12/19/2020 at 2:12 PM, John Biles said:

Mysticism.  Transcending limits also means transcending time.

 

"Mysticism" just got interesting as something more than a renunciation of spiritual materialism. And if we glance in the right direction we might understand a bit more of what the East did in the shadow of the Dawn Wars. That direction might be forward in time.

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On 12/23/2020 at 5:00 PM, scott-martin said:

"Mysticism" just got interesting as something more than a renunciation of spiritual materialism. And if we glance in the right direction we might understand a bit more of what the East did in the shadow of the Dawn Wars. That direction might be forward in time.

Maybe we can take a page out of Arrival (the short story more than the movie) - the more you understand about the future, the less inclined or able you will be to change it, until perfect foreknowledge means perfect acceptance? This seems like it would fit with mysticism.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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21 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Maybe we can take a page out of Arrival (the short story more than the movie) - the more you understand about the future, the less inclined or able you will be to change it, until perfect foreknowledge means perfect acceptance? This seems like it would fit with mysticism.

That sort of makes sense, because from your perspective the future is no longer - how do I put this - something that's unresolved. It's just as real as the present or the past. Or rather, arguably, all of time is effectively happening concurrently.

Or maybe not, but it's a neat thought.

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45 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

That sort of makes sense, because from your perspective the future is no longer - how do I put this - something that's unresolved. It's just as real as the present or the past. Or rather, arguably, all of time is effectively happening concurrently.

Or maybe not, but it's a neat thought.

The web of Arachne Solara was, the web of Arachne Solara is, the web of Arachne Solara will be.

It's a bit like space-time in a deterministic universe - a single existing unchanging chunk, and "time" is just your current perspective on it.

Plus the idea that all time is the same time, all space is the same space, all souls are the same soul... it's hard to get much more mystical than that.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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