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Assorted notes on the City of Wonders and Holy Country


jajagappa

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Some more interesting notes on Holy Country, Belintar, Jar-eel, Harrek, and City of Wonders from Jeff on FB:

From the letters of Sorala Tor, Esrolian scribe in Prince Argrath's service:
"Of all the many crimes committed by the the Poisonblood Witch-Queen of the Lunar Empire (a commonly used venomous title for Jar-eel the Razoress), perhaps the greatest crime was when she assassinated Belintar the God-King and ended the divine proximity of the Holy Country. A crime boasted of by the Lunars, serving no purpose except to facilitate their imperial conquests. Belintar was a gossamer thread between the Sixths of the Holy Country and the proximate divine realm. He brought mortals and gods together, and brought us as close to the blessed God Time as mortals can experience.
Lunar apologists point to Harrek's destruction of the City of Wonders, and the assistance given to him by King Broyan, to deflect from Moondaughter's crimes. But Harrek is like a wolf or bear - he kills those things that are already weakened and sickened. His destruction is like Humakt's or Umath's - he destroys a broken and corrupt world, so that a new one might be built. He ended the fading dream of the City of Wonders, but it was a mercy killing and it woke us up from the delusions that somehow Belintar might return (a delusion spread and encouraged by the Empire!)."
 
JR>As an aside, although I love Jar-eel, I imagine that countless people RIGHTFULLY view her as a horrid witch who wades through seas of blood - that she spilled - while smiling sweetly and playing her harp. The Orlanthi might well hate her more than even the Red Emperor himself. (As she really has spilled rivers of blood.)
 
JR> within the Lunar Heartlands and Provinces there is a lot of sympathy for the Lunar Empire. Within Sartar, Prax, and the Holy Country there is a lot of sympathy for Argrath. Funny how that works!
 
JR> In short it is reasonable for countless people to hate and fear Jar-eel the Razoress. It is also reasonable for countless people to hate and fear Harrek White Bear. Both are harbingers of the end of an Age.
 
JR> Except for clowns. Unlike so many moderns, Harrek really likes clowns.... And people down on their luck. Harrek is surprisingly sympathetic. I heard once he went through Apple Lane and overheard a tenant farmer worrying about how he'd get enough apples collected now that his son is gone and his leg crippled. Harrek went off the trade road and demanded of the farmer if that was truth or just an exaggeration? The terrified farmer said it was truth, he had no idea how he would gather enough apples to pay his share of the harvest and have enough to support his family. And so Harrek spent the day gathering apples.  And afterwards, they went to the Tin Inn, and Harrek drank the place dry, stiffed Blueberry, and killed Pramble for irritating him with bad poetry.

JR> As an aside, among the things Harrek is known for is the following: He never forgot his common origins and never let a poor man starve. That is a key part of the Harrek myth and has been since WBRM.

 
 
 
 
 
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JR> On Belintar: Over his centuries of rule, Belintar attracted and patronised many visionary and unorthodox thinkers. Aggressive reincarnation, philosophies of Luck and Fate ("our Lady giveth and she taketh away"), God Learner apologists, monomyth mythic synthesis, elemental progression theories, harmonic numbers (especially 2, 3, and 6), and so much more.

Now Belintar no doubt strongly influenced these thinkers. How could he not? The presence of a powerful, immortal heroquester who could communicate with gods and Silver Age heroes alike, who knew Heort and Arkat, familiar with the theories of the mythic synthesis movement, and who defeated the Only Old One in hand to hand combat and reshaped the geography of the land - how could such presence not shape the thinkers of his kingdom?
And yet, Belintar was a surprisingly tolerant God-King, who laughingly acknowledged his non-worship by the atheists of God Forgot, but took their tribute in other ways. He ruled lightly, "less than a feather, as heavy as Dawn's early light," but also without any real threat or challenge until the Lunar Empire entered Dragon Pass.
This intellectual fermentation might have only been confined to a small percentage of the population, but it strongly influenced Sartar and his dynasty, who might even be claimed as Belintar's truest heirs (which is deeply ironic given the Hendriki settled Dragon Pass to get away from Belintar's innovations).
 
JR> Many of the members of the Sartar dynasty had a strong connection to the Holy Country, and the City of Wonders. Sartar himself is thought to have participated in one of the Tournaments of the Masters of Luck and Death, and as already mentioned, Tarkalor traveled to the City of Wonders and became acquainted with several philosophers, and likely Terasarin did as well. Argrath simply follows true to that tradition, with his circumnavigation and his time spent in Nochet.
 
 
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Posted (edited)

JR>Mister Bondaru was a sage of Lhankor Mhy, and a noted philosopher in the City of Wonders. As stated before, his specialty was "The Physical Body and its Etheral Attributes" and he published a paper on the subject.

Tarkalor met him when he was a young man, sent by his father to the Holy Country. His recollections of that meeting exist in fragmentary form.
"I saw you come back from I Fought, We Won," Mister Bondaru said. "You are among the cursed who participate in consciousness."
He spoke to me about the God Learners as well. "Not everything which they did was evil," Mister Bondaru said. "There is no doubt that they performed corrupt actions, hurt many people, and harmed the life force. But even they loved their children, worked to make things better, and did things which benefited their peoples."
"You yourself still bear soem of their customs. Think, first, of the five-part year which you have followed so faithfully all of your life. That was a God Learner thing."
"And what of those fancy tattoos which you value so highly - did you know they were a God Learner affectation too?"
 
JR> Mister Bondaru promulgated the idea of aggressive reincarnation and the use of subtle bodies, which proved influential in Holy Country thought. (at least in some circles.)
Edited by jajagappa
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JR: On the City of Wonders

The City of Wonders circa 1550 was the greatest city in the Holy Country, and one of the greatest cities in the world. With a population of 50,000 souls it was probably about the same size as Nochet (remember this is before the Opening), and occupied much of Loon Island. The city was connected to the each of the Sixths by magical bridges, but most people traveled there by boat - remember that few ports along the Mirrorsea Bay is more than about 50 km from the City of Wonders.
Belintar maintained a number of galleys to ferry around dignitaries, guests, and officials. These galleys were without sails ("winds are only treacherous), but many of the fishing boats and merchant ships do have sails.
Greg drew up a schematic of the city some years back. This is conceptual and ideal (as many of his notes often were), but it is entirely possible that Belintar was able to pull of this near perfection. Gods and spirits dwelled in the City of Wonders alongside mortals and powerful magical entities like the Reef Master or the Tide Lord. So you might go to the Golden Anchor for a drink and meet a visiting Triton or a son of the Storm Bull who has come here from Stormwalk Mountain.
In many ways, the city it resembles the most is Glamour. The City of Wonders was a place where the mundane world crossed over into the Gods World. But when Belintar disappeared in 1616, the City of Wonders was mostly removed from this world, and remained only as a ghostly remnant. And after 1624, Harrek destroyed and pillaged that remnant (with perhaps the aid of your player characters!) and now it is entirely gone from this world.
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JR> The disappearance of the City of Wonders is one of those sad melancholic things like a half-remembered dream after you wake up. You wish you could return to it, but can barely recall it.

JR> imagine the myriad thousands gathered to watch the tournaments and to take part in its splendours. The diversity, the magic - heck, Jolly Fat God threw his parties (which I have to admit always have me thinking of Hedonbot from Futurama)

JR> Jolly Fat God often visited the City of Wonders! As did Mister Bondaru, a noted Lhankor Mhy sage who served as a court philosopher for Belintar in the 1550s. His specialty was "The Physical Body and its Etheral Attributes," and even wrote a paper on the subject. He was also very knowledgeable about the God Learners.

JR> we have both here of course. Boats for most everyone, bridges so that Belintar and the Rulers of the Sixths can travel in amazing style.

 

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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:
"And what of those fancy tattoos which you value so highly - did you know they were a God Learner affectation too?"
 

Now THIS is interesting. I wonder whether he referred to tattooing itself (if so, that's news to me! Maybe associated with Zzaburi skin-writing?) or whether he's talking about the graphical representations of the Runes, which makes a lot of sense.

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28 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Now THIS is interesting. I wonder whether he referred to tattooing itself (if so, that's news to me! Maybe associated with Zzaburi skin-writing?) or whether he's talking about the graphical representations of the Runes, which makes a lot of sense.

While Mister Bondaru was a visionary personality and an authority on body modification among other subjects, he could get a little "intoxicated" with his own rhetorical technique (Tarkalor was evidently impressed enough to memorialize the encounter) so perhaps we can give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was talking about the modern rune set. The Heortlings themselves have at least two traditions of skin writing going all the way back to Orlanth depending on whether you count from the needle or the more exotic brand. 

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4 hours ago, jajagappa said:

But when Belintar disappeared in 1616, the City of Wonders was mostly removed from this world, and remained only as a ghostly remnant. And after 1624, Harrek destroyed and pillaged that remnant (with perhaps the aid of your player characters!) and now it is entirely gone from this world.

Just when we finally have a map of the City of Wonders, it's gone! 

I think we're going to have to have Flashback and Dream scenarios!  Perhaps something from the pillaging of the city (if the adventurers were involved then), or a collective dream (maybe some weird hazia-induced event), or perhaps even an event from their parent's history (particularly for adventurers originating in the Holy Country) where the lucky kids tagged along and 'acted out' their own 'pretend' Tournament of Luck and Death...  Hmm, some interesting possibilities there.

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

While Mister Bondaru was a visionary personality and an authority on body modification among other subjects, he could get a little "intoxicated" with his own rhetorical technique

Oddly, I discovered this little note tucked into the Prince of Sartar comic today - one of those bits that had no reference when first read 6+ years ago.

Carvak Zirian, the mind of the Talar. Known to be more than three hundred years old (his actual age is a mystery), he has served Belintar since the Stranger first arrived in Kethaela. Carvak Zirian is a materialist sorcerer who views the gods as magical entities to be studied and controlled, rather than worshiped. Carvak Zirian is friendly with many Lhankor Mhy sages. Two generations ago, his correspondence with Master Bondaru concerning the physical body and its ethereal attributes greatly enhanced the Knowledge Temple’s understanding of Second Age Jrusteli texts.

http://www.princeofsartar.com/comic/29-the-city-of-wonders/

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9 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Just when we finally have a map of the City of Wonders, it's gone! 

I plead Chekhov's Gun on the City of Wonders... You don't dangle a thing like this before the GMs and don't use it.

 

But then, the City of Wonders would have its connections to the Other Side of the Holy Country, the place where the Tournaments of the Masters of Luck and Death used to take place.

 

IMG it is a Hidden Castle, similar to Castle Blue. If not even identical (but that's material for a different thread, you know which one).

 

9 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I think we're going to have to have Flashback and Dream scenarios!  Perhaps something from the pillaging of the city (if the adventurers were involved then), or a collective dream (maybe some weird hazia-induced event), or perhaps even an event from their parent's history (particularly for adventurers originating in the Holy Country) where the lucky kids tagged along and 'acted out' their own 'pretend' Tournament of Luck and Death...  Hmm, some interesting possibilities there.

IMG I know where to look for incredibly life-like murals of the place and secret passages leading under the water level of the Mirrorsea Bay.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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20 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I think we're going to have to have Flashback and Dream scenarios!  Perhaps something from the pillaging of the city (if the adventurers were involved then), or a collective dream (maybe some weird hazia-induced event), or perhaps even an event from their parent's history (particularly for adventurers originating in the Holy Country) where the lucky kids tagged along and 'acted out' their own 'pretend' Tournament of Luck and Death...  Hmm, some interesting possibilities there.

There's a thing in some video games where they let you play as really powerful characters in the beginning as a prologue, wrecking house and taking names, but then either take it away, or have those characters die, and reveal that you're ACTUALLY playing as someone who needs to level up from scratch.

Could be a kinda interesting thing to attempt at a table, provided everyone is into it. Admittedly, video games are more hard-scripted than tabletop, of course.

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5 hours ago, metcalph said:

Just curious about the concept of Aggressive Reincarnation.  Clearly Belintar's example is meant.  Just wondered how it might work for someone who choses to follow his example.

If you figure that normal reincarnation is the process of the soul entering a newborn and having to relearn and rediscover everything all over again, then Aggressive Reincarnation would most likely be a combination of: 1) retaining memories from the past life; and 2) entering a body that is not newborn. 

That would imply finding a willing, and now empty, host body (which Belintar seemingly did via the Tournament); and avoiding the fate of losing memories while in the Underworld/going through reincarnation.

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37 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

If you figure that normal reincarnation is the process of the soul entering a newborn and having to relearn and rediscover everything all over again, then Aggressive Reincarnation would most likely be a combination of: 1) retaining memories from the past life; and 2) entering a body that is not newborn. 

That would imply finding a willing, and now empty, host body (which Belintar seemingly did via the Tournament); and avoiding the fate of losing memories while in the Underworld/going through reincarnation.

Who says the body is empty?

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Additional notes added by Jeff on FB:

> Aggressive reincarnation, as postulated by Mister Bondaru, is a technique of forcing incarnation of a powerful spiritual entity through ceremony, ritual, and sacrifice, as with the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death.

>The theories of the physical body and its ethereal components has parallels to the five, six, or seven souls of Dara Happan and Lunar thought. Subtle bodies can be developed through meditation, ritual, and deed, aiding the person in their spiritual development and their daily life. 

>In game, this means in the Holy Country there are lots of pretty wild traditions and practices about how to maximise augments, Rune development, and how all that ties in to spell-casting and POW rolls.

> And these theories of course are common in Sartar. It is probably easier to name which members of the Sartar Dynasty were not steeped in Holy Country esotericism (Salinarg). And given how much of the leadership of newly liberated Sartar were exiled in or otherwise fought in the Holy Country, it is probably safe to say that influence is greater now than ever before.

> Now this stuff is not particularly Nysalorean or Arkati, but it certainly has echoes and reverbs of some doctrines of the God Learnerism and the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. All meshed nicely together and with Belintar and the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death as a great source of data and information.
 
> Belintar of course ruled for three centuries as a living god. Sacrifices were offered to him by temples throughout the Holy Country, and his cult was associated with most every god of the Holy Country. Belintar's cult had many thousands of lay members, but only two initiates - himself and the winner of the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death.
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Another comment from Jeff helping to connect some of these pieces together.

JR >Here's a snippet from the forthcoming Cults Book that ties into some recent posts of mine:

THE HOLY COUNTRY
About a century after the Dragonkill War, an incredible event occurred which changed Kethaela forever—the arrival of the man first called Belintar the Stranger, but later titled the God-King.
Belintar came from another time and place, and he said he was from the far past. He had fallen into the Sea of Time when he failed on a wayward heroquest and swam ashore from the deadly ocean one morning in the year 1313. He was a person of great bearing and power, and he quickly proved he was no pauper washed ashore. He undertook great trials and travels, and he made important allies quickly. His identity was never learned, though all Hell knows the Only Old One tried.
The Rightarm Islanders thought his arrival miraculous and aided him in every way, at least at first. Belintar was not slow to choose sides in various disputes, and it became plain to see that whatever side he supported would be successful. Since he supported the Islanders, the Caladraland people tried to kill him, using both force and magic. But they failed, and Belintar used the powers of the Steam Demons to win his fight against their leaders.
Belintar revealed that he had come to depose the Only Old One and liberate the Shadowlands from Darkness. He did it through the process of mustering ancient allies on heroquests and opposing the magical forces of the Only Old One. He explored the God Time many times, and each time provided himself worthy of ruling over one of the peoples of Kethaela. Belintar called forth many of the original Silver Age heroes, plus others of more recent or different origin.
The process was long and difficult, and Belintar was slain and devoured at one point. He fought against all the peoples of Kethaela at one time or another. But in the end, he succeeded and met the Only Old One himself in combat and cast him down and cut him into pieces. Then he destroyed the Castle of Black Glass, covering all the Shadow Plateau with a dense and heavy black sand which smothers life.
In 1318, Belintar began a great magical rite which apotheosized him. He then took the title of God-King or Mangod, arranged the land in a new way, and began his rule of the diverse populations which line the Choralinthor Bay. He protected them from other enemies, and integrated humans, trolls, and Triolini into his realm. He made other changes to the land as well, as he raised Loon Island and made the City of Wonders in the center of the Mirrorsea.
The accession of the God-King in 1318 also marks the beginning of the term Holy Country to describe Kethaela, and it soon gained a reputation for being a place of mystery and wonder The God-King began it with his proclamation of rule and the barbarians all about echoed it, for the land was kept holy by its residents and the rites arranged by the God-King. Some were unhappy, but all accepted the God-King’s authority. It prospered internally and cowed all who might think to invade with its strength.
The God-King kept good contacts with all the gods of the Holy Country, and to the rest of the world this was a part of the Otherworld manifest in the mundane world. Occasionally, gods or great monsters visited the Holy Country, and there were known to be many secret gates into the Otherworld.
The God-King showed little interest in expanding his realm. He used friends and allies to guard his borders, sent messengers and merchants outward, to the west, through Maniria to Ralios.
 
JR> I often compare and contrast Belintar with another long-lived ruler that has taken many forms. But where the Red Emperor is the most recent bearer of a long tradition of Pelorian emperors, Belintar was pretty much sui generis. He came out of nowhere, unified six disparate lands, ruled for centuries, and then disappeared. When he disappeared so did the unity he provided. No bureaucracy, administrative machine, or ambitious heirs managed to hold things together - or even particularly tried. It was clear to all that only the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death could provide a new God-King, and it had failed.
 
JR> Belintar was a surprisingly tolerant God-King, who laughingly acknowledged his non-worship by the atheists of God Forgot but took their tribute in other ways. He ruled lightly, “less than a feather, as heavy as Dawn's early light,” but also without any real threat or challenge until the Lunar Empire entered Dragon Pass
 
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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Then he destroyed the Castle of Black Glass, covering all the Shadow Plateau with a dense and heavy black sand which smothers life

I really dislike this phrase.

What happened according to Uz Lore was that Belintar slew the lead-boned serpent which had wound itself around the highest pillar of the Obsidian Palace, and it was the beast's death throes which shattered part of that pillar, leading to its collapse. The lead bones also blocked the course of the Creek Stream River, leading to another ordeal Belintar had to overcome by digging the New River to drain the Dammed Marsh.

If anyone was to blame for this, it would be the Night Dragon Society that summoned this beast to overcome Belintar.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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28 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I really dislike this phrase.

What happened according to Uz Lore was that Belintar slew the lead-boned serpent which had wound itself around the highest pillar of the Obsidian Palace, and it was the beast's death throes which shattered part of that pillar, leading to its collapse. The lead bones also blocked the course of the Creek Stream River, leading to another ordeal Belintar had to overcome by digging the New River to drain the Dammed Marsh.

If anyone was to blame for this, it would be the Night Dragon Society that summoned this beast to overcome Belintar.

You are aware that Uz Lore says nothing of the sort. Here's the description in Uz Lore:

Belintar possessed great powers, and among other miracles which he performed were the summoning of ancient heroes, popularly called the Silver Age Heroes. With their aid, Belintar finally confronted the Only Old One, son of Argan Argar who ruled the Shadowlands. The struggle was fierce and intense, and though he was killed, Belintar rose again from the dead. Other deeds of his changed the face of the land itself, turning rivers and transforming an immense monster into a range of hills.

And a bit later:

THE SHADOW PLATEAU is an immense plateau which rises a kilometer above from the land all about it. This is all that is left of the once immense palace which Lodril made for Argan Argar. Now many plants dot the top of the hill, making a fair cover for the windy and rain swept hilltop. It measures some 30 by 60 miles in size. Only the Gloom Hills break the rolling smoothness of the surface.

The Shadow Plateau is also called the Haunted Lands, for there are still many ghosts and other troubles there. Many troubles are from the trolls, which still inhabit the place with little of ill consequence, and who prey upon humans passing through. There are also unusual sporadic winds sending torn pieces of life ghosting across the land, attacking anything in their paths. Sometimes a black sandstorm rises from the black earth and goes swirling about, dashing everything in its path and pelting all with angry pellets. And a few specific, avenging spirits live there too, hateful against special foes.

Atop the plateau are many trees and brush, and like all of this coast, it is quite seasonal. Trolls devour much of the growth, and sometimes they have plagues of idiot trollkin which will denude a patch of ground to the dirt with no regard for its regrowth. But there are still many wild animals, and except for the spirits, trolls, and other evil troubles it would be a pleasant place to live.

THE LEAD HILLS are the deteriorated body of an ancient monster sent by Argan Argar to kill the Pharaoh. When it died, its body blocked the Creekstream River, where it entered into the Styx Grotto, and stopped much of the flow. Then the Pharaoh’s armies rushed into the underground and defeated the trolls with surprise.

THE DAMMED MARSH grew up where the water backed up from the newly made Lead Hills. The Pharaoh dug the New River to let it find a new route to the sea, but the marsh has remained.

THE TARPIT is the site where the Only Old One’s stairwell once was, descending into the underworld. It is still possible to go to the Underworld that way, but hard to stay alive in the tar.

BLACKWELL is a troll city or fort. At its center is a well, covered with stone, where the brains of the dead monster seeped into the ground and burbled up again. The Pharaoh built a wall around that, and ordered the trolls to live there and keep everything away from the well. They have, ever since.

There's nothing wrong with having your own personal theories but please don't attribute them to something that doesn't really support them.

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

There's nothing wrong with having your own personal theories but please don't attribute them to something that doesn't really support them.

Sorry about that, then. I was replying from work and memory.

Not my personal theory, anyway - in that case, I would have known the source.,Stuff shared with me when inquiring about the Holy Country in the last decade of the previous millennium.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Posted (edited)

Jeff's recent post on FB regarding: the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death:

In the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death, participants traveled the secret pathways of the Hero Plane that tied the Holy Country together. They defined and named the powers of each Sixth, and allied with such powers as they could and obtained magical weapons and treasures. Thus armed, they engaged in magical (and physical) contests with the other contestants and with the contestant's own Shadow.
This replicates the magical battles of Belintar, with each contestant magically identifying with and experiencing Belintar's experiences, and with the final victor invoking Belintar as an additional subtle body (as Mister Bondaru wrote about). In the end, the victor of the tournament IS Belintar, but also still themself.
Although there are analogies to the Red Emperor, this is a very different process than how a new Red Emperor is recognized. The Tournament replicates in the Hero Plane the key mythic moments of the original contests and struggles of Belintar - which the contestants experience but IN THEIR OWN manner. This is not a rote repetition of Belintar's thamauturgical battles, but a re-experiencing of them, with the same lack of knowledge, lack of script, and creative possibilities.
And it should also be remembered that both Sartar and Tarkalor participated in these contests, as did several other members of the Sartar Dynasty, and other notables (such as Broyan of Whitewall if I recall). This magical experimentation and experience had a significant influence on the Orlanthi of Sartar, and may constitute one of the key reasons (along with Argrath's incredibly diverse personal magical experiences culminating in the circumnavigation of the world) why they were able to contest with the Lunar Empire on equal terms in the Hero Wars.
 
> One of the really amazing magical things about the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death is that each time it is held, the Holy Country is magically remade through its contests. Gods and spirits are again named, and perhaps with more relevant and pertinent titles, old alliances reforged and new alliances made. Each time Belintar is invoked by the winner and the Holy Country's magic and proximity to the divine realm restored.
 
> One more important thought - if the tournament kicks you out, you lose but you still gain insight and experiences which you can carry with you. So you didn’t become the incarnation of the Holy Country, but there are consolation prizes.
 
Q: Did Belintar create entirely new rituals, or rely (at least in part) on existing hero paths?
A: Belintar did not recycle. He created.
 
> Belintar is a very enigmatic figure and there are many misconceptions around him. Perhaps the best way to get an idea about Belintar is to participate in the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death and to try to understand what takes place and what the goal is. Without cheap cynicism or Procopius style secret histories.
Edited by jajagappa
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More on MoLaD from Jeff on FB with a lot of useful notes:

A few last notes on the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death. There's a lot in this one, so I recommend reading it carefully and digesting each piece!
The Tournament recharges the magical energies and possibilities created by Belintar's exploratory heroquests in his struggle against his Shadow and keeps the Holy Country in a constant state of magical potentiality. This magical creativity enabled such transformations as the human resettlement of Dragon Pass, the Opening of the Oceans, Sartar's unification, the Yelmalio cult, New Pavis - and that's just the cast-offs.
 
In the Holy Country proper, the Tournament kept the Gods World close to ours. The Holy Country can be thought of as a gigantic temple to the Gods of Glorantha, where we mortals can exist in close proximity to the divine (and likely a reformation of the Proximate Holy Realm of the Second Age). The energies gathered and released by the Tournament holds this proximate realm in suspension - Belintar draws upon its potential to work wonders. Think of it a little like a magical nuclear reactor.
 
This magic energy is too great for any mortal to wield indefinite, and again the Tournament is an answer. When the mortal form of Belintar expires, the Tournament creates a new Belintar, who again wields the magical potential of the Holy Country. The Tournament draws participants from all over the lozenge (no doubt resulting in plenty a lost weekend and weird memories), but the locals have channels that make it easiest for them to participate.
 
Belintar expired in 1616 because of the magical strain holding things together with the double whammy of invasions by the Western Barbarians and the Wolf Pirate - think of this like the Sea People and Ramses III. Jar-eel had prepared for this and entered the Secret Paths and killed any hapless contestants that came across her at the Gate. Anytime the Tournament is begun, She is now there, a roaming hunter-killer who prevents the game from being complete. The Tournament cannot be completed. Each time it has been attempted, the magical energies were summoned and released, and could not be held in suspension.
 
Some philosophers hold that the Hero Wars is the result of this. That potentiality is being released, but is now outside of the framework of the Tournament. The huge feedback loop has released all that magical energy, powering things like New Gods, strange spirits, the White Bull and the White Bear. Much of it was harnessed by Argrath for his Sartar Magical Union, but it also brought Androgeus to the scene. None of this is a repetition of the past, although there are many who try to impose order on these energies by calling on the past.
 
> One trick to understanding the government of the Holy Country is that there isn't really a government of the Holy Country. There is Belintar, who is re-invented roughly every generation for that generation.
> That's not to say there aren't governments in the Sixths, but those are most built on local traditions.
> As you can see, the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death is far more important than "just" a means of producing the new Belintar when the old Belintar's mortal body has died. It is one of the Thelemic batteries powering the Third Age (another floats over the Crater, but that is for a different chat).
> One might say that the Tournament and Belintar enabled the God Time to be in proximity to the mortal world and the Gods War held in suspension, existing as a potentiality. You can see that reflected in comparatively lesser role of Orlanth in Kethaela. Sure everyone acknowledges him as Storm King but Ernalda is a larger focus of cult activity and the other lightbringers are near peers. However after 1616 Orlanth comes roaring as he begins his cosmic dance of destruction to end the age
> something very important to emphasise - Jar-eel is not and cannot become Belintar. She represents a very different path.
> A lot of stuff stems from Jar-eel's action here, but you can't create a Moon Goddess without breaking a few eggshells.
Q: Androgeus?
A: she's present of course. The Maker and Taker in conflict with himself.  Possibly incarnated as a result of the broken Tournament. Androgeus is already here, waiting for his entry.
Q: Harshax?
A: whatever Harshax is in whatever future Harshax is present, Harshax is not Belintar.
Q: Belintar from the Future?
A: Who says he is supposed to be from the future? Greg said that once in jest at a con, but quickly regretted saying that.
He MIGHT be from a different Time or he MIGHT be someone who had wandered the Secret Paths for an Age. Or he he MIGHT be something that was always present but nobody had found before. Remember, the Only Old One and all Hell try to figure out who and what Belintar was - and they failed. Or maybe, they were asking the wrong questions. That lack of a past is a key part of Belintar and to understanding him.
 
 
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And one more related post from Jeff:

So if you read page 56 of White Bear & Red Moon booklet (from 1976), armed with you now know about Belintar, the Sartar Dynasty, and the Masters of Luck and Death, things can get really interesting:
"A vacancy in the throne of the Pharoah to the south drew off many of Sartar's best swordsmen and seekers, and the Lunar Empire seized the opportunity to invade the kingdom and sack Boldhome. The royal house resisted vigorously and received posthumous Hero recognition for their deeds. Any survivors were hunted across the world by agents and assassins.
There then began a period hanging between Lunar dominance and pre-Sartar anarchy, which was halted only by the arrival of Argrath. The wars that followed are reproduced in the scenarios. The outcome of these glorious battles, and of the History of Dragon Pass, is left to the skill of rulers who dare engage in such legendary wars."
 
 
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11 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

A vacancy in the throne of the Pharoah to the south drew off many of Sartar's best swordsmen and seekers, and the Lunar Empire seized the opportunity to invade the kingdom and sack Boldhome. The royal house resisted vigorously and received posthumous Hero recognition for their deeds. Any survivors were hunted across the world by agents and assassins.

I interpret this to mean that the God-king's body died ~1601 and the MoLaD Tournament occurred in 1602 since that's when Boldhome was taken.

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Another Jeff note: The Holy Country under Belintar functioned much like the sanctified space during a worship ceremony - the gods are present and easy to contact. Hence its name of course. And not just the ones who are subject to cult, but lots of minor gods who have no cults.

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