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Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 3

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Index - https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6558-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-index/

Before we start, a few points:

  • Please don't forget to start reading the next section for week 4. From page 59 up to and including page 80. You've got until Monday 17th July.
  • Any errors in the next section, please put in the week 4 errors https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6466-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-week-4-errors/
  • Please keep your discussions to the current section - it's easy to wander off.
  • Please keep your discussions on the current section in this thread.
  • Please only add to this if you've read the section. I'm trying to avoid derailments by non-participants.
  • If you are having difficulty finding the threads - they are all tagged: guide to glorantha group read, click the tag and the treads will all appear:
  • https://basicroleplaying.org/tags/guide to glorantha group read/

Last week only had a few derailments. Once again I'm going to make separate threads for each section to keep the discussion focused manageable. Please be aware that Joerg and Peter can't help themselves, it's in their nature to go into deep discussions and side roads :-) I don't see this as a bad thing.

This week with the second part of the Major Cultures section: Pelorian, Fonritian, Western and Kralori Cultures. As with the previous cultures, Jeff has allowed me to put in the original art direction from 2012. The links are below:






Edited by David Scott


Search the Glorantha Resource Site: https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com. Search the Glorantha mailing list archives: https://glorantha.steff.in/digests/

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Something I find intriguing is that all four civilized cultures presented here centralize not only administration and the military (as we would expect), but also centralize and professionalize magic. Pelorians rarely initiate, farmers in the West and Karolerela use mostly minor farming and healing magics, and in Fonrit the leadership make damned sure to keep the magic in their hands.

As civilized peoples surely have ample uses for personal magic, I imagine we must assume that this is a deliberate strategy by the state in all cases? It also helps explain why tiny Sartar can put up some pretty impressive magical units once it gets its act together. Average people are already more "magical" there than among their civilized neighbours.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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8 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

chaoticism goes hand in hand with decadence

I have given up all my likes so remind me to come back. Your first question about the centralization of magic revolves around the "disenchantment of the world" model of religious history that was popular in Greg's formative years. In this model, as societies become larger and more complex, what we would consider significant magic becomes another specialty for a narrow proportion of the population to pursue. These specialists tend to be close to the state for various reasons: they're valuable and need to be protected or controlled, their activities bring them personal power in themselves, their function is part of the state-making apparatus so there is no difference. For just about everyone else, encounters with magic become rare and extraordinary to the extent to which the specialists become integrated into the state. When the interests of the magicians and the state diverge, you're in for exciting times.

Now as for the link between chaos and decadence, Greg's innate suspicion of empire is probably the biggest factor. Throughout his career he's been on the side of disruption. Storm gods are his favorites and Sartar wins the war because in his heart complex systems tend to be inauthentic and unsustainable. At times like the hero wars era the seeds of the failure take many forms: bureaucratic stagnation, failure to initiate, decadence, strange and exotic pastimes. Participating in these systems carries significant rewards for some -- often the entrenched specialists near the core -- but in Glorantha this is rarely a long-term good deal for anyone. Sooner or later the machine stops. Most simply get ground in the gears. Others drop out to seek authenticity in the form of a personal relationship with "magic" outside the usual channels. Some find chaos and become part of the problem.

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singer sing me a given

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All over the place in the Civilized section (the West, Kralorela), we see it said that a good farmer is more respected than a bad noble. Are we supposed to believe that this is actually the case (something that at least to me seems highly unlikely)? Or just that's the un-met ideal (which seems exceedingly likely)? 

Edited by Akhôrahil
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Who is doing the respecting?

I doubt that showing disrespectful behavior towards any (person more) noble within the same hierarchies goes unpunished. Showing disrespectful behavior to your peers already bears forms of punishment.

Take for instance the current Mask of the Red Emperor. If you are a citizen of the Lunar Empire, you must not denigrate the emperor or his activities, however dreadful they are. So how do you express your criticism of the current mask if you aren't Jar-eel or Great Sister?

E.g. by praising the discipline and martial prowess of a previous Mask of the Emperor while speaking about the current emperor. Praising him for things that he obviously and blatantly hasn't done. By listing all manner of valid accusations - and heaping them on a deserving but irrelevant other target. (And better make sure that you name that other target before you are commanded or otherwise forced into silence...)


Another question: what are the consequences of high respect for a low-ranking person? Your virtuous Kralori farmer still has to grovel in the dust in kowtow before the good-for-nothing bureaucrat, and the respect won't stop him and his family from starving after the Pentan raiders ruined his harvest.

There may be a reward in the afterlife. There might even be magical proof of those rewards for virtuous progenitors. With most of us living with a different view of our world, we may find it hard to accept that humans might regard their human lifespan as little more than a larval stage for the hereafter.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis


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Also, if you want to criticize the Red Emperor, you can always claim that his advisors are wicked and attempting to lead him astray. That's how most revolutions begin. Not critizing the monarch himself, oh no, that would be unthinkable.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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