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Are broos people???


icebrand

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RQ and Glorantha generally doesn't have the concept of mooks. Rurik was killed by a trollkin. In any case Broo are individually stronger and tougher than humans, and absolutely just as smart. Along with chaos features and diseases, a bog standard Broo is significantly more dangerous than an average human. They specialise in terror tactics such as poisoning or polluting water and food supplies, so even repelling them militarily isn't enough.

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As a final aside, it is worth looking at the description of Honor and Combat that is going into the Cults Book (more news on that soon):

HONOR AND COMBAT

Humakt demands that Death be wielded with honor and his cult upholds the code of honor in combat and war. This code is strictly adhered to by Humakti, but also generally followed by other honorable war gods such as Orlanth, Polaris, Yanafal Tarnils, Yelm, Yelmalio, and Yelorna. 

Honorable combat is not fought for gain or selfish reasons. Although Humakti often serve as mercenaries for pay, that payment is not supposed to be dependent on the outcome of the battle.

The buildup and formation of battle lines is done with the full knowledge of the other side and no surprise attacks are made.

In battle, two warriors may duel or engage in prolonged personal combat. Both combatants must be armed and may use Rune or spirit magic, allied and other spirits, elementals, etc. Groups of warriors may fight approximately equal numbers of foes. However, multiple warriors or magicians must not gang up on a single warrior. 

A warrior who surrenders becomes a prisoner of his capture and is under their protection. At the same time, a surrendered warrior must not flee his captor until ransomed or released.

Honor also dictates how warriors were to deal with noncombatants. No one should attack an enemy who has temporarily lost or dropped their weapon. The lives of noncombatants, prisoners of war, and farmers are also sacred. Pillaging the land is forbidden. 

Failure to follow the rules of honor can trigger a test of a combatant’s Honor Passion or even result in immediate reduction to that Passion (as per RuneQuest, page 234). Failure to act honorably may also result in a visit from the Spirit of Retribution of the offender’s cult. 

Despite all of the above, Glorantha songs and stories are filled with examples of where a hero chose to act less than honorably where some other Passion (Loyalty, Love, Hate, etc.) dictates behavior instead of honor. Such conflicts are at the root of many a tragic hero.

The rules of honor do not apply to animals, monsters, undead things unless they are capable of communicating or otherwise demonstrating that they do follow the rules of honor. 

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1 minute ago, simonh said:

RQ and Glorantha generally doesn't have the concept of mooks. Rurik was killed by a trollkin. In any case Broo are individually stronger and tougher than humans, and absolutely just as smart. Along with chaos features and diseases, a bog standard Broo is significantly more dangerous than an average human. They specialise in terror tactics such as poisoning or polluting water and food supplies, so even repelling them militarily isn't enough.

There's a pretty massive contradiction in there. If they're so much more dangerous than humans, they would have no need to rely on attacking food and water supplies, which is fairly self-destructive. That's a tactic that emerges from an inability to secure things with direct force, and indeed a level of weakness such that broo need to scorch the earth frequently to achieve any level of security. Which suggests that in a military conflict, broo crumple like paper. (Entirely plausible given everything about them.) 

Well, alternately, they could be just plain evil and poison things because it's in their nature, but frankly that's an unpleasant road to walk down for Glorantha and unless it becomes a statement in formal textual canon I'll stick with treating broo as having dissectable motivations and behaviors. 

The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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5 minutes ago, Jeff said:

As a final aside, it is worth looking at the description of Honor and Combat that is going into the Cults Book (more news on that soon):
 

HONOR AND COMBAT

Humakt demands that Death be wielded with honor and his cult upholds the code of honor in combat and war. This code is strictly adhered to by Humakti, but also generally followed by other honorable war gods such as Orlanth, Polaris, Yanafal Tarnils, Yelm, Yelmalio, and Yelorna. 

Honorable combat is not fought for gain or selfish reasons. Although Humakti often serve as mercenaries for pay, that payment is not supposed to be dependent on the outcome of the battle.

The buildup and formation of battle lines is done with the full knowledge of the other side and no surprise attacks are made.

In battle, two warriors may duel or engage in prolonged personal combat. Both combatants must be armed and may use Rune or spirit magic, allied and other spirits, elementals, etc. Groups of warriors may fight approximately equal numbers of foes. However, multiple warriors or magicians must not gang up on a single warrior. 

A warrior who surrenders becomes a prisoner of his capture and is under their protection. At the same time, a surrendered warrior must not flee his captor until ransomed or released.

Honor also dictates how warriors were to deal with noncombatants. No one should attack an enemy who has temporarily lost or dropped their weapon. The lives of noncombatants, prisoners of war, and farmers are also sacred. Pillaging the land is forbidden. 

Failure to follow the rules of honor can trigger a test of a combatant’s Honor Passion or even result in immediate reduction to that Passion (as per RuneQuest, page 234). Failure to act honorably may also result in a visit from the Spirit of Retribution of the offender’s cult. 

Despite all of the above, Glorantha songs and stories are filled with examples of where a hero chose to act less than honorably where some other Passion (Loyalty, Love, Hate, etc.) dictates behavior instead of honor. Such conflicts are at the root of many a tragic hero.

The rules of honor do not apply to animals, monsters, undead things unless they are capable of communicating or otherwise demonstrating that they do follow the rules of honor. 

So normally the rules of honour do not apply to broo ("they are monsters and act accordingly!") but civilised broo are capable of communicating or otherwise demonstrating that they do follow the rules of honour. Which can cause giant headaches for the Bilini and Skanthi.  

Edited by Jeff
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1 hour ago, Nick Brooke said:

If you make universal statements such as: "I fantasise about war crimes, but it's OK because broo aren't people,"

Thats a tall assumption you made there my dude... Who said i fantasize about war crimes? Please do quote me because frankly, i find your interpretation of my post borderline offensive.

Also, in 20+ years in the hobby and knowing over 100 people playing, i don't think I ever saw a single campaign where warcrimes weren't at least occasionally (and many times casually) committed.

Anyway, the topic seems to make you uncomfortable, but please don't take it on me i was just asking a simple question.

1 hour ago, Nick Brooke said:

In the situations you describe, pretty much everyone in Glorantha would happily howl, "Exterminate the brutes!" -- which ought to make you think

"Exterminate" is literally what says everyone think about them on page 90 of RuneQuest: Glorantha Bestiary. It makes me think broo are not considered persons, thus my question (supported by the published adventure I'm running where the options are "slaughter them all" or "redirect the river to drown them in their sleep".

 

2 hours ago, AndreJarosch said:

I am sure a shaman could get rid of all the diseas spirits acompanying them. 
You could put them in some kind of boot camp to change their habits. 
What do you do so that their mating habits not ruining what you have acomplished?

Putting them in a reeducation camp is a warcrime, isn't it? Fixing their breeding most definitely is.

 

1 hour ago, Eff said:

Why not parole them? They're not particularly associated with entities that could escape the consequences of violating solemn oaths. You could just have them swear to leave your lands alone for a reasonable, traditional quantity of time and they would be, as far as the text says, as compelled to abide by this as any other group of people. 

Parole them? You mean parole the chaos creatures that worship chaos gods like they or Malia??? Like they ain't gonna tell you what you want to hear then stab you in the back, poison your well and rape your cattle.

What do your mean by solemn vow? You mean like humaktis spending 2 pow per Broo??? That ain't happening. And non magical vows mean nothing to them.

 

1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

Wasn't the Wild Healer of the Rockwoods "cleansed" of their chaos taint and so they could easily travel with and even receive the protection of Ankubi Broostalker or the High Khan of the Block, wouldn't you agree?

Were is chaos cleansing published? Isn't it easier and more in line with everything we know the healer is just a regular illuminated broo? With illumination they could do all that without introducing a new (to me) concept. Apologies if cleansing is a thing somewhere i missed.

1 hour ago, Eff said:

I don't think there's any reason to believe that broo represent a dire existential threat to anyone. 

(On top of all this, it's rather interesting to me that it's broo and not scorpionmen or ogres who get these kinds of questions attached to them. Partly it's because they've been standard mooks in old RQ publications, but I can't help feeling it's also that broo are pathetic and it seems potentially viable to wipe them out.)

What? The murder rape violence disease monster that's superior or equal to a human in every single mechanical way isn't an existential threat?????

Scorpionmen and ogres are in the same spot. I don't think that if i get eaten and reborn as a half arachnid horror that has an overwhelming driving desire to murder and wreck stuff i would still count as a person.

I don't think anyone but some minority of lunars consider them persons, and I'm sure they themselves don't. Relationships between Broo is one of master/slave

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

Talk of morality aside

I just figured out they are not people (in the legal sense) because i don't see any culture punishing an individual that does wrong by a Broo. Like, you would get congratulations for stuff that would get you exiled/imprisoned/executed if you do that on humans; like, if you tell your thane you hunted down a Broo, and killed it with extreme violence while making it suffer as much as possible, i don't think you are getting reprimanded, more like the thane buys you dinner...

 

1 hour ago, Eff said:

Ah. We found the one broo-focused scenario that might actually be interesting: dealing with the consequences of broo ransoming some captured broo and what kind of potentially-dangerous artifacts they'd offer as payment, and safely dumping them on the market. 

WHAT???

I don't see Broos surrendering unless it's a ruse/last ditch effort not to die (as per bestiary description). Dumping Broo artifacts on a market would have lightbrigers coming to spank you for being... Basically a broo? So you better do it RIGHT *and* then you'll have your GM (me) hating your guts. I don't mind anti heroes or even anti villains, but this is going too far. Rape, disease, cannibalism are HARD NO and you will end up turning into monster, slain by some random mistress race high priestess with her zorak-zorani death lord bodyguards and initiate entourage that "just so happened to wander by". OR (most likely) you'll get an ooc chat and you either reconsider or you don't get invited anymore, idk.

 

 

Edited by icebrand
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I wonder: 
Would the question also pop op in other franchises?

What about Orcs in Middle Earth? Nobody tries to argue with them, or take prisoners. 
What about Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise?
The Gremlins from the Gremlin movies?

Only in Star Trek they try to understand and chance the nature of their enemies (Borg, Jem hadar). 

Should Broo be treated like Borg or Jem hadar im Star Trek... "they don´t know no other way to behave, but we should try to change their ways"?

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1 hour ago, Eff said:

There's a pretty massive contradiction in there. If they're so much more dangerous than humans, they would have no need to rely on attacking food and water supplies, which is fairly self-destructive. That's a tactic that emerges from an inability to secure things with direct force, and indeed a level of weakness such that broo need to scorch the earth frequently to achieve any level of security. Which suggests that in a military conflict, broo crumple like paper. (Entirely plausible given everything about them.) 

Well, alternately, they could be just plain evil and poison things because it's in their nature, but frankly that's an unpleasant road to walk down for Glorantha and unless it becomes a statement in formal textual canon I'll stick with treating broo as having dissectable motivations and behaviors. 

Being individually more dangerous doesn't necessarily mean collectively so, and it doesn't guarantee supremacy anyway (ask Rurik), so there's no contradiction. They don't 'rely' on such tactics or resort to them due to an inability anyway, it's an instinctive and even religious imperative. Self destructive? They're immune to their own diseases. Even if they do crumple militarily (often true), their specialty is raids and terror. That's the risk you run from catch-and-release.

Quote

Well, alternately, they could be just plain evil and poison things because it's in their nature, but frankly that's an unpleasant road to walk down for Glorantha

OK, this is why we are at odds. That is how they are, very thoroughly and unambiguously, described in the sources. This is why they are a particular ethical case. If they had genuine free choice there would be no specific ethical issue, it would be mostly the same question as with humans.

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

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8 minutes ago, icebrand said:

I just figured out they are not people (in the legal sense) because i don't see any culture punishing an individual that does wrong by a Broo. Like, you would get congratulations for stuff that would get you exiled/imprisoned/executed if you do that on humans; like, if you tell your thane you hunted down a Broo, and killed it with extreme violence while making it suffer as much as possible, i don't think you are getting reprimanded, more like the thane buys you dinner...

You're doing community service, like hunting down a rabid beast no matter how many legs it walks on. Unless it can speak up, wave the white flag of truce, find someone else to blame . . . and in these more sophisticated moral scenarios, adventurers need to be extremely careful.

Getting back to the reddit thread, it also strikes me that one of the dangers of bending normal rules of engagement around monsters is that there's a very real chance you'll become some kind of monster yourself. If you know you're committing "war crimes" you're going to need expiation or the weight of it will eat your community alive after all. HMKT has elaborate systems of working through this and so do the Sisters of Mercy. 

But the surest approach is simply not to relax the rules too much even when you fight monsters. Monsters are what they are because they fight like monsters. Humans have to have faith that fighting like humans is ultimately better . . . otherwise roll illumination.

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4 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

I can see the impetus to roleplay always in a modern mindset, but I try and think in a different way when playing people from other cultures, that's the point of roleplaying to me.

3 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

It wasn't presented as a roleplaying question, it was presented as a question of fact.

You're right, I often make that "mistake" if mistake it is, talking from the point of view of whatever character or culture whose eyes I happen to be looking at the world through. I rarely look at Glorantha "through my own eyes", that doesn't make much sense to me.

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1 hour ago, icebrand said:

Parole them? You mean parole the chaos creatures that worship chaos gods like they or Malia??? Like they ain't gonna tell you what you want to hear then stab you in the back, poison your well and rape your cattle.

 

What do your mean by solemn vow? You mean like humaktis spending 2 pow per Broo??? That ain't happening. And non magical vows mean nothing to them.

 

What? The murder rape violence disease monster that's superior or equal to a human in every single mechanical way isn't an existential threat?????

Scorpionmen and ogres are in the same spot. I don't think that if i get eaten and reborn as a half arachnid horror that has an overwhelming driving desire to murder and wreck stuff i would still count as a person.

I don't think anyone but some minority of lunars consider them persons, and I'm sure they themselves don't. Relationships between Broo is one of master/slave

I just figured out they are not people (in the legal sense) because i don't see any culture punishing an individual that does wrong by a Broo. Like, you would get congratulations for stuff that would get you exiled/imprisoned/executed if you do that on humans; like, if you tell your thane you hunted down a Broo, and killed it with extreme violence while making it suffer as much as possible, i don't think you are getting reprimanded, more like the thane buys you dinner...

 

WHAT???

I don't see Broos surrendering unless it's a ruse/last ditch effort not to die (as per bestiary description). Dumping Broo artifacts on a market would have lightbrigers coming to spank you for being... Basically a broo? So you better do it RIGHT *and* then you'll have your GM (me) hating your guts. I don't mind anti heroes or even anti villains, but this is going too far. Rape, disease, cannibalism are HARD NO and you will end up turning into monster, slain by some random mistress race high priestess with her zorak-zorani death lord bodyguards and initiate entourage that "just so happened to wander by". OR (most likely) you'll get an ooc chat and you either reconsider or you don't get invited anymore, idk.

 

 

Oaths with magical force exist all over Glorantha beyond the Humakt rune spell, which is special because it instantly kills you if you break it. But there are plenty of examples in setting material- Broyan dies because he broke his oath to protect the City of Wonders, for example. That didn't happen because of the Humakt rune spell, because it was caused by a Darkness entity of some kind/the Kitori, but it still had force. Oaths in this setting have magical power, depending on who you swear them by. And these are binding on broo as well, because there are specific Chaotic entities that can slither out from those bindings (Krjalk, maybe Cacodemon) and broo aren't generally worshiping them.

And that's why it's an effective tactic- broo are perhaps not especially inclined to do this out of the goodness of their hearts, but there's supernatural power backing the oath up and if they break it, they get hurt. That's probably not good psychologically for broo, although it's at least predictable, unlike their abuser mother goddess, but this isn't about helping broo, it's about whether it makes sense for it to be the case that massacring intelligent creatures on the basis that they have a tainted/polluted origin is something that not just Storm Bulls but every Gloranthan is cool with and potentially willing to participate in, minus pacifists who can't participate directly.

I mean, from the setting itself, they are not any kind of existential threat. Even people who hate Chaos are cool with using broo as disposable weapons rather than declaring "nits make lice" or "Waha will know his own" out of a need to preserve their own, explicitly fragile and marginal existence. So if RQ stats are accurate representations of the body and mind of broo, then presumably their bulkier, more muscular bodies don't translate into them being supersoldiers in some fashion. Easy enough to elaborate why.

I think that the legal definition of personhood for broo in various cultures is kind of irrelevant- animals are definitionally not people, but there are also always social limitations on the level of arbitrary violence that can be applied to animals before someone's behavior becomes problematic, disturbing, or unlawful. My general intuition is that fighting a broo one-on-one is probably seen positively if recklessly, but murdering one in their sleep is seen as a sign of dangerous tendencies, and that even if we accept broo are seen as animals generally it would be like learning someone was attempting to proactively extirpate wolves and foxes, as opposed to shooting ones that intrude on your farm.

Broo are sufficiently like people, and are metaphorically treated as people, so I assume that they will surrender given the right conditions, because the text of Glorantha suggests they are people and surrendering/throwing down their arms is something people generally will do.

The point of the scenario would be that the only way that the broo can pay is with things that are likely or obviously Chaotic, and as such are nearly worthless, but the rules of honor (and this would be the case in canon Glorantha) demands that the ransom be accepted, and so this produces an adventure of finding some Lunar or Borist who can and will pay a fair price for the things.

1 hour ago, simonh said:

Being individually more dangerous doesn't necessarily mean collectively so, and it doesn't guarantee supremacy anyway (ask Rurik), so there's no contradiction. They don't 'rely' on such tactics or resort to them due to an inability anyway, it's an instinctive and even religious imperative. Self destructive? They're immune to their own diseases. Even if they do crumple militarily (often true), their specialty is raids and terror. That's the risk you run from catch-and-release.

OK, this is why we are at odds. That is how they are, very thoroughly and unambiguously, described in the sources. This is why they are a particular ethical case. If they had genuine free choice there would be no specific ethical issue, it would be mostly the same question as with humans.

"It's an instinctive and even religious imperative." Religious imperatives are not always things you can disentangle from basic material conditions, especially in Glorantha. And broo are material creatures. They don't even have the magic digestive systems of uz. They need food and water that won't kill them. But to put this another way, I don't see anything in the sources which indicates broo have any less free will than humans do in Glorantha. We have the Wild Healer of the Rockwoods, of course. We have Ralzakark's Sword Broo. Neither seem to be Illuminated.

Broo can also choose to embrace Mallia for relief from Thed. So they have at least that level of free will. And humans also get divinely punished if they leave the "pantheon" in the sources, so in that sense humans would also lack free will in Glorantha because of that constraint. Now, it's possible to achieve an elevated level of freedom for broo and humans alike with Illumination, but it's not categorically different in any source. I just don't see where there's anything which distinguishes beliefs about broo lack of free will as metaphysically true rather than a common belief.

(Granted, even if it were the case that broo explicitly don't have free will and are just mechanically monstrous, I would probably respond by not having them in my Glorantha, because then the text would be making the assertion that the cycle of abuse is truly inescapable, because that's the [really really eyebrow-raising] metaphor going on with Thed and the broo- Thed suffered traumatic violence and reenacts that violence on her mortal children and they in turn end up generally reenacting forms of that violence on the world around them- but sometimes they escape. On their own or with the help of others.)

1 hour ago, AndreJarosch said:

I wonder: 
Would the question also pop op in other franchises?

What about Orcs in Middle Earth? Nobody tries to argue with them, or take prisoners. 
What about Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise?
The Gremlins from the Gremlin movies?

Only in Star Trek they try to understand and chance the nature of their enemies (Borg, Jem hadar). 

Should Broo be treated like Borg or Jem hadar im Star Trek... "they don´t know no other way to behave, but we should try to change their ways"?

This question absolutely comes up with orcs, and Tolkien spent a considerable amount of time trying to justify the existence of orcs to himself and failed totally.

Edited by Eff

The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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2 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Talk of morality aside, I don't recall any reference to them respecting the ransom system, which takes them outside the normal rules around violence for "people" in the core setting. Someone who doesn't treat captives according to certain parameters is basically an animal with no legal status or rights.

Just like someone who doesn't treat civilians that way, hey?

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IMHO Broos are as much "people" as you present them (or not) in your game. And they're treated as such (or not) based on how the Adventurers and NPCs treat them. It's not very interesting to me to ask "are Broos people?", but it is definitely interesting to ask "so what kind of cool stories have you gotten out of Broos?". It seems to me like you get a lot more interesting stories by treating them as beings capable (at least on occasion) of complexity and nuance.

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

But the surest approach is simply not to relax the rules too much even when you fight monsters. Monsters are what they are because they fight like monsters. Humans have to have faith that fighting like humans is ultimately better . . . otherwise roll illumination.

cf. this bit from the RuneQuest Submission Guidelines:

Quote

The paradox of the Hero. The Hero is endowed with exceptional powers and uses those gifts to battle against enemies who would endanger the peace and wellbeing of the community. And yet, the Hero is not bound by the rules and restrictions of the civilization they defend, and is rarely at home in the civilized world. 

This stuff is meant to make you think.

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Outside of Broo, I really like K'rana from Lords of Terror, a scorpion(wo)man queen Sword of Humakt who certainly remembers her past, has aspirations (unfortunately difficult to achieve) of improving the life of her people, melancholia about her lost relatives, honor of a malleable kind, and so on. She's clearly a person and a a moral subject, even if the same might not apply to a barely-sentient feral Brooling.

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5 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Just like someone who doesn't treat civilians that way, hey?

Generally when honorable people fight broo they assume the rules of honourable combat don't apply. That's because most broo are feral or wild, and are treated like rabid animals. They give no quarter and ask for none. Nobody blinks an eye.

But sometimes the broo offer to parley. They sometimes offer ransom. They sometimes don't molest their prisoners. Maybe that's because they are civilised, or illuminated, or cleansed. Or maybe they are under orders from something they fear greatly. That's when things get interesting, because the rules of honour require that they be followed. But at the same time, they are broos, and many cults treat them as Enemies. 

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1 hour ago, icebrand said:

Thats a tall assumption you made there my dude... Who said i fantasize about war crimes? Please do quote me because frankly, i find your interpretation of my post borderline offensive.

Also, in 20+ years in the hobby and knowing over 100 people playing, i don't think I ever saw a single campaign where warcrimes weren't at least occasionally (and many times casually) committed.

Anyway, the topic seems to make you uncomfortable, but please don't take it on me i was just asking a simple question.

OK, we're talking about a Fantasy Role-Playing Game, and I admit I do sometimes get alarmed when I hear the Fantasies some folk want to Role-Play. (You come across people who morbidly focus on abusive slave-ownership, exploring wht goes on in brothels, defining cultural enemies as subhuman, wanting to justify authentic Bronze Age atrocities, and so forth). Once players start saying "I want my character to commit war crimes while feeling morally justified," my alarm bells usually go off.

(Yes, I've run games at cons and clubs. Yes, I have had problematic players. Yes, Session Zero is a very useful thing, especially re: lines & veils)

Further to that, I resent the simplistic approach some folk take to the complex moral questions baked into Glorantha. Once you decide, as a matter of objective external truth, that certain beliefs held inside Glorantha are objectively Wrong, you won't be able to engage properly with the material as written, while major aspects of the setting will be wasted on you.

So: anyone you meet in Pavis, Borderlands or Sartar will agree that Broo are a terrible threat and ought to be mercilessly exterminated, and to be frank I think they're right. But not everyone in Glorantha believes that -- some Broo demonstrate by their actions that it's an over-simplification -- and one major Gloranthan culture actively champions the idea that Chaotic creatures might be capable of being "healed" in a perfected cosmos. (And not by some wonderful Final Solution to the Chaos Problem) 

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Ecologically feral and wild broo are disasters. They impregnate as often as they can (think xenomorphs or parasitoid wasps) in order to propagate their species - domestic animals such as cattle or sheep are easiest, but humans or other beings also work. They have a hardy larval stage that matures rapidly, and few broo spend any resources socialising or educating the larvae (also it is rare for a broo to have any idea who its father is). Broo larvae are normally only permitted what they can take or steal. Surprisingly few die from this mistreatment but that is more due to their hardiness. The overwhelming majority of broo are unsocialised young adult males whose main goal is to survive and create a new generation of broo larvae. They are meat-eaters and are perfectly willing to eat their fellow broo. When there are too many broo in an area, they tend to kill and eat everything they can catch and need to move to a new region for food. Wild broo have cults and some social traditions (usually imposed by powerful and more long-lived broos), feral broo are little more than their life cycle.

BUT broo are sentient and are capable of illumination and civilization. Ralzakark's civilised broo prove this, as does the Cleansed Broo of the Zola Fel. They don't have to be what their life cycle encourages. 

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My understanding has always been that the broo are the antithesis of virtually all human/uz/aldryami/etc values. And that they're gleefully so. In other words, at a baseline they're monsters, even if they're sentient (perhaps they're even more monstrous because they know what they're doing and they love it.) But since they're sentient, there's the ever so minute chance that they're capable of rejecting their normal path and becoming worthy of consideration as people. The one in 1,000 non-Chaotic broo individual has a harder path to redemption because of this, but that's frankly the fault of their former fellows not that of the humans and/or uz who might try to kill them. A "kill them all" approach is morally acceptable, perhaps exemplary, when applied to the average broo - whose appearance in an adventure should trigger feelings of deep fear and loathing (among both players and characters.)

Just like with recent discussions of Tolkien orcs (and broo are far worse than mere orcs), recently dominate anti-imperialist sentiment among Westerners deeply colors how many of us look at these questions. Yes, actions of conquest and/or ethnic cleansing during European and American imperial expansions were often justified by claiming that the people being conquered were monstrous savages, etc., etc. (I'd venture that other cases of imperial expansion - e.g. Chinese - were similarly justified.) That wasn't the only way imperialism was justified, but it was a biggie. There were always Westerners who spoke out against imperialism and/or the dehumanization of non-Western peoples (yes, even in the 16th century), but that's now the dominate frame of mind. So some people involved in fantasy/sci-fi/imaginative genre literature and gaming have developed the suspicion that a) monstrous humanoid races are just deliberate or unconscious fill-ins for American Indians/sub-Saharan Africans/Aborigines/etc., and/or b) that treating monstrous races as monsters legitimates, breeds, and encourages racism towards real people in the real world. In a perverse way, it's a post-colonial racialist lens through which to view things - i.e., that race, ethnicity, and dominance hierarchies (oppressor/oppressed, in this case) are the primary filters through which the world should be seen. In our hobby, this view risks doing exactly what it sets out to undermine: mapping real world ethnic groups onto monstrous humanoids in fantasy (something worth avoiding, in general). But what if that was the wrong lens through which to look at the question of monster races? What if the proper lens is one of morality? Are there behaviors and actions that need to be actively fought by any and all means necessary? I'd say yes.

If early 19th century American settlers in Ohio hated American Indians because they thought Indians (Shawnee, Miami, etc.) were vicious, violent "savages," were they wrong because a) American Indians in Ohio were not really defined by a culture of vicious, violent savagery, or b) that they really were vicious, violent savages, but that was their culture and we shouldn't judge? In game, if it became know that a band of creatures - who really are defined by their love of rape, murder, torture, and spreading of diseases - was traipsing about in the woods near some farming village, what should the appropriate player/character reaction be? Let them be unless they're actively in the process of hurting someone? Go into the woods and have a chat with them about peaceful coexistence and the importance of consent in romantic relations? Or make sure they can't hurt anyone, by killing them or driving them away? One could be a little more inventive here, but those seem like the baseline alternatives.

Glorantha already has a great deal of multicultural moral ambiguity in it. Look at the first adventure in the Starter Set, for instance. What does one do with the rampaging trolls? But I think it's entirely appropriate for there to be races/creatures that are sentient, but also 100% OK for your characters to kill off and know that they did the right thing. And frankly, it also makes the scenario of the broo who rejects chaos all the more interesting.

 

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12 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

So: anyone you meet in Pavis, Borderlands or Sartar will agree that Broo are a terrible threat and ought to be mercilessly exterminated, and to be frank I think they're right. But not everyone in Glorantha believes that -- some Broo demonstrate by their actions that it's an over-simplification -- and one major Gloranthan culture actively champions the idea that Chaotic creatures might be capable of being "healed" in a perfected cosmos. (And not by some wonderful Final Solution to the Chaos Problem) 

So, assuming a regular pavis campaign, only the bad guys think broos are "persons" (does every lunar believe that? I doubt it strongly) and literally everyone else in the region thinks they aren't. 

Many other places (most, except some fringe loonie groups) agree with praxians. 

Yes, not everyone in Glorantha believes that, same not everyone on earth thinks the world is round, but I'd say those people are in the wrong. "This dude is totally a person but needs magical and societal intervention to function, and even then..." Is a really poor argument for personhood, when we start from a *chaos monstrosity whose very essence is strife and destruction*.

The last part is just lunar propaganda, since despite what they preach, pretty much every single chaos thing in the lunar empire is either a slave, a near slave or being magically and/or physically kept in line. How many Broo nobles in the empire? Heck, how many full citizens?? 

"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

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4 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Ecologically feral and wild broo are disasters. They impregnate as often as they can (think xenomorphs or parasitoid wasps) in order to propagate their species - domestic animals such as cattle or sheep are easiest, but humans or other beings also work.

Quick question that has some bearing on this discussion. If broo are cleansed of Chaos taint, do they still reproduce the same way?

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19 minutes ago, Jeff said:

L as does the Cleansed Broo of the Zola Fel. They don't have to be what their life cycle encourages. 

How does cleansing work? I vaguely remember reading about cleansing but you died in the process (may not be that way, read it a long ago).

Also, don't Broo have the chaos rune as part of their being? It's one thing to cleanse someone who got tainted, another to cleanse someone who IS chaos, am i too far off ?

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"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

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16 minutes ago, Beoferret said:

Quick question that has some bearing on this discussion. If broo are cleansed of Chaos taint, do they still reproduce the same way?

I don't know what the canon answer is or if there is one, but in the big broo metaphor of cycle-of-abuse, broo reproduction is clearly the result of Thed's influence in essentially metaphysically raping all of her children by dictating how they are allowed have sex- it must be violent, it must be traumatizing, and it must result in the death of the other partner in a gruesome, painful way- and so we could hope that broo don't reproduce in that fashion if they're free from Thed's tyranny. But that's why I'm pretty down on broo as a major part of Glorantha, because of that central metaphor being focused on a rape survivor reenacting her trauma by raping all of her mortal progeny in an abstract fashion.

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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14 minutes ago, Eff said:

I don't know what the canon answer is or if there is one, but in the big broo metaphor of cycle-of-abuse, broo reproduction is clearly the result of Thed's influence in essentially metaphysically raping all of her children by dictating how they are allowed have sex- it must be violent, it must be traumatizing, and it must result in the death of the other partner in a gruesome, painful way- and so we could hope that broo don't reproduce in that fashion if they're free from Thed's tyranny. But that's why I'm pretty down on broo as a major part of Glorantha, because of that central metaphor being focused on a rape survivor reenacting her trauma by raping all of her mortal progeny in an abstract fashion.

Thed is most definitely NOT a rape survivor Thed is the assailant here, she conspired to bring forth chaos and end the world.

She demanded Orlanth recognize her as the goddess of rape.

She voluntarily teared the fabric of reality hoping to end all things.

Im sorry but shes one of the top most horrifying things in the whole setting, and her Broo followed her willingly

 

"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

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