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The line between Chaos and not Chaos


Ironwall

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On 5/1/2022 at 9:18 AM, Trollkin Philosopher said:

Chaos and order are primal opposites like light and dark...

 

This is like Zelazny's "Amber" & Moorcock's "Eternal Champion..."  but "Chaos" in Glorantha isn't really so straightforward as one-end-of-a-spectrum like in those settimgs.

Instead, "Glorantha" is the entire universe, and "Chaos" is what's outside... barring those traces of Chaos, and "Chaotic things," tht escape into Glorantha. 

Within Glorantha, there are Runic polarities as you describe, each at one end of a spectrum...

  • Harmony-vs-Disorder ( :20-power-harmony:-vs-:20-power-disorder:) ; where "Disorder" is often mistaken for "Chaos" (and sometimes, Chaos masquerades as "mere" Disorder).  But while Diorder is a tearing-down, it isn't the utter dissolution that Chaos is.  Rather, Disorder includes removing order that is old & worn, or wrongly-done, to make way for something that can be better.
  • Stasis-vs-Movement ( :20-power-stasis:-vs- :20-power-movement:) ;  and again :20-power-movement: (as "change") can occasionally seem Chaos-like:  Chaos the ultimate-mutator, ultimate-"change."  But Chaos is ultimately random:  any change, every change, meaningless change; uncontrolled and without purpose... mostly, it's for the worse.  The "Change" rune :20-power-movement: is directed change, purposeful change, meaningful change.
  • Truth-vs-Illusion ( :20-power-truth: -vs- :20-power-illusion: ) ; and yet again we see a sort of "pseudo-Chaos" In the Illusion-Rune (it's associated with lies and deception).  But illusion is also used to create beauty, to enhance harmony, &c.  But always -- the illusions of the :20-power-illusion: Illusion Rune are temporary, transient things.  Chaos make things worse, forever.

In Glorantha, however, many things we'd think of as "on a spectrum" or "polar opposites" are not!  Light/Dark are on an elemental wheel; they are cyclic, in a 5-station game of Roshambo (the exact sequence of the wheel depends on the context being addressed).  Hot/Cold are aspects of Light/Dark, on the same cyclic wheel.

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On 4/26/2022 at 10:11 PM, Ironwall said:

What exactly is the line when is something cruelty and selfishness and when is something chaos. Is this even a line or is it a blurry image? Gargathi tortures people to create whirlveshes but they aren't chaos so when is something chaos?

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There is a difference between Chaos and behavior that many would call 'evil'. Tusk Riders and broo act in similar ways and both are considered to be 'evil' by most humans, but one is Chaotic [tm] and the other is not.

The big difference is that Chaos creatures are specifically tied to the Chaos Rune. And this is not cult thing here. The very nature of a Chaos creature is as tied to the Chaos Rune as human's is to the Man Rune or an Aldryami is to the Plant Rune. AFAIK, there is ONE Heroquest that could possibly remove the Chaos Rune from a Chaotic creature but that is only referred to in RQ3's 'River of Cradles' and not specifically described.

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4 hours ago, g33k said:

Instead, "Glorantha" is the entire universe, and "Chaos" is what's outside... barring those traces of Chaos, and "Chaotic things," tht escape into Glorantha. 

I believe that this is contradictory and wrong.  There's a lot of chaos present and happily existing in Glorantha.

The correct thought process is that Chaos is akin to the Judaeo Christian story of Original Sin.  Something "wrong", that was not part of the golden age, (if you wish, back then it was outside of the universe) but chaos leaked into and  contaminated the world due to a serious mistake.  The Great Compromise declared that Chaos is not part of the "correct" Glorantha.  The pragmatist in me thinks that a bit silly, but it is the dogma that your characters are taught.

As for chaotic creatures being tied to the chaos rune, o.k., but that just begs the question: Why does certain behavior tie the offender to the chaos rune, while other, apparently similar behavior, does not?

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On 4/27/2022 at 9:21 PM, soltakss said:

Something is Chaotic if Storm Bulls can Sense it.

If they can't Sense Chaos then it isn't Chaos.

There has been a recent trend, over the last 20 years or so, where performing despicable acts makes you Chaotic.

Personally, I don't really subscribe to that idea. For me, Chaos is more absolute.

Isn't it very possible that ordinary people in Glorantha uses evil and chaotic as synonyms? Even if that is formally of mythically wrong. 

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OK, we may have a misconception going on here. I think there might be some lingering DnD alignment definitions running around.

In a Gloranthan milieu and RuneQuest rules sense, being Chaotic has absolutely nothing to do with deeds, conduct, or behavior. It has everything to do with Runic attachments.

A Hsunchen tribesman could have a Beast Rune of 95% and still be tied to the Man Rune. A dragonewt could act in all ways as a human, completely abandoning the Right Action of the Draconic Way, and still be tied to Dragon Rune. A Rootless Aldryami could eat meat and act like a human in every single way imaginable, but is still tied to the Plant Rune.

Behavior does not dictate your Runes, ESPECIALLY your Form Runes. Your Form Rune is almost set in stone. Something VERY drastic and mystical would have to happen for one's Form Rune to change. Your Form Rune dictates your very nature, the existential basis for your existence.

Edited by svensson
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3 hours ago, svensson said:

being Chaotic has absolutely nothing to do with deeds, conduct, or behavior. It has everything to do with Runic attachments.

3 hours ago, svensson said:

Behavior does not dictate your Runes

Disagree - guess that my Glorantha varies...

You seem to argue that Broos are chaotic because they are "born that way".  I don't see this approach as much different from D&D alignments, where Beholders are Evil because they are born that way.

In Glorantha, a being may become chaotic via actions such as rape, torture, worshipping certain gods (say, from Cults of Terror) and taking on chaotic features.  I prefer that these actions come from Free Will, not Predestination.  YGMV.

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10 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Disagree - guess that my Glorantha varies...

You seem to argue that Broos are chaotic because they are "born that way".  I don't see this approach as much different from D&D alignments, where Beholders are Evil because they are born that way.

In Glorantha, a being may become chaotic via actions such as rape, torture, worshipping certain gods (say, from Cults of Terror) and taking on chaotic features.  I prefer that these actions come from Free Will, not Predestination.  YGMV.

broo are essentially "demons". while this approach is appropriate for other creatures, the Chaos taint in broo is innate. of course, there's that one broo who heroquested to purify themself of it (I smell a PC), but otherwise they are in fact just Chaos monsters. a Chaos beast is just that.

compare them to Telmori, who are actually people. broo used to be people in the God Time, but they haven't been people since Ragnaglar fell in the sex pit.

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12 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

broo are essentially "demons". while this approach is appropriate for other creatures, the Chaos taint in broo is innate. of course, there's that one broo who heroquested to purify themself of it (I smell a PC), but otherwise they are in fact just Chaos monsters. a Chaos beast is just that.

compare them to Telmori, who are actually people. broo used to be people in the God Time, but they haven't been people since Ragnaglar fell in the sex pit.

The Chaos taint in Telmori is also innate. And there certainly are people who see Telmori as not people or only partially people, especially within the setting. The main difference is that there haven't been a number of classic modules using Telmori as cannon fodder antagonists, so there's much less crystalization of the idea that Telmori lack interiority or consciousness. 

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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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@Rodney Dangerduck As I understand Glorantha, Runes influence behavior not the other way around. BUT, as you, I and everyone else says, YGMV. You want to run it a different way, Mazel Tov! and have at it.

@Qizilbashwoman and @Eff I think that the broo are capable of having a culture based on more than violence. If the RQ3 Dorestor book shows anything, it's that with a strong hand guiding them they can be taught that there is more to life than literally rape and destruction. This doesn't make them any less Chaotic any more than K'Rana's sword-scorps are. It's just possible for them to learn, but 'possible' and 'likely to' are two very different things. And no matter what culture they may or may not learn, their natural impulses are to desecrate, defile, and destroy, which are all hallmarks of Chaos.

As for the Telmori, I see them as being in an 'in-between' situation. They, like the Uz, were cursed by Chaos, not created by it. Chaos is something that isn't intrinsic to their very being, but something that they suffer. And their culture has suffered because of it. Where other Hsunchen peoples are able to create artifacts, store foods, and learn other paleolithic survival tasks, the Telmori's curse keeps them at the most primitive level imaginable. They don't tan leather, store food, use fire, or make anything beyond simple flint-knapped tools because in a week they'll wake up naked and have no idea where they left their clothing or tools. In many ways, their Chaos curse has trapped them as badly as the Uz's Curse of Kin.

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1 hour ago, svensson said:

As for the Telmori, I see them as being in an 'in-between' situation. They, like the Uz, were cursed by Chaos, not created by it

I strongly agree here.  If Telmori were innately chaotic, I can't reconcile the highly Orlanthi Kings of Sartar making them their elite bodyguards and intermarrying.  That would be like a Spanish King, the "Most Catholic Majesty", marrying Elizabeth I or employing Swedes as his bodyguards over several generations.

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5 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

I strongly agree here.  If Telmori were innately chaotic, I can't reconcile the highly Orlanthi Kings of Sartar making them their elite bodyguards and intermarrying.  That would be like a Spanish King, the "Most Catholic Majesty", marrying Elizabeth I or employing Swedes as his bodyguards over several generations.

Well, there WAS a proposal for Elizabeth I to marry Phillip of Spain... Turned out that they couldn't stand each other.

As far as the Telmori go, King Sartar created his Royal Guard for innately practical reasons. Firstly, he knew that trying to rid Sartar of the Telmori presence would be a bloodbath... mostly on the Humans' side. Secondly, you have admit that a bodyguard that requires some pretty high end magic to defeat decisively isn't an altogether bad idea. I mean, Bladesharp 1 isn't gonna cut it... literally!... in a full-on battle between a Telmori pack and an Orlanthi fyrd.

And again, I maintain that cursed by Chaos is different than someone's Chaos Form Rune.

Edited by svensson
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18 hours ago, svensson said:

OK, we may have a misconception going on here. I think there might be some lingering DnD alignment definitions running around.

In a Gloranthan milieu and RuneQuest rules sense, being Chaotic has absolutely nothing to do with deeds, conduct, or behavior. It has everything to do with Runic attachments.

A Hsunchen tribesman could have a Beast Rune of 95% and still be tied to the Man Rune. A dragonewt could act in all ways as a human, completely abandoning the Right Action of the Draconic Way, and still be tied to Dragon Rune. A Rootless Aldryami could eat meat and act like a human in every single way imaginable, but is still tied to the Plant Rune.

Behavior does not dictate your Runes, ESPECIALLY your Form Runes. Your Form Rune is almost set in stone. Something VERY drastic and mystical would have to happen for one's Form Rune to change. Your Form Rune dictates your very nature, the existential basis for your existence.

seems to me that it is your perspective more than a canon. Note that it is a valid perspective but I have never seen there is a form rune "root" behind the form rune %. And tell this hunshen that he is a man and then he cannot be the brother of his wolf.. Not sure he will agree. Not sure even Telmor, his wolf ancestor will agree

However yes, people are born with a form. Is it a rune ? for me no, it is a physical form. If I had to determine the "true / original" form of the being, I would try to see her fetch (awaken or not) here we may find something deeper than just the flesh.

In my glorantha (again I don't know any canon about that)

mortals are what they are, and the runes they have drive their behaviors.

But passions drive their behaviors.

And as the compromise cleary defines that gods are separate from mortals as they cannot do anything else than pattern they have already done, that means mortals have free will / decision.

last but not least, external influences. You may face some good guy who will teach you something new, something changing your perception. You may face some crisis, and now you fear this kind of situation

runes + passions + free will + external= your life circle.

do one deed or live some experience in opposition with your passions, it changes your passions

do one deed or live some experience in opposition with your runes, it changes your runes

get  a chaos gift from a spell (your wish or not) and now you are chaotic (rune change)

eat your sister, now you are chaotic (rune change)

do to many ceremony and chaotic acts and you are now no more a man at all

runes drive but not just runes, at least if you are not a god

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I think part of this discussion also takes place in several parts in Glorantha, about the nature of Chaos, whether it is innate or acquired, and if a chaos curse can be lifted. 

Outside of Lhankhor Mhy temples, Lunar debate societies and Arkati secret meetings, most people will consider chaos taint as permanent and brought on either by your ancestors or your own misdeeds. The Telmori are tolerated because they appear as humans most of the time, so except their neighbours who know better, they can be accepted as cursed fellows through no fault of their own. Scorpion men or broos do not have that option, but we can have fun thinking of sanitation broos in Glamour, still oppressed but a functional part of society, until it all hits a fan, and we know that is going to happen, despite the best efforts of the Teelo Norri social workers trying to turn them (and they will succeed in a few cases) into Lunar citizens.

As a game, Runequest and the exploration of Glorantha is focused on conflict. But at least in Glorantha we get a glimpse of all the benefits that magic may have outside conflict, from Bless crops to Couvade to Erotocomatose lucidity. I also consider that our view of Chaos is rooted in the conflict of the game, and many cultures are more tolerant of Chaos than the reference Orlanthi of Dragon Pass. We already know about the Pelorians, but I am sure others will hate some traditional enemies more than Chaos, and they will be willing to use Chaos against them, as the Pelorians did with the Carmanians. But my Glorantha is full of illuminati, so it may be more tolerant than the baseline.

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On 5/3/2022 at 10:51 AM, g33k said:

Instead, "Glorantha" is the entire universe, and "Chaos" is what's outside... barring those traces of Chaos, and "Chaotic things," tht escape into Glorantha. 

I thought pretty much as you do now g33k, but Glorantha is different to that.  Outside Glorantha is the Void, merely an absence of things, where the dragons go to be mystical and make new worlds or something.  In fact, the source of Chaos is the Chaosium, which was once the Primal Plasma and source of all life.  The Primal Plasma was corrupted by the Unholy Trio, of course, and now there are no new species in Glorantha as a result.  It is the Chaosium which is responsible for the emergence of Chaos into the world.  While there may be chaotic life in the void, it isn't a major source.  As to the connection between the Void and the annihilation one experiences when eaten by the Hydra or the Crimson Bat, that is actually annihilation, not the Void.  Interestingly, Draconic mystics, and possibly other mystics can return from annihilation, and some even find it a desirable state.

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As mentioned, the Void is less than nothing. By corollary, it is also more than everything. It is the state of unity between these two ideas.

Chaos emerges from it. You may call it chaotic, from a certain point of view, and this wouldn't be incorrect. But it cannot be reduced to Chaos.

Edited by Ormi Phengaria
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From a semantics point of view, it is not annihilation (become nothing) if it is possible to return from it. I would propose what the mystics achieve is oblivion, where you are forgotten, both by the universe and yourself, so you are lost unless you can be remembered, or discovered again For me that would be to return to the original Void.

Chaos in Myths can do both, annihilation and oblivion, expressed in Kajabor, and I would propose that those touched by the void can really escape annihilation, as the Void, as said above, is both more and less, so it cannot become nothing. They remain in the Void, and can be recovered from it. It is a tight fit, between becoming Nothing or returning to a potential Void

Wakboth corrupts and annihilates the mind, rather than matter, and that is also a function of Chaos, so you adopt the opposite morals of what was right in the Golden age. Some corruption can be reversed, but others just cannot be undone. That is how actions can turn you to Chaos, the way of the Devil.

Kajabor got weaker as it annihilated others, because that annihilated also parts of it. Wakboth killed Kajabor because it wanted to rule its Glorantha, not annihilate it. Pocharngo just wants everything to return to the Void, and become simply potential. 

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On 5/1/2022 at 3:14 PM, Darius West said:

...  Chaos is also what comes from the Unholy Trio's tainting of the Primal Plasma (the original source of life), which is now known as the Chaosium. 

5 hours ago, Darius West said:

...  Outside Glorantha is the Void, merely an absence of things, where the dragons go to be mystical and make new worlds or something.  In fact, the source of Chaos is the Chaosium, which was once the Primal Plasma and source of all life.  The Primal Plasma was corrupted by the Unholy Trio, of course, and now there are no new species in Glorantha as a result.  It is the Chaosium which is responsible for the emergence of Chaos into the world.  While there may be chaotic life in the void, it isn't a major source...

This is an interesting perspective; I think I'll go with "YGMV, and MGMV" but I wonder if you can cite the sources for this explanation?

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3 hours ago, JRE said:

From a semantics point of view, it is not annihilation (become nothing)

Thanks @JRE I’m happy to see it . That was my issue to understand the difference between void and nothing (except be vs become)

don’t know if it is what means @Darius West but I m on the same line than you (with your addition of The Who’s who of chaotic gods) 

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18 hours ago, g33k said:

This is an interesting perspective; I think I'll go with "YGMV, and MGMV" but I wonder if you can cite the sources for this explanation?

OGWV.  As to sources, there are quite a few.  Everything from the Guide to Glorantha to Cults of Chaos to Dorastor etc.  For a long time I thought that everything outside the Sky Dome was Chaos, based on entries in Trollpak back in RQ2 days, and Glorantha was essentially a bubble of Order in a sea of Chaos.  Then when HQ came out, there was information regarding hero questing on and beyond the Sky Dome, and I was surprised to find out that beyond the Sky Dome there was Void.  Slowly I found and put the pieces together.  It is a small jigsaw puzzle but the pieces are hidden in several books. 

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Like Darius, I see the Void as separate from nothing, because even if it seems empty, it has potential. But I believe (which I suppose makes me a draconic at heart) the potential must remain balanced.

So when Glorantha is created from the Void, there is an anti-Glorantha created at the same time, that is kept outside (separate). Which I feels fit with the semantics of using Glorantha separated from the Void, as that for me is more nuanced than simply created from the Void. The greater Darkness is when the anti-Glorantha mixes with Glorantha, some matter - anti matter interactions explode the Spike and anti-Glorantha is named Chaos. Their opposite nature creates those effects I listed in the post above, but the interaction is more complex than annihilation on contact, and many new things appear.

The Compromise just accepts the non-annihilating parts of Chaos into the World, and the annihilating parts of Chaos (both physical, mental and moral) become Time and Glorantha faces a slow decay rather than annihilation.

My conclusion from this is that unless you inject more Creation from the Void, Glorantha will decay to nothing, but that is possibly what will happen in our own universe, so the big question is what will be the time frame for the decay. Centuries, millennia, millions, billions... And that means mythically nothing can last, post-compromise. Even what seems unchanging needs to change all the time to stave off Time. 

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On 5/3/2022 at 8:20 AM, Soccercalle said:

Isn't it very possible that ordinary people in Glorantha uses evil and chaotic as synonyms?

Sometimes, but that is dangerous.

Is all Chaos evil? Can you kill the Wild Healer of the Rockwoods because it is Chaotic?

Are other things than Chaos evil? So, is the group of Gagarthi rampaging through your village not evil, because they are not Chaotic?

I find that Evil = Chaos and Chaos = Evil misses a lot of subtlety.

 

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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On 5/3/2022 at 12:20 AM, Soccercalle said:

Isn't it very possible that ordinary people in Glorantha uses evil and chaotic as synonyms? Even if that is formally of mythically wrong. 

Absolutely!
In fact, it's likely (IMG, it's certain!).

I think some of those people -- if you sat down with them over a pint or two on a mellow evening to talk the issue through -- would admit that "yes, there are a few exceptions;" but some of them would deny it!

And some people would say, "Well, technically there may be a difference, sure... but it makes no practical difference to the fyrd:  whether it's evil, or chaotic, or chaotic evil, ya still gotta fight it!"

Then there's the idea that it makes some real difference, in that mere "evil" has a better chance of being redeemed, and is safer to fight.

And so on...

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