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Shiningbrow

Delecti in the Upland Marsh... A homage?

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On 5/26/2019 at 8:09 AM, davecake said:

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

If I recall correctly (it's a few years ago) there were issues (availability of any free time) so that the promised article was never written. When this was mentioned, during the reviewing phase of the Guide, I volunteered to write a text box and it was included in the Guide on page 704 - my primary source was Cults of Terror, so there's no new insights there.

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13 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

When this was mentioned, during the reviewing phase of the Guide, I volunteered to write a text box and it was included in the Guide on page 704 - my primary source was Cults of Terror, so there's no new insights there.

And that is clearly a text box, not a monograph, designed to tick a box not actually deliver what was promised in the Guide kickstarter. Its not the only example. Without rancor or wanting to cause trouble, I'd still like to see something more in the spirit of what was intended eventually turn up - even if no longer by Mr Rein*Hagen. 

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On 5/26/2019 at 7:11 PM, Shiningbrow said:

Can vampires learn sorcery, since now it's a requirement to sacrifice POW to learn the Runes or techniques! (

As Jeff says, yes, by ritual means, effectively gathering the POW from victims. Vampires most certainly can improve their skills at sorcery, and so become phenomenally powerful if they live long enough. I think virtually all vampires are obsessed with living long enough. Wherever some cool sorcery effect requires POW,  I assume vampires do so by draining POW from victims, generally somewhat willingly given via Ecstatic Communion. 

22 hours ago, Joerg said:

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.

Not sure he does lack the vampire traits. I think he has plenty of other sources of magic points besides draining humans, as you'd expect from a well resources archmagus, but maybe he doesn't care about blood because when he runs out he just switches bodies - draining blood isn't a requirement of continued existence the way it is for others. But I wouldn't be surprised if he shapechanges, etc. 

22 hours ago, Joerg said:

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.

He certainly requires bodies. not sure if it is stolen from ZZ or not. Many of those walking corpses might even be considered ghouls these days?

We do know that Delecti definitely uses some magic learnt from the EWF, maybe some God Learner techniques as well. That might somehow explain where the Dancers some from, and how they differ from the Vivamort standard. 

Does Delecti use other standard Vivamort tricks, like sword breakers, basilisks, 

Vampire Kings of Tanisor:

22 hours ago, Joerg said:

They probably had Vadeli magics in addition to the vampire powers they gained from the dark border of Illumination.

Practically all wicked sorcery not explicitly Lunar or Eastern is allegedly Vadeli somehow, so yes, but whether this is in more than a sort of obvious way is a good question. The Vadeli  includes lot of quite specific things that seem a good fit though, so definitely - Viymorn first visited the land of the dead and returned, the Vadeli specialised in magic that separated Matter and Energy, which sounds a lot like vampiric zombie creation, and so on. Then there is the Telendarian School of magic that ultimately descends from the Viymorni, and is a foundation Vadeli sorcery - and its list of known spells does sound a bit suspiciously vampire/Vivmortish - including Tap Spirit, Travel Quickly, Evade Pursuit, Disguise Form, and Travel over water. They all sound a lot like known vampire abilities, or things that would be incredibly useful to vampires (who otherwise find water a barrier). Telendarian school is definitely associated with Chaos in the Gbaji wars era (which is why Talor banned it). 

23 hours ago, Joerg said:

Both wolf and bat are associated with Death

Yeah, sort of, but it is a pretty weak link. Both are associated with Humakt, too, but also lots of other things besides. I'd like to see something more specific than just 'Death', such as either a myth of Vivamort, or somehow the Vampire Kings having stolen the power to change shape from The Telmori and some unknown Raven associated group, or it being specifically power stolen from Humakt. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Shiningbrow said:

Where is this? (as a mechanic, not merely a mention)

Originally in Cults of Terror. Vivamort was not included in Lords of Terror, as there was a problem with RQ3 Divine/Sorcery Magic and Vivamort being a sorcerous cult. 

It will hopefully appear in Gods and Goddesses of Glorantha.

I haven't checked the Bestiary to see if it is mentioned in the Vampire writeup.

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2 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Originally in Cults of Terror. Vivamort was not included in Lords of Terror, as there was a problem with RQ3 Divine/Sorcery Magic and Vivamort being a sorcerous cult. 

It will hopefully appear in Gods and Goddesses of Glorantha.

I haven't checked the Bestiary to see if it is mentioned in the Vampire writeup.

Thx. yeah, I didn't think I'd seen in the most recent iteration...

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Just now, Shiningbrow said:

Where is this? (as a mechanic, not merely a mention)

For RQG, presumably in Jeff’s GoG preview and we’ll see it when it’s ready. 

For RQ 1/2, in the Cults of Terror Vivamort writeup. It makes being fed on by a Vampire immensely pleasurable for both, and is overwhelming and addictive. 

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Delecti lacking vampire traits:

9 hours ago, davecake said:

Not sure he does lack the vampire traits. I think he has plenty of other sources of magic points besides draining humans, as you'd expect from a well resources archmagus, but maybe he doesn't care about blood because when he runs out he just switches bodies - draining blood isn't a requirement of continued existence the way it is for others. But I wouldn't be surprised if he shapechanges, etc. 

Taking a beast shape is not a core vampire power, IMO, and Delecti having a Malkioni background might be unwilling to debase himself in that direction.

Delecti clearly was not a dragon mystic, as he seems to have remained in Dragon Pass after the 1042 utuma. If he already was undead at that time, why did he start creating and expanding the Upland Marsh in the Dragonkill?

And, given the huge amount of freshly slain corpses available in the dragonkill war, who did he send those against?

 

9 hours ago, davecake said:

He certainly requires bodies. not sure if it is stolen from ZZ or not.

Wyrm's Footnotes 15, sidebar p.27 is quite explicit about that.

 

9 hours ago, davecake said:

Many of those walking corpses might even be considered ghouls these days?

The authors use the term "lich" for undead that retain their personality when transitioning.

Ghouls have the distinctive feature of obligate necrophagy, and as far as I know, zombie flesh counts as dead and will sustain them as well as inanimate dead.

 I did consider a Delecti-like mass necromancy using something similar to ghoul spirits for a non-Gloranthan settin, though.

9 hours ago, davecake said:

We do know that Delecti definitely uses some magic learnt from the EWF,

What would that be? From what I have seen about the EWF, Delecti might have taught them how to set up the chain of veneration that let their Third Council leaders manifest Great Dragon bodies.

9 hours ago, davecake said:

maybe some God Learner techniques as well.

God Learner as in Abiding Book? Most likely. God Learner as in Malkionieranist? I think he left the Empire too early to have been fully caught up in their myth-breaking. He would know RuneQuest Sight, but that ability has become useless as the after the disappearance of Jrustela.

9 hours ago, davecake said:

That might somehow explain where the Dancers some from, and how they differ from the Vivamort standard. 

They appear created to me, rather than conceived through the normal Vivamort rune lord ways. They might be a weird cross between sorcerous apprentices and RQ3 sorcerous familiars. Perhaps undead made from succubi.

9 hours ago, davecake said:

Does Delecti use other standard Vivamort tricks, like sword breakers, basilisks, 

A sorcerer of his stature might have a special "shatter swords" spell, possibly with an area effect.

 

9 hours ago, davecake said:

Vampire Kings of Tanisor:

Practically all wicked sorcery not explicitly Lunar or Eastern is allegedly Vadeli somehow,

Unless it is Mostali (the Iron Energy Prison) or Zzaburi. Zzabur was (or is) as wicked as the Vadeli with his sorcery - look what he did to Solkathi or the Vadeli magicians. His one or two redeeming traits are that he took the Brithini as his servants and did actually protect them somewhat, and that he (apparently) had a role to play in the I Fought We Won myth. (Personally, I would find it a lot more logical if the "Zzabur" who participated in IFWW was a God Forgot zzaburi sorcerer, as IFWW is the identifying Theyalan myth, and his folk on Brithos are anything but Theyalan.)

9 hours ago, davecake said:

so yes, but whether this is in more than a sort of obvious way is a good question. The Vadeli  includes lot of quite specific things that seem a good fit though, so definitely - Viymorn first visited the land of the dead and returned, the Vadeli specialised in magic that separated Matter and Energy, which sounds a lot like vampiric zombie creation, and so on. Then there is the Telendarian School of magic that ultimately descends from the Viymorni, and is a foundation Vadeli sorcery - and its list of known spells does sound a bit suspiciously vampire/Vivmortish - including Tap Spirit, Travel Quickly, Evade Pursuit, Disguise Form, and Travel over water. They all sound a lot like known vampire abilities, or things that would be incredibly useful to vampires (who otherwise find water a barrier). Telendarian school is definitely associated with Chaos in the Gbaji wars era (which is why Talor banned it). 

 

9 hours ago, davecake said:

Yeah, sort of, but it is a pretty weak link. Both are associated with Humakt, too,

Death is a borderline chaotic power.

9 hours ago, davecake said:

but also lots of other things besides. I'd like to see something more specific than just 'Death', such as either a myth of Vivamort, or somehow the Vampire Kings having stolen the power to change shape from The Telmori and some unknown Raven associated group, or it being specifically power stolen from Humakt.

This is the first time I see someone suggesting ravens as having a vampire connection. As diurn birds, the Vampire would be in a significant disadvantage in that shape.

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

A sorcerer of his stature might have a special "shatter swords" spell, possibly with an area effect.

As an aside, in my Glorantha Delecti can turn pervert swords and make them undead.

Zombie swords (vampire swords, Marshfangs, Necromancer’s Nails) are a source of great terror for ducks and their neighbours. These swords are undead—they are affected by Turn Undead and can be located by Detect Undead—and infect other weapons with their curse. The oldest and most powerful zombie swords began as the blades of Humakti Rune Lords who had been defeated by Delecti the Necromancer.

Zombie swords have lost their power of Death and cannot kill: a strike by a zombie sword cannot reduce a target’s total hp or location hp to zero. Any strike that would reduce a target’s hp below 1 instead steals 1d3 magic points and transfers them to the zombie sword. Like most undead, zombie swords have magic points but no pow. They may use magic points to empower spell matrices retained from their pre-undead existence and to infect other weapons.

Any time a zombie sword parries or is parried by another sword, it has a chance to turn that weapon into a new zombie sword. If the other sword is unmagical, or enchanted with a magic point or spell matrix, contest the zombie sword’s magic points versus the other swords hp, magic points or points of spells—whichever is higher—on the Resistance Table. If the zombie sword wins, the other sword begins its unlife as a new zombie sword with 1 magic point, or however many magic points it had in its matrix.

If the other sword contains a bound spirit, each parry immediately initiates a single round of spirit combat. The zombie sword has a spirit combat skill equal to its magic points x5 and does spirit combat damage as if it had a pow+cha total equal to twice its magic points. If the other sword is reduced to 0 magic points via spirit combat, it is reborn as a zombie sword with magic points equal to half the bound spirit’s pow. The bound spirit is either released or trapped powerlessly in the new zombie sword, at the GM’s discretion.

A zombie sword reduced to 0 magic points shatters into fragments and dust.

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I just came across this the other day as I slowly go through GtG1... (and, yes, I know it's only 1 word out of a whole lot of material, but still...).

Upland Marsh: This entire area was solid earth, until ensorcelled by Delecti the Necromancer, a sorcerer who reached magus level about 800 years ago. He did it to save himself and his followers from the Great Golden Horde and the Dragonkill. It succeeded, and he “lives” there still, an immortal and powerful vampire. Within the treacherous bogs, streams, and sandbars are many undead strongholds. Delecti’s Ruins, vast acres of fallen buildings, are inhabited by his bizarre undead constructs. In the waters swims an undead killer whale." (p190, my emphasis)

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On 5/25/2019 at 6:32 AM, Rick Meints said:

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.

In which number was that?

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Are there many durulz in Upland Marsh actually Vivamort Lay Members? Is that the reason Delecti lets them stay and nest?

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11 minutes ago, Caras said:

Are there many durulz in Upland Marsh actually Vivamort Lay Members? Is that the reason Delecti lets them stay and nest?

Vile slander.  They are initiates.

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On 5/26/2019 at 9:09 AM, davecake said:

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

Isn't Nontraya simply Vivamort (at least under the God-Learner interpretation)?

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2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Isn't Nontraya simply Vivamort (at least under the God-Learner interpretation)?

That's something I keep struggling with. 

When you go on the Sword Story heroquest as Eurmal or Humakt, you will encounter The-Guardian-afterwards-known-as-Vivamort (let's call him Morty) as a Darkness entity, without any powers of undeath etc. yet.

Before his encounter with Wakboth, Morty found shelter (from vengeful darkness spirits) with Malia.

As Death spread around, Nontraya gathered his horde of the dead and went to visit the land goddesses. Tada hid Eiritha under her Hills (the temple at the Paps was built or at least heavily re-designed at this occasion, and the other landmarks of the hills, too). Morty was still in possession of his soul at this time, just an underworld demon leading a host of other underworld demons and shambling dead.

At some point before Wakboth's fight with Storm Bull, Morty was captured by Wakboth and traded his soul to oblivion for an ongoing existence. He became Vivamort.

All those hunger and theft powers came to him at or after his transition. Having his soul devoured taught him how to devour souls.

Any time in Godtime is present. Only those bits that were annihilated by Chaos aren't accessible or present.

 

The rite to become a rune lord of Vivamort -  a full vampire - is basically the heroquest where Vivamort confronts the Devil, loses his soul but gets powers of hunger and theft.

 

Now, does this mean that all encounters with Morty will result in meeting a soul-deprived opponent rather than the normal darkness demon he was throughout most of his career?

If you have a nemesis in league with Nontraya or Vivamort, nine times out of ten that nemesis will crop up whenever you encounter Malign Death. What if your nemesis is a revenant like one major NPC in TSR? Sure, that NPC has a different source for their undeath, but IMO there are bound to be servants of Nontraya who never underwent the "Meet Wakboth" quest. They may still be part of the walking dead, and inimical to the living, just not bloodsuckers.

And they might display powers formerly common to Morty and his followers that the blood-suckers have lost.

 

But then, maybe the vampires lose the ability to access the events when Morty still was sort of complete when they undergo the procedure.

Edited by Joerg

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3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Now, does this mean that all encounters with Morty will result in meeting a soul-deprived opponent rather than the normal darkness demon he was throughout most of his career?

I imagine that if you go on a Eurmal heroquest to gain Death, you will just meet regular old Morty (how could there even be such a thing as undeath without death first?). Even if this is a Vivamort Vampire HeroQuester performing "The Path of Vivamort" (or something), said quester will be in an early stage at this point.

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7 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

I imagine that if you go on a Eurmal heroquest to gain Death, you will just meet regular old Morty (how could there even be such a thing as undeath without death first?). Even if this is a Vivamort Vampire HeroQuester performing "The Path of Vivamort" (or something), said quester will be in an early stage at this point.

Although since this is before Time, we can't trust perfectly in such causality. You could still meet Vivamort instead of Morty, but this should at least count as a HeroQuest surprise. It's like how Barntar and Voriof are included in Descent from the Mountain without even having been born yet in any reasonable timeline. That's the Godtime for you.

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On 1/15/2020 at 7:25 AM, Caras said:

Are there many durulz in Upland Marsh actually Vivamort Lay Members?

In my Glorantha, the Old Nests or Loyal Nests are those who have come to an uneasy relationship with Vivamort. He doesn't prey on them and they don't bother him. So, they aren't actually Lay Members of Vivamort, as Delecti's Vampires don't feed on them.

However, there may well be Durulz Lay Members of Vivamort who carry Adventurers across the Upland Marsh, to sacrifice them to the Vampires.

 

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On 1/15/2020 at 1:10 PM, Joerg said:

Now, does this mean that all encounters with Morty will result in meeting a soul-deprived opponent rather than the normal darkness demon he was throughout most of his career?

If the HeroQuest is in Hell, then HeroQuestors will probably encounter mortal, non-Vampiric Vivamorti, as Vampires cannot travel to Hell and cannot cross the Styx.

If outside Hell, it is possible to meet mortal or Vampiric HeroQuestors, depending on the circumstances.

Very few HeroQuestors get to meet Vivamort himself, unless they are on a GodQuest inside God Time. Then, it would depend on what place/time they encounter Vivamort. An Eurmali trying to become a Hero by redoing the theft of Death will meet Vivamort as a Darkness Spirit. 

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On 1/15/2020 at 6:43 PM, Akhôrahil said:

Isn't Nontraya simply Vivamort (at least under the God-Learner interpretation)?

I said a different tradition, not a different deity. So the question of whether Nontraya and Vivamort are different deities/mythic entities is a different one. 

A single deity can have multiple forms of worship. Oakfed and Enverinus are  more or less the same deity - the Holy Fire, that can be the sacrificial fire or the funeral fire. But in Prax Oakfed is a nomadic shamanic tradition of unruly wildfire, while Enverinus is an urban priesthood of sedate ritual practice. Tolat and Shargash are the same deity, but Alkothi warrior killers and Trowjwang amazon god lovers are wildly different traditions. And so on. 

And Vivamort is tradition that originates in the West (are there any explicit references to vampires prior to the First Age Vampire Kings of Tannisor?) and are from a sorcerous culture. Vampire magic seems sorcerous, and it's clear that vampires (who can't cast spirit magic or learn Rune magic) rely heavily on sorcery. Besides vampire specific magic, it seems that vampires would learn (and presumably share) other sorcery. I've already mentioned its likely link to the Vadeli Telendarian school of sorcery. Also the very artificial sounding name (LifeDeath but in Latin) makes it sound like a sorcerous entity, an anthropomorphised principle. 

Plus, my private theory that the distinctive Sword breaker cult weapon is a form of talar mace, turned into a specialist weapon, a remnant of the Vampire Kings. There was a reference somewhere to Talars drifting from strict caste rules still not using horali sword but using their mace of authority as a weapon, and throwing 'crowns' - any know it? 

If Nontraya is the same deity as Vivamort (which I'm no longer sure of - Nontraya seems to be a deity of Underworld demons and dead let out of Hell, not quite the same thing), it may well be it is a separate tradition, one that stems from different magical roots, a perversion of theist tradition rather than a truly sorcerous one. Perhaps they are able to summon talokans demons with scorpion forms or scorpion tail whips, wings and best forms, etc? Perhaps the (controversial) ability to steal rune magic is part of the Nontraya tradition?

Anyway, noting the current, and current draft, material about vampires and Vivamort doesn't mention Nontraya. A couple of comments says Vivamort is a God Learner name for Nontraya, but we know the God Learners often got the details wrong. Maybe it is a different tradition, maybe an entirely different entity. Comments in the Guide treat them as different entities. 

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7 hours ago, davecake said:

Plus, my private theory that the distinctive Sword breaker cult weapon is a form of talar mace, turned into a specialist weapon, a remnant of the Vampire Kings. There was a reference somewhere to Talars drifting from strict caste rules still not using horali sword but using their mace of authority as a weapon, and throwing 'crowns' - any know it? 

This is great. The controversy over throwing crowns appears in the Guide (407). The "mace" might be an older D&D joke. I'll look deeper.

Edited by scott-martin

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