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Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 16 - Deep Discussion Ralios

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This is the Deep Discussion thread for Week 16 for Ralios - Feel free to speculate, move away from the Guide section under discussion and into other related areas related to Pent.

https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6863-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-week-16-ralios/

 

https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6843-guide-to-glorantha-group-read-week-16-corrections/

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I am not sure if this is the right place or whether I should create a new Topic.

My current camapign is heading towards bringing Arkat back and one of my players has asked me for a list of Arkat's HeroQuests.

Easy-Peasy, I thought, as Arkat pretty much invented HeroQuesting, so he must have many HeroQuests. However, looking at a lot of sources, almost none of them are mentioned.

From what I have gleaned, his HeroQuests include:

  • Crusade Against Chaos (In the West, he pretty much invented the Mythical concept of a Crusade)
  • Journey to Hell (Several times, different cults)
  • Escape from Hell (as a result of Harmast's LBQ)
  • His Father's Sword (Exploring the nature of his sword)
  • Trollish Rebirth

But, I cannot think of any more.

I know that a lot of the History of the First Age describes the battles between Arkat and Gbaji, so some of the events were probably HeroQuests, but it's a lot to go through and I was hoping that people more dedicated than I had already done the legwork.

I remember that Arkat was bound into Hell while opposing Nysalor, that must have been a HeroQuest, but it is very vague.

Mello Yello also wants to incarnate the Palangio Iron Vrok, in case things go bad, so that Palangio can be used to face off against Arkat, if necessary. Sounds like a good idea, what could possibly go wrong?

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5 minutes ago, soltakss said:

From what I have gleaned, his HeroQuests include:

  • Crusade Against Chaos (In the West, he pretty much invented the Mythical concept of a Crusade)

The Crusade no longer exists.

5 minutes ago, soltakss said:
  • But, I cannot think of any more.

There is the Thunder Mountain Jump (Guide p721) when he clung to the side of a Giant Ram to bypass the defences of Dorastor (Dorastor: Land of Doom p103)

He slew Diamondonus

He destroyed an army of Purple Men at the Ground Land.

He also saved Kwaratch Kang's life at Inti Pardo where the Great Crocodile Man lives (these last three from the Gude p721)

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2 hours ago, metcalph said:

The Crusade no longer exists.

The guide mentions (on page 410) the idea of Sacred War, with capital letters suggesting it's a proper noun. My guess is this is the old Crusade magic, with a new name.

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9 hours ago, Tindalos said:

The guide mentions (on page 410) the idea of Sacred War, with capital letters suggesting it's a proper noun. My guess is this is the old Crusade magic, with a new name.

And there's the Return to Rightness Crusade in Volume 1.

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17 hours ago, soltakss said:

But, I cannot think of any more.

He undertook the ritual of rebirth to become a troll.  That was in the old Uz Lore, IIRC.

He obviously initiated several times:  as an Orlanthi, as a Humakti.  These would follow the standard initiation quests (e.g. to gain the Star Heart, to look in the face of the Devil, to sever himself from his kin, ...).  Arcane Lore p.7 "He underwent several secret initiations (and excommunications) which gave him an unusual transcultural view of the secret world of legend."

Heortling Mythology p.135 - he had gained the Unbreakable Sword.

Arcane Lore p.8 "He [Arkat] went a step further and discovered that he could actually change paths in mid quest, and invade the mythic space of other peoples."  The multiple initiations gave him this perspective, so was the first to actually create new HeroQuests, and map the God Plane.

A fair bit of background in Arcane Lore p.9-10, noting him going on many heroquests, and many experimental ones, though not particularly elaborating on them.  Eventually, "Arkat finally met himself on the Hero Plane".

Also an interesting note in same book p.23 "Arkat, more solitary and bereft of social support, was also more independent of social expectations and so was able to forge a more innovative path. It was also much more difficult, occasionally marked with bits of lost would-be heroes who had gone before him."

Of particular interest is p.43  "Arkat's Tome" which gives you the feeling there would be a whole book on the subject of all his heroquests.  A few are discernable here.

I. General History of Arkat
  A. Early
  B. Brithini Period - Weapon Tests of Horal
    1. Club, Sling
    2. Whip, Bolo
    3. Ax, Shield
    4. Spear, Bow
    5. Sword, Javelin
  C. Knightly Period Hrestol's Quest (Rebirth)
  D. Humakti Period to Get Godkey (out God Plane Magic), i.e., God Death
  E. Troll Period Hill of Gold

  F. Later Period
II. - VI.-Each Stage
  (II. Brithini, III. Knightly, IV. Humakti, V. Troll, VI. Later)
  A. General Plan and Scheme
  B. Long-term Ritual
  C. (Greatest) Heroquest Path
    1. Story
    2. Prep
    3. Stages
VII. Additions
A. Arkat's Paths on the Map

Arcane Lore p.78 "Arkat eventually realized the dangers of exploring other paths, and thus one of Arkat's followers stands guard at many of the places where heroquest paths cross."  - This clue tells you something of which places a number of heroquests may lead. 

p.102 "The Quest for Ten Strikes" - Stage 4 is notable "4. The Guardian of the Globe - This being is a raven with iron knife-blades instead of feathers. He is always accompanied by the Dark Warrior (an Arkati) who never takes action except to defend the Guardian or himself if the quester attacks."  This is clearly one point where multiple quests cross.  And likely one that Arkat took.

p.112 "The Crossroads", not only does one of the Hundred Roads lead to Arkat, but "Also here is the Riddling Raven, behind whom stands one of the Dark Warriors."  So the Crossroads is another station that occurs across quests.  (And clearly quests with Ravens offer opportunities to do something different)

p.115-6 "The Six Vales" and by extension "The Citadel of Drang" - notes that the Serpent Dragon guarding the Magic Bush is protected by a Dark Warrior.   If you can pass the Serpent Dragon you can gain one of the leaves of the Magic Bush.  Likely another quest Arkat went on.

Hopefully those provide some further ideas/thoughts.

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8 hours ago, jajagappa said:

He obviously initiated several times:  as an Orlanthi, as a Humakti.  These would follow the standard initiation quests (e.g. to gain the Star Heart, to look in the face of the Devil, to sever himself from his kin, ...). 

No Star Heart for the Korioni, but that doesn't mean none for Arkat, I would guess, but he may have been initiated into the Orlanth cult by Harmast (plus companions) instead. This is actually an interesting can of worms.

The initiation obviously had the community support of the Korioni. The actual quest preparations could have been done by Harmast and company. Which wyter would have been involved? Harmast had successfully contacted Ginna Jar, so he could have used that quest wyter to initiate Arkat. In that case, the support by the Korioni would have been indirect, making the quest a little harder - no news for either Arkat or Harmast, really. If the initiation would have been to a Korioni wyter, then there is the possibility that the initiee would automatically be drawn into the Korioni initiation rites, which may start out differently (established for Eneral or Galanin, quite likely, or for Korion specifically). But, regardless of which adulthood/pantheon initiation Arkat would have undergone first, the specific Orlanth initiation would have been the next step.

So, is it the initiee who chooses his initiatory myth, or is it the community wyter, or is it the officiating godtalkers? It is obvious that at stations with choices of paths, the initiee has agency. However, creating the situation and effecting the crossover into the Other Side is in the hand of the godtalkers and/or the wyter(s).

 

Why no Star Heart for the Korioni?

Here  the history of the Theyalan missionaries in Ralios comes into play. The Vustri were the direct neighbors of Karia (where Theyalan missionaries would emerge, leaving Dorastor), and so may have been the first converts. Alternatively, all four Enerali peoples accepted the Theyalan mode of worship in 180 when the missionaries proved Humat to be another name for Orlanth.

East Ralios was settled by settlers from Dragon Pass - Heortlings, aware of I Fought We Won. Their Vustri (involuntary) neighbors were converted by Theyalans, but they won't necessarily have inherited the IFWW myth, even though it seems that missionaries would marry into the new tribes and raise their own children in the creed and methods they brought along. But then, those marriages needn't have been permanent.

Second Council and later Orlanthi needn't have been of Heortling stock. Hence, there is no guarantee that even the missionaries knew the IFWW myth

 

One thing that kept me wondering is when and how the traditional Orlanthi Korioni of Lankst became apart from those Korioni who founded the cities on Lake Felster. When and how did they become a separate culture?

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22 hours ago, Joerg said:

So, is it the initiee who chooses his initiatory myth, or is it the community wyter, or is it the officiating godtalkers? It is obvious that at stations with choices of paths, the initiee has agency. However, creating the situation and effecting the crossover into the Other Side is in the hand of the godtalkers and/or the wyter(s)

The initiation isn't chosen, it's the event that everyone in the clan knows how to participate in. In harmast saga the story begins as old but unfolds into the actual initiation for those who are the participants. The men and women in the clan know their roles, as it's an established drama. Like a play, it won't be the same every time as the actors are different and everyone has a slightly different idea of how it works as a whole. So it's none of the above, it's the clan who defines the initiation, by the myths told and the stories that the previous participants tell. Orlanth did this... On my initiation this happened... No two will tell the same stories as it's personal, but the outcome will be the same.

I Fought We Won is a universal myth in Glorantha. It doesn't always have this name and is told from different aspects. It's about surviving on your own against overwhelming adversity. I'm sure that many cultures have this aspect in their initiations, just not the same name or gift at the end. Replace Star Heart with what ever cultural understanding is more appropriate,

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1 minute ago, David Scott said:

The initiation isn't chosen, it's the event that everyone in the clan knows how to participate in.

In Argrath's initiation (as of the Prince of Sartar webcomic chapter 1) we see some of the clan members dress up as the Evil Uncles as the only active participants of the rite. The rest of the clan will be busy opening the way through chants and minor sacrifices, rather than shaping the story.

1 minute ago, David Scott said:

In harmast saga the story begins as old but unfolds into the actual initiation for those who are the participants. The men and women in the clan know their roles, as it's an established drama. Like a play, it won't be the same every time as the actors are different and everyone has a slightly different idea of how it works as a whole. So it's none of the above, it's the clan who defines the initiation, by the myths told and the stories that the previous participants tell. Orlanth did this... On my initiation this happened... No two will tell the same stories as it's personal, but the outcome will be the same.

The magic the clan (or whichever community supporting the initiation) puts into the rite is through its wyter, and the rites will be tied to the wyter as well.

What you describe is the normal way of an initiation with no Full Lightbringer Hero and his Ginna Jar available, performed for children coming of age rather than for the greatest warrior and heroquester the world has seen since the Dawn. Arkat was about 50 years old (assuming he was born simultaneously to Nysalor) when he underwent this initiation, although as a Horali he wouldn't have looked his age.

 

1 minute ago, David Scott said:

I Fought We Won is a universal myth in Glorantha. It doesn't always have this name and is told from different aspects. It's about surviving on your own against overwhelming adversity. I'm sure that many cultures have this aspect in their initiations, just not the same name or gift at the end. Replace Star Heart with what ever cultural understanding is more appropriate,

My impression of the latest model was that IFWW was restricted to the peoples who emerged "awake" from the Greater Darkness. So Zzabur acted at the period of the destruction of the world, and would have recognized that others did at the same time, against similar opposition. The Theyalans did.

I don't think that the Dara Happans have such a myth, slumping in abject terror, excluding the Alkothi who were stalking the world in demonic shape (Shadzorings, think Zorak-Zoran-like humanoids not descended from Kyger Litor in any way). We don't exactly get a Manimati survival hero other than the original Manimat. It might be possible that some star gazers in Yuthuppa remained in deep meditation throughout the worst of the Darkness, but we don't learn about any such individuals. The future horse nomads survived as Starlight Wanderers - no idea if they got the idea that others fought against similar foes at the same time their final fight was about to be lost.

Jenarong and Lendarsh would be Gray/Silver Age heroes, active after IFWW.

Many other survival myths would go "We went into hiding while terrible things happened, and stayed there until we were awakened by X." Location and means of hiding may vary greatly, but far from every minor community re-emerging after the Gray Age had a hero participating in IFWW. Not even in the terms of Heort representing a dozen former Vingkotling tribes in this.

Nor did every Silver Age hero. Vogarth Strong Man was definitely active after IFWW when he dammed up the river to form an impassable moat around the Necropolis to contain the dead of that place, but I don't see him confronting the end of the world. Kimantor did in stead of the Esrolians and the Shadow Plateau uz. Tessele probably did for the Caladrans. I am far from certain about Amphibos of Serid Jarkassa or Aram ya Udram, and I don't see any Nogatending participant.

 

Everybody subsequently awakened will have heard about IFWW, but that doesn't give them access to the mysteries of that event. The Talastarings don't have it.

Kimantor might have relied on the (rather innocent-looking) "Three Curious Spirits" myth in Troll Pak, which describes the encounter of three Darkness deities with the unborn Aether (still stuck in the Chaosium?), the embodiment of Death to their kind. This Green Age event (first hate-burnt Underworld entity, first master of fire through respect, first peaceful approach to fire) defined the three deities, but it might give lessons to the mortal (or demigod) following their way.

The Serpent Brotherhood may have had their own shaman hero doing his bit much like Heort did, but with a vastly different source for their secret of active survival in the face of annihilation - exposure to the Bad Man might count as excellent preparation.

The Dangans (the Enerali of Hrelar Amali) might have their own variant of their hero (King Dan?) facing off the destruction of the world. What would a Galanini hero (or heroine, thinking of that Galanini queen fighting the Underworld Dragon relief in southern Estali) have taken as preparation for that encounter? The Korioni are one of four branches of these Enerali/Galanini. The slave/unfree population of Safelster might have been other Hykimi, formerly of the Serpent Beast Brotherhood.

 

There are seven major groups of Orlanthi in Glorantha - the Heortlings of greater Kerofinela, the non-Heortlings of Saird and southwestern Peloria, the Fronelans west of Jonatela, the Vesmonstrans, the East Ralians, the non-Heortlings of Maniria and their descendants in inland Umathela. The East Ralians may be a migratory group of Heortlings rather than of Enerali origin, or mixed with the Vustrians after their presence in the region was established and other groups took over (Bright Empire, Autarchy,, God Learners, EWF).

 

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

The magic the clan (or whichever community supporting the initiation) puts into the rite is through its wyter, and the rites will be tied to the wyter as well.

Is it? For HeroQuest, the community magic rating is't specifically the Wyter. Page 123 tells us:

Quote

Magic Resource
Magical Help: The clan can lend magical support to the heroes, such as casting Rune magic, teaching rites, lending artifacts, and assigned priests to accompany the heroes. The clan can even ask the clan magical guardian (or wyter) to accompany the heroes, although that poses grave potential risks to the clan itself.

The Wyter can be asked to help, but as it says, there are risks to that. According to that paragraph, it's not the Wyter. It sounds very much like the clan teaching rites to everyone. 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

In Argrath's initiation (as of the Prince of Sartar webcomic chapter 1) we see some of the clan members dress up as the Evil Uncles as the only active participants of the rite. The rest of the clan will be busy opening the way through chants and minor sacrifices, rather than shaping the story.

http://www.princeofsartar.com/comic/2-the-uncles/ for onlookers

Firstly, it's a comic, not a film or book. It's going to show scenes to convey the story, not the boring stuff. Just like a film that's edited out. The clan members aren't dressed up, they are the gods themselves, participating in their sacred role of grabbing Orlanth and taking him to the Strange Gods. If they were just clan members it would just be kidnapping and assault. The text accompanying the comic tells the full story. Imagine it's like a school nativity play, outsiders looking in see children dressed up as Joseph, Mary and donkeys. Those in the play are Joseph, Mary and the donkeys. Baby Jesus isn't a doll, he's real to all. The audience of parent's are the clan members in the initiation. They remember when they did this and how wondrous it was at the time. Unlike the real world where suspension of belief is the mechanism of theatre, in Glorantha it's replaced by an actual shift in to the otherworld generated by all the participants. 

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4 hours ago, David Scott said:

Is it? For HeroQuest, the community magic rating is't specifically the Wyter.

The Community Magic Rating in HeroQuest is an abstract concept that doesn't map to anything concrete in the clan, does it? Or does each clan have five treasures that act as specific vessels for each of this magic ratings?

As far as I understand the way the Orlanthi worship, the wyter becomes the focus of the magical energies that are exchanged with the Other Side. (I know, this is a rules abstraction with RQ magic points sacrificed and conducted to the deities.) That's why a clan is essential for the communal worship. A specialized temple or a heroband with a wyter of their own can replace the role of the clan if the clan rites cannot be attended or if the clan doesn't cater for the specialist deity of your cult.

(Interesting question here - does the sanctified ground of a temple enable a direct transfer of magical energies to the other side, or does each temple have a conductor entity (wyter) of its own?)

The individual magic sacrificed in the rites and through the wyter would go to the deity, of course, but will create a potential that the clan can access (through the wyter). IMO it is not like the magic is stored in a huge matrix that is kept as part of the clan regalia and can be carried around to spill the stuff again. But I may be wrong in this.

 

When it comes to the adulthood/clan membership initiation, I honestly cannot imagine not taking the wyter along for this initial step. After all, clan initiation creates the link between the adult clan member and the wyter, enabling the wyter to use its GPS ability to locate the clan member when on the clan tula or on an Other Side equivalent of that. In a second step (following the meeting with the Second Son) the male initiee will be able to choose to follow the steps of Orlanth, or to keep his cult initiation on hold to follow some specific calling into a specialist cult, or perhaps even into spirit worship or a sorcerous magic following Lhankor Mhy. The female initiee might have to attract a saviour on the Other Side to melt her out of the Ice of the Greater Darkness, like Heort's wife Ivarne did in the Greater Darkness. Avoiding the conflict by going into some form of stasis (sleep, frozen, whatever) might be their way to deal with the threat of Chaos, although some special way analogous to the Red Goddess quest (exposure to Blaskarth) might be an alternative.

 

 

4 hours ago, David Scott said:

The Wyter can be asked to help, but as it says, there are risks to that. According to that paragraph, it's not the Wyter. It sounds very much like the clan teaching rites to everyone. 

I think that the rites that the clan performs (not teaches, actually performs) establish the paths on the Other Side that open when the questers pass over.

 

 

5 hours ago, David Scott said:

Firstly, it's a comic, not a film or book. It's going to show scenes to convey the story, not the boring stuff. Just like a film that's edited out. The clan members aren't dressed up, they are the gods themselves, participating in their sacred role of grabbing Orlanth and taking him to the Strange Gods.

The identification with enemy gods (and that's what the Bad Uncles are in the initiation) will create a presence of these deities with the masks and the bearers of the masks, but do they really experience their roles as the enemies of Orlanth, or do they maintain some distance keeping their real association with Orlanth (or some other non-enemy deity of the pantheon) intact.

Acting the part of an enemy god should not give the stand-in (in this case Orlanth) cultist insights into the secrets of that god's cult, or create an identity of the person with his cult's enemy. If anything, crossing over to the Other Side should enhance an initiate's connection to his own cult's deity, not the deity's enemies. This could lead to some kind of split perception of the mask bearer, one in the role of the enemy, another in an experience of unity with his deity.

 

5 hours ago, David Scott said:

If they were just clan members it would just be kidnapping and assault.

They aren't just clan members, their bodies are acting out for the (enemy) gods. But I don't think that the actors experience the story from the vantage point of the enemy gods.

 

5 hours ago, David Scott said:

The text accompanying the comic tells the full story. Imagine it's like a school nativity play, outsiders looking in see children dressed up as Joseph, Mary and donkeys. Those in the play are Joseph, Mary and the donkeys. Baby Jesus isn't a doll, he's real to all. The audience of parent's are the clan members in the initiation. They remember when they did this and how wondrous it was at the time. Unlike the real world where suspension of belief is the mechanism of theatre, in Glorantha it's replaced by an actual shift in to the otherworld generated by all the participants. 

Sure. And if the role coincides with your cult, you will experience your deity's actions in the performance.

However, most (if not all) rites involve the personification of deities whose impersonator has no (or hardly any) cultic connection to, you can just hope that the impersonating clansman doesn't build a lasting identity with that mask's entity.

 

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

They aren't just clan members, their bodies are acting out for the (enemy) gods. But I don't think that the actors experience the story from the vantage point of the enemy gods.

I would say that is correct.  The clan members as enemy gods are following the known script, and they must perform well for the action to occur as expected.  Their vantage is what their culture perceives the enemy god's vantage to be.

And that's why it's so dangerous when Arkat or Jar-eel or Argrath show up and take the place of the enemy god, because they have/know the script, the vantage of the enemy, and the knowledge of other paths they can potentially direct the script to that will work.

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

that's why it's so dangerous

On the other end of the scale, your uncles pull their punches because behind the mask they don't want to hurt you permanently -- maybe when they were young, their initiators showed similar restraint. A bad uncle may take on a deeper aspect of an enemy god and do more damage.

I like the mystery this thread opens up between the content of the initiation -- the experienced truth of the god -- and the ritual performance. Maybe all(*) Gloranthans learn certain cosmic truths as a condition of going through life, participating in the seasonal cycle and ultimately going beyond. That's the experienced truth. The shape of the rite varies with cult, its regional expressions and what the initiate brings to the table. Is it the same rite? All I really know is what happened to me, what I saw and how my tribe does it. And maybe as I travel I recognize the face of god in the strangers' rites. Otherwise, well, it's one of those strange gods like the ones my uncles impersonated that one time.

Best to all next week at Sacred Time: Schloss Neuhausen and to those who are only there in spirit this year.

* Orlanthi all as always

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17 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Community Magic Rating in HeroQuest is an abstract concept that doesn't map to anything concrete in the clan, does it? Or does each clan have five treasures that act as specific vessels for each of this magic ratings

The relevant paragraph says nothing about five treasures it does say:

23 hours ago, David Scott said:

For HeroQuest, the community magic rating is't specifically the Wyter. Page 123 tells us:

Quote

Magic Resource
Magical Help: The clan can lend magical support to the heroes, such as casting Rune magic, teaching rites, lending artifacts, and assigned priests to accompany the heroes. The clan can even ask the clan magical guardian (or wyter) to accompany the heroes, although that poses grave potential risks to the clan itself.

So it can be assumed to cover any of the effects mentioned or similar, it’s not a single thing but a combination of actions, people, artefacts and rites. 

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