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A question about the Origin of the world


Noirfatale

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Hello, I just started to read Runequest roleplaying in Glorantha. P18

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The universe exploded with strife, and Orlanth the Storm God used Death to kill the Sun God.

is there a explanation why? considering that Orlanth and the other lightbringers had to ressurect the sun god to save the world. Just curious if there is more on this - I only own the first book (for now).

Thanks!

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The Emperor of the Universe, Yelm the Sun God, decreed that creation was finished when the Sky Dome covered Earth, and that there was no room in it for the upstart Storm Gods, a turbulent tribe full of violence and malice. So their chieftain, the brutish Umath, ripped the Sky and Earth apart, creating a new realm in between called the Middle Air in which his sons could rampage and conquer. This didn't go down very well with his Imperial Majesty. After Umath was punished for his temerity, his heir Orlanth challenged mighty Yelm to three contests (of dance, magic and music) -- losing every time, because those are civilised arts -- and then finally took him on in a contest of weapons.

Yelm displayed his prowess with the bow and arrow; Orlanth then struck him down with the Sword that is Death (which he had stolen from his brother Humakt). This ended the Golden Age (because the light of the world went out when Yelm fell), and ushered in a period we call the Lesser Darkness, or the Storm Age. This was also a time of floods (as waters invaded the surface world), ice ages (as the glaciers advanced), trolls invading the surface world (because bright Yelm had descended to their Underworld home and they couldn't bear to stay there), and all sorts of other bad stuff happening.

At first the Storm Gods thought this was awesome, because they got to rush around fighting and breaking things, looting the remnants of Yelm's Golden Age civilisation, and generally being dicks to everybody. But eventually they noticed that everything in Glorantha was increasingly shit, and that Chaos deities (led by Orlanth's nephew Wakboth the Devil) were invading, and those Chaos deities weren't happy to be told that there was no room in Glorantha for their upstart tribe and would they mind staying outside in the eternal primordial chaos? So once everything started dying, Orlanth accepted that he'd screwed up egregiously: he gathered a band of followers and headed off to the Underworld, to patch things up with Emperor Yelm in Hell. And that's the Lightbringers Quest.

The full story is best told in the Cults of Terror Cosmology (complete text is free at that link!), and that narrative also forms the spine of the Theogony section of the Glorantha Sourcebook (shop link: hardcover or digital). If you're into Gloranthan myth, that book is utterly superb. There are expanded versions of all of this in King of Sartar (shop link: digital only) but I'd start with those two if I were you. 

Edited by Nick Brooke
Clarifying links. Click that Cosmology. Go on!
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There is much more detail in The Glorantha Sourebook, Theogony chapter, section on Deities of Sky and Fire.

Basically the oldest gods and especially Yelm were not giving the younger gods room to be.  Page 97, "As entropy or Chaos approached these frictions caused violent conflagration to explode instead" and the birth of the god Umath led to the God's War.  Because he was given no space he made one by ripping apart sky and earth (making room for air between them).  Umath's children were also vviolent.  Read on to p.106, deities of air.

 

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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50 minutes ago, Noirfatale said:

Hello, I just started to read Runequest roleplaying in Glorantha. P18

is there a explanation why? considering that Orlanth and the other lightbringers had to ressurect the sun god to save the world. Just curious if there is more on this - I only own the first book (for now).

Thanks!

A less partisan take than Nick gave is that Orlanth and the Young Gods demanded their own place in the cosmos. Yelm said no and so Orlanth challenged Yelm for rule. Orlanth used Death to kill Yelm, and the Air Gods got to make their own domain. Think of this as a repetition of Umath, son of Sky and Earth, tearing his parents apart to make room for himself.

 

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1 minute ago, Jeff said:

A less partisan take than Nick gave is that Orlanth and the Young Gods demanded their own place in the cosmos. Yelm said no and so Orlanth challenged Yelm for rule. Orlanth used Death to kill Yelm, and the Air Gods got to make their own domain. Think of this as a repetition of Umath, son of Sky and Earth, tearing his parents apart to make room for himself.

In my experience, players often like rampaging, conquering, looting and being dicks to everyone as they trash the ruins of fallen civilisations. The Storm Gods are great role models for RuneQuest adventurers! 

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1 hour ago, Noirfatale said:

Hello, I just started to read Runequest roleplaying in Glorantha. P18

is there a explanation why? considering that Orlanth and the other lightbringers had to ressurect the sun god to save the world. Just curious if there is more on this - I only own the first book (for now).

Thanks!

Setting aside the "plot" reasons, here are some of the subtextual or background factors going into this- the very early batches of Gloranthan mythology are being put together from the stuff that was available in a popular context and a little bit of more academic material. Some of the stuff that's going into this mix is Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, and the story structure he puts forth in that book which involves a journey into the underworld and a confrontation with a father-figure. Another bit of stuff that's going into this mix, I'm sure, is an outdated theory of comparative religion that was common in the 19th century, which understood religion as following a course of evolution with the progress of society, and part of that theory of teleological religious development was the idea that solar worship was succeeded by worship of storm or weather gods. This was in turn built on looking at Egypt (where the understanding many non-Egyptologists have even today would be that the sun god Ra or Amun-Ra was the head of the pantheon of gods universally) and Greece (where the solar figures Helios, Hyperion, and Apollo are clearly subordinate to the storm/weather god Zeus) and seeing this as a historical evolution. 

Or to put it another way, the storm gods displace the solar gods. The solar gods are older figures of authority. So the Lightbringers Quest combines these factors- the Sun is the father figure that the Storm must confront, which Campbell calls "Atonement". What does the Storm have to atone for? Displacing the Sun. 

And then from there you have mythological motifs like the story of Persephone where something is taken into the world of the dead and the world of the living begins to die as a consequence, and it becomes "kill the sun, go to the underworld, apologize to the sun, the sun returns, life goes on". (Note that Glorantha largely discards the actual teleological evolution aspect- Yelm and Orlanth establish a mutual peace rather than Yelm submitting to Orlanth- but pieces of it remain and occasionally come to the forefront.)

I hope this "background" material is also helpful. 

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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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3 hours ago, Noirfatale said:

is there a explanation why? considering that Orlanth and the other lightbringers had to resurrect the sun god to save the world.

This is genius. Please ignore everything I say: you have already grasped the situation perfectly.

But … I like to think of it these ways:

   [a] we wanted a story about why the sun sets and rises (other cycles, too);

   [b] because Orlanth is as oedipal as (as they would say on Fags, Mags, & Bags);

   [c] if Orlanth didn’t break anything, he wouldn’t be able to claim the glory for fixing it.

Look, I didn’t say ‘toxic masculinity’ once, OK? … Oh, bum!

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4 hours ago, Noirfatale said:

is there a explanation why?

One take is that Orlanth was the grandson of Aether Primolt, the First Emperor. As you had to be within 4 generations of an Emperor to become an Emperor, in Dara Happa, Orlanth counted. So, one of my takes is that Orlanth challenged Yelm so that he could become Emperor, or even just King of the Gods, because he was entitled to by a strict interpretation of Dara Happan law.

This is not a popular view.

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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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23 hours ago, Noirfatale said:

Hello, I just started to read Runequest roleplaying in Glorantha. P18

is there a explanation why? considering that Orlanth and the other lightbringers had to ressurect the sun god to save the world. Just curious if there is more on this - I only own the first book (for now).

Thanks!

another option (in fact all the posts tell the same story from different perspective)

An ambitious, smart and beautiful concubine wanted to take the empress's place. Unsuccessful, she decided to seduce a young, hot temper, new god to get her revenge by humiliating Yelm.

The young guy, not yet very wise, failed 3 times, and after being manipulated by her, was tricked by a fool without any friend,  who gave him a weapon... and you know the consequenses for the world but now...

 

Ernalda is the great queen, spouse of Orlanth, but not only

Eurmal is protected by Orlanth, and continue to trick anyone

Orlanth, king of the world, is smarter than previously but doesn't know who is the best trickster, his wife or his clown

Yelm is still emperor, but with no true power, manipulated by the moon, and is playing with chaos (or played by chaos) to overthrow Orlanth leadership

but something never changes... Dendara is at home waiting for her husband (or looking to a young, hot temper new god, who knows...)

 

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ok ! back from another dip in the main book.

 

the mythologocal part is deep and mysterious as any greek mythos I have read in philosophy class. I expected that much.

 

Then I got into the character creation - being a veteran role player and having played the old french version of runequest (the boxed set) some call of chtulhu and stormbringer I got no big problem there. my biggest hurdle was to figure that the G in the fillable character sheet in the aunt uncle sibling section stands for gender (Ha! after 2 hour of searching in the book and finally looking at the non fillable sheet to see a clear F and M instead of the G gave me a big facepalm moment) 

 

but then at page 99 - homeland section things got difficult- the map in my book is incredibly hard to read, I was trying to wrap my head around the geography of the dragon pass and I had to look online until I found a better (less pretty but more fonctional ) map. Maybe just a less detailed map (this is the map I found online that helped me the most) . while very good looking the map in the book is simply not the most easily readable. 

the rivers are not clearly identified but by the description I figured were the two main rivers are.

so far so good, the journey continue...

Sartar-Prax-Poster-map-2048x1325.jpg

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That's the map I always use (by Darya Makarava, after William Church). It's a shame it doesn't show any roads or the Glowline (or indeed any less visible borders), but it's gorgeous and legible and takes me back to my roots in RQ2. You can buy it as a poster print or in any number of other formats at Chaosium's RedBubble store: LINK.

The royal roads of Sartar are as shown here: LINK.

And there's a northern map extension* that covers the Lunar Provinces, Sylila and most of Balazar: LINK.

* I'm an old Civilization boardgame player, forgive me.

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On 1/12/2023 at 4:15 PM, Noirfatale said:

It tells me I will need the Glorentha - the sourcebook or the guide I don't know witch one I will get first.

 

On 1/12/2023 at 4:19 PM, Nick Brooke said:

Sourcebook first!

Absolutely, get the Sourcebook first. If you like the history/mythology/feel then get the Guide to Glorantha, at least as a PDF.

 

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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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The Sourcebook is good for the mythology, which seemed to be your original question.

The Guide is good for the geography, information about regions outside Sartar. An overview of cultures.  Some information on trade.  Elder races.  And other things that don't cross my mind at the moment.

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Ok.

As I stated before I played runequest before -the French version from Oriflamme, I never read it so I don't know but the game felt a lot more like heroic fantasy with d100 rules. The world I find in the RP in Gloratha is soo much different! very dense, deep and mythological. I usually eat a 400 page rpg in a day or two but this one is like this fantastic cheese cake so tasty but hits the bottom of your stomach like a brick. I find that I need to take it slowly and in small bites, going back in forth with some browsing on various wiki to read the names. 
I noticed the use of capital letter for some common words that are used in a mythic way. time and Time are used in a very specific way. There is the regular time, Time and God Time and since French is my native language there are place were its a bit confusing. So I need to read some part and look at the context were it is used, look up on a wiki and I realized that the background part of the book have to be read like a philosophical text - slowly with intent. You cant just read - you have to dive and immerse yourself and and it burns my energy much faster. 

It is fascinating and very rewarding but require a lot more attention and focus that the usual book. I can see why many people might find this very daunting.

Also you get a fluff part, then a crunchy chapter, then another fluff chapter then back with rules and systems ... most rpg pack their rule in one half and the background and worldbuilding in the other. 

its odd but I like it. It might (will probably) make thing a bit harder in actual play when you must do some page flipping judo to find something on the fly when you play but its does help the first read I think. 

anyway, I just got through the combat chapter (phalanx combat wow really cool) and into the magic we go!

 

Edited by Noirfatale
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21 hours ago, Noirfatale said:

-the French version from Oriflamme

it is true that the rule book from Oriflamme (don't know the english version) did not describe enough glorantha. I had the same feeling :  AD&D but with skills and no class so better than AD&D for me 😛

however comté du soleil, dorastor, les dieux de glorantha, genertela, etc.. changed totally my perspective, I entered in glorantha and I was prisoner there, for ever ...

 

what is good with the rqg core rules book is it includes background (one of the good new things), not enough to understand the world, but enough to look for more

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On 1/15/2023 at 9:47 PM, Noirfatale said:

As I stated before I played runequest before -the French version from Oriflamme, I never read it so I don't know but the game felt a lot more like heroic fantasy with d100 rules.

 

3 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

it is true that the rule book from Oriflamme (don't know the english version) did not describe enough glorantha. I had the same feeling :  AD&D but with skills and no class so better than AD&D for me 😛

Oriflam's RQ is a good translation of AH's RQ3, with far better art (even if not compliant with current trend). I bought it when published and continue to use it.

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ok, the magic system is great and the rest of the books gives many thing I have come to expect and like in my rpg - a system to do something in between adventure, a well balance economic system ect...

the line between runes, spirit and sorcery is still blurry in my mind but that's ok for now, I wont play anytime soon I am more interested in the setting and world building and the mythos for now. Still it is a very important part of the setting. EVERYONE has magic. Gods are real, mythology and runes are the foundation of this universe so leave your science at the door and go on. Still everything makes senses and the inner logic is sound and looks solid. There is so much to explore... its overwhelming.

 

anyway,   I got the sourcebook over drivetrhurpg.

I am diving in the book now, If I get lost please send a shaman to save me.

 

Wish me Godspeed.

 

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27 minutes ago, Noirfatale said:

....
the line between runes, spirit and sorcery is still blurry in my mind but that's ok for now, .........Still it is a very important part of the setting. EVERYONE has magic......

 

Spirit magic:

Powered by your own spirit's daily production of Magic Points.  More people have spirit magic than the other magics.  Learned from a Shaman or Priest, perhaps by their sqeezing it out of a spirit or subjecting a spirit to you. (That last part is ambiguous to me but the distinction is not important in game terms).  Spirit magic usually persists for a shorter time than the other magics.  

Rune Magic:

Powered by a god. Only available to initiates of the god's cult (with two exceptions: use of matrices or Truestone,  and spell trading.)  .  Learned from a Priest.  Received in exchange for sacrifice of pieces of your soul's POWer to that god, plus regular worship which includes sacrificing Magic Points to the god.  Rune magic is cast most quickly.

Sorcery:

Powered by Magic Points plus mental manipulation of the Runes which underly visible reality.  No spirits or gods are involved.  Sorcery is an ability gained  from years of study with high INTelligence, and is much rarer than tbe other magics.   Sorcery spells take the longest time to cast  but can be most powerful.

 

 

 

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