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guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 7 - Second Age


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Second Age section comments here!

Main thread: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6602-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-week-7/

Deep Discussion: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6603-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-week-7-deep-discussion/

Errors: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6552-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-week-7-errors/

Here's another of one Lawrence Keogh's WIP, this time with Jeff's edits:

5988cd9fca9ba_0700stJRedits.thumb.jpeg.e5e63857fd853209baa611ae7892a86c.jpeg

Edited by David Scott

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

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Second Age has two movers: Empire of the Wyrm's Friends and the God Learners. I have heard and read before something about EWF but now understand it's rise and fall. Moral of the story is not to play with the Dragons (or other things you don't understand).

Somehow I have always envisioned God Learners as the different companies and people (as in our world) that have changed Glorantha canon and written rules (for RPGs) about it. They were switching gods and classifying magic systems and trying to define the ultimate truth behind everything. but the system returned to the original way.

I got that there wasn't any great heroes (comparing to the First Age) during this time. All the big things happening were more of crowdsourced stupidity.

 

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There was also the Elf Empire of Errinoru that unified the Pamaltelan jungles (though not the Umathelan forests) and harrassed the rest of the world. Dara Happa had interesting times, The naval empire of Golden Mokato ended Waertagi domination of the seas along with the Battle of Tanian's Fire.

Other empires came and went. The Stygian Autarchy prospered until faced with the Return to Rightness crusade. The Spolites had their version of dark illumination contaminating much of Peloria until they were thwarted by the Carmanians.

The unimportant city of Pavis was founded by heroes, and later attacked by heroes. More heroes fought in the siege of the Clanking City. Earlier heroes were instrumental in creating the Orlanthi empire that later turned into the EWF under the influence of other heroes. The only thing lacking for the Imperial Age are superheroes.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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p133  The EWF includes parts of Fronela.  A pity we don't see it on the historical maps.

p133.  I always get bemused by the destruction of the Lascerdans being known to an exact year despite there being no humans in the area.

p133  A mysterious war in Laskal circa 478.

p134  The Kingdom of Wisdom rather than taking the fight against the New Dragons Ring expands into Pent.  

p134  Pavis is depicted as being part of the EWF although Cults of Prax says never formally part implying that it was snet tribute and the like.

p135  The EWF is described as expanding into Pent (timeline).  Presumably they got kicked out in double quick time by Dijaar and his five friends.

p136.  The Hot Sea is named for the first time.  Although the Lake is show in previous maps, this is the first time that it has been labelled Hot.  Had it become so due to the catastrophes?  Also Orathorn also appears for the first time on the maps which suggests like Senbar its appearance was cataclysmic.

p136  The Grand Vizer of the Soul Pearl.  Now the Mountain of Light could be the Light Twin (otherwise known as the Longhsa Sha between Teshnos and Kralorela).  Therefore the Vizer would be more likely to be based in Teshnos rather than Teleos (this isn't the first time or even second that the names have been confused).  The Middle Sea Empire does state the colonies of Teleos and the Eastern Isles do report to the Overgovernor of Eest which is why I don't call this an error.

 

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I understand the focus on the EWF and the God Learners considering the concentration on Genertela.  Although the Elf Empire has been described elsewhere, I've felt a bit dissatisfied with it as its history ends after Errinoru goes to Dinal even though there's about two centuries before the actual empire gets destroyed.

Likewise the Eastern Seas Empire.  There is supposedly a famous battle with the Valkarians that was instigated by Brithini diplomats of which the only source of Gods of Glorantha and the date is unknown. Did nothing else happen there?  (I know things did happen, it's just that I wish there was space to mention it in the Guide)

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11 hours ago, jrutila said:

I got that there wasn't any great heroes (comparing to the First Age) during this time. All the big things happening were more of crowdsourced stupidity.

We don't have an Arkat, but we sure have an Alakoring Dragonbreaker and all kinds of heroes on both sides.

Early EWF and God-Leaners both are really cool. If they hadn't overreached so ridiculously, it wouldn't all have had to end in tears.

I've never liked the Gift Carriers. Where are they supposed to have come from? How can we have super-important, super-powerful entities that aren't part of any previous mythology? This really looks like a direct, personal intervention by the gods to put things right, in just the way they aren't supposed to. Deus ex Machina (no, not Zistor!) solution to the whole God-Learner mess?

Edited by Akhôrahil
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7 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

I've never liked the Gift Carriers. Where are they supposed to have come from? How can we have super-important, super-powerful entities that aren't part of any previous mythology? This really looks like a direct, personal intervention by the gods to put things right, in just the way they aren't supposed to. Deus ex Machina (no, not Zistor!) solution to the whole God-Learner mess?

The Gift Carriers were another name for the Knowledge Assassins (mentioned in the Umathela writeup).  They really only targeted the God Learners there and God Learners elsewhere had their own dooms.

As for it being a Deus ex Machina, when the Jrusteli overstepped the bounds of magic is one of the two instances of when Arachne Solara intervened (the other was the Sunstop).  However it's not made clear where she intervened and my guess is probably the fall of the Machine City (in which the Gods did become active) rather than Umathela.

IMO the Gift Carriers are not super-powerful entities.  What they did have was a knowledge that allowed them to kill God Learners.  This knowledge wasn't made by the Gods to punish the God Learners (although many people will think that it was).  Rather the knowledge was unintentionally created by the God Learners themselves and that the Knowledge Assassins took advantage of this.

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11 minutes ago, metcalph said:

The Gift Carriers were another name for the Knowledge Assassins (mentioned in the Umathela writeup).  They really only targeted the God Learners there and God Learners elsewhere had their own dooms.

You sure? That's not at all what the Guide states:

"Another terrible secret was avenged by doom guardians calling themselves the Gift Carriers of the Sending Gods. Everyone who was privy to the Forbidden Secret, or who was kin to them, or who might have witnessed or heard about the secret, was hunted down and destroyed. So successful was their effort that no modern Gloranthan even knows what secret they extinguished"

(This quote really reminds me of Keyser Söze: "He kills their kids, he kills their wives, he kills their parents and their parents’ friends. He burns down the houses they live in and the stores they work in, he kills people that owe them money. And like that he was gone. Underground. He becomes a myth, a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night.")

I mean, it must be tens of thousands of people we're talking about here, if we include everyone who's kin, everyone who even heard of the Secret, and so on? A massacre throughout the Empire?

Edited by Akhôrahil
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What baffled me is p.133

Quote

580 Umathela: First Seshnegi colonies settle along Umathelan coast.

That predates Seshnegi colonies on Jrustela by 23 years.

The 478 date suffers from the usual vagueness of "from Elamle". The only yellow elf forest able to interact with Banamba is Gaskallia. The Mirelos forest elves may have spread into Moino and established their ties to Delerenkos. The trade expeditions into Moino have special taboos which sound like stuff similar to the Woodland Judgements of Enkloso or the Oath of Elamle.

The entry for 600 tells us that this elf domination is broken by the Glorious Ones, who seem to be the Gargandites. Some liberation...

 

 

Quote

719 Fronela: Arimadalla and his Jrusteli allies defeat Syranthir Forefront

Judging from the wealth of names tied to Arimadalla and his successors, I suspect that there exists at least a Fronelan King List to parallel the Seshnelan King List which is included in The Middle-Sea Empire. I would love to read the Life of Halwal.

 

Jonat gets ashore in Seshnela in 1050 (despite the Closing, similar to a certain Belintar), but soon enough to bring strictly cloistered wizards from Seshnela to Syanor the year after the Sinking. (Or maybe during it, offering them a chance to escape through the Underworld. They might have been of Halwal's order.)

Jonatssaga is another of Greg's early novels, a prequel to Snodal's saga (which reputedly was his first completed work set in Glorantha).

 

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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16 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The 478 date suffers from the usual vagueness of "from Elamle". The only yellow elf forest able to interact with Banamba is Gaskallia.

That's if you assume the intervention was by land.  The Elves could have had boats so the elves could have been from Novarooplia or whomever preceded Zhnaquafia.

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53 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

You sure? That's not at all what the Guide states:

"Another terrible secret was avenged by doom guardians calling themselves the Gift Carriers of the Sending Gods. Everyone who was privy to the Forbidden Secret, or who was kin to them, or who might have witnessed or heard about the secret, was hunted down and destroyed. So successful was their effort that no modern Gloranthan even knows what secret they extinguished"

I emphasized that it was another secret, not the secret which submitted the God World to God Learner manipulation. (And which is commonly regarded as "the" God Learner secret.)

Given that most of this seems to have been limited to Umathela, I suspect it has to do with the creation of the False Gods worship and how even the imaginary Jogrampur returned meaningful magic. (That experiment does bear a certain similarity to the Avanapdur episode in Eastern mythology.) I think it is the secret about quantifying worship in order to manufacture a mythic reality.

 

53 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

I mean, it must be tens of thousands of people we're talking about here, if we include everyone who's kin, everyone who even heard of the Secret, and so on? A massacre throughout the Empire?

Fronela had been purged of God Learners, so there would have been only few survivors with that forbidden knowledge. Slontos and Seshnela had been drowned and/or conquered by barbarians, so a much heavier blood toll had already been extracted. Esrolia Land of 10k Goddesses mentions the fate of God Learner families in Nochet, and how one of them was exterminated. (But that, too, occurred after a massive destruction of the city, ruining even the greater part of its ancient cyclopic walls). Jrustelan humanity was exterminated, whether of Seshnegi or Olodo origin. A timinit population remained, but massive losses of timinit lives among the Malkioni are likely, too. This leaves Umathela as mostly untouched God Learner center.

The Doom Guardians must have been a suicide order, too - once all the God Learners who knew or knew about the secret, they had to eliminate themselves.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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31 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The Doom Guardians must have been a suicide order, too - once all the God Learners who knew or knew about the secret, they had to eliminate themselves.

An early sidebar for the Pamaltela Book draft (probably not canonical now) said that they took oaths of silence to preserve the secret.  Humans later misunderstood the nature of their silence and the Cult of Silence was born.

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1 hour ago, metcalph said:

That's if you assume the intervention was by land.  The Elves could have had boats so the elves could have been from Novarooplia or whomever preceded Zhnaquafia.

Elf invasions usually go hand in hand with rapid expansions of forests, but given the location of Laskal, an invasion starting with mangroves along the coast is a possibility.

Invention of the Elf Gallegas is often credited to Errinoru, who wasn't born yet.

I looked for the overland route because this has the closest group of aldryami.

The dubious to misleading praxis of naming parts of the jungle coast Elamle is found in Revealed Mythologies, too, especially p.49.

RM p.53 evidently is the source of this date:

Quote

“History of the Artmali”
This is a very misleading series of dates taken from very early notes. It seems to mix events from the Artmali Period with events from the Now Period, and should be read with caution.
• 478: Elamle/Maslo folk “war” with the Artmali again over Laskal, Elamle folk take control of Laskal.36

36 is a reference to a footnote:

Quote

36 This is not an organized war of political bodies, but rather the hostility of two cultures.

Now this entry reads like it was Elamle human elf friends who invaded Laskal and imposed a variant of their Oath of Elamle on the Banambans. This would mean that - especially western - Banamban culture has Maslo influences. The elf friends may have done so under obligation to their elf hosts, an invasion team of seeders of which possibly accompanying them, or local yellow elves from Moino. The Gargandite Glorious Ones who reversed this "conquest"  in 600 don't seem to have minded which humans exactly they enslaved. Garangordos passes through Laskal or emigrates from there 22 years later than the aldryami conquest.

We have only vague information on the origin of the humans of Laskal (other than the Fiwan of the region). IMO the majority of the non-Fiwan humans are of doraddic descent, possibly brought here as slaves of Chir or the Artmali Empire, or immigrating following the destruction of the Greenwood of Jolar. Thinobutan-descended "Agimori" (a term resembling "Dara Happan Warerans" in terms of actual ancestry) would be the major other source, with little if any remnant Artmali blueskins.

There is a concept that the Pamaltelan continent (except for the coasts) develops backwards in time. Dinosaurs would be a more recent addition to the fauna than miocene mammalian megafauna, and the hunter/gatherer/oasis farmer culture is more recent than the urban high culture of Tishamto.

We know that the hardy hunter-gatherer men-and-a-half which ended up in Prax left when there still was a land bridge between Pamaltela, Abzered and Genertela. They must have been quite progressive if they lived according to that life-style already back then. Or their culture may have changed somewhat in step with that of their Pamaltelan brethren, or had always been their rural or military elite life-style. Closer to the coast, the doraddic-descended Agimori become more sedentary and urban, up to urban men-and-a-half in Deshmador (the only place in Banamba unconquered by either the Gargandites or the Pujaleg).

 

Still, this 478 invasion seems to have set things in motion for all of Fonrit.

I note that the 580 date for the Seshnegi in Umathela comes from the same source, but is also found in Missing Lands, with a mistaken attribution to Nepur during Nralar's reign. I don't know whether I would have gone for the year number or the reign of the king as the deciding fact

@Jeff, what was your main reasoning for deciding such discrepancies?

Edited by Joerg
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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The God Learners are said to have generally rejected mysticism as devoid of use. But we know some of them were Illuminated (and the story about the Impossible Landscapes book suggests some of their magic ultimately has origins in the Arkati/Nysaloran era, as do some of their actions). I suspect there is slightly more here than simple rejection - an undercurrent that was never officially acknowledged or similar. 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

The God Learners are said to have generally rejected mysticism as devoid of use. But we know some of them were Illuminated (and the story about the Impossible Landscapes book suggests some of their magic ultimately has origins in the Arkati/Nysaloran era, as do some of their actions). I suspect there is slightly more here than simple rejection - an undercurrent that was never officially acknowledged or similar. 

According to HeroQuest: Glorantha p203, Illumination is known in Jrustela.  I presume that the result of being exposed to forbidden God Learner secrets.  As for whether the God Learners were mystical, the description of them as the "Most Learned but Least Wise" remains the best summary to date.

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5 hours ago, davecake said:

The God Learners are said to have generally rejected mysticism as devoid of use. But we know some of them were Illuminated (and the story about the Impossible Landscapes book suggests some of their magic ultimately has origins in the Arkati/Nysaloran era, as do some of their actions). I suspect there is slightly more here than simple rejection - an undercurrent that was never officially acknowledged or similar. 

Note that Illumination by Riddles or sudden, unprepared exposure to the Ultimate is different from meditating sages. Such "accidents" could happen on their invasions into myths.

Their Arkati opposition certainly were active illuminates and possibly had means to imbue aspirants with this experience. Arkat doesn't strike me as the meditating type, though, and likely neither his followers. It isn't quite clear whether the Rightness Crusaders and their heroplane raider commandos ever managed to get knowledge how the Arkati prepared for this experience.

Part of Halwal's failure to return Arkat may have been his lack of illumination.

It is good that the God Learners did not pursue the path of failed mysticism to the extend Sheng Seleris did, or other major antigods.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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P134 : never understood why the blue moon culture was part of the élimination of the eaw leaders ? What is thé or link with the dragonewt ? 

P136 : The god learnerS secret is not clearly for me even if it said it is explained in thé guide. I still Doesn't t know How they were abble to modif the otherworld or manipulate the runes so freely 

P138 : do we know more of the origin of the closure ? Zzabur (réf p 145 too) ?

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5 hours ago, lokamayadon said:

P136 : The god learnerS secret is not clearly for me even if it said it is explained in thé guide. I still Doesn't t know How they were abble to modif the otherworld or manipulate the runes so freely 

LOL! Even if it is contained it will not be signposted. It is just a secret in plain sight now ;)

Though it might also have been mentioned in another thread. Possibly. Who knows? :D

Edited by Dogboy
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  • 4 weeks later...

On the subject of Illuminated/mystic God Learners - Malkioneranism may not have been the dominant God Learner belief (that seems to be Makanism, which contended with Malkioneranism0, but it sure sounds suspiciously like a bunch of Illuminates according to MSE pg 42 - strange, new practices, great magic that does bad things, and even name checks Gbaji and the devil. 

i like the idea that the malkioneranists intellectually understood illumination as contact with the mind of Makan. The irensavilists (and Talorites) agree, but think Makan is the evil demi-urge, so it is a bad idea (well, at least if you approach Makan without Joy in your heart, and a Pure will). The Makanists think you should approach the mind of Makan by the more conventional method of learning a lot of stuff and so gaining intellectual understanding. 

(the malkioneranists may not have been a very organised school of Illumination - it is quite possible that they do not know how to teach using managable means, but rely on heroquest tactics like heroquesting to the green age, which can Illuminate people but at the likely cost of their sanity). 

Edited by davecake
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