Jump to content
Martin

Heroes to Superheroes

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, metcalph said:

It doesn't work as a replacement for Superhero because the Guide describes the following non-superheroes as demigods:

  • A Great Tree p65
  • The Luatha p139
  • Gold Wheel Dancers p189

All minor deities.

2 hours ago, metcalph said:
  • Cragspider p170

A mortal who has assumed semi-divine status. May or may not have died in the process

2 hours ago, metcalph said:
  • The Red Emperor (HQG p19)

The offspring of a god and a human (the Red Goddess had a human component).

2 hours ago, metcalph said:
  • Ironhoof p171

Either a minor deity or a mortal who has become one (apparently reborn several times).

It works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

It works.

I was asking about a replacement term for superhero.  Demigod fails because it means a number of things besides that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use the terms hero and demigod. Although the terms certainly overlap, they are refreshingly free of the costumed connotations of superhero. WBRM merely needed two terms because Harrek, Jar-eel, and Androgeus needed some additional rules above and beyond those for Argrath, the Red Emperor, Ethilrist, etc. Having "hero" and "demigod" serves the same purpose. I suppose we could use "hero" and "greater hero" or "lesser hero" and "greater hero" - but "demigod" has better connotations. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Jeff said:

I use the terms hero and demigod. Although the terms certainly overlap, they are refreshingly free of the costumed connotations of superhero. WBRM merely needed two terms because Harrek, Jar-eel, and Androgeus needed some additional rules above and beyond those for Argrath, the Red Emperor, Ethilrist, etc. Having "hero" and "demigod" serves the same purpose. I suppose we could use "hero" and "greater hero" or "lesser hero" and "greater hero" - but "demigod" has better connotations. 

Ok...so what makes a hero a demi god then...its it in terms of a certain leavel of mastery over a certain rune, creating your own feat,  and having followers who you can grant magic to?

 

In game terms would it be like having a pool of Heropoints that you as a demigod can reward your followers with for doing things that emulate your deeds/feats?

Edited by Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metcalph is right.  Some heroes are demigods, but not superheroes.  So demigods doesn't work as a replacement for what Harrek, Jar-Eel and Androgeus are.  There needs to be a new term if Superhero is dropped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Pentallion said:

There needs to be a new term if Superhero is dropped.

Only if there is a distinct class of hero that could objectively distinguished from the rank-and-file hero in some manner other than "able to kick the living crap out of them six times before breakfast".  

The attunement to the infinity rune that was mentioned in RQ2 has been replaced by illumination (and is a much better fit, I dare say).

In White Bear and Red Moon, Superheroes essentially had the following powers:

  • Invulnerability to chaotic, spirit and adverse exotic magic.
  • Able to protect other units from hostile magics.
  • Immunity to fighting in adverse terrain.
  • Better heroic escapes.
  • Best Friends.

None of these powers requires the superhero to be qualitatively different from an ordinary hero.  They are powers an ordinary hero could have yet the superhero is able to do them on the battlefield.  

Hence while Harrek and JarEel are still bigger and badder than everybody else, I do not see any need for a distinctive status to denote their status.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Martin said:

Ok...so what makes a hero a demi god then...its it in terms of a certain leavel of mastery over a certain rune, creating your own feat,  and having followers who you can grant magic to?

 

In game terms would it be like having a pool of Heropoints that you as a demigod can reward your followers with for doing things that emulate your deeds/feats?

What makes a hero a Demi-god? I suspect those words (or their Gloranthan equivalents) have a lot of overlap. Both have cults dedicated to them (usually connected with another cult). A Demi-god tends to be more broadly acknowledged than a mere hero (but not always), tends to have more of a divine presence (ie a bigger Hero Aspect), etc. But the definition and distinctions are not going to be very precise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The connotation of the term demigod is that their power is more innate than a magician's.

They often have a divine parent.  You could say a demigod is someone who has a divine parent, or who is like that in some way.

Another thing you could say is that a demigod is a minor god who is present in the world.

 

Pentallion: "There needs to be a new term if Superhero is dropped."

I think Glorantha works fine without identifying superheroes as a category, particularly with respect to distinctions like "as powerful as a demigod, but not a demigod".  Superheroes are so rare, practically unique, that it hardly matters.  If you're going to play a wargame or something where you're going to have some, and you need mechanics for them, and you need that to be balanced, well OK, then you might need to define the category.  But for the purpose of having a comprehensible cosmology I don't feel it's important.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(truth be told I think the superhero concept is pretty cool... I'm just not too concerned about precise definitions and terminology.)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not particularly happy with the term demigod either.  Demigods in myth are the offspring of a god and a mortal (usually a human).

Hmmm...'ubermensch' is a little niche and has its own connotations...  Avatar?  Eh, what or who is Androgeus an avatar of?  Champion?  Paragon? Exemplar? (I kinda like that one.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As one of the few lingering terms Glorantha still shares (even peripherally) with Chainmail and early D&D it's probably best to let the term go.

At one point people pondered whether receiving a personal star is the test of [superhero] status, so that would be a place to test proposed dividing lines as well as source possible nomenclature.

Ethilrist is the most prominent proponent of the uh hero system in the texts we have so I wonder what he would say about what separates heroes from what follows. It would be quite the labor for an aspirant to separate his practical insight from his tendencies toward confabulation and blasphemy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

I'm not particularly happy with the term demigod either.  Demigods in myth are the offspring of a god and a mortal (usually a human).

Hmmm...'ubermensch' is a little niche and has its own connotations...  Avatar?  Eh, what or who is Androgeus an avatar of?  Champion?  Paragon? Exemplar? (I kinda like that one.)

Actually, the word demigod comes from the Greek "hemitheoi", which meant "half-god" and didn't necessarily imply that one's had a divine parent. You could become a hemitheoi upon death. 

Demigod works perfectly fine for me. And since I am writing the rules, that's going to be the word I use.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jeff said:

Demigod works perfectly fine for me. And since I am writing the rules, that's going to be the word I use.

And I guess that says enough!

 

On the other hand... given that y'all are deprecating the old-RQ "zero to hero" trope, the new "hero to superhero demigod" trope looks to want some previously-unneeded support; and this bit:

9 hours ago, Jeff said:

What makes a hero a Demi-god? I suspect those words (or their Gloranthan equivalents) have a lot of overlap ... But the definition and distinctions are not going to be very precise.

is likely to have fans wanting a bit more "definition" and "precision."  <envisions howling mobs ... or whining masses ... I guess it's a POV thing...>

Maybe in the GM's book...?   😍

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Jeff said:

Demigod works perfectly fine for me. And since I am writing the rules, that's going to be the word I use.

Good for you.  Unfortunately, that attitude isn't going to contribute to a buying decision in a positive way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

Unfortunately, that attitude isn't going to contribute to a buying decision in a positive way.

The use of the word "demigod" is going to determine whether you buy Runequest? I admire your conviction, if not your arrogance. 

I've got to say, this thread is living proof that there is nothing too trivial for a group of old men (or Glorantha fans) to argue over.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll buy it and keep calling them superheroes because Jeff hates the term and the Eurmal in me therefore demands it :)

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, kaydet said:

The use of the word "demigod" is going to determine whether you buy Runequest? I admire your conviction, if not your arrogance. 

I've got to say, this thread is living proof that there is nothing too trivial for a group of old men (or Glorantha fans) to argue over.

You did catch the word 'contribute' there, right?  If my choosing what I will or will not buy is arrogant, so be it.  I'm arrogant.

Now get off my lawn. <jangles coins in pocket>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/13/2018 at 6:45 PM, Iskallor said:

I thought all you needed was a cool cape.

Didn't The Incredibles do away with the idea that SuperHeroes need capes, with lots of examples of why capes are bad?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My strong suspicion is that the connection of both Illumination and Superheroes with the Infinity rune is not coincidental (or is, perhaps, one of those seeming coincidences through which greater truth is revealed). 

The powers we tend to attribute to superheroes, like immunity to magic that should have killed lesser beings, total control of the magic around them, sound like the sort of things great mystics are known to do as well. 

Most of the known super-heroes we could plausibly argue to have some significant connection with mysticism or Illumination, and for it actually to have a pretty significant connection with their heroic abilities. This is easily and obviously true for Jar-Eel, Arkat, Hon-Eel, Sheng Seleris, etc. Androgeus is a living remnant of the Green Age, and we know that the mindset of the Green Age is effectively Illumination (confirmed in the Eleven Lights). Argrath, who is not a full super-hero but a mere hero at the time of the Dragon Pass board game, but seems to clearly become one later, is also obviously mystic. 

Elamle-ata we don't have any good evidence, but we really don't know enough to rule it out. There are multiple plausible mechanisms for her to have become Illuminated (including heroquesting to the Green Age, which seems very likely).

And Harrek? While Harrek clearly hates the abuse of mysticism, its also clear that (like Arkat) he is able to understand it and take it on. My theory is that Harrek is Illuminated, perhaps involuntarily, when he is serving as a Dart Competitor in the Lunar empire. He experiences his moment of great insight and oneness, but it doesn't make him like the Lunars as a whole (corrupt sophists who have enslaved him). He then sees the Lunars as corrupt mystics, seeing them much as Arkat sees the Bright Empire. He then nips back home and murders and enslaves his own tribal god (which frankly, admit it, sounds like a pretty Illuminated course of action). He may even see himself as the taking the Arkat role at first, as Belintar and Jar-Eel discuss in Prince of Sartar. I think he may even recognise Argrath as a fellow Illuminate (but uncorrupted) early on (leading to their early friendship), and then grow increasingly concerned about his use of mystic techniques later (leading to their falling out). It is even possible that Harreks lifelong maintenance of something resembling the hsunchen lifestyle is a form of mystic austerity, like Shengs path. Harrek can't possibly be as powerful and capable a magician as he is while actually being as unsophisticated as he is often painted. 

So, there you have it. I think not all heroes are mystics by any means, but perhaps heroes hit natural limits in terms of the powers they can access, and superheroes must of necessity have become Illuminated, and perhaps become active mystics, to transcend those limits. 

I realise this is speculative, but I think it is both consistent, and also fun, speculation. 

Tune in next week for when I compare Sandys theory of superheroic runic identity with Aleister Crowleys theory of the Magus and the Word of the Aeon. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, davecake said:

Tune in next week for when I compare Sandys theory of superheroic runic identity with Aleister Crowleys theory of the Magus and the Word of the Aeon. 

Yeah, that does actually make some sense, too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×