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ChildOfEru

Illumination in the Lunar Empire.

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How open is the Lunar Empire about illumination?   Is it common knowledge that anyone can aspire to or is it more along the lines of a secret society that only the few and select can aspire to?  From the Prince of Sartar comic it seems to fall more into the category of secret knowledge.    Perhaps another way to phrase the question is if a devotee of one of the Seven Mothers could become illuminated just by attending cult ceremonies or would they have to be selected by a Lunar examiner first?    Is it something you are selected for, happen upon by accident or have thrust upon you?    Can the Lunar examiners reliable detect the illuminated?

A follow question is what do examiners do with those found to be Occluded?

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There is more than one school of Illumination within the Empire (though the Lunar Sevening Rites described in the Seven Mothers cult might be the only one within the mainstream Lunar religion). Some are reasonably well known, some are obscure, some are officially supported, some are suppressed. But Lunars who have been kindled would begin to learn about it in the abstract (practical instruction is secret, and comes later). It would be unlikely for an initiate to become Illuminated just through Lunar cult ceremonies. But it could happen through other ways that are unplanned, including dialogue with Nysalor riddlers, Lunar heroquests, encounters with particular otherworldly entities, even extraordinary works of art, etc. Normally it is something that takes long training and you are eventually selected for , but it is mentioned in the Entekosiad that the goddess herself judged several people Naturals who were ready to experience Illumination without training, and such people might still be found. Though the Empire might no longer be able to identify them as reliably as the goddess, assessing readiness for Illumination was in the goddesses time performed by people called the Insighters, and the Examiners probably know their techniques. Identifying someone as being ready for Illumination without training is a different ability to the Illuminates ability to recognize other Illuminates, and probably far more mundane and unreliable (such as quizzes about doctrine). 

The trick about Occlusion is it is, to a large extent, a matter of opinion, and Examiners may disagree (and is not necessarily a permanent judgement, the Occluded may be healed), so what is done about it depends on the nature of the accusation (are they a drooling madman? Or just making suggestions of possible actions that the Examiner judges as against doctrine?) and perhaps more importantly who is doing the accusing. I suspect the truly mind blasted are treated with compassion (and there are perhaps some techniques of healing), the politically problematic treated ruthlessly, and those in the grey areas treated inconsistently (and often with no result at all, if the "Occluded" has more powerful friends than the accuser). 

But if the modern Lunars follow the practice of the Goddess, 'Naturals' and others who largely trod the path to Illumination outside the Lunar religion may be expected to find a way to heal themselves of the 'Occlusion' outside the Lunar path, such as via HeroQuest to discover their own Illumination path (as Valare Addi did). This is hero (or PC) territory. A PC who had become Illuminated, or nearly Illuminated, via an encounter with a dragon, or by traversing the Puzzle Canal, might have weird non-Lunar insights that might cause the Examiners to reject them as Occluded, and be asked to leave the Lunar religion to seek their own path to reconciliation - but welcomed back as a hero if they succeed. 

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I've always always kept Lunar illumination very uncertain and questionable, and basically keeping foreign illuminati as beyond the pale and not really part of the real world.

We had an NPC, DM-expy, and occasional PC who had what we called an Occlusion Insanity(tm) which we defined as "I'm A Happy Little Otter". (At least 1w level, if I'm permitted to define NPCs in such terms nowadays.) The character in question was a Great Troll going on 3m tall and weighing half a ton, so this identity dysphoria was... 'problematical', for those nearby.

Still: people came to believe that this Occlusion Insanity was mostly ever activated under situations of social stress and confusion; the character in question had a history as a carefree rollicking rafter on the Oslir River before becoming a serious, scholarly, cultured Great Troll; and had had a vicious run-in with a rather senior otter-goddess on that same river and subsequently had probably been badly cursed, forever. On the other hand, this... 'person', had a sincerity in the Lunar Path that was unquestioned, a strange familiarity with important Lunar powers and potentates, casual habits in disposing of abstruse epistemological and philological issues that were supposed to beyond the cognitive capability of uzdo, and above all, a startling cosmopolitanism in those spheres where arcane, holy, and taboo knowledge is supposed to obtain.

So was Dr. Pop just a both clueless and neurotic mortal, or a transcendental entity we can only begin to attempt to understand through the crippling lenses of biography and psychology? I think it's best not to really know; and best not to let rules, even the HQ:G style of rules, intrude into the dubious awe.

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5 hours ago, ChildOfEru said:


How open is the Lunar Empire about illumination?   Is it common knowledge that anyone can aspire to or is it more along the lines of a secret society that only the few and select can aspire to? 

It's widely proclaimed to be a stage of salvation on the Lunar Way.  Look at the cults of the Seven Mothers in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure or HeroQuest: Glorantha.  There's two steps to becoming a Lunar.    The first is the acquisition of the Moon Rune,  The second is becoming Sevened which is Illumination.

Quote

The Lunar Sevening Rites, which use Nysalorean
Riddles as explained by the New Gods of the Lunar
Way, are the easiest and most common path to
Illumination in the Third Age. Illumination is central
to the Lunar Way, and full use of the Moon Rune
requires Illumination. Illuminates are respected and
honored within the Lunar Empire, and most of the
elite of the Empire are Illuminated.

HeroQuest: Glorantha p206

 

5 hours ago, ChildOfEru said:

From the Prince of Sartar comic it seems to fall more into the category of secret knowledge.    Perhaps another way to phrase the question is if a devotee of one of the Seven Mothers could become illuminated just by attending cult ceremonies or would they have to be selected by a Lunar examiner first?   

There is really no such thing as a devotee of the Seven Mothers.  There are the Seveneds/Illuminates.  Becoming Sevened is done through the Sevening Rites (although the Nysaloran Riddles taught by the Order of Day are also used).

Quote

Overseen by priestesses of the Red Goddess called
the Illumination Examiners, these rites assault the
candidate’s personal worldview with deliberate and
conscious assaults by demons, gods, and the universe
itself. The candidate survives only through the
teachings of a Lunar New God that binds, protects,
and preserves her as she dissolves into the All.

HeroQuest: Glorantha p203

Quote

Awakening the Moon Rune within is only the first
step towards illumination through Sevening. A
candidate for Sevening must travel to the Illumination
Examiners to perform the Sevening Rites. From
New Pavis, the nearest Illumination Examiner is at
the New Lunar Temple in Dragon Pass

Pavis: Gateway to Adventure p407

 

5 hours ago, ChildOfEru said:

Is it something you are selected for, happen upon by accident or have thrust upon you?    Can the Lunar examiners reliable detect the illuminated?

There are Naturals, according to the Entekosaid, people who are illuminated without outside intervention.   It's also possible for someone to become illuminated through a powerful psychic event (although I have to doubt that being captured by Broos and being forced to listen to riddles would work).

Lunar Examiners and many illuminates can relaibly detect the Illuminated.  

 

5 hours ago, ChildOfEru said:

A follow question is what do examiners do with those found to be Occluded?

They can't detect Occlusion.  They can only infer a person is occluded based on what he does.

Quote

The only limitation on a Lunar
Illuminate is taking actions that the Red Emperor (an
Illuminated demigod) or other powerful Lunars (also
likely Illuminated) consider to be insane. The Lunars
call those who are driven insane by their Illumination
“Occluded,” but there exists no bright line division
between Occluded and non-Occluded. Some
prominent Lunar Illuminates have claimed there is
no such thing as Occlusion, merely small-minded
refusal to accept the full possibilities of Liberation. It
is worth adding that such statements are commonly
believed to be proof of Occlusion.

HeroQuest: Glorantha p206

 

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Thanks for all the great information.  My Glorantha experience dates back to RQ2 and a bit of time playing when Avalon Hill was publishing.   I'm slowly buying the current set of books and reading them.

5 hours ago, davecake said:

I suspect the truly mind blasted are treated with compassion (and there are perhaps some techniques of healing),

If I may say so; I was not expecting the enlightened attitude towards treating the occluded.   Given the nature of infighting between clans in the Lunar Empire it seems natural that decision of who is Occluded and who is-not would be very fraught with politics.

 

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12 minutes ago, ChildOfEru said:

 Given the nature of infighting between clans in the Lunar Empire it seems natural that decision of who is Occluded and who is-not would be very fraught with politics.

I lean your way.  Occluded would be most commonly heard in the Empire as a term of abuse.  Policing of Occluded would most commonly be done through the Dart Competitions.  One could appeal to the Emperor on whether so-and-so is occluded but this would be rarely done these days given the predilections of the current Red Emperor ("Wow, that's awesome!: etc).  The other authorities would be the Great Sister, JarEel (who might give supporters of the EelAriash clan a pass), the Red Dancer of Power or the Duke of the Blue Moon.  However going to other demigods, you run the risk of the accused being declared Occluded only in areas under their influence.

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I lean the opposite way. I suspect accusations of Occluded is often whispered, but who is to say who is Occluded, when many of the most powerful politico-religious figures in the Empire exhibit bizarre, even deviant behavior.

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"As troll me know illuminated and Occluded both the the same. Me tested this A great  many times for Only true way to test one character is to eat him and see how he sit's in stomach and they all sit the same. But be happy to run test over on the rest of the captured liners " Quote by Ozess the troll from My scar of the cradle campaign.

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As an aside, there are people predisposed towards Illumination. Lunar theorists believe that these are people strong with the Moon Rune. Such people may achieve Illumination as a result of a strange experience on a heroquest, hearing (and answering) a Nysalorean Riddle, or otherwise being exposed to cosmic paradox. Such Illumination is often fraught with dangers and such Illuminates, although respected in stories and tales, are often feared in practice.

Most people who seek Illumination do so through one of the many schools of Illumination in the Empire. 

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How closely tyed is illumination to chaos? And will the new RQ2.5 have rules for handling illumination and its effects in players characters?

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Illumination in itself is not chaotic. It is a retreat from the physical and magical reality of Creation, allowing a communication with more magical, less defined (and generally not life-friendly) realms closer to the Ultimate.

Chaos as the antithesis of Creation becomes of less importance. While exposure to Chaos remains a hazard for the individual, this hazard can be seen as similar to the hazards of operating with fire. You can operate it without getting burned, and you can become fire as an adherent of Dara Happan religion.

The journey of the Goddess herself has her confronted by raw, destructive Chaos as the encounter with the Ultimate, and accepting it as part of her existence. Her previous encounter with Nysalor gave her the means to survive this encounter.

In a way, Illumination is a de-humanizing experience.

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11 hours ago, ChildOfEru said:

Thanks for all the great information.  My Glorantha experience dates back to RQ2 and a bit of time playing when Avalon Hill was publishing.   I'm slowly buying the current set of books and reading them.

 

RQ Illumination is very different from Lunar Illumination, especially that described in the Lunar Handbook 2.

Personally, I think the old HW/HQ treatment of Lunar Illumination is far too complex and leaves a lot to be desired.

However, in the Lunar Empire there are different types or schools of Illumination:

  • Nysaloran Illumination - Remnants of the Bright Empire, these have had a presence in Dara Happa since the time of Nysalor
  • Arkati Illumination - A counterpart to Nysaloran Illumination, these may be hunters of "bad" Illuminates
  • Lunar Illumination - Those who follow the secrets and teachings of the Red Goddess and her followers

I also think there are schools of Yelmic Illuminatio, among the leaders of Dara Happa.

In my mind, they are different sides of the same thing. Mechanically, I treat them the same. However, Lunar Illumination provides some extra teachings that go beyond the vasic illumination, so Sevening, for example, is not available to the other types as it is a new teaching specific to the Lunars.

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7 hours ago, Jeff said:

I lean the opposite way. I suspect accusations of Occluded is often whispered, but who is to say who is Occluded, when many of the most powerful politico-religious figures in the Empire exhibit bizarre, even deviant behavior.

This becomes more of an issue with the rise of the Monster Empire, which I think is led by Occluded Illuminates who follow Gbaji more than Nysalor/Red Goddess.

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Is my understanding of illumination correct in the following statements.

So any path to becoming A Gloranthain hero, demigod, or dragon, is  essentially illumination.

Luners use chaos in there form of illumination to speed up the process judging increased risk worth the reward.

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2 minutes ago, Belgath said:

Is my understanding of illumination correct in the following statements.

Not in my games. 

 

2 minutes ago, Belgath said:

So any path to becoming A Gloranthain hero, demigod, or dragon, is  essentially illumination.

Not really. Rashoran fortified a few Gloranthan deities, to strengthen them against the Chaos in the Greater Darkness, but he did not illuminate all deities.

Nysalor taught a doctrine whereby people could essentially free themselves from the belief that Chaos is always bad, so they instinctively know that neither Chaos nor Law is good or evil. Some of the Greater Gods, for instance Orlanth, Storm Bull and Zorak Zoran, have a fundamental belief that chaos is always bad (Well, except for Zorak Zoran and cave Trolls), so they have clearly not been Illuminated.

Illumination can certainly help when becoming a Hero or Demigod. The Lunars fast-tracked the Seven Mothers and a number of others to godhood, partly through Illumination. However, I don't think it is necessary.

Nor do I think that becoming a hero, demigod or dragon means the person become Illuminated.

 

2 minutes ago, Belgath said:

Luners use chaos in there form of illumination to speed up the process judging increased risk worth the reward.

I don't think they do.

Illuminated Lunars know that Chaos is not fundamentally bad. However, even Illuminated Lunars don't normally want broos and scorpionmen living nearby and don't want their daughters to marry ogres. 

Chaos is a tool for the Lunars. They are happy to manipulate the cults of Thanatar and Krarsht, happy to use vampires as special forces or broos as mercenaries in certain areas. Even things like the Crimson Bat is seen as a symbol of the Red Goddess' power over Chaos rather than something to be embraced.

Having said that, Lunar broos and ogres tend to be more civilised than their wild counterparts, so exposure to them is not as threatening as coming across a broo nest in Prax or an ogres family in the wilds. If Illumination involves exposure to Chaos, which I don't think is true, then Lunar chaos is probably the most benign type.

 

 

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1 minute ago, soltakss said:

Nor do I think that becoming a hero, demigod or dragon means the person become Illuminated.

Becoming a dragon requires illumination of the draconic wisdom kind that was practiced in the EWF and is practiced in Kralorela. While this isn't the same as Rashoranic illumination, it is a path of mystical insight.

 

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23 minutes ago, Belgath said:

So any path to becoming A Gloranthain [...] demigod [..] is essentially illumination.

Some may argue the opposite, that becoming a demigod means enmeshing yourself within the Cosmos, reducing your connection to the All.

After all, the Gods are (usually) far more bound to it than any mortal is.

This is why it's incorrect to sacrifice to mystics and other teachers, for doing so entraps both them and the sacrificer within creation. It is far better to follow their teachings and example. To achieve a connection with the All.

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This is a great thread. I love the heck out of it.

ISTM that a big (and good/fun) part of Glorantha was about making cosmology and mythology literal and actual and mundane. If that is (or were) the case, then it seems natural that reaching beyond that actual mundane reality should be faced with extreme hostility and violence.

The nasty threat of Illumination is baked into the rich cake of Gloranthan gaming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Also note that "Illumination," as a singular term used within Creation by any mortal speaker, is inherently unable to encompass what is actually MEANT by the term, and in particular can mask the fact that two speakers who seem to be in complete agreement may in fact be speaking about two wildly-different (even wildly-incompatible) things, from a Cosmic (dare I say, Illuminated) perspective.

Two different "Illuminates" may have less in common with each other than either one has with -- for example -- the lowliest mundane-enmeshed mortal...

 

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On 7/9/2016 at 1:04 PM, Belgath said:

Is my understanding of illumination correct in the following statements.

So any path to becoming A Gloranthain hero, demigod, or dragon, is  essentially illumination.

Having reread the Illumination rules in Sartar Kingdoms of Heroes, your interpretation of those rules is probably correct.

Illumination from Nysalor/Gbaji/Arkat/Red Goddess is treated as functionally equivalent to draconic Illumination or the insights that becoming a Hero gives you. I am not sure if I like that idea, but I see why they have done it.

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29 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Illumination from Nysalor/Gbaji/Arkat/Red Goddess is treated as functionally equivalent to draconic Illumination

Yes.  Per HQG p.206: "Communicating with True Dragons (as opposed to their dreams or their immature offspring) results in a transformative mental and spiritual state called draconic consciousness that is functionally equivalent to Illumination. For game mechanic purposes, draconic consciousness is treated the same as Nysalorean Illumination, as it also liberates from fear of Chaos and True Dragons, and grants the same set of abilities as Nysalorean Illumination. Many scholars believe that draconic consciousness is somehow different from Illumination, although Argrath is said to have remarked that they are just different paths to the same place."

30 minutes ago, soltakss said:

or the insights that becoming a Hero gives you

I don't think is the case.  The Teachings of Arkat or Argrath (both being Illuminated) could give you such insights.  But just becoming a Hero would not.

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I treat the subject of different states of illumination like this.

Acquiring the Infinity Rune is done by everybody who has become a hero, demigod or dragon etc.  However the particular awareness of the Infinity Rune in such circumstances is narrow (being only one blind man feeling an elephant so to speak). The states of illumination in Glorantha (Nysaloran, Lunar, Arkati, God Learner, Draconic, Vithelan and the Cult of Silence) are much wider (ie feel more parts of the elephant) and can be achieved outside the process of becoming a Hero, Dragon etc.  Draconic awareness is wide because although traditional it is practiced by humans who find the draconic reality to be rather alien to their everyday sensations.  

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Man! Am I lost. This thread is befuddling me. I am most definitely un-illuminated! I guess I'm just a rude and ignorant Praxian Stormbuller with below average berserker skills, a Block-head so to speak. 

Why is Kim's post above so short and yet so long? Is it a Nysalor riddle of some kind, or am I blind to the wisdom which follows his third short paragraph? My head hurts and my eyes burn; am I on the correct path?

I will read on with wide eyes and a vacant mind until the sweet mead of illumination fills my head and warps my soul. A toast to you all! 

Cheers and good gaming.

Evilroddy.

Edited by Evilroddy
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I agree that becoming a dragon requires becoming Illuminated. There are many differences in doctrine that either might regard as proof that the other is 'doing it wrong' though - certainly a Lunar would argue that most draconic followers were Occluded. 

I certainly think it is possible to be a Hero, or a demigod, without being Illuminated, and that that is the normal course of events. It's probably not possible to be a Lunar hero without being Illuminated though, or a draconic one, or any other fundamentally mystic path. 

 

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21 hours ago, Evilroddy said:

Is it a Nysalor riddle of some kind, or am I blind to the wisdom which follows his third short paragraph?

You have failed to contemplate the Silence and the Emptiness which is without form.

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