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Gaining a chaos taint and the "act chaotically" category


Diadochoi

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Linked to the recent discussion on Sense Chaos, how do you gain a chaos taint/rune if you are not born with it?

Greg sez (https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-documents/greg-sez/chaos-taints-qa/) there are the passive ways (handling chaos tools or eating something chaotic) or the active (dedicating to a chaos entity or participating in chaos rites and knowingly initiate to a chaos cult). All these are clear cut, but what about the "act chaotically" category?

The examples given for this are rape, cannibalism etc, but when does "acting against the norm for society" (whatever that means) translate into chaos rather than just being a nasty piece of work?

For example in Gloomwillow's Hollow (Pegasus plateau and other stories), Jafoska Warm-Heart and Baran the Chop  "regularly murder, rob, and butcher guests, offering their corpses to the ghouls in return for their continued safety" and seem unable to "quit their ghoulish habit". Why is this evil and not deserving a chaos taint/rune? What is required to cross that barrier?

 

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30 minutes ago, Diadochoi said:

Linked to the recent discussion on Sense Chaos, how do you gain a chaos taint/rune if you are not born with it?

Here are some suggestions:

  • You eat something that gives you a Chaos Feature, for example Eurmals Crumbs
  • You are cursed somehow
  • You use the Chaos Gift Runespell
  • As a by-product of a HeroQuest
  • Eating something chaotic, although trolls do this without becoming chaotic
  • Initiating into a Chaos cult
  • Calling on the power of Primal Chaos
33 minutes ago, Diadochoi said:

The examples given for this are rape, cannibalism etc, but when does "acting against the norm for society" (whatever that means) translate into chaos rather than just being a nasty piece of work?

I don't play that those make you Chaotic. My feeling is that those were put into place to stop Adventurers doing "bad" things, so as to have an in-game reason not to do them.

34 minutes ago, Diadochoi said:

For example in Gloomwillow's Hollow (Pegasus plateau and other stories), Jafoska Warm-Heart and Baran the Chop  "regularly murder, rob, and butcher guests, offering their corpses to the ghouls in return for their continued safety" and seem unable to "quit their ghoulish habit". Why is this evil and not deserving a chaos taint/rune? What is required to cross that barrier?

Gloranthan fiction has its own rules and poetic licence covers may exceptions.

 

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

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Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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11 minutes ago, soltakss said:

I don't play that those make you Chaotic. My feeling is that those were put into place to stop Adventurers doing "bad" things, so as to have an in-game reason not to do them.

Gloranthan fiction has its own rules and poetic licence covers may exceptions.

 

We also dont play that those make you Chaotic and I agree on the poetic licence contradictions.

In addition, we also dont play that unknowingly eating something Chaotic makes you Chaotic otherwise Chaos can too easily make large proportions of the population chaotic (cue the sausages from the WFRP adventure Sing for your Supper from Plundered Vaults)

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Evil (chaotic) action gives imo probability to get/increase the chaotic rune. some are automatic but a lot are not

 

so you may be tainted by only one « mistake » when those guys may not be tainted by a lot of evil deeds


there is somewhere a table describing the % of chance you have be tainted depending  on the deed

of course I don’t have the reference , but I saw it in this forum (was about cannibalism if I remember )

 

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  • Devouring chaos is a deliberate partaking of chaos.
    It is using chaos to nurture oneself.
    Nurturing oneself on chaos is a way to become chaotic.
    Greg Sez
     
  • The Many-legged One consumed the Devil and spat out the world of time.
    Chaos is the invisible web that holds Cosmos together
    and it is the force that will destroy it —
    that is the Great Compromise.
    We are all Chaotic, but only some of us are awake.
    Tune in.
    Turn on.
    Tunnel.
    Party Political Broadcast on Behalf of the Children of the Void
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NOTORIOUS VØID CULTIST

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1 hour ago, Diadochoi said:

The examples given for this are rape, cannibalism etc, but when does "acting against the norm for society" (whatever that means) translate into chaos rather than just being a nasty piece of work?

We play it the way that i doesn´t make you in fact chaotic (a Storm Bulls Sense Chaos doesn´t detect you for that), but society sees them as acts of chaos, and since you commited them you must be chaos. A Storm Bull that hears about a person commiting such an act might kill the person on the spot, because he KNOWS that you are chaos, but you doesn´t detect as chaos. So you one of the rare cases his Sense Chaos malefunctions/fails... which is not possible to admit to society that it can fail... so he kills him on the spot nevertheless. The Storm Bull can´t be charged for murder/kinstrife because every Lhankor Mhy will agree that a person commiting such an act was in fact Chaos. 

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Anyone can hunt. If you want to be magically good at hunting, you join a hunting cult.

The same applies to secret murder, blood-drinking, cannibalism and other things the Orlanthi consider unforgiveable acts. And if you are going to cast magic that requires a Chaos rune, you have to have it at a decent level. Doing those things, against natural and cultural instincts, will at least provide an experience tick in that rune.

Slavery and torture are arguably exceptions, in that the corresponding organised cults are, in all canon I am aware of, supposed to be strictly Fonritian.

This suggests some form of spirit-cult worship of Ompalam and Ikadz either exists, or at least is remembered as existing, in Dragon Pass and Prax.

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8 minutes ago, radmonger said:

Slavery and torture are arguably exceptions, in that the corresponding organised cults are, in all canon I am aware of, supposed to be strictly Fonritian.

This suggests some form of spirit-cult worship of Ompalam and Ikadz either exists, or at least is remembered as existing, in Dragon Pass and Prax.

There are Broo lay members of Ikadz in the Rubble, so he's not strictly Fonritan.

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I would interpret "acting chaotically" as a small chance of receiving a special visitor during holy day ceremonies. Unknowingly including someone who has behaved in a particularly vile way in a holy ceremony, even as a lay member, is an invitation to spiritual pollution, a weakness in the fabric of the ceremony which could allow chaos to seep in. Of course, a particularly wicked person would be in immense danger if they accepted the chaos boon in the middle of a holy day ceremony, any hero quest re-enactment which involved defeating evil could draw in the newly minted chaotic as the ritual enemy. Which sounds like a great reason to perform such ceremonial challenges and re-enactments of defeating evil. If the challenge is answered by someone unexpected, the village has just discovered hidden chaos in their midst. 

This could also explain why the Lunars have such a hard time dealing with hidden chaotic abuses, compared to Orlanthi. Lunar ceremonies don't draw hidden chaotics into real danger the way Orlanthi ceremonies do. 

Edited by EricW
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On 2/11/2024 at 5:37 PM, Diadochoi said:

For example in Gloomwillow's Hollow (Pegasus plateau and other stories), Jafoska Warm-Heart and Baran the Chop  "regularly murder, rob, and butcher guests, offering their corpses to the ghouls in return for their continued safety" and seem unable to "quit their ghoulish habit". Why is this evil and not deserving a chaos taint/rune? What is required to cross that barrier?

I’ve seen other writeups of the pair that do make them explicitly Chaotic - in the free HeroQuest Glorantha scenario Highwall Inn Chaosium put up in 2019,

Spoiler

they were initiates of Krarsht, and their chamber of horrors beneath the Inn included Krarshtkid tunnels that could eventually be used to escape the ghouls siege of the Inn

and I’d probably stick with that IMG, because it fits better with the rest of that scenario, and I think it’s a great fun scenario (and I didn’t enjoy the treatment of the same area in Pegasus Plateau much, which didn’t really work very well as either Glorantha material or an RQ scenario to me tbh).  They may have just not wanted to add information about a cult not otherwise described to characters that are a very minor part of that scenario. 

But FWIW - neither of them are described as cannibals themselves in either source, but thieves and murderers who butcher their guests in order to buy off the ghouls. Murder and thievery are dishonest, wicked, dishonourable - but relatively human crimes, crimes that several non-Chaotic gods are known for (Gagarth, for example). The real question about cannibalism is why is it ok to practice ritual cannibalism as part of the Praxian Cannibal Cult, or as a troll (some of whom, of course, are ritually obliged to occasionally eat their own relatives). The answers may lie in the specifics of those cases? 

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On 2/13/2024 at 1:26 AM, EricW said:

I would interpret "acting chaotically" as a small chance of receiving a special visitor during holy day ceremonies. Unknowingly including someone who has behaved in a particularly vile way in a holy ceremony, even as a lay member, is an invitation to spiritual pollution, a weakness in the fabric of the ceremony which could allow chaos to seep in. Of course, a particularly wicked person would be in immense danger if they accepted the chaos boon in the middle of a holy day ceremony, any hero quest re-enactment which involved defeating evil could draw in the newly minted chaotic as the ritual enemy. Which sounds like a great reason to perform such ceremonial challenges and re-enactments of defeating evil. If the challenge is answered by someone unexpected, the village has just discovered hidden chaos in their midst. 

This could also explain why the Lunars have such a hard time dealing with hidden chaotic abuses, compared to Orlanthi. Lunar ceremonies don't draw hidden chaotics into real danger the way Orlanthi ceremonies do. 

I really like this interpretation. Even if the ceremony's evil-doing participant isn't immediately drawn into becoming a ceremonial antagonist, if said person was wooed by and accepted chaos during the ritual it'd still seriously compromise things - e.g., why'd the livestock blessing fail this year? There's an opportunity for an investigative adventure -  especially if, with rising suspicions of ritual pollution within a community, people are beginning to blame someone who's completely innocent. Adventurers are then tasked with heading off a witch hunt, while searching out the real baddie (who might not even be living in the area anymore.) Similar in many ways to the "Crimson Petals" adventure.  

And great point about Orlanthi ceremonies vs Lunar ones, which to my mind maps on to their broader respective societies overall. Orlanthi have a strong (at times rigid) sense of right and wrong, and don't tolerate evil; but perhaps at the cost of risking the occasional false accusation, witch hunt, etc. Lunars are oh so tolerant and cosmopolitan, but accordingly have a much harder time resisting the influence of chaos and evil. Civilizational tradeoffs. 

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On 2/13/2024 at 3:36 AM, Ali the Helering said:

Jolaty/Zolathi, Sheng Seleris' early mystic cult teaches 'All life is slavery'.  A nice steal from Seneca.🙂

I read some Seneca years ago and didn't remember this one, so was inspired to look it up (thank you, BTW). At the risk of derailing this thread, I present these gems from Goodreads:

“We are all chained to fortune: the chain of one is made of gold, and wide, while that of another is short and rusty. But what difference does it make? The same prison surrounds all of us, and even those who have bound others are bound themselves; unless perchance you think that a chain on the left side is lighter. Honors bind one man, wealth another; nobility oppresses some, humility others; some are held in subjection by an external power, while others obey the tyrant within; banishments keep some in one place, the priesthood others. All life is slavery. Therefore each one must accustom himself to his own condition and complain about it as little as possible, and lay hold of whatever good is to be found near him.”
― Moses Hadas, translator. The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters

 

"Life is slavery if the courage to die is absent."

 Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

The last one sounds pretty Orlanthi to me. Or maybe something a Humakti would say?

 

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On 2/17/2024 at 3:44 PM, Beoferret said:

I read some Seneca years ago and didn't remember this one, so was inspired to look it up (thank you, BTW). At the risk of derailing this thread, I present these gems from Goodreads:

“We are all chained to fortune: the chain of one is made of gold, and wide, while that of another is short and rusty. But what difference does it make? The same prison surrounds all of us, and even those who have bound others are bound themselves; unless perchance you think that a chain on the left side is lighter. Honors bind one man, wealth another; nobility oppresses some, humility others; some are held in subjection by an external power, while others obey the tyrant within; banishments keep some in one place, the priesthood others. All life is slavery. Therefore each one must accustom himself to his own condition and complain about it as little as possible, and lay hold of whatever good is to be found near him.”
― Moses Hadas, translator. The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters

 

Again a little off-topic, but every now and again I have moments where I remember that 99.999% of the ancient historic writings we have were written by filthy stinking rich people.

'What difference does it make if one man is chained by short rusty links, and another by a mile-long gossomer strand of gold?'.

As if you would know, Seneca, one of the very richest men in the very richest polity Europe had ever known. By all means, enlighten us with your stoic wisdom in the face of hardship, man who has never wanted for anything in his life.

'Woe is me, my wealth and nobility are oppressing me. This is clearly as heavy a burden as the threat of starvation that the poors are complaining about. I don't complain about how wealthy I am, so why should they complain about how destitute they are?' - says phenomenally rich land-owning aristocrat.

Edited by Ynneadwraith
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