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Pentan religion

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4 hours ago, davecake said:

David knows I rather disagree about this. I think the kind of very distinct bifurcation of the Waha cult in the HQG writeup (where those without the Spirit Rune have no access to the majority of Waha’s magic, and Devotees must actually give up using Waha’s spirit magic) is at best a really weird, somewhat pathological case, and a far more magically integrated cult (like Storm Bull running through to Odayla) is more common, and a much better example of how mixed traditions usually work in Glorantha. 

In hindsight I would change Devotees giving up what spirit magic they have. In my ongoing playtest game one of my players became a Waha Devotee (but not a khan), he kept his his spirit magic and it didn't really make any difference to his playing style or the game. His spirit magic was still standalone charms (and he had loads of it). The real cap on his spirit magic development was the usual hero point economy - better to increase keyword than standalone abilities.

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2 hours ago, Grievous said:

That seems pretty significant! Is this a soul vs spirit thing a general feature or something unique to the Praxians?

Not unique.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Much of this was hashed out under the strictly dogmatic separation of the three otherworlds, but as far as I understood this, every human is born with a soul, a spirit and an essence. It depends on which one of these three spiritual organs you develop which magical otherworld comes naturally to you.

Not sure if essence actually exists or even spiritual organs (clearly a god learner concept) as you find those that use sorcery on the Path of the Dead going to be judged. "Soulless" sorcerers actually have a spirit or soul, it's just they don't recognise it or need it.

 

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27 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Not sure if essence actually exists or even spiritual organs (clearly a god learner concept) as you find those that use sorcery on the Path of the Dead going to be judged. "Soulless" sorcerers actually have a spirit or soul, it's just they don't recognise it or need it.

I think I said so - they have it, but they never develop it into their interface with magic.

The Hrestoli belief in reincarnation might be inherited from Seshna Likita, in which case these Hrestoli would acknowledge a soul, or it might be something sorcerously tangible, which was fomulated as an essence.

I wonder how much the side remark in the Daka Fal write-up in Cults of Prax still holds true.

 

The term "spiritual organ" came from Greg when discussing the three Otherworlds in the Hero Wars era, before his re-explorations of the Second Age in preparation for MRQ. While it is certainly terminology from the Gloranthan meta-rules, I don't think that the concept is necessarily limited to the God Learners.

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I'm very much of the opinion that the various powers are elephants being pawed at by blind men. Not even the Arkati, God-Learners, Grey Sages, Henotheists, or others who come at them from multiple angles have the whole picture.

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52 minutes ago, JonL said:

I'm very much of the opinion that the various powers are elephants being pawed at by blind men. Not even the Arkati, God-Learners, Grey Sages, Henotheists, or others who come at them from multiple angles have the whole picture.

That appeals to my Platonic side at the very least.

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1 hour ago, JonL said:

I'm very much of the opinion that the various powers are elephants being pawed at by blind men. Not even the Arkati, God-Learners, Grey Sages, Henotheists, or others who come at them from multiple angles have the whole picture.

The Arkati at least seem to have figured out that many of the appendages they were feeling out weren't actually part of the elephant at all, but belonged to other feelers!

Later the God-Learners told us that it was a clay elephant (and please ignore the feeler).

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Taking it out of rules etc, trying to express it experientally:

Connecting with a particular form of magic doesn’t just strengthen your connection to it, it (obviously) changes who you are, and cranes the way your mind works. You don’t just attune your mind towards particular forms of magical understanding, at a high level that involves doing so at such a pure level you must actively reject other forms of magical perception, and at such a deep level it becomes a strong habit of mind. A sorcerer must maintain a state of intellectual flow and perception of the other world, and identifying with a part of it too strongly is to lose perspective, to contact a Spirit is to be distracted by emotion and sensation. A theist devotee trying to use a feat needs to identify with their god totally, and objectively assessing their magical actions as a sorcerer would, or focussing on the sensations of their surroundings as a shaman would, pulls them out of identity. A shaman trying to use other magic on the spirit plane might get blinded and confused, get lost or ambushed or pulled back to their body. Eventually avoiding the other forms of magical perception becomes a hardened habit of mind. 

Mysticism itself may not actively hinder other forms of magic, but it doesn’t help, nor do most other forms of magic normally help you approach mysticism. Most see it as, at best, a pointless distraction. 

There are ‘loopholes’. Identifying with your god totally might not interfere with other magic, if that other magic is something your god did. You can travel the underworld as a spirit while continuing to identify with Kygor Litor, because Kygor Litor travelled the underworld. You can intellectually comprehend complex magic through sorcery while identifying as Lhankor Mhy, because that’s a thing Lhankor Mhy does. You can wield the spirit weapons that Waha wielded while identifying as Waha, because that’s what Waha did. You can identify as the queen of the forest (Aldrya) while reaching down into the soil, below into the underworld, to find the spirits of plants yet unborn, because that is part of being Aldrya. And so on. 

I don’t personally know of any traditions that combine sorcery with being a shaman. Doesn’t mean they do not exist. There are definitely sorcerous traditions that attempt to understand the spirit world, and so teach how to intellectually comprehend the sensations that come with spirit contact. The Malkioni however put this in the context of demonising the spirit world, so a different form of intellectual rigidity - the Hrestoli Furlandan school is the best known example here. Binding spirits into enchantments, which effectively is combining sorcery and spirit magic in a limited form, happens. Henotheism, I suspect, combines worship with a deep intellectual exploration of what is worshipped and how it may be understood as an abstract principle (as some forms of Hinduism do). 

But the loopholes have limits. A Lhankor Mhy knows some knowledge is forbidden by LM. A Kygor Litor priestess instinctively knows that spirits that are not of the darkness are hurtful and KL would not touch them. Waha’s way rejects foreign magic. Henotheism relies on a deep well of knowledge about how that particular deity relates to the abstract powers it accesses, and that does not transfer to others. Much of the Furlandan school teaches you that deeper contact with spirits is a danger you must recoil from. And so on. 

The experience of Illumination gives you a moment of oneness with everything. You suddenly understand not just what it is like to be everyone else (a moment of total ego dissolution - but maybe only a moment, the ego snapping back and reasserting itself may be the ‘dark side’), you understand what it is like to be other forms of magician (and other people, and other forms of being, and to be more than just one little constrained individual). You see your habits of mind as habits and restrictions, you can reach back to that moment to see the alternatives. You see the limits as just you limiting yourself to a single way of being, you see how to go beyond that now,you see how it’s all different ways to the same thing. You may not be able to explain or comprehend it fully, but you’ve had that experience. 

That doesn’t mean you know how to fit those pieces together well. Most of the time, you are just back to the first principle with other forms of magic. It can be like trying to learn acting and programming, different skills that simply don’t fit together well. But maybe someone who has been there before has learnt to put the pieces together better, has done the work to see the commonalities, like understanding the maths of music etc. Arkat invented sorcery useful to followers of darkness gods (and FWIW, I think Arkati trolls can learn as much sorcery as anyone, they just need to be Illuminated before mastering multiple forms of magic, just like anyone else). The Red Goddess (or, perhaps, the many Immortals she instructed and inspired) learnt how to apply their magical techniques to her Lunar powers in ways they deliberately construct as different approaches to the same inner truth. Ven Forn finds magical techniques that do not interfere with mystic work. And so on. Some aspects of various magical paths that seem to make little sense, make perfect sense to an Illuminate. 

 

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10 hours ago, davecake said:

I don’t personally know of any traditions that combine sorcery with being a shaman. Doesn’t mean they do not exist.

Would the Waertagi count? Considering they practice sorcery but have also adopted various water traditions and cults. Or do you mean combined as in combined in one cult/school?

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17 hours ago, davecake said:

I don’t personally know of any traditions that combine sorcery with being a shaman.

Probably occurs in Fonrit.  The temple of Black Arkat might be another.

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OK, where would draconic magic fit into all this?  I don't see it as particularly theistic, although their priest phases are supposed to have a large complement of Rune spells.  Who grants them, aside from the minority who become cult associates?  True Dragons?  Likewise, their magic is very much spiritual but not particularly spirit-related.  Sorcery perhaps, but I don't think that's really a path toward spiritual balance, although it certainly could lead to Illumination.

Edited by Yelm's Light

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14 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

OK, where would draconic magic fit into all this?  I don't see it as particularly theistic, although their priest phases are supposed to have a large complement of Rune spells.

The dragon magic effects haven't been described as rune spells since RQ3.

14 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

Who grants them, aside from the minority who become cult associates?  True Dragons?  Likewise, their magic is very much spiritual but not particularly spirit-related.  Sorcery perhaps, but I don't think that's really a path toward spiritual balance, although it certainly could lead to Illumination.

There's multiple options given the lack of detail.

My personal opinion is the Dragon Magic is natural magic.  The Dragonewts are willing an effect into existence which is something that the Elder Dragon/their Future Selves/what-have-you can do naturally.  Their ability to do so is dependent on their spiritual closeness to the Dragon and if done wrongly impairs their spiritual bond.

For humans studying Dragon Magic, since they do not have the ancestral affinity with Dragonewts have to use more conventional methods which takes the form of feats, spells or spirits.  How it meshes in with the infinity rune/illumination (HeroQuest: Glorantha) is something that has yet to be ascertained.

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Dragon magic can be acquired (e.g. by newtling slaves) like RQ3 divine magic. Spend a core ressource (POW or hero point) for single use.

Despite that formalism, it probably feeds upon the draconic reality around the caster, much like a sorcerous Tap.

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10 hours ago, jajagappa said:
On 10/01/2018 at 1:04 PM, davecake said:

I don’t personally know of any traditions that combine sorcery with being a shaman.

Probably occurs in Fonrit.  The temple of Black Arkat might be another.

I should probably have said 'combines without also involving Illumination', as I think the temple of Black Arkat are still only able to combine Troll priestess or shamanic traditions with sorcery because they also teach Illumination. This means Arkati priestesses of Kygor Litor have some (albeit sometimes limited) use of all four major forms of magic. Can't think of anyone else besides the hard core Lunars who manage that. 

It is true that the Garangordite Mandakusour tradition is a likely candidate to combine sorcery and shamanism, but I'm not sure. I suspect they are a Sorcery school that specialises in the Spirit rune ie they have summon and bind spells for spirits, and spirit perceptions spells, etc - but are not actually shamans with fetches, just fill a similar magical niche. Basically, a bit like the Furlandan demon-fighting school, only they think demons are cool and you bind them for your own use, maybe get into a little recreational demonology. 

There are plenty of spirit traditions that do not have shamans. I don't think it is necessarily that difficult for a shaman to know some sorcery spells either, just very unusual for a shaman to be able to wield the full powers of a sorcerous mage (and again, might require Illumination, not sure). 

 

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18 hours ago, Richard S. said:
On 10/01/2018 at 1:04 PM, davecake said:

I don’t personally know of any traditions that combine sorcery with being a shaman. Doesn’t mean they do not exist.

Would the Waertagi count? Considering they practice sorcery but have also adopted various water traditions and cults. Or do you mean combined as in combined in one cult/school?

I think the Waertagi include sorcery, shamanism and divine worship as a culture, but their expert magicians still specialise in only of those options. 

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7 hours ago, Yelm's Light said:

OK, where would draconic magic fit into all this?  I don't see it as particularly theistic, although their priest phases are supposed to have a large complement of Rune spells.  Who grants them, aside from the minority who become cult associates?  True Dragons?  Likewise, their magic is very much spiritual but not particularly spirit-related.  Sorcery perhaps, but I don't think that's really a path toward spiritual balance, although it certainly could lead to Illumination.

I don't really know how the exact rules would work these days, but I see it as (like Lunar glamours) as being intrinsically linked to draconic mysticism, but perhaps superficially mimicking other magic for rules purposes. 

(Crested dragonnewts are just using non-draconic magic as a temporary stop-gap)

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11 hours ago, Yelm's Light said:

OK, where would draconic magic fit into all this?  I don't see it as particularly theistic, although their priest phases are supposed to have a large complement of Rune spells.  Who grants them, aside from the minority who become cult associates?  True Dragons?  Likewise, their magic is very much spiritual but not particularly spirit-related.  Sorcery perhaps, but I don't think that's really a path toward spiritual balance, although it certainly could lead to Illumination.

I wrote some stuff for dragon magic a while ago, maybe this will help?

 

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5 hours ago, Richard S. said:

I wrote some stuff for dragon magic a while ago, maybe this will help?

Interesting.  That demonstrates how much more intimately connected draconic magic is to Illumination than any of the other forms.  (The others can be paths to Illumination, but it's a process inherent in Dragon magic.)

 

15 hours ago, metcalph said:

The dragon magic effects haven't been described as rune spells since RQ3.

That's convenient, since I generally recognize few of the changes in the game since RQ2, except for a number of concepts from HQG.  However, I'm interested more in the overarching philosophy at this point; once I have that I can figure out how to fit it into my game.

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All in all, I think the problem is that humans try to organise things into systems, whether there is a system there or not.  IRW shamanistic/animistic practises can be seen to work in a vast variety of different ways.  Harner tried to organise everything into branches off his 'Core Shamanism', but that only went to show the limits of his imagination and understanding.

Comparing Buryat Mongol practises with those of Surinam or Haitian Voudon, or even the 'Toronto Blessing', reveals a world of difference, not of close similarity.

As for combination with ritual sorcery, one can find it the world over.  (eg Evans Pritchard on the Azande)

On Sunday I shall be leading theistic worship with elements of what might be identified as ritual magic, Eucharistic heroquesting, and even animistic appeal to the divine spirit.

Resistance rolls, anyone?

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I agree that the four fold division of magical practices is an over-simplification of the complexity of real world religious practices. IRL practices we see an amazing mixture of ideas within traditions, and diversity, and mixing it up.

But it’s Greg Stafford’s creation, and Greg set the rules for how magic works. He did so from a strong perspective of personal magical practice, so it’s richer and deeper and more thoughtful than most other gaming approaches to magic. But it still reflects his personal ideas (though of course have changed as his ideas evolved).

So we might disagree with how well some aspects of Gloranthan magic reflects real world magical or religious practice, for those of us that practice and/or study such things (I suspect I’d get classified as mostly henotheist?). But ultimately, some things it doesn’t matter about how much it reflects our personal understanding, in Glorantha it works a particular way. To an extent, Gloranthan magic is like Glorantha metallurgy - in some ways, is just different, and our personal knowledge and experience of terrestrial equivalents just doesn’t apply directly. 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

I agree that the four fold division of magical practices is an over-simplification of the complexity of real world religious practices. IRL practices we see an amazing mixture of ideas within traditions, and diversity, and mixing it up.

But it’s Greg Stafford’s creation, and Greg set the rules for how magic works. He did so from a strong perspective of personal magical practice, so it’s richer and deeper and more thoughtful than most other gaming approaches to magic. But it still reflects his personal ideas (though of course have changed as his ideas evolved).

So we might disagree with how well some aspects of Gloranthan magic reflects real world magical or religious practice, for those of us that practice and/or study such things (I suspect I’d get classified as mostly henotheist?). But ultimately, some things it doesn’t matter about how much it reflects our personal understanding, in Glorantha it works a particular way. To an extent, Gloranthan magic is like Glorantha metallurgy - in some ways, is just different, and our personal knowledge and experience of terrestrial equivalents just doesn’t apply directly. 

Absolutely agreed, providing we also appreciate that Greg blurred the boundaries himself.

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7 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Absolutely agreed, providing we also appreciate that Greg blurred the boundaries himself.

Yes, agreed. 

Greg's ideas have definitely changed over the years, but I don't think he has ever thought that all Gloranthan magic fitted neatly into one of the four categories, or that there weren't odd exceptions that broke a few of the rules. 

 

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3 hours ago, davecake said:

But it’s Greg Stafford’s creation, and Greg set the rules for how magic works.

Isn't calling this "rules" overstating somewhat how Greg has laid it out?

Rules game system is one thing, "rules" that the God Learners claimed to apply is another, and how it actually works in Glorantha is yet another.

 

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58 minutes ago, Steve said:

Isn't calling this "rules" overstating somewhat how Greg has laid it out?

The thing with the spiritual organ attuned to a certain way of magic is part of the meta-rules of Gloranthan magic, like (usually) the energy for magic being created by the denizens of the Middle World, with denizens from the Outer World more or less Being their magic rather than producing it.

58 minutes ago, Steve said:

Rules game system is one thing, "rules" that the God Learners claimed to apply is another, and how it actually works in Glorantha is yet another.

Sure. But the God Learners were right to a certain degree. They went wrong when they adapted reality to their theories rather than the other way around. The trouble is that they were able to do so despite going wrong.

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6 hours ago, Steve said:

Isn't calling this "rules" overstating somewhat how Greg has laid it out?

Rules game system is one thing, "rules" that the God Learners claimed to apply is another, and how it actually works in Glorantha is yet another.

 

Some of the HW/HQ1 era material seemed to conflate game mechanics & in-fiction metaphysics in ways I'm not thrilled with; totally separate Other-Sides, misapplied worship penalties, and so on. Thankfully, the current paradigms are more fluid.

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I never really accepted the Three Otherworlds approach as it just didn't feel right. My take has always been that the deities are what they are and that people interact with them in whatever way they understand, so sorcerers dominate or revere them, theists worship them, animist get spirits from them and so on.

The worst thing you can do in HeroQuest, in my opinion, is to have a rule that says "[Someone] cannot do [Something]", for example "Shamans cannot use Sorcery". HeroQuest is all about being flexible and doing that is just plain wrong.

Troll shamans can use sorcery, Arkati can certainly use Sorcery and some troll Arkati could be shamans. 

Now, for Pent, some of them follow the Kargzant Tradition, which makes them animists, but I have always given animists access to Divine and Common Magic for no other reason that it makes sense to me.

 

 

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