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Are all bats chaotic?


EricW

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I don't know that the Crimson Bat is the supreme totemic bat in that sense.  per the RQG Bestiary it doesn't even have the Beast rune, just Chaos and Moon.  I've never heard of the Pujaleg bat hsunchen in Pamaltela, or the bat hsunchen of Teshnos, having any particular affinity for Chaos either.  Is there a source that suggests the Crimson Bat was the primal bat?

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12 hours ago, dumuzid said:

I don't know that the Crimson Bat is the supreme totemic bat in that sense.  per the RQG Bestiary it doesn't even have the Beast rune, just Chaos and Moon.  I've never heard of the Pujaleg bat hsunchen in Pamaltela, or the bat hsunchen of Teshnos, having any particular affinity for Chaos either.  Is there a source that suggests the Crimson Bat was the primal bat?

Well, the Red Book of Magic has hsunchen transformation magic which involves becoming a red bat, which explicitly cites the Cult of the Crimson Bat. 

The Guide also indicates the Pujaleg of Laskal worship the Blue Bat and the Red Bat as their primary deities. Seems likely that there's some kind of connection there, or at least that bats have an overall Moon connection, like foxes do. 

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Honestly, given the art of the Crimson Bat I've seen, I think one could legitimately argue that it isn't even an actual bat, it's just a Chaos monster with no real non-Chaotic equivalent that just so happens to look enough like a bat that that's the go-to comparison (and of course their association with death and the underworld in Peloria means that they make an effective symbol for the Red Goddess to be seen riding on to dispense horrific Chaos-infused death and oblivion, so there's a vested interest in pushing it as a bat).

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At first glance I read the title of this thread as, 'Are bats Catholic?' this triggered by my preferred twisting of the classic phrases about bears and popes. For those unfamiliar, one is catholic, the other sh*ts in the woods. Maybe 'Are bats chaotic?' is used as a veiled insult by Lunar haters as it surely implies that the Emperor sh*ts in the woods.

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3 hours ago, Harry the Dirty Dog said:

I like the idea of a bunch of people worshipping a perfectly ordinary bat goddess who have been a) quite horrified at the Crimson Bat for some time now and b) carefully explaining to anyone that will listen that theirs is a different bat and that the big red one has nothing to with them.  

"Zet ees nit ma bet."

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The Red Goddess faced Blaskarth, cosmic annihilation and the dissolution of the personal self. Her riding the bat back from the underworld is symbolic of, and a physical manifestation of her conquest of death. That might make the bat an avatar of Mahaquata, but that doesn't mean Mahaquata is necessarily chaotic.

I imagine bats have a strong darkness connection as well as moon.

Edited by simonh
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17 hours ago, dumuzid said:

I don't know that the Crimson Bat is the supreme totemic bat in that sense.  per the RQG Bestiary it doesn't even have the Beast rune, just Chaos and Moon.  I've never heard of the Pujaleg bat hsunchen in Pamaltela, or the bat hsunchen of Teshnos, having any particular affinity for Chaos either. 

There have been some statements about the Laskali Pujaleg (the Teshnans are also called that) that the rulers of their empire are the Vampire Bat Pujaleg, and that their leaders might become regular vampires. The Wikia references that, even.

 

17 hours ago, dumuzid said:

Is there a source that suggests the Crimson Bat was the primal bat?

No, there is no such source that I can recall. There was some speculation on bats and their Darkness goddess Mahaqata in Book of Drastic Resolution: Volume Darkness, mainly tied to the Blue Moon Plateau and its trolls, riffing off ideas by Greg about bat-winged uz under the plateau (which I had a chance to play out in an experimental Hero Wars or HQ1 game at a Tentacles convention ages ago).

The Bat features in a big way in Pelorian mythology. It doesn't really fit any God Learner systematic - a Darkness creature, but mammalian. A flyer, but without Fire or Storm associations.

 

Bats are highly social creatures. Could a single specimen be the primal one?

There are a number other Bat goddesses. Artia, the Southpath planetary goddess, for one, in all likelihood the fourth conspirator/contributor to the demise of Yelm, alongside Shargash, Verithurusa and young Umathson. As a Southpath entity, she has an Underworld origin.

 

For what it is worth, the Crimson Bat was manifest during the Gbaji Wars in a darker hue and still wearing its own pelt, when it was slain and skinned by Arkat, and then banished to one of the worst parts of Hell - one even the Bat Out Of Hell wasn't able to escape on its own. It was an avatar of the Death deity of Rinliddi before, but it looks like Arkat did his usual charming thing and released some of the accumulated Chaos not just on the great land of Dorastor but also on the sorry carcass of the Bat. Extra eyes, tentacles and a supernatural hunger resulted, I suppose.

 

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22 hours ago, Eff said:

Well, the Red Book of Magic has hsunchen transformation magic which involves becoming a red bat, which explicitly cites the Cult of the Crimson Bat. 

The spells are granted by the Crimson Bat, which is why they are red.

 

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The Crimson Bat isn't the 'beast lord' of all bats any more than Ralzakark is the 'beast lord' of all broo.

The Crimson Bat is a major bat spirit corrupted by Chaos and tamed by Sedenya during her Apotheosis HeroQuest to become the Red Harlot, er... Goddess. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.

Presuming that there is a 'Grandfather /mother Bat' [and I see no reason why there shouldn't be], they're likely HIGHLY pissed at the existence of this vile mutation of their form and nature. Not that any mortal will be able to do anything about it...

Now, the Bat IS worshiped and DOES grant spells because of that worship... I personally think of it as a shamanistic Spirit Society with Rune spells granted by the Sedenya [yes, I'm an Orlanthi fan who refers to the Red Goddess by her mortal name to annoy Lunars]. But it's rather like feeding Power to Mallia or Thed... more in propitiation than actual worship.

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56 minutes ago, soltakss said:

The spells are granted by the Crimson Bat, which is why they are red.

 

Yes, but the fact that the Crimson Bat can grant these kinds of spells suggests that she has some kind of authority as an ancestral or sovereign figure with regards to bats, in the same way that Telmor or Basmol does.

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19 hours ago, Eff said:

Yes, but the fact that the Crimson Bat can grant these kinds of spells suggests that she has some kind of authority as an ancestral or sovereign figure with regards to bats, in the same way that Telmor or Basmol does.

Not necessarily.  As mentioned by @svensson, they may well come -- in actuality -- from Sedenya.  I've got much more of a "dumb brute" vibe from the Bat, honestly.  Incredibly POWERFUL dumb brute, but... well... let's put it this way:  can you imagine a cadre of Storm Bull cultists summoning Storm Bull... and then riding him... and steering him?

All bats, after all, have deep moony ties; and the CB is only in the world because the Red Moon brought it here (and, I suspect, is the one who keeps the channel open to bring it back, if it ever does get killed/dismissed).  Moon could be the source of the bat magic, with CB acting as a mask for Sedenya.

Everyone's Glorantha Will Vary, after all...

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23 minutes ago, g33k said:

Not necessarily.  As mentioned by @svensson, they may well come -- in actuality -- from Sedenya.  I've got much more of a "dumb brute" vibe from the Bat, honestly.  Incredibly POWERFUL dumb brute, but... well... let's put it this way:  can you imagine a cadre of Storm Bull cultists summoning Storm Bull... and then riding him... and steering him?

All bats, after all, have deep moony ties; and the CB is only in the world because the Red Moon brought it here (and, I suspect, is the one who keeps the channel open to bring it back, if it ever does get killed/dismissed).  Moon could be the source of the bat magic, with CB acting as a mask for Sedenya.

Everyone's Glorantha Will Vary, after all...

Yes, they could come from the Red Goddess, but I have to admit that I don't see the benefits of such an elaborate shell game and making the Lunar religion a grandiose Punch-and-Judy show.

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

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The Crimson Bat is from Rinliddi, the land of the bird people there. Do any Rinliddi have magic to shape-change themselves into birds, or to take on bird characteristics other than superior sight (a general fire rune trait)?

Plentonius claims that the Bat was a new deity, one that Murharzarm had never seen before, nor would he ever (except for the wings blocking his sight). Glorious ReAscent of Yelm p.15.

(Plentonius also mentions bats at the Death and Disintegration of Antirius. (GRoY p.30)

Quote

When Antirius’ bird flew upward it was attacked by the hungry  bats  which  commanded  the  air.  Manimat  shot  the vile creatures down with the Bow of Lukarius, and so the eagle  reached  the  heavens  safely.  

Apart from the spit-take about a Lightfore deity dying like the proper sun, there are bats commanding the air.

 

Freedom of shape is a Darkness trait, though, and at least the insectivore and vampiric bats definitely are nocturnal.(But then, so are nightingale, owls, kiwis and kakapos, and there are no myths about humans changing into these, are there?.Other thtn the owl hsunchen.)

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I tend to see bats as a Moon creature rather than Air /Storm.

But a VERY interesting story conflict that might be included is a sort-of 'spiritual struggle' with bats wherein 'Grandfather /mother Bat' is actually aligned with Anilla the Blue Moon but most Power sacrificed to and for bats as a spirit-species is to the Crimson Bat and therefore aimed at the Red Goddess... the 'Grand-bat' is being starved of its just due Power by the Red Goddess siphoning off Power via the fear of the Crimson Bat!

You know, just to add some spice to the pot 😃😆

I should also note that I have no information from Greg Stafford [MHRIP] or Jeff Richard that this is the case. I'm just speculating based on the nature of Lunar religion as I understand it.

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5 hours ago, Eff said:

Yes, they could come from the Red Goddess, but I have to admit that I don't see the benefits of such an elaborate shell game and making the Lunar religion a grandiose Punch-and-Judy show.

Well, I see the Lunar religion as having to eternally make up for Sedenya's FAILED Apotheosis Quest. AIUI, she did not set out to 'balance Order and Chaos' as Lunars would have it. She was compelled to accept the power of Chaos because she failed some aspect of her Quest, much as many mortals or unhinged Illuminates accept a Chaos Feature for more power in the Mundane World. Basically, at some point in the process, either Sedenya or the Seven Betrayers screwed the pooch and had to include Chaos in the ritual ascension or else the whole project would fail.

 

But that really is a digression from the subject of bats.

Edited by svensson
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On 12/3/2021 at 11:36 PM, Eff said:

Yes, but the fact that the Crimson Bat can grant these kinds of spells suggests that she has some kind of authority as an ancestral or sovereign figure with regards to bats, in the same way that Telmor or Basmol does.

There is presumably a Hsunchen-like Bat deity that allows its cultists to transform into normal bats.

We just have not seen it yet.

I think that the Crimson Bat has inherited that ability in some way.

 

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As far as I know [and I could be wrong], any spirit can grant spells so long as the following criteria are met:

1. Spirits can teach the Spirit Magic spells they know

2. Spirits that receive worship [by 'worship' I mean 'can grant Initiate status'] and have both Power and Magic Points sacrificed to it can teach Rune Spells

3. Spells must be within the spirit's nature and mythic deeds; an insect spirit cannot teach Ignite because it is a Darkness creature, a Water spirit cannot grant Earthquake, etc. unless there is a mythical reason allowing it

4. There will be limitations based on pantheon influences or other boundaries

So if the Hsunchen 'Grandparent Bat' exists, there is no reason whatsoever that it couldn't grant worshipers spells like Extinguish [Darkness Spirit Spell] or Madness [Moon Rune Spell]. The spell effects would manifest according to Runes relating to 'Grandparent Bat'... if they're ruled to be entirely related to the Red Goddess, they'd be red in color, if they're ruled to be of Anilla the Blue Moon, logic says they'd manifest as blue in color.

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On 12/5/2021 at 1:03 AM, svensson said:

But that really is a digression from the subject of bats.

Since the thread is also about chaos, and the crimson bat specifically, I don't think it's a digression.

I just looked at Imperial Lunar Handbook 1 (Correction - ILH 2)

Quote

The death goddess of Rinliddi is Huvaran, bat of death, the Great Traitor of the birds. It is the Death that most people know. Yet there is a greater death too, capable of sending even immortals into oblivion, casting them outside of all reality, into the maws of the chaos that preceded cosmos. It is called Blaskarth in Rinliddi and is known to most as a horrendous being of entropy. This power to end Glorantha is seen by all beings of the cosmos as the power of chaos. Sedenya’s loosing of this power of cosmic annihilation into the world is one of the reasons the entire Cosmos mustered to fight against the New Moon.

Right, so Blaskarth is Cosmic Annihilation, and the section on the CB says is it's a manifestation of Blaskarth in the world. No wonder it's so horrifying.

On 12/3/2021 at 7:27 PM, Joerg said:

The Bat features in a big way in Pelorian mythology. It doesn't really fit any God Learner systematic - a Darkness creature, but mammalian. A flyer, but without Fire or Storm associations.

It exists in many worlds at once and flits between them unseen.

On 12/4/2021 at 10:49 PM, Joerg said:

Plentonius claims that the Bat was a new deity, one that Murharzarm had never seen before, nor would he ever (except for the wings blocking his sight). Glorious ReAscent of Yelm p.15.

Possibly related to Blasko then. The sun god can never see his own shadow.

Edited by simonh

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

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So the Steve Jackson Games HeroQuest titles are canon?

I'm looking at the index of my copy of SJG's 'Imperial Lunar Handbook vol. 1' [2003, Issaries Inc. and SJG] and see no reference to Hurvaran or Blaskarth. Checking in the Rinliddi pages [pgs. 22-23], there's no mention of those beings either.

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