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Ufnal

Spirit World and Magic

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I can't wrap my head around the Spirit World and magic.

As far as I understand, contrary to HQ1 times, the Spirit World, Gods World and Sorcerous World/World of Forms/whatever are actually different perspectives or visions on the same Runic reality of the Otherworld. I get that the "Sorcerous" vision is of Runes as logical, measurable powers, building blocks of Cosmos, that have their properties and interactions and that can be harnessed for magic. I get that the Theist vision presents the confluences of Runic powers as persons and their interactions as mythical stories. But what about the Animistic vision? What kind of perspective on the Runes does it stem from? The idea that "a spirit is something you have" doesn't really help much. I am not even sure whether the spirits used in spirit magic and put into charms are beings of the Otherworld or of this world, and whether the Spirit World that a Shaman enters is the same "level" of reality as the one encountered in Heroquests [which, if I understand correctly, are mainly for theists, even if I'd probably change that in my Glorantha]. I was thinking that maybe the Spirit perspective is viewing the Runic powers as they interact and intermingle with the Middle World, seeing as the Spirits seem to be so much more connected to the mortal world than Gods/Heroes and Sorcerous abstracts. But I am not sure, so I am asking you kind sages for help.

 

 

 

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The way I see it, and this is my own personal view, is that the Spirit World touches all the other worlds, including the God Plane, but is distinct. In the God Time, the dead and living were mixed and this caused confusion, so Daka Fal separated the dead from the living, creating the Spirit Plane.

Animists treat the Spirit Plane as being just another place. In effect, they see their ancestors and various other spirits as being people/things that they can interact with, bargain with and enslave. Shamans don't really see a difference between the Mundane and Spirit Planes, or rather they know there is a difference but see them overlaid onto each other, or see both at the same time.

Theists see the Spirit Plane as places where cult spirits and the ancestors can be found. I play that the Spirit Plane varies according to where you are and that the Spirit Plane around a Temple is affected by the Temple's Presence.

Sorcerous folk see the Spirit Plane in different ways. Brithini don't exist after death, so they do not interact with the Spirit Plane. Hrestoli know of Solace, which could be seen as a special part of the Spirit Plane or something else entirely.

A further complication is that the Spirit Plane contains the souls of those who once lived and are now dead as well as spirits that simply exist as spirits and those that are spirits but can take physical form, such as Elementals.

Edited by soltakss

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At a guess, the animist perception of the runes is as even Greater Spirits beyond the Great Spirits that are the equivalent to the (greater) gods.

There is a layer of the Spirit World adjacent to the Mundane World and to the Outer Worlds, with a few exceptions like the Dead Place in Prax.

IMO there are still portions of the Otherworld that are unique to one of the magic systems, but the old (HQ1 era) adage "The World is made of everything" does no longer end where the Otherworlds begin, but overlaps into Godtime, but then, according to Greg's Separate Otherworlds model, the hero planes aka Godtime have always been part of that "Made of Everything" bit, too. Possibly it was more a misunderstanding of where the World of Everything ends and where the Otherworlds begin.

Greg did say that the diffenences between the Otherworlds weren't set for eternity, and indeed he had plans to make the "globalization" of the Otherworlds part of the themes of the Hero Wars. As far as I am concerned, this may still be appropriate. I am not quite sure that something like the Storm Village as portrayed in Thunder Rebels (and to some extent also in Heortling Mythology) was part of Godtime, but might even outside of that Cyclical Time. Possibly always has been out of the reach even of the most advanced Arkati and God Learners.

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"whether the Spirit World that a Shaman enters is the same "level" of reality as the one encountered in Heroquests [which, if I understand correctly, are mainly for theists,"

This raises the question for me of what animist hero quests look like and how they differ from theistic ones. 

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For me the Spirit Plane is just a phrase that describes our perception of what is NOT the mundane world. Shamans, priests, heroes, spirts, sorcerers etc access it in different ways to achieve their own ends. What it is differs from each viewer and there are areas inaccessible by some and not others. The vast majority of the Spirt World may not even be are of the existence a Mundane World or Worlds and are ambivalent toward our wellbeing, assuming that they can even see it.

The Spirit Plane is so alien that each tradition has constructed its own interface to get what they need. Heroquesters are those who venture beyond the known so as to expand their communities knowledge.

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6 hours ago, Ufnal said:

But what about the Animistic vision? What kind of perspective on the Runes does it stem from? The idea that "a spirit is something you have" doesn't really help much.

There's some older writings about that provide some view on the shamanic/animist perspective.  This is something of my interpretation of it:

The Life Force is limitless, and She takes all forms.  This is the Great Spirit that encapsulates all and that all are part of and partake in.  When you wander through the mortal world you only see a piece of this though for the world became mixed and confused and many could not or did not want to see the Great Spirit, or wanted to horde part of the Life Force for themselves. But behind everything you see are the many parts of the Great Spirit, and you can see this when you peer into the Spirit World. 

There you can see how the Great Spirit separated into different parts, all powerful spirits, and they in turn separated into smaller spirits, each animating the world in a different way. Some of the spirits intermingled their Life Force so that when they divided into smaller parts, those parts were mixed as well. Each and every thing has a spirit: each rock, tree, blade of grass, breeze, river, animal, human, etc.  If you look with spirit eyes, you can see this and see how these spirits are both set in the frame of the mortal world while also connected to their origins within the different parts of the Great Spirit. This may look like formless colors or the like to the untrained.

When you study the ways of animism, you learn how to meet spirits – other portions of the Great Spirit – who will share their secrets with you if you honor their ways within the Great Spirit (i.e. follow specific practices, use a particular focus, accept a taboo, etc.).  The methods they teach let you muster your own inner reserves of the life force and send it into the world to do your bidding. 

Some larger spirits have hoarded part of the Life Force. These demand that you give up your Life Force to them (i.e. worship) and become part of them. Some call these gods, and they do not let you draw out and learn your own place in the Life Force.  Other mortals have turned upon the Life Force and simply seek to draw energy from it without honoring those they take it from. Some call these sorcerers, others call them demons. And then there is Chaos which destroys the Life Force and returns it to nothingness.

6 hours ago, Ufnal said:

I am not even sure whether the spirits used in spirit magic and put into charms are beings of the Otherworld or of this world

The separation of life and death has left the world divided between the mundane world and the Otherworld, yet they are connected together for all things of the mundane world are living and contain the Life Force and the Great Spirit.  But many spirits hide behind this barrier, only occasionally presenting themselves into the mundane world when a wise one calls them forward to teach what they know. 

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"Spirit World: This world is made up of non-physical (discorporate) entities and things. It has a correlation with the Middle World in that many spirits maintain their relative spatial positions in the Middle World and the Spirit World. It is a place of sublime beauty and life, but also where lost spirits wander, where broken dreams coalesce, and where nightmares feast.

The Spirit World can be visualized as a place without gravity or an exterior light source, but which is instead filled with various shapes of color. Real perception is limited, and depends on both the power of the viewer and the viewed. 

The Spirit World is made of many smaller parts that are distinct but connected to other locations through spiritual pathways."

Edited by Jolt
Hmm, seem to be having a little quote trouble
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In the real world, Animism is usually a term applied to belief systems where pretty much everything is considered have an imbued living essence, and possibly an identity and will (hence the "ani-", ie. "animate"). This distinguishes itself somewhat from more "classical" views of theism where this kind of stuff is mostly limited to a fewer number of more powerful and socially relevant entities, and where much else is considered either inert or subservient.

In reality, there isn't really a clear distinction between these two. Greek and Roman belief systems frequently imbued places and natural processes with sapience and will, and Amazonian animist shamans may refer to particularly powerful and important entities that for all practical purposes are akin to what we would call gods. It's a sliding scale.

Still, that's how I'd look the difference:
Gods World: The world is an arena in which powerful sapient entities act.
Spirit World: The world is in itself a powerful, and (arguably) sapient entity. And so is every part of it as well.

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22 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

In the real world, Animism is usually a term applied to belief systems where pretty much everything is considered have an imbued living essence, and possibly an identity and will (hence the "ani-", ie. "animate"). This distinguishes itself somewhat from more "classical" views of theism where this kind of stuff is mostly limited to a fewer number of more powerful and socially relevant entities, and where much else is considered either inert or subservient.

In reality, there isn't really a clear distinction between these two. Greek and Roman belief systems frequently imbued places and natural processes with sapience and will, and Amazonian animist shamans may refer to particularly powerful and important entities that for all practical purposes are akin to what we would call gods. It's a sliding scale.

Still, that's how I'd look the difference:
Gods World: The world is an arena in which powerful sapient entities act.
Spirit World: The world is in itself a powerful, and (arguably) sapient entity. And so is every part of it as well.

Yeah, that seems about right for real-world animism, but I am not sure if the point of view of a Praxian or Pentan shaman is that the world is a sapient entity that we are all a part of. Although seeing all the individual things as powerful and sapient (or at least having powerful and sapient spirits within), maybe... But aren't shamans supposed to get their spirits from the abodes of the great spirits of their traditions, and not from the natural world around them?

 

On 3/30/2019 at 12:30 PM, soltakss said:

The way I see it, and this is my own personal view (...)

This is an interesting view, but it does seem to focus on the dead and not on the various elemental and conceptual spirits that spirit traditions most often use.

 

On 3/30/2019 at 1:30 PM, Joerg said:

IMO there are still portions of the Otherworld that are unique to one of the magic systems, but the old (HQ1 era) adage "The World is made of everything" does no longer end where the Otherworlds begin, but overlaps into Godtime, but then, according to Greg's Separate Otherworlds model, the hero planes aka Godtime have always been part of that "Made of Everything" bit, too. Possibly it was more a misunderstanding of where the World of Everything ends and where the Otherworlds begin.

Greg did say that the diffenences between the Otherworlds weren't set for eternity, and indeed he had plans to make the "globalization" of the Otherworlds part of the themes of the Hero Wars. As far as I am concerned, this may still be appropriate. I am not quite sure that something like the Storm Village as portrayed in Thunder Rebels (and to some extent also in Heortling Mythology) was part of Godtime, but might even outside of that Cyclical Time. Possibly always has been out of the reach even of the most advanced Arkati and God Learners.

I do not get some of the allusions and do not have enough knowlede to understand everything here, I'm afraid. From what I understood, the paradigm has shifted from separate Otherworlds to different Otherworlds being representations of the same reality (there's a picture in some of the books depicting the same view of the Otherworld from a Sorcerous, Theistic and Animistic perspective, isn't there). 

 

 

On 3/30/2019 at 6:42 PM, jajagappa said:

There's some older writings about that provide some view on the shamanic/animist perspective.  This is something of my interpretation of it:

(...)

 

This is really quite cool, but again - I thought the animists in various Gloranthan media (at least Heroquest ones) were described as more receiving the spirits from their tradition (for example from among the spirits governed by the main spirit of that tradition) than as communing with the spirits of the nature around them and taking them into charms?

 

On 3/30/2019 at 7:09 PM, Jolt said:

"Spirit World: This world is made up of non-physical (discorporate) entities and things. It has a correlation with the Middle World in that many spirits maintain their relative spatial positions in the Middle World and the Spirit World. It is a place of sublime beauty and life, but also where lost spirits wander, where broken dreams coalesce, and where nightmares feast.

The Spirit World can be visualized as a place without gravity or an exterior light source, but which is instead filled with various shapes of color. Real perception is limited, and depends on both the power of the viewer and the viewed. 

The Spirit World is made of many smaller parts that are distinct but connected to other locations through spiritual pathways."

Soooo the Spirit World is something separate from the Otherworld of Runic entities as seen by the Theists and Sorcerers? 

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1 minute ago, Ufnal said:

I do not get some of the allusions and do not have enough knowlede to understand everything here, I'm afraid. From what I understood, the paradigm has shifted from separate Otherworlds to different Otherworlds being representations of the same reality (there's a picture in some of the books depicting the same view of the Otherworld from a Sorcerous, Theistic and Animistic perspective, isn't there).

Jeff has thankfully provided a definition of the various Other Side realms:

The image is in the Guide, and was provided by Charles Corrigan. I still think that the "Otherworld" viewable from all three perspectives is the "Middle World" portion of the Hero Planes, the part "Made of Everything". There will be places where a certain influence is significantly stronger or significantly weaker than the others, and there will be Otherworlds exclusive to one of the modes. These places are outside of any notion of Time or at least temporal change, they are simply eternal. Your view on them might be colored by a perception of Godtime cycles, though, like the visits to the Storm Village that can be experienced in the course of the flight to the next Great Mountain in Orlanthi worship rites when leaving the banquet to relive a major feat of the deity.

There is no place for a divine view of the spell "space" of the sorcerers. Simply "being" in that space doesn't convey any insight on the magic of those spells, you have to know them, it is a place of the mind.

Likewise I expect the presence of the Great Spirit, both before and as a consequence of his dismemberment and transformation, to be something that is quite unavailable for perception from the other perspectives.

The orthodox mystic paths on the other hand will confront the mystic with all of these unique existences, and more, as an opportunity to either externalize or encompass them in their alienness. Visiting them is an advanced variation of the initial forms of austerity in meditation.

So yes, everything you see in the God Learner maps of the Godtime (aka the heroplanes in the sense of "The World is Made of Everything") can be perceived meaningfully through all three methods/modes, but trying to make sense of the Storm Village beyond time through runic energy bands alone will fail you, as will observation of Creator/Earthmaker through the same application of runes. The overpowering presence of Storm and Spirit respectively will blind the alien practitioner from what is going on, and his mundane senses will be led astray by mortal preconceptions. Observing either the Great Spirit or Orlanth in the Godtime will be possible as runic interactions or movement of spirits, but his home turf will be intransparent to someone limited to an alien perception.

The mystic doesn't require perception for his confrontation with these realities beyond normal realities. He will meditate through them, either absorbing them into his greater self (Venfornic mysticism), or purifying his greater self of the shackles to these realities (orthodox Mashunasan mysticism and related practices). Either way is a valid path to the Absolute and hard to discern at the end of the path.

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4 hours ago, Ufnal said:

But aren't shamans supposed to get their spirits from the abodes of the great spirits of their traditions, and not from the natural world around them?

Is there an appreciable difference to an animist?

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4 hours ago, Ufnal said:

I thought the animists in various Gloranthan media (at least Heroquest ones) were described as more receiving the spirits from their tradition (for example from among the spirits governed by the main spirit of that tradition) than as communing with the spirits of the nature around them and taking them into charms?

The tradition shows you which spirits are friendly, which are hostile, etc. Just because you have a view into the world or the ability to commune with, doesn't mean everything is friendly. Under the surface, it becomes very nebulous, your tradition is something like a map that shows you how to navigate, find friends, avoid hostile spirits that might enslave you, etc. The friendly spirits are willing to join you. You might still bargain with or capture other spirits because you can and place them into a charm/spirit matrix for your use.

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11 hours ago, Ufnal said:

This is an interesting view, but it does seem to focus on the dead and not on the various elemental and conceptual spirits that spirit traditions most often use.

The Spirit Plane, for me, is different things depending on where you are and what you want to find.

  • Around a Temple, the Spirit Plane will be dominated by the Cult Spirits, Temple Spirits and so on. The Cult Spirits available for each temple will differ, depending on the particular Temple.
  • In other places, the Spirit Plane will differ depending on the Place. For example, the Spirit Plane of Prax will be different to that of the Shadow Plateau or Sartar. Holy Places, like Temples, have their own Spirit Plane that differs from the surroundings. 
  • The Spirit Plane around Chaos Nests have a lot more Chaotic Spirits, but will vary according to the particular Chaos Nest.
  • Spirit Pools are special places where the Spirit Plane and Mundane Plane interact, allowing normal people to access the Spirit Plane and contact/bind Spirits. It is possible to enter the Spirit Plane here and physically go to the Inner Plane, but if you then travel outside the Spirit Pool then you will become lost, drifting endlessly among the Spirits, unless someone comes to help you.

 

What about the different types of Spirits?

  • Elementals can be found wherever there is a strong elemental presence, as well as anywhere. You are most likely to encounter a particular type of Elemental in a particular location. I am using old names for Elementals as I have not learned the new names. So, in Dagori Inkarth you will most likely encounter Shades, in rivers/lakes/seas you will usually encounter Undines, around volcanoes you will usually encounter Salamanders, on the Blue Moon Plateau you will usually find Selenes and on the Red Moon you will encounter Lunes. Earth and Air Elementals are available everywhere, as long as you are on the earth or have access to air. 
  • Nymphs will be more common in certain areas, so Dryads would be most common in Aldryami Forests, Hags in Darkness Areas, Water Nymphs in rivers/lakes/seas and so on.
  • Cult Spirits can be found at Temples and Holy Sites. A Shaman going to an Orlanth temple is likely to be able to find Orlanthi Cult Spirits. Shamans with a Spirit Cult, or with a connection to a Deity, should be able to find appropriate Cult Spirits fairly easily. Shamans can raid Temples and Holy Sites for Cult Spirits, gaining Spirits outside their Tradition.
  • Other Spirits vary by location. Using RQ3 notation, Power Spirits, Magic Spirits and Spell Spirits are available everywhere, as they are the torn-up souls of various kinds. RQ2 had Spirits that you could bind with INT/POW but could store spells in and I think RQG has the same. Things like Disease Spirits should be uncommon, except around Mallia Temples or in Chaos Nests. 

 

You might find my Spirit Plane Encounter Table useful.

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So what does all of this mean for hero quests and how an animist quest differs from a theist quest? Is it less of a fixed narrative and more of a map or travel guide? 

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2 hours ago, Bohemond said:

So what does all of this mean for hero quests and how an animist quest differs from a theist quest? Is it less of a fixed narrative and more of a map or travel guide? 

Depends strongly on whether you quest on the normal hero plane or within the spirit realm, and if on the normal hero plane how you got there.

There is the description of Orlanthi worshippers on a seasonal holy day taking flight to the next Great Mountain, then up into the Middle Air and into the God Realm into Karulinoran, Orlanth's eternal banquet, and after some (timeless) imbibing and eating of the god's fare, the opportunity to leave the banquet hall (TR spoke of a long house, some of Jeff's more recent presentations make it closer to a row of recliners where you sip watered-down wine from saucer-like vessels filled from a cauldron-like crater) through one of several exits landing you in one of the mythic cycles such as Late Golden Age, early Storm Age, Middle Storm Age, Vingkotling Age, Late Vingkotling Age, Greater Darkness or Grey Age, or into Orlanth's place in the Sky World (where he had his one significant victory over a chaos incursion), so you could experience one of his feats and emerge with the corresponding rune magic. Or to deviate from those paths and explore those eras differently.

That's not how e.g. the Red Cow quest starts, which has elements of a This World quest with overland travel to the site of Ulaninstead and back towards Red Cow Fort before you land in a Gods War situation where the village is a stead of giants instead.

As far as I can make out, most planned heroquest experiences start out with a community having a ritual for the quester(s) to send them into Godtime, without the detour to their deity's innermost realm. These rites may be sacrifices for theist quests, they may be ecstatic communion with guiding spirits for animists, and they may be weird encounters with otherworldly guides and guardians for Malkioni questers.

Spirit quests within Time consist just of crossing the veil, usually through discorporation. (Which isn't very different from an outsider's view of an Orlanthi Holy Day rite in which the storm souls fly away and the participants' bodies are left behind.) Shamans should be able to cross over from Time to Godtime on such a quest, and from the Godtime spirit plane into the hero plane (through Visibility or a stronger parallel thereof giving them a body to move in the Middle World portion of that quest), and they ought to be able to guide other discorporate people along.

Following a guide through a portion of the spirit world may well be one of those fairy realm excursions during which you are prohibited from certain actions. (E.g. don't look back while singing your wife out of Hades, don't eat any food offered to you, ...) But then, similar temporary taboos may well apply to any other type of quest, too.

Special effects for entering the spirit world apply - groovy colors, overlapping entities...

Entering the hero plane will be quite a psychedelic experience, too, as the magic will be stronger or harsher than your existence in Time, but unlike walking the spirit world, the reality of the hero plane Made of Everything will be solid, possibly more so than the mortal world.

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9 hours ago, Bohemond said:

Is it less of a fixed narrative and more of a map or travel guide?

That's how I've approached it to date. Sort of co-terminus with Mundane world, but paths veer off into other regions, easy to end up getting pulled along to somewhere deeper, etc. There is no narrative.

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On 3/31/2019 at 11:28 PM, Joerg said:

 

 I still think that the "Otherworld" viewable from all three perspectives is the "Middle World" portion of the Hero Planes, the part "Made of Everything". There will be places where a certain influence is significantly stronger or significantly weaker than the others, and there will be Otherworlds exclusive to one of the modes. These places are outside of any notion of Time or at least temporal change, they are simply eternal. Your view on them might be colored by a perception of Godtime cycles, though, like the visits to the Storm Village that can be experienced in the course of the flight to the next Great Mountain in Orlanthi worship rites when leaving the banquet to relive a major feat of the deity.

There is no place for a divine view of the spell "space" of the sorcerers. Simply "being" in that space doesn't convey any insight on the magic of those spells, you have to know them, it is a place of the mind.

Likewise I expect the presence of the Great Spirit, both before and as a consequence of his dismemberment and transformation, to be something that is quite unavailable for perception from the other perspectives.

The orthodox mystic paths on the other hand will confront the mystic with all of these unique existences, and more, as an opportunity to either externalize or encompass them in their alienness. Visiting them is an advanced variation of the initial forms of austerity in meditation.

So yes, everything you see in the God Learner maps of the Godtime (aka the heroplanes in the sense of "The World is Made of Everything") can be perceived meaningfully through all three methods/modes, but trying to make sense of the Storm Village beyond time through runic energy bands alone will fail you, as will observation of Creator/Earthmaker through the same application of runes. The overpowering presence of Storm and Spirit respectively will blind the alien practitioner from what is going on, and his mundane senses will be led astray by mortal preconceptions. Observing either the Great Spirit or Orlanth in the Godtime will be possible as runic interactions or movement of spirits, but his home turf will be intransparent to someone limited to an alien perception.

The mystic doesn't require perception for his confrontation with these realities beyond normal realities. He will meditate through them, either absorbing them into his greater self (Venfornic mysticism), or purifying his greater self of the shackles to these realities (orthodox Mashunasan mysticism and related practices). Either way is a valid path to the Absolute and hard to discern at the end of the path.

I still don't understand the "Made of Everything" phrase. From what I do understand, you are suggesting that some perspectives have access to parts of the Otherworlds that are inaccessible for other perspectives? This makes a lot of sense. From my limited Gloranthan readings I was under the impression that all those perspectives are supposed to be different ways of making sense of the same fundamental Runic reality, and saying that you can see Orlanth as runic interactions but you can't enter a runic interaction's hall and drink its mead seems to make perfect sense under that paradigm. ;) 

 

On 4/1/2019 at 3:04 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

Is there an appreciable difference to an animist?

I believe so. There is a difference whether I get my Fiery Horse Spirit by travelling to the Sky to meet Kargazant and receiving a member of his court as an ally, or by finding a Fiery Horse Spirit somewhere "in the wild" and negotiating with it/winning it over. At least for me.

 

23 hours ago, soltakss said:

The Spirit Plane, for me, is different things depending on where you are and what you want to find.

  • Around a Temple, the Spirit Plane will be dominated by the Cult Spirits, Temple Spirits and so on. The Cult Spirits available for each temple will differ, depending on the particular Temple.
  • In other places, the Spirit Plane will differ depending on the Place. For example, the Spirit Plane of Prax will be different to that of the Shadow Plateau or Sartar. Holy Places, like Temples, have their own Spirit Plane that differs from the surroundings. 
  • The Spirit Plane around Chaos Nests have a lot more Chaotic Spirits, but will vary according to the particular Chaos Nest.
  • Spirit Pools are special places where the Spirit Plane and Mundane Plane interact, allowing normal people to access the Spirit Plane and contact/bind Spirits. It is possible to enter the Spirit Plane here and physically go to the Inner Plane, but if you then travel outside the Spirit Pool then you will become lost, drifting endlessly among the Spirits, unless someone comes to help you.

 

How much of that is established "canon" and how much your invention? I don't mean that offensively, just wanted to understand that.

Also, I've read very little of RQ and my ideas about Glorantha are mostly KoDP and HQ-based, so this may be why I am finding this a bit confusing.

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18 hours ago, Bohemond said:

So what does all of this mean for hero quests and how an animist quest differs from a theist quest?

HeroQuests don't usually happen on the Spirit Plane.

The major exception is the Shaman's Awakening, where the Shaman confronts Bad Man and awakens a Fetch. For me, this is a HeroQuest and it happens partially on the Spirit Plane. The Shaman confronts the Spirits, they attack and kill him, tearing him apart, he meets the Bad Man and fights him, awakens his fetch who then heals him and brings him back from the dead. If he fails to defeat Bad Man, he is still healed but is crippled and cannot reawaken a fetch.

I suppose that a Shaman contacting a Deity to make a link to the Deity might count as a Spirit Plane HeroQuest. In this sense, the Shaman discorporates, goes through the Spirit Plane to get to the Inner Plane, contacts the Deity, bargains with it and, if successful, gains a RuneSpell or Spirit Magic Spell from the bargain. This would be run as a series of encounters, using the random Spirit Plane Encounters, but I cannot remember of these made it into RQG.

Animist HeroQuesting is the same as normal HeroQuesting, as most animism in Glorantha is tied to a Deity of some kind. 

Shamans with a Tradition who are not tied to a Deity would not perform HeroQuesting in the normal sense of the word. If they did, they'd probably reenact the deeds of the Spirit Lords or Deities involved in their Tradition. So, a Shaman following one of the Sacred Societies of Prax might know some myths about how the Shamans gained spells from various Deities and might reenact those. A Newtling Shaman might be able to follow some Zola Fel, River Horse or Frog Woman myth snippets to gain abilities and so on.

19 hours ago, Bohemond said:

Is it less of a fixed narrative and more of a map or travel guide?

For Spirit Plane Quests, it is more a series of Encounters, at least it is in my games.

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6 minutes ago, Ufnal said:

How much of that is established "canon" and how much your invention? I don't mean that offensively, just wanted to understand that.

The Spirit Plane "canon" is that it is a vague, formless, misty place where you can see spirits as glowy things. That's about it.

Delving more deeply into the Spirit Plane, how it is formed and what it contains, means that we have to make things up.

For me, the idea that the Spirit Plane in an Orlanth Great Temple is the same as in Dorastor or in Prax makes no sense. The Spirits encountered should be different, in my view.

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2 minutes ago, Ufnal said:

I still don't understand the "Made of Everything" phrase.

This was an extension to Greg's idea of colliding, separate worlds deeply back in the Creation Age, where an essence world in the west collided into the already joined divine and spirit world, and somehow the mystic east joined in as well. There were areas and states of pure essence, pure divine expression, pure spirit world. The mystic east has no such pure form but the approach to the Ultimate beyond the base world of everything. The strict reading of this doctrine that most of the otherworld is separated up in that way, too, has been abandoned, but the underlying explanation of how the different magical approaches make up Glorantha is cool enough to separate the baby from the bathwater IMO.

So while there were such realms of pure expression of materialist energies, divine emanation or pure spirit, these aren't that pure any more, and everything in the middle world has essence, spirit, and soul (the divine part), as well as the potential to transcend all of this. The world as Gloranthans experience it is made of all these magical components, including the Gloranthans themselves.

According to this doctrine, a person will develop a "magical organ" to interact with the type of magic he or she is exposed to. For an animist, this ultimately becomes a shaman's fetch, for a theist it becomes his link to the deity and ultimately being the deity, for a sorcerer it is the intellect organizing the energies and essences of the world. It is all the same organ, but developed in a certain way.

 

2 minutes ago, Ufnal said:

From what I do understand, you are suggesting that some perspectives have access to parts of the Otherworlds that are inaccessible for other perspectives? This makes a lot of sense. From my limited Gloranthan readings I was under the impression that all those perspectives are supposed to be different ways of making sense of the same fundamental Runic reality, and saying that you can see Orlanth as runic interactions but you can't enter a runic interaction's hall and drink its mead seems to make perfect sense under that paradigm. ;)

If you accept that the mead and whatever furniture you are resting your spiritual butt on may be meaningful archetypes in some way, too, or just stuff filled in by your feeble mortal mind to avoid being completely overwhelmed by the experience, or both, then yes.

"Storm rune, owner of..." doesn't do much to explain Orlanth's relationship with Ernalda, aka "Earth rune, owner of...", and limits the insight that a sorcerer can take from this way of looking at these great deities.

Perceiving the banquet as a longhouse with wooden benches, drinking horns, sheepwool rugs, and buxom maidservants hauling the ale probably carries a lot of cultural baggage, and the person next to you might as well perceive you lying on a recliner quaffing wine from a shallow saucer, with marble floors and other signs of sophistication, which of course would be his cultural baggage. If you are awakened to higher truths (some path toward enlightenment), you might be able to perceive some deeper truths about this. You pay for this with a loss of immersion and simple faith. At some point, "being the deity" is more like mummery than a fulfilling experience in itself, but that's the price of striving for things mortals weren't made for or born to know. (You might feel like a father or uncle accompanying an underage girl to a concert of her favorite boy group from some casting show... or like a significant non-gamer other accompanying a gamer to a gaming convention.)

But this detachment from the experience that a storm soul undergoes in Orlanth's Hall is a far cry from the non-participation sorcerous perception and (to a much lesser degree) a pure animist's experience upon visiting this "place" coming in some other way.

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Heroquests in the Godtime involve re-enacting a god's actions in an attempt to pull the power of those actions into the present Mundane world somehow--Orlanth won this battle with the Sky so if I recreate his deeds, I will be able to defeat these Dara Happens or Grazelanders. If a Spirit plane heroquest doesn't have a fixed narrative and spirit quests are more of a guided tour of meet n greets with spirits, does that mean that animists can't pull the power of their spirit's deeds into the present? Waha diverted the Good Canal to erode the Devil, but I can't repeat that to divert these Magasta worshippers from their goals? Are spirit quests limited to acquiring specific powers? 

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2 hours ago, Bohemond said:

If a Spirit plane heroquest doesn't have a fixed narrative and spirit quests are more of a guided tour of meet n greets with spirits, does that mean that animists can't pull the power of their spirit's deeds into the present?

Yes they can, they just don't do it on the Spirit Plane, but as a HeroQuest in the Mundane Plane or in the Hero/God Plane.

If they did this on the Spirit Plane, the HeroQuest could shape the Encounters on the Spirit Plane to match the HeroQuest.

 

2 hours ago, Bohemond said:

Waha diverted the Good Canal to erode the Devil, but I can't repeat that to divert these Magasta worshippers from their goals? Are spirit quests limited to acquiring specific powers? 

As a Wahs cultist, I would do the Good Canal Quest to divert a water source to wash away Chaos. If I had some pesky Magasta cultists then I could do in in Prax to get them to do something. It wouldn't be on the Spirit Plane.

However, if I have a place that was full of hostile water spirits, for example the Five Eyes Caves, then I could perform the Good Canal Quest on the Spirit Plane in the Five Eyes Caves to flush those spirits away, washing some chaos away. In this case, the chaos to be washed away is a means to an end, the Waha cultist couldn't care less about the chaos but wants to get rid of the Spirits.

Don't forget that Animists have access to all the Planes, in the same way that Theists do. not everything Animists do has to be on the Spirit Plane and not everything Theists do needs to be on the God Plane. Most of their stuff is on the Mundane Plane.

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I would really love to see a Prax Pack with a scenario that really digs into this stuff to show people how the two compare. 

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13 hours ago, soltakss said:

HeroQuests don't usually happen on the Spirit Plane.

Mostly, I think, because those who are not shamans are particularly vulnerable (i.e. if your spirit gets trapped while Discorporate, your body dies). 

Under the guidance of a shaman, I've taken PC's into the Spirit Plane. One transformed from a Yinkini into a Odaylan because she discovered she really had an inner bear spirit.

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