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River Styx - Water


Erol of Backford

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How is the Styx Water gained from any Hero Question different from Styx Water gained from physically being there to obtain it? Would they have the same effect versus vampires?

I assume a vial taken on a Hero Quest to Hell, emersed in the River Styx would not have the same vampire slaying powers as the actual River Styx water or would it?

Also is there an entrance to the River Styx from the mundane plane? I assume the Syphon flows to the Underworld but not directly into the River Styx, or does it?

There was a bit of discussion, a post by Mr. Scott: Zatern Lake: This deep lake is shared by the Balmyr, Kitori, and Kultain tribes. Beyond it are the Troll Woods, home of the Kitori tribe. Monsters occasionally emerge from its depths, and the trolls claim that at its bottom is an opening to the River Styx. It is the source of the Marzeel River.

When I look at the map of the Underworld I see the River of Swords but not the River Styx. Sartar Kingdom of Heroes map - The Underworld p.343

I was reading somewhere that there were several rivers in Hell, or that the River Styx had several branches? Any help on this?

image.png.520395558d8be8a228e822517b0bf600.png image.png.8a6804d5ba18a4f1197ffc7f0bfa1601.png

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29 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

How is the Styx Water gained from any Hero Question different from Styx Water gained from physically being there to obtain it? Would they have the same effect versus vampires?

 

Oh hell, broken record time... but in a topsy turvy way. I always say that from the mundane everyday point of view that HeroQuesting is as common as going to church on sunday... If it is magical it has an element of the HeroQuest. Here I will say that one does not get to Styx with out being on a quest in the first place.

 

26 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Also is there an entrance to the River Styx from the mundane plane? I assume the Syphon flows to the Underworld but not directly into the River Styx, or does it?

 

in a magic world, define mundane. I have heard it said there is an entrance to hell in Sartar, so just start walking!

 

27 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

, and the trolls claim that at its bottom is an opening to the River Styx.

And I doubt they are wrong!

 

28 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

When I look at the map of the Underworld I see the River of Swords but not the River Styx. Sartar Kingdom of Heroes map - The Underworld p.343

I was reading somewhere that there were several rivers in Hell, or that the River Styx had several branches? Any help on this?

Sorry, beyond my ken. But someone here will know.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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45 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

When I look at the map of the Underworld I see the River of Swords but not the River Styx. Sartar Kingdom of Heroes map - The Underworld p.343

I was reading somewhere that there were several rivers in Hell, or that the River Styx had several branches? Any help on this?

According to the Glorantha Sourcebook (page 80), the River Styx is another name for Edzaroun, which seems to be the most significant body of water in the Underworld:

Quote

The River Edzaroun is the Water of Darkness, and some texts call her the Styx or the Last Drop of Darkness, while others address her as the Mother of Zaramaka, who was the Primal Sea. Some texts call her a Pool or Well instead of River. Some legends mention a great Black Sea of the Underworld whose listless waves wash a lifeless grey shore. All these are Edzaroun in various forms.

Not sure if that's the same as the River of Swords, though; I can't find any reference to that outside Sartar Kingdom of Heroes.  On the other hand, the map of the Underworld on page 78 of the Glorantha Sourcebook does show a Chasm of Swords; maybe the River of Swords is at the bottom of that?  If so, it would appear to be separate from the River Styx.

(Here's a cropped version of the relevant part of the map:)

Underworld.png.b4fba3d35997e3f87b65aa1adaf33934.png

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20 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

You travel there multiple times and it generates your nightmares as a composite of the group that is traveling together? Sounds like Cthulhu though I have not played it...

What I was thinking is that the realms of gods, daemons and the dead (of many different, if not all, species) would seem to be different to those who perceive it, and them—kind of like a good song, poem, or tale—or even Glorantha itself! Besides, how could a human imagination take all this in... I would assume in such a place a mortal mind would need myth to use as a shield, protecting the individual consciousness from the confusion surrounding, swirling around and threatening to consume it.

Follow the yellow brick road... and do not leave it—at your own peril!

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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7 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

How is the Styx Water gained from any Hero Question different from Styx Water gained from physically being there to obtain it? Would they have the same effect versus vampires?

Travelling physically to the Styx is I think a HeroQuest and so there is no difference

7 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

I assume a vial taken on a Hero Quest to Hell, emersed in the River Styx would not have the same vampire slaying powers as the actual River Styx water or would it?

I'm not sure what you are asking here.  A Quester takes a vial of water to the Styx, dip it in but take care that it is not in contact, and wonder whether it has now become Styx Water?  Why would the Quester do this?  Why not take an empty vial and  just fill it up?

 

 

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I can't help thinking following a troll river down to hell isn't exactly a leisure outing - a significant chance of meeting heroic and demigod level darkness entities which attempt to show you their version of a shortcut to the underworld. 

Edited by EricW
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If you go into a spirit travel heroquest to Hell, it is possible you cannot take anything back with you. It is likely you need to go physically there to actually bring the water back. 

I see Harrek bringing barrels of the stuff back and making a killing selling small flasks all over Glorantha to finance the Wolf pirates. Making something ultra-rare into something only rare. 

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22 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

How is the Styx Water gained from any Hero Question different from Styx Water gained from physically being there to obtain it? Would they have the same effect versus vampires?

I don't see any difference - the two are effectively synonymous.  You can't get there physically except by entering the Hero Planes, which has put you into an effective HeroQuest.  The advantage of the HeroQuest is there is likely a known path out of the Underworld.  If you enter physically (e.g. falling into the Hell Crack or down the Toe Hole or down Magasta's Pool) you are pretty well stuck.  (After 1624, you might be able to get passage on the Boat Planet, but even then it's likely an extremely difficult task to convince them to let you onboard and you're as likely to end up sailing along the Celestial River as anywhere else.) 

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22 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Also is there an entrance to the River Styx from the mundane plane? I assume the Syphon flows to the Underworld but not directly into the River Styx, or does it?

All the waters of Hell flow back to the Styx - it's the first (and last) Water of the world.  The Syphon will flow/fall into the Styx.

22 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

I was reading somewhere that there were several rivers in Hell, or that the River Styx had several branches? Any help on this?

There is no one map of the Underworld.  Nor are views of the Styx consistent or constant.  Sometimes the Styx is a river to get ferried across.  Sometimes it's a great lake with an island in the middle.  Sometimes it's a vast ocean to cross.  All are True, and all are True simultaneously.  This is the Underworld - logic, maps, etc. don't apply.  

Sometimes the River Styx appears as a River of Swords.  Someone might encounter the River of Swords and cross it via Janak's Bridge to get to the Daka Fal's court of judgment.  Others encounter the River Styx and cross with the aid of the Ferryman.  Results are the same - you have passed the point of No Return.  Remember that a river of swords simply equates to the Water of Death in a "tangible" form.  The Styx is still the Water of Death in whichever guise it should appear to your mind (or what's left of it).

If on a quest into the Underworld you come across a stream, it will of course lead to the Styx.  It all depends on the story you are telling at that point.  Such streams might be the Waters of Forgetfulness, the Waters of Eternal Grief, the Waters/Swamp of Despair, the Burning Waters that will purify your Soul, the Acid Baths of Hatred, or whatever else fits.  

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2 hours ago, EricW said:

I wonder if the Styx could be summoned? As the God Learners summoned the God who Burns Water, maybe heroic magic on a similar scale could summon a rain of Styx water on a battlefield, or a Styx water undine. Bad news for any Lunar vampire regiments.

Styx is able to defeat any god 

i would be surprised to see even a god learner doing anything with her

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On 11/27/2022 at 6:56 PM, Erol of Backford said:

Thanks for the clip. I was looking at the following which the River of Swords flows into the Edzaroun? I suppose Hell mutates/changes over time!?

image.png.cdfa4b5f4cf723f0bff063252b58a42c.png

The literature indicates multiple hells.  Think of "a Lunar hell" which one Saratarite tribal king was sent to.  It's not clear to me whether this is a hell made by the Red Goddess, or discovered by, or simply one favorite among many possibilities, which is favored for Lunar use.  So instead of hell changing, perhaps there is just variety enough to cover all your fears and most of your dislikes.

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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On 11/28/2022 at 10:52 PM, jajagappa said:

All the waters of Hell flow back to the Styx - it's the first (and last) Water of the world.  The Syphon will flow/fall into the Styx.

The root (or tail) of all rivers is in the Styx. What is entering the Underworld at the Footprint is the head of the Syphon River, though... Which makes River Horse travel to the Syphon headwaters a bit otherworldly.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

The root (or tail) of all rivers is in the Styx.

Which is intriguing, as one would imagine Styx to be liquid darkness — which preceded true water, Zaramaka, the infinite sea — and not water at all. (And Chaos was said to ooze, even before Nakala–Darkness was born, so water isn’t the concept — or property — of liquidity.)

Quote

[Zaramaka] was the second of the primal elements born to the universe … He is the source of all water … The most remote mysteries of the unfathomable deep reside in this god. He was the first of the entities to separate, centering upon itself first, then separating in the manner in which mixed oils separate in a bottle.

Quote

The Styx is the Last Drop of Darkness, and gave birth to Zaramaka, the first true water.

Perhaps, we can see Styx as a process: she is the birth of Water from Darkness — rather than the entity that gives birth, which would then be Nakala — and though this is a candidate for the first non-Chaos birth, it is still going on. She is also something to pass through or across on the return journey: in death we all return to our mother, Darkness.

And perhaps, we creatures of clay can be said to pass through amniotic Zaramaka, too, on our way to be born — and taking @jajagappa’s co-option of Lethe, we partake of Styx’s amnestic powers in passing from Nakala to Zaramaka in the process of rebirth. I am sure one could work in Fire (emerging into the light) and Storm (taking a first breath and then wailing like Orlanth when someone took his rattle away). And then run things backward on death: lose breath/air, lose light/sight and/or warmth, return to the earth, cross the river of the underworld, and so back to mother darkness. This provides a framework for religious arguments about burial customs: cremation, towers of silence, and burial at sea might be said to skip steps or to scramble the correct ritual order.

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So some PC's are Hero Questing to get Styx Water to fight the undead of the Upland Marsh. Delecti know about it and is there or sends minions to fight/prevent PC's from getting the water?

Delecti is Hero Questing himself and the PC's by chance run into him. Are the PC's automatically defeated? Is it possible they could wound him and gain some power from him if by some very small chance are able to do so?

What Yelmalio Hero Quest might have a fight against undead/Delecti if any?

Are there bullet point/stages of any Yelmalio Hero Quests listed any where that these happening might come to pass?

6 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

And then run things backward on death: lose breath/air, lose light/sight and/or warmth, return to the earth, cross the river of the underworld, and so back to mother darkness.

This almost feels to me like some sort of undead banishing vortex of true death? There should be some sort of ritual which if done correctly opens a one way gate to Hell that draws undead to it sort of like the giant pumpkin?

Who could teach this ritual (Styx Hero Quest) to the PC's and would it not also be part of actions that begin to shrink the swamp? he draining the swamp maybe getting the Halfbird to join a venture to the swamp is part of this or could the basement of the Howling Tower be a portal/a valve opening the flow of Styx water into the swamp even if for just a short time?

Strange to think of the Styx as being a Mother of Cleansing but it makes sense  If you recall that the Death Rune originally meant Separation, then the Styx is the First Separation - the separation of water from Darkness.  She is the boundary between the two.  Therefore, Styx is the origin of Separation/Death.  And since the Death of Grandfather Mortal, crossing her completes your separation from Life back to the land of Death. (Jaja)

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me... but how do you handle Styx Water in Sartar and not be harmed by it? Do the Dwarves make some sort of breakable capsule that fits nicely into a sliver arrowhead that a small drop of Styx Water could be paced? Do the residents of Backford learn to make fish gelatin capsules that do the same thing?

So isn't Styx Water just like Holy Water in may other RPG's? Is there Holy Water, something blessed or sanctified in a ceremony that would also harm undead?

Would Styx Water hurt Chaos in any way? Just curious and sorry for the rambling, lots of great stuff coming to mind. Thanks everyone!

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55 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

This almost feels to me like some sort of undead banishing vortex of true death? There should be some sort of ritual which if done correctly opens a one way gate to Hell that draws undead to it sort of like the giant pumpkin?

Could be: decide where your particular undead have violated the reverse elemental path and devise a way to get them back on it.

56 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Would Styx Water hurt Chaos in any way? Just curious

As Styx is the intermediate stage between Nakala and Zaramaka, it might: “Nakala was born as a defense against the Oozing Chaos of pre-creation”; Zaramaka “contains all the things and powers of the watery depths” [emphasis mine] and there are watery Chaos fighters, so you could argue he is salient, too. But who would want to hurt a lovely fluffy chaos monster? Precious little goat-child — cootchie-cootchie-coo!

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1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

Delecti is Hero Questing himself and the PC's by chance run into him. Are the PC's automatically defeated? Is it possible they could wound him and gain some power from him if by some very small chance are able to do so?

What Yelmalio Hero Quest might have a fight against undead/Delecti if any?

Delecti will likely appear to any questers as Nontraya (and not necessarily as Delecti).  He leads an army of undead.  He cannot directly find or recognize the PC's - he will see them as their gods instead (assuming they have donned the "masks" of their gods) or something similar.  He might be wounded, but more likely his horde will simply overwhelm the PC's.  Best to trick him by following the Ernalda path (see myths in either the Esrolia book or perhaps they are in the HQ Sartar books) - i.e. he wants to take Ernalda alive as his bride, but she is already "dead" (but really just sleeps).  If you are not what he is seeking then you may get past him and his horde.  

1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

What Yelmalio Hero Quest might have a fight against undead/Delecti if any?

The light of Yelm burns Delecti/Nontraya/Vivamort.  Likely the light of Yelmalio can as well.  

After Yelmalio flees the Hill of Gold after losing his fire to ZZ, he may be pursued by Nontraya/Vivamort, who seeks to consume his soul.  I'd make it something like a 3-stage quest.  Yelmalio must find a way to douse his light (reminiscent of Rudolph hiding from the Abominable Snow Monster perhaps?) - and perhaps he can't so he needs to make a friend who can help him escape.  After escaping, Yelmalio comes to the Nightwood - where the elves sleep, but guardians live.  They will help him, but only if he bears the Seeds of XXX to somewhere else.  To get out of the Nightwood and past Nontraya, whose hordes now surround it, Yelmalio must take the Ernalda path - he sleeps, he is not dead.  The elves teach him this secret, and by doing so his light is hidden.  But once past Nontraya, someone has to be able to wake him, else his light truly dies.  Use a reverse Snow White quest here - e.g. you have to find a True Queen who can wake him.  Maybe the Snow Queen (aka Inora, the White Witch, ...).  And then you just have to free Yelmalio from the Snow Queen, and ensure he doesn't break her hospitality in the process.  Once he's awoken, and free of the Snow Queen, then he can confront Nontraya, and when he plants the Seeds of XXX, they spring to life in his light and become the Fungal Runners who can infect and digest any Undead.

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1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me... but how do you handle Styx Water in Sartar and not be harmed by it? Do the Dwarves make some sort of breakable capsule that fits nicely into a sliver arrowhead that a small drop of Styx Water could be paced? Do the residents of Backford learn to make fish gelatin capsules that do the same thing?

Lead crystal containers/jars with lids.

Lead being the element of Darkness can obviously contain Styx water.  And something about its crystalline nature is a form of Hard Water or Already Dead Water, therefore can hold the liquid within it.  

You just have to bargain with the Dwarf to obtain one, and possible could get in a capsule form that you can hurl at your undead foes.

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On 11/27/2022 at 11:22 PM, Erol of Backford said:

How is the Styx Water gained from any Hero Question different from Styx Water gained from physically being there to obtain it? Would they have the same effect versus vampires?

If you are at the Styx to take some water then you are on a HeroQuest.

One doesn't simply walk to the Styx.

On 11/27/2022 at 11:22 PM, Erol of Backford said:

I assume a vial taken on a Hero Quest to Hell, emersed in the River Styx would not have the same vampire slaying powers as the actual River Styx water or would it?

Yes, I think that it would.

On 11/27/2022 at 11:22 PM, Erol of Backford said:

Also is there an entrance to the River Styx from the mundane plane?

Probably not, normally.

Magasta's pool emerges at the Styx, if memory serves me well.

You could travel to the Underworld, or to Hell, then travel to the Styx. There are ways of doing that, for example:

  • Sinking into the Tarpit
  • Using the hidden entrance in the Sazdorf Clan
  • Through the basements of Cragspider's Castle
  • Through the basements of a castle of Lead
  • Through the Basement beneath the Shadow Plateau
  • Using the Six Stones HeroQuest Ritual at Six Stones
On 11/27/2022 at 11:22 PM, Erol of Backford said:

There was a bit of discussion, a post by Mr. Scott: Zatern Lake: This deep lake is shared by the Balmyr, Kitori, and Kultain tribes. Beyond it are the Troll Woods, home of the Kitori tribe. Monsters occasionally emerge from its depths, and the trolls claim that at its bottom is an opening to the River Styx. It is the source of the Marzeel River.

Maybe, have you tried jumping in to find out?

On 11/27/2022 at 11:22 PM, Erol of Backford said:

When I look at the map of the Underworld I see the River of Swords but not the River Styx. Sartar Kingdom of Heroes map - The Underworld p.343

I think they are different rivers.

On 11/27/2022 at 11:22 PM, Erol of Backford said:

I was reading somewhere that there were several rivers in Hell, or that the River Styx had several branches? Any help on this?

Maybe. Doesn't Glorantha have the equivalent of the River Lethe that takes your memories? 

 

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

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2 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

So some PC's are Hero Questing to get Styx Water to fight the undead of the Upland Marsh. Delecti know about it and is there or sends minions to fight/prevent PC's from getting the water?

Yes, of course.

Vivamorti have a HeroQuest to go to Hell, as that is where Vivamort came from.

Vampires cannot cross the Styx, as she annihilates them, so they are banished from Hell, unless they have a clever trick.

However, other Vivamorti are quite happy in hell.

2 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Delecti is Hero Questing himself and the PC's by chance run into him. Are the PC's automatically defeated? Is it possible they could wound him and gain some power from him if by some very small chance are able to do so?

Why would the HeroQuestors automatically be defeated?

I can't see the logic there, unless GMs like having unbeatable foes.

Of course Delecti can be defeated.

Killing him is tricky, as his spirit just moves to the nearest corpse to possess it and make it rise again.

He is, of course, guarded by Revenants and Vampires, at least he is in my Glorantha.

2 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

What Yelmalio Hero Quest might have a fight against undead/Delecti if any?

Are there bullet point/stages of any Yelmalio Hero Quests listed any where that these happening might come to pass?

Maybe Delecti is associated with Darkness, so Light conquers him. If he has the powers of a Vampire, without being a Vampire, he might be Demoralised by Sunbright.

What I would do is to look at Yelmalio's Myths and see if he fought Hellspawn of any kind, then adapt that HeroQuest.

2 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Who could teach this ritual (Styx Hero Quest) to the PC's and would it not also be part of actions that begin to shrink the swamp? he draining the swamp maybe getting the Halfbird to join a venture to the swamp is part of this or could the basement of the Howling Tower be a portal/a valve opening the flow of Styx water into the swamp even if for just a short time?

In my Glorantha, Humakt teaches the Styx Water HeroQuest, but that isn't the same as the one you are referring to.

Maybe Babeester Gor, or Maran Gor, know about it, as it seems to be a HeroQuest connected to both Earth and Death.

Portals are great, so maybe you can open a portal to the Styx and temporarily let her through into the Upland Marsh. Whatever could go wrong?

2 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me... but how do you handle Styx Water in Sartar and not be harmed by it?

Styx Water can be stored in all manner of vessels. Obsidian and Lead are good materials, as they are Darkness based. I have seen it stored in a black jewel, in a ring, is someone's fingernails (painted black, of course). You just need a way to store it.

In my game, every point of POW you spend while getting water from the Styx gives you one one drop, no more, no less. Even if you pick a bucketful of Styx Water it counts as 1 drop if you spend 1 POW.

 

2 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Is there Holy Water, something blessed or sanctified in a ceremony that would also harm undead?

Holy Water exists in Glorantha. From memory, Vampires cannot cross it, so if you pour a line across a doorway, for example, vampires are unable to cross it. I think it does 1D6 damage to Vampires if splashed on them.

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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

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10 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Using the hidden entrance in the Sazdorf Clan

I'll review!

27 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Lead being the element of Darkness can obviously contain Styx water.  And something about its crystalline nature is a form of Hard Water or Already Dead Water, therefore can hold the liquid within it.  

You just have to bargain with the Dwarf to obtain one, and possible could get in a capsule form that you can hurl at your undead foes.

Already dead water is nice.

12 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Maybe. Doesn't Glorantha have the equivalent of the River Lethe that takes your memories? 

We can work this in, or it makes you sleep and have crazy dreams?

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