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jeffjerwin

Tell me of Sheng Seleris

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I think the idea that Sheng Seleris is connected to Androgeus an entirely unnecessary complication to someone who already has a great story, and based on nothing more than a speculation. 

I find the Jaldon Toothmaker theory a bit more convincing, because there is a lot that is weird and unknown about Jaldon, and he seems to have some connections to very ancient/unknown things, which connects well with Androgeus being so ancient. 

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7 hours ago, davecake said:

I think the idea that Sheng Seleris is connected to Androgeus an entirely unnecessary complication to someone who already has a great story, and based on nothing more than a speculation. 

Agreed.  The "twisted horse" link is only a rumor.  On the other hand, we have a number of Androgeus' children who are unaccounted for, and Sheng Seleris is scarily OP, more than your average hero and he certainly fits the bill of being a great scourge like Androgeus' other children are purported to be.  I think, as you say, Jaldon is likely, while Sheng is only a possibility.  All the same, I would like to hear what people have to say on the issue of Sheng Seleris' parentage (other than rude things, that are a given).

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On 1/5/2019 at 4:30 PM, Julian Lord said:

He's a very powerful but failed Mystic, so that he would be difficult to portray in RQG (under current rules) if you're using that game.

Personally, the idea of a Failed Mystic doesn't mean much to me. Mysticism is a path or journey, not a destination. Most Mystics do not reach the stage of Enlightenment and that is fine. They strive for it and that is what is important.

Some Mystics fall off the path and no longer strive for Enlightenment, which is what happened to Sheng Seleris I think.

So, he is not so much a Failed Mystic as one who no longer searches for Enlightenment.

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Sheng Seleris is described as Son of the Morning, which, to me, means he is the son of a Sun God, either Theyala or one of her daughters. In his story, no mention is made of Androgeus, which would be odd as Androgeus is one of the most important SuperHeroes since Time began. Androgeus is also connected with Chaos in ways that Sheng Seleris isn't.

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18 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Personally, the idea of a Failed Mystic doesn't mean much to me. Mysticism is a path or journey, not a destination. Most Mystics do not reach the stage of Enlightenment and that is fine. They strive for it and that is what is important.

Some Mystics fall off the path and no longer strive for Enlightenment, which is what happened to Sheng Seleris I think.

So, he is not so much a Failed Mystic as one who no longer searches for Enlightenment.

A Failed Mystic hasn't just abandoned Mysticism, but he has actively rejected it.

Also, "Enlightenment" is but one form of Mystical Perception & Presence.

Edited by Julian Lord

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4 hours ago, soltakss said:

Personally, the idea of a Failed Mystic doesn't mean much to me. Mysticism is a path or journey, not a destination. Most Mystics do not reach the stage of Enlightenment and that is fine. They strive for it and that is what is important.

Some Mystics fall off the path and no longer strive for Enlightenment, which is what happened to Sheng Seleris I think.

That's exactly what did NOT happen to Sheng. Sheng was a very successful mystic until he decided to spurn all his previous efforts to take greatest powers of rulership and destruction rather than liberation. Enlightenment had already been his for decades, he was way further on the course to the ultimate goal. It was the Antigod decision, similar to what Keltari did when he took on the face of Atrilith and twisted it.

Enlightenment or Illumination is an entry grade achievement on the path of mysticism. In Lunar mysticism, awakening the seventh soul is what gives you access to the mysteries. Meeting Rashoran, confronting Gbaji are all enlightened activities. Exposing herself fully to Blaskarth, the ultimate Chaos, and meeting the coded insight in "The Lives of Sedenya" (which, as a text, still is a very weak way to convey this) is way beyond simple Illumination.

4 hours ago, soltakss said:

So, he is not so much a Failed Mystic as one who no longer searches for Enlightenment.

No. He consciously abandoned all his further steps of Enlightenment (though he would have retained some basic level which even a failed mystic cannot give up - to compare with the EWF draconic insight, a brain can be split, but it cannot be unsplit).

Ingolf did not become an ordinary Orlanthi after he had sacrificed all of his advances on the path to true dragonhood, he remained a simple awakened dragon thinker who had to purify himself of his entanglements with the world again. Which, to his credit, he appears to have managed when the black dragon came for him, transporting him to a realm rather far on the path to the draconic existence he sought.

Some people describe that state as a draconic Hell. I would describe it as a stage of draconic purification, not the perfect draconic achievement of Obduran, but pretty far on the way, and while it is a strange and for humans unimaginably painful existence, for the advanced mystic it is getting to walk the path for ever more.

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5 hours ago, soltakss said:

Sheng Seleris is described as Son of the Morning, which, to me, means he is the son of a Sun God, either Theyala or one of her daughters. In his story, no mention is made of Androgeus, which would be odd as Androgeus is one of the most important SuperHeroes since Time began. Androgeus is also connected with Chaos in ways that Sheng Seleris isn't.

Described by who? If it's a title given to him by Pelorians, either enemies or subjects, it could be a geographical allusion (he invaded from the east, after all). This might hold if it's a native Pentan title too, since he did come out of Kralorela at some point, the furthest continental east.

My pure guess is somewhat conservative. I see him as being of Pure Horse lineage, and so effectively a noble among Pentans, with likely some shamanistic and leadership educatiion already before his first attempts at conquests, and some legitimacy to back up trying to get raiding bands together.

This also plays into a Celestial ancestry. I didn't get to answer @Joerg's response earlier - but I should point that I'm not opposed to the idea of divine ancestry in itself in Glorantha, but I'm not hugely fond of a) immediate family bonds being thrown out as the most run-of-the-mill character history for every mover and shaker in Glorantha, and b) it being used as a before-the-fact explanation for why someone is a mover and shaker, rather than an after-the-fact justification for why they managed what others could not (if that makes sense).

Glorantha, much like many RW mythologies, are arranged in such a manner that practically everyone is descended from gods, because gods are, effectively, the ancestors. Whether they are creators or literal forebears isn't hugely relevant, the point is that basically every Pentan tribesman and every Orlanthi cottar can trace their lineage back to the gods in a time when gods and mortals were not yet separated. Much like how in Christians all can trace their direct lineage back to Adam and & Eve, which were both personally created by God, or what have you. Just to be clear - this doesn't bother me. It's just the "His dad was a god/demigod, so therefore he's good at stuff" explanation is beginning to pop up a lot of places I'm looking in Glorantha, to the point where it sorta feels like the Lozenge's version of "A wizard did it". Ie. thematically sound, but just... kinda boring.

Moving on - If Sheng is descended from the Pure Horse clans/caste of Pentans, then presumably his people were descended from pre-Darkness Dara Happans that went nomadic at some point, at which point he has a clear Solar lineage, or he was maybe descended from some of the Starlight Ancestors or somesuch. Either way he could probably claim some lofty Celestial ancestry.

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6 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm not opposed to the idea of divine ancestry in itself in Glorantha, but I'm not hugely fond of a) immediate family bonds being thrown out as the most run-of-the-mill character history for every mover and shaker in Glorantha, and b) it being used as a before-the-fact explanation for why someone is a mover and shaker, rather than an after-the-fact justification for why they managed what others could not (if that makes sense).

I'd consider divine ancestry, or similar signs of being special, to be provable by heroquest. Perhaps that's even one's first heroquest or a consequence thereof. 

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9 hours ago, Joerg said:

That's exactly what did NOT happen to Sheng. Sheng was a very successful mystic until he decided to spurn all his previous efforts to take greatest powers of rulership and destruction rather than liberation. Enlightenment had already been his for decades, he was way further on the course to the ultimate goal. It was the Antigod decision, similar to what Keltari did when he took on the face of Atrilith and twisted it.

Enlightenment or Illumination is an entry grade achievement on the path of mysticism. In Lunar mysticism, awakening the seventh soul is what gives you access to the mysteries. Meeting Rashoran, confronting Gbaji are all enlightened activities. Exposing herself fully to Blaskarth, the ultimate Chaos, and meeting the coded insight in "The Lives of Sedenya" (which, as a text, still is a very weak way to convey this) is way beyond simple Illumination.

No. He consciously abandoned all his further steps of Enlightenment (though he would have retained some basic level which even a failed mystic cannot give up - to compare with the EWF draconic insight, a brain can be split, but it cannot be unsplit).

Yeah, he's a sort of evil (or reverse) Boddhisattva. He gives up further enlightenment for what he sees as the benefit of other living beings. Unfortunately for those beings, his idea of "benefit" for them is the same kind of torturous existence that forged himself.

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8 hours ago, The God Learner said:

I'd consider divine ancestry, or similar signs of being special, to be provable by heroquest. Perhaps that's even one's first heroquest or a consequence thereof. 

As I mentioned, given the "common descent" model a lot of the Gloranthan societies have, proving a descent from some important deity or other would probably be fairly easy (in theory, not necessarily in practice) for pretty much every member of the group.

I could imagine someone starting off to "prove" they descended from a local tribal ancestor/culture hero, and then maybe heroquesting to explore more "prestigious" descents as they rise in power and become in need of more elevated heritage for political legitimacy.

We also shouldn't underestimate the degree to which such quests probably can be manipulated, by for example acting in the place of a known descendant in a myth (a heroquester acting as, say, Barntar, to prove descent from Orlanth, even though they personally might not be so), or by utilizing lesser-known story variants that benefit them, or even the infamous (and contentious in RW) Heroquest-"retcon".

Lastly, it's probably worth mentioning that many societies might not view descent as defined primarily by blood-descent, but by marriage status. For example, a woman's children are her husband's children, regardless of who actually impregnated her, and a heroquest might very well work on the same assumption. The whole runic image thing does smack a little of biological essentialism, but I think we do a disservice to the breadth and width of historical kinship systems by sticking to that very narrow substantialist (or "runist") descent-model. Additionally, in a number of cultures, the option of straight up getting adopted by a god during a ceremony or Heroquest is also very probably a possibility, and might be seen with even greater legitimacy than simple blood-relation if they are such inclined.

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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I could imagine someone starting off to "prove" they descended from a local tribal ancestor/culture hero, and then maybe heroquesting to explore more "prestigious" descents as they rise in power and become in need of more elevated heritage for political legitimacy.

I like it. And as you write, other approaches than just descent are certainly possible and may be more appropriate.

One could perhaps also consider this figure to be a patron of the hero in some cases, possibly adding more during the game. For example, one hero could be the son of the King (stage 1 legitimacy) and also commune with a heroic ancestor (stage 2) and be the favourite of Orlanth (stage 3). Not sure what these stages would entail in game terms. 

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5 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I could imagine someone starting off to "prove" they descended from a local tribal ancestor/culture hero, and then maybe heroquesting to explore more "prestigious" descents as they rise in power and become in need of more elevated heritage for political legitimacy.

One of the PCs in an old Balazar Campaign did exactly that. He proved that he was descended from Balazar, then proved that Balazar was a follower of Yelm, thus proving that he could join the cult of Yelm, allowing him to become High King of Balazar, and Master of the Red Emperor's Stool, which is another story entirely.

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On 1/7/2019 at 9:07 AM, soltakss said:

Personally, the idea of a Failed Mystic doesn't mean much to me. Mysticism is a path or journey, not a destination. Most Mystics do not reach the stage of Enlightenment and that is fine. They strive for it and that is what is important.

Some Mystics fall off the path and no longer strive for Enlightenment, which is what happened to Sheng Seleris I think.

So, he is not so much a Failed Mystic as one who no longer searches for Enlightenment.

I think the Lunar notion of "Occlusion" is very relevant, too.  They still are some form of "mystic" but their "enlightenment" is... erroneous.

 

Until it isn't, of course -- if All is One, then even Occulsion is an essential component... And thus, also still a pathway forward.

 

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20 hours ago, g33k said:

I think the Lunar notion of "Occlusion" is very relevant, too. 

To be honest, the whole of Lunar Illumination from Imperial Lunar Handbook 2 passed me by. I have tried to read it many times but my eyes glaze over and I lose interest every time.

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On 1/8/2019 at 1:07 AM, soltakss said:

Personally, the idea of a Failed Mystic doesn't mean much to me. Mysticism is a path or journey, not a destination. Most Mystics do not reach the stage of Enlightenment and that is fine. They strive for it and that is what is important.

You can't become 'unIlluminated'. It changes you permanently. But you can stop moving forward past that point. You can become entangled with the world, and as a result further from union with the One/Void/Silence etc. 

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11 hours ago, soltakss said:

To be honest, the whole of Lunar Illumination from Imperial Lunar Handbook 2 passed me by.

I find the discussion of Illumination in HQG quite useful, and the discussion of Lunar Illumination in the Pavis 7M writeup quite helpful. But it is very messily expressed in ILH 2. 

The notion of Occlusion is useful in its simplest form  - but its simplest form is simply that some Illuminates may consider other Illuminates misguided and crazy, and the Lunars have institutionalised this as a way of controlling its Illuminated population. Do something that is obviously crazy and seems to go against Lunar doctrine, and someone (a Lunar Examiner, or a higher personage up to the Emperor) will eventually either declare it to be Illuminated insight (and therefore good) or evidence of Occlusion (and therefore very bad). 

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7 hours ago, davecake said:

You can't become 'unIlluminated'. It changes you permanently. But you can stop moving forward past that point. You can become entangled with the world, and as a result further from union with the One/Void/Silence etc. 

I suppose not, but you can reach very, very different conclusions, imho.

As for Occlusion - This might be the Elder Scrolls series of video games influencing me with their version of enlightenment and "occlusion" - but I always interpreted it as a form of mystical solipsism. In Lunar mysticism, illumination is summarized through the phrase "We Are All Us". By contrast, I get the impression that occlusion could be summarized by the phrase "We Are All Me".

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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I suppose not, but you can reach very, very different conclusions, imho.

As for Occlusion - This might be the Elder Scrolls series of video games influencing me with their version of enlightenment and "occlusion" - but I always interpreted it as a form of mystical solipsism. In Lunar mysticism, illumination is summarized through the phrase "We Are All Us". By contrast, I get the impression that occlusion could be summarized by the phrase "We Are All Me".

I think that is certainly one way it can go - maybe the easiest way to go awry, in fact. Possibly what Sheng is doing, considering he is likely thinking that what goes for him, should go for the world (so hey yeah let's create the world of suffering that will illuminate all). However, I do see other paths by which you can be occluded and go towards a corrupted sort of illumination. "We Are All Nothing" (to continue the "We Are All"-theme) is certainly another one, and probably one that goes easily with Chaos. I think you can get creative with these, which is a good thing for games/stories.

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