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[HeroQuest 1E] Flesh Man Common Religion?

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In the back of my RPG files, I have some notes from a Hero Wars game I had worked up when the box set first came out. I updated it when HeroQuest (first edition) hit the stands, and developed a lot of background material for the players. Unfortunately, the years have not been kind to my records (not enough sacrifices to Lhankor Mhy, I guess) and I've lost some of the material I'd made and some I'd collected from the Internet. Among the things I'd collected was minor things like the Heortling name for Argan Argar (as a trollish name would be unlikely to find as much use as a good Sartarite one). But one of the major ones was the Flesh Man Common Religion.

I'm not sure where I found it online, but I had a lot of detail that fleshed out the little bits in the HQ1E deluxe book, along the lines of what the book has for Imarja. I'm hoping that, whatever defunct mailing list, aggregation site (Lokarnos?), or chat I'd collected it from, someone out there has a copy. If so, I'd be grateful if someone could provide the details!

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There's this thread from July 2012 from the MD Q&A forum:

Man Rune

 
Submitted by Araknir on Mon, 23/07/2012 - 14:46 

Hello,

I'm starting mastering the Colymar campain, and one of my players decided to take the Man Rune as a 3rd rune (with Air and Movement). The problem is I have trouble with the meaning of the rune, or its potential applications.

Does someone already faced this ? How would you explain or leverage this rune ?

I have some instinct telling me about links to ancestors or the like, but i'm not really sure about it.

Thanks

Araknir

Flesh Man

Submitted by Roland Volz on Tue, 31/07/2012 - 13:19. 

If they're Sartarite Orlanthi, something Flesh Man related would be fantastic. He's an important Lightbringer, the only one who could follow Eurmal's path, and the Everyman bystander to the deeds of the gods in the most important formative myth for the Heortlings. And yet, he rarely gets his due.

There was a Flesh Man Common Religion keyword in HQ1; it might be worth checking out for appropriate abilities.

I'll do some search then, as

Submitted by Araknir on Tue, 31/07/2012 - 13:53. 

I'll do some search then, as I'm pretty sure this char does not want to become a devotee (things may change though).

Do you remember in which HQ1 book it was ?

I think it was the core book

Submitted by Roland Volz on Wed, 01/08/2012 - 07:35. 

I think it was the core book, actually. In the Heortling section, that was supposedly the most popular common religion.

Flesh Man

Submitted by David on Wed, 01/08/2012 - 08:03. 

In HQ1 Flesh man (page 48) is a common religion for the Orlanthi; "The Heortlings’ ancestor, called Flesh Man, provides common magic to the religion." Common religions disappear in HQ2 (phew). Look at HQ2 & Sartar for for more up to date info on the subject.

In Sartar: KoH Flesh man is only important in the LBQ and as a title on clan rings, fulfilling the ancestor role. More importantly to Orlanthi he is Darhudan with his wife/sister Darhudana, the first mortals. Later after Eurmal kills him, he is then called "Darhudan, Judge of the Dead. He used to be Grandfather Mortal..". The Praxians call him Daka Fal.

He gives no magic. If you want ancestor magic, create a single rune hero/ancestor cult with the rune of your choice (eg Man). If you want to contact spirit ancestors, you need Kolat in Sartar Companion.

Other than Sartar:KoH, there is more about Flesh man, Darhuda & Darhudan in Heortling Mythology.

-----

David Scott

According to King of Sartar

Submitted by Roland Volz on Wed, 01/08/2012 - 15:22. 

So, according to King of Sartar, Flesh Man sees Orlanth kill the Bright Emperor and later sees Eurmal kill Grandfather Mortal, and goes mad. He sees death and doom all around, and follows the trail of destruction, unwittingly tracking Eurmal; this is where Chalana Arroy tries to heal him, fails, and follows him into the LBQ. On the LBQ, the Lightbringers go to the Court of Silence, where they see Darhudan meting out justice to the dead. Then the Lightbringers all return at the Dawn.

Now you're saying that Flesh Man, Grandfather Mortal, and Darhudan are all the same. I can buy Grandfather Mortal and Darhudan, as that makes sense, but I can't wrap my head around them being cognates of Flesh Man as well. I know myths contradict each other, but they at least generally don't contradict themselves.

I don't like it. No sir, I don't like it at all.

-----------------

I actually liked Flesh Man as a common religion in HQ1. He was obviously somebody that you could mythically connect to in order to gain magical powers, albeit of dubious use. However, he also obviously wasn't a god, spirit, or essence of any kind; talents fit best.

how to make it so...

Submitted by Charles on Thu, 02/08/2012 - 00:48. 

One of the differences that separates gods from mortals is that they are capable of several simultaneous manifestations (I don't have the reference to hand). So it is quite possible that Flesh Man was driven mad by seeing himself being killed.

And while Granfather Mortal/Flesh Man/Darhudan is/are seen as the archetypal mortal, they are clearly also on the cusp between immortal and mortal. Darhudan is now, as the first mortal to die, the god of the Dead (as opposed to Humakt the god of Death/Dying/Killing).

BTW, mortals can kinda work around even this bar on separate manifestations. But that is a topic for another posting :)

Except Flesh Man is the mortal

Submitted by Roland Volz on Thu, 02/08/2012 - 07:34. 

Except Flesh Man is the mortal in the hero band. That's his defining characteristic in the versions of the myth that I can think of off the top of my head. That's why his powers are all Talents.

Flesh man is the mortal except on the otherside

Submitted by David on Thu, 02/08/2012 - 14:24. 

There are a few things to keep in mind at this point:

  • Of course your Glorantha may vary and you can have Flesh man as a cult that gives talents.
  • The game system reflecting Glorantha: HeroQuest has moved on from HQ1, giving it a more accurate reflection of how Glorantha is.
  • Who is telling the myth? none of the myths in Glorantha exist in isolation. If your players are being told the myth of Flesh man, and you want him to be the source of talents, that's fine.
  • Enacting the myth. Your heroes may discover that playing Flesh man in a HeroQuest is not the same as his story. Look at the LBQ in the Colymar campaign for what Flesh man's representative does.
  • Mythology and heroquesting doesn't have to make any linear time sense (as others have said), heroes can meet themselves, watch future selves do stuff as well as see past selves actions, they may not even realise it's them (watch the end scenes of 2001 for a great example of an other world journey where someone sees himself, or better still 2001 seconds).
  • If you've not read Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Cambell, have a go, you're in for a treat.

Back to Flesh man. In the story he's the mortal, As he steps from this world to the otherside in the heroquest, he becomes the representative of all mortals. As he transcends himself, he is all mortals that have ever been and himself, so he is Grandfather Mortal, Darhudan and himself as well. He may glimpse his fate - to die like all mortals and be judged by himself (If you read Frank Herbert's Dune series, the Bene Gesserit unleash a similar experience with the waters of life).

What the hero does with that experience is what is important, screaming and going mad is a good option. Flesh man has no existance outside of that story and in that quest as he is actually all of us. I believe that at the end of the original LBQ he is bound into the net as the Judge of the Dead and never returns with his secrets, his insights having transformed him, saving us all, not just from his madness. He dies so that we can be saved - oooh, interesting mythic resonance.

-----

David Scott

That's about what I thought,

Submitted by Araknir on Thu, 02/08/2012 - 03:34. 

That's about what I thought, that Granfather Mortal/Darhudan and Flesh Man could very well be the same entity at two points of its myth (since there is no time at that point, there is the possibility of having myth "mixed up".

I could see this as a specificity of the clan, worshipping the two as a single entity.

Love that interpretation Charles :) If I'm not mistaken Arkat met/wounded himself heroquesting...

This lead to the topic of

Submitted by Araknir on Wed, 01/08/2012 - 08:24. 

This lead to the topic of Hero Cults which I still have trouble understanding.

I am catching the concept (sacrifying to ascended mortals to gain specific magic) but I don't quite understand the relation to divine cults, runes, and general rules.

In S:KoH, hero cults are considered subcults of other deities. But can subcults give affinity to a different rune than the major cult it belongs to ?

Hero Cults

Submitted by David on Wed, 01/08/2012 - 08:42. 

Orlanth cult heroes are described in S:KoH on page 131. The listing of Orlanth Heroes and Hero Cults can be found in the Book of Heortling Mythology (25 pages of it!). They can clearly have a different affinity:

"Angorat [the Shade-Sword] was a courageous and successful Orgorvaltes leader during the Darkness. He defended his people against trolls and demons, and was most famous when he defeated a great troll army at Sword Hill. It is said he could see in the dark, hear a foe who was invisible, and that troll shot bounced off of him."

Angorat clearly has darkness as his elemental rune.

-----

David Scott

Thanks, just found it...

Submitted by Araknir on Wed, 01/08/2012 - 08:01. 

Thanks, just found it... seems to be mostly common magic (but common magic got  changed in HQ2) with generic "this world" enhancements (talents) and some reference to ancestors.

I may try to devise something based on this concept of natural talents and appropriation (on the principle that, if on human can do it without help from the gods/spirits/essences, then every human can do it at some degree)

Man Rune

Submitted by David on Tue, 24/07/2012 - 04:03. 

I've had a player with the Man rune in my Sartar game. We used it as an amplifier for the "formness" of the Man rune, so anything relating to the human form can be used (don't forget troll and elves have this form as well), it's also about self mastery of your self.

Don't forget that unless he is part of a man rune cult, he can only every augment, however that's easily solved by inventing a man rune ancestor cult.

In my Praxian game, it becomes much more important as everyone is part of the Praxian tradition (Man/Beast rune), so gains access to Man rune based charms. To help my players out, I've some sample charms for the Man rune:

Harden bones
Overcome pain
Stop bleeding
Stay awake
Defer meal

and some Daka Fal (Man/Spirit rune) ones:

Giant strength
Feel illness
Heal bone
Fight poison

These charms could easily be man rune augments.

-----

David Scott

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Nice, thanks for the info.

Submitted by Araknir on Tue, 24/07/2012 - 05:28. 

Nice, thanks for the info. That seems to fit my player acception of the rune.

Also, if I understood correctly S:KoH, breakout abilities can be used directly even for non-initiates, so if the character buys those breakouts abilities they could be used as magical abilities.

 

My understanding on that is

Submitted by Araknir on Tue, 24/07/2012 - 07:24. 

My understanding on that is that the runes are first the nature of the person, and second a way to emulate its god. The god allow to use the rune following its nature, directly, without needing specialties (for exemple every orlanth initiate has the capability to fly or to command winds, but their score in the rune, their breakouts ability or the subcults they belong to define the extent of those power).

A breakout in a rune where you are not initiate is just that : a power like a charm or a spell, but coming from the pantheon, and associated to the nature of the character.

For exemple I have an Orlanth Initiate with the Magic rune, and a breakout ability under it to Sense Otherwordly Entities, which seems fine to me and well within the nature of the rune.

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Something, something, birds and bees, something, something...

Submitted by Dreamstreamer on Tue, 24/07/2012 - 01:50. 

Well, Pavis: Gateway to Adventure talks about the Man Rune in relation to the Pavis cult. From what I could gather, it serves two primary purposes:

First, it fosters unity with others that have the Man Rune.

Second, it allows individuals to mate with other species that share the Man Rune. This might be limited to the Pavis cult.

This appears to affect all mortal humanoid species, as they all inherently have the Man Rune, even if it is not one of the dominant (three) runes for that individual. Apparently, it is pretty rare as a dominant rune.

I'll see if I can find another source for additional ideas.

Edit: And Ninja'd!

A billion years is too short a time to accomplish everything you can imagine, for imagination is infinite.

  •  
 

A man rune cult is already

Submitted by metcalph on Tue, 24/07/2012 - 01:47. 

A man rune cult is already described in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure.

But I think it better to ask what your player thinks the man rune will allow him to do.  Is he imitating Flesh Man or what?

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As I understand it, he was

Submitted by Araknir on Tue, 24/07/2012 - 03:02. 

As I understand it, he was not expecting any cult power from it. My players are complete Glorantha Newbies (and I'm not much more experienced) and come from a more dirigist RPG background. They are currently trying to get comfortable with the conflict resolution and abilities of HQ2 and I aim to facilitate their experience by giving them rough indication on what their runes implies.
I have one char with the Magic Rune, but this one got quickly rounded up. As for the Man rune, I think he consider it as an extension of his "humanity". I'm not sure what he mean by that and I'm scouring for information.

I wasn't aware of the association with the Pavis cult. I saw some relations with the cult of Daka Fal in Prax (ancestor related) or Davan Vor/Darhudan and Flesh Man in the Orlanth myths. That's what got me to the ancestor relations (that and the fact this is an aspect of Orlanthi religion that is mostly inkled in the canon, but not quite formalized).

I saw a write up of an Ancestor tradition in Cults of Glorantha (probably coming from Cult of Prax) but nothing so formalized for orlanthi.

 

Secrets of the Man Rune

Submitted by Herve on Tue, 24/07/2012 - 07:14. 

That's an interesting tread, and I'd like to contribute. To me, the Man rune is a Form rune, just like the Plant and Beast Runes. It is part of the make-up of all humanoids (elder races). MAN means here more "humanoïd" (two arms, two legs, stands upright) than... human.

Pavis used this Power in conjonction with HARMONY to try to magically fuse races together - but we still ignore his/its ultimate goal beyond all this "multiracial harmony" dross. I've always been suspicious of Pavis' motives. He / it was a freak of nature, born of the impossible.

Your player could be many things beyond "a better human". He could become a humanoid air daimon, for instance. He could use his Power (ie connection to rune) to affect or influence other humanoids : freeze them (not very orlanthi), control their Movement (better), even influence their behavior. That'd make him a fringe weirdo with the "evil eye" or somesuch. Would that appeal to your player ?

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There's also a discussion in HeroQuest-RPG@yahoogroups.com however I archived the messages in group of 10000s so the file's 25Mb - too big for here. Threads start around message number 20458. Log in to Yahoo groups and have a search.

 

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Thanks. I'm forming a suspicion the myths and stories I'd had were collected from people face to face -- my players, people at conventions, and so on. I'm a dumbass for not using online backup...

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I think the Orlanthi practice a little Ancestor Worship just like everyone else, and this is the primary form of Man Rune magic for them (and almost everyone else, Ancestor worship is by far the most common form of Man Rune magic). They don’t necessarily need shamans to do this - they have incorporated Ancestor worship into the pantheon rites, and can directly contact the ancestors this way. The description of Ancestor day in S:KoH Page 360 is a description of the core practice here  - once a year, as a result of pantheon rites, the ancestors turn up and visit, and can curse or bless. You don’t need a shaman, because the rites are like an Axis Mundi spell, letting the ancestors be Visible. But that’s just the core rite - there are Ancestor shrines in most clans, you can make special sacrifices if you need to, and sometimes the ancestors intervene all by themselves at other rites. 

The blessings and curses of the ancestors usually take the form of the ancestors themselves intervening - such as guarding the stead against other spirits, teaching ancestral secrets, or intervening to sabotage other rites. This can be on a personal not just clan wide basis. 

I think someone with the Man Rune would be able to connect with an Ancestor during these rites enough to converse and make long term arrangements, and perhaps get the Ancestor to accompany them as a spirit ally (or allow themselves to be summoned, depending on the details of the game system). Let them have a Man Rune charm perhaps, usable to defend against spirit attacks at least, or an Ancestor as a follower. Make it a specific named Ancestor, give them a distinct personality. Let it also offer ancestral advice, good and bad. The MGF and role playing possibilities are endless. Is your ancestor trying to live again vicariously? Or a nagging elder, always criticising your diet and other habits? An aged storyteller, garrulous and meandering? 

All that said, a shaman is obviously handy when dealing with ancestors, and I’m sure shamans are involved in many more personal interactions with the ancestors, like dealing with a particularly troublesome angry one. The difficulty in Heortling culture is finding a shaman that is a blood relative. Carefully maintained genealogies, as the skalds and lawspeakers do, helps with practical Ancestor magic too. 

The next most common form of Man Rune magic is City gods, that I expect mostly have quite similar magic to the Pavis divine affinity (though Pavis’s Sorcery, including his Man Rune sorcery, is likely unique). Tailor according to the individual city and its wyter if you want more, but where city gods/waters have extra magic it’s usually as a separate Rune - eg Hauberk Jon in Jonstown also has the Air Rune, as detailed in Sartar Companion Page 22, Swen of Swenstown might have mercantile magic, Boldhome probably doesn’t have a city water as such but Sartar serves in that role and has the Movement Rune, etc. 

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I realize that I don't understand the Man rune. 

In one way, it's a rune that you can have on your character sheet the same way as any other.

In another way, it's a rune that you have by definition as part of being human [substitute applicable race here].

So what does it mean to "have" the Man rune in game terms? That you don't merely have it in the standard way that everyone does, but enough to use it for magic? What would it even mean to have "more of the Man rune"?  

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"Having the Man Rune" as a racial trait is what allows you to make a character from that species. It doesn't really require any individual special tie to this rune. You can be designated "Storm Worshipper" for being part of that culture, even if you (like Biturian Varosh) don't have any personal ties to Storm. (Although one can say that by cheating this way the Yelmalian doomed his quest to failure.)

 

If you have the man rune as your personal rune, it emphasizes a couple of things. One is your tie to your ancestors. Another is an affinity to civilisatory achievements - crafting, advanced agricultural techniques (irrigation, better plows...), and possibly even some intellectual or emotional effects. Among the Malkioni, it might qualify you as a philosopher, possibly regardless of your caste. (Much unlike the warriors who inherited the Hsunchen war magics, and likely display some Beast traits.)

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‘Having the Rune’ in game terms generally means having the ability to use the Rune in some magical sense. Though it varies between game systems. In HeroQuest, it means being able to solve problems with that Rune, because that’s what an ability means in that game. 

I personally think having the Man Rune generally means a magical connection to your broader community in some sense. Mostly, it means Ancestor worship - which is about magical connection to Family, which is intrinsically about the mortal condition - birth and death and the stuff in between , parenthood and the other stuff that keeps it happening. But it can be about other communities - cities, tribes. 

I don’t think it’s about higher abstract concepts, intellectual pursuits etc, There are other runes for that. 

3 hours ago, Joerg said:

Among the Malkioni, it might qualify you as a philosopher, possibly regardless of your caste.

I kind of think quite the opposite. The Malkioni have other runes for philosophy (mostly Law). The Man Rune indicates you are deeply connected to the simple process of mortal Iiving. It’s for raising kids, providing for families, enjoying life, enjoying connection to other human beings (or others of your race, for non-humans). Doing the stuff that gods, demigods, spirits don’t. Living, as a conscious, sapient, mortal being. 

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4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

... What would it even mean to have "more of the Man rune"?  

Well for one thing, it makes you reeeaaallly popular at Sacred Time with the ladies, ifyaknowhwhatImean....

Bad jokes aside, it actually DOES probably mean your character is VERY active in most of community- and relationship-building ceremonies.

 

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

I don’t think it’s about higher abstract concepts, intellectual pursuits etc, There are other runes for that. 

I kind of think quite the opposite. The Malkioni have other runes for philosophy (mostly Law). The Man Rune indicates you are deeply connected to the simple process of mortal Iiving. It’s for raising kids, providing for families, enjoying life, enjoying connection to other human beings (or others of your race, for non-humans). Doing the stuff that gods, demigods, spirits don’t. Living, as a conscious, sapient, mortal being. 

I am referring to the enigmatic first introduction of the Seshnegi under the Daka Fal entry in Cults of Prax, and the designation of the sorcerous world sight as "humanist" here. If magical ties to the ancestors can be made through the Man rune, then the Malkioni have some access to the abilities and knowledge of their demigod founders, whether of caste or tribe. That's a pretty big deal, accessing Danmalastan. Not as big as Zzabur's access to the One World, but still a source of considerable wisdom.

Being a philosopher enables you to ponder your role in the big scheme. All the Enrovalini tribe were philosophers, and they are the core ancestors of the Brithini and the original Malkioni of western Genertela. Later their ranks were expanded by reuniting the Kachasti lineages which had mixed into the Serpent Beast folk of western Genertela after the Nidan uprising, but the core of Malkioni culture is Enrovalini, and that's where to be human means to be a philosopher.

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7 hours ago, g33k said:

it actually DOES probably mean your character is VERY active in most of community- and relationship-building ceremonies.

Very much so.  In the RQG design, it's the opposite of the Beast rune, which is wild and uncivilized.

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

am referring to the enigmatic first introduction of the Seshnegi under the Daka Fal entry in Cults of Prax, and the designation of the sorcerous world sight as "humanist" here. If magical ties to the ancestors can be made through the Man rune, then the Malkioni have some access to the abilities and knowledge of their demigod founders, whether of caste or tribe. That's a pretty big deal, accessing Danmalastan. Not as big as Zzabur's access to the One World, but still a source of considerable wisdom.

I think you are seizing on an obscure, and probably outdated, reference and drawing exactly the opposite conclusions that are natural from the more core references. It’s an interesting reference, but probably better considered in its details (about ancestors becoming gods etc) as a very early stage on thinking about how divinity, humanism etc work in Glorantha, and very much to be considered in that vein, as early ideas that evolved - but even then, I don’t find any support for the idea of the Man Rune being about abstract intellectual thought. Rather, I saw it as indicating that the Seshnegi of the First Age slipped from  pure Malkionism into a form of theism, treating their ancestors as gods. That reference is explicitly about Man Rune = Ancestor Worship. And this actually accords completely with what we know of the Seshnegi, with Froalar becoming the consort of Seshna Likita, and other examples of departing from pure Brithini Malkioni practices in order to get the magical powers needed to survive in a land dominated by other forms of magical powers. 

And sure, accessing Danmalastan (or at least Godtime Brithos, depending on how many generations it goes back) is a source of wisdom, but what wisdom? Not at all necessarily the wisdom of the great and the good of Danmalastan. Living life happily as a Dronar or Menena, without magic or involvement in the philosophical enquiries or magical projects of the age, is very much a Man Rune activity.

By contrast, Malkioni society is generally pretty clear that the best way to transmit deep magical knowledge is via books.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Being a philosopher enables you to ponder your role in the big scheme. All the Enrovalini tribe were philosophers, and they are the core ancestors of the Brithini and the original Malkioni of western Genertela. Later their ranks were expanded by reuniting the Kachasti lineages which had mixed into the Serpent Beast folk of western Genertela after the Nidan uprising, but the core of Malkioni culture is Enrovalini, and that's where to be human means to be a philosopher.

Philosopher is a kind of loaded term for the Malkioni. It usually is associated with the more Platonic/Neo-Platonic exploration of the world associated with the Law Rune, sorcery, etc. and mostly the Zzaburi caste (though moral philosophy is an important skill for Talars especially). Note that this dominant school of philosophy is NOT associated with the Man Rune - it’s source and greatest practitioner is Zzabur, who is not descended from Grandfather Mortal. 

Note also that Ancestor Worship is explicitly hostile to the tenets of Zzaburism, which teaches that death is dissolution and the end of individual existence. 

The Man Rune could certainly be associated with philosophy as we use the term irl,  but much more ideas centred on living life well, ideas like Epicureanism, and I’m not sure that sort of philosophy is accorded any special status by most Malkioni societies. And Ancestor Worship Man Rune magic is explicit heresy to God Time era Enrovalini. 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

I think you are seizing on an obscure, and probably outdated, reference and drawing exactly the opposite conclusions that are natural from the more core references. It’s an interesting reference, but probably better considered in its details (about ancestors becoming gods etc) as a very early stage on thinking about how divinity, humanism etc work in Glorantha, and very much to be considered in that vein, as early ideas that evolved - but even then, I don’t find any support for the idea of the Man Rune being about abstract intellectual thought. 

While it is true that I am basing this in some of the oldest Glorantha publications on this subject, as far as I know the text in Cults of Terror and in Uz Lore is still considered canonical. (Much of the Cults of Terror cosmology text made it into the Guide, IIRC.)

I am bringing up Troll Pak because of the business of having or losing the Man Rune (and that's coming back to the topic of this thread). While nobody will accuse the standard trollkin of being a intellectual giant, it is still a quantum leap ahead of the Pamaltelan Midget Slasher.

Then there is the Praxian Covenant, again making the Man Rune the difference between herd and herder, placing the burden of eating your bestial kin on the ones who drew the intellect in Waha's contest.

 

1 hour ago, davecake said:

Rather, I saw it as indicating that the Seshnegi of the First Age slipped from  pure Malkionism into a form of theism, treating their ancestors as gods.

I don't. Zzabur says of himself that he is the equal of the (False) Gods (like Genner/Genert, Ehilm/Yelm or Worlath/Orlanth), in the abstracted Erasanchula classification.

Then there is the other set of myths about the Malkioni origin, as children of Malkion or Malkion's children with goddesses. (One reason that the Malkioni ancestors are predominantly male is that they married land goddesses or sea goddesses left and right, almost obviating the need for sisters.) And I like to think that the Cults of Prax and Cults of Terror references play to this Malkion Aerlitsson heritage, which is as true as the Zzaburist Erasanchula abstraction, and which applies to the Enrovalini as much as to the other Malkioni.

 

1 hour ago, davecake said:

That reference is explicitly about Man Rune = Ancestor Worship. And this actually accords completely with what we know of the Seshnegi, with Froalar becoming the consort of Seshna Likita,

Following the example of Malkion and the tribal founders who took Danmalastan/Brithos goddesses as wives. (But then too much of Malkioni philosophy seems to assume that "Man Rune" involves male genitals...)

1 hour ago, davecake said:

and other examples of departing from pure Brithini Malkioni practices in order to get the magical powers needed to survive in a land dominated by other forms of magical powers. 

Pure Brithini practices? There are barely distributed old sources from which Revealed Mythologies was distilled that suggest that Zzabur usurped the single interpretation of doctrine. Zzaburism is a philosophy that was formed under the duress of the Gods War, both the conflict with the Vadeli and the "False Gods" like Walindum/Valind who beset Danmalastan. The Lhankor Mhy tribe of the Malkioni (aka Tadeniti, the people who flensed the skin of living enemies to make their first books) and the Issaries tribe of the Kachasti/Kachisti were among the first casualties of that war, the Kadeniti makers were driven out of their architectural marvels by the advancing Vadeli, seeking refuge with the Enrovalini, and the Waertagi took to the seas. Hrestol's Saga paints Brithos shortly after the Dawn as a land of dissident populations just enough obeying the doctrine of infallible (because he said so) Zzabur.

 

1 hour ago, davecake said:

And sure, accessing Danmalastan (or at least Godtime Brithos, depending on how many generations it goes back) is a source of wisdom, but what wisdom? Not at all necessarily the wisdom of the great and the good of Danmalastan. Living life happily as a Dronar or Menena, without magic or involvement in the philosophical enquiries or magical projects of the age, is very much a Man Rune activity.

Living without Zzaburi sorcery, but with the magic of the land, the mystery of growing and making, or the female mysteries - both subjects which Zzabur and the sorcerers are painfully limited in their understanding.

And there we are at the topic of folk magic.

 

1 hour ago, davecake said:

By contrast, Malkioni society is generally pretty clear that the best way to transmit deep magical knowledge is via books.

By books inscribed on the flensed skin of enemies (Tadeniti magic, enthusiastically adopted by Zzabur), by instructional  (Kadeniti), by communicating (Kachasti), by exploring (Viymorni), by entering the vastness of the (outer) sea (Waertagi), or by contemplating existence while doing your job, the Socratic ways of the Enrovalini which Zzabur chose to surround himself with.

 

1 hour ago, davecake said:

Philosopher is a kind of loaded term for the Malkioni.

It is an all-encompassing term, really, and might be synonymous with Malkioni.

1 hour ago, davecake said:

It usually is associated with the more Platonic/Neo-Platonic exploration of the world associated with the Law Rune, sorcery, etc. and mostly the Zzaburi caste (though moral philosophy is an important skill for Talars especially). Note that this dominant school of philosophy is NOT associated with the Man Rune - it’s source and greatest practitioner is Zzabur, who is not descended from Grandfather Mortal. 

Taking just one of the Greek schools of philosophy, and ignoring Confucian, Zoroastrian and Kabbalistic schools is a bit limiting to define the Malkioni as a whole, isn't it? Even reducing just Zzaburism to the Platonic branch leaves out e.g. Pythagorean mysteries which are clearly part of their sorcery.

Oh - and Zzabur is both son, sibling and uncle of Malkion, whose Fifth Action makes him Grandfather Mortal.

 

1 hour ago, davecake said:

Note also that Ancestor Worship is explicitly hostile to the tenets of Zzaburism, which teaches that death is dissolution and the end of individual existence. 

That's Storm Age Zzaburism, the philosophy under siege, severing itself desperately from the final teaching of Malkion, and in fact a major contributor to the fate of the Expulsion March.

1 hour ago, davecake said:

The Man Rune could certainly be associated with philosophy as we use the term irl,  but much more ideas centred on living life well, ideas like Epicureanism, and I’m not sure that sort of philosophy is accorded any special status by most Malkioni societies. And Ancestor Worship Man Rune magic is explicit heresy to God Time era Enrovalini. 

Ancestor worship Rune magic wasn't around for the God Time. People revered their (immortal) ancestors in person, or in deeds of creativity and beauty, applying their wisdom to their lives.

The Gods War changed that. All of a sudden, there was loss - of entire populations, of ancestral lands (land goddesses, remember?), and ancestors became inaccessible except through their teachings (writings, plans of architecture, or oral tradition for the Kachasti).

 

There is that interesting throwaway mention of Hrestoli believing in reincarnation (in the Galvosti paragraph in the Guide). This has been under-explored, to say the least, and allows the question whether it leads back to Hrestol, or to older dissident Brithini practices.

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Joerg, while all very interesting, I don’t find any of it that at all makes your argument any stronger. 

It’s true that the Man Rune is associated with sapience, yes, as well as mortality. So animals that are bipedal but without true language don’t qualify, such as Midget Slashers or herd men. It’s about the experience of being human, or human like to that extent. That’s quite different from associating it specifically with higher abstract reasoning, which we already have multiple runes for, and is clearly something not restricted to mortal beings (iconically so for the Malkioni, for whom Zzabur is the paragon).

Seeing as you extensively quibble with my use of terms like Zzaburism - I’m referring to the 4th action (Storm ) Revelation of Now, which predates the Gods War. The important points are that yes, modern Malkionism has changed due to the Gods War, the sacrifice of Malkioni, and so on, but Zzabur, and the Enrovalini/Brithini who follow him, have not. The Malkioni have, but that’s kind of my argument - Ancestor Worship is just one of the many (we’ll documented) ways in which the First age Seshnegi departed from Enrovalini ways. 

You also raise a lot of pointless confusion about Greek philosophy. No. In describing Brithini philosophy as ‘usually associated with’ Platonism, that was NOT (and frankly, I don’t see how it could in good faith be reasonably interpreted as) an exclusive listing of all philosophy schools ever that I contend we might find inspirational for Malkioni philosophy. Of course it includes the influences of the Pythagorean schools that were influential on the Platonic schools. Of course the Kabbalistic schools, and other philosophies that combined to influence Neoplatonism are included. Because a single sentence is of course not an attempt to enumerate all allowable sources, if such a thing could exist anyway. My point, simply, is that in Malkioni society, broadly, the work of a philosopher is the province of the Zzaburi, largely, and largely focussed on understanding of the world that can be translated into sorceryand practical mastery of the world , not simple contemplation of happiness in the human condition. If a Dronar can’t do it, it’s not really a ‘Man rune’ Thing, which is associated with the universality of the mortal condition - and if a Dronar could do it, it’s not the sort of philosophy the Malkioni value, any more than they value Talars tilling the fields, Zzaburi hitting people, etc. 

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Ancestor worship Rune magic wasn't around for the God Time.

It was presumably around as soon as Death came into the world, at least as soon as the separation of the living and the dead became necessary, so dating from the Darkness. So before the Dawn. But I don’t really see the relevance. 

All im saying the First Age Seshnegi began as Brithini, and the adoption of Ancestor Worship seems consistent with their general drift into henotheism, rather than something that would be considered an advancement of Malkioni philosophy, and the Man Rune would not generally be associated (magically or intellectually) with the sort of thing the Malkioni philosophy generally values highly. 

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10 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Very much so.  In the RQG design, it's the opposite of the Beast rune, which is wild and uncivilized.

And the Plant rune, where you just stand about in the sunlight?

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47 minutes ago, davecake said:

It’s true that the Man Rune is associated with sapience, yes, as well as mortality. So animals that are bipedal but without true language don’t qualify, such as Midget Slashers or herd men. It’s about the experience of being human, or human like to that extent. That’s quite different from associating it specifically with higher abstract reasoning, which we already have multiple runes for, and is clearly something not restricted to mortal beings (iconically so for the Malkioni, for whom Zzabur is the paragon).

So, what Runes do we have for Intellect?

There is Fire, featuring in the Creation of Men in both Peloria and Pamaltela. Hoolar doesn't get it, Jelmre, Pelmre and Agi do, but only Agi get the Solar one that sets them apart from the Pelmre. (Which has interesting implication for the Tarien Slarge...) But it is brightness, not experience, and often quite naive.

There is Law, flaunted by Zzabur's recitation of Malkion, and by Lhankor Mhy. But that's just knowledge and learning, not intellect.

I think that the Man Rune stands side by side with these, and it might signify Experience (and learning from that).

 

47 minutes ago, davecake said:

Seeing as you extensively quibble with my use of terms like Zzaburism - I’m referring to the 4th action (Storm ) Revelation of Now, which predates the Gods War. The important points are that yes, modern Malkionism has changed due to the Gods War, the sacrifice of Malkioni, and so on, but Zzabur, and the Enrovalini/Brithini who follow him, have not. The Malkioni have, but that’s kind of my argument - Ancestor Worship is just one of the many (we’ll documented) ways in which the First age Seshnegi departed from Enrovalini ways. 

Like I said, Dawn Age Brithos needn't have been monolithic. There is a reason that Zzabur sent waves of irritating dissidents out to the Malkioni colonies, it is pruning the population until it fits the doctrine, and that can be said even without access to limited distribution Malkioni documents from Greg's exploration of the West which leave their traces in numerous Guide entries.

 

47 minutes ago, davecake said:

It was presumably around as soon as Death came into the world, at least as soon as the separation of the living and the dead became necessary, so dating from the Darkness. So before the Dawn. But I don’t really see the relevance. 

Ancestor worship from beyond the veil requires the veil to fall. That started with Humakt trying out Eurmal's newest acquisition on Grandpa Mortal, but it ended only with numerous heroes like Heort or Waha in the Gray Age separating the Living from the Dead.

Prior to separating the Living from the Dead, the dead could stick around with the living, and often did. Ancestor worship may have begun as propitiating these revered pests for those trying to lead lives. The Esrolian March of the Dead sort of recalls that intermediate period during the Dark Ages.

The Zerendel/Endernef wars saw lots of enslavement and destruction of the living at the hands of the Vadeli and their Mostali part-time allies, most notoriously the Tadeniti annihilation. Plenty of formerly good (if not necessarily Zzaburist) Malkioni ended up as drudges of the Vadeli, and I dare say a portion of those joined Zzabur's antagonists.

 

47 minutes ago, davecake said:

All im saying the First Age Seshnegi began as Brithini, and the adoption of Ancestor Worship seems consistent with their general drift into henotheism, rather than something that would be considered an advancement of Malkioni philosophy, and the Man Rune would not generally be associated (magically or intellectually) with the sort of thing the Malkioni philosophy generally values highly. 

Froalar began as a Brithini, and probably most of his followers were from Enrovalini background. Their ancestors were demigods, and the emigrants had most likely less than four generations distance from them, well within the envelope of Greek Mythology for their four generations of demigods (if you count Perseus and Tantalus as generation zero, the Argonauts and Nestor as generation two and the heroes of the Ilias as generation three). This means that the earliest Malkioni ancestor worship was little different from say Vingkot worship by the Orlanthi, or Sartar worship by his own dynasty.

 

I sort of wonder about the gender balance among the emigrants, too. Classical Brithini society had one female for each four males, with an unclear role for those sisters. All of the original male children of Malkion were born to lesser goddesses, which appear to have been fairly abundant in Brithos and/or Danmalastan, and not at all objectionable to Malkioni doctrine. The Menenan lineage would have needed ouside fathers to avoid inbreeding for the first few generations, too (if they needed fathers at all - parthenogenic reproduction is always an option in the Godtime, and I recently shared this article on G+ about gynogenesis in certain fish, clonal reproduction with a random, off-species sperm donor just to initiate mitosis: https://plus.google.com/109555234149174501149/posts/9dLeZKxQpYt)

It is fairly clear that the Froalar colony did not have easy access to local land goddesses prior to Froalar's quest to free Hrestol and atone for his son's slaying of  Ifftala, the Pendali ancestress daughter of Seshna Likita by marrying that goddess (and becoming the guardian serpent of the land in the process). It is well documented afterwards that the Frowal colony converted Pendali cities to their ways.

My explanation of this seemless conversion is tied to the Kachisti survival after the Vadeli Nidan uprising. In a role similar to the Oasis folk, these sedentary folk would provide sustainable urban structures for the great Serpent Brotherhood cities, and probably much of the hands-on work on architecture etc. too. The Pendali lion-folk never were more than a ruling nobility of invaders. Their urban subjects were heirs both of Danmalastan and generations of land goddess/priestess mothers. With their lion masters (and later other Serpent Brotherhood beasts) gone, they could adopt ways similar to ancestral tradition quite easily.

 

But back to the role of the Man Rune in Malkioni society. There are runes for community building and society, too: Earth, and Harmony. Man is hardly the most prominent in this triad, either. Man doesn't seem to be tied to female mysteries (Earth, Fertility) in any way, so it really might be a Man and not necessarily a Woman Rune.

 

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4 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

But flowery speech!

You need deep roots to remain standing with that kind of lifestyle. Flowers are shed regularly, so are leaves, but the roots remain - often even after the rest of the person has gone, and sometimes able to return the person. I am Groot.

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Honestly, Joerg, this comes across as incredibly complex intellectual gymnastics that is still looking about as plausible as when you started - wanting to entirely re-order Malkioni society to justify one off hand comment based on a single reference in a source of sufficient age to be quite ambiguous. 

But since you persist.

What Runes we have for intellect is largely irrelevant to your argument, except to note that multiples exist, and there is no need to add Man which already has other uses. The semantics games of understanding vs intellect vs knowledge is just games, and your presentation of those ideas is misleading. Law isn’t just another Rune for knowledge.

On 22/02/2018 at 5:16 PM, Joerg said:

There is a reason that Zzabur sent waves of irriting dissidents out to the Malkioni colonies, it is pruning the population until it fits the doctrine,

There is a big gulf between unity, and a crisis of religious heterodoxy. Froalar is supposed to have left due to a political struggle of succession. And the trouble started with Hrestol in year 2. Not that I’m claiming  the Seshnegi didn’t drift into heresy - I’m simply following the fairly well established claim that they drifted into henotheism in the First Age. You seem to be trying to make the very specific, and odd, claim that they were already heterodox before leaving Brithos, simply so you can then have them separately pursue heterodox caste changes over the Man Rune and Ancestor worship without linking that to their drift into henotheism? Why? 

Quibbling about when Ancestor worship began mythologically is another argument I’m not sure why you are pursueing. This is essentially disagreeing not about what happened, but when it reaches a form close enough to modern practice to use the same term rather than regard it as an antecedent practice for a different era. We both agree it’s pre-Dawn, which is basically the only relevant issue. 

On 22/02/2018 at 5:16 PM, Joerg said:

This means that the earliest Malkioni ancestor worship was little different from say Vingkot worship by the Orlanthi, or Sartar worship by his own dynasty.

There is that small detail of it being a heretical practice for them, which it wasn’t for the Malkioni. Ancestor worship doesn’t work as such if your ancestors are not in the underworld. It becomes a quite different thing if your ancestors are either demigods walking around. It also becomes a different thing if your ancestors are (or are supposed to have) dissolved their individuality after death, and so your attempting to bring them back is either futile or heretical (or both). 

Ancestor worship is a practice you follow if you want your own spirit to be preserved after death. I don’t think you can use it if your ancestors followed a path after death that precludes it. So the question is really when did the Seshnegi fall into heresy. And as I said before, no good reason to presume it was pre-Dawn IMO. 

On 22/02/2018 at 5:16 PM, Joerg said:

I sort of wonder about the gender balance among the emigrants, too. Classical Brithini society had one female for each four males, with an unclear role for those sisters.

I do not think this is true. Nor is 1 male in 4 a Dronar, and 1in 4 a Talar, which would be a rather top heavy society. Going from a single mythic family to a society of thousands many generations later and assuming all proportions and breeding practices were perfectly preserved is weird reasoningBut not as weird as arguing the ancestral Malkioni are parthogenetic fish. 

 

On 22/02/2018 at 5:16 PM, Joerg said:

But back to the role of the Man Rune in Malkioni society. There are runes for community building and society, too: Earth, and Harmony

. Finally, back to the Man Rune. I’m not arguing that the Man Rune is about a functional, harmonious community. Many aren’t. I’m also not arguing about Agrarian society, which is the Earth Rune. I’m arguing it has the simple primal role of being about mortal beings living together in groups, usually family groups. I’m not arguing that from an abstract argument, but from the simple observed fact that most of the Man Rune magic we know of is about those things. Even the weirdo EWF sorcery of Pavis about the simplest social interaction, and reproduction, but 90% or more of Man Rune magic is Ancestor worship or community magic.

On 22/02/2018 at 5:16 PM, Joerg said:

Man doesn't seem to be tied to female mysteries (Earth, Fertility) in any way, so it really might be a Man and not necessarily a Woman Rune.

I think this is a Very Weird stance, and a clear indication that you are getting lost in abstractions and overthinking this (if parthenogenesis in fish had not already made this clear). Where do you think families come from? If anything, Ancestor worship is even more about motherhood than it is about fatherhood. Women are part of families, have ancestors, die, every bit as much as men. And cities, of course, are also inhabited by women.

Yes, it’s more primal than the gendered role implies by a female Earth, etc. but there is really nothing at all in Man magic that makes it male, if anything slightly the other way. And it is worth noting that often the intercessory gods, like Darhudan and Darhudana, or Old Man and Old Woman, are in identical-apart-from-gender-ed pairs. I think we get a male retelling of a story that the women tell about Grandmother Mortal, but don’t mistake that for it being a male story. It’s a mortal story.

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5 hours ago, davecake said:

Where do you think families come from? If anything, Ancestor worship is even more about motherhood than it is about fatherhood. Women are part of families, have ancestors, die, every bit as much as men. 

I suspect this is near the crux of it. Motherhood -- the Menena complex that resembles surviving earth witch systems in the barbarian belt -- is extremely devalued in modern orthodox rokari society only because, as with St. Paul in our world, the continuance of the human condition (man rune) makes it impossible to effectively eliminate. If "ancestor worship is even more about motherhood" than it's uh logical to see those matrilineal aspects of ancestor worship suppressed from LePlain. Rokari men have consolations of caste that theoretically make the kinds of ancestor worship hinted at in Cults of Prax irrelevant. Rokari women don't, and so we'd expect to find those particular "Man" rune cults persisting where women can gather relatively free from interference.

This may or may not be a reflection of conditions back on the island under the blue man's regime. Orthodox Brithini value reproduction much less highly because the pragmatic need to keep the population ahead of Death is much less intense. Unless their code allows them some kind of non-reproductive tantra I'd be curious to see what role (if any) marriage and sex occupy in their society Since Time. After all, the blue man himself is often depicted as celibate and self-sufficient, with his devotees all adopted or stolen from more productive castes -- in which scenario "ancestor worship" becomes a fraught practice for them personally, they don't see much point.

Meanwhile "ancestor worship" in the sense of wringing great magical power from analyzing the genealogy of the runes becomes integral to zzaburite systems. This might be part of what's going on in the somewhat muddled Cults of Prax description: in the West they try to trace everyone and everything to First Causes via the (de)volution of time and the cycle of actions. These aren't so much their personal ancestors as the ancestors of the present situation, which can then be manipulated for personal profit all the same. 

I wouldn't be surprised to see broadsides against Hrestol that portray his "unnatural attachment" to his mother Xemela, The Queen Who Died, as the root of his error. Use whatever you can to keep the magic under control. Take the children who test well away from their parents and replenish your ranks that way. Let the talars think they've got you on a tight leash and you'll never rebel again. Scourge the witches and the caste breakers. Call it "philosophy."

 

Edited by scott-martin
"only" is clearer
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I have just re-read the Daka Fal entry that refers to Seshneg and it is interesting.

We know that the early Seshnegi definitely worshipped their ancestors. The Serpent Kings, with the snake legs, had an ancestor cult due to their descent from Seshnela, as far as I am ware, but cannot remember the references.

In fact, I see ancestor worship as taking many different forms:

  • The honouring of heroes as Ancestors
  • Individual Ancestors as Household Gods, important to the clan but not to anyone else
  • Worship of the Clan as a whole and of individual ancestors

Fitting cults/worship/whatever to whatever rules system is in use at the moment is a backwards way of doing things, in my opinion. The rules should cope with various forms of worship.

So, having Man or Spirit as the core of Ancestor Worship is fine, but what effects this has should depend on how the cults work.

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I think the man rune is one of the more ambiguous concepts in Glorantha. It can stand for mortality, the human body, ancestors, and/or civilization depending on how you look at it, but in RQ2 it says that some races/cultures use it to refer to "slave" or "food" as well an I know that in P:GtA Pavis' Man Rune affinity represents unity and harmony as it allows his cultists to foster unity between, crossbreed, and control to a degree the man-rune races within Pavis. Personally IMG, I like the idea of it standing for sapience, considering all intelligent creatures (besides the draconic races) seem to possess the human shape, at least partially. And while there are sapient beasts out there, I believe it's said in Anaxial's roster that such animals are around one in a million. That knowledge/intelligence aspect also plays into the ancestor portion as well, considering one of the main reasons (in my understanding) that ancestors are contacted is so they can pass on what they knew to their descendants.

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