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Piety and sorcerers


Joerg

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This came up in a discussion about sorcerers in RuneQuest, but thread drift took this out of the RQ context and maybe somewhat out of the Malkioni context too, but I plan to retun this there.

Here's a short summary of what went before.

  

On 7/12/2022 at 1:39 PM, JRE said:

Now I suspect the problem is terminology. Without considering heroes and heroquests, humans (and other intelligent races, but let's focus on humans) can awaken their souls to the otherworld.

In the game Runequest, an option, available to spiritualists, is to awaken a fetch, a part of you that is normally in the spirit plane, but takes the place of your soul when your conscious self is roaming the spirit planes.

Theists instead, once they reach a certain point in their involvement with the deity, receive an ally spirit, that (we hypothesize) links with your own soul as you can communicate and share things that are not possible since Mindlink disappeared from the spell list. This fragment of the divine linked with your own soul occupies the same place the fetch would occupy, so they are incompatible, except in heroic cases.

The base of this discussion is to propose that sorcery users that do not take the spirit or theist path may awaken or link something in their souls (which for continuity with RQ3, clearly I made the mistake of calling familiar, as that word has a set of baggage that has nothing to do with this). As this is coming from a gaming perspective, this awakened portion of the sorcerers mind should be available at similar power levels as fetches are available to shamans, and ally spirits to theists, and the most important gaming effect, in my opinion, to avoid all sorcerers becoming henotheists going the ally spirit way, should be that it can cast spells separately from the character, as fetches and ally spirits can do. And I feel it is quite humanist if the magic user can awaken this soul on their own, and that they can pick what form it takes.

Coming from the discussion, it seemed a good excuse to separate caste sorcerers with religious function from other sorcerers fully focused in their magic development, and also an excuse to disallow the seconds from access to community magics and the tons of magic points from worship, which would be very useful to the local parson equivalent in casting magic for their flock

The other factor is how long will be the wait for a set of complete sorcery rules. And the comments here indicate it will be long.

Finally, I find comments that people do not have piety when they use the main proof of their deity existence, or that they do not believe in their own religion a value judgment that we do not do with other magic traditions. 

 

On 7/12/2022 at 9:59 PM, metcalph said:

The Invisible God is not a God that is worshipped but something that exists.  Is a scientist pious because he believes in the existence of Quarks?  Is a Doctor pious because he only eats food with low cholesterol?  As for whether the other Malkioni are pious: they do not believe in the Invisible God - they believe in the Wizards.  

 

On 7/13/2022 at 8:50 AM, JRE said:

I would say that in the Real World there is an ad-hoc Church of Science, with rituals, dogma, secrets and high priests. Faithful and heretics, and totally unreasonable cult restrictions. And publishing is the act of worship. I lived in it for a few decades.

 

2 hours ago, JRE said:

I was talking about the scientific method and the whole self-sustaining edifice of modern science. Modern because it has been accreting since the seventeenth century. But there is nothing in Glorantha like that, neither in the West nor the Mostali. Some jrusteli may have started developing something resembling the scientific method, but they all got annihilated and their memory cursed and obliterated...

But you can have a pure intellectual faith, and express it in intellectual pursuits. 

 

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

But is the pursuit of say the scientific method or the platonic ideals an activity that involves piety, whether outward or personal? Does mysticism (on the other end of the spectrum) involve piety?

 

1 hour ago, JRE said:

The Oxford dictionary defines Piety as: the state of having or showing a deep respect for somebody/something, especially for God and religion; the state of being pious.

Pious: having or showing a deep respect for God and religion.

Put Science in place of somebody/something, and you have the Church of Science (even if there is more showing than having). And I still expect Piety from any Malkioni at the fact of using Malkion's magic to achieve effects, as I expect most Malkioni of the zzaburi caste to be pious according to the definition.

It may be again a matter of terminology, and as a non-native English speaker that is always a risk, which is why I went to the dictionary.

The Spanish equivalent, Piedad, has a wider, more traditional Catholic meaning, including also mercy, pity and loving your neighbour, which is why I made sure of what was the English definition.

 

36 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think most Western cultures will associate piety with Christian piety, which ostensibly carries all those things with it, and that will doubtless make its way into many dictionaries. A pious worshipper of an evil god might not show mercy and pity!

 

 

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Posted (edited)

Jose's approach to look at a definition of piety makes sense, especially if you are not a native speaker and your mother language and/or religious background may have a different outlook.

The Oxford Dictionary equates piety as a state of either showing or having respect for something or somebody.

Animism says that everything has a spirit, and that that spirit deserves respect. Ok, piety is required here.

Theism says that there are divine entities worthy of worship, and when performing that worship or when emulating their feats you usually show respect. But then, respect of a deity is sort of the basic definition of piety, so little wonder here, either.

But then there is materialism, which comes in a number of flavors.

The  Mostali approach is rather similar to animism, only it isn't that much a spiritual quality that receives respect but the material presence is worthy of respect and support.

The Logicians are materialists as well as humanists. They assign worthiness to the world only to the extent that it supports human existence. Brithini and Vadeli sorcerers tap the world around them rather freely, imposing their wills on the matter and energies that surround them. They may consider entities more powerful than themselves as worthy of wariness, but that's hardly respect when they look for ways to impose their wills on these, anyway, if not through brute magical force addressing their weaknesses then through bargains, addressing the entities' desires.

Malkionism is a weird form of veneration of ancestors, of whatever is left of these in an Otherworld. This applied already to pre-Hrestol Brithini, both on Zzabur's island and in the colonies. Zzabur's Revelation of Now was tempered with the concept of Solace, and that of a higher entity, the Invisible God, from which Logic emanated, which found embodiment in various instances of "Malkion of the Nth Action", with N ranging from 1 to 5 (some say from 0 to 5). Somewhere around the Third Action, that Malkion started to be human in perceived shape and appearance, but there is an Invisible God somewhere at or before the First Action. Some schools say that the act of Creation by the demiurge already was human in nature, thus prone for errors, and that the Invisible God is an entity beyond that, others hold the Creator as that Invisible God. Either way, this entity is worthy of being shown respect in the rites led by the sorcerers, rites from which the sorcerers draw magical power or empowerment.

Worship or veneration is an act of piety, or at least a show of piety, whether honest or just a social and/or magical obligation. For some reason, the Malkioni deem it erroneous to send that veneration directly to a sorcerer, declaring sorcerers who demand such worship as False Gods. On the other hand, it seems to be acceptable to direct worship at that ineffable Invisible God, First Mover or even entity beyond that, with the people's sorcerers partaking of the energies sent in that worship to the benefit of the community supporting the sorcerers. (After all, Malkioni society is supposed to be a society optimized to enable powerful sorcery to serve the will of the humans.)

Malkioni piety might be limited to public acts of piety.

Acts of piety are rewarded - by recognition of your peers and possibly inferiors and superiors in society, and by availing society to magics powered by donations of the many without having to Tap them or reality.

The pursuit of henosis with the One Mind (another term for the Invisible God, or the Creator/Prime Mover) is another form of piety. Prior to Hrestol, this seems to have been the province of the Zzabur caste alone, a practice that enables the sorcerer to manipulate the energies of the world, starting with those of their own selves, but Hrestol took that a step further and experienced Joy, an intellectual state of utter clarity beyond the mere ability to recognize and rearrange the magical energies (but including that, too).

Within the tenets of Malkionism, demonstratively following caste strictures and striving for excellence within your caste strictures would be a display of piety, e.g. obeying a dress code or mastering a craft, a weapon, a language, or a spell. The rewards may be granted by society, or they may take the form of a blessing by the One Mind or Creation.

These rewards may very well be demonstrable, and the kind of currency that Rokari piety is paid back in. Some may be social, affirming your position in society (which means never to take it, or the rights accompanying it, as granted). Seer Theoblanc claims that his pursuits and successes are rewarded with longevity, for instance - proof of the rightness of his pursuits by the same measure that Brithini rightness is rewarded (with an unaging existence). Great caste-appropriate ostentation can be a display of piety.

 

Writing this, I notice that this concept of piety fits quite well to the displays of televangelist piety (mirroring Pharisean rather than Christian values), and going against the grain of what the German term for piety means for someone with Lutheran roots...

Edited by Joerg
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Acts of piety are rewarded - by recognition of your peers and possibly inferiors and superiors in society, and by availing society to magics powered by donations of the many without having to Tap them or reality.

The pursuit of henosis with the One Mind (another term for the Invisible God, or the Creator/Prime Mover) is another form of piety. Prior to Hrestol, this seems to have been the province of the Zzabur caste alone, a practice that enables the sorcerer to manipulate the energies of the world, starting with those of their own selves, but Hrestol took that a step further and experienced Joy, an intellectual state of utter clarity beyond the mere ability to recognize and rearrange the magical energies (but including that, too).

Within the tenets of Malkionism, demonstratively following caste strictures and striving for excellence within your caste strictures would be a display of piety, e.g. obeying a dress code or mastering a craft, a weapon, a language, or a spell. The rewards may be granted by society, or they may take the form of a blessing by the One Mind or Creation.

These rewards may very well be demonstrable, and the kind of currency that Rokari piety is paid back in. Some may be social, affirming your position in society (which means never to take it, or the rights accompanying it, as granted). Seer Theoblanc claims that his pursuits and successes are rewarded with longevity, for instance - proof of the rightness of his pursuits by the same measure that Brithini rightness is rewarded (with an unaging existence). Great caste-appropriate ostentation can be a display of piety.

Writing this, I notice that this concept of piety fits quite well to the displays of televangelist piety (mirroring Pharisean rather than Christian values), and going against the grain of what the German term for piety means for someone with Lutheran roots...

I think possibly the rewards come from the method rather than piety as such.

Imagine an ancient Celt trying to describe a modern scientist. They would see special dress codes (lab coats, gloves, protective eyeware), respect for more senior people who carry large books, and inexplicable miracles.

Would an observer from antiquity understand dedication to upholding the scientific method? Or would they see a strict dress code, holy books, deference to seniors and miracles, and conclude the miracles are made possible because of acts of piety, adherence to the strict dress code and reverence for seniors and their holy books?

I strongly suspect the description of sorcerers in Glorantha is incomplete, maybe even a theist attempt to describe something which is beyond their understanding. All those strange rituals and dress codes and apparent acts of piety likely stem from a deeper logical method, just as the funny dress code and behaviour of our scientists comes from a shared dedication to building scientific knowledge based on testing theories with observations.

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I have no problem with giving Piety as a Pasion for Malkioni.

It won't be the same as our idea of Piety, though, except as the deep respect.

Two different Malkioni might regard themselves as Pious and behave in totally different ways. 

In fact, they could view the other's Piety as Heresy.

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There are two points I strongly (but nicely 🙂 ) disagree with @JRE

1) allied spirit is not the part of soul provided to theist. By game design allied spirit is a kind of pow extension as fetch is a kind of pow extension for shaman, that’s true. But that is game design, not background design: allied spirit is an ally, not yourself, from my perspective of course

2) sorcery is not proof of piety. Yes piety can be found in any religious/philosophical/(put your word I don’t know in English) movement.
 

But sorcery is a set of technics, a tool. How you use your tool prove if you are pious or not  :

a humakti uses a sword

However are humakti ambushing weak people with their swords pious humakti ? I don’t think so.

same for sorcery user of any school.

You can be a pious malkioni without casting any sorcery (maybe not if your role is to cast spell of course)

you can be a not pious malkioni and cast sorcery. Not only by casting forbidden spells but for example acting against your Talar orders.

 

and as @soltakss said what is piety for some people is heresy for others

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, EricW said:

Imagine an ancient Celt trying to describe a modern scientist. They would see special dress codes (lab coats, gloves, protective eyeware), respect for more senior people who carry large books, and inexplicable miracles.

It might look like the incubator that Pwyll used to raise Pryderi after making his sister Rhiannon give birth both to Pryderi and an older brother from an earlier fling with a sea god after disproving Rhiannon's virginity, in the Mabinogion. (In other words, there is an ancient Celtic description of a technological device...)

 

9 hours ago, EricW said:

Would an observer from antiquity understand dedication to upholding the scientific method? Or would they see a strict dress code, holy books, deference to seniors and miracles, and conclude the miracles are made possible because of acts of piety, adherence to the strict dress code and reverence for seniors and their holy books?

The strct dress code among scientists in the laboratory nowadays is something of a myth. Other than in laboratories where stuff may contaminate or mildly aggravate the researchers, lab coats are rarely worn.

This mythical world of science with people in lab coats with reverence for the great ones... maybe something like that existed in the 1960ies, but even then the way to make your name in science was to disprove a theory of one of the well-known names in schience.

 

9 hours ago, EricW said:

I strongly suspect the description of sorcerers in Glorantha is incomplete, maybe even a theist attempt to describe something which is beyond their understanding. All those strange rituals and dress codes and apparent acts of piety likely stem from a deeper logical method, just as the funny dress code and behaviour of our scientists comes from a shared dedication to building scientific knowledge based on testing theories with observations.

This funny dress code? Other than many people immersed in science having no time or interest for a fashion sense, I haven't been able to confirm that. Lab coasts outside of chemical labs are rare, and mainly only traditional wet chemistry labs, and not modern apparative chemistry. They offer a short-term protection from spilled aggressive liquids, a bit like ablative armor that you can take off easily. Protective gear comes in different forms.

People working in a steel mill wear stranger suits and have stranger behavior.

 

In the end, you make a point describing something that doesn't really happen except in Hollywood as the perception of something people not involved don't understand. A judgement on a caricatue of reality.

Edited by Joerg

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Would you consider a humakti doing his sword exercises or training someone in the use of the sword as pious? I would.

An Issaries Goldentongue shows her piety by buying and selling, as long as she makes a profit and stays friendly with her partners.

A zzaburi shows his piety by using the revelations of Malkion to support the other castes, as directed by the talars or set in the laws of his caste. Casting spells is his role. But also the proof that his path is the right one, and humans can impose their will on the universe.

A modern earthling seldom feels this respect for what they do, because for most of us our job is not our end, just a means to an end. But in the past, and I assume even more in Glorantha, your occupation is what defines you, and you should respect it, because it usually is your link to the other side, to the divine or the magical. An act of piety. And some occupations, that we often call vocational, are still respected here. I would expect that we should treat people in Glorantha as if their actual occupation, specially if there is magic linked to it, is a vocation, and in most cases it will be linked to their piety. Or they will be outsiders, not a part of the community and without a social place.

 

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38 minutes ago, JRE said:

A zzaburi shows his piety by using the revelations of Malkion to support the other castes, as directed by the talars or set in the laws of his caste. Casting spells is his role. But also the proof that his path is the right one, and humans can impose their will on the universe.

Except that Malkion is not a prophet of a god (yes, I know he has been described as one in the past) but a philosopher presenting logical proofs.  So revelations is not quite the appropriate word to use here.

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

It might look like the incubator that Pwyll used to raise Pryderi after making his sister Rhiannon give birth both to Pryderi and an older brother from an earlier fling with a sea god after disproving Rhiannon's virginity, in the Mabinogion. (In other words, there is an ancient Celtic description of a technological device...)

 

The strct dress code among scientists in the laboratory nowadays is something of a myth. Other than in laboratories where stuff may contaminate or mildly aggravate the researchers, lab coats are rarely worn.

This mythical world of science with people in lab coats with reverence for the great ones... maybe something like that existed in the 1960ies, but even then the way to make your name in science was to disprove a theory of one of the well-known names in schience.

 

This funny dress code? Other than many people immersed in science having no time or interest for a fashion sense, I haven't been able to confirm that. Lab coasts outside of chemical labs are rare, and mainly only traditional wet chemistry labs, and not modern apparative chemistry. They offer a short-term protection from spilled aggressive liquids, a bit like ablative armor that you can take off easily. Protective gear comes in different forms.

People working in a steel mill wear stranger suits and have stranger behavior.

 

In the end, you make a point describing something that doesn't really happen except in Hollywood as the perception of something people not involved don't understand. A judgement on a caricatue of reality.

When I studied Chemistry at university lab coats and protective gear were mandatory when messing with chemicals. Obviously a data scientist can usually get away with just  wearing a T-shirt…

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4 hours ago, JRE said:

Would you consider a humakti doing his sword exercises or training someone in the use of the sword as pious? I would.

An Issaries Goldentongue shows her piety by buying and selling, as long as she makes a profit and stays friendly with her partners.

A zzaburi shows his piety by using the revelations of Malkion to support the other castes, as directed by the talars or set in the laws of his caste. Casting spells is his role. 

I agree with your definition of piety but using the term piety with the Malkioni dredges up many tedious associations with Earth's medieval west for old timers like myself. 

We need a better term to frame the discussion. 

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7 hours ago, metcalph said:

Except that Malkion is not a prophet of a god (yes, I know he has been described as one in the past) but a philosopher presenting logical proofs.  So revelations is not quite the appropriate word to use here.

 

I hate recurring to the dictionary again, but Revelation is "a fact that people are made aware of, especially one that has been secret and is surprising." Which I believe applies to Malkion, no matter how you consider his place in the Malkioni religion, which anyway will vary significantly among the sects. I would hope that not only prophets reveal things.

Except in the case of immortal sects, where I agree that simple exposure in time will dull down any respect or wonder through repetition, and that is why they are also so dull themselves, I consider the use of the tool your religion gives to you (without specifying who revealed the techniques if it makes you happier) to impose your will and the will of your society on both worlds, is an act of piety, because that magic is the defining point of your religion in contraposition to others. There are other points, depending on the sect, from pacifism in Sedalpists to shriving of Chaos among Boristi, but that is a critical self-identity point, even for the non-sorcery using castes, but even more so among the users of sorcery.

A clear example is among Old and New Hrestoli Men-of-All, as any member of a non-zzaburi caste will feel even more sharplythe piety of their sect in casting spells. This action of approved break in caste restrictions highlights their piety in opposition to the non-Hrestoli sects, and is for me the main source of Joy of the Heart.

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This might help a little

INITIATE MEMBERSHIP

Initiation into the Invisible God cult is a prerequisite for full membership in Malkioni society. Initiation follows several years of caste education and training. Each caste has their own set of rituals, 

Once a person initiates into a given caste, they cannot join a different caste – except by means of the Hrestol cult. 

CASTE RIGHTNESS

Each caste has duties and restrictions which must be maintained to remain a member of the caste.  This is represented by the RIGHTNESS characteristic for Malkioni initiates. Initiates start with a RIGHTNESS of one. RIGHTNESS may have a score greater than one, representing the initiate’s reserve of righteousness. If a character’s RIGHTNESS is less than zero, that character may no longer use any caste magic or special abilities and risks being thrown out of their caste and exiled from Malkioni society.

RIGHTNESS may be increased by adherence to caste duties and restrictions in adversity in ways that create difficulties for the character and make the game more entertaining. Examples include a talar refusing to perform menial labor even though their survival might depend on it, or a dronar refusing to touch a weapon even in self-defense. The gamemaster should not award RIGHTNESS for good dice rolling, simple puzzle solving, ordinary combat successes or any other of the minor accomplishments that might occur during the course of a session.

RIGHTNESS should be reduced by the gamemaster for transgressions against any caste duties and restrictions. 

For each circumstance, the gamemaster should warn the player that a given action will result in an increase or decrease in RIGHTNESS. If the player insists, then RIGHTNESS should be adjusted accordingly.

Initiation into the cult of Hrestol can mitigate this, as a Hrestoli initiate does not lose RIGHTNESS for any action that upholds the Hrestoli code. However, if they violate their caste restrictions in a way that does not uphold the Hrestoli code, they still lose RIGHTNESS.

EXPULSION FROM CASTE

A character with a zero RIGHTNESS characteristic is no longer in good standing with their caste and cannot use any caste special abilities (such as a talar’s Forced Command ability or a zzaburi’s ability to store magic points in the Spirit World) until their RIGHTNESS is positive.

A character with a negative RIGHTNESS may be expelled from their caste by their elders. If this happens they are no longer accepted as members of Malkioni society. If they can get their RIGHTNESS back to positive, they  can submit themselves to caste elders to be brought back (this is often called “Return to Rightness”). The elders may impose penances, fines, and other punishments as a condition for return. Until then they are viewed as outlaws, barbarians, or even krjalki (monsters) by other Malkioni. 

Some sects do not permit a character to return to their caste once expelled. For the Brithini, expulsion is permanent and always results in death.

CASTE RESTRICTIONS AND SPECIAL ABILITIES

Each caste has restrictions which must be followed to maintain their RIGHTNESS. Some castes have special abilities – magical abilities of the caste members. If they are expelled from the caste for any reason, they lose all special abilities of that caste. 

RUNE SPELLS AND DIVINE INTERVENTION

Unlike other cults, the Invisible God does not provide Rune spells, Divine Intervention, or allied spirits. 

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20 minutes ago, JRE said:

I hate recurring to the dictionary again, but Revelation is "a fact that people are made aware of, especially one that has been secret and is surprising." Which I believe applies to Malkion, no matter how you consider his place in the Malkioni religion, which anyway will vary significantly among the sects. I would hope that not only prophets reveal things.

You are using a non-religious definition of revelation in order to justify the religious usage of piety to describe the Malkioni.  If I have been made aware of the four colour proof or the mass of the Higgs boson, it does not follow that my acquisition of such knowledge is a religious experience.  The sorcerers of the Malkioni do not believe in the Invisible God in order to do magic, they *know*.  There are valid philosophical arguments about the theory of knowledge (to wit "if the Wizards all start from the same facts and logical principles, why do they end up splintered into numerous schools of thought that hate each other?").  That is why I believe the use of the word piety to describe the Sorcerer's attitude towards his magic is a poor one.

 

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Before this ends up in a ping pong match, a last attempt without semantic asides.

I consider a Wizard or a Man-of-all casting a sorcery spell to be, if done for the right reasons, Right (thanks Jeff!). And similar to an Orlanthi Wind Lord manifesting his god's power by flying or thunderbolting a foe. It would reinforce their own belief by the simple fact that it works. In brief, although players may take a mechanical approach to magic, characters should consider magic always with respect, as a manifestation of the rightness of their own worldview.

Players may be illuminates for Gloranthan purposes, but almost all characters are not. And almost all sorcerers are believers too.

 

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Piety is usually defined as "dutiful respect for the divine" or something like that. Although many sorcerers are pious towards the Invisible God as a background concept, they are normally considered EXTREMELY impious by everyone else. The Arkati were strange in that they were very pious ("no heroquesting without respect") and towards everything. The God Learners were infamously impious, stealing the secrets of cults and using them for their own purposes or even worse, disseminating those secrets to outsiders!

Modern Malkioni sorcerers tend to be viewed as impious by others. They follow their caste rules often with rigid rigour, not out of piety (moral righteousness) but because "them's the rules" (legalism). Obligation rather than duty. Now there certainly are exceptions, and many of the New Hrestoli sorcerers embrace their caste obligations out of a sense of moral righteousness than mere caste legalism.  

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Thanks for the clarification, but it is at least new to me. This is something that probably should have been made more clear, at least in the Seshnela section of the Guide, My own reading was impiety among the Talars, not the wizards (except the dubious Theoblanc). Of the other three main Western cultures, we see Safelster and Loskalm as mostly righteous, so that leaves Carmania as the other "impious sorcerers" region. 

I also believed that the God Learners, at least the first couple of centuries, were pious towards the Invisible God, and exploitative against other entities in the otherworlds, and it is the general impiety in the following centuries which fragments and weakens them enough that they can be challenged and beaten, and then kicked into oblivion.

Was the Abiding Book and the Return to Rightness crusade a scam? Or were the crusaders righteous, if misguided, as I at least believed?

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Piety or lack thereof of Malkioni countries (My opinion).

The Malkioni as a whole are quite pious.  Those that aren't sorcerers, that is.  Among the nobility however, there is a cynical custom of calling in the Wizards to get out of a tough spot with respect to their gods (ie having sworn an oath of which they now repent). 

Loskalm, I've avoided discussing before now because it's complicated.  The Man-of-All attitude towards the Hidden Mover could be considered pious.  But I don't think the Men-of-All for the most part are sorcerers.  Their magical power comes from a variety of sources such as practical god learning, possibly caste magic etc and is more geared to the heroic path rather than the studious path of a wizard.  The few Men-of-All who are trusted enough to be wizards treat sorcery as a tool to benefit their fellow Men-of-All.  I think most of the wizards in Loskalm (although they are Idealists) don't actually follow the Men-of-All path and start their sorcery from a very early age.    It's that the top ranks of their orders are reserved to the Men-of-All who direct the order's resources into supporting their fellow Men-of-All (and if the real Wizards complain about this, they quickly find out that the consequences can be unpleasant).

As for the God Learners, they were motivated by several factors.  The first few centuries were a period of exploring the new horizons caused by their discoveries (such as the Abiding Book, the defeat of the Waertagi, the free seas etc).  The restoration of Rightness to Seshnela and the destruction of the Dark Empire has been described as a crusade in the past and there still is a religious dimension of the war.  The warriors and magicians in the war were sincere but to describe them as pious in doing so is I think a step too far as there's nothing in their religion that mandates a war

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6 hours ago, Jeff said:

Initiation into the cult of Hrestol can mitigate this, as a Hrestoli initiate does not lose RIGHTNESS for any action that upholds the Hrestoli code. However, if they violate their caste restrictions in a way that does not uphold the Hrestoli code, they still lose RIGHTNESS.

This makes me wonder how Rokarism has managed to stamp out Hrestolism in the lands under their boots. Or have they?

There are Hrestolist sympathies among the Pithdarans, and all those southern Tanisoran families who submitted to Guilmarn but managed to hold on to their ancestral holdings, if somewhat reduced in extent. Most dialects of Arkatism are founded on Hrestolism, too.

 

As far as I can tell, the orthodox Second Age Hrestolism/Makanism as adopted by the (IMO generally pious) Pithdarans, and as defended by the great sorcerer Yomili towards the end of the Seshnegi empire, embraced piety and a righteous attitude rather than blatant meddling with pagan entities like various Malkioneranist schools did. Pilif the Magus's Order of the New Order was reprimanded after the attempted  coup, and while it had come from enthusiastic discoveries in the Abiding Book, they might have undercut Rightness.

 

I wonder how exactly caste magic manifests, and whether the Rightness score acts like some sort of rune point reservoir. For the zzaburi caste, an expansion of their limitations in mastering runes and techniques and an expansion of their Free INT seems desirable, allowing the sorcery in the core rules to be applied to Malkioni without much problem.

It would be interesting to see TSR's Urvantan and his Arkati counterpart updated to include a Rightness score.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 7/15/2022 at 6:25 AM, JRE said:

Would you consider a humakti doing his sword exercises or training someone in the use of the sword as pious? I would.

An Issaries Goldentongue shows her piety by buying and selling, as long as she makes a profit and stays friendly with her partners.

A zzaburi shows his piety by using the revelations of Malkion to support the other castes, as directed by the talars or set in the laws of his caste. Casting spells is his role. But also the proof that his path is the right one, and humans can impose their will on the universe.

Would you consider a non-Humakti doing sword exercies or training as pious? I wouldn't.

A non Issaries Goldentongue haggling for a better price?

Etc...

it's not in the action, but in the mindset. So, for the Humakti, it's not the sword exercises, but the mental connection they feel while doing it.

As discussed above, what is considered pious is very subjective.

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On 7/15/2022 at 11:10 AM, JRE said:

 

Before this ends up in a ping pong match, a last attempt without semantic asides.

I consider a Wizard or a Man-of-all casting a sorcery spell to be, if done for the right reasons, Right (thanks Jeff!).

 

Then here I fully agree ! Not because « « casting a sorcery spell » (of course a sorcerer cast sorcery spell, that is the definition ) but because you add the right words « if done for the right reasons » that is what I needed to agree: the sorcery is the tool, the right reasons are the intent

so let back to your example a humakti training traitors, murderers, and knowing it, should have a very very good and honorable reason to let me accept the piety of this act 🙂

By the way, even if a lot of sorcerers are not pious as Jeff described, that doesn’t mean you cannot meet a pious / devoted to the invisible god and Malkioni precepts sorcerer.

they seems rarer than what I believed but they should be found too 🙂 

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On 7/15/2022 at 7:24 AM, metcalph said:

The Malkioni as a whole are quite pious.  Those that aren't sorcerers, that is.  Among the nobility however, there is a cynical custom of calling in the Wizards to get out of a tough spot with respect to their gods (ie having sworn an oath of which they now repent). 

I agree with that overall - and even within a caste there will be a spectrum between piety and worldliness/cynicism.  If (as Jeff notes in the description of initiation/rightness), a Malkioni is pious and devoted to the Invisible God, they will work to perform the deeds to maintain Rightness.  A sorcerer can see that all is part of and provided by the Invisible God and perform their deeds with devotion - that they use logical and rational forms to perform tasks and wield magic to uphold the Invisible God does not require them to be impious.  

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46 minutes ago, Darius West said:

So, how does all this interesting speculation relate to the Vadeli?

They have Wrongness IMO.

Elaborating on this further, Rightness appears to me to be a God Learner elucidation that made acting according to one's caste much easier, so much so that even their bitterest enemies use them.  Like Arabic Numerals does for math.  Prior to this everybody used their weird systems with strengths and weaknesses but no underlying unity.  Malkioni who lived before the God Learners (Brithini and Vadeli) who act according to their archaic codes but their kindred born after that time use the God Learner scheme.

 

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48 minutes ago, metcalph said:

They have Wrongness IMO.

Elaborating on this further, Rightness appears to me to be a God Learner elucidation that made acting according to one's caste much easier, so much so that even their bitterest enemies use them.  Like Arabic Numerals does for math.  Prior to this everybody used their weird systems with strengths and weaknesses but no underlying unity.  Malkioni who lived before the God Learners (Brithini and Vadeli) who act according to their archaic codes but their kindred born after that time use the God Learner scheme.

But the God Learners are obviously wrong.  Clearly the God Learners have broken the true rules of their caste or they would have stayed immortal, which they clearly aren't. This is how you know who has the teaching 'Right", as it produces a low cost miracle for every member of society. To say the Vadeli have 'Wrongness' cannot be correct or they wouldn't be immortal.  I propose that the Vadeli have just gamed the system without breaking the rules, like any good psychopath when confronted with inconvenient laws; they have cunningly 'legal loopholed' their lifestyle to their convenience through casuistry and so forth.

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2 minutes ago, Darius West said:

But the God Learners are obviously wrong. 

I disagree.

2 minutes ago, Darius West said:

Clearly the God Learners have broken the true rules of their caste or they would have stayed immortal, which they clearly aren't.

Even Malkion grew old before his untimely death.  What I think Rightness is about is strengthening the immortal self - the logical part of you  The Brithini and Vadeli believe it is lost after death and the other Malkioni disagree.

2 minutes ago, Darius West said:

To say the Vadeli have 'Wrongness' cannot be correct or they wouldn't be immortal. 

Which requires that Rightness be the cause of Brithini and Vadeli immortality which I don't think is correct.

2 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I propose that the Vadeli have just gamed the system without breaking the rules, like any good psychopath when confronted with inconvenient laws; they have cunningly 'legal loopholed' their lifestyle to their convenience through casuistry and so forth.

The word from Greg was the Vadeli are gloranthan Cainists - a gnostic sect who believed that everything taught in the Old Testament was the work of the wicked demiurge and thus wrong.  To achieve salvation, one must therefore break those teachings.   The Guide supports this with a picture of a Brown Vadeli haveing long fingernails to avoid material work.  So I think they are more sophisticated than just good psychopaths.

 

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