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There is no Gloranthan Canon


Thoror

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A few footnotes.

The first article in our Rough Guide to Glamour talks (between the cracks) about the grim dark realistic side of the metropolis ("a swarming hive of humanity, repaired by chain-gangs of unwilling 'penitents,' patrolled by brutal police from whom thoughts and even dreams must be guarded" ... "a mundane city: behind the Glamourising and beautifying, there is indeed poverty, deprivation and crime"), but its narrative is swept along by currents of Moon power dragging you ever inwards and upwards, which deliberately bypass that mundane stuff.* The tourist Gazetteer is full-on propaganda; the Rough Guide itself moves back to mundane travel tips, pointing out dingy and dangerous places, and situations you'd be well-advised to steer clear of. Yes, a tourist guide is anachronistic, like a Thunderbreath menu or Bisonburger machine.

* Some of Chris's zingers don't get enough recognition: "In Halfway, the statements of Imperial propaganda become reality, a magical reality which outsiders can experience only in dreams and illusions." The government is based in Halfway. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Citizens of the Lunar Empire is very much set in Outer Glamour. You have to look very closely to find Elvis's initials, the unSpiced Tharkalists are alluded to once in passing, and Glamour herself never appears (her appearance as a Chandleresque dame is in my spin-off fan-fiction, not the book itself; her two Acolytes are delicious characters, but you wouldn't guess they worshipped Blondie unless you were bringing that in from outside).

For the aetiologists: MOB introduced us to Elvis Argenteus Presley through his fiction (and then role-played him in the first run of Life of Moonson), and the Dice are Screaming podcast did a better job of explaining why than we ever felt the need to. Jeff Richard correctly identified Blondie as Glamour in January 2020, while I'm entirely responsible for the Spice Girls joke (a one-liner, let it be pointed out), the Eurythmics prayer-poem, and Pelorian Rhapsody. Chris and I jointly spliced those Blondie lyrics into Jeff's cult writeup, while I mentioned Saturday Night because this stuff matters, Goddammit. The "Euphoria" Rune spell (lifted from Berlin) was a collaborative endeavour. Mike Hagen came up with the Black Army as KGB way back in the nineties, and I think it was Simon Bray who told us there was a statue of "Putin riding on a Bear" (with impeccable mythic sourcing) outside the Lubyanka. I mean the Xaronea. Same difference, really.

Edited by Nick Brooke
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15 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

her two Acolytes are delicious characters, but you wouldn't guess they worshipped Blondie unless you were bringing that in from outside

This is one of the greatest truths / illusions on this site . . . for most of these blitz kids out across the bridges and tunnels in the skyscraper's shadow even Permanent Full is an aspirational thing, "real life" of bronze age squalo[u]r is the dream and only the temporary reality of Saturday night matters. Levitating lovers need a secret stratosphere.

EDIT I actually have A Debbie Harry Story now, bequeathed into my care by one of the old people we care for. How wonderful. She apparently had a "bag lady disguise" that she was extremely proud of and would pull out at the slightest provocation.

Fooled nobody.

Edited by scott-martin
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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

She apparently had a "bag lady disguise" that she was extremely proud of and would pull out at the slightest provocation.

Fooled nobody.

Nero did much the same. If we extend the analogy...

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1 hour ago, Nick Brooke said:

A few footnotes.

The first article in our Rough Guide to Glamour talks (between the cracks) about the grim dark realistic side of the metropolis ("a swarming hive of humanity, repaired by chain-gangs of unwilling 'penitents,' patrolled by brutal police from whom thoughts and even dreams must be guarded" ... "a mundane city: behind the Glamourising and beautifying, there is indeed poverty, deprivation and crime"), but its narrative is swept along by currents of Moon power dragging you ever inwards and upwards, which deliberately bypass that mundane stuff.* The tourist Gazetteer is full-on propaganda; the Rough Guide itself moves back to mundane travel tips, pointing out dingy and dangerous places, and situations you'd be well-advised to steer clear of. Yes, a tourist guide is anachronistic, like a Thunderbreath menu or Bisonburger machine.

* Some of Chris's zingers don't get enough recognition: "In Halfway, the statements of Imperial propaganda become reality, a magical reality which outsiders can experience only in dreams and illusions." The government is based in Halfway. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Citizens of the Lunar Empire is very much set in Outer Glamour. You have to look very closely to find Elvis's initials, the unSpiced Tharkalists are alluded to once in passing, and Glamour herself never appears (her appearance as a Chandleresque dame is in my spin-off fan-fiction, not the book itself; her two Acolytes are delicious characters, but you wouldn't guess they worshipped Blondie unless you were bringing that in from outside).

For the aetiologists: MOB introduced us to Elvis Argenteus Presley through his fiction (and then role-played him in the first run of Life of Moonson), and the Dice are Screaming podcast did a better job of explaining why than we ever felt the need to. Jeff Richard correctly identified Blondie as Glamour in January 2020, while I'm entirely responsible for the Spice Girls joke (a one-liner, let it be pointed out), the Eurythmics prayer-poem, and Pelorian Rhapsody. Chris and I jointly spliced those Blondie lyrics into Jeff's cult writeup, while I mentioned Saturday Night because this stuff matters, Goddammit. The "Euphoria" Rune spell (lifted from Berlin) was a collaborative endeavour. Mike Hagen came up with the Black Army as KGB way back in the nineties, and I think it was Simon Bray who told us there was a statue of "Putin riding on a Bear" (with impeccable mythic sourcing) outside the Lubyanka. I mean the Xaronea. Same difference, really.

My main quibble is that Argenteus is not Elvis - he's Telly Savalas.

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8 hours ago, Thoror said:

Yeah, but the thing is... I think that too. Just not like that.

When I read that Moonson's design was based on bad-shape Elvis (I hadn't made that connection myself)... I didn't have any problem with that whatsoever. Just a fun cosmetic touch. And I know that canon-Argenteus is pretty much a Nero-like ruler, a decadent figure whom Lunar propaganda is trying (badly) to paint in a positive light, and of course a product like this has to reflect that...

... But that's one thing, and a lovingly explicit and detailed depiction of his potty problems is another thing, you know?

Moonson having seven lovers born as daughters of a former Mask, which makes it symbolic incest, is one thing; five of them being based on the friggin' Spice Girls is another thing.

The goddess Glamour being a fickle, deceptive yet stylish and altogether... well, glamorous bitch is one thing; her having Saturday nights (I don't think I need to explain that there are no Saturdays in Glorantha) as her holy days is another.

And yet...

Did they really have any other choice?

Bear with me, here!

If you need to interweave pop-culture references in order to capture the "spirit" of Glamour (and it's clear the authors thought that is the way to do it), then you're stuck with mentions of the Spice Girls, the Eurythmics, Late-Stage-Elvis, Ziggy Stardust, and etc etc etc.

Because only those Real-World xref's will evoke the suite of ideas and images and emotions; the glamour.  They couldn't use more "authentic" / historically-accurate xref's in their place, because... well, name me a single pop-culture icon of late-Imperial Rome, or Persia?  Go ahead, I'll wait...

(if you got "Spartacus" ... well, he's a century too early, but OK; if you got any others -- especially any non-fighting types! -- then I'm VERY impressed
Because that would have (a) lost most of the readership; & (b) even for the few who recognized those names, wouldn't have carried the emotional/etc weight... the glamour.

By the same token, they needed older & over-the-top pop-culture -- fading OTT pop-culture at that -- to capture that this is, in fact, the decadent and fading era for the Lunars (canonically (if only there were a canon!) doomed to fail and fall within decades).  RGtG has no Lil Nas X, no Halsey, no Winnie Harlow or Ashley Graham.  We have nods to the past, not the future; nor even the present.
 

While I understand where you're coming from, I think RGtG stands very well as what it is.

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On 5/3/2021 at 8:13 AM, Thoror said:

... the humorous/plain crazy stuff is neither what I wanted nor what I expected in a Lunar Empire book. I don't even think it's bad; just not what I was looking for ...

 

 

The obvious reply here, IMHO, is that RGtG is NOT a book about the Lunar Empire; it's Glamour.

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6 hours ago, g33k said:


Because only those Real-World xref's will evoke the suite of ideas and images and emotions; the glamour.  They couldn't use more "authentic" / historically-accurate xref's in their place, because... well, name me a single pop-culture icon of late-Imperial Rome, or Persia?  Go ahead, I'll wait...

 

Probably a charioteer or their horse/s - Scorpus is the only one that comes to mind for me, but the Romans were fanatical about their racing and gambling.

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Always start what you finish.

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6 hours ago, g33k said:


If you need to interweave pop-culture references in order to capture the "spirit" of Glamour (and it's clear the authors thought that is the way to do it), then you're stuck with mentions of the Spice Girls, the Eurythmics, Late-Stage-Elvis, Ziggy Stardust, and etc etc etc.

Because only those Real-World xref's will evoke the suite of ideas and images and emotions; the glamour.  They couldn't use more "authentic" / historically-accurate xref's in their place, because... well, name me a single pop-culture icon of late-Imperial Rome, or Persia?  Go ahead, I'll wait...

(if you got "Spartacus" ... well, he's a century too early, but OK; if you got any others -- especially any non-fighting types! -- then I'm VERY impressed
Because that would have (a) lost most of the readership; & (b) even for the few who recognized those names, wouldn't have carried the emotional/etc weight... the glamour.

By the same token, they needed older & over-the-top pop-culture -- fading OTT pop-culture at that -- to capture that this is, in fact, the decadent and fading era for the Lunars (canonically (if only there were a canon!) doomed to fail and fall within decades).  RGtG has no Lil Nas X, no Halsey, no Winnie Harlow or Ashley Graham.  We have nods to the past, not the future; nor even the present.
 

While I understand where you're coming from, I think RGtG stands very well as what it is.

 

The problem I find is that it kills any sense of verisimilitude or suspension of disbelief. I looked at the Drivethru info for Rough Guide to Glamour when it first came out, and TBH I had no idea who the people on the front cover were except Elvis, and my first thought was "What's Elvis got to do with it?". But then I don't do pop culture. Now that may not reflect the content (although I suspect it does from the other references). I'm sure it's a good book, it's just that I won't get any of the references its making. I'd prefer things to be explicitly spelt out TBH.

Edited by d(sqrt(-1))
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Always start what you finish.

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11 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

We’re still doing Glamour.

<thick RussianCarmanian Accent>:  "In Lunar Empire, you don't do Glamour.  Glamour does you!"

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36 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

They all live in the Vatican. 

I assume you misspelt pope culture....

Maybe they Doged a bullet there...

Edited by d(sqrt(-1))
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1 hour ago, d(sqrt(-1)) said:

I'm sure it's a good book, it's just that I won't get any of the references its making. I'd prefer things to be explicitly spelt out TBH.

You're right, it's a good book. And we explicitly spelled things out in Glamour Goes Gold, a free 25-page supplement full of "making-of" articles, artwork, diagrams, etc., that was created largely for the benefit of foreign translators but was shared for anyone who missed some of the references we were making. So I think you'll do just fine. Let me know how you find it.

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Perish the thought that a world containing Duckburg Point, Hungry Jack, Prax, Grizzly Peak, Nochet and Gonn Orta should have punny, jokey and real-world referencing names.

But sure the Rough Guide does dial that up to 11, just slightly. The Guide is a product of it's original purpose as a way to kickstart a freeform. As such it was intentionally designed to be as immediately digestible and in-your-face as possible, but it's actually pretty easy to calibrate it back down to a less slapstick level and I think a lot of these references are useful. For me, they do provide actually insightful critiques of Lunar and generally Gloranthan politics and culture in a fun way.

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

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Most Gloranthan texts, rulebooks, pure setting material, fiction, are campy in the sense that there are layers of meaning which are opposed to one another, a conscious and artificial invocation of deconstruction and ironic archness. Christopher Isherwood put a distinction between high and low camp in the mouth of one of his characters, and High Camp is something which takes its underlying material very seriously as it layers on the artifice and stylization.

The Rough Guide to Glamour, like most Gloranthan texts, is also High Camp. The Nineteen Eighty-Four jokes, the Blondie lyrics, Moonson Argenteus Presley, references to the Soviet Union- these exist to point the way to important statements about very serious topics. The extent to which the Lunar Empire attempts to put a bureaucratic set of regulations on the wild, uncontrollable Lunar Way. The sense of the immanent eschaton, that surely the end must be nigh. The ways in which this realization leads people to party harder, attempting to drown out that persistent signal from above with excess of sensation.

Or as Andre 3000 put it in "Hey Ya"-

Quote

So why, oh, why, oh
Why, oh, why, oh, why, oh
Are we still in denial when we know we're not happy here

But the campiness adds in the additional realization that it's not all glamour in Glamour. There's something there, something moving under the surface, a strange neon-demon beat that you can follow. Great Sister really is watching you with something like benevolent intent. There really is nothing to fear if you follow the Seven Steps.

Anyways, this has been your regular selection from the ongoing manifesto: "Dr. Infandamore: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bat."

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2 hours ago, simonh said:

Perish the thought that a world containing Duckburg Point, Hungry Jack, Prax, Grizzly Peak, Nochet and Gonn Orta should have punny, jokey and real-world referencing names.

I know Duck Point and Nochet but I didn't know the others were puns - what are they?

Always start what you finish.

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1 hour ago, d(sqrt(-1)) said:

I know Duck Point and Nochet but I didn't know the others were puns - what are they?

Hungry Jack's is the Australian Burger King.

Nochet comes from Greg "not yet" knowing the name of the big city in Esrolia. 

"The Desert of Prax" is directly lifted from a Dr. Zeuss story. 

Not sure about the others.

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56 minutes ago, d(sqrt(-1)) said:

I know Duck Point and Nochet but I didn't know the others were puns - what are they?

Gonn Orta (outa)

Godunya (that looks good on ya - talking about belt buckles)

Corflu (erase that)

 

Onomapoetics:

Tada. (Ta-daaaa!) (also Tadashi Ehara, as in Tada-shi, the Golden Age people of Prax)

Waha. (Waaa-haaa!)

 

Backward spelling:

Amuron (the horned serpent aka the transformed Creator spirit of Pamaltela) and Noruma (the primal shaman of Pamaltela), Hykim and Mikyh

 

Real world references:

Prax are the plains in  Dr. Seuss, where the east- and west-going zaxes meet, and his writings also the source for the beast with the initials YBB, if my second hand knowledge serves me right. Not sure about the nimble hen.

Nan Madol and Carmania are actual places in this world which correspond somewhat.

Sandy placed a number of B-Movie titles in Ignorance. 10k maniacs, or so.

 

Not to mention the myriad of people whose names feature on Gloranthan maps. The Perrin stones, William('s) Church, Bigglestone...

 

Refuge is a translation of Sanctuary, the setting of Thieves World. Karse is another spelling of Carse.

 

Rikard the Tiger-Hearted, king in the Holy Country? Outre, mer.

 

(And Orlanth's Ring approaching the Spike in the Storm Age looks awfully like the Paramount logo...)

So yes, Gloranthan naming conventions can be breaking the Fourth Wall or suspension of disbelief every once in a while.


On the other hand, stuff that looks sounds familiar in the Roddenberry TV-verse has been lifted from Glorantha.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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As we note in the Jonstown Compendium Guidelines, “Your Glorantha Will Vary” is long-established principle in Gloranthan fandom. While we strive to ensure that official Chaosium publications stick to canon, that is a restriction on our interpretations of Glorantha, not yours. Your Glorantha can vary as much or as little as you want for what you create for the Jonstown Compendium, or in your own games.

On 5/2/2021 at 11:04 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

You'll be happy to note that people like @Jeff and @MOB have multiple times stated for our benefit that "canon" is only something Chaosium has to worry about. My understanding is that they want their published products to be internally consistent so that customers can use them together and not be too confused. 

However, customers themselves have never been bound by this notion. A player is under no obligation to follow Chaosium's self-imposed publication policy. 

So, you're right, but also, it was never actually an issue.

What @Sir_Godspeedsaid in the quote above (the very first reply in the thread) succinctly and satisfactorily defines what Gloranthan canon is and how it is - and isn't - applied. Magister dixit.

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