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Shiningbrow

Delecti in the Upland Marsh... A homage?

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Hi ppls in the know.

I'm doing a talk for an English Corner on Monday about Vampires, and I'm obviously thinking about the various ones in our culture & media.

And, I had a sudden thought - is Delecti the Vampire necromancer in Upland Marsh, just a hop, skip and jump away from Duck Point, supposed to be an homage to Count Duckula? 

 

Anyone know? Or is it merely coincidence?

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More seriously (?), I was part of a party that was in a town where the watch continuously found humans drained of their blood with 1 hole in the neck. We discovered all the murders were done by a duck vampire, rune lord of Vivamort, that drank blood with an iron straw (he had no teeth). We fled.

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Count Duckula wasn’t around until 1988. Delecti was in the White Bear Red Moon (Dragon Pass) Boardgame 1976. Therein lies your answer. An amusing idea though, hoards of zombie ducks splashing around the marsh. 

Edited by Cloud64

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3 minutes ago, Lord High Munchkin said:

All the zombie-ducks are naturally called "Howard" and constantly mumble about the "Marvel of "Coming Back" (re-boots)".

That explains guardians of the galaxy, don't it?

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Delicti isn't a vampire, nor is he an homage to count Duckula. Delecti is a necromancer. While his first appearance in a published product is WB&RM in 1975, Greg actually started writing about him years earlier.

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5 hours ago, Rick Meints said:

Delicti isn't a vampire, nor is he an homage to count Duckula. Delecti is a necromancer. While his first appearance in a published product is WB&RM in 1975, Greg actually started writing about him years earlier.

I'm sure I've read somewhere that he is a vampire... Hmmmm.

Re: timing. Ok. 

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While I am sure that somewhere, someone might have said that Delicti was a vampire, that's not the version of Delecti Chaosium has ever published. WB&RM, last updated as Dragon Pass said it quite succinctly:

Delicti the Necromancer lived in one of the chief cities of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. Delecti's practice of his arts led to a curse falling upon the city; it declined into ruin, and the surrounding countryside became a terror-filled swamp. By his arts, Delicti achieved a gruesome form of immortality; he was able to transfer his spirit into a freshly slain corpse and live through it until the rotting flesh could no longer sustain him; at that time he would seek another corpse. Delecti's greatest military asset was his ability to create and maintain armies of zombies.

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Greg Stafford and I spoke about Delecti at great length over many years. Of all the things in Glorantha I have loved and appreciated, Delecti was kind of my personal obsession to understand. We emailed and spoke about him extensively, culminating in the lengthy info published about him in an article Greg and I wrote for Tales of the Reaching Moon magazine back in the 1990s.

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3 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

I'm sure I've read somewhere that he is a vampire... Hmmmm.

Maybe someone mistakenly conflating -- or intentionally cross-pollinating between -- Delecti & Vivamort?

 

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19 hours ago, Kloster said:

If it is, I think young Frankenstein should be close!

Actually, i think you're closer than you know. Didn't Delecti string together various parts of creatures together, whatever he fancied? Like the walking land whale is one if I recall.

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21 minutes ago, g33k said:

Maybe someone mistakenly conflating -- or intentionally cross-pollinating between -- Delecti & Vivamort?

Thank you I believe it is all coming back to me, Simon Phipp, did you not have a web page containing a theory tying Delecti Druluz & Vivamort together or was that another?

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11 minutes ago, 10baseT said:

Actually, i think you're closer than you know. Didn't Delecti string together various parts of creatures together, whatever he fancied? Like the walking land whale is one if I recall.

The EWF "Remakers" did that; the "Stitched Zoo" was theirs, & "Pain Centaurs."

Delecti began as an EWF mage, IIRC, and IIRC he did do some post-death "stitching" like that...  And of course his follower "Ossa" does bone-constructs, including chimeric ones.

 

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Delecti is the paramount leader of the Vivamort cult in Dragon Pass and he began as a Vivamortist.

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3 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Thank you I believe it is all coming back to me, Simon Phipp, did you not have a web page containing a theory tying Delecti Druluz & Vivamort together or was that another?

Indeed, but that came from my fevered imagination rather than an official source.

However, I don't have Delecti as a vampire, I do have him as a Hero of Vivamort, as he can create Vampires without being a Vampire. He creates Undead by animating the dead. The members of Gark the Calm generally don;t have an opinion of this, as they are zombies, but some high-ups, those who aren't zombies, might decry how Delecti makes Zombies the wrong way. Similarly, some Vampires might say that Delecti abuses the Vivamort cult, but the Vampires of the Upland Marsh are in a very strong position due to Delecti's influence.

In my Glorantha, I have the Vampire League, which is a very loose alliance of powerful Vampires who coordinate their activities. they have a big contingent from Delecti's Vampires, some from the Big Rubble, some from the Vampire Legion and some from isolated pockets of Vivamorti here and there.

Also, in my Glorantha, The Upland Marsh was created by Delecti to protect his people from the True Golden Horde. He gave protection to the Ducks in return for their services in the Upland Marsh. Many Ducks know this and some don;t care, some accept it and some hate it, those who hate it become Humakti Ducks and fight Delecti. One consequence of this is the Duck Mask, a minor magic item, which is carved to look like a duck, when you wear it you can travel unhindered through the Upland Marsh as most of Delecti's zombies and skeletons won't attack Ducks, although it doesn't protect against Chaos Denizens, Vampires, Mummies and Ghouls.

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Delecti is an undead hero and archmagus, whose powers go far beyond a normal vampire, but the Dancers in Darkness, who are the ‘normal’ level followers of Delecti’s path, seem to be pretty much standard Vivamort vampires, other than knowing a few of Delecti’s special magic techniques, and perhaps some variation in creation ritual (and they seem to lack some minor powers here and there). And Delecti’s marked preference for women  - surely there is a story there that harks back to his mortal life, perhaps an obsessive love? Or is an unknown myth, perhaps related to the goddesss of the land that was the marsh?

A story where Delecti is trying to seduce a clan woman to become a Dancer could be a fun one - one where physically, the PCs can only hope to stand against the forces of Delecti temporarily, but must seek a different means to protect them permanently.

We never did get the monograph on vampires that was promised as part of the Guide Kickstarter, did we? And there are a few questions left unanswered. Are there other vampire traditions than Vivamort? In particular, is Nontraya a different vampire tradition in meaningful ways? What other vampires might there be, are there other vampire heroes besides Delecti? Surely the vampire kings of Tanisor, Illuminated vampires, had some special tricks? 

To an extent those players who want a wide range of different vampires (such as anyone wanting a little bit of White Wolf vampire clans in their game) can make do with specialised sorcery spells, but it would be interesting if there was more. Can some vampires summon Nontrayas demon army? Do some have greater Darkness powers? Why can some shapeshift into bats or wolves? 

We might hope for all this to be answered when the Vivamort cult is published - or we might just be left with further uestions around sorcery. 

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4 hours ago, davecake said:

Delecti is an undead hero and archmagus, whose powers go far beyond a normal vampire, but the Dancers in Darkness, who are the ‘normal’ level followers of Delecti’s path, seem to be pretty much standard Vivamort vampires, other than knowing a few of Delecti’s special magic techniques, and perhaps some variation in creation ritual (and they seem to lack some minor powers here and there). And Delecti’s marked preference for women  - surely there is a story there that harks back to his mortal life, perhaps an obsessive love? Or is an unknown myth, perhaps related to the goddesss of the land that was the marsh?

A story where Delecti is trying to seduce a clan woman to become a Dancer could be a fun one - one where physically, the PCs can only hope to stand against the forces of Delecti temporarily, but must seek a different means to protect them permanently.

We never did get the monograph on vampires that was promised as part of the Guide Kickstarter, did we? And there are a few questions left unanswered. Are there other vampire traditions than Vivamort? In particular, is Nontraya a different vampire tradition in meaningful ways? What other vampires might there be, are there other vampire heroes besides Delecti? Surely the vampire kings of Tanisor, Illuminated vampires, had some special tricks? 

To an extent those players who want a wide range of different vampires (such as anyone wanting a little bit of White Wolf vampire clans in their game) can make do with specialised sorcery spells, but it would be interesting if there was more. Can some vampires summon Nontrayas demon army? Do some have greater Darkness powers? Why can some shapeshift into bats or wolves? 

We might hope for all this to be answered when the Vivamort cult is published - or we might just be left with further uestions around sorcery. 

Can vampires learn sorcery, since now it's a requirement to sacrifice POW to learn the Runes or techniques! (Or, must that all be done before being turned??)

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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

Can vampires learn sorcery, since now it's a requirement to sacrifice POW to learn the Runes or techniques! (Or, must that all be done before being turned??)

That's how human sorcerers do it, there could be other ways.

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33 minutes ago, davecake said:

Delecti is an undead hero and archmagus, whose powers go far beyond a normal vampire,

Yes. Although without a vampire body, he lacks most of the regular vampire traits. He doesn't seem to have any need to drain blood (or souls) for his magics. He does require recently slain corpses to raise his undead armies, and that process appears to draw on the life force they lost in dying, or perhaps on the onset of decay in their corpses. It is a power stolen from Zorak Zoran and amplified to crazy dimensions.

When he receives sacrifices to join his service as new undead,

His ability to jump corpses means that he doesn't need to take many precautions to save his body as long as suitable dead bodies are available to jump into. He might run an ice house for maintaining especially promising bodies, and at worst a herd of donors to be killed whenever he desires a new physical shell. Ideally by Steal Breath or a similar Tap spell that doesn't alter anything about the future corpse that matters to Delecti.

Besides that, he does appear to use sorcerous techniques to create special undead. His run-of-the mill zombies are the ZZ variety of identity-less shamblers that have at best herd-man awareness to follow orders (and whose orders to follow).

 

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

but the Dancers in Darkness, who are the ‘normal’ level followers of Delecti’s path, seem to be pretty much standard Vivamort vampires, other than knowing a few of Delecti’s special magic techniques, and perhaps some variation in creation ritual (and they seem to lack some minor powers here and there).

I wonder whether they are Vivamorti. They do have the bite attack and the blood drain to increase their hit points, but they don't appear to have any Vivamorti lore, and they don't appear to have the ability to reproduce by converting victims into one of their kind. They seem to rely on Delecti to replenish and expand their numbers, and they worship him as an incarnation of Nontraya the Taker and Waster.

Unlike their masters, the Dancers don't appear to suffer from decay, or if they do, they don't turn up as dancers any more.

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

And Delecti’s marked preference for women  - surely there is a story there that harks back to his mortal life, perhaps an obsessive love? Or is an unknown myth, perhaps related to the goddesss of the land that was the marsh?

The Dancers don't appear to retain any personal runes from a potential previous human existence. All of them are of a beautiful appearance (at least to human observers, human traits of beauty may be lost on newtlings, ducks, tusk riders or minotaurs).

There are a few subtle differences between Dancers and Vivamorti.

The Dancers react already to the presentation of a Death Rune with a damage equivalent to Disruption, and that is damage which they cannot regenerate (in smoke form, I suppose - drinking blood should remove that damage, otherwise your average Dancer would be minus a few hit points in 1D6 hit locations). Vivamorti vampires must be touched by the rune to take that kind of damage, but forcefully displaing the rune to them will make them want to shy away.

Dancers lack the beast forms of Vivamorti - no bat or wolf shape. And likely no jewelry in that style, either...

The Enthrall ability appears to be the same for Dancers and Vivamorti, although the details for it are only found in the Vivamorti entry.

Dancers lack the Darkness rune. (Is that why they are called Dancers in Darkness rather than Dancers of Darkness? Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes calls them Dancers of Darkness)

 

Delecti's means of recruiting or creating the Dancers remain unknown - for all we know, he might father them onto his captured nymph. But then:

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

A story where Delecti is trying to seduce a clan woman to become a Dancer could be a fun one - one where physically, the PCs can only hope to stand against the forces of Delecti temporarily, but must seek a different means to protect them permanently.

If Delecti recruits future Dancers through seduction, he might have to maintain a small harem of apprentice dancers before he could transform them. The Vivamorti certainly maintain a cult (or maybe herd) of living lay members and initiates who donate magic points and blood on a regular basis to their cult masters. The initiates probably get their personal runes changed into the cult runes upon initiation?

Sartarite women aren't usually pale skinned. (Slanders about their beauty are a different topic...) They also appear to wear highly visible tattoos in their faces, something none of the Dancer pictures (WF15, Bestiary, S:KoH p.234) shows (the upper right one wears a band on her left arm that might be a tattoo, but the lower right one wears a band of some material there, so I assume the other is wearing an item of clothing or jewelry there, too).

They are undead, however. In S:KoH they communicate in Auld Wyrmish, suggesting great age or intense training by Delecti.

 

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

We never did get the monograph on vampires that was promised as part of the Guide Kickstarter, did we?

I don't recall any notice to that regard. Nobody is nagging, but it would be nice to have.

 

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

And there are a few questions left unanswered. Are there other vampire traditions than Vivamort?

IMO yes. Or at least different from the minion cult as presented in Cults of Terror.

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

In particular, is Nontraya a different vampire tradition in meaningful ways?

To me, the question is whether Nontraya is dominantly a vampire tradition, or is his cult a general form of identity-keeping greater undead and their minions which may include vampiric entities like the Dancers in Darkness.

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

What other vampires might there be, are there other vampire heroes besides Delecti?

I still don't see Delecti as a vampire, given his corpse-jumping existence. It is unclear whether original  lieutenants of Nontraya are regarded as vampires or whether as vampiric underworld demons.

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

Surely the vampire kings of Tanisor, Illuminated vampires, had some special tricks? 

They probably had Vadeli magics in addition to the vampire powers they gained from the dark border of Illumination. (The Rokari might have this Vadeli portion of their heritage, too.)

 

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

To an extent those players who want a wide range of different vampires (such as anyone wanting a little bit of White Wolf vampire clans in their game) can make do with specialised sorcery spells, but it would be interesting if there was more. Can some vampires summon Nontrayas demon army? Do some have greater Darkness powers? Why can some shapeshift into bats or wolves? 

We might hope for all this to be answered when the Vivamort cult is published - or we might just be left with further uestions around sorcery. 

Both wolf and bat are associated with Death - Telmor ate the sun, the Bat helped slay the Emperor, and vampire bats are a clear manifestation of vampirism. Both are (now) associated with Chaos - not necessarily, but at least tainted, and in the extremes (Crimson Bat, Chaos Wolf).

 

Let me ask a bit heretically how the wyter - an entity unable to regenerate Magic Points, whose (in the end drained) POW only marks the upper limit of their MP reservoir, and which relies on a select group of supporters - might be seen as a vampiric entity.

 

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On 5/26/2019 at 2:36 PM, PhilHibbs said:

That's how human sorcerers do it, there could be other ways.

The POW is usually provided through the Ecstatic Communion ritual.

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3 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The POW is usually provided through the Ecstatic Communion ritual.

That's for Vivamorti who have human (or other mortal, sentient) cultists (that also fuel the worship MP to make rune points regainable). How do Delecti's Dancers in Darkness do it?

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Just now, Joerg said:

That's for Vivamorti who have human (or other mortal, sentient) cultists (that also fuel the worship MP to make rune points regainable). How do Delecti's Dancers in Darkness do it?

They capture victims and perform the ritual. 

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

...

Quote

We never did get the monograph on vampires that was promised as part of the Guide Kickstarter, did we? 

I don't recall any notice to that regard. Nobody is nagging, but it would be nice to have.

...

From the Stretch Goals list on the Guide to Glorantha Kickstarter campaign page:

Quote

$94K: (ACHIEVED) Vampires in Glorantha monograph by Mark Rein-Hagen added to the Companion Gazetteer.

I guess, that's what's meant here. But I've never seen the Companion Gazetteer, so I can not tell, if this monograph has been included or not ...

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