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Ufnal

Unification vs individuality?

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This probably isn't an original thought, as in the decades of Gloranthan speculation someone probably thought of that, but as a semi-noob I wanted to ask you: It's quite obvious that there's a cycle through Ages of conflict between powerful empires (at least in Genertela). However, do you feel it could be pretty much summed up as "Unification vs individual growth"? 

First Age - Nysalor is a product of a Council wanting to birth a god that would unite them, a god that tries to illuminate and incorporate everyone around it. Arkat is an individual who went through multiple great changes and a private illumination in order to fulfill his private obsession with destroying what he perceived as ultimate evil.

Second Age - God Learners wanted to provide a universal mythic framework that would incorporate and make obsolete all the others. EWF cared about personal illumination and/or personal draconic superpower for individual members. [I guess the idea of EWF making one huge dragon kinda screws that bit up?]

Third Age - Lunar Empire wants to prove that we are all us. Opposing it are individual heroes who fight amongst each other but whose individual deeds grant them powers to overthrow the Empire.

 

Does that make sense at all? Is it a common (or commonly discredited) theory I never heard of?

Edited by Ufnal
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I think that's a theme that's certainly there, but I don't think it's intended to be the defining or a singular theme. It's just in mystical experience, there tends to be (at least at first) a polarity and dynamic relationship between all and none, one and many, and pretty much all dualistic ideation, etc. At the end, it tends to resolve in the manner that the mystic recognizes there is actually no distinction between the two opposite ends of the spectrum. For a roleplaying/literary setting, esp. focused on myth and mysticism, those polarities are great drivers of story tension. Build opposing factions at the ends of these polarities and watch them go to literal or metaphorical war, with individuals transcending the particulars of the conflict and their cultures to acquire an Illuminated understanding. New cultures and religions can then develop from ordinary people trying to interpret these mystical insights, facilitating a future turning of the cycle of opposition.

This dynamic of tension and paradox is wonderfully illustrated in Arkat vs Nysalor. At the end of Arkat's and Nysalor's battle, it seems like Arkat wins, but even in winning, he has come to resemble his enemy. Maybe it wasn't Arkat who triumphed? Or maybe the Arkat who triumphed was more Nysalor than Arkat. Whatever the case, the two started at opposite ends, but with mystic insight, perhaps they came to see themselves in their enemy.

I have always struggled to put the EWF precisely into these terms, though. Not a branch of Glorantha lore that I'm in any way well versed in, I feel. 

The "We Are All Us" Lunar Empire vs individualistic Orlanthi fits very much, I think. The paradoxes are there as well: what's a whole culture of individualists who seem to cleave almost bindingly to tradition? Or the Lunars as a conquering collective that is (at least for the highest of Lunar devotees) all about individual ascendance beyond restriction? The Lunar philosophy seems to (at the high levels) recognize this paradox and plays around with it. Argrath seems to be doing something similar to the Orlanthi. I think any winners in this conflict will have come to uniquely understand their enemies and have been transformed themselves by the process. But again, I think there's more threads there than just individualism vs. unification.

Hrm, a bit long-winded here, but I think that's gets at it.

Edited by Grievous

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1 hour ago, Ufnal said:

Does that make sense at all? Is it a common (or commonly discredited) theory I never heard of?

It's certainly another way of classifying what happened. For example in King of Sartar the same cycles are called by Argarth as the coming of the Devil (every 600 years). But could easily be the end of Empires or any one of many other just as valid descriptions. Interestingly, none of the fledgling groups started out just to achieve what you have described. The First Council didn't start out wanting to make a god, the Godlearners started out as a trading empire, The lunar empire didn't start as a proselytising force.

58 minutes ago, Grievous said:

a polarity

Polarities are certainly part of these themes Nysalor / Arkat, Godlearners / Dragons, Red Godesss / Sheng Seleris. to name but a few.

 

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I was under the impression that individualism is alien to Glorantha, even the Orlanthi are Clan first. it is an 'us v them', never an 'I v them' :huh:

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One thing I observed is that in each of the ages, an area with an alternate magical property was started inside Glorantha, expanded, then collapsed into itself. The Bright Empire with its area where illumination was seen as a force for good vs those outside or unaccepting, fighting it head to toe. Both Arkat and Nysalor claimed to have fought Gbaji, and I think they were right - Gbaji being the mask between the two realms of magic.

The Imperial Age had the EWF dragon dream which altered its interior - gradually, not abruptly, as you entered the EWF, but with very weird draconic husbandry and plants in the core of the EWF. This dragon dream ended abruptly with the assassination of the EWF leaders and draconic thinkers who had not already ascended. The dragon entities turned back into ordinary cows and plants, or withered away.

The Third Age has the Silver Shadow and its magical expansion, the Glowline, creating a distinctly different magical reality inside vs. outside. By the end of the Hero Wars, there will be no Glowline, and only one shared magical reality. It will be neither the Red Moon nor Argrath's Reaching Storm reality.

Each age had the creation of a new god, and its destruction (Osentalka/Nysalor, Zistor, and Rufelza).

The God Learner RuneQuest Sight and other such effects did not create regional differences in magic, but it changed Gloranthan magic as a whole, twisting and bending it until it snapped (mostly) back. The experimentation did leave changes and scars.

 

Both Nysalor and the Red Goddess had their Other, Arkat and Sheng Seleris. Both Others got sent to Hell and liberated through the Lightbringers Quest (and more).

Every time, people or cults transcended the normal rules of the world. And every time, some cataclysms resulted.

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I've seen patterns like this between the ages and used it to develop my ideas for the fourth age, making it a mirror if the second age like the third one is a mirror of the first.

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On 1/9/2018 at 11:08 AM, Ufnal said:

Does that make sense at all? Is it a common (or commonly discredited) theory I never heard of?

It makes perfect sense to me. There are almost certainly other things at play, for example "Nobody can make me do anything", "Violence is always an option" and so on, reflecting the Orlanthi disrupting any Empire they find, but Unification vs Individuality makes a lot of sense.

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There's a resonance of past events (even those before Time) creating patterns of events. Some events are purely mythical (which in Glorantha means that mythic events tend to repeat) and those you can see in Glorantha. Some of the latter are relatively simple, such as the passage of the Sun through the Sky and Underworld every day; the Red Moon following its weekly cycle (and larger cycles); the passage and interaction of the planets and constellations, or particular events such as the passage of Orlanth's Ring through the Sky and Underworld, and what it interacts with on its way; the sequence of the Seasons (which map to the Mythic ages); the fact the movement of the heavenly bodies repeats every few centuries (except when it doesn't when planets or stars appear or vanish - always heralding major events). And each Age in Time maps onto Mythic Ages, with a similar increase in entropy as the magic gradually goes away.

Astrology in Glorantha probably follows the Babylonian model, of correlating events on Earth with events in the Sky - 'so above, so below' - as the Sky is inhabited by deities of every sort - and in Glorantha this is true.

So Sky Gazers in Yuthuppa and Kralorela are doubtless studying the Sky, and getting really scared as the Hero Wars unfold, because of what they are seeing, and what they are not. And senior Lunars probably expect the Eighth Wane to duplicate the First, with mounting energy, and new threats such as a new Dara Happan revolt and a new Jannisor in the south... but, he seems to have arrived ahead of schedule...

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On 1/9/2018 at 3:08 AM, Ufnal said:

...: It's quite obvious that there's a cycle through Ages of conflict between powerful empires (at least in Genertela)...

You have clearly succumbed to Lunar heresies.  They see cycles in everything!

:D

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On 1/9/2018 at 7:56 AM, Richard S. said:

I've seen patterns like this between the ages and used it to develop my ideas for the fourth age, making it a mirror if the second age like the third one is a mirror of the first.

Well, there's certainly a return to Draconic magic, if Argrath's actions are as reported. He also becomes a God and many Gods are destroyed/disappear - presumably the gods of Arachne's Net. But that is not all gods. Certainly Lhankor Mhy's writing disappear, however.

I cannot but help believe that there is innate conflict between his "Reaching Storm" and the anarchistic tendencies of the Orlanthi. Of course I also suspect Argrath of engineering the deaths of Kallyr and Broyan, so I am not objective in this.

The great empire - the "enemy" that seeks to include/consume all others (as I perceive it) - in KoS is Harshax, which is apparently linked to Belintar. The First Age is the age of Arkat and the Bright Empire... So I'm curious to know (a bit of a segue here) about people's Harshax theories.

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5 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Certainly Lhankor Mhy's writing disappear, however.

For a time, and in certain regions.  But it's not clear that this is a universal event.

5 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

So I'm curious to know (a bit of a segue here) about people's Harshax theories.

I do feel that Harshax is linked to either Belintar or the Masters of Death and Luck.

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22 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

I do feel that Harshax is linked to either Belintar or the Masters of Death and Luck.

He was of course dismembered by JarEel, his soul divided with his body. This is the method pioneered by Arkat/Nysalor against Gbaji, but it was only temporarily successful: Rufelza seems to have incorporated at least a piece of Gbaji. In a sense, the transformation of Kajabor into Time is also an attempt to tear apart and transform a god. It looks like gods can't really be killed, except by Chaos itself (Isn't Nysalor in part made to of one of the seven fragments of Yelm?). Hence Harshax might be a fragment of Belintar incorporated into a successor-figure...

It is interesting that Wakboth returns - there's a sense that he is unkillable. 

Nysalor becomes both a part of Arkat and a part of dismembered Gbaji. Rufelza becomes the White Moon. Belintar became... ? If we look again at Argrath, it's interesting that one of the inconsistencies in the post-1625 texts is the problem of Kethaela and of the City of Wonders. The latter is both said to have been destroyed and made into the prison of Pharandos and his sister Estal Donge; weirdly, Phargantes, their half-brother, is the son of none other than Jar-Eel and of Moirades... And Phargantes is the Emperor of the "Good Empire" and the "New (Black) Moon" - the Black Moon being linked to Chaos. I don't have a clearly thought out theory (yet) but it's interesting that there's this connection between the Rufelzan bloodline and the prisoners of the Loon Island (italics intentional - note the blending of the Keetish goddess Imarja with the notion of a Lune). Note also that Belintar had a Moon rune, taken into herself by Jar-Eel (viz the Prince of Sartar webcomic) - this rune is probably one of the seven portions of the dismembered soul/body of Belintar. Is it possible, as darkly hinted with Gbaji-Arkat, that "Harshax" was somehow created by Jar-Eel and the mad king Moirades, and that the Empire won in a magical sense? How do we know that Argrath is who he says he was? Could the empire of Harshax, stripped of the Great Gods, who are consumed by Chaos, be the Empire of the White Moon, with the gnawing wound of Chaos finally harmonized/balanced against the Universe? Was Argrath a patsy for the ultimate triumph of JarEel - who is, of course, an avatar of the Red Moon herself?

Edited by jeffjerwin
typos

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30 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

(Isn't Nysalor in part made to of one of the seven fragments of Yelm?). Hence Harshax might be a fragment of Belintar incorporated into a successor-figure...

Yes, Nysalor ostensibly a part of Yelm, though also referenced as Rashoran, who exists separately (at least on the Gods Wall IIRC).

Harshax may well have completed the Tournament of Death and Luck (probably after Jar-eel defeated by Harrek or else the fall of the Red Moon) - he may then have taken up the mantle of the God-king, or parts/fragments of it.

34 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Pharandos and his sister Estal Donge

I think Estal Donge's position as sister of Pharandos is non-canonical.

35 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

this rune is probably one of the seven portions of the dismembered soul/body of Belintar

Yes, it is certainly one of the fragments - and it's loss is part of what keeps Belintar/God-king from returning.

36 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

that "Harshax" was somehow created by Jar-Eel and the mad king Moirades, and that the Empire won in a magical sense?

This seems unlikely.  Phargentes is the offspring who becomes the Red Emperor, but falls to the released Sheng Seleris.

38 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Could the empire of Harshax, stripped of the Great Gods, who are consumed by Chaos, be the Empire of the White Moon

As I don't think there are any plans to build out the Fourth Age, YGWV, but always an option.

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28 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

As I don't think there are any plans to build out the Fourth Age, YGWV, but always an option.

Thank goodness. The "Fourth Age" I think ought to always be YGMV. It lets everyone's story matter. Now I will make some insolvable comments on that Age.. :)

The "five and the seven came back" in the reign of Queen Renedali, after Argrath [KoS, p.134] - this is suggestive of the Ernaldan chant (which has been discussed today on the Glorantha facebook page...): "You are the mother, you are the one. You are the wife of storm and of sun. We are the seven, we are the five, We are the thirty who keep all alive." So some gods (but not all) may have returned in some form. The White Moon is inhabited by a benevolent deity [KoS, p.35].

Still, I have my game in Hendrikiland, so wondering what happened to Belintar (or who Harshax is) is somewhat (very vaguely) peripherally important to my campaign. I doubt a definitive answer is a good idea. Still, the TotMoL&D is presumably connected to Loon Island, and to the fragments of Belintar. How Harshax came to be may be a matter for the twilight period after the end of the Red Moon...

Harshax may be an emperor, however, given that the emperor Garteeld/Gartendel was two reigns before him. The title "emperor" is suggestive. The similarity in names between Harshax the Magnificent and his predecessor Hestendax the Magnificent may also imply continuity. "Harsta" is a Tarshite woman's name, the name of the mother (Harsta Blacktooth/Orindori) of Pharandros [GtG I, p.175, KoS rev., p.107]. The Orindori were the clan of none other than Fazzur Wide-read [HQ:G, p.28], and thus of Enjeem, who also seems to belong to this family. While I am not wedded to my theory am inclined to stick with it, at least to see where it leads; there are clear evidences that the Sacred Kings were Tarshite. "Harst" is of course the Issaries subcult of Spare Grain and Silos, and the Reeve and Trade-talker, which seems like it would pair well with the few facts we know about Harsh[t]-ax, and the intimations we have of famine, communication breakdown and loss of fertility/food-keeping magic in the Fourth Age; Garteeld/Gartendel can be compare to Garzeen. Compare the Minoan construction of palaces around grain silos. Is it possible that what the Fourth Age models is the development of a monetary economy? That's kinda depressing.

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5 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Thank goodness. The "Fourth Age" I think ought to always be YGMV. It lets everyone's story matter. Now I will make some insolvable comments on that Age.. :)

The "five and the seven came back" in the reign of Queen Renedali, after Argrath [KoS, p.134] - this is suggestive of the Ernaldan chant (which has been discussed today on the Glorantha facebook page...): "You are the mother, you are the one. You are the wife of storm and of sun. We are the seven, we are the five, We are the thirty who keep all alive." So some gods (but not all) may have returned in some form. The White Moon is inhabited by a benevolent deity [KoS, p.35].

Still, I have my game in Hendrikiland, so wondering what happened to Belintar (or who Harshax is) is somewhat (very vaguely) peripherally important to my campaign. I doubt a definitive answer is a good idea. Still, the TotMoL&D is presumably connected to Loon Island, and to the fragments of Belintar. How Harshax came to be may be a matter for the twilight period after the end of the Red Moon...

Harshax may be an emperor, however, given that the emperor Garteeld/Gartendel was two reigns before him. The title "emperor" is suggestive. The similarity in names between Harshax the Magnificent and his predecessor Hestendax the Magnificent may also imply continuity. "Harsta" is a Tarshite woman's name, the name of the mother (Harsta Blacktooth/Orindori) of Pharandros [GtG I, p.175, KoS rev., p.107]. The Orindori were the clan of none other than Fazzur Wide-read [HQ:G, p.28], and thus of Enjeem, who also seems to belong to this family. While I am not wedded to my theory am inclined to stick with it, at least to see where it leads; there are clear evidences that the Sacred Kings were Tarshite. "Harst" is of course the Issaries subcult of Spare Grain and Silos, and the Reeve and Trade-talker, which seems like it would pair well with the few facts we know about Harsh[t]-ax, and the intimations we have of famine, communication breakdown and loss of fertility/food-keeping magic in the Fourth Age; Garteeld/Gartendel can be compare to Garzeen. Compare the Minoan construction of palaces around grain silos. Is it possible that what the Fourth Age models is the development of a monetary economy? That's kinda depressing.

I mean, considering that each successive age is less fantastical than the last, and Stafford's comment on how he thinks the 4th age looks (he just pointed out a window apparently), I think it's a safe assumption that the fourth age would start off like our medieval/renaissance period, and eventually stabilize and start to focus more on colonizing and exploring new lands. I could also see the white moon sparking some religion akin to Christianity, probably closer to the protestant variety.

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9 hours ago, g33k said:

You have clearly succumbed to Lunar heresies.  They see cycles in everything!

:D

Because there ARE cycles in everything! #redmoonforever

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