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Does Illumination Liberate Malkioni Sorcerers from having to follow the rules?


EricW

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Jeff gave a great description of the rightness rules caste sorcerers must follow. My question is, what impact does illumination have on these strictures? Are illuminates liberated from having to follow Malkioni rules, in the same way illuminates can break the rules of theist cults? Can an illuminated sorcerer commit wrong action without consequence, other than the possibility of being pursued by their society? Or do the benefits of illumination only provide the ability to break theist religious strictures?

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36 minutes ago, EricW said:

Jeff gave a great description of the rightness rules caste sorcerers must follow. My question is, what impact does illumination have on these strictures? Are illuminates liberated from having to follow Malkioni rules, in the same way illuminates can break the rules of theist cults? Can an illuminated sorcerer commit wrong action without consequence, other than the possibility of being pursued by their society? Or do the benefits of illumination only provide the ability to break theist religious strictures?

My opinion is Yes.  The obvious examples are using the Chaos Rune and the Tap Technique.

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1 hour ago, EricW said:

what impact does illumination have on these strictures

One interesting detail that emerges right away is that Hrestol initiation functions a lot like "illumination" already here. On the quest, very little fruit is forbidden, and with that in mind I suspect this has been an attractive historical option for many people who identify as sorcerers as well as everyone else. Questing sorcerers are, for example, free to be their own boss and not settle for a support role in their own lives. This is important in zzabur politics where there are constraints that must be obeyed or subverted.

Riddler consciousness and other rashoranic states open up additional moral flexibility as jajagappa notes. Outside the hrestol framework, everything is permitted and a sorcerer (or anyone) can follow desire wherever it goes. This means that the reception of the riddlers in the West was probably a lot more complicated than current research suggests, but [SCENE MISSING]. At the very least we know that elements of the hrestol cult resisted the new approach well enough to attract Arkat's early interest, so they weren't considered perfectly compatible by everyone at the time.

It's interesting to consider the classic arkat system as a kind of illuminated or perfected hrestolism with slightly more prominent stygian and aeolian trappings, but at that point caste becomes something more individual, like the various menus of geasa and gifts . . . just another array of player options for customizing the character that is your life. Again, much of this has since been suppressed so there's a little conjecture here.

In my experience immortals who are worried about their status do not willingly investigate any teaching that might interfere with their immortality. The potential price is literally infinite and so the rewards of innovation almost never compensate for the risk. This makes riddler illumination something like a plague without a cure in places like the island where nervous immortals would retreat from centres of pestilence and eliminate the infected from a safe distance. You brew up some horals and launch a crusade.

But for me brithini immortality is theoretical anyway. We just won't know who had the best system until time is over, and until then there's still plenty of opportunity to make mistakes. In theory an immortal who receives illumination transcends the fear of non-existence and can get on with a new way of life, which may or may not be objectively long or short, it no longer matters quite so much. And an immortal who hears a riddle and remains unchanged remains as immortal as ever.

I do know Theoblanc keeps a lot of people busy brewing medicine so the only thing a rokarist has to lose is whatever form of solace they aspire to over there, and I was taught you can't get to solace without dying anyway.
 

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I think it depends on the nature of the immortality. Illumination clearly allows you to break the rules without anyone getting to punish you - spirits of reprisal or whatever enforces geases can't touch you. So if caste immortality is "be a good boy or I will take your immortality away", then Illumination should definitely work. But I think it's probably more like a law of nature - if you do this you get to be immortal, but it's not because anyone is there to take it away otherwise. You don't get to disobey gravity just because you're Illuminated, and caste immortality may well be more like that.

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2 hours ago, EricW said:

Are illuminates liberated from having to follow Malkioni rules, in the same way illuminates can break the rules of theist cults? Can an illuminated sorcerer commit wrong action without consequence, other than the possibility of being pursued by their society? Or do the benefits of illumination only provide the ability to break theist religious strictures?

Well, Arkat was an Illuminate who famously broke the caste rules and, by and large, got away with it.

Sure, the Brithini kicked him out, but that was m ore about overtly breaking the rules.

He retained his Sorcery when he joined the cult of Humakt, so his Illumination probably prevented the loss of magic knowledge.

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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2 hours ago, EricW said:

Jeff gave a great description of the rightness rules caste sorcerers must follow. My question is, what impact does illumination have on these strictures? Are illuminates liberated from having to follow Malkioni rules, in the same way illuminates can break the rules of theist cults? Can an illuminated sorcerer commit wrong action without consequence, other than the possibility of being pursued by their society? Or do the benefits of illumination only provide the ability to break theist religious strictures?

Yes.

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3 hours ago, EricW said:

Jeff gave a great description of the rightness rules caste sorcerers must follow.

Actually he did not. He outlined how Right Action in normal situations would maintain the current status of Rightness, nd how maintaining Right Action in the face of adversity was a chance (or the method) to increase Rightness.

Having a Rightness score of 1 or greater allows a Malkioni to use Caste Magic. (But I have not seen an example of what Caste Magic would be for any of the castes, or how it would be cast, or whether the Rightness score serves as a kind of rune power for caste magic.)

While we have some ideas about wrong caste behavior (which varies between the different Malkioni schools), is Right Action simply the avoidanc of transgressions against prohibited activity?

A zzaburi sorcerer is not to haggle or judge, not to wield a weapon in combat, hunting or training, not to till the fields or perform menial task, but there are "crafts" which fall into the zzabburi spectrum - flensing human skin alive for writing material, alchemy, operation of measuring devices, writing.

And then we have the training for Man-of-All status, where the prospective man-of-all aquires the Man-of-All-appropriate skills from the other castes, which is Right Action under Hrestoli initiation. But if it takes initiation to become a man-of-all, is that lofty state the equivalent of being a god-talker?

The rules posted by Jeff answer some questions and put up more, and questions I won't expect exhaustive answers for  before Jeff's most urgent projects have passed into "mechanical" post-processing like layout or proof-reading. Right now he is clearly engaged in art direction for the Prosopedia, and I can only admire Katrin Dirim for the speed with which she puts out illustrations in that new style discovered for that book. There is also projecting for the great campaign arc going on (I hope that some of the scenario writing will be distributed).

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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I doubt it's a question of becoming illuminated and being able to break all the rules.  It's more of a process of spiritual reflection and experimentation.  A Zzaburi who on becxoming illuminated decides to sacrifice to the Gods is still going to face loss of rightness.  The Arkati are illuminated sorcerers, yet there are rules that even they follow.

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The OP raises some great questions about the nature of Malkioni society.

We know that being illuminated makes you immune to spirits of reprisal. I doubt the Invisible God has spirits of reprisal. We know Malkioni need to maintain a positive Rightness score. Can an individual Malkioni raise or lower their Rightness if there's no one there to see? I would think so. If not a lone Malkioni could do whatever they want when no one is looking, illuminated or not. 

Becoming an initiate of the Invisible God might be akin to making an oath to the sect you join as opposed to standard initiation. The point of POW you give when you join, if you give a point of POW, goes to maintaining the sects magic, not the Invisible God. If an illuminate breaks an oath they suffer the consequences. I'd think an illuminated Malkioni that breaks their caste restrictions would suffer the consequences too. 

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10 hours ago, metcalph said:

I doubt it's a question of becoming illuminated and being able to break all the rules.  It's more of a process of spiritual reflection and experimentation.  A Zzaburi who on becxoming illuminated decides to sacrifice to the Gods is still going to face loss of rightness.  The Arkati are illuminated sorcerers, yet there are rules that even they follow.

I would argue there are very few rules Arkat didn't break...

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I would propose that many key figures in Malkionism were illuminated, and that developments like Hrestolism actually try to spread the benefits to whole society level, of course with limitations as society is not illuminated. 

We have the Arkati as an example of illuminated westerners, and with the limited information available it appears that meddling with gods weakens the caste benefits, to the point that caste is not a dominating factor in Safelster as in other Western lands. I suppose in Carmania only the traditionalists, mostly wizards, keep the caste benefits while most of the others prefer the flexibility of theism, while I am sure there are still traditionalists in the other castes. Which makes Carmanian Right wizards highly sought in the Lunar Empire as powerful spellcasters.

Less clear is the switch between sects, but the historically limited cases of mass conversion would point out that changing sects is possible for non-illuminati, so it should be even easier for the illuminati. Again using Arkat as an example it seems it is not that you can get all you want, but a sequential thing, so you can have only the benefits of one sect active. It is not clear if you need to follow the restrictions if you are illuminated. Arkat learned sorcery only when he became a Hrestoli, but that may simply be because nobody would teach sorcery to a brithini horali, and not a caste limitation he could not break. I am sure he lost his other Brithini benefits, however. Because unlike theism, where you can remain true to your deity, even if society rejects you, caste and sect is a social construct more than a divine one, so I propose you can have only one. However the illuminati could, if society allows it, change sect and even caste easily. So a king can raise a horal to the talar caste if there is need of talars, and that does not even require illumination.

Arkat is interesting because he is a serial monogamist with religions. He breaks with one before he starts with the next one, which is quite the opposite of the Lunar "The more, the merrier" approach. Only after victory he seems to reach a kind of sincretism, and that is bound with whatever happened in the Tower of Dreams.

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2 hours ago, JRE said:

We have the Arkati as an example of illuminated westerners, and with the limited information available it appears that meddling with gods weakens the caste benefits, to the point that caste is not a dominating factor in Safelster as in other Western lands.

Or perhaps the Arkati practice their caste in secret and do not rely on the traditional western castes.  Instead every form of Arkat forms its own caste (Liberator, Savior, Chaosbane, Devil, Great, Peacemaker and Destroyer) with its own exotic caste magic.

There is an alternative caste of sorceror noble which is found in the Castle Coast and the Eastern Isles.  Other societies touched by the God Learners or the Malkioni in distant past (Vormain, Fonrit, Fronelan Orlanthi) might have their own versions of the traditional western castes.

2 hours ago, JRE said:

I suppose in Carmania only the traditionalists, mostly wizards, keep the caste benefits while most of the others prefer the flexibility of theism, while I am sure there are still traditionalists in the other castes. Which makes Carmanian Right wizards highly sought in the Lunar Empire as powerful spellcasters.

One can worship Gods and keep Caste with good caste magic as the Seshnegi amply demonstrate.  I have a feeling that Caste Magic is much more limited than spirit or rune magic for every day needs (heal wound, bladesharp) and so only the Brithini and the Vadeli learn Caste Magic for those ends.  What the non-magician castes would use Caste Magic for IMO are exotic sorcery effects that cannot be easily duplictaed by other magics.

For example, a warrior might know some caste magic that allows him to:

  • resist  any non-sorcery magic by at least 2 pts.
  • add 2 points damage (up to the maximum critical weapon damage) to any chosen weapon of Malkioni design.
  • adding 2 hitpoints to his general HP for determining how much time he has left before he bleeds out etc.

(I'm just spitballing here)

2 hours ago, JRE said:

 Because unlike theism, where you can remain true to your deity, even if society rejects you, caste and sect is a social construct more than a divine one, so I propose you can have only one.

Caste is something that exists in Glorantha.  They are not social constructs but logical solutions to the ideal society made real in the World of Forms.  A society can't one day decide that the nobles be allowed to do one thing and the soldiers another without consequences,  To change the definitions requires an heroic incursion into the World of Forms to create a new solution.

 

 

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Or even more simply, Arkat only violated his caste restrictions in the service of Justice and never wavered in his war against Gbaji. He joined the cult of Humakt but remained Hrestoli. He became a troll but remained Hrestoli. Perhaps he even became a Chaos monster and remained Hrestoli.

This may be a key to why the Rokari hate Hrestolism AND Arkatism alike. 

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On 7/18/2022 at 9:30 PM, Jeff said:

Or even more simply, Arkat only violated his caste restrictions in the service of Justice and never wavered in his war against Gbaji. He joined the cult of Humakt but remained Hrestoli. He became a troll but remained Hrestoli. Perhaps he even became a Chaos monster and remained Hrestoli.

This may be a key to why the Rokari hate Hrestolism AND Arkatism alike. 

So is Hrestoli initiation interchangeable with riddler illumination, in terms of protecting you against the consequences of sorcerous wrong action? Does Hrestoli initiation provide protection against theist spirits of retribution? 

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1 hour ago, EricW said:

So is Hrestoli initiation interchangeable with riddler illumination, in terms of protecting you against the consequences of sorcerous wrong action? Does Hrestoli initiation provide protection against theist spirits of retribution? 

No.

The Hrestoli avoids loss of Rightness because he is acting Rightfully according to his other caste (the one which Hrestol established).  The Wizards on the other hand have never liked this and seek to disinguish the Rightness of the Hrestoli from the Rightness of others.  Their research is still ongoing.

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On 7/18/2022 at 1:15 AM, soltakss said:

Well, Arkat was an Illuminate who famously broke the caste rules and, by and large, got away with it.

I agree.  Arkat is, without doubt, the best example to draw upon.

On 7/18/2022 at 1:15 AM, soltakss said:

Sure, the Brithini kicked him out, but that was more about overtly breaking the rules.

On the other hand Arkat does eventually die, so he definitely broke caste enough to lose his immortality despite his illumination.

On 7/18/2022 at 1:15 AM, soltakss said:

He retained his Sorcery when he joined the cult of Humakt, so his Illumination probably prevented the loss of magic knowledge.

As sorcery involved skills and links to abstract non-sentient principles, I don't think you ever lose sorcery just because you become an apostate.  There may be spirits of retribution that set about destroying your sorcery knowledge associated with certain Malkioni orders, but nobody has written them up.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

On the other hand Arkat does eventually die, so he definitely broke caste enough to lose his immortality despite his illumination.

One wonders if he had to though - that was apotheosis more than death. He very likely had at the very least heroic immortality?

Edited by Akhôrahil
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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

I agree.  Arkat is, without doubt, the best example to draw upon.

On the other hand Arkat does eventually die, so he definitely broke caste enough to lose his immortality despite his illumination.

As sorcery involved skills and links to abstract non-sentient principles, I don't think you ever lose sorcery just because you become an apostate.  There may be spirits of retribution that set about destroying your sorcery knowledge associated with certain Malkioni orders, but nobody has written them up.

Did he? Did Arkat actual violate Hrestolism? His cause was Just, and he fought against the ultimate Injustice. One might even suggest that it was Hrestolism that was his entry into all of this.

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17 hours ago, Jeff said:

Did he? Did Arkat actual violate Hrestolism? His cause was Just, and he fought against the ultimate Injustice. One might even suggest that it was Hrestolism that was his entry into all of this.

Sure, Arkat ultimately utterly betrayed the Hrestoli, sided with their enemies when it became expedient and even became a pagan, and then a creature of Darkness and Chaos.  This was the central teachings of Arkat; you can't trust illuminates, not even me.  Arkat was, through his actions, proving to the world exactly why illumination is an abuse of power, and why it must be stopped.

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18 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

One wonders if he had to though - that was apotheosis more than death. He very likely had at the very least heroic immortality?

Nope, Arkat died.  Otherwise he couldn't be reincarnated as Argrath and wage war against Sedenya's rebirthing  and subsequent abuse of Nysalorism.

Edited by Darius West
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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Otherwise he couldn't be reincarnated as Argrath

but... is Argrath a reincarnation of Arkat soul, or a "retry" of some deeper mechanism trying to "fix the world".

is even soul something able to exist for ever in glorantha or something that will disappear / merge / move outside of glorantha / xxx in what some could call "solace", "unity", "cosmic dragon" or "I don't know what",  once the soul is "ready" ?

 

(no I m not a dwarf)

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2 hours ago, Darius West said:

Nope, Arkat died.  Otherwise he couldn't be reincarnated as Argrath and wage war against Sedenya's rebirthing  and subsequent abuse of Nysalorism.

Surely you can (re)incarnate from the Gods World? That Arkat apotheosized is completely canon. It’s almost immaterial exactly what happened to his body in the process. Did Sartar die? I guess in a way in that his body was consumed by flame, but it doesn’t really matter.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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