Re: That pesky 30%

From: Greg Stafford <Greg_at_...>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 21:15:26 -0700

Sacrifice and that 30%

At 03:34 AM 4/15/2002 +0100, you wrote:
Ian said
>> on the mundane. To be a devotee requires you to sacrifice something
>> to the god, to give it up. The extra time is lost to you, and given

Alex says:
>I think you're entirely wrong to equate "sacrifice" with "economic
>cost". You seem to be essentially saying that you don't much mind
>> otherwise we are venerating instead.

>> available. My response would be 1:) as Greg would say 'Gloranthans
>> don't know the numbers'

>Not even the number of weaponthanes? While counting past 20 might be
>a secret of the Knowing God,

Wonderful line, Alex.

Ian recalls:
>> IMG devotion requires sacrifice, not just doing your job. As I have
>> said before Glorantha has deites for most jobs, if all that were
>> required was to do your job, devotion would not be a sacrifice.

Alex reminds us:
>I'm not aware of having claimed that devotion is equivalent to just
>doing your job; in fact I've clearly maintained the reverse. What
>I find unlikely is that it's _incompatible_ with doing your 'job' (i.e.
>this notion of Barntar devotees too busy with "devotee stuff" to
>plow a field, Starkval guys unable to be weaponthanes, etc).

Can both be right? Yea.
I am a warthane in Alex's household then, and since I'm a devotee you know I will be better at kickin' butt, 'cuz god is on my side. Or inside me. I got lots of magic to help me.
Like every other weaponthane, I spend my full occupational time on that job. The clan gives me (through the chief) food and housing and equipment, etc. So fine, I live as a weaponthane, which is a superior standard of living. Meat every day, lots of beer at chief's house, nice clothes made of best materials, etc.
But while doing that, I am actually doing Starkval's work. In everyday work there's no problem, and lopping off Telmori paws for Alex and Starkval is pretty much the same thing.
But not always. Sometimes my obligation to Starkval is stronger than to Alex. Before some battle I might have to say, "Alex, Starkval says I can't fight here." What Alex says is, of course, what the story is about. But this kind of conflict is continual and has got to irritate everyone who has their following cancelled out by gods' orders. Especially devotees must have this continual battle between their material and supernatural obligations. God or king?
And as someone truly devoted to this deity I am happy to give gifts to my temple (or equivalent), burn extra animals, put in free time, spend time preparing for ceremonies and so on. Real outgo of expenses here. Who's paying for that wild donkey that I need to burn on War Day? Who is making that vixen-collared bearskin cloak for the rites? How can I find love, get a son and take care of my old parents when Starkval has restrictions on all of those things, and more?
Some day, maybe after a long time of asking nothing special of me, Starkval himself comes and says, "You gotta go away for me for a couple of years." And I am sent to Teshnos where I burn up peasant villages, trap and cage huge beasts and guard the caravan to the most decadent filthy city in the world. Job done, no ticket home. Thanks Starkval.

Barntar? Well, similar: he is damn sure out there plowing and little else but that. He sometimes has to start in the snow on bad years, sometimes his requirement of a yearling ox per year form his neighbors is odious. But heck, he's still gotta get another one then, that he has to sacrifice to his god. And remember those furrows of yours hat he did, because everyone prayed so hard for him that he did the entire clan's plow lands in one plow season! Well, he gets a cut of every furrow he plowed, and he gives it to his own teacher or priest. He's still gotta find some more to burn, give to the cows in winter or turn into beer.

Look: the issue of commitment in devotion becomes more important in the occasions when people's jobs do NOT overlap with their cults. It is nearly impossible to put that kind of time in unless: 1. It overlaps with your source of food/income; or 2. You have an outside source of income. I am not concerned with how hard or easy it is to have lots or a few devotees or initiates in your hero band. I just want to be able to reply to someone who says, "I want to worship Bobbo the Buffoon Baboon," and reply, "OK, but the rules say I get to play your patron. "

Ultimately this has to do with the type of relationships that you have:

Greg Stafford, greg_at_...
Issaries, Inc. 900 Murmansk St., Suite 5; Oakland, CA 94607 Phone: (510) 452 1648 Fax: (510) 302 0385 Publisher of Hero Wars, Roleplaying in Glorantha See our site at: <>

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