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M Helsdon

A Bronze Age World

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I imagined that the Zistorites managed to combine Tibetan Prayer Wheels with the Antikythera mechanism and Heron's aeolipile. Although the latter two are definitely Iron Age, this represented the apex of God Learner technology. No human culture in the Third Age could reproduce that device, even if they were mad enough to try.

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Conceptually though, the idea of a perfect language where the sign and the object have perfect correspondence goes back to Mesopotamia, where the Tablet of Destinies had a perfect correspondence between "name" and "destiny" - a concept echoed in Yelm's naming of the gods. In this view, Umath's rebellion against his naming shattered the perfect Cosmic structure and is responsible for misinterpretation, disorder, alienation, and chaos.

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I think I see a star going out, as it were. Sorry, buserians. 

Love it . . . no intent to jump on the physical chemistry model at all but most of my gods are clearly talking gods. I wouldn't be surprised if one of Zistor's rightfully unsung "achievements" was breaking the bank at Casino Town (runic monte carlo simulation / betting algorithms) . . . play the moment when all the rune wheels come up lucky, infinite payout. A different cheat from what Belintar would later pull off.

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5 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

I think I see a star going out, as it were. Sorry, buserians. 

Love it . . . no intent to jump on the physical chemistry model at all but most of my gods are clearly talking gods. I wouldn't be surprised if one of Zistor's rightfully unsung "achievements" was breaking the bank at Casino Town (runic monte carlo simulation / betting algorithms) . . . play the moment when all the rune wheels come up lucky, infinite payout. A different cheat from what Belintar would later pull off.

Who is to say that Casino Town isn't a repurposed prayer wheel? Punters place bets on what the combination generated by the wheel will be. That Belintar could see the pattern and successfully make a complete prediction says far more about him.

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1 minute ago, Jeff said:

Who is to say that Casino Town isn't a repurposed prayer wheel? Punters place bets on what the combination generated by the wheel will be. That Belintar could see the pattern and successfully make a complete prediction says far more about him.

Love it. A lot we don't know about those people or why the Machine had to be built there on that wildly indefensible edge of empire.

May be a little far afield but as long as I insist that the Man Who Came In From The Sea used a different exploit (maybe something more like Run Lola Run instead of the brute force algo that mass-produces bladesharp matrices) I don't age as fast or trigger the storm bulls. 

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1 minute ago, scott-martin said:

Love it. A lot we don't know about those people or why the Machine had to be built there on that wildly indefensible edge of empire.

May be a little far afield but as long as I insist that the Man Who Came In From The Sea used a different exploit (maybe something more like Run Lola Run instead of the brute force algo that mass-produces bladesharp matrices) I don't age as fast or trigger the storm bulls. 

The Man Who Came From The Sea rode the Kings Highway and took a face from the gallery of mirrors, asked his future self what his past had done. He walked down a hall and came to a door and looked inside.

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All out of likes for the day again but yeah, the Man teaches that if you push the moment of incarnation -- this particular die roll, the rose of mysterious union, luck or death -- with enough conviction anyone can win all the money and give it back simultaneously. The awed silence in Casino Town. Real talars get it.

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4 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Not to get overly uh literal but in this uh context I tend to think of the runes as the equivalent of a cosmic alphabet, semiotic characters that a clever person can interpret, arrange and rearrange to read and write reality. We all have a combination of runes in our personal "signature," as it were, a kind of true name. Runes in common open up cabbalistic correspondences for magicians to exploit. The great gods are themselves the stories around the letters. But then again, I spent a lot of time in the postmodern '80s.

Sounds like DNA

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4 hours ago, David Scott said:

Yes.

Sorcerers would say - the God's are anthropomorphised runes

Theists would say - the Gods are embodiment of the runes

Animists would say - the Gods are great spirits, and so embodiments of the runes

Raise your Illumination score by 1% and roll D100.:P

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Raise your Illumination score by 1% and roll D100.:P

As one of the authors of HeroQuest Glorantha, I've already paid my heropoint to become illuminated as per the illumination chapter starting page 202 - 

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6 hours ago, Jeff said:

The Man Who Came From The Sea rode the Kings Highway and took a face from the gallery of mirrors, asked his future self what his past had done. He walked down a hall and came to a door and looked inside.

Belintar - The God King = Mr Mojo Risin?

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8 hours ago, Jeff said:

Conceptually though, the idea of a perfect language where the sign and the object have perfect correspondence goes back to Mesopotamia, where the Tablet of Destinies had a perfect correspondence between "name" and "destiny" - a concept echoed in Yelm's naming of the gods. In this view, Umath's rebellion against his naming shattered the perfect Cosmic structure and is responsible for misinterpretation, disorder, alienation, and chaos.

Neal Stephenson uses the Mesopotamian 'perfect language' as a major plotline in his book Snow Crash (and of course, the Christofundie billionaire who owns Hobby Lobby and who got fined millions for illegally smuggling Sumerian tablets out of Iraq seems to be acting out that plotline in real life)

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8 hours ago, Jeff said:

The Man Who Came From The Sea rode the Kings Highway and took a face from the gallery of mirrors, asked his future self what his past had done. He walked down a hall and came to a door and looked inside.

Ran out of Likes for the day, but definitely like this one!  And clearly found the Only Old One inside.  

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8 hours ago, Jeff said:

The Man Who Came From The Sea rode the Kings Highway and took a face from the gallery of mirrors, asked his future self what his past had done. He walked down a hall and came to a door and looked inside.

Easy to see what's in Jeff's playlist at present :D

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I certainly agree that the Zistorites are cabbalistic. In fact, most Western magic is caballistic to some degree, though the mechanistic interpretation of the Cabala followed by the Zistorites is of course only one narrow interpretation of it. 

I also use as inspiration for God-Learner magic some ideas from John Dee's Enochian system - it may be anachronistic, but magic and technology proceed on different tracks in Glorantha. The idea of his tablets of letters, which can be enumerated in tens of thousands of ways, each of which is the magically name of a specific minor angel, is a different way of expressing a very similar concept, and of course is another system based on the idea of a divine language. 

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In a D&D game I ran I once used a variant of this symbolism. In the middle of an Empire that was effectively ruled by a group of (ostensibly) Lawful Neutral pledged magicians (the entire Lawful Neutral plane being a giant set of gears), a group of Chaotic Neutral magicians ran a casino filled with roulette wheels, the wheels spinning freely a magical counterpoint to the locked gears.

Surely this gear vs freely spinning wheel dichotomy can also be a symbol of the hatred between the Zistorites and the Mostali. 

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22 hours ago, MOB said:

As I have mentioned elsewhere, my belief is that if the Zistorites ever invented the Gloranthan equivalent of an electron microscope, they'd see that all matter (in fact, all reality) is made up of tweensy-weency runes.

My university gaming club once had entire theory of Gloranthan physics. Earth runes stack nicely and densely, you see, being square. But light and darkness runes, being perfect spheres, bounce off one another, and so never form anything solid. Air runes are almost spheres, but not quite - that little hook catches sometimes so you can feel a little resistance.... 

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3 hours ago, MOB said:

Neal Stephenson uses the Mesopotamian 'perfect language' as a major plotline in his book Snow Crash (and of course, the Christofundie billionaire who owns Hobby Lobby and who got fined millions for illegally smuggling Sumerian tablets out of Iraq seems to be acting out that plotline in real life)

The Ars Magica supplement Ancient Magics had one section on Adamic as the perfect language, working in a similar way, with bonuses if you you used it for spellcasting due to it perfectly referencing its objects. 

The great part was that no-one in the wizard community knows it, and three ways were suggested for the wizard who wanted to learn it: Linguistic reconstruction (more difficult than it might seem, as it would involve trips to a Mongol-ravaged Mesopotamia); learning it form (a reluctant and unpleasant) Cain, who obviously knows it and is still alive; and "heroquesting" the Garden of Eden (more technically, going to Sumeria and entering the Eden Regio, but it's essentially the same thing).    

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

My university gaming club once had entire theory of Gloranthan physics. Earth runes stack nicely and densely, you see, being square. But light and darkness runes, being perfect spheres, bounce off one another, and so never form anything solid. Air runes are almost spheres, but not quite - that little hook catches sometimes so you can feel a little resistance.... 

This sounds a lot like Democritus's atomic theory, which had the atoms as the smallest pieces of the elements, defined by their geometric shape. Fire atoms are D4:s, for instance.

The question about whether matter is infinitely divisible or whether there are smallest units of elemental matter should arise in Glorantha as well, among people who have nothing more important to do.  

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It doesn't take atomic theory to discern the inherent shape of certain materials. Crystallography has a lot to do with naturally found shapes of minerals (like D8 for diamonds or hexagonal columns for quartz, amethyst etc.) and how these shapes can be cut, etched and split - all within the craft of gem cutters and jewellers.

Because of this, I opt for "indelible shapes" inherent in such material. All that could be subsumed in the Stasis Rune, of course, but the Stasis Rune only tells us that the shape gets preserved, not which shape. Hence my impression that Stasis is a force within the crystals, not an observable shape.

There is also transmutation, e.g. of ores into metals, of liquid sea-metal into solid, of flesh into dust, smoke and ashes. The power of the Change Rune, able to affect the nature of things.

 

Let's assume we get access to an atomic observer. (Atomic is a Gloranthan concept, after all we learn about the Outer Atomic Observers of the Imperial Age.)

A drop of Water might consist of numerous Sea Runes. If it is salt water, do we get to see Mineral, Earth, or Dark Earth admixed to Water?

What about wet clay, dried clay, fired clay? Glass or glazing? Ashes, salt?

 

 

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Does wood burn because it contains elemental Fire that's released as part of the burning (like phlogiston, or caloric), or because Fire brought to it starts to eat it to grow?

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17 hours ago, David Scott said:

As one of the authors of HeroQuest Glorantha, I've already paid my heropoint to become illuminated as per the illumination chapter starting page 202 - 

Die Chaos Spawn! :angry:

Oh wait, I'm a Humakti:huh::P

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5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Does wood burn because it contains elemental Fire that's released as part of the burning (like phlogiston, or caloric), or because Fire brought to it starts to eat it to grow?

It burns because it floats!

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Something like Phlogiston is a Gloranthan concept in Dara Happan philosophy, which separates the world into Flame and Fuel. Fuel is obviously anything that feeds a flame, being consumed (at least in part). Ashes aren't named part of this philosophy, but would logically be any former fuel devoid of the ability to feed a flame. Ceramics aren't quite well explained in this system, either.

No idea how to express this in terms of core runes.

 

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