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Tricksters in Orlanthi society; How to make them playable. lol


skulldixon

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I find this discussion interesting and helpful. Eurmal followers have been tricky(heh) for me.

Seems like theres a great variety: open and hidden followers. There are these lowly 3year-old -minded and there are Loki-type mastermind eurmali(i didnt read the Company of Dragon yet). Wouldn't it fit perfectly to Eurmal if no one could say what the actual type is and that it could be anything? In Boldhome they have this open clown aspect.

Orlanth desides to protect them for various reasons. At some point eurmali cross a line and need to reconciliate their deeds.

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My wondering goes around the Eurmal shrine system:

How many aspects there might be in a city like Boldhome? I can notice at least three types of eurmali: the clowns, the entertainers and the criminals. Is it possible for them to use each others shrines? Thieves and murderers(just as entertainers) have their own cults but aren't there also such aspects of thief and murderer Eurmal? How would these different aspects and followers treat each other?

Edited by Jokum
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10 hours ago, Jokum said:

I find this discussion interesting and helpful. Eurmal followers have been tricky(heh) for me.

Seems like theres a great variety: open and hidden followers. There are these lowly 3year-old -minded and there are Loki-type mastermind eurmali(i didnt read the Company of Dragon yet). Wouldn't it fit perfectly to Eurmal if no one could say what the actual type is and that it could be anything? In Boldhome they have this open clown aspect.

Orlanth desides to protect them for various reasons. At some point eurmali cross a line and need to reconciliate their deeds.

------

My wondering goes around the Eurmal shrine system:

How many aspects there might be in a city like Boldhome? I can notice at least three types of eurmali: the clowns, the entertainers and the criminals. Is it possible for them to use each others shrines? Thieves and murderers(just as entertainers) have their own cults but aren't there also such aspects of thief and murderer Eurmal? How would these different aspects and followers treat each other?

As many as are needed to make the story funny.

And most of them will be weird. Borrowing from Pratchett, Like that shrine out the back of the pub, where Tricksters have to wait shivering through the night.

In the morning the old cleaning lady hobbles out and beats them up with her broom, cursing all the smelly strangers who keep infesting the trash dump. She is a master of broom attack, because it has been happening so long. 

The old woman is the shrine. Most visitors think the shrine is the broom. Many tricksters have attempted to steel the broom, but it doesn't work once they steal it, and they get an extra hard beating next time the old lady spots them.

The shrine teaches "sorry mum". Providing the trickster has not struck any blows, causes the attacker to pause long enough for the miscreant to get away relatively unscathed, because of the piteous squealing.  

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My three rules for playing a trickster.

  • Drive it like you stole it.
  • Be a dick in character, but not in real life - don't ruin the game, be the game.
  • Enjoy the spectacular crash. Let it happen when the time comes.

And that's just my way, there are other ways. If I did it again I might do it a different way. Tricksters aren't for everyone, and they aren't for every group. It requires a certain amount of buy-in from everyone.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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27 minutes ago, JonL said:

I will admit to a preference for more high-functioning Tricksters, closer to Brer Rabbit or  MCU Loki than many of the more insane examples we get in the tales.

Elusu in the webcomic does this well.

One thing about clowns is that they seem to be a bit lightweight - they're more playable, but they also actually know and respect the lines (they break the rules, but they know which rules they are allowed to break). They're a lot like jesters, saying and doing the things others can't, but maybe would like to. All-out tricksters don't work like that - nothing is too far, no rules count, you will betray your boss some day. Presumably, this higher risk means higher reward for those who employ them.

I'm thinking HQ/QW might actually work better for trickster characters - there you can get away with more and improvise harder from your abilities, while in RQ, your toolbox is a lot smaller.

One the key things about the trickster is that they get to propose - or even perform - things that need to be done but others can't because of quaint notions like honor and propriety. They're the ones doing the lateral thinking.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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2 hours ago, skulldixon said:

Ya, I think my preferred Refence for a trickster in GLorantha is almost never Loki and almost always The Monkey King.

YES - complete with that nasty ring thing on his head, whenever some meanie hits them with the lightbringer summons.

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On 4/11/2021 at 10:38 PM, Darius West said:

...

I would argue that the best fit for a trickster is as an Issaries initiate.  They are supposed to be gabby, interested in money and power, and prone to being a bit shonky, as well as not great in a fight and prone to move around a lot.

...

I think that cover would be pretty risky, chances are the Trickster would fumble secret handshakes and trigger any market spells, unless they were very well prepared.

Probably easier to impersonate a worthless bum, if challenged they could claim to be a lay member of some cult nobody has ever heard of. Especially in the wake of the Lunar occupation there must be lots of people of dubious sanity wandering about, Trickster would fit right in with the street panhandlers and ragged misfits.

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4 hours ago, EricW said:

YES - complete with that nasty ring thing on his head, whenever some meanie hits them with the lightbringer summons.

I see the Monkey King's Crown - called The golden fillet - as being similar to and a physical manifestation of a trickster being bound to an Orlanth Rune Master.

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On 9/21/2021 at 10:08 AM, EricW said:

I think that cover would be pretty risky, chances are the Trickster would fumble secret handshakes and trigger any market spells, unless they were very well prepared.

Probably easier to impersonate a worthless bum, if challenged they could claim to be a lay member of some cult nobody has ever heard of. Especially in the wake of the Lunar occupation there must be lots of people of dubious sanity wandering about, Trickster would fit right in with the street panhandlers and ragged misfits.

Actually, the Issaries cult has Eurmal listed as an associated deity who gives Issaries worshippers the rune spell Clever Tongue.  Besides, any trickster worth a poo sandwich knows to hang around on the edge of the Market spell if they are up to no good.  How do they know where the edge is?  The carved poles!  Der! 😆

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On 4/13/2021 at 7:51 AM, skulldixon said:

I mean, Its my thread and I asked a question pertaining to the subject so I think its ok.

Yeah, fair enough.  On the issue of the Trickster flaw, I never liked it.  It is silly and arbitrary but in the wrong way.  Having GMed a few tricksters now, and even played a couple, a well played trickster really doesn't need this.  They make their own fun by coming up with hairbrained schemes that work in the short term, until people get wise to them, then they blow up in the trickster's face.  Trickster's cannot "build"; nothing they do leads to stability, and any structure or organization they interact with can only be worse for it, unless they anticipate and accept the need for disorder to keep from becoming stale.  That is why the Yelm Pantheon hates Tricksters, but the Orlanthi accept them, but on a leash.

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

Actually, the Issaries cult has Eurmal listed as an associated deity who gives Issaries worshippers the rune spell Clever Tongue.  Besides, any trickster worth a poo sandwich knows to hang around on the edge of the Market spell if they are up to no good.  How do they know where the edge is?  The carved poles!  Der! 😆

And how do they know the poles they see haven't been put up inside the perimeter by another Trickster?

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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24 minutes ago, Joerg said:

And how do they know the poles they see haven't been put up inside the perimeter by another Trickster?

Fun trick: set up mundane fake poles and dress up as a merchant. When the actual merchants arrive, lie (or even Lie) and tell them the Market spell has already been cast. Then rob them blind when their guard is down because they believe Market is in effect.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 4/11/2021 at 7:24 AM, Nick Brooke said:

Drew’s new initiations in “The Company of the Dragon” are beautifully written, and do a great job of presenting “Eurmal as Loki.” Seriously good stuff. Check them out?

I cant find this. Can you pinpoint where the Loki part is, please. ...or anyone?

I've fast read the book twice and the initiations with a better glance, but I noticed Eurmal mentioned only briefly...

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3 hours ago, Jokum said:

I cant find this. Can you pinpoint where the Loki part is, please. ...or anyone?

I've fast read the book twice and the initiations with a better glance, but I noticed Eurmal mentioned only briefly...

If you're fast-reading while looking for nuance, you will fail.

Look at the way Eurmal is introduced in those initiation scenarios. It's not the way you'd usually find him in one of Greg's myths. I find Drew's presentation more sinister, destructive and malevolent than the often "playful and random" Trickster we're used to. More Loki than Coyote. He is up to something, and he knows it will hurt people and ruin things, and he doesn't care: maybe that's the point?

Edited by Nick Brooke
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So: in the Orlanth Adventurous initiation, Eurmal explicitly takes the role of Loki in the story of Baldur the Beautiful. Disguised as an old woman, he tricks Orlanth into wielding Death against Yelm. Think of the old mistletoe dart switcheroo.

While in the Humakt initiation, Eurmal tricks Grandfather Mortal into ambushing Humakt: he is, of course, slain. His dying words are, "But Eurmal said you wanted to play this game..."

To me, those are strongly Loki-inflected appearances, not the "bumbling clown driven by his appetites and bereft of social graces" we're used to seeing in other tales. Eurmal is scheming to set up murder and mayhem. He's an asshole like that.

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Heroquesting is tricky that way. Maybe Eurmal didn’t know what death was and what the outcome would be, but how do you do a HeroQuest of unintentionally causing a killing due to reckless mischief? You know what the outcome is, so it can’t be unintentional.

Did Eris intend to cause the destruction of Troy? Probably not, she had nothing against Troy, but if you do the HeroQuest to disrupt the party on Olympus with a golden apple you know you’re causing the destruction of a city and the deaths of tens of thousands.

Edited by simonh

Check out the Runequest Glorantha Wiki for RQ links and resources. Any updates or contributions welcome!

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1 minute ago, simonh said:

Heroquesting is tricky that way. Maybe Eurmal didn’t know what death was and what the outcome would be, but how do you do a HeroQuest of unintentionally causing a killing due to reckless mischief? You know what the outcome is, so it can’t be unintentional.

The shrine of Eurmal the Scientist.  "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be research.  Woop-woop-woop!"  "The operation was a complete success -- the patient died.  Honk-honk."  "Within the limits of experimental error, results are consistent with our hypothesis that an acceptable number of people were killed!  Nyack-nyack."

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13 hours ago, simonh said:

Heroquesting is tricky that way. Maybe Eurmal didn’t know what death was and what the outcome would be, but how do you do a HeroQuest of unintentionally causing a killing due to reckless mischief? You know what the outcome is, so it can’t be unintentional.

Easy, you just cast Lie on yourself. "It's all going to be fine!" Or maybe there's a dedicated trickster spell, Cognitive Dissonance, a 1-point version of Lie that only affects the caster.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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31 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Easy, you just cast Lie on yourself. "It's all going to be fine!" Or maybe there's a dedicated trickster spell, Cognitive Dissonance, a 1-point version of Lie that only affects the caster.

What a fascinating idea. If a trickster casts lie on themself, do detect truth spells show they believe they are telling the truth?

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21 minutes ago, EricW said:

What a fascinating idea. If a trickster casts lie on themself, do detect truth spells show they believe they are telling the truth?

I guess it's the same as anyone who believes the false statement that they are saying. No lie.

Lie traditionally has been interpreted as not affecting the caster themselves, which is why I suggest a self-only variant à la Hallucinate. Some might allow the caster to choose to also believe their own Lie with the normal version of the spell, but I'm not sure the spell would be as good if the trickster always believed their own lie.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

I guess it's the same as anyone who believes the false statement that they are saying. No lie.

Lie traditionally has been interpreted as not affecting the caster themselves, which is why I suggest a self-only variant à la Hallucinate. Some might allow the caster to choose to also believe their own Lie with the normal version of the spell, but I'm not sure the spell would be as good if the trickster always believed their own lie.

Yet Tricksters lie to themselves all the time. I've got to say I kind of like the idea of tricksters being able to fool truth spells, providing they accept the consequences of believing their own lie. But maybe that would be too powerful.

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