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David Scott

What happens when you're dead

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5 hours ago, Darius West said:

The primary contradiction is this...

There is a MAJOR difference between (a) entity who is killed by another entity and sent to the underworld, and (b) one who goes there as part of a hero quest, entering the underworld while still alive.  (a) is involuntary, (b) is voluntary.  If (a) happens you are stuck unless someone does (b) to get you out.  Of course things can go wrong during (b) and they might become actually dead and therefore unable to return, but they are NOT otherwise actually dead...

For how can you be dead if you are not separate from your body?  

(a) Yelm was killed by Orlanth and went to the Underworld. He showed up in the underworld with his body, and enough of a retinue (who also had bodies) to slaughter the trolls at the battle of Hanroo Field. Leaving a body in the middle world seems to be a Time thing, or perhaps only applies to mortals.

(b) Orlanth followed Yelm into the underworld, compelled either by his own remorse or Yelm's call. How voluntary this was is not at all clear.

The upshot is, that at the climax of the Myth, everyone is Dead, and the world has to be fundamentally re-made to let them live again. Once Orlanth entered the Gates of Dusk, he could Not leave again without making peace with Yelm. He was Dead.

 

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

the Middle World is the place us mortals live

Awesome! Zero interest in rushing a new interpretation of Gloranthan shamanism but I always loved the animist approach for bending many of the conventional relationships between non-corporeal entities ("spirits") and bodies, life and horrible dead stuff. The shaman can, after all, operate independently on both levels at once, resuscitate the body if its ability to support life is interrupted, share the body with ancestors & other eager spirits, discorporate and travel invisibly like wind, etc. For ordinary Gloranthans, these ordeals would probably skirt the line of Death, but for the "nagual" (like the Humakti beyond the bridge of swords) the terms get slippery. 

 

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One thing that I am increasingly convinced about is the odd similarities between the shaman and the Hero. Both exist in both this world and the world of the Divine and/or the Dead. Both typically know secret paths out of the Realm of the Dead, and how to avoid being consumed by the Celestial beings. 

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On 12/15/2016 at 2:02 PM, soltakss said:

Daka Fal separated the living from the Dead, within God Time. I believe he also separated those who had died from those who had never lived, so arranging the Halls of the Dead. I thought those happened before the Dawn.

I love this line because it reminds me how primeval Larnste got the title "Soul Arranger" and so undoubtedly hints at deep relationships among the various psychopomps we know. Would not be surprised if it touched on the problem of what Kargan Tor did before Death as well.

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5 hours ago, David Scott said:

It's not a ruling, it's an established part of Greg Stafford's world. Jeff is certainly not the origin of this, Greg almost certainly is. Jeff (and myself) will certainly uphold Greg's basis for the world. Having heard Greg talk about this kind of stuff for years, I feel that this is an established Gloranthan world view. Also, mythology doesn't have to make sense, that much I did learn from Greg and my own subsequent experience and education. You are most certainly welcome to argue your point, I don't however think it will change established Glorantha to your version. 

I would generally hold that in Glorantha, the mythical is supreme over the logical/rational.  Thus -- and despite Darius's rather cogent arguments to the contrary -- I would hew to the belief that "non-natives of the Underworld become Dead when they enter in the Underworld."

That said, one of the core elements of Gloranthan "truths" -- indeed myths in general -- is that sometimes they contradict one another, and that exceptions DO exist.  Almost(?) nothing is absolute.  So maybe a few outsiders HAVE lived throughout their excursion to the Underworld...  That'd be a very, VERY mythical & Gloranthan thing to happen!

Quote

Long, long ago -- but long, long after the Dawn -- Eurmal went back to the Underworld.  He hadn't liked being Dead when he went there on the Lightbringers' quest, so he took precautions.  First, he went to the Paps and gathered a bit of soil from the deepest and most-sacred caves, from the very hiding place where Eiritha sheltered from the Devil; this he placed inside his left boot.  Then, he went to the Greenstone Temple, and took a bit of soil from where Ernalda had slept before the Great Darkness; this he placed inside his right boot.  This way he would visit the Underworld without ever setting foot there -- with only Goddess-touch upon him -- and he thought it one of his greatest tricks ever.

Last but not least, I'd love to find out what Greg himself thinks of some of the arguments presented for the Living being able to travel in the Land of the Dead (without being/becoming Dead).

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11 hours ago, scott-martin said:

the problem of what Kargan Tor did before Death as well.

IMO he does almost nothing by himself, except perhaps fighting Boggles, keeping watch, and teaching other gods how to fight. He is not worshipped because he not dead but separated into many parts which never come as the old pure power he personified. Many gods of the Underworld have the Death rune, and it was found there, but the watchman aspect which is emphasized in the Pole Star was not here yet either when the Spike was made. Kargan Tor was totally neutral.

 

 

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On 12/17/2016 at 11:09 AM, Darius West said:

I am saying that such a ruling makes little to no sense, and that there are precedents within the collected lore that seem to contradict this notion as being as iron clad as many seem to think it is.  On close inspection, you will find that the notion of always being "dead" if you are in the underworld introduces a series of logical contradictions which I have outlined previously.

Of course it does. The mere fact that you can travel to the Land of the Dead and return it, in itself, a logical contradiction.

You are dead as the mere act of passing over the River Styx makes you dead. The dead pass over the River Styx, the living do not.

 

On 12/17/2016 at 11:09 AM, Darius West said:

The primary contradiction is this...

There is a MAJOR difference between (a) entity who is killed by another entity and sent to the underworld, and (b) one who goes there as part of a hero quest, entering the underworld while still alive.  (a) is involuntary, (b) is voluntary.  If (a) happens you are stuck unless someone does (b) to get you out.  Of course things can go wrong during (b) and they might become actually dead and therefore unable to return, but they are NOT otherwise actually dead...

For how can you be dead if you are not separate from your body?  It flies in the face of what has been established by spells like resurrection and sever spirit, not to mention cults like Daka Fal to say that a person who has not been separated from their body is dead, even if they ARE in the underworld, except as some spurious theoretical and factually incorrect "ritual notion of death attached to entering the underworld", developed by cult theologists but having no practical bearing on what actually happens. 

 

Of course there is a difference. 

Someone could be a willing sacrifice, making (a) voluntary.

Someone could be dragged into a heroQuest to Hell, making (b) involuntary.

 

If you are on a HeroQuest and are trapped in Hell, that makes you dead. Someone needs to come to Hell and bring you back, otherwise you are trapped in Hell forever. The fact that you might have a body makes very little difference when hell hounds are chasing you.

 

Some HeroQuests allow for the spirit to go on a HeroQuest, leaving the body there. Would that make you happier? Personally, I prefer the whole-body heroQuesting, where you physically travel to the Realms.

 

What about a shaman? They discorporate and become ghosts, are they dead by your definition?

On 12/17/2016 at 11:09 AM, Darius West said:

There is also as more precedent for LIVE mortal heroes of various Earth mythologies within the underworld as there is for them being notionally "dead", especially if we are drawing from the Greek, Celtic, and Norse traditions, which are the main mythological traditions on which most heroquesting is based.

Heroes that go to the Land of the Dead and return are living when they return. Very little mythology discusses their status while in the Land of the Dead. Persephone dwells both in the Land of the Dead and the Land of the Living, spending part of the year in both, but she is dead when she is in Hades. 

 

On 12/17/2016 at 11:09 AM, Darius West said:

To make the ruling "you are always dead in the underworld" dogmatically "part of the canon" is rigid and absurdist fundamentalism, and also, when you look at it in practical terms, unworkable, as it creates more problems than it solves.  It is certain that SOME cultures assume that you are dead within the underworld even when you were alive going in, but there is "no way in hell" they ALL think that, and the ones that do probably have major gods who died.

 

It actually creates no problems at all.

I have run and played in many HeroQuests where the participants have been to Hell and returned. The fact that they are technically dead having crossed the Styx makes absolutely no difference to them. One of my PCs became pregnant when in Hell after she met an elf there, the fact that the elf was actually dead made no difference whatsoever as it was a magical act.

You obviously have a big problem with the idea, so I would just ignore it if I were you. It would make no difference to canon and you can run your games exactly how you want. Everyone wins.

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18 hours ago, Jeff said:

One thing that I am increasingly convinced about is the odd similarities between the shaman and the Hero. Both exist in both this world and the world of the Divine and/or the Dead. Both typically know secret paths out of the Realm of the Dead, and how to avoid being consumed by the Celestial beings. 

In my Glorantha, Shamans know the ways to the Land of the Dead and to the Sky World and other places, so each journey to another realm is, in effect, a mini-HeroQuest.

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On 12/15/2016 at 2:03 PM, Zit said:

What about Darkness creatures from the Underworld ? Or did they all flee as Yelm went to hell ?

The Underworld itself is not part of Hell. Only that part of the Underworld beyond the River Styx counts as Hell.

Having said that, Wonderhome seems to have been in Hell. However, the original trolls had never crossed over the Styx, as they had been born in Wonderhome, so they do not count as having died. 

Trolls who die go back to Wonderhome where they can sit and eat all day, bathing in darkness, unless they are very bad and are sent to the Sky where their flesh burns for all eternity.

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On 12/18/2016 at 1:33 AM, David Scott said:

Dead meaning you are in the underworld, but with your body and spirit intact, not just your spirit and your body in the middle world. In this case death being separation, would sever your spirit from your body. I think I said earlier, your body may appear back in the ritual starting space. Whilst your spirit remains. Casting sever spirit on a spirit in the underworld, will have no effect IMO. I defined two states you can have in the underworld in both cases your spirit is there, with or without your body. In both cases you are "dead".

Obviously casting sever spirit on a spirit is pointless, because it is already "severed".  As for someone's body reappearing in the ritual space, sure, failed hero quest, not my point of contention at all. 

My problem is how can you not see the absurdity of a person who is "dead" just because they are in the underworld and yet has their body and spirit joined, which is the very Gloranthan definition of being "alive".  You seem to say "nope, they're dead" across all cultures of Glorantha, just because they are in the underworld, and I think in terms of game mechanics that is false, in terms of it being a trans-cultural definition that applies to all Gloranthan cultures it is wildly unlikely even post God Learner monomyth, and it doesn't fit with the activities we see taking place.  Gloranthan cultures agree on very little, why is this point something they agree about?  Justify it please?  Nothing breaks narrative like internal and irreconcilable contradictions.

Clearly there is a  MASSIVE QUALITATIVE DIFFERENCE between the state of the Lightbringers in the underworld to that of Yelm and his court in the same place.  If they are all equally "dead" how can that be accounted for?  Are we back to some sort of Princess Bride business where they are only "mostly dead" or some equally comical notion ? 

Now if someone's spirit is still animating their body in the underworld, if sever spirit can work on them, they must be alive, because the whole point of sever spirit is that it emulates the death rune.  Now if someone were as dead as you say they are in the underworld, then actually, if you were being honest, you would have to admit that death ceases to have much power over the dead.  So why is sever spirit a threat in this instance?  Simple... they're not dead if their body and spirit are still joined.  

Next example, trolls came from the underworld and were alive there, and nobody says they are somehow "dead" for being on the middle world which is not their natural habitat, so how come humans are somehow "dead" for merely being in the underworld, especially when they have their body and spirit joined?  Or were trolls always dead when they were in the underworld?  There are, after all, trolls who never left the underworld, so are they alive or dead?  "Dead" according to what the fundamentalist interpretation of "scripture" says, and despite all evidence to the contrary.

NOW IF NONE OF THAT HAS CONVINCED YOU, THIS WILL...

If you are "dead" when you enter the underworld, then Humakti who heroquest in the underworld can never return, because that would be returning from death which is utterly against cult precepts.  Oh, but perhaps the Humakti don't consider merely going into the underworld is being "dead".  If not, it's off to the Einherjar with you, you one shot meat-sack.  Now I am pretty sure that Humakti have some pretty important hero quests to perform in the underworld... RECONCILE THAT.

Are you even remotely willing to consider that the whole thing about being "dead" in the underworld was some throw away poetic line from a Donandar minstrel that everyone was struck by the beauty of and adopted as true, but which was in fact nothing more than a lyrical affectation from the Second Age? 

Most importantly, why defend a point that is teleologically false in order to dogmatically support a point of "scripture" that in all likelihood doesn't mean what anyone thinks it means?  Meaning is use; if a term is not useful it is not meaningful, and in this instance it introduces contradictions that undermine the logic of the whole established system of what life and death mean in the game world, as I have repeatedly outlined ad nauseum.

Edited by Darius West
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On 12/18/2016 at 5:29 AM, boztakang said:

The upshot is, that at the climax of the Myth, everyone is Dead, and the world has to be fundamentally re-made to let them live again. Once Orlanth entered the Gates of Dusk, he could Not leave again without making peace with Yelm. He was Dead.

ORLY?  You are only saying that because things turned out that way, the truth is that Trickster had already been to the underworld before, AND left, and had he wanted to he could have done so again.  Now Orlanth was honorable, his position in the underworld was voluntary and ethical, because if he wanted to, at any time he could have said "Hey trickster, f**k this for a game of soldiers, lets go home and fight in the I fought we won battle instead".  They had the means at their disposal to leave the underworld, so no, not dead, not even a bit dead.

For your next trick, explain to me how Humakti hero questers who go to the underworld and are therefore "dead" don't break their cult precepts regarding coming back to life by returning from being "dead" in the underworld at the completion of their hero quest.  Oh, and on your one way trip to the Einherjar, ask not for whom the Thanatari wait, they are waiting for you.

Edited by Darius West
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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

Clearly there is a  MASSIVE QUALITATIVE DIFFERENCE between the state of the Lightbringers in the underworld to that of Yelm and his court in the same place.  If they are all equally "dead" how can that be accounted for?  Are we back to some sort of Princess Bride business where they are only "mostly dead" or some equally comical notion ? 

Love this thread even though it can get hot. I wonder if it makes sense to look at the SPECIFIC MASSIVE QUALITATIVE DIFFERENCES we see in various states of death and ritual underworld journeys. Some gods have secret trapdoors in and out of hell. They may or may not be the same doors but we won't know until we look.

To me what makes the Lightbringers special is their ritual journey through the gates of dusk and in Orlanth's unique (?) case, the baths of Nelat. With that in mind, I'd look at the water mysteries of death, life and transmigration for clues on how Orlanth in particular gets to the other side without suffering the same agonies that afflict the wormy emperor down there. Purification is important. Maybe even a kind of atonement. While Magasta is the central figure worldwide, in this part of the Barbarian Belt the key myths I'd look at are the unclosing wound of Sky River Titan and the bizarre magical properties of the Creek•River•Stream. Also the rehabilitation of Mastakos, the adoption of Heler, etc. I'm not sure Issaries knows these particular pathways all that well, but then again, Issaries isn't the star of the lightbringer rite.

Other people can emulate their gods in and out of hell. Falamal is a dying god, Blue Moon adepts grow from the dirt like potatoes, etc. Not sure Yelmalio knows how to die well, but that's a digression. I think when Magasta claims you, you're dead.

3 hours ago, Darius West said:

If you are "dead" when you enter the underworld, then Humakti who heroquest in the underworld can never return, because that would be returning from death which is utterly against cult precepts.  Oh, but perhaps the Humakti don't consider merely going into the underworld is being "dead".  If not, it's off to the Einherjar with you, you one shot meat-sack.  Now I am pretty sure that Humakti have some pretty important hero quests to perform in the underworld... RECONCILE THAT.

I ain't gonna be the one to tell the Humakt crowd that Bridge of Swords is just another entheogenic puppet show, much less claim such a thing in front of all you serious characters. What I always thought it did was give the Death God ownership of your soul -- you are dead -- and then send you back in order to deliver his grim gospel here in the land of the living, i.e., kick ass. Once that happens, it's not really up to you whether you breathe another day up here or go back down to hell whenever the master says your time is up. You don't decide. And you definitely don't challenge his will by seeking outside resurrection. If you feel strongly enough when you run out of hit points, take it up with the master and roll the DI dice.

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12 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

I ain't gonna be the one to tell the Humakt crowd that Bridge of Swords is just another entheogenic puppet show, much less claim such a thing in front of all you serious characters. What I always thought it did was give the Death God ownership of your soul -- you are dead -- and then send you back in order to deliver his grim gospel here in the land of the living, i.e., kick ass. Once that happens, it's not really up to you whether you breathe another day up here or go back down to hell whenever the master says your time is up. You don't decide. And you definitely don't challenge his will by seeking outside resurrection. If you feel strongly enough when you run out of hit points, take it up with the master and roll the DI dice.

Utter rubbish.  Dead is dead is dead. There is no grim gospel for you. You have utterly contradicted the central tenets of the cult if you come back from this silly notion of being "dead" that you promulgate about the underworld.  You don't get to go to the Einherjar.  You get no DI.  You get fed to the spirit of retribution, and then to the howling void of ignominy.  You are merely another head claimed for Thanatar; gibber and go insane.  You failed the hero quest.  But I am polite, please allow me to return your posterior, don't eat it all at once, thanks for playing. 

Edited by Darius West
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Shows how much time I spend with those guys . . . I was remembering the ban as just a set of hardcore geasa but point taken. How's the rest of it hold up though? You died in the rite, he sends you back in the body (a loophole in the usual death cycle), after that you're on your own.

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3 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Shows how much time I spend with those guys . . . I was remembering the ban as just a set of hardcore geasa but point taken. How's the rest of it hold up though? You died in the rite, he sends you back in the body (a loophole in the usual death cycle), after that you're on your own.

There is a "lovely" niche picked out for you in Than Ulbar.  Treak is a cruel master, but if you don't annoy him he will probably not actually spiritually destroy you.  The other rotting head ghosts are pretty bad for conversation, and you sort of get why they are all mad after trying to chat with them, but as your own brain decays in your skull you no longer even care.  You spend the rest of your day flailing at people whose tattoos and silver skull with rams horns medallions utterly block your aggression.  You are eventually spiritually annihilated by 5th Age Kralorelan Hero Questers.

Edited by Darius West

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5 hours ago, Darius West said:

ORLY?  

yarly. HQGlorantha has the following in the Humakt cult writeup.

Quote

Humakt enforced his own Truth that was stronger, and so killed Orlanth too. But Humakt showed the secret of his honor and justice and let his brother arise again through the Lightbringers’ Quest. 

so, at least from Humakt's point of view, Orlanth was quite thoroughly and unambiguously Dead. His only out being the LBQ and resurrection of the world.

 

Quote

For your next trick, explain to me how Humakti hero questers who go to the underworld and are therefore "dead" don't break their cult precepts regarding coming back to life by returning from being "dead" in the underworld at the completion of their hero quest.

There are several ways to accomplish this. If you are doing "Humakt discovers Death" then you are home free because by the end of that quest, only one person in the whole world will have died, and it is usually not the Questor. That is the only myth I am immediately aware of that has Humakt directly traveling to the underworld, and in that case he clearly isn't dead because death doesn't exist until he "finds" it.

Another common way for Humakti to participate in underworld heroquests is as another god (usually Orlanth)'s equipment. If I'm traveling as Orlanth's Sword, then I am clearly not a living thing, and am simply along for the ride. Cult authorities are hardly going to ding you for embodying a sword, even if you  are technically not alive while doing so.

You will also note that an awful lot of Humakti HeroQuesters end up illuminated. Arkat being the prime example. "I was dead, but now I'm not, but I never resurrected" makes a mighty fine Nysalor riddle, after all.

 

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Aren't heroes those who break the rules and achieves deeds beyond normal reach ? So they could cross the Styx and remain alive, like Odysseus or Orpheus, while nomal people would be definitly dead. And to die in Glorantha technically means that your soul is separated from your body (or did thid change in the GtG?), so heroes travelling to the underworld with their bodies should gloranthawise not be dead.

I would understand death as the force (or power) which cuts your spirit off your body and definitely sends it to the land of death. As for Heroquesting humaktis, you can consider that they did not use the power of death to go down there, so they do not break their cult precepts when going back to the overworld.

I don't have any problem with living creatures visiting the land of Death. And I don't have any problem either with contradictions in mythology. All mythologies are full of contradictions.

By the way, are gosts bound in the overworld dead or alive ?

 

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Humakti may not be "called back from the dead in any way" - that means resurrection, summoned as a ghost, undead, or whatever. However, a Humakti can leave the Realm of the Dead if they know the secret path and it is their own actions - not the summoning of another. In that way, they repeat the deeds of their god. That is no more a contradiction in the cult's beliefs than the summoning of Chaos by Orlanth cultists as part of their rituals.

Ghosts in this world are spirits of the dead who *should* be in the Realm of the Dead but aren't for one reason or another.

But this whole discussion has now reached the "how many angels dance on the head of pins" point. 

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

But this whole discussion has now reached the "how many angels dance on the head of pins" point. 

This thread seems to have been about how an objective set of rules should apply to mythological state. Much like the god learners would have tried, and ultimately failed. Better to look at the subjective experiences of the cults and cultures and how they interact with death, the spirit world, the underworld and heroquesting. Humakt is always going to pop up, he is death, god of separation, so ultimately the source of this ending. I've always found Humakt is a bit over represented in RPG glorantha, being a hold over from murder-hobo style gaming.

As for interacting with the Underworld, Hells and the Land of the Dead, rescuing Hostfaring Treeleaper in the Sartar book is an excellent guideline as to how it should be. The cultural section on what happens when you die is an excellent resource. At over 20 pages, this is for me, Glorantha Gold.

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Humakti may not be "called back from the dead in any way" - that means resurrection, summoned as a ghost, undead, or whatever. However, a Humakti can leave the Realm of the Dead if they know the secret path and it is their own actions - not the summoning of another. In that way, they repeat the deeds of their god. That is no more a contradiction in the cult's beliefs than the summoning of Chaos by Orlanth cultists as part of their rituals.

Ghosts in this world are spirits of the dead who *should* be in the Realm of the Dead but aren't for one reason or another.

But this whole discussion has now reached the "how many angels dance on the head of pins" point. 

But no, because ACCORDING TO YOU, everyone who enters the underworld is "dead", and a Humakti who is dead must stay dead or be turfed from the cult.  Now if you admit that the Humakti are ALIVE in the underworld, suddenly there is no problem, and they can return to the middle land, but you must then admit you are wrong about being dead in the underworld

You say that all people in the underworld are dead, and yet this completely fails in every respect in the case of Humakt, because Humakti cannot repeat the deeds of their god on a hero quest into the underworld unless your model of death and the underworld is wrong and they are in fact alive.  At what point will you allow Chalana Arroy to heal the scar of certainty under YOUR tongue? 

This is not an isolated case, there are many examples of the fact that this whole notion of being "dead" in the underworld is at best a dubious idea that undermines the whole established notion of what death actually is.

As for the "how many angels" statement, are you sure it isn't Aesop's fable about the Fox and the Sour Grapes?

Now you have not exactly been slow in suggesting that my point was invalid and suggested I was trying to force "my version of Glorantha" onto "the canon", and that was pretty uncharitable really, because as you must now acknowledge, my case has more legs than yours, and while I can match you argument for argument, in this case you have no answer because either way you turn you are wrong, and Humakt is not a trivial cult, it is major and heavily invested in this issue and makes a mockery of your whole position BASED ON THE VERY CANON YOU CLAIM TO REVERE SO MUCH.  So don't pretend there is some sort of cult work around, no self respecting Humakti would accept it, they knew they were dead the minute they entered the underworld and it is against their religion to return to the middle world thereafter UNLESS THEY AREN'T DEAD IN THE UNDERWORLD.

Edited by Darius West

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Darius - as the Creative Director of Chaosium and lead writer for Glorantha since 2009, I think I am entitled to define how things work - as least as far as official publications are concerned.

If you don't like the idea that people in the Realm of the Dead are dead, then by all means don't use it in Your Glorantha. But please give it a rest.

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29 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Darius - as the Creative Director of Chaosium and lead writer for Glorantha since 2009, I think I am entitled to define how things work - as least as far as official publications are concerned.

If you don't like the idea that people in the Realm of the Dead are dead, then by all means don't use it in Your Glorantha. But please give it a rest.

Pulling rank like this is lame and dishonorable, you shame yourself by taking this path.  You challenged me to prove to you that your interpretation of canon  regarding being dead in the underworld was wrong.  I have done that. Admit that my concerns are not selfish, they are not illogical, they are not against canon, and that I want to make Glorantha more internally consistent, then admit that you were wrong and fix the canon.  I have done nothing wrong here, what I have done is the altogether apparently less forgivable behavior of actually being correct.  Do the right thing and fix the problem of your misinterpretation of the information. Apparently you are not lacking in editorial authority, how about using that power constructively instead of trying to bully me with it?

Edited by Darius West

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Dude, I am not challenging you to come up with anything. If anything I am challenging you to relax and give this thread a break.

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6 hours ago, boztakang said:

yarly. HQGlorantha has the following in the Humakt cult writeup.  so, at least from Humakt's point of view, Orlanth was quite thoroughly and unambiguously Dead. His only out being the LBQ and resurrection of the world.

So why isn't this salient point mentioned in the crucial King of Dragon Pass write-up of the Lightbringer Quest?  I think that point is sufficiently huge that it sort of deserves a mention if indeed it is the real reason that orlanth goes on the Lightbringer Quest.  This is the first time I have heard of this and it doesn't gel well with the other write-ups, but whatever.  This is obviously something I have not been privy too, and I will concede the point

6 hours ago, boztakang said:

 If you are doing "Humakt discovers Death" then you are home free because by the end of that quest, only one person in the whole world will have died, and it is usually not the Questor. That is the only myth I am immediately aware of that has Humakt directly traveling to the underworld, and in that case he clearly isn't dead because death doesn't exist until he "finds" it.

On the other hand, Humakt is ALIVE in the underworld to perform this deed, which is a major point I have been making all along.  My argument has always been with the absurdity of the notion of everyone in the underworld always being in some sense "dead".  Apparently through this example you completely agree with me and I with you.  I like this explanation a lot as it is a clear example of what I have been saying all along.

6 hours ago, boztakang said:

Another common way for Humakti to participate in underworld heroquests is as another god (usually Orlanth)'s equipment. If I'm traveling as Orlanth's Sword, then I am clearly not a living thing, and am simply along for the ride. Cult authorities are hardly going to ding you for embodying a sword, even if you  are technically not alive while doing so.

Total God Learner stuff :) I am not saying that you are wrong in any way, I actually like this answer too.  You are completely correct.  You can say that you are the "Sword called Humakt"  mentioned in the Arming of Orlanth stage of the Lightbringer Quest.  The Jrusteli did that sort of thing all the time, and it is a good work around, in fact I like the way you think.  On the other hand, this sort of trick won't work in a HQ where Humakt is the primary actor. 

On the other hand, seriously consider this for a moment...  the notion of playing the sword is an ambiguous position for the Humakti.  Swords are, after all, objects.  Now a live Humakti is NOT an allied spirit bound to a sword, they are a flesh and blood person with a spirit.  If they go into the underworld and are therefore "dead" then they cannot come out again.  Now your argument of them being considered a "magical object" is yet another example of someone being in a state other than being "dead" while in the underworld.

Given your first example, it does seem a bit odd for Orlanth to be armed with the sword that allegedly killed him...  It almost suggests the Sacred Utuma ritual that the draconized Orlanthi mysteries would have adopted.  (As an aside, I wonder if Dragonewts go to the underworld on their way back to their eggs?  My instinct is "no", they just go back as spirits.)

6 hours ago, boztakang said:

You will also note that an awful lot of Humakti HeroQuesters end up illuminated. Arkat being the prime example. "I was dead, but now I'm not, but I never resurrected" makes a mighty fine Nysalor riddle, after all.

Heh, the Yanafal Ta'arnils ploy.  I can resurrect because I am an illuminate, and cult strictures don't apply to me, as I am immune to spirits of retribution.  Oh wait, my cult spirit of retribution is actually my god intervening in person.  Well that's a relief, he didn't break my sword and every sword I pick up, he just bent it into a scimitar :)

As to Arkat being the "prime example", I would like to agree, but on examination I can't.  When Harmast Barefoot performs the Lightbringer Quest that brings Arkat back from the dead, Arkat is at the time a member of the Malkioni military caste, and not yet an Humakti.  It is only after coming back with Harmast that Arkat initiates with the Humakti, taking the epithet Humaktsson after that.  A good thing he was an illuminate, because otherwise when he converted to ZZ we would have found out exactly how unbreakable that sword of his really was.

As to Humakti becoming illuminates, I am not going to contest that, in fact I remember reading the suggestion that Rashoran may have illuminated Humakt during God Time somewhere?  Was it in Cults of Terror?  Nysalori break the rules worse than tricksters, but on the other hand, if they do it too publicly there can be big repercussions.  The notion that "you can't complete this hero quest without becoming an illuminate" would be a big drawback for a lot of Humakti I suspect.

Edited by Darius West

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