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If the 2nd Age Clanking City Broke the Compromise, Can it be Visited via a Heroquest?


EricW

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Precedence might be available - the uz have heroquested to the moments of broken Compromise in the Battle of Night and Day to negate the Curse of Kin. Their own summoning of the Black Eater at that time was into a break of the Compromise.

Similarly, Renvald Meldekbane called in Orlanth to deal with Zistor after the revelation of Zistor as a deity within Time had broken the Compromise, which means that that last episode of the Machine War may be accessible to heroquesters. But: to what end? There is a consensus that getting rid of Zistor was a good outcome. Why mess with that outcome?

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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27 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Precedence might be available - the uz have heroquested to the moments of broken Compromise in the Battle of Night and Day to negate the Curse of Kin. Their own summoning of the Black Eater at that time was into a break of the Compromise.

Similarly, Renvald Meldekbane called in Orlanth to deal with Zistor after the revelation of Zistor as a deity within Time had broken the Compromise, which means that that last episode of the Machine War may be accessible to heroquesters. But: to what end? There is a consensus that getting rid of Zistor was a good outcome. Why mess with that outcome?

There are all sorts of potential reasons for making such a dangerous journey. For example, maybe they are there to rescue a critically important artefact stolen by the god learners, like a stolen wind sword which everyone believed was lost in the final machine city cataclysm. 

Thanks for the precedent. 

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The precedent is there, but it is a twisted one, as a millennium of Uz heroquesting has not really achieved anything. The minor successes (Cragspider's) probably was to a much earlier Godtime, mating Uz with darkness spirits, and I suspect the change from single births to litters was more linked to strengthening Korasting than any actions within the mythical part of the battle.

I think you may visit the mythical parts of the broken compromise, but being within time, they are very hard / impossible to change.

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Wellll.....

  

On 4/19/2017 at 2:22 PM, JonL said:

Something I would love to see would be an adventure where the Mostali from the Dwarf Mine find out that a cadre of elite Lunars are preparing to heroquest to the Siege of Zistorwal, which thanks to Orlanth's intervention within Time is accessible through the Other Side. The Lunars plan to take on the role of Zistorites and allied God Learners in an effort to to tip the scales such that Orlanth was defeated, and thus gain a powerful anti-Orlanth(i) blessing for their faction in the here & now.  The Mostali want no part of Zistor's power to re-erupt in the current era, and so recruit Orlanthi allies to counter-quest to the Siege as EWF Orlanthi to stop the Lunars. 

It would be an opportunity to have some meaty playable Second Age lore put together without hacking together an entire world-book, and an opportunity to play with some of those toys in the Third Age if characters bring back a touch of forbidden mojo. The setup could also support PCs as the Lunars or Mostali, with all the forbidden and dangerous powers flying around being an excellent opportunity for intra-faction conflict as well. I mean really, how can that Illuminated (Occluded?) Irippi Ontor (N?)PC not try to bring home the Secret of the God Learners from such an expedition?

 

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10 hours ago, Joerg said:

There is a consensus that getting rid of Zistor was a good outcome.

Because the victors write the history, surely.

What exactly did they do wrong in the Clanking City? From the Well of Daliath:

Quote

 

The atheist sorcerer-smiths developed radical machines never seen before or even imagined. Among their creations were kite parachutes, pedaled helicopters, hot air balloons, and a mobile fortress. The dwarves protested against the theft of their secrets, and the gods protested when it seemed that the inhabitants were mass producing magical items.

Ultimately, the inhabitants of the Clanking City worshiped their constructed as the Machine God, an atheist artificial god. The dwarves, trolls, humans, and dragonewts of the Shadowlands united to destroy this abomination.

 

So the dwarfs and the gods don’t like competition — they should suck it up, not blast the competition to rubble.

“But they broke the compromise!” Is this true? What makes the machine a god, if that is the breach? Presumably, worship of heroes born within time is allowed, so it is not the worship of the machine that makes it a god. What does? Perhaps the gods just feel that worship of a machine mocks them, but mocking the gods isn’t forbidden, is it?

It is a long time ago, but my memory is that Tom Baker did not commit genocide on the daleks, tempted though he might have been.

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Maybe the Dwarves were Hero Questers?

During the Iron Wars dwarves participated a good bit? I assume the Ten Thousand Iron Dwarves came from not only Dwarf Mine but other locations surrounding?

Stone – a dwarf, Isidilian the Wise, Quicksilver Mostali whose primary contribution was his advice; and the judicious lending strange weapons. His representative was the dwarf named Arapan the Counter.

The Dwarf Army at Arapan’s Summons – full ten thousand of them as if from nowhere.

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I also strongly suspect that the Lanbril cult's "hi-tech" thieves' tools come from smuggling contraband out of the Fall of Zistorwal during holy-day rituals, becoming members of Unity Army raiding parties, or perhaps even Mostali customs enforcers "collecting" forbidden treasures from their allies.

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12 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

Because the victors write the history, surely.

Victims wrote this history...

 

12 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

What exactly did they do wrong in the Clanking City?

Ecological warfare, suppression of the winds, clouds of poison... harmless fun?

 

12 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

From the Well of Daliath:

So the dwarfs and the gods don’t like competition — they should suck it up, not blast the competition to rubble.

The dwarfs don't like competition, and their grudge against the people of Malkion is old. The "rubble" is the body of the enemy...

 

 

12 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

“But they broke the compromise!” Is this true?

True. Zistor was no signatory of the Compromise, but breaking what keeps the world together is not good for the world.

 

12 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

What makes the machine a god, if that is the breach? Presumably, worship of heroes born within time is allowed, so it is not the worship of the machine that makes it a god. What does? Perhaps the gods just feel that worship of a machine mocks them, but mocking the gods isn’t forbidden, is it?

The Machine God was wrong in a number of ways, like the worshipping machines, and tapped energies going into the project.

Mechanized prayer mills are a mockery of theist (and Malkioni) worship. Tapping deities is a known sin of Zzabur and the Vadeli, contributing to the worst part of the Greater Darkness.

12 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

It is a long time ago, but my memory is that Tom Baker did not commit genocide on the daleks, tempted though he might have been.

Who? (Pun intended, but does reflect lack of reference.)

 

11 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Maybe the Dwarves were Hero Questers?

Interesting possible solution to the conundrum where the 10,000 dwarfs came from. 

 

11 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

During the Iron Wars dwarves participated a good bit? I assume the Ten Thousand Iron Dwarves came from not only Dwarf Mine but other locations surrounding?

Dwarf Mine probably doesn't have 10,000 dwarfs in total, let alone iron dwarfs. Greatway and Nida are the only Genertelan colonies that might field as many iron dwarfs, Slon and Curustus possibly as well. Personally, I would look towards Gemborg with Martaler below the Caladrian range rather than Isidilian for this military intervention, possibly expediting Nidan forces.

 

 

11 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Stone – a dwarf, Isidilian the Wise, Quicksilver Mostali whose primary contribution was his advice; and the judicious lending strange weapons. His representative was the dwarf named Arapan the Counter.

The Dwarf Army at Arapan’s Summons – full ten thousand of them as if from nowhere.

Arapam's role was to loan dwarf artifacts to the army and to alert dwarfdom to the fall of the Machine God. I think of him a bit like 3CPO after the arrival of the 10k.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Ecological warfare, suppression of the winds, clouds of poison... harmless fun?

The answer to the “sins” of the industrial revolution is to bomb us back into the late bronze age/early iron age? (Although the dwarfs/remnant Mostali will keep their tech, and knowing their antipathy toward Grower, they are presumably no eco-saints.)

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

True. Zistor was no signatory of the Compromise, but breaking what keeps the world together [i.e. the Compromise?] is not good for the world.

I will grant you that I am not worried about whether Zistor signed any pre-Dawn treaty — presumably Rashoran/Nysalor/Sedenya was in no position to sign any such treaty, either (though it may be that Arachne Solara was humming “Old Devil Moon” to herself while gestating her “child”). There are at least two ways to look at the Compromise:

  • LEGALISTICALLY: Yelm, Orlanth, and company shake hands and agree to behave in the future — a concept to which they have just been introduced? — and agree on the retribution to be taken against those who break the rules they (i.e. Yelm, Orlanth, & company) have agreed to follow, with the retribution to be applied to non-signatories, too, (including the yet unborn/unmanufactured) even though the unborn swore no “mighty oaths” pre-natally. This can spare us all the headscratching of temporal order before time. (One suspects that there has always been an equivocation on “bound”: are the big, powerful gods who signed simply more morally obliged to obey the Compromise, or are they less able to break it than lesser gods/non-signatories?)
  • ONTOLOGICALLY: Time was one of the [ahem!] later elements in the creation of the universe by Arachne Solara. The best sense our poor time-bound minds can make of a world without time is that the creation of the world from Chaos, the descent of creation back into Chaos, and the happy and unhappy bits “in between” all happen at the same time, forever — we call this the Gods’ War. Time trades this for a line with Chaos at either end and a Goldilocks Zone in the middle to accommodate history. Except the line may be a circle. With epicycles. But it beats the hell out of the alternative. It is sort of Kant crash lands in India. The Gods’ War cannot hurt us anymore, because (a) it is in the past; (b) it is “before” time; (c) it is sealed behind an impermeable barrier; (d) it has been banished to the Phantom/Negative/Twilight Zone; (e) or something even more mind-boggling … For some casts of mind, this way of looking at things leads to increasing skepticism about the “literal truth” of received mythology.

I can well imagine a Yelm–Orlanth treaty that says that if any third party does something that neither of them likes, they are fully entitled to blow them up. But that sort of breach of the Compromise, legalistically conceived, is not very interesting. (Neither is “anything deemed destructive may be blown up”. Nor “those mocking the gods shall be blown up”.) It seems to be generally agreed that, when looked at legalistically, gods manifesting within time is one of the things forbidden by the Compromise … BUT clearly this needs amplification:

  • What counts as a god? When is a machine just a machine — however enchanted — and when does it tip over into godhood? Presumably (and I am just guessing), Zistor didn’t perform a Sedenya-type “godquest” to gain a fully stamped deity card. Anyway, AFAICT some kinds of ascension are allowed — or at least winked at — to permit hero/ancestor/dead monarch cults. Where do we draw the lines?
  • What counts as manifestation? Runequest had divine intervention from early on, and that looks like flat-out meddling with the world of time. All rune magic? Do the gods send the rain, enable the crops to grow, bless marriages? Glorantha on the face of it has divine presence in the mundane world throughout time.

Of course, one could take a hard line about manifestation and say that it is a delusion of the theists: if there are gods, they are not entities with wills — if there ever were any gods-as-persons, they ceased to exist in that form with the onset of time; there is magic and reservoirs of magical energy, but these depend not upon divine whim but the natural laws of magic. But then we are deep into the ontological interpretation, and probably over the question of what counts as a god, too.

On the ontological interpretation, what would count as a breach of the Compromise? Off the top of my head:

  • Destroying time: that is, recreating the Gods’ War. Does the creation of the machine “god” do that? In some way other than making the gods so angry that they are thinking about undoing what Arachne Solara has done? (“You made me so angry that I hit you, so that bruise on your face is your fault.” We are not going to fall for that one, are we?)
  • Accelerating history: that is, “using up” energy too fast, bringing on the heat death of the universe ahead of schedule — but what is the schedule? What is the right length for the universal cycle back to Chaos?

IMHO, tapping the gods down to zero POW seems like an excellent plan. Like throwing them into the maw of the Devil ahead of schedule to spare us an Age of their meddling. Or possibly, it just amounts to the same thing, and rather than breaking the Compromise, it is just a way to implement it in full. Offing the gods is just (enforced) nuclear disarmament. Sure, we’d like responsible industrialization, but we would like it, no?

Is the above incoherent? It surely is. Is that OK? Hell, no! But I am trying to grope towards how the Compromise was broken by the Zistorites, and I keep coming up empty.

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16 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

During the Iron Wars dwarves participated a good bit? I assume the Ten Thousand Iron Dwarves came from not only Dwarf Mine but other locations surrounding?

Mostly from Gemborg, I think. But the siege went on for years, plenty of time for the dwarves of Gemborg to have called in allies from Greatway, even Nida. And there is always the possibility that the 10,000 dwarves might be a slight exaggeration

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1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

The answer to the “sins” of the industrial revolution is to bomb us back into the late bronze age/early iron age?

Not mere laissez-faire pollution, but intentional chemical warfare.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

(Although the dwarfs/remnant Mostali will keep their tech, and knowing their antipathy toward Grower, they are presumably no eco-saints.)

Far from that, as descriptions of the river valleys leaving Nida and Greatway attest.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

I will grant you that I am not worried about whether Zistor signed any pre-Dawn treaty — presumably Rashoran/Nysalor/Sedenya was in no position to sign any such treaty, either (though it may be that Arachne Solara was humming “Old Devil Moon” to herself while gestating her “child”). There are at least two ways to look at the Compromise:

  • LEGALISTICALLY: Yelm, Orlanth, and company shake hands and agree to behave in the future — a concept to which they have just been introduced? — and agree on the retribution to be taken against those who break the rules they (i.e. Yelm, Orlanth, & company) have agreed to follow, with the retribution to be applied to non-signatories, too, (including the yet unborn/unmanufactured) even though the unborn swore no “mighty oaths” pre-natally.

That's pretty much on spot.

The gods agree to stay out of Time except in their roles as determined by the Compromise, such as Yelm's sun disk/orb rising and setting in a daily pattern (no Sunstops!), and Orlanth doing his circling around the Doldrums (no Windstop, either!). While they may grant magic to their mundane plane worshippers, they don't participate directly in struggles inside Time, unless the compromise is broken and their followers summon them then.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:
  • This can spare us all the headscratching of temporal order before time. (One suspects that there has always been an equivocation on “bound”: are the big, powerful gods who signed simply more morally obliged to obey the Compromise, or are they less able to break it than lesser gods/non-signatories?)

Contractually obliged to obey the compromise - and allowed to take action against the (initial) breakers of compromise.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:
  • ONTOLOGICALLY: Time was one of the [ahem!] later elements in the creation of the universe by Arachne Solara. The best sense our poor time-bound minds can make of a world without time is that the creation of the world from Chaos, the descent of creation back into Chaos, and the happy and unhappy bits “in between” all happen at the same time, forever — we call this the Gods’ War. Time trades this for a line with Chaos at either end and a Goldilocks Zone in the middle to accommodate history. Except the line may be a circle. With epicycles. But it beats the hell out of the alternative. It is sort of Kant crash lands in India.

Time is a linear progression of cycles, such as days, weeks, seasons, years, and (unfortunately) greater cataclysms (usually following events breaking the Compromise).

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:
  • The Gods’ War cannot hurt us anymore, because (a) it is in the past; (b) it is “before” time; (c) it is sealed behind an impermeable barrier; (d) it has been banished to the Phantom/Negative/Twilight Zone; (e) or something even more mind-boggling … For some casts of mind, this way of looking at things leads to increasing skepticism about the “literal truth” of received mythology.

As long as all the gods behave, the Gods' War cannot hurt us. As soon as the Compromise is broken, the Gods' War returns into History.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

I can well imagine a Yelm–Orlanth treaty that says that if any third party does something that neither of them likes, they are fully entitled to blow them up.

Mutual recognition as King of the Gods and Emperor of the Universe certainly includes that proviso.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

But that sort of breach of the Compromise, legalistically conceived, is not very interesting. (Neither is “anything deemed destructive may be blown up”. Nor “those mocking the gods shall be blown up”.) It seems to be generally agreed that, when looked at legalistically, gods manifesting within time is one of the things forbidden by the Compromise … BUT clearly this needs amplification:

  • What counts as a god? When is a machine just a machine — however enchanted — and when does it tip over into godhood? Presumably (and I am just guessing), Zistor didn’t perform a Sedenya-type “godquest” to gain a fully stamped deity card. Anyway, AFAICT some kinds of ascension are allowed — or at least winked at — to permit hero/ancestor/dead monarch cults. Where do we draw the lines?

Let's see: establishing the cult of Jogrampur was an insult, but no breach of the Compromise. The apotheoses of mortals like Dormal, Arkat, Errinoru or Sartar were all fully covered by the Compromise. as they upheld the order the participants of the RItual of the Net agreed upon.

Zistor may have produced a lesser form of the 1621/22 Windstop. The Third Age WIndstop and the way Orlanth and Ernalda were affected was a major breach of the Compromise, another one by the Lunars. Zistor enslaving (and tapping) "Bingista the Good WInd" would have been a breach, too.

Praxians summoning their Founder, Protectress and Ancestors or the Greater Spirits of Prax is not a breach of the Compromise. Even the presence of Waha in the battle against the Faceless Statue was tolerable.

The Moonburn of the RIst Forest apparently was a breach of the Compromise.

The battle of the Night of Horrors was a breach of the Compromise without any greater deities involved. Same can be said for the fatal battle between Yomili and Halwal at the Red Ruins. Both were a case of massive magic overload.

The Dragonrise was skirting on this - the dragon awakening may just have averted another magical overload.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:
  • What counts as manifestation? Runequest had divine intervention from early on, and that looks like flat-out meddling with the world of time. All rune magic? Do the gods send the rain, enable the crops to grow, bless marriages? Glorantha on the face of it has divine presence in the mundane world throughout time.

It is fine for gods to visit Time within the prescribed ritual context, or as visitors to places like the City of Wonders or Glamour. It is not fine for the gods to show new agency beyond their agreed upon domains.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

Of course, one could take a hard line about manifestation and say that it is a delusion of the theists: if there are gods, they are not entities with wills — if there ever were any gods-as-persons, they ceased to exist in that form with the onset of time; there is magic and reservoirs of magical energy, but these depend not upon divine whim but the natural laws of magic. But then we are deep into the ontological interpretation, and probably over the question of what counts as a god, too.

Zzabur's Runic Entities with Will, choosing to lure mortals into worship and sacrifice...

Worshippers are allowed to change the mask/appearance of their deities. The Bridling of Kargzant in or around 110 ST apparently was hero-driven and allowed, merging some of the entities we now are going to find described as Yelmalio in the Cults Book. Hopefully with the cult description mentioning that event. Even Lokamayadon's Tarumath might have avoided breaching the Compromise, hard to tell because that was one of the follow-ups to the Daysenerus reveal at the Battle of Night and Day that opened the way for further major entries like the Black Eater. 

The Lead Serpent summoned against Belintar seems to have been (just) inside the acceptable behavior of the Compromise.

The Red Moon breaks the Compromise in a few ways - its Chaos component, disturbing the Middle Air without a complete take-over (aka becoming the mask of Orlanth). Had the moon been lifted up to a planetary path in the Upper Sky, less offense would have been taken.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

On the ontological interpretation, what would count as a breach of the Compromise? Off the top of my head:

  • Destroying time: that is, recreating the Gods’ War. Does the creation of the machine “god” do that?

The awakening of Zistor apparently did that, yes. Which of the crimes contributed or provided the tipping point is admittedly hard to put down. 

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:
  • In some way other than making the gods so angry that they are thinking about undoing what Arachne Solara has done?

Renvald manifesting Orlanth would have breached reality, too, but was enabled by the already existing breach, and acted as a countermeasure. As the result, there is a Godtime element that has Orlanth overcoming Zistor the Machine God. It seems to be a rough patch on the wounded Compromise.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:
  • (“You made me so angry that I hit you, so that bruise on your face is your fault.” We are not going to fall for that one, are we?)

Look what you made me do?

In a way, yes, that's what the Gloranthans appear to accept as the right way.

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:
  • Accelerating history: that is, “using up” energy too fast, bringing on the heat death of the universe ahead of schedule — but what is the schedule? What is the right length for the universal cycle back to Chaos?

My personal theory about the inevitability of the Gods War is a massive overproduction of Creation by the gods in the Golden Age. Umath's birth was a pressure valve opening up the enclosed Creation enough to allow some more new contributions to Creation. Ragnaglar, Malia and Thed were abusing that condition to collapse the order of the Golden and previous ages, imploding the Spike to open the Chaos Rift. (Aided by Zzabur, High King Elf, and others.) The additional entities from the Void consumed most of the Godtime World, except for a few pitiful shards and some memories, which became the material Arachne Solara constructed the Web from. (And from the now tamed Creation inherent in/consumed by Kajabor.)

 

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

IMHO, tapping the gods down to zero POW seems like an excellent plan. Like throwing them into the maw of the Devil ahead of schedule to spare us an Age of their meddling. Or possibly, it just amounts to the same thing, and rather than breaking the Compromise, it is just a way to implement it in full. Offing the gods is just (enforced) nuclear disarmament. Sure, we’d like responsible industrialization, but we would like it, no?

With the Greater Gods tied to the runes that make up the Cosmos, such a process would repeat the Implosion of the Spike, applied to a much smaller playground or stage than the previous such event. The potentially salvageable shards surviving such a deed might be too few to restart the Cosmos.

 

 

1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

Is the above incoherent? It surely is. Is that OK? Hell, no! But I am trying to grope towards how the Compromise was broken by the Zistorites, and I keep coming up empty.

There is no cookbook how to break the Compromise, and neither  how to steer clear of doing so by a hair's width.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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2 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

What counts as a god? When is a machine just a machine — however enchanted — and when does it tip over into godhood? Presumably (and I am just guessing), Zistor didn’t perform a Sedenya-type “godquest” to gain a fully stamped deity card. Anyway, AFAICT some kinds of ascension are allowed — or at least winked at — to permit hero/ancestor/dead monarch cults. Where do we draw the lines?

When an upstart attains divinity within Time and continues mucking about rather than passing beyond like Sartar or Dormal, the Gods step in to put down the pretender. It is risky for the Gods to do so, as they not only are stepping outside the Compromise themselves, but also establish the upstart's presence in God Time by the very act of personally attacking them. If they fail to destroy the upstart, they have cemented their nascent divinity. Nysalor defeated Kyger-Litor at Night & Day. Sedenya prevailed at Castle Blue. Pavis overcame Waha's challenge. In contrast, Zistor was defeated.

2 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

What counts as manifestation? Runequest had divine intervention from early on, and that looks like flat-out meddling with the world of time. All rune magic? Do the gods send the rain, enable the crops to grow, bless marriages? Glorantha on the face of it has divine presence in the mundane world throughout time.

In contrast to being spiritually present through their worshippers, runic affiliations, and symbolic manifestations, the upstart gods I mention above were all walking around doing stuff personally and directly. In the case of Zistor, its giant robot form would go forth and assault cities that resisted the God Learners.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

There is no cookbook how to break the Compromise, and neither  how to steer clear of doing so by a hair's width.

Well, that is no fun, because it then tends to devolve down to whatever the big boys/girls don’t like.

I am picturing a full-on contractual dispute/court room drama. We have alternate endings:

  1. Orlanth: “Gee, I never looked at it that way; I guess it is OK, after all.” [Hugs all round. Cocoa and marshmallows.]
  2. Orlanth: “I suppose you think you are clever!” [Storms out. Blows something up.]

Go on. Write the Compromise. You know you want to.

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1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

Sure, but what constitutes attaining divinity in the first place?

Good question, possibly the start of a different thread.

As far as I recall, attaining Divinity is to establish your own bit of the God Plane. Which is something demigods and worshipped living heroes can do, too. Apotheosis by leaving the mortal plane to such an abode counts, too.

Attaining demigod status within Time is fine. Attaining deity status and staying inside time is not. And yes, that brings us to the follow-up question what is the difference between demigods and free-willed deities within Time...

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 12/17/2022 at 8:20 AM, mfbrandi said:

Because the victors write the history, surely.

Actually while that is how the saying goes, records will demonstrate that the defeated are just as likely to write history as the victors, presuming they are still alive.

As to breaking the Compromise, it constitutes a police action imo.  As to what counts as a god, well, the gods only know, but it likely has to do with amassing a certain quantity of runes, but especially the infinity rune, as that is what links gods in to the infinite POW they enjoy (at a guess).

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The description of Zistor's defeat and destruction suggests that we have some propagandizing going on by the later interpreters, of course. Describing Zistor as "screaming as if it were in pain"? This is very straightforward editorializing. As for why the Zistor/Zazistor complex was unacceptable... well, surely that depends on why the God Learners became unacceptable, yes? The one should inform the other, with Zistor as an offshoot of that project. 

That being said, I am very doubtful that you can just wander off to the last days of the Machine City, as opposed to finding yourself within the remnant dreams of what the Machine City could have been, or what its opponents thought it was. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

Eight Arms and the Mask

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16 minutes ago, Eff said:

I am very doubtful that you can just wander off to the last days of the Machine City, as opposed to finding yourself within the remnant dreams of what the Machine City could have been, or what its opponents thought it was. 

Agree - no time travel back to the 2nd Age.

Where the Compromise breaks, though, then some Event from the Godtime has opened, and that is accessible via Heroquest.  Was it a battle in the Mostali Wars? Or the Plundering of Aron? Or some Curse of Zzabur? Any or all of those seem likely targets.

Alternately, since the Machine City has been destroyed, you should be able to find the Dream of the Machine City in the Underworld.  And that might be a rather terrifying place... 

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I would say that Gods can get their (functionally) infinite magic from any rune they control. Infinity is traditionally reserved for True Dragons and Superheroes, those that control all magic around themselves without losing their free will (which functionally means being a quasi-deity that can act in Time).

Without free will deities are just a series of conditioned responses based on their own myths and runic control. Of course, you can travel back in time to a point when the deity still has agency, and that is the point of creative heroquesting, acting differently because before the compromise, or when the compromise is compromised (hah!), deities suddenly may have agency, allowing the reenactors to deviate from the record.

My own definition of deity is any being that sustains and is sustained by the Compromise (even if they do not believe on it). Alternately, any powerful being both kept alive and immobile within Time that can be contacted in the past through myth.

In my own heroic taxonomy, a remnant of my monomyth days, Mortals become Heroes by exchanging freedom of action for power. There are four main paths for the hero:

- Destruction or capture by enemies that keep the remnants captive. An intermediate stage, not an end state, but it can last for a long time.

- Assimilation by a deity, once they have no more freedom. They lose their self and personality, becoming a face in a larger Godtime construct. The fate of most heroes, now individually forgotten.

- Incorporation into a deity, but keeping their self. Hero cults, demi-gods of the cult, companions that are kept separate. It requires independent worship of the hero. If all worship and records of the hero are lost, it is possible it will become assimilation, as it is the mortal's worship what keeps the self grounded.

- Apotheosis as a new deity. The safe path is to relinquish all free will and support the compromise, though probably the Hero never knows if they will end up as servant of a deity or a deity in their own terms. Alternately the new deity may reject the Compromise and try to keep acting within Time. The Compromise has tools to force deities to toe the line, but depending on the power and free will available, the deity can stay in the mortal world for a long time. Sartar joined the Compromise, so he is protected by it. Belintar did not, and was vulnerable to the right approach. Most deities within time are demigods, though a few have lain claim to higher titles.

- Superherodom. Those that acquire the power of a deity but refuse to become one. The only way to hold on to your independence and power is through mastery of the Infinite rune. Once achieved it can be kept stable unless someone stronger* than you comes along, or you choose another option out of boredom. 

*Stronger is a relative term. Having the right tool or technique (ask Belintar) will be critical.

 

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As for what makes someone a god, I believe that Street Fighter: the Movie posits that the answer is levitation via superconducting magnets. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

Eight Arms and the Mask

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In my Glorantha, if an event has had an impact on GodTime then it can be HeroQuested to, as it is in GodTime.

So, events such as the Birth of the Red Goddess, First Battle of Chaos, Four Arrows of Light, Dragonkill, and the birth of Zistor can be HeroQuested to.

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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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So what is the Compromise?

1.  All stories are true in the Godtime.  This allows every worship group to have its own versions of the myths, though there will be overlap in adjacent areas and those more visited myths will have more power.  Myths can freely contradict each other.  Eurmal can be the son of Kylera and a fish, and he can explode out of Ratslaff's head, and he can be found on a garbage dump by Orlanth.  Yelm and Orlanth can both be top dog.  (And so can Pamalt.)  

2.  But only one story at a time can be true in the waking *at a given location*.  If a given story dominates an area, then it gets much harder to go against it.  But this is always waxing and waning as cultures grow, flourish, and die horribly.  Normal worshippers *believe* the stories they tell and that belief empowers the appropriate mythic patterns.  This is worship.  Normal heroquesting feeds the power of worshippers into the other planes, sustaining them, then a portion of that power returns, focused into the Heroquest benefits.  

3.  Because all stories are true, new gods can be made by enough accumulation of spiritual power.  But once you get enough power, you have to permanently enter the Godtime and become the subject of myths instead of a distinct person.  If you don't do that, you are violating the Compromise and something will happen to remove you from the material world, one way or another.  New Gods are most easily made by tying them into pre-extant myths, like the Only Old One being the kid of Argan Argar and Asrelia.

Zistor broke the compromise by staying in the material world.  So did Nysalor.  The Red Goddess, once integrated into the Compromise, had to leave.  

4.  What about the God Learners?  Here's the thing.  If you don't actually believe in what you're doing, you drain energy from the planes without putting any in.  This weakens the Great Compromise and eventually led to a giant backlash.  You can discover new myths, but if you go as far as massive rewrites without really establishing a new network of believers to sustain it, eventually, you get splatted.

5.  What would happen if you drained the planes to the point of collapse?  Chaos would rush in through the breach in reality and it's Great Darkness II:  Chaos Boogaloo time.

6.  Monkeying around with Chaos, which is supposed to be mostly locked out of the system save for the force of entropy which is part of time and certain Chaos creatures the world is stuck with, also damages the Compromise by blowing holes in reality.  

7.  Illumination is another problem - If you can see through the game, it's a lot easier to do things which damage the Hero Plane and reality, especially if you decide that, hey, Chaos is a useful tool and morality is for losers and cocaine addicts, as many Illuminates do.  

Arkat and Argath are both examples of how the Great Compromise raises up forces to enforce itself - while the Red Goddess herself was integrated, her followers are monkeying around with Chaos AND Illumination.  The same problem as with Nysalor.  Illuminates either have to be taught to sit on their ass and do nothing, or be like late Arkat, using their cheaty powers to reinforce the sacred status quo and protect the compromise, or else they become a source of destruction.

So how does the gods all getting killed not destroy the Fourth Age?  Basically the giant cult of Argath takes their place and his myths become dominant in the planes, ensuring worship continues, along with his allies taking the place of various gods.  (Also, there's not really any evidence the gods of the southern continent got killed off.)

 

 

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One possibly meaningful differentiation is whether you HeroQuest in the past or HeroQuest in a myth of the past. The latter seems completely reasonable to me - any myth can presumably be heroquested (even demonstrably factually false ones), so if it reached mythic status (which is a safe bet for the siege of the Clanking City), this strikes me as entirely reasonable.

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