Re: How best to learn about God Learners

From: Richard Hayes <richard_hayes29_at_ZB7jiSUn-LXY7mdxYzBQhUdOxki-Yupq2AFKe44VHkAv4tV627K4LDl40_YK>
Date: Sun, 25 May 2008 18:41:22 +0000 (GMT)

In most places the possibility of such tragic or morally ambiguous Chaos is anathema to most right-thinking Gloranthans, and rightly so.

However maybe there is scope for&nbsp;a more tragic, morally-ambiguous story involving Chaos lies in the few cultures where Chaos is neither "wrong, wrong, wrong" (and then some) nor dominant.&nbsp;

One possibility is within the Lunar Empire. Some have argued (I think it was at a Gloranthan Lore Auction at a convention during the Runequest Renaissance of the 1990s) that the final tragedy of the Lunar Empire was that it had incorporated Chaos instead of Disorder (the natural opposite of law). So maybe there is some potential there.

The other possibility which occurred to me (and I am sure there are plenty more -- YGWV)would be somewhere where Illumination and the struggle between Arkat and Nysalor/Gbaji was still ongoing, even if only in a 'shadow war' between obscure occult organisations, of which the rest of the lozenge was barely even aware.&nbsp;

In particular I am thinking of a passage in Cults of Terror which suggested that the dark side of Illumination was not about alignment with Chaos so much as the abuse of Illumination (and&nbsp;the ability to break cult taboos it confers) for selfish ends?

Did it not then go on&nbsp;to suggest that the most committedly lawful being could become as much of an agent of the Dark side (for me the analogy of Illumination with the Force, and the Arkati as a kind of long-fallen Jedi, always was the best parallel between Star Wars and Glorantha, but that's another story) as the worst Gbaji prophet.

That said, this passage also suggested that Chaos did in some ways create things, though in a different way to Law. Is the prevailing orthodoxy against this a wholly subjective (but very widespread) belief, or is it one of those rare objective&nbsp;truths of Gloranthan reality.

I once had a sadly short-lived campaign set in the Valeki Baronies (a Malkioni land left over from the Gbaji Wars which had formed buffer-zone from between the God-leaners and the Empire of the Wyrm's Friends,&nbsp;and had even more preacariously survived into the Third Age sandwiched &nbsp;between the Tarienwood, Ramalia and other unfriendly places, written up in outline in the issue of Tradetalk about Handra and the New Fens (No. 10?), but sadly omitted from Blood over Gold).

To this mix I added the idea (supported in Tradetalk and canonically?) that the Aldryami of the Tarienwood were the representatives of the Aldryami on the World Council of Friends that had created Osentalka/Nysalor/Gbaji, and the further idea that deep in the Tarienwood a secretive and (to the Aldryami) heretical&nbsp;Osentalka cult survived from this time, and which aspired to peaceful coexistence with humanity, rather as the Elders from the Tarienwood had when they had created Osentalka

One of the PCs in this tale was an adventurous&nbsp;Elf who was curious about the human neighbours and had travelled into their midst to learn their ways. He had a mentor who, (unbeknown to him), was one of the leading lights of the Osentalka cult.

A second PC belonged to an order of knights which had travelled with the founder of Handra on his great trek out of Ralios early in the Third Age. He had been sent to the frontier with the Tarienwood by his Order to monitor the Aldryami for them.

What he didn't yet know was that his Order was an Arkati one, implacably hostile to the Elves of the Tarienwood for their role in the creation of Gbaji, and ultimately inclined to mobilising the local human rulers (Valeki or Ramalian) into waging war on the Elves. (One of my key unspoken political rules was that "Handra would fight to the last Valeki to defeat Ramalia").

A&nbsp;third PC was a member of a new Yelmalio Temple, which one of the Valeki Barons had established to guard the frontier with the Tarienwood, because of some vague historical memory of the ancient alliance between the Yelmalio-worshipping troops of Palangio the Iron Vrok and the Elves of the Tarienwood during the Gbaji Wars. (He felt they would be less provocative than Valeki Knights loyal to St Zorak, a strange, Stygian saints' cult left over from the Gbaji Wars).

The potential tragedy would therefore have been that the Arkati were looking to seek and destroy the one movement within the Aldryami in the Tarienwood which was not in the long-term genocidally-inclined towards the humans of the Valeki Baronies, mirrored by the personal tragedy of PCs who were to learn that some of their comrades-in-arms&nbsp;were supposed to be sworn enemies from a conflict which had lasted a thousand years.

Richard Hayes

Subject: Re: How best to learn about God Learners To:
Date: Sunday, 25 May, 2008, 10:23 AM

In message &lt;; "John Machin" writes:

&gt;Moorcock's (and, originally, Warhammer's) Chaos had a kind of
&gt;tragedy about it. Perhaps this is due to the dualism in Moorcock's
&gt;system? Some of Moorcock's Chaotic characters are quite drawing at
&gt;times and the Warhammer Chaotic characters seem to be of this school.
&gt;I don't tend to see this in Gloranthan Chaos, perhaps because in
&gt;Glorantha Chaos is just Wrong Wrong Wrong in so many of the cultural
&gt;narratives. Have I been looking at it wrong?

I see all three as different. Warhammer chaos is a simplistic "evil person" type of thing - for the most part psychopaths who enjoy death and destruction. Moorcock's chaos is a balance to law - the extremes of both are horrible and the only hope for humanity is to keep them roughly in balance. It's trickier to identify the place chaos has in Glorantha. Most cultural narratives claim that the lozenge would be better if it were excluded yet accept that it can't be because of "the compromise". Chaos also entered Glorantha because of the actions of gods who are not intrinsically chaotic. That's reflected in the gray area of actions which are not in themselves chaotic but bring chaos. These are culturally variable - rebellion in Dara Happen culture, kinslaying in Heortling culture and breaking caste in strict Malkionism.

There's certainly room for romantic tragedy in Gloranthan chaos, individuals acting with good intentions but introducing chaos either accidentally or as a means to a desirable end. Societies in Glorantha generally condemn chaos but only religious fanatics such as Uroxi would never work with it. The Lunars are more open about this than others but using chaos when appropriate isn't restricted to them.

Donald Oddy


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