HQ, rituals and journeys.

From: Alex Ferguson <abf_at_interzone.ucc.ie>
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 21:43:46 +0100 (BST)

Jane Williams says approvingly of my lastest bit of classification mania:
> I like this a lot. But I'd add one more to the list, right at the start.
> 0. Physical verisimilitude. To what extent does your mundane ritual
> mirror the myth?

This is certainly a very important aspect of the "depth" equation, and in fact at least initially, likely the _most_ important. If I were to take my own classification entirely seriously, I'd still lump this one in with Depth (I never said it wasn't a large, fuzzy topic ;-), and I was skating over it for that very reason). As Jane says, the two are very closely linked, and it'd be very hard to "define" them in a way that keeps the two clearly distinct.

I suspect that main factors that go towards "depth" of a HQ are something like:

The nature of the ritual embodiment of it, as per Jane's comments;

How the mundane circumstances (those outside of the ritual itself), relate to the myth -- the better they "fit", the deeper you'll be able to go (or get drawn, come to that);

How large-scale a Quester you are; there's a sort of ratchet effect, I think, that means the deeper you've gone before, the deeper you have to go from then on, whether you like it or not;

The degree of support/expectation you have from your family/cult/clan;

Mythic co-incidence or interception: being "dragged" deeper, either by accident, or by someone else's design;

And to some extent, of course, your own willful (Will-ful?) intent.

> Also, the mundane time taken is determined by the ritual. Nothing else.

Not in all cases, surely; some HQs take years'n'years.

[LBQ as story, game, ritual, and: ]
> Finally one could go for a walk: start at the Orlanth Victorious temple,
> head west until you find the sea... this takes time. Lots of time.

This where things start to go fuzzy again; which is the "deeper" ritual (and therefore the deeper quest), walking the whole way mundanely, or performing the Westfaring ritual to get you there? I suppose the difference is that in a "practice" quest, you start trudging towards the setting sun (though without going all the way to Dusk in the literal sense); in the SLBP, you do the Westfaring magic ritual, but don't _bodily_ go anywhere (you trevel in myth-space, but an outsider observer can still see you in the temple grounds); whereas in a "real" HQ, you do the Mastakos's Trail West ritual, and *poof*, you're _gone_, the mythic and mundane facts having become identical.

Good examples, though, especially at the "low" end, which as Jeff has some justification in admonishing us, we may tend to overlook somewhat in these discussions.

> the plane-shift (go on, give me a better term some-one) easier.

Hrm. Transsubstantiation of the Lightbringer? ;-) Bodily assumption in myth? Hero-plane entering ritual?

> (A really, really good [HQer] might [shift to Hell] accidentally...)

Talk about too much of a good thing. Yes, I think this is what increasingly happens when your "free will" is getting used up, or if you prefer, more of your "self" is on the HP than not. Bummer.

Richard Melvin talked about some related Stuff, too:
> In fact, that must be true - going down a Big Hole is _not_ a magical
> technique, its just a small matter of climbing.

If you're performing a quest in which Stage 1 is Go To Hell, then I'd say climbing down sufficiently far into Hell Crack is (at least) just as valid a way of accomplishing it than (say) the Go Straight To Hell, do not Pass Go heroplane-entering ritual.

Obviously, though, they may vary in the details, and doing either of the above would not be equivalent to the "proper" way to descend into hell in the LBQ, say, which is an ungodly number of stations unto itself, and very particular as to the route.

But an appropriate or sane thing to do or not, I'm sure it can't be without magical significance. Especially actually climbing down _all the way_, which sounds a positively Gerran thing to do.

FGS (PBOH) has suggested almost the reverse, in fact: that the "special case" sort of HeroQuest are the "Magic Road" ones (like the above Westfaring), though I don't think I agree, really: they seem like Just Yet Another Sort of HQ, to me, among numerous others. I suppose that depending on how they're used, they might be seen as "cheating", though


Powered by hypermail