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Chalana Arroy, a question or two.


Dirk Le Daring

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Reading the Sourcebook, I found Chalana Arroy to be quite interesting in a few respects. And possibly quite an interesting thing to play a member of the cult......

The entry for Chalana Arroy on page 117 of the Sourcebook provides quite explicit taboos with regard to life and living things, Chaos excepted....

First question....

While Chalana Arroy is listed among the Deities of Air, there is no reference in the image of the Genealogy of the primary Air deities on page 107. (I did check the PDF this time to no avail)

I am wondering if this is an error or is it that she was left off because she is the daughter of Glorantha, and thus has no lineage as such. This is just a curiosity.....

In the Sourcebook, page 117, it states "Worshipers of Chalana Arroy practice total non-violence and take an oath never to harm a living creature". I'll assume that accidents happen and the ant that was not seen and was unknowingly stepped on is down to fate.

How would this be played ? I have ideas, but am curious as to the intent.

In the core rulebook it states, on page 290... "An initiate must take an oath never to harm an intelligent creature or needlessly cause pain to any living thing."

There seems to be, from a certain perspective, quite a difference between the two books.... Which is it to be ?

Also, was the decision of Chalana Arroy to cease being passive the reason that she became able to cure disease, and heal wounds ? I would assume that is the reason, but.... Curiosity. I am thinking the passive nature that Arroin urged her to mantain was that of not interfering in any way with the world (Not violence / non-violence), thus taking action gave her the position of primary healer ?????

I may not have worded this particularly well, but it will have to do for now.....

Thanks for any insights, and your take on this curious cult and Goddess.

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I m not an expert and some may have better answers or fix my mistakes but :

Chalana Arroy is respected among a lot of communities , not only air worshippers. She is not an air deity (what she is, I don't know to be honest) but is very important in air pantheon (one of the Lightbringer, etc...)

 

I consider the taboos in all source on the same way : never attack or hurt anyone (aka with INT) even a bad person, never harm or kill anything (without INT) except if you save something-one more important.

ex:

you cannot attack a broo, even if it is killing your baby. But you can cast sleep on it.

you cannot hunt a boar for pleasure, but you can kill a boar if doing that, you save the child in front of the boar and if there is no other less deadly  option

There is no taboo about ban a spirit, so you can use your magic or your skill to "fight" disease spirits

 

23 minutes ago, Dirk Le Daring said:

I'll assume that accidents happen and the ant that was not seen and was unknowingly stepped on is down to fate.

I would say, there may be some ritual every morning (or evening) to excuse in advance such accident. OR... the power of Chalana is enough and the ant will miraculously survive. I don't play this detail to be honest.

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Since her mother is Glorantha, and Glorantha is also considered to be the mother of the Celestial Court, then Chalana Arroy ranks alongside those illustrious deities.

I think she is considered a Deity of Air because of her close association with Orlanth and the Lightbringers, so it's a pantheon association rather than any indication of her origin. In other words, yes I think you're right.

And yes, if you accidentally swallow a bug, you're not going to be excommunicated.

As to the difference... regional and personal interpretation. Think of the differences in rules within various real-world religions, Glorantha is going to be as varied as that.

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3 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

you cannot hunt a boar for pleasure, but you can kill a boar if doing that, you save the child in front of the boar and if there is no other less deadly  option

Not sure about that one. That's a slippery "ends justify the means" slope. Some might call that acceptable, some would not.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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59 minutes ago, Dirk Le Daring said:

In the Sourcebook, page 117, it states "Worshipers of Chalana Arroy practice total non-violence and take an oath never to harm a living creature". I'll assume that accidents happen and the ant that was not seen and was unknowingly stepped on is down to fate.

How would this be played ? I have ideas, but am curious as to the intent.

This is very the very thinly veiled ahimsa of Jainism (and other religions). The Svetambara sect even wear white (the other sect being naked). 

A late friend of mine's family are Jains, most of her family followed aṇuvrata, which is simpler form of the not harming anything vows. As her mother got older, she became very much an ascetic would only eat during daylight, would sweep the ground when she was outside before she stepped, cover her water glass with a lid, all so that no insect was harmed. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/living/ahimsa_1.shtml

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I'd say the expectations on worshipers varies with their rank in the cult. Initiates may get away with non-violence against sentients, while priests might be expected or required to practice total non-violence. I think the phrasing in the sourcebook gives a slightly false impression. It says worship is widespread for "everyone desires her blessings", and worshipers practice total nonviolence, but clearly total nonviolence is not widespread in Glorantha, and it's certainly not for everybody. So clearly it's possible to worship CA and not practice total nonviolence.

I suspect the issue is the author didn't want to use a term to distinguish seriously dedicated worshipers, because saying something like devotees, or priests for example looks too much like using a game mechanical term. After all these are both names for specific game mechanical statuses in various game systems.

Edited by simonh

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

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Chalana is one of the children of power deities getting it on with one another. The Gods War has her as a Solar deity, and as a celestial court brat, with quite a bit justification, plus she seems to have been a regular at Yelm's court for the "Heals the Scars" myth.

These deities aren't Srvuali (pure descendants of the primal element) or multiplication of the original power runes like the Tilntae, but they are something like Burtae, of mixed runic background. It looks like such combinations (other than experimenting with form runes like man, beast and plant) were only started with the birth or at least conception of Umath.

So, from the development sequence of the greater deities of Glorantha, it makes sense to list these deities with mixed runic ancestry with the first one, Storm.

Edited by Joerg

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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7 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

you cannot hunt a boar for pleasure, but you can kill a boar if doing that, you save the child in front of the boar and if there is no other less deadly  option

I'm with @PhilHibbs on this one, only more so.  Not acceptable.

This is not to say that a CA would never do it, they are "human" after all, but it is doctrinally wrong.

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Gotta love how @French Desperate WindChild said "....and if there is no other less deadly option" and yet here you all are, coming up with other less deadly options 😉

Anyway, for me, Chalana Arroy is one of those cults where I would be running with whatever the player wants to play with, whatever attracted them to this rather peculiar cult (gaming-wise). IMG, not every cultist is going to act the same way in the same situation, and not every cultist will have the same interpretation of how "acting properly" would look like. Compare the character's Devotion and Cult Lore passions with their actions. Have their interpretation of CA's doctrine clash with some NPC priest. Go with the flow. Challenge the character's faith. Make a cool story. Gloranthan people are not a logical machine hive mind devoid of flaws.

To answer a few other questions:

18 hours ago, Dirk Le Daring said:

There seems to be, from a certain perspective, quite a difference between the two books.... Which is it to be ?

My guess is that the somewhat "relaxed" statement in RQG is to make CA playable. Seriously, it's just a simple vow of pacifism. Don't think too much about it beyond that, and start playing. Interesting things will happen. Whether the character steps on an ant or not is not going to be one of them IMHO, and the whole thing about sweeping the floor of insects before treading would be, IMG, only for temple-bound extreme priests, not for adventuring healers (otherwise they would take forever to get anywhere!). Again: it's OK to have various people having different interpretations of a doctrine. Happens all the time. These people typically fight, too. Which can be funny for a non-violent cult 🙂

18 hours ago, Dirk Le Daring said:

Also, was the decision of Chalana Arroy to cease being passive the reason that she became able to cure disease, and heal wounds ? I would assume that is the reason, but.... Curiosity. I am thinking the passive nature that Arroin urged her to mantain was that of not interfering in any way with the world (Not violence / non-violence), thus taking action gave her the position of primary healer ?????

My understanding of the Sourcebook is that she was already able to heal people and gods... until she found the first dead guy (Grandfather Mortal). There, she figured "damn, shit's going down, yo" (yes she sounds like that in private), and started being proactive to (1) figure out what this Death thing is all about, and arguably come up with the Resurrection Rune Spell, and (2) realize that taking care of sick or wounded people doesn't fix the broader issue of the *world* being broken and wounded. So she became proactive because she wanted to heal the world, which she did as part of the Lightbringers.

Note that Arroin did not urge her to maintain her passive nature. He urged her to maintain her *purity*. Which I assume she did by vowing non-violence. Like "them fuckers with them swords and shit broke the world, man, ah ain't gonna do that shit, no sonny, ah gonna be all pure and shit, no swords no hitting no nothin', ah don't need that kind of stress in my life you know what I mean?".

Edited by lordabdul
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23 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Note that Arroin did not urge her to maintain her passive nature. He urged her to maintain her *purity*. Which I assume she did by vowing non-violence. Like "them fuckers with them swords and shit broke the world, man, ah ain't gonna do that shit, no sonny, ah gonna be all pure and shit, no swords no hitting no nothin', ah don't need that kind of stress in my life you know what I mean?".

Chalana is anti-DEATH, and I always figured Her followers were not quite fully ascetic Jains, but do have the difficult taboo of not engaging in violence against sentient beings except Chaotic monsters. That carries over to your eating habits, so probably many eat fish, bugs (bugs are super common foods in the world and quite tasty), crustaceans, shellfish, maybe lizards, but not birds, mammals, velociraptors and the like.

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

Gotta love how @French Desperate WindChild said "....and if there is no other less deadly option" and yet here you all are, coming up with other less deadly options 😉

that is exactly the point, thanks

 

note that my interpretation is based on

Quote

or needlessly cause pain to any living thing.

that the limit that Chalana (as played by I, GM) would consider if the standard taboos are broken or not

this difference between intelligent creature and living creature seems to give a kind of hierarchy between living beings.

 

Of course .. you may find characters who consider that an animal has the same "value" than an intelligent being

Other would consider that a plant as the same "value", some that plants have more value than predators (because predators kills), etc

You may find characters who will not use fire because fire kills (or harms) insects and as fire is not necessary for the character, any fire harms needlessly living creatures so it is prohibited.

Other would say refusing fire is needlessly harming people who need heat or light.

You may find characters who refuse to live in a house because you can live under the sky or in natural cave . So building a house need to cut trees and trees are living...

 

and that is fine to play with pc like that.

But my answer is about Chalana herself, what could she accept or refuse (when the only taboos accepted by the worshiper are those described in the books)

The point is to give a choice to the player, sometimes there is no good choice but only bad and worse choices

 

Edited by French Desperate WindChild
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I recall this being brought up in another, similar, thread...

Can a CA learn combat skills in order to a) defend herself (eg, shield or dodge), or b) to actually fight undead or Chaos? I seem to recall somewhere that CA's weren't allowed to learn or train combat skills in general (RQ2 Cults of Prax) - which, pedantically, doesn't actually mean not using combat skills or increasing through experience.

The question of undead was left a bit open... especially since in RQG, it says "never to harm an intelligent creature" - are zombies or skeletons considered 'intelligent? What's going to be the deal with vampires or similar?

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15 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

The question of undead was left a bit open... especially since in RQG, it says "never to harm an intelligent creature" - are zombies or skeletons considered 'intelligent? What's going to be the deal with vampires or similar?

they are creatures of Chaos, so they don't actually count as creatures. They're unholy abominations and you can smite away. (There's no compulsion to; you aren't a Storm Bull, but sensible people help other sensible people kill the Undead)

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35 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Can a CA learn combat skills in order to a) defend herself (eg, shield or dodge)

Yes, of course: this does not harm anybody, sentient or not.

36 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

or b) to actually fight undead or Chaos?

Chaos, yes, because they are chaos. Undead, yes, because they are not living.

37 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

The question of undead was left a bit open... especially since in RQG, it says "never to harm an intelligent creature" - are zombies or skeletons considered 'intelligent? What's going to be the deal with vampires or similar?

With RQG, intelligent means having an INT stat. Zombies and skeletons don't have INT. Vampires have INT, but are not concerned because not living.

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1 hour ago, Kloster said:

Undead, yes, because they are not living.

I'd argue it's because Undead are Chaos, not because they aren't alive. That's why intelligent undead are irrelevant - broo are also intelligent but they are also corruption of the weave.

The Undeath rune is a Chaos rune (although Undead creatures can also have a separate actual Chaos rune as well): it's the Chaos perversion of the Death-Life rune set.

The reason I mentioned the "CA aren't Storm Bulls" is because a CA could help a broo redeem themself of Chaos. It's rare but we know it happens.

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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I didn't think the Chalana Arroy abstention from violence was excepted for chaos creatures.

Undead yes perhaps, because they are not creatures, although there is a risk of misidentification. In general though, even against undead or anything, using violent means is a slippery slope. It's not as much about the target, it's about you.

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

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25 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I'd argue it's because Undead are Chaos, not because they aren't alive.

I kept them separate because of Zorak Zoran's zombies, that are (seemingly) not linked to chaos. And, as stated by OP, CA 'provides quite explicit taboos with regard to life and living things, Chaos excepted' and 'Worshipers of Chalana Arroy practice total non-violence and take an oath never to harm a living creature' (Sourcebook p117).

30 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

The reason I mentioned the "CA aren't Storm Bulls" is because a CA could help a broo redeem themself of Chaos. It's rare but we know it happens.

Fully agreed.

31 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

The Undeath rune is a Chaos rune (although Undead creatures can also have a separate actual Chaos rune as well): it's the Chaos perversion of the Death-Life rune set.

Are Zorak Zoran's zombies linked to chaos? I am sure they are not.

Is Delecti (himself, not his creatures/creations) chaotic? I am not sure. He is described as a God Learner sorcerer.

11 minutes ago, simonh said:

Undead yes perhaps, because they are not creatures,

Undead are creatures, but not living ones.

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My interpretation of the Chaos/undead exemption is that it's intended to make it clear that you're not expected to speak up in favor of a peaceful settlement with the Queendom of Jab or with the Daughter of Darkness who's Carmilla-ing some innocent naif as a Chalana Arroy cultist, that your pacifism is meant to be a thoughtful philosophical position like ahimsa and not a cartoonish exaggeration of such. Of course, that's metatext. 

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

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Since everyone is chiming in here is my 2 cents worth:

1. CA can kill Chaos and Undead even if they are intelligent.

2. Anyone (not Chaos or Undead) are under CA's protection if they have been incapacitated by the CA (such as wit a Befuddle or Sleep spell)

3. CA is allowed to hunt for food.

4. There are restrictions on the spells CA is allowed to learn and other, friendly cults would not teach them to the CA even if asked.

5. CA would not be taught weapon skills, same as #4, but can be taught Shield skill. If they use it to attack, the consequences are on their heads.

6. Only Chaos, Undead, and possibly ZZ worshippers would attack a CA as the consequences are drastic on them and their communities.

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