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Belvani and Nysalor Illumination


Nicochan

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We know about Belvani and his Sun Dragon heresy.

We know he worked as an ambassador during the Lunar occupation of Prax.

We know he is a Nysalor Illuminate.

Does this mean he follows the Lunar Way? Is he a fan of Chaos? Does he "play" with both Chaos and Dragons? Does he simply not "care" and just uses all the options available? 

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I see Belvani as an opportunist with very little conscience.

He's willing to use every asset or any means to achieve power. His one limitation is that he won't destroy the society he's trying to rule... that would just leave him where he started, a master of nothing.

As for being a devotee of Chaos, no I don't think he is any more than Oddi the Keen is. You can become an Illuminate by accident after all, and Belvani doesn't appear to favor Chaos in any of his dealings.

As for following the Lunar Way, that would just put him back down at the bottom of the heap with another mountain for him to climb to power. Furthermore, as of 1625 ST, Belvani is the Count of Sun County appointed by Argrath himself. The odds that he's a Lunar sympathizer are pretty small. At the absolute minimum, he's loyal enough to Argrath to wait and see how things in Sartar turn out. Were the Lunars to reestablish their supremacy there he might swear fealty to them, but for now he's going to wait and see.

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1 hour ago, Nicochan said:

We know about Belvani and his Sun Dragon heresy.

We know he worked as an ambassador during the Lunar occupation of Prax.

We know he is a Nysalor Illuminate.

Does this mean he follows the Lunar Way? Is he a fan of Chaos? Does he "play" with both Chaos and Dragons? Does he simply not "care" and just uses all the options available? 

He's more of a draconist than a Nysaloran illuminate, having been converted IMO through the agency of the sinster Daystar.  As such he would hang around with dragonewts rather than chaos.  

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11 minutes ago, metcalph said:

He's more of a draconist than a Nysaloran illuminate, having been converted IMO through the agency of the sinster Daystar.  As such he would hang around with dragonewts rather than chaos.  

That's another way of looking at it. Illumination has many paths, and while all of them accept Chaos as a necessary equal and opposite of Order, not all of them court it as beneficial.

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Illumination frees you from external value systems, but you still have your own. Indeed most illumination schools try to get you to develop your own system (ideally based on their own preferences) to avoid the amoral opportunists that create such a bad image of illumination.

Someting like enlightened atheists. You still have your morals and ethics, but they do not depend on what an old book and a priest says, even if they are based on your own life experiences.

Belvani clearly sees value in the Yelmalian values, and considers he can do a better job in steering the County. As a Yelmalian in Prax, he surely despises the nomads and Chaos for their destructiveness, though he can more easily understand their motives than your typical Light Son. I would say his values will be Yelmalian, but with more flexibility and some quirks, such as the draconic interest (probably inherent in the Sun County past, considering the links to the EFW).

I believe he will be a good Count, making the Sun Dome less misogynistic and isolated, and working to recover the old draconic traditions. He is bound up in Argrath's cause, so he may reappear in Sartar, brought in to try to "modernize" Sartar's Sun Dome.

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Just now, David Scott said:

What's the source for this?

I honestly can't find the source right now but it's in my notes. I probably found it somewhere within the Sourcebook, the Guide, the old Sun County book, or the old Pavis & Rubble book, cause these are my sources for what I'm researching

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14 minutes ago, David Scott said:

What's the source for this?

old sun county book (at least french version) says he is nysalor illuminate.

 

Personally, I see Belvani as someone who accepts that things are not like yelmalio cult says. That doesn't mean he supports chaos (or hate chaos or anything) just understand that the world is not a simple good versus evil world.

And somewhere.. I think Nysalor illumination open the door to accept / love / use / worship / manipulate / bargain with chaos. but that is the illuminate's choice (or crazyness) to enter or not this room. Am I right ?

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20 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

old sun county book (at least french version) says he is nysalor illuminate.

Found it, it's in the stat block header of Sun County (p15) and Les Guerriers du Soleil (p17). Thanks for the pointer.

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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

old sun county book (at least french version) says he is nysalor illuminate.

 

Personally, I see Belvani as someone who accepts that things are not like yelmalio cult says. That doesn't mean he supports chaos (or hate chaos or anything) just understand that the world is not a simple good versus evil world.

And somewhere.. I think Nysalor illumination open the door to accept / love / use / worship / manipulate / bargain with chaos. but that is the illuminate's choice (or crazyness) to enter or not this room. Am I right ?

Illumination is the realization that there ISN'T any 'good' or 'evil' in the world, only 'what is a benefit or deficit for what I care about'. An Illuminate will use Chaos as means to an end just as easily as they use fire to cook a meal: 'Sure, it's dangerous but if you're careful with it...'

However, just as here on Earth, there is a real danger in moral and ethical relativism. Once you start taking short cuts for good reasons, it's easier to do them for less good reasons. Eventually you become morally lazy and corrupt and you find yourself BEING the evil you tried to deny exists.

Illumination is the removal of the legal and social barriers that allow society... that instinctual monkey troop of humans... to function at all.

To paint it with VERY broad strokes, Siddhartha was Illuminated, but so was Machiavelli...

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1 hour ago, svensson said:

Illumination is the realization that there ISN'T any 'good' or 'evil' in the world, only 'what is a benefit or deficit for what I care about'. An Illuminate will use Chaos as means to an end just as easily as they use fire to cook a meal: 'Sure, it's dangerous but if you're careful with it...'

I m not sure, as there are different schools of illumination (nysalor, draconic, etc.. and sub school in each of them) but only one "illuminate state" (Or am I wrong ?)

for me it is more "Illumination is the realization that there ISN'T any 'good' or 'evil' in the world BY DEFAUT"

then one illuminate should decide intimately (not sure for this word), with her own ethic, morale value (or new ethic, new morale value, if the illumination creates a new mind scheme) what is good or evil according to her, not what the elders says.

In all cases, the illuminate cannot do anything  evil (evil according to her) if she consider herself as a good person, as her definition of "good" is exactly what she understand

same for the illuminate considering herself as a bad person, impossible for her to do something good, there is always a practical evil reason to do something people would say "that is a good act"

 

note that when I say cannot or impossible, it is not exactly what I mean. More the concept of "I am able to excuse myself if I do things others consider wrong things"

 

In this way:

Arkati may be illuminates but will not use by any mean chaos. They will kill, steal or break because doing that, they protect the (god) world (so they consider they are good)

Crimson bat priests may (must ?) be illuminates and will use chaos (of course, that's there role). They will kill, fear, destroy souls, etc.. because doing that, they heal the world (so they consider they are good)

Siddhartha and Machiavelli could be seen as good or evil , but I am pretty sure both considered themselves as good people

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I'm not really sure Machiavelli works as an example of a malevolent Illuminate, given the Discourses on Livy/Discourses on the First Ten [Books] of Titus Livius and his general advocacy of republicanism as set against some of the stranger aspects of The Prince/Il Principe

But of course, the assumption that Illumination turns one into an amoral sociopath has never sat well with me because 1) much of the terminology and description of Illumination comes from existentialist philosophy, and whatever you may think of existentialists, one cannot really call Sartre and de Beauvoir and Camus and Kierkegaard all amorally sociopathic, 2) the ways in which conspiracies about "Illumination" have been used in the real world, especially on behalf of reactionary aristocracy in the late 18th and 19th centuries and on behalf of fascism in the early 20th, and continuing on to contemporary ones, and 3) the general way in which this assumption is deployed is rarely to actually say that the Illuminate understands the world wrong, that the social strictures are real and they are performing some blasphemous action in order to escape them, but that it is deeply important to prevent anyone from knowing the truth about the world and thus everyone must be deliberately kept in a fog of bondage. 

Which is to say, if we understand Belvani in the context of his Illumination, we can perhaps understand him as understanding the Sun Dragon cynically- that it is meaningless which manifestation of the Sun is understood to be true. But we can also understand Belvani as reacting to the deliberate suppression of the Sun Dragon, and his actions as driven by what de Beauvoir might call the sedimentation of having been lied to and knowing everyone he knows in Sun County has been lied to for all their lives, except himself and Daystar. And this latter in turn might be why he enters the Argrath circle- these are the only people who know that the stories that have been told about dragons are deliberate lies. 

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

Eight Arms and the Mask

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5 hours ago, Eff said:

the assumption that Illumination turns one into an amoral sociopath has never sat well with me 

It didn't sit well with me either. But when the only examples of people openly professing being illuminated demonstrate amoral behavior on the regular, that's going to happen. 

In Belvani's case I'm not sure we know how he became illuminated, not that it matters, but it seems like he's just doing his best for Sun County through irregular means. 

 

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Illumination is a great justification for scenario design. I want a murdering Chalana Arroy priestess... Illumination! I want someone with Humakti and Uleria magic... Illumination! And the overused favorite, I want an undetected chaos cultist in the clan ring, Pavis sisterhood, high temple hierarchy...

Most illuminates, IMG, are people who know they are free from a set of limitations, but that still want to do good, as they see good, which is why the path to Illumination, and what is considered good, is important, even if the end result is mechanically similar, because the resulting human being will be different. 

Most heroes that wrought change in Glorantha are illuminates, mainly because envisioning significant changes, against the stasis of the godtime, is helped by it. Most of the players in my Glorantha end up illuminated or dead, because that is what I want to explore, change and evolution, mainly personal but in a few cases culture and society. 

Orlanthi with their emphasis in movement and finding another way have some limited ability to change, which helps making them one of the most sympathetic cultures. But even then Illumination helps a lot.

As I said, I like Belvani, and I am hopeful he can bring positive change to the Sun County. And no chaos closer than his spear head. 

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17 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Arkati may be illuminates but will not use by any mean chaos. They will kill, steal or break because doing that, they protect the (god) world (so they consider they are good)

Some Arkati (specifically followers of Arkat the Devil) do use Chaos.  

 

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The whole notion of Sun Dragon is... interesting.  It was an EWF syncretist draconic Solar path to help with the occupation of Dara Happa.  The idea that a Yelmalio in Prax should be resurrecting it is decidedly odd, but there is also a wyrm who lives on one of the gates of the Big Rubble that worships Sun Dragon.  Perhaps Belvani is a convert?

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Please keep this discussion to the OT: Belvani and Nysalor Illumination:

On 3/9/2022 at 7:22 AM, Nicochan said:

Does this mean he follows the Lunar Way? Is he a fan of Chaos? Does he "play" with both Chaos and Dragons? Does he simply not "care" and just uses all the options available? 

 

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On 3/9/2022 at 6:22 PM, Nicochan said:

We know about Belvani and his Sun Dragon heresy.

We know he worked as an ambassador during the Lunar occupation of Prax.

We know he is a Nysalor Illuminate.

Does this mean he follows the Lunar Way? Is he a fan of Chaos? Does he "play" with both Chaos and Dragons? Does he simply not "care" and just uses all the options available? 

If you follow the story I posted here, taking events in Sun County from the Cradle through the Great Winter to the second battle of Moonbroth, it's pretty clear the priest Daystar has embraced Chaos deep down in the mines of Pent Ridge. But I don't think his protege Belvani knows that, and he betrays the Lunars literally at the last second at Moonbroth, adroitly changing sides. 

Although he is illuminated, Belvani aims to win by not losing, which is a very Yelmalion thing to do.

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Belvani will use the Lunars to gain power, for as long as that’s an option. He’ll use the Sun Dragon cult to gain power, for as long as that’s an option. He’ll even use Argrath to gain power, for as long as that’s an option. (I wrote a book about that last bit, tbh).

He knows that the best outcome for Sun County is to have him as its Count: that’s the greatest possible good, and anything he does to ensure his personal survival and his rise to power (whether allying with the Lunars before First Moonbroth, championing their plans to marry Yelmalio to the Red Goddess, adroitly pivoting to become a key component of the puritan regime that seizes power under Count Solanthos, or backstabbing the Lunars at Second Moonbroth) is inherently justified.

He’s intelligent, perceptive, well-informed and morally flexible. He’s seen the good life in the Empire, and is shocked at how impoverished, parochial and petty his homeland appears in comparison. He knows he’s the only man who can change that…

A very dangerous man. I enjoyed working on his motivations a lot.

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For any Babylon 5 fans out there, MOB and I used to enjoy calling him “Ambassador Belvani.” Presented with the opportunity to Make Sun County Great Again, he didn’t think twice about the cost.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nick Brooke said:

Belvani will use the Lunars to gain power, for as long as that’s an option. He’ll use the Sun Dragon cult to gain power, for as long as that’s an option. He’ll even use Argrath to gain power, for as long as that’s an option. (I wrote a book about that last bit, tbh).

He knows that the best outcome for Sun County is to have him as its Count: that’s the greatest possible good, and anything he does to ensure his personal survival and his rise to power (whether allying with the Lunars before First Moonbroth, championing their plans to marry Yelmalio to the Red Goddess, adroitly pivoting to become a key component of the puritan regime that seizes power under Count Solanthos, or backstabbing the Lunars at Second Moonbroth) is inherently justified.

He’s intelligent, perceptive, well-informed and morally flexible. He’s seen the good life in the Empire, and is shocked at how impoverished, parochial and petty his homeland appears in comparison. He knows he’s the only man who can change that…

A very dangerous man. I enjoyed working on his motivations a lot.

I'm running your Black Spear adventure but I've decided to change it a lot from

Spoiler

the Vega encounter onward.

I want Belvani to be less a negative character and actually give my players the choice of backing him if they are willing to accept an open-minded approach. It's an option, they can still help Vega if they like orthodoxy more (or if they dislike Dragons, or suck an eclectic/dangerous approach)..

After talking to Vega they'll be able to rescue an injured (by Vega's men) and captured (by a nearby troll clan) Windwhisper, and a Rurik Runespear that was forced to run and hide in the hunted ruins of the Old Temple during Vega's attack. In my Glorantha Rurik is a very valuable and trustworthy ally of Belvani, and Windwhisper is the Sun Dragon priest that taught Belvani a lot of its secrets.

They'll learn from them (or just one of them if the events are going to unfold in a different way) what's Belvani's ideology and plan: in my Glorantha he's worried about Chaos and Lunars, that's why he wants to ally with the Nomads, with Argrath, and use every powerful aspect of Yelm/Yelmalio/Solar Pantheon against the common enemy. Ofc, it's risky (draconic powers and magic + he kinda betrayed Argrath's friendship by drugging him and using him) but on the other end of the spectrum we have Vega who just cares about her little county, and doesn't care about the bigger picture and doesn't even consider to make allies.

Ofc everything I said is framed in a bigger story my players are playing: someone among the Lunars is trying to put together Gbaji by retrieving (even through many trained commandos of Broos) all its pieces that are scattered in the Middle World (he was destroyed in pieces by Arkat)

 

Edited by Nicochan
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30 minutes ago, Nicochan said:

I'm running your Black Spear adventure but I've decided to change it a lot from the Vega encounter onward.

 

Just a quick reminder for Nicochan and others who post here on BRP Central.


SPOILERS

They tend to ruin things and really offer no reward. I may wish to play this one day or buy it and run it for others but you seem to have given away a lot of plot points here. Not having read it critically, I might be wrong and if so I do apologize. But if I am correct, I had thought I had been reading a topic devoted to illumination in general and an individual I had not heard of before in specific. Alas, now I could be walking away with far more details then I want about a module an author has spent much time crafting (making it surprising and fresh, crafting surprises to keep me and others on pins and needles ) that I am thinking of purchasing with my limited and hard earned cash. Had I read your post I might not want to buy it.  I might say, what is the point. I will buy one that is without spoilers. Hmm. Does you no harm, but assuming the module is good...It would harm me, and would seriously harm the author if I did not buy it for reasons he had nothing to do with. 

I respectfully ask Nicochan and others to be respectful and use the eye above.. and shown once again, below... using the fifth icon from the left, to hide your comments.

image.png.45b5d46b98f05757d9216802d52103ca.png

Spoiler

Like this

Cheers

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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5 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Just a quick reminder for Nicochan and others who post here on BRP Central.


SPOILERS

They tend to ruin things and really offer no reward. I may wish to play this one day or buy it and run it for others but you seem to have given away a lot of plot points here. Not having read it critically, I might be wrong and if so I do apologize. But if I am correct, I had thought I had been reading a topic devoted to illumination in general and an individual I had not heard of before in specific. Alas, now I could be walking away with far more details then I want about a module an author has spent much time crafting (making it surprising and fresh, crafting surprises to keep me and others on pins and needles ) that I am thinking of purchasing with me limited hard earned cash.Had I read your post I might not want to buy it.  I might say, what is the point. I will buy one that is without spoilers. Hmm. Does you no harm, but assuming the module is good...It would harm me, and would serially harm the author if I did not buy it for reasons he had nothing to do with. 

I respectfully ask Nicochan and others to be respectful and use the eye above.. and shown once again, below... using the fifth icon from the left, to hide your comments.

image.png.45b5d46b98f05757d9216802d52103ca.png

  Reveal hidden contents

Like this

Cheers

Can't find the spoilers function from mobile. But don't worry everything you've read is completely different, the adventure itself takes a very very different approach and does not even touch the characters and locations I wrote about

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