Re: How best to learn about God Learners

From: Jamallo Kreen <jamallokreen_at_2WdOQXWeUgVRL18DFKjbovXNbzmBr-ssi6u0zbe6v6GVcGyI9LuN4TBjLAjsClQ>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 04:10:52 -0000

Sat May 17, 2008 3:40 am (PDT)
donaldroddy, quotied me and went o say...

>> I want him and the other characters to leave this
>> upcoming fiasco, older, wiser, and -- preferably -- not
>> _feebleminded_ . ;)

> It would do so in Glorantha if you really understood the gods. Myth
> simplifies the god plane to the level of human understanding. The
> God Learners assumed that that level of knowledge was all there
> was to it and tried to alter things. As a result they broke myths
> until Glorantha (the world) fixed things by eliminating them from
> history. So your character is either going to be feebleminded,
> dead or destroying the world.

> In Glorantha there are many people who act as their god's mortal
> henchpeople. But they do so because they believe in their god
> and that the god's way is right.

*There,* at least, my character has ample forewarning. The highest-level magical spell ever cast by a mortal in the (commonly accepted history of) the Forgotten Realms had an Archwizard assume all of the powers of a deity ... momentarily. He had the singularly short-sighted ambition of taking on the portfolio of the goddess of magic (who is/was magic itself). His puny mortal mind unable to grasp divine enormities, things started going downhill (literally) right away, so that the goddess committed suicide to create a divine vacancy, which the Overpower promptly filled with a new goddess, who took back the portfolio of magic and left the Archwizard to crash to the ground, turned to stone just like other D&D mythos dead gods. In the intervening seconds, however, all magic on the planet simply stopped working (which is kind of a bummer if you live in a city floating 1000 feet off the ground, as did most of the fellow-countrymen of the "God of a Moment"). He may have the ignominy of having his name universally reviled, but at least he's not floating in the Astral Plane with property developments being built on his corpse!

As for MY character destroying the Forgotten Realms -- not to worry. Hasbro is doing that this summer. Yes, Forgotten Realms 4.New.Coke has a grotesquely reshaped surface, and almost every player's current PC dead or insane come August 2008. That's what comes from the hubris of earning a 24% annual profit increase despite a major product recall. Nothing says "sound business plan" like destroying a game setting in which players have invested thousands of hours of their own lives (and probably thousands of dollars of their own money) because you are confident that the same people who paid hard cash to buy your rule books last year are going to happily fork over even more money when you tell them that everything they have bought so far is now permanently obsolete. In Mythic terms, the Hasbro directors are like those same questing geniuses who sought market dominance with that most holy of holy artifacts, the formula for "New Coke."



NOW WE'RE TALKIN'! Within the past few years (game world time), the natives of Toril (the "Forgotten Realms") have seen an Overpower of whom they had previously had no knowledge kick their deities down to the planet from their divine planes, occupy mortal bodies and (in several instances) die, including the goddess of magic (Mark II), who was replaced by a mortal woman who became the goddess of magic (Mark III). The lovesick god to whom I referred isn't exactly the wisest of the gods, so I can easily see him (or any of several nefarious deities out to thwart him) leading my character down this or that avenue of study.

Since at least three (and possibly five) dead Realms deities either actively *want* to return from "death," another one having already pulled off that coup recently (two in the "official" Wizards of the Coast timeline), there's no shortage of divine beings willing to give him all sorts of (possibly false) information which might bring a god "back from the dead." The deity with the grand scheme of putting his ex back together again might think that experimenting on some of these dead (and in most cases just badly fragmented) deities would be excellent preparatory work for his future henchperson. ("Yes, I know that I'm not your patron deity, but he's loaning you to me for a few tendays for a little ... experiment. Being the deity of experimentation, *your* patron thought it was an *excellent* idea." <Under breath, "Thank My Self that he didn't ask what the experiment actually was!">

Ah. I haven't mentioned that the goddess of philosophy and rational thought was "accidentally" killed around the same time that his love was split in twain, have I? Working himself well towards monomania, it is unlikely that *she* would be high on the lovesick god's list of deities to bring "back from the dead." Since the only other deity to have possessed the portfolio of Philosophy is the father of the giant races, who currently refuses to leave his home plane after a touch of marital infidelity became apparent -- ("Honey, why have the last three kids looked so much like you and so little like me?") -- common sense will most definitely NOT be reigning from on high when the all the god's horses and all the god's men try to put his girlfriend together again!

Filled with hubris, my guy would probably think that bringing back only one particular deity might cause him to lose his mind, because a few (game world) years ago, a major NPC of the Realms came into contact with an artifact which held only a small fraction of that god and she immediately went nuts -- which was a real bummer, considering that she is one of the most powerful spellcasters in the world and already has a spark of the goddess of magic (Mark II) in her body and/or soul. Nothing like a homicidally insane, divinely-infused uber-spellcaster to bring some zest into a campaign world!

> The Imperial Lunar Handbook Part 2 (ILH-2) that Donald mentioned is
> the best reference on this aspect of the Lunars, including game
> rules on how to become a god. (Short flavour quote: "Once the hero
> has performed the Sevening Rituals, she has awakened her Seventh
> Soul. Once awakened, the Seventh Soul can never be put back to
> sleep or removed.")

YEAH, BABY, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT! My guy would try to carefully study all of the ramifications (or those which he could foresee) before making a play for godhood himself. He already long ago gave up thoughts of lich-hood because he does like a good gourmet meal now and then, but it's hard to enjoy your food when all of the nerve fibres in your nose and tongue have been dead for a few centuries.

One noteworthy thing about the Forgotten Realms is that most gods are capable of lying, and will happily lie to a mortal to further their own ends. A few years from when my campaign is set, and a few years back from the (current) official timeline, another powerful wizard was led along by a god who wanted a demi-god of magic all his own with which to play, and the wizard became a demi-god, but not until first dying and passing into lichdom. ("What? The job description didn't list 'undeath' as a prerequisite for this particular divine job. Tsk.  Tsk. That darned temp must have typed it and left that line out....") Ed Greenwood himself (creator of the Forgotten Realms) has said that if a character in the Realms DID somehow acquire the "Necrotheologist" class which Monte Cook created, the divinatory powers which provide the "-ology" part of the class abilities would probably be hijacked by some malicious deity. It would be entirely within the style of the "Classic Realms" for a deity to plant such information in the path of a potentially powerful character and then subvert the character to his (or her) own ends. (Remember what happened when pitiful little Saruman thought to scry directly on Sauron, who, diminished though he was, was still a semi-divine being?)

> There's also the Stafford Library book 'Arcane Lore' which contains
> even more of this stuff, but be warned that it's a complilation of
> notes and sometimes-contradictory fragments written over many years
> rather than a single coherent analysis or narrative.
> Stephen

I have looked over its description and reviews on the internet already. So much of this cool ___-Quest lore is out-of-print and expensive that putting together a library of just those books which give details of the God Learners and the Lunar Empire will be quite expensive. Fortunately, I won't have to buy any more D&D rule books, so I suppose I'll be able to assemble the recommended collection by the end of the year (about the same time that thousands of gamers who have bought D&D 3.5 books discover that they have been sucker-punched with a bait-and-switch).

One thing which I am liking about Glorantha is that despite four major rules permutations, even the oldest material is still relevant, and you MUST prefer Mongoose's, "We're going back in time to when that Big Empty Spot had an island empire," to Wizards/Hasbro's, "you know all of those thousands of dollars in books we've sold you over the last decade? Well, you can toss 'em in the trash, because instead of adding a new realm on that 'undiscovered' continent which you all know about, we're wiping out a third of the lands for which we already sold you sourcebooks! Oh, one more thing: it's now far in the future and almost all of your characters are already dead, and any who aren't are probably insane or horribly mutated, or else old and decrepit and useless as PCs." REALMS 4.NEW.COKE. Heck's fire! I looked over some OLD Runequest stuff and it took me only a few minutes to mentally plug it into Chaosium's game rule system which I have followed through two other permutations, none of them substantially invalidating the others. From what I have seen of the previews of other games which Chaosium once published, Mongoose has not been stupid enough to make its new books totally incomprehensible to those who own older books. But I digress into an area which I had promised to stay out of -- Glorantha itself.

I have one additional request: Will someone please let me know (if anyone does know) the spoiler of what exactly the God Learners did which (I presume) ended the Second Age? Did they knock off the Mythic manifestation of the deity who governed the stability of the Middle Sea or something like that? I imagine that would be on a par with forcing the goddess of magic to commit suicide when your empire consists of cities levitating my magic, so I doubt that I'll be surprised. "Of the over-weening pride of wizards there is no end."

Again, I thank you all for your input. What I'm reading now on the Issauries web site is starting to make much more sense to me. There will, however, be NO Stymphalian Ducks firing bronze feathers at anyone or anything in MY campaign, wherever it may be set. (At the very least they will have to be hawks.)    

Powered by hypermail