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For now, I just wanted to say this has been IMO one of the most interesting threads I've read!

I will try to pop back to give my completely unlearned, and non-canonical opinion later. 

Thank you all for a great read!

P.S. Great post @Eff, g33k is right.

P.P.S. @Brian Duguid great stuff.

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No. From Gamma World 1st edition. :20-power-truth:eah!

 

 

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And now for a completely unlearned, and non-canonical view (or something completely different). 

After rereading the posts, the one that resounds the most to me, is JRE's (forgot to use quote option), JRE;

"In my opinion hsunchen, though it is a Kralori term, is actually a God Learner concept, and they joined together peoples that themselves have very different origin myths. Being the meddlers they were, and that they liked to tidy other peoples myths, I would expect that the fact that hsunchen have similar structures and myths could simply be a God Learner project."

For me (Badder) the concept of anything in Glorantha is the myth (story) in Godtime. This is where all the Runes were created/claimed. Runes, to me, point to the Myths (stories) of Godtime the way I can point to the Moon with my finger, but they aren't the Myth itself any more than my finger is the Moon (this is me flattering Zen). The myths (stories) from Godtime are that important. I always view each creature as an embodyment of a certain connection to Gloranthan Myth (in terms of more than just Runes). All Hsunchen are connected by the stories (myths of their people in Godtime). (If you thought that I transposed the words story and myth unintentionally in the previous sentence please google the definitions of Myth).

Modern peoples of Glorantha access Godtime (in a way) through the Hero Plane. Since Arkat, everyone has used the Hero Quest for great change. (I assert at this point that I really know less than nothing about how the EWF used Dragonic magic and what Dragonic magic is). 

My opinion of the Dark Hsunchen is it depends. Is the :20-element-darkness: (and :20-form-man:) creature trying to be adopted into a tribe/pack/clan? Are they willing to lose their :20-element-darkness: if necessary to gain the :20-form-beast: as part of their personal myth (did :20-element-darkness::20-form-man: separate out from the beasts like the Hsunchen)? Are they willing to Hero Quest for the change? Are they willing to face spirits of retribution from former cults (or entities on the Hero Plane)? Are they willing to rewrite their very nature via the Hero Quest?

It takes Big Magic to accomplish this (probably Hero Plane magic). Minimally it may mean dealing with God Learner artifacts and that always works out so well... Or maybe just Dragonic magic (again good luck). 

 

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No. From Gamma World 1st edition. :20-power-truth:eah!

 

 

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On 4/13/2022 at 12:06 AM, French Desperate WindChild said:

are they able to transform themselves because they are "people" by nature

or because they worship a goddess giving some transformation abilities

Now this is the nub of the issue really isn't it?  Clearly a person who doesn't worship the appropriate deity can't perform transformation magic unless they are "cursed".  The larger question becomes whether transformation is intrinsic to the man rune.

22 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

All good, but also note the Fiwan creation myths in Revealed Mythologies. In the beginning there were sixteen Fiwan peoples, and “they could take the shape of humans or animals” or “were both people and animals at the same time”. Several of the "founding" Fiwan peoples listed in that source are specific Hsunchen analogues: lion, frog, fish eagle, sun fish, eland, vulture, turtle, milk antelope, anaconda and fire wren; those are all Fiwan/Hsunchen peoples described in Guide to Glorantha. Two of the other original Fiwan (rhinoceros and otter) may have different analogues in later Gloranthan ages (Rascullu and the otters of Maniria). Revealed Mythologies even goes as far as to tell us that “the migrated Fiwan are the Genertelan Hsunchen”.

So there are multiple "ideas" of the Hsunchen: the Fiwan myths from Pamaltela, the descent of the Hsunchen from Korgatsu in Kralorela, and the labelling by the Brithini of other humans as being in their eyes sub-human Hykimi in the West.

All this is another section in the Book of Hsunchen, of course 😄.

Good call.  I had forgotten that Revealed Mythologies exists. SMH.😄

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On 4/12/2022 at 11:29 PM, Darius West said:

I suspect that the idea of Hsunchen is an import of the Godlearners from Kralori,

The word Hsunchen is a Kralori word, spread by the God Learners, IMO when they recognized that the ones they knew of from Seshnela and Fronela were part of a wider phenomenon, one the Kralori already had a name for -  but the hsunchen exist independently of the God Learners recognizing it, particularly in Pamaltela the term fiwan is used instead. 
The Hsunchen long predate the God Learners, their commonality was there before the God Learners, and extends to hsunchen/fiwan people that the God Learners never reached. The God Learners were the first to recognize how deep the commonality goes, by recognizing phenomena like how the languages of hsunchen of the same species are always the same despite distance and lack of interaction. But they did not create it. 

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The God Learners in Kralorela/ the False Dragon Ring investigated the Hsunchen there more thoroughly than elsewhere. In part this was because their investigation of the haunches deep myths led them to the legendary dragon hsunchen, which led them to the knowledge they needed to create the Path of Immanent Mastery, a vital part of their campaign to usurp the draconic role of the Emperor. 

Though some of the investigation of the dragon hsunchen probably used knowledge gained fighting the Serpent-Beast society in Fronela and Ralios. 
 

One of the big mysteries is why the Sepent-Beast or Dragon connections don’t seem to surface in Pamaltela - where dragons are unknown, but not Serpents. And does it have anything to do with Pamalt still being alive (who is half serpent himself). 

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9 hours ago, EricW said:

I think I read somewhere some trolls can transform into humans? Are the Hsunchen out there who worship transforming into humans? That could make for a fun scenario.

I think the  Uz <--> Human  transformations are a Kitori thing, generally.

OOO did it, and Arkat, and iirc some other specific & exceptional individuals.

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

But did she start out as a troll?

According to the Guide, p.170, yes. "This demigoddess is the best known and perhaps most powerful of all trolls. She began as a dark troll in the spider cult of Aranea and worked her way to godhood.... she is a demigoddess with designs which come to fruition in other worlds."

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6 hours ago, jajagappa said:

According to the Guide, p.170, yes. "This demigoddess is the best known and perhaps most powerful of all trolls. She began as a dark troll in the spider cult of Aranea and worked her way to godhood.... she is a demigoddess with designs which come to fruition in other worlds."

arg so bad ! 😛

i expected something weird (from a troll perspective), really weird, not just "became more than a troll" but more "came from something different than a troll"

is there some personalities (trolls, or humans) who were not born from troll or human mother, some who were "here" before time ? I know some dryads, but for others :20-form-man: i had only Cragspider in mind, and she is not

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Of course, Cragspider could well have discovered her own pre-existence as a primordial being, incarnated in mortal flesh, as part of her (transhumanist? Tranuzist?) journey towards the spider. 

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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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20 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

...
Regardless, as far as I'm aware, her "spiderness" is due to her relationship with Arachne Solara, and not any kind of animal totemism as such.

She is the head of the Uz' spider-cult of Aranea; the High Priestess thereof; that doesn't preclude Arachne Solara (indeed, one has to wonder at Aranea's relation to Arachne Solara).

But Cragspider does seem to have all manner of odd alliances & affiliations!

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12 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

...

is there some personalities (trolls, or humans) who were not born from troll or human mother, some who were "here" before time ? I know some dryads, but for others :20-form-man: i had only Cragspider in mind, and she is not

Yes; I presume you mean :20-element-darkness::20-form-man: specifically?

To begin with -- quite a few of the living Mistress Race trolls!  Many of them were alive for the arrival of Yelm into the Underworld, and the exile from Wonderhome; hence, "before Time."

Per original Trollpak (thus possibly superseded in canon) KL has 2 sibling-deities (shared mother Dame Darkness of the Celestial Court):

  • Mee Vorala (goddess of fungi & "dark elves" (who are the fungi-based equivalent of the Elven :20-form-plant:+:20-form-man:  admixture))
  • Sokazub (source of all(?) invertebrates; ancestor of Gorakiki & Aranea)


KL also has some "cousin"(ish) deities.  That part of the family-tree holds Subere, Xentha, Zorak Zoran, Xiola Umbar, & Dehore (progenitor of the "Dehori" Darkness-spirits), among others.

Dehore is (IMHO) of special interest here:  the ancient "Kitori" (before the modern "blended-family" tribe of that name, which includes both human & troll members (but AFAIK no cross-breeds / intergrade forms) could -- apparently -- shapeshift (freely?) between Human/Uz/Dehori forms; n.b. these Kitori arose within Time, via the OOO/Ezkankekko.

ZZ & XU are also worth considering, as descended "independently" of KL, but solidly integrated into Uz worship within the Uz pantheon, beneath KL herself.

One could wonder -- hypothetically -- if any mortal-ish  :20-form-man:Rune beings descended from any deity of this branch of Darkness' family-tree?

***

Outside the Darkness...

The "Agi" people have their own origins, independent of Genertelan humans' origins.
In addition to the Agimori (best known as the "Men and a Half" from Prax, but much more widespread in Pamaltela), the Agitori/Agitorani are a related (but rare) folk, who never lost the secrets of immortality.

Similarly, the sea-folk have their own origins.

Etc.
 

Edited by g33k
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38 minutes ago, g33k said:

She is the head of the Uz' spider-cult of Aranea; the High Priestess thereof; that doesn't preclude Arachne Solara (indeed, one has to wonder at Aranea's relation to Arachne Solara).

But Cragspider does seem to have all manner of odd alliances & affiliations!

Yeah, I stand corrected! She does have an Aranea connection. 

Makes me wonder if there's some special connection between Aranea and Arachne Solara though. Not something blatant, but maybe something subtle.

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2 hours ago, g33k said:

One could wonder -- hypothetically -- if any mortal-ish  :20-form-man:Rune beings descended from any deity of this branch of Darkness' family-tree?

Tamali were a thing in the archaic texts. Almost certainly not our trolls but a kind of  :20-element-darkness::20-form-man: who lingered in western cities of the terminal second age. I seriously would not be surprised if they were the original children of XU whose soft way was then exported to soothe the unlucky womb elsewhere. :20-condition-fate: may even have been the carrier, taking over otherwise forgotten :20-element-fire: in the process while keeping a professional interest in the :20-power-life: magic. 

In general I also suspect that Gorakiki shamanism in its entirety preserves another strand of  :20-element-darkness::20-form-man:(:20-form-beast:) that today only persists on the uncomfortable fringes of troll society, the shadow of the kygerlith as it were. This might have been an original troll religion displaced by one or more kygers, an adaptation of a foreign :20-form-man::20-form-beast: lycanthropic system to better suit weirdos like :20-condition-fate: or even something imposed on some trolls that then spread. The mothers don't like them but what can you do.

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6 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Tamali were a thing in the archaic texts.

If Tamali had migrated south with Moorgaki, their descendents would be Hot Tamales. I don't make the rules.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/13/2022 at 5:00 AM, dumuzid said:

Troll worship of these powers is not nearly so cut-and-dry, as is often the case with trolls and the relationship between theism and animism.  Per the old Troll Gods, Gorakiki hives have senior initiates called pupae, who would seem to be equivalent to priests under current Runequest rules, and the highest levels of the cult are only accessible to pupae who also become full shamans, called imagoes.

If I had my preferences, trolls would have no priests, only shamans, but the rules have consistently said otherwise.

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