More Great Gods

From: Peter Metcalfe <>
Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2001 14:14:20 +1200

Peter Larsen:

> >I fear you are conflating concepts again. Merely indicating
> >that something is a Great God has never meant that lesser
> >gods are a masks, avatars or servants for it. All lesser
> >gods have runic associations from elsewhere that differentiate
> >them from their Great Gods.

>This definition pushes Gloranthan theism back toward the monomyth.

No, it does not.

>If there is an ultimate source of theistis Sun-ness, it resides above
>Yelm, outside of the perception of nearly everyone.

Why? Published literature has indicated that Yelm is the ultimate source of theistic sun-ness for over fifteen years.

>Elmal either nerver partook of Yelm (the Yelm is not Evil Emperor model)
>or separated himself (the Yelm is the Evil Emperor model).

Where in the Storm tribe writeup do you find that Elmal has never partaken of Yelm?

>Yelm has a much closer connection to that primal Sun-ness (maybe that's
>what holding the rune means)

Yelm _is_ the Primal Theistic Sun, that's what holding the rune means. The holding metaphor only comes about because originally another deity was associated with the rune.

>and His worshippers have access to broader and more profound powers than
>the Elmali, partially because they have a better "conduit" and partly
>because they have a much more developed philosophical structure.

This assumes that belief makes gods which is wrong. Worshipping Yelm leads to greater solar powers than any other god simply because Yelm is the theistic sun. That many cultures do worship lesser sun gods is not because they have an inferior method of worshipping Yelm but because they are actually worshipping a lesser sun god with an independent existence from Yelm.

The Orlanthi do not worship Yelm because Yelm's worship requires modes of thought and behaviour that are contrary to Orlanth's virtues, the basis of their society. The worship of Elmal requires modes of thought and behaviour that are compatible with Orlanthi society and thus the Orlanthi have no problem in worshipping him.

If there was another Lesser Sun God capable of existing within Orlanthi society then they could also worship him. But I think Elmal's a nonsuch here.

>[Yelmites] did, after all, get to spend thousands of extra years thinking
>about Solar Truth while the ELmali were off herding cows, fighting other
>barbarians and refusing to learn how to wash.

I do not believe that the Dara Happans have a better cult of Yelm is contingent upon their thinking about Solar truths. Orlanthi hardly think about such things at all yet they worship the Great Storm God nevertheless.

>I suspect that there is no good way for an Elmali to connect
>to mainstream (ie Dara Happan) Solar Worship beauce there is no

There _is_ a connection. It's described in the mythology of Elmal (ST p45-47). For Elmal to loose entirely this connection would mean that he would have to do a Humakti severance, which is unElmali.

>Elmali who want a deeper Solar understanding either need to
>have Amazing Theist Revelations and be kick-ass Heroquesters
>(not too likely) or give up Elmal altogether and jump ship
>to the closest Solar cult -- Yelmalio. All in my opinion.

It depends on what you mean by deeper Solar understanding. Greater Solar powers? There's no way they can improve upon Elmal (either by Amazing Theistic Revelations or Kick-arse Heroquesting) simply because Elmal is as great as he ever will be. Joining Yelmalio is also hardly a good decision to Greater Solar Powers as he's wimpier than Elmal.

> >It is difficult to see this now given the HW habit of giving
> >each deity with its own rune, but with a standard array of
> >runes (such as the God Learners had), one can see these
> >influences more clearly (evidence: see RQ material).

>The Godlearners missed the point so often that I doubt their system
>is much use from within a culture or pantheon.

But I didn't say specify the God Learner system, I pointed out their runic system as _an_ example. The Cults of Prax runes are not the God Learner runes yet were still used to differentiate Humakt and Zorak Zoran, Orlanth and Storm Bull and so forth. Thus I can't see how you can dismiss what I wrote, merely because I happened to mention God-Learners.

>It seems to me that we are pretty much describing the same thing.
>The only difference is that you believe that a great god holds a
>rune that makes them the source of all powers relating to that rune,

No, I do not. Urox, for example, has many storm powers that are unknown to Orlanth because his Storm nature is modified by his other runes (which do not spring from Orlanth). What I do believe is that the Great God is the theistic source of the rune (i.e. from Orlanth comes all Storm) and that other gods are differentiated from the Great God by the action of other runes. This relationship is distinct from genealogy, cultic practice or myth.

>where as I think the ultimate source is elsewhere, and the holder
>of the rune is just the biggest god of that type.

You believe more than this. Your definition of biggest god includes totalling up how many worshippers they have and the effectiveness of their worship.

>but Humakt seems way too Orlanthi/Heortling to be the source of
>Pelorian Death (isn't the Pelorian Death goddess a sneaky little

What part of Humakt's writeup do you find too Orlanth/Heortling? The habit of his disciples in a) exterminating villages, b) randomly murdering women and children, or c) smiting people who were nervous in their presence? The Humakti have their own modes of behaviour, are described as "social misfits, killers rather than ordinary fighters, and most Heortlings avoid contact with them". Thus Humakt's cultic practice looks like something mandated by the God himself rather than an Orlanthi death cult.

Secondly the Rinliddi Death Goddess is the Crimson Bat (hardly little or sneaky, but maybe that's just me). And to forestall a possible question, Shargash skinned her.

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