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The Outer Atomic Explorers


Noita

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They are a Seshnelan order of magicians who were active against the Autarchy.  Their only mention is RQ3's Troll Gods.  They used the Astekel Horse to destroy all paths they could find to Stantham Well (where Arkat lived on the Heroplane).  They were succeeded by the God Learners.

It's not known whether they are still canonical (they are not mentioned in the Middle Sea Empire) and the article has tonal problems with it IMO.

 

 

 

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The RQ Con 2 Compendium (1994) Lore Auction p85 with Greg and Sandy:

"5: Who or what were the God Learner Outer Atomic Explorers?

SP: I believe that the Outer Atomic Explorers were individuals that attempted to penetrate through the wall of Glorantha into the chaos beyond. And the great majority of them made it, and never came back.

GS: I think that that's probably a good understanding.

SP: They had a number of different goals, like seeing Glorantha from the outside to see what shape it really was.

GS: Yes.

6: Would it be reasonable to you that the name "Outer Atomic Explorers" comes from the "atoms," the building blocks of Glorantha, being not little physical atoms but philosophical atoms? From the God Learners point of view, the basic underlying assumption of Glorantha? And they get outside by tweaking the assumptions. They change the philosophical atom that makes up the universe until they get to a slightly different universe. Or, out towards the Void.

SP: Here is my belief on the subject. Whether the atoms in Glorantha are philosophical, or physical, or whether they are the runes, they are by definition "the thing that cannot be destroyed, that cannot be rendered down any further" The Outer Atomic Explorers attempted to not be destroyed by chaos by rendering themselves, or their vessel, down to it's simplest possible form. By making it very difficult for them to be destroyed, they could get into chaos. The more complexity you have to you, the easier it is for chaos to get at you. Unless of course you reach the critical mass of having all contradictions within you, like in the story of Ethelrist and Keener Than. When they are eaten by Hungry Jack, they were able to turn into
each other.

7: I guess I'm confused about the Outer Atomic Explorers and what they were attempting to do. My understanding is that Prince Snodal traveled out of Glorantha and then came back-
SP: No, no, no. He traveled out of Loskalm,-
GS: - out of the Human World, out of the Center World,-
SP: - and a lot of people have done that.
GS: He traveled to the edge of the world, where the heroes and gods live. He went to the threshold, but not outside the world.

7: That's what I wanted to know.
SP: The Outer Atomic guys were attempting to actually leave the entire cosmos.
GS: I wonder what a Gloranthan space ship would look like?

SP: I think it would be cool!"

Then it goes on to the EWF

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Sandy's take on them is spot on. The Outer Atomic Explorers sought to explore "beyond" the Cosmos and into the void beyond. The "atoms" are the irreducible components of existence - but based on Gloranthan logic, not modern physics. Their atoms bore no resemblance to those of Dalton, et al.   

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  • 6 years later...
On 12/21/2015 at 11:27 PM, Jeff said:

Sandy's take on them is spot on. The Outer Atomic Explorers sought to explore "beyond" the Cosmos and into the void beyond. The "atoms" are the irreducible components of existence - but based on Gloranthan logic, not modern physics. Their atoms bore no resemblance to those of Dalton, et al.   

Thanks for the clarification.  I thought the irreducible components of Glorantha were Runes not Atoms?  Point taken about the irreducibility of Atoms, from the philosophy of Democritus et al.

I had the Outer Atomic Explorers pegged as being unlucky sods who had come from the Lozenge and scraped up against our own reality, where their runes began to change into our atoms, allowing Earth/Glorantha cross-overs.

Is the Void in question the same Void mentioned in Cults of Terror p11? That being the void that lies beyond the Sky Dome? 

Extra bonus question: Will they find all the people eaten by the Crimson Bat floating around out there ?

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On 12/21/2015 at 1:44 AM, Noita said:

Who and what are they? 

I had the pleasure of occasionally cornering Greg and getting the chance to ask him about these sorts of things. In general, Glorantha is full of a lot of "one-liner" references that never really got fleshed out. By "one-liners" I mean that they are mentioned only once or twice and often with just a single sentence. Another such example of a one-liner would be Falangian Wine in King of Sartar. When I asked about that Greg just said, "That's up to the reader to decide what it is". 

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Hope that Helps,
Rick Meints - Chaosium, Inc.

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21 minutes ago, Rick Meints said:

I had the pleasure of occasionally cornering Greg and getting the chance to ask him about these sorts of things. In general, Glorantha is full of a lot of "one-liner" references that never really got fleshed out. By "one-liners" I mean that they are mentioned only once or twice and often with just a single sentence. Another such example of a one-liner would be Falangian Wine in King of Sartar. When I asked about that Greg just said, "That's up to the reader to decide what it is". 

Yep. And a lot of these one-liners should not and will not get defined outside of the individual reader.

The effort to answer all questions, to resolve all mysteries - well, that is what destroyed the Second Age. 

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17 hours ago, Jeff said:

The effort to answer all questions, to resolve all mysteries - well, that is what destroyed the Second Age. 

Is that really true though?  The Second Age was destroyed because some 'bright sparks' didn't understand that you don't go around trying to make new gods outside the Compromise... Again...  As such attempts invariably lets chaos in and force the Gods to intervene.  That's hardly a mystery in my book. 😄

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Single-sentence, throwaway references are important, they lace settings with apparent contradictions or loose ends that get people's imaginations running, or at least makes it feel like a real, lived-in world. Like with Tolkien mentioning Were-worms or Varyags of Khand, or the Blue Wizards or most famously Tom Bombadil (although he's quite a bit more than a few sentences). 

I don't know what the technical term is, but I tend to think of it as "horizon-making". Giving people the impression that there is always something more than they can see (ie. know/understand). 

All that aside, I find the explanation above cool and interesting and exactly the kind of thing experimental sorcerers would get up to. 

The basic, fundamental, (ostensible) irreducible runes of Glorantha as "atoms" makes perfect sense, no need to involve RW particle physics. It's basically David Hume having a go at deconstructing Platonic ideals down to the most primitive forms. Maybe something like Aristotelian qualities (form, mass, expanse, etc.) but with the Gloranthan twist. Applied abstract philosophy! Maddening and VERY dangerous.

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32 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I don't know what the technical term is, but I tend to think of it as "horizon-making". Giving people the impression that there is always something more than they can see (ie. know/understand). 

Love that term. 

Life is messy and the closer the work of imagination gets to real time spontaneity, the more valuable these throwaway tricks of the hand are. They keep the line moving and maintain the spell over the audience that suspends disbelief. And with the right audience and enough practice in crafting your throwaway beats, you can nudge the audience to help you out and fill in the next few beats on their own. Then you can coast for a few measures, recharge, take a deep breath ahead of the next verse. Historically game writers have been harried people, always one beat ahead of the deadline, so this temporary relief is invaluable. 

The advantage private dreams have over this kind of narrative creation is that the sleeper has endless subjective time to ponder all the angles and experiment with the details. Most of the results aren't worth taking with you when you open your eyes, but it's okay. The bits that stick are probably weird and meaningful enough to feed into your waking story without embarrassing yourself too much . . . maybe you'll hook their dream on your line and they'll push your now shared work forward.

Of course where it gets interesting is that the world is built up out of these dream particles and our own effort. For most people the world is some fraction of dust just out of reach like the blue wizards you mention, practically a meaningless editorial glitch between the load-bearing blocks we can see behind everyday life at a distance. The dust is the seed of the next block. The blocks wear down to dust and recede to the dream again to refresh the next cycle [age], and so it goes. 

The mind goes where it goes. Call the dust atoms or runes, we shall not cease from exploration. 

 

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