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PhilHibbs

Breaking a geas

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30 minutes ago, Imryn said:

Sorry, you are both wrong.

That's a pretty bold, some might say confrontational, statement. If you're going to say things like that, would you care to compare your credentials to Jeff's for us? Fine, in your Glorantha you're the absolute arbiter of reality. But in the official published Glorantha...

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The limits on what a god does and does not know are pretty clear (RQG 271) :

"Secondly, initiates and Rune Masters are extensions of the deity, and can tell the deity many things through prayer. Thus, a deity will know what has happened to its Rune Masters and, to a lesser extent, its initiates. The god does not know what a Rune Master or initiate is thinking and cannot deduce motivations. A deity cannot invade anyone’s mind; though it knows when a worshiper has lost faith. Other knowledge given to a god by a worshiper must be volunteered through prayer."

Gods can't read minds, not even their worshippers minds, and have to be specifically told of events in prayers. I am now wondering what happens to gossipy worshippers who pass on information that they heard from a friend of a friend etc

I don't think knowledge has anything to do with it.

21 minutes ago, Imryn said:

If the player even tries to rules-lawyer or weasel it, its super mega smite time -

I also disagree with this, by the way, I think the player is entirely permitted to come up with creative in-world, in-character reasons why it isn't a violation.

21 minutes ago, Imryn said:

pair of smoking boots is all that's left.

What if he wasn't wearing boots!!! :lol: (I actually once played a trickster who had "Become Pair of Smoking Boots", it was only on the second time he used it that someone in the party thought to ask, "was he even wearing boots?" Turns out he always wore sandals...)

Edited by PhilHibbs

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59 minutes ago, Imryn said:

 

Sorry, you are both wrong. Humakt is the god of death and war - he just happens to be pretty keen about truth as well but doesn't have a portfolio for that (just had a marvel moment: "you are not the god of hammers")

A geas is not any type of oath. An oath is an agreement between two parties that is negotiated in advance, and once both parties agree they fuel the oath by putting magical power into it. A geas is a restriction that is imposed by the god with no negotiation and no magic power is put into it.

The limits on what a god does and does not know are pretty clear (RQG 271) :

"Secondly, initiates and Rune Masters are extensions of the deity, and can tell the deity many things through prayer. Thus, a deity will know what has happened to its Rune Masters and, to a lesser extent, its initiates. The god does not know what a Rune Master or initiate is thinking and cannot deduce motivations. A deity cannot invade anyone’s mind; though it knows when a worshiper has lost faith. Other knowledge given to a god by a worshiper must be volunteered through prayer."

Gods can't read minds, not even their worshippers minds, and have to be specifically told of events in prayers. I am now wondering what happens to gossipy worshippers who pass on information that they heard from a friend of a friend etc

Breaking an oath is an objective deed not mind-reading.

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13 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

That's a pretty bold, some might say confrontational, statement. If you're going to say things like that, would you care to compare your credentials to Jeff's for us? Fine, in your Glorantha you're the absolute arbiter of reality. But in the official published Glorantha...

I don't think knowledge has anything to do with it.

I also disagree with this, by the way, I think the player is entirely permitted to come up with creative in-world, in-character reasons why it isn't a violation.

What if he wasn't wearing boots!!! :lol: (I actually once played a trickster who had "Become Pair of Smoking Boots", it was only on the second time he used it that someone in the party thought to ask, "was he even wearing boots?" Turns out he always wore sandals...)

Sorry if I sounded confrontational, but everyone, even @Jeff is bound by the written rules. He might have the power to say "OK that's not what we intended, this is how its supposed to work" but until he invokes that he has to play within the same limits as the rest of us.

The god has to know about an infraction in order to act. What the god can know and how they get that knowledge is pretty clearly laid down in the rules for divination on p271. If a geas is a special case it isn't in the rules (yet), which means we should follow the rules we do have to make it work.

Oaths are in the rules - we have the rune spell to look at. Beyond that the word oath has a definition:

"a solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one's future action or behaviour."

From the definition of the word we can see that it cannot be imposed on someone, it is something that someone makes of their own free will. Even if the player did make an oath it wouldn't work in the same way as the oath rune spell. That spell works the way it does because the people that swear the oath donate power to fuel it.

Creative in-character reasons would be fine - I was talking about weaselly rules-lawyering - e.g. "OK we need to move fast. Someone knock me out and throw be over a horse and lets go!"

Smoking footprints I suppose.

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3 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Breaking an oath is an objective deed not mind-reading.

This is true, but the god can't see the deed, he has to be told about it by a worshipper. A faithful worshipper would tell their god of their infraction at the first opportunity, failure to do so indicates a loss of faith which the god would be aware of.

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1 minute ago, Imryn said:

Sorry if I sounded confrontational, but everyone, even @Jeff is bound by the written rules. He might have the power to say "OK that's not what we intended, this is how its supposed to work" but until he invokes that he has to play within the same limits as the rest of us.

The god has to know about an infraction in order to act. What the god can know and how they get that knowledge is pretty clearly laid down in the rules for divination on p271. If a geas is a special case it isn't in the rules (yet), which means we should follow the rules we do have to make it work.

Oaths are in the rules - we have the rune spell to look at. Beyond that the word oath has a definition:

"a solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one's future action or behaviour."

From the definition of the word we can see that it cannot be imposed on someone, it is something that someone makes of their own free will. Even if the player did make an oath it wouldn't work in the same way as the oath rune spell. That spell works the way it does because the people that swear the oath donate power to fuel it.

Creative in-character reasons would be fine - I was talking about weaselly rules-lawyering - e.g. "OK we need to move fast. Someone knock me out and throw be over a horse and lets go!"

Smoking footprints I suppose.

Characters take geases on their own free will - you aren't FORCED to join the cult of Humakt. But if you do, you swear a powerful oath to the god - a geas - and get a gift from the god. All done voluntarily. Humakt (or whatever god you swore by) KNOWS when you broken the oath. And when you present it that way to the players, they tend to be far less rules-lawyering about it. "Sure you might not think that violates the geas, but ultimately Humakt decides whether or not you broke it, and there's no appeal from the God of Endings." You'd be amazed how concerned players get about not violating the oath when it is put that way!

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1 minute ago, Imryn said:

This is true, but the god can't see the deed, he has to be told about it by a worshipper. A faithful worshipper would tell their god of their infraction at the first opportunity, failure to do so indicates a loss of faith which the god would be aware of.

"Thus, a deity will know what has happened to its Rune Masters and, to a lesser extent, its initiates." If the initiate breaks an oath sworn on the god, the god knows. Period.

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13 minutes ago, Jeff said:

"Thus, a deity will know what has happened to its Rune Masters and, to a lesser extent, its initiates." If the initiate breaks an oath sworn on the god, the god knows. Period.

The previous and the next sentence provides context and describes how the deity acquires that knowledge:

"Secondly, initiates and Rune Masters are extensions of the deity, and can tell the deity many things through prayer. Thus, a deity will know what has happened to its Rune Masters and, to a lesser extent, its initiates. The god does not know what a Rune Master or initiate is thinking and cannot deduce motivations. A deity cannot invade anyone’s mind; though it knows when a worshiper has lost faith. Other knowledge given to a god by a worshiper must be volunteered through prayer."

It is clear to me that the words in the book require the god to be told something, through prayer.

19 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Characters take geases on their own free will - you aren't FORCED to join the cult of Humakt. But if you do, you swear a powerful oath to the god - a geas - and get a gift from the god. All done voluntarily. Humakt (or whatever god you swore by) KNOWS when you broken the oath. And when you present it that way to the players, they tend to be far less rules-lawyering about it. "Sure you might not think that violates the geas, but ultimately Humakt decides whether or not you broke it, and there's no appeal from the God of Endings." You'd be amazed how concerned players get about not violating the oath when it is put that way!

This description is better, to my way of thinking. Wrapping the geases into the oaths a lay member swears upon initiation provides a framework for the god to plausibly know the instant a geas is broken. Would the god get context though? the previous quote would seem to say no ("The god does not know what a Rune Master or initiate is thinking and cannot deduce motivations"). 

So the god knows the character broke a geas; how does it react? Does a god try to investigate the circumstances or does it not care and just smite? Does the god automatically know all of the circumstances surrounding the breaking of the geas, including the characters motivations? Does that knowledge include the motivations of the player as well as the character?

Sure, it can be presented as a deus ex machina, and that will certainly keep players in line, but I prefer my rule systems to be a bit more internally consistent.

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1 hour ago, Imryn said:

Sure, it can be presented as a deus ex machina, and that will certainly keep players in line, but I prefer my rule systems to be a bit more internally consistent.

Here we come to the inherent conflict between Glorantha and RuneQuest (or any game system). Glorantha is a mythology, a mystical experience revealed to the world primarily by Greg Stafford. Even he never really understood all the fine details of how everything works in Glorantha, and RuneQuest will only ever be a simplistic sketch of Glorantha with certain details glossed over. You're absolutely right to go by what the rules say, if you don't want to delve into the arcane mysteries of Glorantha to discover your own truths. But the discussion of such things as "what happens when an initiate breaks a geas", here we're talking more about Gloranthan reality than we are the letter of the RuneQuest rules, which aren't clear anyway on the mechanism for geas-breaking. In that realm, Jeff is the closest we have to an authority in the corporeal absence of Greg. That's what I was getting at earlier.

Personally I don't think geas breaking or oath breaking has anything to do with knowledge anyway, so the "what does the deity know" point is moot. The deity "knows" that the initiate has broken a geas because the initiate-deity connection is suddenly severed. Some people (Mundane and Gloranthan) might describe it as the deity knowing and acting, but it's like the blind men describing different parts of an elephant.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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3 hours ago, Imryn said:

Creative in-character reasons would be fine - I was talking about weaselly rules-lawyering - e.g. "OK we need to move fast. Someone knock me out and throw be over a horse and lets go!"

I don't see a difference between the Humakti's player and another player saying that. If the actions and intentions of the characters in the world are the same, then the consequences in the world are the same.

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22 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I don't see a difference between the Humakti's player and another player saying that. If the actions and intentions of the characters in the world are the same, then the consequences in the world are the same.

There isn't a difference. If another player said it and the Humakti's player went along then kaboom. The only response the Humakti player could make under those circumstances to avoid censure is to make his best effort to kill the character of the player who suggested it. Any other response would result in censure and possibly a politely worded message that perhaps he doesn't really have the right attitude for the cult.

And I would enforce that even if the players later claimed the were only joking around :D

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1 hour ago, Imryn said:

There isn't a difference. If another player said it and the Humakti's player went along then kaboom.

So this isn't an example of "If the player even tries to rules-lawyer or weasel it, its super mega smite time", then. Smite happens regardless of which player engineered the situation.

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2 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

So this isn't an example of "If the player even tries to rules-lawyer or weasel it, its super mega smite time", then. Smite happens regardless of which player engineered the situation.

I should have said "if the players even try"

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Getting back to the more general geas-breaking situation, I'm a little torn. I don't want to wreck anyone's character, and I don't want it to be too easy for them to wreck it themselves by accident. It's already too easy to lose a Humakt character to death (no resurrections this time!), if they lose their Humakt initiate status AND all swords shatter when they pick them up, that's a fate worse than death for some players. You're stuck with a character that is useless, and at best the game is derailed by focusing on rehabilitating the Humakti somehow (which could be interesting, or not).

Whilst some see playing a Humakti as a serious commitment, it's also very popular among teenagers who just want to have fun playing a super-warrior. None of my group are kids, fortunately, but player of the Humakti has had issues with abusive GMs in the past picking on her characters, so I do have to be careful. If she decides on a course of action that will lead to geas-breaking, I'll of course warn her. If it's something out of her control, then that could be tough. I don't want to risk harming a friendship over a game.

The biggest risk is that we both forget, and at the end of the session, someone says "Hey, remember that time you smacked my character on the back of the head in the pub? Wasn't that an ambush?" :lol:

Edited by PhilHibbs
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8 hours ago, Imryn said:

Humakt is the god of death and war - he just happens to be pretty keen about truth as well but doesn't have a portfolio for that

Other than the Truth Rune he's associated with??? 

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16 hours ago, Jeff said:

If the initiate breaks an oath sworn on the god, the god knows. Period.

How does this reconcile with Illuminates seemingly being able to get away with it? 

Real question, it would be good to have some explanatory model. 

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19 hours ago, Jeff said:

"Thus, a deity will know what has happened to its Rune Masters and, to a lesser extent, its initiates." If the initiate breaks an oath sworn on the god, the god knows. Period.

Is this supposed to include when the initiate themselves is *not even aware* of the breaking of the oath/geas?

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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

Is this supposed to include when the initiate themselves is *not even aware* of the breaking of the oath/geas?

In true tragic fashion a broken geas would not have to be known. *not even aware* to bring down grief on our hapless hero or heroine, Now Phil is making some great points about keeping ones friends versus keeping canon with the rules...vary to taste!

Cheers

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5 hours ago, davecake said:

How does this reconcile with Illuminates seemingly being able to get away with it? 

Real question, it would be good to have some explanatory model. 

I don't think that the secrets of Illumination are needed for players and gamemasters to understand geases. Let's deal with that when you have an Illuminated player character.

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15 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

Other than the Truth Rune he's associated with??? 

Many gods are associated with runes that they are not the god of. If Humakt was the god of truth it would say so right there in the first line of his description. Humakt is the god of war and death. In the Lightbringers pantheon there doesn't seem to be a god of truth, but Lhankor Mhy would be a better candidate for the job than Humakt.

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48 minutes ago, Imryn said:

Many gods are associated with runes that they are not the god of. If Humakt was the god of truth it would say so right there in the first line of his description. Humakt is the god of war and death. In the Lightbringers pantheon there doesn't seem to be a god of truth, but Lhankor Mhy would be a better candidate for the job than Humakt.

Both cults that provide gifts for geases in the basic rules have the truth rune. Do you think that's a coincidence?

Looking at how this thread develops, I occasionally read the thread topic as "breaking gas"...

Edited by Joerg

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38 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Both cults that provide gifts for geases in the basic rules have the truth rune. Do you think that's a coincidence?

Looking at how this thread develops, I occasionally read the thread topic as "breaking gas"...

And Lhankor Mhy, who has the truth rune as the main runic association does not offer gifts or geases, so yes, I think it is a coincidence.

Just noticed this in GTG V1 P37

Orlanth: Chief God, King of the World, Storm God, culture hero, men’s god.
Ernalda: Earth Goddess, Mother Goddess, culture heroine, women’s goddess.
Humakt: God of Death, war, honor, swords.
Issaries: God of speech, communications, travel, merchants and trade.
Lhankor Mhy: God of Truth, knowledge, writing, and law

So in that tome Humakt has had his portfolio expanded to add honor and swords, and Lhankor Mhy is officially the god of truth as well as knowledge writing and law.

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1 minute ago, Imryn said:

And Lhankor Mhy, who has the truth rune as the main runic association does not offer gifts or geases, so yes, I think it is a coincidence.

All Germans are Europeans, ergo all Europeans are Germans?

Truth is a requirement, not a guarantee.

1 minute ago, Imryn said:

Just noticed this in GTG V1 P37

Orlanth: Chief God, King of the World, Storm God, culture hero, men’s god.
Ernalda: Earth Goddess, Mother Goddess, culture heroine, women’s goddess.
Humakt: God of Death, war, honor, swords.
Issaries: God of speech, communications, travel, merchants and trade.
Lhankor Mhy: God of Truth, knowledge, writing, and law

Both this list and the paragraph each in the RQG rules are bare minimal information on the deities and their cults, and neither voluminous source had much space to detail either. The Sourcebook offers a rather short bit on the deities mentioned there, too, but the amount of detail on cults that is a trademark of RuneQuest goes way beyond such short paragraphs.

1 minute ago, Imryn said:

So in that tome Humakt has had his portfolio expanded to add honor and swords, and Lhankor Mhy is officially the god of truth as well as knowledge writing and law.

Gods have a number of fields of expertise, depending on their mythos. The things stated in the RQG rules are correct, but the info on the deities is far from complete. Look at the magic granted by a deity to get an idea about its fields of expertise.

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On 6/13/2019 at 3:32 PM, Imryn said:

Sorry, you are both wrong. Humakt is the god of death and war - he just happens to be pretty keen about truth as well but doesn't have a portfolio for that (just had a marvel moment: "you are not the god of hammers")

 

2 hours ago, Imryn said:

Many gods are associated with runes that they are not the god of. If Humakt was the god of truth it would say so right there in the first line of his description. Humakt is the god of war and death. In the Lightbringers pantheon there doesn't seem to be a god of truth, but Lhankor Mhy would be a better candidate for the job than Humakt. 

 

Methinks you're using the phrase 'portfolio' incorrectly then.... yes, Humakt definitely has Truth in his portfolio... along with Death. Lhankhor Mhy also has Truth in his porfolio.. as does Yelmalio,  and no doubt a slew of other deities to come.

"Portfolio" does not mean "supreme holder of...".

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22 minutes ago, Joerg said:

All Germans are Europeans, ergo all Europeans are Germans?

Truth is a requirement, not a guarantee.

Both this list and the paragraph each in the RQG rules are bare minimal information on the deities and their cults, and neither voluminous source had much space to detail either. The Sourcebook offers a rather short bit on the deities mentioned there, too, but the amount of detail on cults that is a trademark of RuneQuest goes way beyond such short paragraphs.

Gods have a number of fields of expertise, depending on their mythos. The things stated in the RQG rules are correct, but the info on the deities is far from complete. Look at the magic granted by a deity to get an idea about its fields of expertise.

 

9 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

 

 

Methinks you're using the phrase 'portfolio' incorrectly then.... yes, Humakt definitely has Truth in his portfolio... along with Death. Lhankhor Mhy also has Truth in his porfolio.. as does Yelmalio,  and no doubt a slew of other deities to come.

"Portfolio" does not mean "supreme holder of...".

There will only be one "god of truth" in the pantheon. There may be others who honour and respect truth, but only one paramount god of truth. If there were more than one god of anything, there would be conflict between the gods which would be reflected amongst their followers. Comparing who worships Lhankor Mhy and who worships Humakt I think Lhankor Mhy would have no worshippers left by now.

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