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Is there Gravity in Glorantha?


Steve

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I thought we should take this tangential discussion out of the "Top ten ways Glorantha differs/is like the real world" thread. It was started by @Zit asking:

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By the way, what is the mythological explanation for gravity in Glorantha ?

@Jeff had some words to say in this back in 2013, in the thread that @Joerg linked to:

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There’s plenty of in-Gloranthan theories about the movement of bodies with mass. The most popular among Malkioni and Theyalan scholars is that the elements seek to find their natural place. Thus things strong with Earth (such as a human body) moves downward towards the bottom of the Earth cube, which is its natural place. Conversely, the elements Air and Fire, move by the nature upward towards the Middle Air or the Sky, respectively.

It makes me wonder whether things fall at the same rate no matter what their mass (as mentioned in the other thread here), whether there is terminal velocity (due to air resistance in our own world), etc.

 

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Gravity as we know it, as in being pulled towards the center of mass, clearly doesn't exist for any number of reasons.

As for sorting into the natural place, if the human body is pulled towards the Earth cube, then people in the Underworld are upside-down, which would actually be pretty cool but is not supported in sources. Also, it's attested in multiple cases that you can fall into the Underworld through a sufficiently deep hole, which wouldn't really work if bodies just tried to find their natural place.

Further, the Red Moon must have its own system of "gravity".

There must surely be something like air resistance. Otherwise all kinds of strange things start to happen.

As stated in the original thread, I believe there's a fundamental, cosmic "down" direction to Glorantha.

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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

As for sorting into the natural place, if the human body is pulled towards the Earth cube, then people in the Underworld are upside-down, which would actually be pretty cool but is not supported in sources. Also, it's attested in multiple cases that you can fall into the Underworld through a sufficiently deep hole, which wouldn't really work if bodies just tried to find their natural place.

As you fall through the Earth in somewhere like Hellcrack, a second older attraction will take place that of Water that birthed Earth, then of Dark that birthed Water.

1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

Further, the Red Moon must have its own system of "gravity".

It's a huge chunk of Earth that left behind a crater.

 

1 hour ago, Steve said:

It makes me wonder whether things fall at the same rate no matter what their mass (as mentioned in the other thread here), whether there is terminal velocity (due to air resistance in our own world), etc.

I would say that no one on Glorantha thinks about that as there isn't a science structure to support that thinking. I think there is an equilibrium of pull in the middle air, being the child of air and sky. Those that become more air than earth or sky can float and fly. most sink to earth though. sky people must overcome the the pull of earth and the middle air to reach the sky if flying.

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2 minutes ago, Steve said:

It makes me wonder whether things fall at the same rate no matter what their mass (as mentioned in the other thread here),

Of course they don't - all things fall through a medium (air, water, fire, darkness), or they float up. No point in dismantling physics here.

2 minutes ago, Steve said:

whether there is terminal velocity (due to air resistance in our own world), etc.

Terminal velocity implies a constant vertical air flow (of whichever size or direction), which would be extremely rare on Glorantha. (At least outside of the Windstop.)

I wonder how many Orlanthi know the "Baby Orlanth saves Baby Yinkin" feat. Basically, Orlanth called winds to counter the fall of his half-brother he just tossed out of their cave a the top of Wintertop Mountain. (The story doesn't tell, but I wonder if their half-sister Inora had already taken to redecorating that place...)

1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

Gravity as we know it, as in being pulled towards the center of mass, clearly doesn't exist for any number of reasons.

Don't toss that concept out yet. Equal things still attract - fire is attracted by the Sky and the Sun, Darkness by the Underworld or the Night Sky. The tides are attracted to the Blue Moon, while the broken pieces of the Earth cube apparently isn't.

Earth's attraction to itself hasn't closed the chasms caused by the Breaking of the World yet. The Mostali project reconnecting Slon with Jrustela wouldn't be necessary otherwise.

1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

As for sorting into the natural place, if the human body is pulled towards the Earth cube, then people in the Underworld are upside-down, which would actually be pretty cool but is not supported in sources.

Everything is pulled towards entropy. In Glorantha, entropy is a place, at the bottom of the hemisphere of Darkness, and it is called the Chaosium. It is also an event horizon where new things enter the Cosmos.

1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

Also, it's attested in multiple cases that you can fall into the Underworld through a sufficiently deep hole, which wouldn't really work if bodies just tried to find their natural place.

 

1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

Further, the Red Moon must have its own system of "gravity".

The Red Moon is a very special case.

Sedenya is the power of Reflection (and Balance). We know that we see a red-and-black orb up there in the sky, but it is entirely possible that what we see up there is just a reflection of the hole left deep in the soil of Darsen, walled up by the Crater.

I am 100% certain that the Crown Mountains on the moon that circle off the top side which is never seen from the ground look exactly like the back side of the Crater mountain range. At least in my Glorantha.

1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

There must surely be something like air resistance. Otherwise all kinds of strange things start to happen.

Air is the rebel element. Of course it will resist anything on first impulse.

29 minutes ago, David Scott said:

As you fall through the Earth in somewhere like Hellcrack, a second older attraction will take place that of Water that birthed Earth, then of Dark that birthed Water.

I don't feel that you would pass through water when falling down the Hellcrack. I am not sure the story about starving to death holds any water, either. If you look at the comparable situation inside Magasta's Pool, you have Halfway Island where the refugees are in a Schrödinger's Cat stage between being in the world of the living (where people have to eat and breathe) and the Underworld of the Dead (where people don't). At some point during your fall into the Hellcrack, you will enter the realm of the dead, obviating the need to eat or drink (though not the desire). As you pass through Earth, entering the Darkness Below, your fear of falling (or of impacting) will grow, and your fall will be prolonged, raising that fear... unless you get snatched out of that state, I guess you'll continue plummeting.

 

In the Underworld, it is possible to tunnel from Genertela to Pamaltela without having to cross one of the chasms. That's because even when you don't enter the realm of the Dead in the deep below (e.g. exploring Mostali tunnels or walking the Fish Road beyond Deeper), you are entering the equivalent of a hero plane or outer world.

 

Gravity or at least the sense of down on the Celestial River is a topic which is likely to enter your game if you play either the Sartar Rising campaign arc or The Eleven Lights.

When you travel up the Sky River, the flow will be from the edge of the world towards the Pole Star, and down on the other side. As you travel up the river, you pass between the sword constellation and the constellation raven. Which one will be on starboard? The Sword?

The shore of the celestial river will be the boundary between the celestial water and the celestial land. I doubt that there will be much celestial earth on the land, although there might be some sort of equivalent. If so, it will probably vary in behavior from surface soil - it might very well carry flame.

 

2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Further, the Red Moon must have its own system of "gravity".

29 minutes ago, David Scott said:

It's a huge chunk of Earth that left behind a crater.

Thanks to the power of Reflection, the Red Moon is both up above and down below, IMO. Possibly very far below, even beneath Darkness. The inside of the Crater is uncharted territory. I still haven't seen any opinion on what happens if something or someone flies across that mountain range. I suppose the Crimson Bat can do this, but I wouldn't wager on many other large flying monsters able to do that. If a true dragon ever had done so, we might have heard about it. Sheng's Lionbirds might have, but they are likewise very out-of-this-world entities if they can.

 

 

29 minutes ago, David Scott said:

I would say that no one on Glorantha thinks about that as there isn't a science structure to support that thinking. I think there is an equilibrium of pull in the middle air, being the child of air and sky. Those that become more air than earth or sky can float and fly. most sink to earth though. sky people must overcome the the pull of earth and the middle air to reach the sky if flying.

The verdict is still open whether it is the Middle Air or the Middle and/or Lower Sky that you reach e.g. when climbing Top of the World or Kero Fin.

It is possible for Orlanthi, Helerites and native creatures like Cloud Leopards or Zabdamar to walk or swim the clouds or fogs. There ought to be demigod folk up there (at least on some hero planes) navigating the ultra-thin layers of clouding between different layers of air. Those layers may be torn by raging waves imperceptible from below, or there might be calm zones where both layers move in unison.

And there ought to be scenarios about getting there and interacting with such folk.

 

One of my favourite features of the Eleven Lights quest in The Eleven Lights is the stage at the port which connects Lorion's and Sramak's rivers. There ought to be really weird characters and groups, possibly of the duck/troll/centaur/dwarf/three humans type parties, populating such places. Adventures where bits of Gloranthan myths gather like flotsam and jetsam, creating the weirdest tangles and combinations - and all of that within canon.

You could go to that place and sail against Lorion's current, probably towards a region of dead moons, or planetary bisexual sons of Yelm hovering between life and death. There ought to be plenty stranded Jrusteli there, and other people trapped in timelessness, cursed to never being able to return. Lots of weirdness, all of it with backstories anchoring it in the past of Glorantha, whether recent or ancient, remembered or forgotten.

I do question, though, why the Great Port should be located in the west. IMO it should be attached to the Sky Dome, and rotate all around Glorantha once a day, as does the Sky River. This ought to make it rather stable in relation to Sramak's River, which ought to circle around Glorantha in roughly the same direction, unless I am mistaken. (IIRC the sun path as trodden by Lightfore describes a strange trail in the night sky, curving up to Pole Star in a rather narrow curve up there and curving down again, intersecting the ascending path (at least on a solstice). Mastakos/Uleria outpaces the rotation of the Sky Dome by a factor of three, all other bodies but Yelm and Lightfore are way slower and form weird spirals, or even weirder trails if following the Soutpath and never reaching up to Pole Star.

To switch back to the original topic, this Outer Sea/Edge of the Sky Domes area has quite a few options for a "down" direction. If sailing outward from Glorantha on a ship, whether across the White Sea or some other weak current seas like Banthe or against the Doom Currents (not directly atop them, rather using the eddies they create on their side which may promote movement against the general current, much like the Ducks do for upriver shipping on the Creekstream River), one approaches the towering ring of Sramak's River. It could be like a bulge in the water caused by the increasing speed of the outer river, or it could be like the edge of the water in a glass that is shaken into a funnel inciting a centripetal motion in a limiting vessel (in this case the Sky Dome). Both variants are true at the same time, IMO, so you could sail up into the sky dome "plane", up onto the unending expanse of the outer ocean beyond the (inner) Sky Dome, or even out onto the Hell Sky and the surface sailed (swum, whatever) by Annilla. Whichever way you go, the surface of the water that you choose sailing on will define your up and down. (The choice may well involve sailing into a maelstrom and finding the right moment to leave, with failure to do so resulting in a broad selection of increasingly unpleasant alternatives to visit. The maelstrom will have two general downs - one the current is taking in its funneling spiral movement, and the other perpendicular to the surface of the maelstrom wall. After a number of revolutions in such a maelstrom, any sense of the previous up and down will be lost, especially if the "down" of the current twists and shifts.)

But: where do you go if you happen to get pulled under while traveling such a not-quite sea? Will you be able to swim/dive, or will you fall through once you get too far from the surface defining your up/down, and in which direction?

Sailing the celestial river, your "up" might face the Inner World, or it might face the Golden Dome of the sky beyond the blue-and-black dome of the stars.

(Which reminds me - how does Night enter the sky? A wave of darkening emanating from the Gates of Dawn, or a general fade-to-black effect slightly retarded above Rausa's Gate?)

 

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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6 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Gravity as we know it, as in being pulled towards the center of mass, clearly doesn't exist for any number of reasons.

As for sorting into the natural place, if the human body is pulled towards the Earth cube, then people in the Underworld are upside-down, which would actually be pretty cool but is not supported in sources. Also, it's attested in multiple cases that you can fall into the Underworld through a sufficiently deep hole, which wouldn't really work if bodies just tried to find their natural place.

Further, the Red Moon must have its own system of "gravity".

There must surely be something like air resistance. Otherwise all kinds of strange things start to happen.

As stated in the original thread, I believe there's a fundamental, cosmic "down" direction to Glorantha.

This direction is towards the Underworld. Not for nothing is it called Grave-ity*

Even before the death of Grandfather Mortal, all living things have felt the siren call of the nether-realm beneath all. Even the gods can hear this call, as it is the beckoning of Ty Kora Tek, who begged her sister and nieces to come home (As in the myth of the Death of Ernalda)

It is this Beckoning that we know as gravity, the underworld calling. It is why it is present even in the cold depths of the water, why it is in the wind torn skies, and even in the warm and beckoning earth. When calling upon magic to fly, you are opposing this call, blocking it out with the power of life.

Kadone, one of Ernalda's household, is the keeper of this force, and can use it as part of the Earth's chthonic nature.

As for the Red Moon, it's gravity comes from the pit of Gerra, for it descends further and further within that orb, until it reaches the underworld through its own path. Because of this, things that do not fly are held fast to the Red Moon's surface, just as on Glorantha.

 

* Yes, I know the two have different roots linguistically, but permit me the pun.

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

Everything is pulled towards entropy. In Glorantha, entropy is a place, at the bottom of the hemisphere of Darkness, and it is called the Chaosium. It is also an event horizon where new things enter the Cosmos.

This is fine - it meshes well with my idea that Glorantha has an absolute "down" direction. Being pulled towards the Chaosium works - being pulled towards the center of the Earth cube doesn't.

The elements would then naturally sort themselves in the order of the strength with which they're pulled.

Also, if Darkness likes to sort itself at the bottom, this explains why lead - the darkness metal - is so heavy. The pull downwards on it is stronger.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

The verdict is still open whether it is the Middle Air or the Middle and/or Lower Sky that you reach e.g. when climbing Top of the World or Kero Fin.

Not really, it repeated says it in the Guide, where does it say otherwise?

on page 141:

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The Red Goddess [...] Orlanth, the Storm God [...] They also war for control over the Middle Air. 

on page 158

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Orlanth rules the realm, although the Red Moon has invaded it in Time and contends with the storm god for mastery of the Middle Air. 

on page 240

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The wars with the Lunar Empire are often seen as a battle between the Red Goddess and Orlanth the Storm God, for control of the Middle Air. 

on page 295

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She rose higher and higher into the Middle Air, where she now sits and turns slowly 

on page 296

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She has taken for her domain the Middle Air, and so earned the eternal enmity of Orlanth and other Air gods. 

on page 297

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It ended with Her apotheosis and her ascent into the Middle Air as the Red Moon.

Page 644 describes the relationship between the Lower, Middle and Upper Air

Finally page 648

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The Red Moon hangs motionless in the Middle Air directly above the Crater and the city of Glamour.

 There were a few other quotes, but overall the verdict say Middle Air

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Red Moon is a very special case.

Sedenya is the power of Reflection (and Balance). We know that we see a red-and-black orb up there in the sky, but it is entirely possible that what we see up there is just a reflection of the hole left deep in the soil of Darsen, walled up by the Crater.

I am 100% certain that the Crown Mountains on the moon that circle off the top side which is never seen from the ground look exactly like the back side of the Crater mountain range. At least in my Glorantha.

Fortunately we have Appendix I in the Guide, starting off by saying 

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The Red Moon is a physical object which hovers in the sky directly above Glamour.

Although the Reflection theory is certainly expounded by some mad philosopher in Glorantha, we have the hard fact of the Guide to show us the truth.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

(The choice may well involve sailing into a maelstrom and finding the right moment to leave, with failure to do so resulting in a broad selection of increasingly unpleasant alternatives to visit. The maelstrom will have two general downs - one the current is taking in its funneling spiral movement, and the other perpendicular to the surface of the maelstrom wall. After a number of revolutions in such a maelstrom, any sense of the previous up and down will be lost, especially if the "down" of the current twists and shifts.)

Why would it be a spiral, if there's no rotation to cause a coriolis force?

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36 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Fortunately we have Appendix I in the Guide, starting off by saying 

Although the Reflection theory is certainly expounded by some mad philosopher in Glorantha, we have the hard fact of the Guide to show us the truth.

I don't deny that there is a huge sphere of Naverian earth in the sky. I am just asking whether what we see on the surface really is only on the surface of the sphere, or whether it is somewhere else. It is probably both, and the "gravity" needn't be oriented to the sphere.

As to Middle Sky, that gets only one mention in the Guide, indicating the height reached by the Jumpers. Which is the Middle Air. Now, where is the verdict?

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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20 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

Why would it be a spiral, if there's no rotation to cause a coriolis force?

There is a powerful laminar circular flow around the Inner World, called Sramak's River. The Waters of the World branch off from this rotating body of water, and inherit some of that property.

The rotating eddies occur when a fast current touches a non-moving or much slower body (which can be of water). The spiral comes from the funneling because the maelstrom narrows towards the bottom.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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We can also look at specific cases of what seem like gravity, and see that some of them have nothing to do with it. Rivers flow downhill, but that's just because they rushed to fill the void left by the spike, whereas once they flowed uphill instead, invading the land. Gravity doesn't enter into it one way or the other.

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4 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

We can also look at specific cases of what seem like gravity, and see that some of them have nothing to do with it. Rivers flow downhill, but that's just because they rushed to fill the void left by the spike, whereas once they flowed uphill instead, invading the land. Gravity doesn't enter into it one way or the other.

Empowered water creeps onto the land, probing it for food. Water which has given up or lost its power falls down into a puddle, following the pull of both heaviness (aka gravity) if there is no slope, and the pull of the rivers to head towards the nearest strong source of Chaos. The Syphon River suffers from something like a inverse square distance rule being pulled to the Foulblood Forest.

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2 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Empowered water creeps onto the land, probing it for food. Water which has given up or lost its power falls down into a puddle, following the pull of [...] heaviness

While this thread focuses on Gloranthan "physics," I love the alchemy this suggests: two water metals, one light and leaping, the other liquid and leaden. The relation between them is a secret. 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

As to Middle Sky, that gets only one mention in the Guide, indicating the height reached by the Jumpers. Which is the Middle Air. Now, where is the verdict?

The second mention of the Middle Sky (first actually as it occurs before the one you mention) is in Umath's actions during his spiral of destruction on page 116. This importantly shows us the different levels in the Sky World. Dayzatar sits almost inside the Aether, but as the Aether encloses (plate 2) Dayzatar is as high as he can get. In plate 5 Yelm rises into the sky. later his sons also occupy the sky. Then Entekos the goddess of the atmosphere rises to be the connection between the ground and sky. Umath then stirs the sons up. In plate 7 he moves through the Middle sky - that occupied by Yelm and his sons. Eventually Orlanth rises up from the ground and kills Yelm. then Orlanth usurps the rule of the middle air. On page 42 Entekos is named as the Pelorian Goddess of the Middle Air. This is who Orlanth usurps. The Heavens section on page 644 tells us that Orlanth occupies the Upper air and the middle air, below that is the Lower air, the realm of weather. Entekos's  "current altitude marks the boundary between the Lower and Middle Airs". Putting this together gives us some levels above the Earth:

The Aether

Dayzatar's level - Upper Sky

Yelm's level - Middle Sky

Orlanth - Upper Air

Orlanth - Middle Air /Red Moon

Entekos - Middle / Lower Air boundary

Other storm Gods - Lower air (Weather). 

Earth

Maybe there isn't a lower sky?

The curve of the Sky Dome is going to affect Jumpers, Rausa is the Jumper you are referring to and she's on the western horizon. Confusingly as the Sun Path would appear to be in the Middle sky and as it dips down towards the edges, it will get lower. It would seem that Rausa would be jumping into the level of the Sun Path. There's no maps in the guide that show these levels and the curve. One of the reference pictures for the sky in the Guide was the picture in Mike Dawson's Codex 2. In the sky part you can see the three sky levels:

Heavens.jpg.3ceac722b31fd9bee334e9b1fb1b315f.jpg

Here's a mashup:

 

The Aether

Dayzatar's level - Upper Sky - Upper Heavens

Middle Sky /Sky Realm

Yelm's level / Sunpath- lower Sky 

Orlanth - Upper Air / Central Air

Red Moon - Middle / Upper Air boundary

Orlanth - Middle Air

Entekos - Middle / Lower Air boundary

Other storm Gods - Lower air (Weather). 

Earth

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That's enough Godlearner work for tonight:-)

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I have found Middle Air and Middle/Lower Sky used interchangeably. After all, while Umath displaced and reshaped the sky into a somewhat less than perfect hemisphere (if I look at the bulge of Dayzatar's Heaven), Orlanth went there and conquered part of it for himself. The absence of a Lower Sky (implicated by the term Middle Sky) indicates that that has become the realm of air instead.

The interior of the upper hemisphere just below and above the original Entekos level is both Air and Sky, and can be named either way, IMO - the height descriptors may vary.

 

But enough of such classifications - I still want opinions on the directon of the down vector when sailing the Celestial River and the consequences of falling into or through the Celestial River. The actual impression of heaviness or lightness would be a different question. A plummet into Skyfall Lake would just be following the current.

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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All in my opinion, of course ...

 

What effects should gravity have?

Allowing things to "stick" and move around - No need for gravity as such, as that is what people do.

Allowing things to fall - There is an Earth Goddess, Kadone the Grounder, who forces flying things to the ground, using the power of Earth. This implies that Earth pulls things to the ground. Things flying in the Sky still fall, as the Sky is still attracted to the Earth, as Aether Primolt tries to reconnect with Gata.

Allowing celestial objects to orbit - In Glorantha, they just move on their own paths as the bodies of deities. demigids and heroes.

So, I don't think that gravity exists in Glorantha. The effects are the same as in the real world.

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13 hours ago, David Scott said:

The Aether

Dayzatar's level - Upper Sky

Yelm's level - Middle Sky

Orlanth - Upper Air

Orlanth - Middle Air /Red Moon

Entekos - Middle / Lower Air boundary

Other storm Gods - Lower air (Weather). 

Earth

Maybe there isn't a lower sky?

In my Glorantha, Entekos is above Orlanth and the closest Air to the Sky. She is also part of the Pelorian pantheon as the Upper Air. I think the is the Lower Sky or Upper Air. 

She is subservient to Orlanth in the Storm Pantheon and subservient to Yelm in the Sky Pantheon.

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

There is an Earth Goddess, Kadone the Grounder, who forces flying things to the ground, using the power of Earth. This implies that Earth pulls things to the ground.

Kadone the Grounder (in Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes) does seem highly relevant here, good catch.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/11/2017 at 8:05 PM, David Scott said:

I would say that no one on Glorantha thinks about that as there isn't a science structure to support that thinking.

 

The God Learners disagreed back in the day, and their academic achievements live on in many places, including the little God Learner experiment we like to call the Cult of Lhankor Mhy.  The Feldichi would probably also take issue.  The Vadeli merely laugh at this assumption knowing that it is the prejudice of a foolish barbarian who can be easily exploited for their ignorance, for science is still fundamental to their sorcery.  It would be more prudent perhaps to ask what sort of concepts inform that science, for example, what forms of mathematics are used in Glorantha to deal with runic emanations that are not used on Earth?  

On 8/11/2017 at 6:33 PM, Akhôrahil said:

Gravity as we know it, as in being pulled towards the center of mass, clearly doesn't exist for any number of reasons.

As for sorting into the natural place, if the human body is pulled towards the Earth cube, then people in the Underworld are upside-down, which would actually be pretty cool but is not supported in sources. Also, it's attested in multiple cases that you can fall into the Underworld through a sufficiently deep hole, which wouldn't really work if bodies just tried to find their natural place.

Further, the Red Moon must have its own system of "gravity".

There must surely be something like air resistance. Otherwise all kinds of strange things start to happen.

As stated in the original thread, I believe there's a fundamental, cosmic "down" direction to Glorantha.

1

I liked this explanation. It is very Aristotelian.  "Down" is a "tendency" inherent to the elements.

The issue of Gloranthan Gravity has previously been discussed here too:

http://www.glorantha.com/forums/topic/glorantha-metaphysics-and-gravity/

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