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The Many and the One, or has there always been a Yelm?

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57 minutes ago, Pentallion said:

Is Time a hard or a soft polytheism?

Well, in a description of the Dawning, it mentions that Time, with her 294 daughters, steps out. These clearly refer to the days of the Gloranthan Calendar and personifies Time as a Goddess.

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

I forgot to mention this, but I'm inclined to see the whole "Nysalor-is-an-aspect-of-Yelm"-thing as being the inspiration of the Lunar process of Sevening.

 

2 hours ago, soltakss said:

Personally, I think that the Red Goddess is another Aspect of Illumination, so Rashoran, Nysalor and Red Goddess are equal in their effect and transformation.

Nysalor an aspect of Yelm; recall that the Red Goddess reincarnated as Nysalor, among others (Life of Sedenya). So it seems those two are quite intertwined. 

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1 hour ago, Pentallion said:

Isn't Yelms rise supposed to herald the coming of Time?  And yet, the Dara Happans already had Time.

The deity Time was conveniently born by Arachne Solara shortly after Entropy was chewed up by the same, as someone here previously noted. Strictly speaking, we know Time really has to do with the Compromise, not necessarily time passing. In spite of the name. 

 

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Just now, The God Learner said:

born by Arachne Solara shortly after Entropy was chewed up by the same

This is, by the way, really quite Tricksterish behaviour that does not suit one which is a fundamental force of the World. For shame!

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3 hours ago, soltakss said:

Personally, I think that the Red Goddess is another Aspect of Illumination, so Rashoran, Nysalor and Red Goddess are equal in their effect and transformation. The Red Goddess was freed by Nysalor when she met him on a HeroQuest, however, she has since moved Lunar Illumination along by quite a bit. In my opinion, Lunar Illuminates are Nysalor Illuminates but also have a lot more that they can do or have experienced.

I think that Nysalor did not teach that he was the Seventh Portion of Yelm's Soul, but the Lunars have recognised/discovered this and this has led to new facets of Illumination.

You're probably right. I should've been more precise in that I don't necessarily think the Nysaloreans would've called it sevening, but rather than the Lunars (or pre-Lunars) read Nysalorean texts or were initiated into Nysalorean rites and extrapolated their own thoughts from that. "Hey, if Nysalor is an emanation of Yelm, could that mean.... and could that be used to...?".

2 hours ago, Pentallion said:

This all confirms that the myths are not true and in my opinion, the God Learners retconned it all.  Yes, Yelm is a syncretic diety.  Isn't Yelms rise supposed to herald the coming of Time?  And yet, the Dara Happans already had Time.  Their calendar goes back over 100,000 "years".  And don't the Brithini count time back to Danmalastan?

Is Time a hard or a soft polytheism?

I prefer to think the reason the God "Time" doesn't have any cause and effect or is chrono"ill"ogical is because it's a construct.  Started before the God Learners, but exploited and completed by them.  The western sorcerers have it right:  the "gods" are just powerful sorcerers.  I believe Argrath and Harrek began to suspect as much after the visit to Teleos and something they learned there or else just from comparing notes.  That's why they went to Jrustela and raised a sunken temple and wrenched answers out of the ghosts of God Learners.  They learned that the secret the Gift Givers were wiping out was the truth that Glorantha's God Plane is in essence the Matrix and that all the worlds worshippers are nothing more than Duracell batteries.

Yelm being a syncretic diety seems to confirm this as a very real possibility.

My thoughts:
1. The myths are true. It's just that they weren't always the myths and truths we have now. This is the nature of "retconning" after all.

2. a) The God Time didn't have strict linear causality as we do now, but it did have narratives and a sense of sequentiality. It behaved differently from Time as we know it, however.
2. b) Plentonius' 100,000 year calendar is a religio-political construct, made to legitimize the new Dara Happan Khordavian dynasty. In fact, I'm inclined to argue that not even he necessarily believed it should be taken literally (although I might be wrong in this). The important point is the division of the different ages, their respective lengths compared to each other, and the progression from supreme virtue to the deepest vice, which the Dara Happans have been saved from by their new Emperor.

2 hours ago, Joerg said:

The "fusion" or Greater Truth of the city gods (or Planetary Sons) is a horizontal one, of equals with individual idiosyncracies. The disintegration of Yelm is a vertical one, into various qualities of the Fire Rune.

A very good and succinct summary.

I will say, however, that an assemblage from vertical qualities is still a possibility, and I don't necessarily see the argument that other deities have six parts too as being too big of an obstacle, as that might be a later interpretation which was extrapolated from this hypothetical Yelm-creation from six parts.

It sort of hinges on how much we can trust stories of the God Time, and how much they are products of First Age scholars trying to make sense of their then-current situation by imposing some order onto their past (my thoughts go to various medieval scholars who produced histories and genealogies that they probably knew were factually untrue, but it legitimized their patron, or taught some moral lesson, and that was the goal moreso than literal factuality. I'm looking at you, Bede). Ultimately, at least some of this is going to be up to interpretation.

2 hours ago, Joerg said:

I cannot help suspect that for the first 40,000 years or so that YS applies to the reign of Yelm, birds or birdish humans were the dominant life form in the sun realm,

I'm inclined to agree. Both because it makes sense, but also because it would be cool.

2 hours ago, Joerg said:

Kinstrife is Chaos. Really? It leads to disruption and dissolution of the society the Heortlings cling to, but that's not Chaos.

Actually... for all I know it might actually be. This is one of those areas where I'm open to view Glorantha's social norms and its physical laws (insofar as such a thing exists) as being tied together in some sense. The moral and physical universe are intertwined, or rather, the physical universe is a moral one. This applies to the Dara Happans too, of course; for while they do not name Chaos directly or conceptualize it as its own thing, they do specify an instance of insubordination (a moral act) as the instigator of cosmic decay.

Ultimately I don't quite know. The perspective that the Orlanthi are conflating Chaos with everything bad is appealing too, from an anthropological angle, but the perspective that the universe is inherently moral (albeit not "objectively" moral) is appealing from a mythological angle.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

Ah, the unavoidable Occluded perspective. The downside of illuminating insight - doubting it all, losing the picture while studying the frame in detail.

Hahaha.  Otherwise known as seeing through all the bullshit.  :)

There is only one Real sun.  There is only one Real timeline.

Dont be shocked if it turns out Zzabur was "Orlanth" (the murderer) and Vadel was "Yelm" (the Namer aka the Discoverer).  And none of it Really happened the way any myths say it did.

Edited by Pentallion
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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Well, in a description of the Dawning, it mentions that Time, with her 294 daughters, steps out. These clearly refer to the days of the Gloranthan Calendar and personifies Time as a Goddess.

Another construct like Yelm.  The dara happans had time before that.  Yet the god time is chronillogical.  Many myths, one real chronological order.  Just like many sun god myths, one sun in the sky.

How to reconcile this?  Your chronologocal order is true or mine is?

Hard or soft polytheism of Time?

It's no coincidence that Arachne SOLara and Yelm are so intricately tied together mythologically and both have this Many and One duality.  There is a deeper secret here.  The God Plane is a construct.

 

Edited by Pentallion

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53 minutes ago, Pentallion said:

Dont be shocked if it turns out Zzabur was "Orlanth" (the murderer) and Vadel was "Yelm" (the Namer aka the Discoverer).  And none of it Really happened the way any myths say it did.

I'll let you into a secret, but don't tell anyone else - It's all just made up, really!

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10 hours ago, Pentallion said:
13 hours ago, Joerg said:

Ah, the unavoidable Occluded perspective. The downside of illuminating insight - doubting it all, losing the picture while studying the frame in detail.

Hahaha.  Otherwise known as seeing through all the bullshit.  :)

You are both right and wrong in this perspective (except for where YGWV and you are always right).

As soon as you apply abstraction to myths, you leave the point of view of the un-illuminated Gloranthans, and reach a point where only accomplished heroquesters may be able to follow your insights. If you then re-translate that abstraction into different concrete actors (as you do below), you create new versions of the myth.

 

10 hours ago, Pentallion said:

There is only one Real sun.  There is only one Real timeline.

YGWV. As far as Godtime is concerned, there is no timeline, there is this body of mythic realities you can enter and walk through, which is the source code for the Gloranthan reality in Time.

Much of the source code has been lost in the Greater Darkness, and has been patched over by quick fixes that tie together what doesn't actively move apart.

There is one big light visible in the daytime sky. In most of Glorantha, this wasn't visible from the Greater Darkness until the Dawn. There is another not quite that big light visible in the nighttime sky, Lightfore. The arguments whether this is a sun or a planet are still open, but from your take, I would put you in the planet camp.

There was an event when multiple big lights met in the sky, resulting in one bigger light and a smaller, more mobile one. That was the Sun Swirl. There were other incidents, like the bridling of Kargzant. And there was one Sunstop within Time, and another that lasted for most of the Golden Age.

Timelines are personal or cultural perspectives of their movement through the body of myths. Often, the paths are mostly parallel, and we can talk of a consensus timeline. Occasionally, the paths meander, and touch each other in different points along their progress. The mortal wound Vingkot received was such a case.

10 hours ago, Pentallion said:

Dont be shocked if it turns out Zzabur was "Orlanth" (the murderer) and Vadel was "Yelm" (the Namer aka the Discoverer).  And none of it Really happened the way any myths say it did.

Or it all happened exactly as all the variations of the myths say it did. There is an archetypal "Murder of the Emperor" event, one of the great turning points or focal points in the Gloranthan body of myth that may manifest in very different shapes and places. Itself, it is a derivate of the First Killing, another such pivotal point.

Putting on the RuneQuest Sight, your projection of Zzabur and Vadel on this event is a possibility, and your "Namer" appellation to Vadel gives it a rather strong mythical support.

On the whole, you have to do a lot of mythical retconning to arrive at this scenario. Zzabur is depicted as the guarantor for stability in the Brithos myths, whereas Vadel is depicted as the random element, the one shaking things up, which would point to the opposite identifications.

But then this assumes that you accept the Zzaburist explanations of the Godtime events, and ignore the other set of Brithos myths that has the Vadeli pre-existing in Brithos, and pushed out by the Malkioni. If you use that set of myths, it all fits - Zzabur kills Vadel and takes over the role as King(maker).

Otherwise, using orthodox Malkioni Godtime myths, it doesn't work that well with your "One True Timeline" approach, however. There was Endernef, a huge and successful Vadeli Empire, but that was after Vadel had been slain by Zzabur.

And there is this cryptical statement that Godtime is cyclical. Which is sort of shown here, as we have a Brithos/western continent populated (and therefore ruled) by the old Vadeli peoples, then the Malkioni overturning them creating their own empire, which in turn was conquered by the resurging Vadeli empire.

 

Godtime is weird stuff. You can deconstruct it to the archetypes, and then use the archetypes and local color to enter a myth of your choice if you have the RuneQuest Sight, or, if you are an Arkati with cult knowledge from several sides in an incident, you can use that to navigate away from the "one true timeline" conception in myth.

Causal history in Glorantha starts with the Conception of Time, aka the Gray Age that steps forth from the (near) total breakdown that was the culmination of the Greater Darkness. Choices made could not be revisted and explored in different directions any more.

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16 hours ago, Pentallion said:

It's no coincidence that Arachne SOLara and Yelm are so intricately tied together mythologically and both have this Many and One duality.  There is a deeper secret here.  The God Plane is a construct.

 

That's not really a secret: it's stated rather plainly in the various books I've read. The God Time/Plane was created as a separate realm where the gods could relive their myths eternally, and Time/the Mortal Plane was created as a realm where gods could only act indirectly in order to avoid another Gods War (iirc).

Your comment could of course more specifically be that the events of the God Time are all constructed - and that would indeed be a pretty groundbreaking secret that would shake a lot of Gloranthans to the core (or be promptly ignored).

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On 1/7/2019 at 3:24 AM, Ian Cooper said:
So let's talk about Yelm and whence he comes from. This conversation is about Greg's King of Sartar and Stafford Library material, so its deep in textual argument and probably pulls from sources that are no longer of ‘clear’ authority. So be it. It is a brain dump and probably riddled with errors, but let’s talk about it.
 
It's not, for now, mostly, about Yelmalio. He can come later. First we need to talk about Yelm.
 
I'll give you the proposition first, then talk about where it comes from: Yelm is not the god of the sun at the Dawn for Dara Happa, or anywhere else. The major cultures central Genertela all have their own god of the sun at the Dawn. Yelm is a synthesis whose consequence is Nysalorian illumination and the Sunstop. Although he predates the God Learners, you can think of Yelm as a monomyth creation (although it's really Nysalorian illumination at the root of all this, including God Learnerism). Anyway, at the dawn, in central Genertela, the sun is Elmal, and Antirius, and Kargzant, (and others, all cultures have a sun god, even Ehilim in the west). Orlanth kills the Emperor, not Yelm. Rebellus Terminus is the enemy of the Dara Happan gods, not Orlanth. Orlanth goes on the Lifebringer's Quest to bring back Ernalda, not the Lightbriner's Quest to bring back the sun.

Ian, what a wonderful post, thanks!

There's so much here that I agree with and little or none that I disagree with, and some I'm not certain.

However, when I suggested on the boards of many years ago that Harmast basically made up the Lightbringer's quest out of fragments of many other quests and this re-organised big chunks of the Godplace, Greg did chime in to say that Orlanth did indeed resurrect the sun. I've done some cursory searches for this exchange and so far have not found it. It was likely geocities or even earlier but most likely was Yahoo Groups.

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15 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

That's not really a secret: it's stated rather plainly in the various books I've read. The God Time/Plane was created as a separate realm where the gods could relive their myths eternally, and Time/the Mortal Plane was created as a realm where gods could only act indirectly in order to avoid another Gods War (iirc).

Your comment could of course more specifically be that the events of the God Time are all constructed - and that would indeed be a pretty groundbreaking secret that would shake a lot of Gloranthans to the core (or be promptly ignored).

The latter is my meaning.

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Sorry for a slightly heretical question/suggestion:

has anybody considered the possibility that the death inflicted to "Yelm" by Orlanth could have been a dismemberment ? In which case the "soul" of the sun god could have descended to Hell and his various body parts been dispersed by the violence of the event. Lingering energy in the various limbs could have resulted in local sun deities. The reascent at the Dawn would be the return of the "common soul" (the sun disk) of these various sun gods, whose relation would be in the way similar to the one between the various persons of the Trinity. 

Actually in a way, it would fit well with Ian's proposal, with Yelm resulting from the "stitching" of the formerly autonomous body parts!

(Sorry if it isn't clear, English isn't my first language)

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On 1/10/2019 at 8:50 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

It sort of hinges on how much we can trust stories of the God Time, and how much they are products of First Age scholars trying to make sense of their then-current situation by imposing some order onto their past (my thoughts go to various medieval scholars who produced histories and genealogies that they probably knew were factually untrue, but it legitimized their patron, or taught some moral lesson, and that was the goal moreso than literal factuality. I'm looking at you, Bede). Ultimately, at least some of this is going to be up to interpretation.

Sure, but Greg was quite clear about his intent here, see my quote in the original article. Yelm emerged as a result of the cultural clash between three sun-worshipping cultures in the 1st Age: DH, Horse Nomads, Heortling. Now, it is possible that DH was far more than just Antirius i.e. different polities had their sun gods, but the recognition of Antirius at the dawn, and his absence from the Wall, suggests that he was the large figure on the wall later identified as Yelm, and therefore the main sun god.

In the same way that KoS was a mystery created by Greg around the question: "Who was the Argrath?" I think that GRoY and FS were a mystery created by Greg around the question: "Who is the sun?" The Plentonic Debates over the God's Wall, the association of Yelm with the Sunstop and Sunburst etc. are all part of that. (BTW I suspect that Greg vacillated between Yelm appearing at the Sunstop, or just Nysalor).

And it's important because it leads to how I think Greg saw the Hero Wars: a place where you could too could change the GodTime by 'proving' your beliefs on the Hero Plane.

Next up I want to talk about the Emperor and the Lifebringer's Quest as further evidence for there being no Yelm, and the key conflict being between the Emperor and the Rebel, not the Sun and the Storm, and that this theme Emperor vs. Rebel is the key one for Glorantha, that keeps repeating.  Not sure if I should create a new thread for that, or just continue on this one. Preferences?

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10 hours ago, Charles said:

However, when I suggested on the boards of many years ago that Harmast basically made up the Lightbringer's quest out of fragments of many other quests and this re-organised big chunks of the Godplace, Greg did chime in to say that Orlanth did indeed resurrect the sun. I've done some cursory searches for this exchange and so far have not found it. It was likely geocities or even earlier but most likely was Yahoo Groups.

He does, but it is not necessarily identified as Yelm at that point, but the Emperor, and is later associated with 'Yelm'. I have a follow up on that, about the Lifebringer's Quest and the Emperor.

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54 minutes ago, Ian Cooper said:

Next up I want to talk about the Emperor and the Lifebringer's Quest as further evidence for there being no Yelm, and the key conflict being between the Emperor and the Rebel, not the Sun and the Storm, and that this theme Emperor vs. Rebel is the key one for Glorantha, that keeps repeating.  Not sure if I should create a new thread for that, or just continue on this one. Preferences?

I'd be happy to continue on with things here. These are all very interesting subjects.

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6 hours ago, Minlister said:

Sorry for a slightly heretical question/suggestion:

has anybody considered the possibility that the death inflicted to "Yelm" by Orlanth could have been a dismemberment ?

In a sense, every death is a dismemberment. The Orlanthi believe in the five souls, DHans have six, Lunars even seven, but one of each is the shape or body (or at least body image) which is separated from the immortal soul that goes down to the Court of Silence.

The verdict is still open whether Orlanth faced the sun god or just the Evil Emperor (and the two got conflated later on), or whether the rebels (four of them, according to Jar-eel's Liberation sermon/dreamquest delivered to Beatpot in Prince of Sartar) all struck simultaneously, with one of the rebels being a son or portion of the previously dismembered Storm King (Umath/Umatum). There is a possibility that the only presence of the Storm deity in the original DHan myths was the Sword that slew the Emperor.

There is also a possibility that the Emperor (Murharzarm) was all that held the remaining city orbs (after Umath's incursion to the Sky - several orbs were possibly second generation or replacement ones by now) together into a common perception of the One Sun, and that Antirius was a part or portion that left the Emperor or all of the lesser orbs and formed upon this dismemberment. Possibly the wyter of the sun cities and/or their orb gods, which had just lost its physical presentation.

Quote

In which case the "soul" of the sun god could have descended to Hell and his various body parts been dispersed by the violence of the event.

The uz know that something fiery, weeping and dead was falling screaming into what had been Wonderhome, a place of Dark fertility and life, and burnt it out to become a sterile realm of the Dead.

 

Quote

Lingering energy in the various limbs could have resulted in local sun deities. The reascent at the Dawn would be the return of the "common soul" (the sun disk) of these various sun gods, whose relation would be in the way similar to the one between the various persons of the Trinity. 

I think that there were lots of pre-existing, disparate sun deities - light disks or orbs directly overhead the cities (holiest places in this culture), obscuring the view to any higher reality without piercing sight magics.

 

But your theories are right at home here. Keep presenting them, there are lots of previous truths to be explored in the heavens.

The composite that is Orlanth is rather well explored by the many names and facets that are recognized by the Heortlings alone, and if you ask other hill barbarians like the Sylilans or Fronelan ones, they will have several names nobody in Dragon Pass has heard in generations, and are ignorant about other names that are self-evident in Kerofinela and surrounding lands.

It is a bit like the 49 pieces of Nysalor, and the 50-something pieces that were brought forth to re-assemble Nysalor in one Lunar project. There are pieces of Gbaji mixed in in those ingredients, and nobody can know if all 49 pieces of Nysalor are present. Everybody knows, though, that the piece they themselves contributed is genuinely Nysalor and definitely not Gbaji.

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1 hour ago, Ian Cooper said:

Next up I want to talk about the Emperor and the Lifebringer's Quest as further evidence for there being no Yelm, and the key conflict being between the Emperor and the Rebel, not the Sun and the Storm, and that this theme Emperor vs. Rebel is the key one for Glorantha, that keeps repeating.  Not sure if I should create a new thread for that, or just continue on this one. Preferences?

I'd rather read it on a different thread so it remains easier to find months later. BTW, I'm enjoying reading all these theories.

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1 hour ago, Ian Cooper said:

three sun-worshipping cultures in the 1st Age: DH, Horse Nomads, Heortling.

And there may in fact have been more - DH is YU-thuppa, Raibanth (with Antirius), and Alkoth.  Darjiin and Manimat fit in here - "We Hate Darjiin" usurpers for a reason!. And what of Brightface of Naveria?  

1 hour ago, Ian Cooper said:

a place where you could too could change the GodTime by 'proving' your beliefs on the Hero Plane.

Yes, and we can see that with the Ritual of the Net.

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3 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

And there may in fact have been more - DH is YU-thuppa, Raibanth (with Antirius), and Alkoth.  Darjiin and Manimat fit in here - "We Hate Darjiin" usurpers for a reason!. And what of Brightface of Naveria? 

Brightface is interesting, as Brightface kills Protector Among Seven, sticks his head on a spear and places it above his hall. Was Protector Among Seven an earlier Sun God?

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Thanks for all the intel Joerg, all this is fantastic stuff.

I just recently discovered Glorantha thanks to 7Tigers' posts on a French RPG forum and I am absolutely enthralled !!

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

The verdict is still open whether Orlanth faced the sun god or just the Evil Emperor (and the two got conflated later on), or whether the rebels (four of them, according to Jar-eel's Liberation sermon/dreamquest delivered to Beatpot in Prince of Sartar) all struck simultaneously, with one of the rebels being a son or portion of the previously dismembered Storm King (Umath/Umatum). There is a possibility that the only presence of the Storm deity in the original DHan myths was the Sword that slew the Emperor.

Or all of them are true, of course.

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3 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Next up I want to talk about the Emperor and the Lifebringer's Quest as further evidence for there being no Yelm, and the key conflict being between the Emperor and the Rebel, not the Sun and the Storm, and that this theme Emperor vs. Rebel is the key one for Glorantha, that keeps repeating.  Not sure if I should create a new thread for that, or just continue on this one. Preferences?

 

1 hour ago, Runeblogger said:

I'd rather read it on a different thread so it remains easier to find months later. BTW, I'm enjoying reading all these theories.

I would also prefer a new thread (for the same reasons ...)

 

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1 hour ago, Minlister said:

Thanks for all the intel Joerg, all this is fantastic stuff.

I just recently discovered Glorantha thanks to 7Tigers' posts on a French RPG forum and I am absolutely enthralled !!

 

Oh boy, then you definitely just go thrown into the deep end. :D Welcome!

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