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Differences between Brithini and Mostali


Tcneseis

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What is the difference between Mostali and Brithini? I think that they are very similar in their ascetic lifestyle, and wonder in which respects they differ. Although there are differences in lifestyle, both of them follow strict rules and are immortal under that condition. Both are ascetic and closed to the outside world. Both have a patron entity who is their source of magic, either Zzabur or Mostal. The Brithini are very similar to the Elder Races too, although they are human, but what is the Man Rune really? Dwarves have it too. I know the rules are not the same but they are based on the same principles. What are the fundamental differences in their worldviews?

 

Edited by Flaklad
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The notion of hereditary castes as a source of immortality does seem to follow wherever sorcery is practiced.  Not just the Brithini and the Mostali, but the Vadeli too.  I suspect this is all part of the whole "World Machine" way of looking at things.  If everything is ordered and in its place, then there is perfect homeostasis and the system will work harmonically, and nothing will break.  I don't know if there was any specific connection between Malkion and Mostal, but the outcomes bear similarity.

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Brithini are born to their caste, live within their caste and die in their caste. If they don't then they become not-Brithini.

True Mostali are their caste, a Quicksilver Mostali can no more become a Gold Mostali than chalk become cheese. They are very good at their caste powers but useless at everything else.

Brithini follow the teachings of Malkion but do not worship the Invisible God.

True Mostali follow Mostal and are the physical representations of Mostal, why would they worship themselves, they are Mostal.

Brithini Zzaburi use grimoires and arcane lore to tease the secrets out of Glorantha, inventing new magic at times.

True Mostali do not learn new things, in fact I would argue that they cannot learn new things, they know what they need to know and don't need to know anything else.

Brithini do grow old and die unless they leave the Brithini way.

True Mostali just do not wear out and die of old age, they do not age in the same way that machinery does not age.

Now, Clay Mostali (normal dwarves) are different entirely. They worship Mostal, or at least some do. They age regardless of whether they follow the Mostali Way or not. They can change castes and can learn new things. To my mind, Clay Mostali are to true Mostali what the Hrestoli are to the Brithini, poor copies who are eminently flexible.

 

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

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They do have similar worldviews, but how they differ can probably be traced back to this quote from Arcane Lore: "[The world comprises of] Matter and Energy. Philosophies disagree on which was first, with humans claiming devolution of energy organizing into matter, and Mostali claiming that mater disintegrated into energy."

This is a minor difference, but an important one, for it determines the form of their magic. A Malkioni (such as a Brithini) would use more energetic means to effect a change. A Mostali would use more material means to do so.

This is in party, why the dwarves have such a wealth of ingenious devices, to follow on, Arcane Lore mentions "... Alchemy is a general term which includes the application of no or weaker Will to generate a change, generally using more material means than energetic." A dwarf's thunderstick or disorder kegs are sorcerous ways of manipulating the world, much like a sorcerer's explosive spells. But they differ in philosophical methodology and appearance, if not the end result.

 

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8 hours ago, soltakss said:

Brithini do grow old and die unless they leave the Brithini way.

 

8 hours ago, soltakss said:

Now, Clay Mostali (normal dwarves) are different entirely. They worship Mostal, or at least some do. They age regardless of whether they follow the Mostali Way or not.

I'm surprised to learn this. My Guide to Glorantha does not say so. In fact, they would age naturally if they did not follow their respective ways. They consider death as a result of misapplied use of their abilities.

8 hours ago, soltakss said:

True Mostali are their caste, a Quicksilver Mostali can no more become a Gold Mostali than chalk become cheese. They are very good at their caste powers but useless at everything else.

Yes, that way Mostali are wired is probably the motive that I was looking for.

 

12 hours ago, Darius West said:

 If everything is ordered and in its place, then there is perfect homeostasis and the system will work harmonically, and nothing will break.  I don't know if there was any specific connection between Malkion and Mostal, but the outcomes bear similarity.

No, I think the Malkioni believe the process is sequential and incremental. Anyway, nothing was really broken which could be reversed. A lot of destruction was wrought on Zzabur's part. On the other hand, other users of sorcery do try and steal things from the Mostali who are paranoid because they can't use them properly. It would be a consequence of their obedience to Mostal.

 

3 hours ago, Tindalos said:

humans claiming devolution of energy organizing into matter, and Mostali claiming that mater disintegrated into energy.

An interesting detail. I'm thinking it over.

 

Edited by Flaklad
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  • 3 months later...

Brithini and Mostali are very different. 

Mostali are not human, and their psychology is very different.

Brithini are human. Their psychology is human, if unusual. 

Basically, Brithini are very conservative humans, mostly limited in their intellectual curiousity (except the Zzaburi). They do desire to improve their lives but only within limited ways by limited means. They have a very strong sense of their role in society and their civic responsibility, but they are individuals. An average Brithini enjoys food, drink, company of others, nature, and so on - for the most part, they work hard, but also enjoy simple pleasures. The notion of 'social progress' is relatively alien to them as we understand it - their society is evidently correct, as it grants Immortality. The Brithini enjoy and appreciate positive emotions like love, and sensual pleasures,as long as they are always subordinated to logic and the good of the community. 

Mostali take very little joy in anything that isn't the work of Mostali. They do not, for the most part, value individuality. They take joy really only in achievement of tasks and making their perfect space to be comfortable and relaxed in - even normal eating and drinking and other sensual pleasures are of no joy to them. Freedom is also alien to most of them - an orthodox mostali aspires to, either by orders or knowledge, having no doubt whatsoever what to do at any given moment.

There are similarities. Both are very conservative, and immortal. Both value being good at their jobs, and serving their community. Both rely on reason and rationality. In many ways they think alike, but ultimately Brithini are weird humans, and Mostali are not humans at all. 

It is also worth considering the Vadeli. The Brithini and the Vadeli hate each other with a deep loathing. But they hate each other so much because, in many way, they are very similar. Both are immortal as long as they maintain their caste rules. Both are logical sorcery based societies. And actually, the core rules of their societies are quite similar. 

But the Vadeli are not conservative by nature (only to the extent they maintain their caste rules, as a path to immortality). They bend the rules, find loopholes, test them. They do co-operate among themselves, but regard literally everyone else as not much more than resources to exploit. The Vadeli do not stop at simple pleasures, but indulge grotesque and perverse tastes as well. 

The Brithini believe that their way of life is a logically developed system of cooperation and morality for the common good. The Vadeli think that is a ridiculous idea, and logic implies morality is a delusion. The Vadeli are nihilists, and incredibly awful. They are also the only people that the Brithini can't logically prove wrong. Which eats at the Brithini constantly. 

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It's what I think about the Mostali. Some individuality, but not much in the way of it. They may not even bother telling themselves apart.

10 hours ago, davecake said:

Basically, Brithini are very conservative humans, mostly limited in their intellectual curiousity (except the Zzaburi). They do desire to improve their lives but only within limited ways by limited means. They have a very strong sense of their role in society and their civic responsibility, but they are individuals. An average Brithini enjoys food, drink, company of others, nature, and so on - for the most part, they work hard, but also enjoy simple pleasures. The notion of 'social progress' is relatively alien to them as we understand it - their society is evidently correct, as it grants Immortality. The Brithini enjoy and appreciate positive emotions like love, and sensual pleasures,as long as they are always subordinated to logic and the good of the community. 

It contrasts with the dreariness and bleakness which Brithini lands are well-known for. I think the degree they indulge in pleasure is relatively small, but they certainly do. They may also have games and other activities on special days.

 

 

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About the dreariness of land: well, don't forget that Brithini Zzaburi practice tapping. Maybe infrequently, but they live forever. And typically stay in the same lands.

There is something rotten in Brithos...

Edited by Patrick
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7 hours ago, Tcneseleis said:

It's what I think about the Mostali. Some individuality, but not much in the way of it. They may not even bother telling themselves apart.

I think Mostali find it very awkward to discuss any issue outside their assigned work role with other Mostali. Thinking of other Mostali as individuals is weird. Discussing another Mostalis private life (typically the hobby they pursue in their private sleep niche) in a work context a huge social taboo. 

But of course there are some Mostali who embrace individuality. Individualism is a known heresy., rightly condemned by most Mostali. Which gives you some idea how alien individuality is to orthodox mostali. 

http://www.glorantha.com/docs/individualism/

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7 hours ago, Patrick said:

About the dreariness of land: well, don't forget that Brithini Zzaburi practice tapping. Maybe infrequently, but they live forever. And typically stay in the same lands.

There is something rotten in Brithos...

There is. 

Just ask any post-Brithini follower of Malkion. Malkion became a mortal, and Zzabur turned away from Malkion, and condemned him. (initially I wrote the most appropriate typo - 'Malkion became a moral', which is also perfectly true). Brithos is rotten, because it does not acknowledge Malkion, but only Zzabur. Their Logic is without true love or compassion.

The Brithini, especially their Zzaburii, of course, think  the above is illogical nonsense. 'define the logical value of love' they say. Why would you treat the Energy of a flower or a lake as being of moral value compared to the well being of the true people? Why is taking on the delusionary emotions of lesser mortality supposed to make the word of Malkion deliver insights superior to the perfect Logical thought of the divine Zzabur? Its laughable, they say. 

Note that when I talk about the Brithini acknowledging simple sensual pleasures, and enjoying positive emotion,  I'm mostly talking about all the other castes except the  Zzaburi - the Zzaburi strive to be as emotionless and cold as Zzabur. But the Brithini Zzaburi are the ones who Tap. But also note that the embrace of sensual pleasure as being a perfectly logical way of enjoying life carries on to modern Malkioni, especially the Rokari. The Rokari think the love of food, drink, sex, and beauty is perfectly logical and indulge themselves withouit guilt (though still acknowledging that some pleasures are problematic, like overindulgence to the point of addiction or physical debilitation). 

Malkion is said (though not, as far as I am aware, in a canon source, so take with a grain of salt) to have said "Do not ruin that which you love", which by modern Malkioni (both Rokari and Hrestoli) is interpreted to mean do not Tap. Tapping might be justified in extremis when the alternative is worse, and sorcerers know how to Tap because its theoretically implicit in all sorcery, but it is intrinsically wrong. 

Brithini, Vadeli and Waertagi, the pre-Malkion West, consider Tapping to something that can be logically justified simple by the outcome - if Tapping helps you win, do it. Hence the sad bleak Brithini lands. Most post-Malkion Westerners think that by Zzabur etc allowing Tapping they brought on the Great Darkness, and only the great sacrifice of Malkion allows mankind to access Solace and so have some hope of redemption in the broken world that Zzabur left us with. 

And then there are the weirdo minor modern sects, the Galvosti and the Boristi. The Boristi think Malkion could not possibly have loved Chaos, so Tapping Chaos is fine. But that has led them into weird creepy territory. And the Galvosti think that Malkion could not possibly have loved non-Malkioni heretics, which has led to them Tapping most of their enemies, which has led to them being soundly hated and nearly exterminated. 

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I think all Malkioni have the notions of sin we are familiar with. The Rokari probably do not have so many food strictures as the Brithini, except possibly eating fish on Freezedays (because freeze preserves fish?).

Since tapping is allowed, tapping animals before eating them must be frequently done.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Tcneseleis said:

I think all Malkioni have the notions of sin we are familiar with. The Rokari probably do not have so many food strictures as the Brithini, except possibly eating fish on Freezedays (because freeze preserves fish?).

They do not have a notion of Sin like any form of Christianity does. There is Error. Error is bad, but its not the same as Sin. Error demonstrates poor judgement, but not necessarily moral failure. 

They almost certainly do have food strictures, but I don't think they are particularly rigid, though there may be some caste based ones. 

Modern Malkioni eat fish not because it is forbidden not to, but because Malkion recommends fish (RM pg 18). He also blesses the Swine (so pork is good) and blesses the relish - Malkioni clearly like their condiments! I'm sure they eat fish when they wish to demonstrate piety. 

 

8 hours ago, Tcneseleis said:

Since tapping is allowed, tapping animals before eating them must be frequently done.

It ruins the flavour and/or nutritional value, I'm pretty sure. 

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11 hours ago, davecake said:

They do not have a notion of Sin like any form of Christianity does. There is Error. Error is bad, but its not the same as Sin. Error demonstrates poor judgement, but not necessarily moral failure. 

So, are some of the Zzaburi lawyers or spiritual advisers? (not the equivalent of Christian clerics) I don't think it is right to call them philosophers in the same sense as the Ancient Greeks had philosophy schools, because they were not so widespread.

And I doubt the Malkioni have schools, other than for Zzaburi.

12 hours ago, davecake said:

They almost certainly do have food strictures, but I don't think they are particularly rigid, though there may be some caste based ones. 

Modern Malkioni eat fish not because it is forbidden not to, but because Malkion recommends fish (RM pg 18). He also blesses the Swine (so pork is good) and blesses the relish - Malkioni clearly like their condiments! I'm sure they eat fish when they wish to demonstrate piety. 

Yes, I doubt they rigidly follow such rules, but have a lot of divine advice and recommendations.

 

 

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Zzaburi in general (for all Malkioni) are philosophers, quite a bit in the ancient greek mold, only their study of philosophy also gives them powerful magic, and thus has (comparitively to terrestrial philosophers) enormous practical utility. There are many more in society than there were greek philosophers, sure, but there probably would have been a lot more philosophers in ancient greek society if they had access to mighty sorcery. And consequently, the Zzaburi spend a lot more of their time considering the philosophy of natural science and the study of the natural world, as well as the metaphysical and moral laws. So some zzaburi are like greek philosophers, some are more like natural historians or alchemists. 

The Zzaburi do have authority to discuss and interpret the Law, but ultimately a talar will be the one who decides how it applies. The Talars are the judges, but cannot operate without the advice of the Zzaburi. And the role of the Talars is to interpret the law and issue orders, not to change the law (in practice, for later Malkioni like the Rokari, this means there are two kinds of law - the True Law, and the Orders of the King). Note also that many many practical matters that we might consider legal are settled entirely within the caste - for example, trade is for the most part a matter for dronar, so most detailed regulation of commerce is handled within the dronar caste. 

For modern Malkioni, I do think there are legal scholars among the Zzaburi, loosely the equivalent of Sunni imams. But they may only become advisors, never judges (except among the Hrestoli of course). But they are held in high regard, and their writings widely circulated. I think there are probably some very detailed, widely known, books about the dialogue on legal matters between famous Zzaburi and famous Talars. 

And I do think the Malkioni have schools, or at least an education system that includes explicit education of the young, for all castes. Entirely segregated (and likely quite different) by caste, though. Many dronars might get all their formal learning via an apprecticeship system, for example - but it would still involve more formal learning than the equivalent for almost all non-Westerners. Talars probably have tutors rather than schools, but again some formal education. 

The Zzaburi are not spiritual advisers to the Brithini, because the Brithini more or less deny the spiritual. You can ask them for advice about practical stuff, some of which might sound spiritual to modern people, but the Brithini think most of that is nonsense. Ask them about the questions about your soul, your faith, etc and you just get told to consider only Logic and the Law and dismiss such ridiculous ideas. Amongst modern Malkioni, though, then yes, you will get spiritual advice about the attainment of Solace (and Joy, if you are a Hrestoii) from the zzaburi. 

 

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Segregation does not only take place in schools. Malkioni towns have a market place where people from different castes meet. The Talars must manage the relations between them, even if the castes have more freedom to organize themselves and do their business as they see fit. If a Zzaburi is suspected of a crime, the Talars may order them taken into custody, but should not a Zzaburi be tried only by another Zzaburi? 

 

Edited by Tcneseleis
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