Re: Exclusive Worship

From: Roderick Robertson <rjremr_at_njN0L-IhBEhJXvNayXEYxzHCB2loeZAL3cZC-qezOyoNIEMXT_eNZjRRZNDMdVLCWAMcp>
Date: Wed, 02 Jul 2008 18:47:56 -0000

> >Remember that you visit the God's house during worship ceremonies
> >Holy Days. Every time you try to learn magic, you go on a
> >in the god's place. Each advance in worship level (Initiate,
> >Dedvotee, Rune Lord, whatever) requires a closer personal bond to
> >god. So yes, "infiltrating" a cult requires lying to the god,
> >especially if you're going to become priest or (shudder) High-
> >of the cult, as the original question asked.
> What is the lie here?

The "I'm not really worshipping you" part. Worship of a god in Glorantha isn't like the real world.  

There *are* Gloranthan gods, and they *do* have personal connections to their worshippers. it's a two-way street - the worhipper gets magic, the Deity gets power from the worship. So if you aren't "giving power" to the god through your worship, the god will notice. At the lay worship level the god probably won't notice at all - there's not really a personal connection yet. One person's failure to worship will get lost in the "noise" of the rest of the community. But with initiation comes a real connection. With Devotion/Rune level worship, it is even stronger. If you don't give power through your own worship, it *will* be noticable to the god.  

> I can see devotion implying sole committment to a single god and
> there being deception involved in worshipping another as well. But
> that could be done without actually lying.

Huh? How, exactly, are you not lying when you tell one god "Yessir, I'm worshipping only you" when you don't actually worship him at all? Or when you're fooling around with another god behind his back? You can lie by deed as well as by speech.  

> Initiates can easily follow more than one god although they may
> have problems with incompatible requirements.

Maybe your idea of "infiltration" is different than mine - I assume that the hero is not worshipping the "Infiltrated" god at all, just going through the motions to fool the mortal cultists arounsd him. He still worships his "real" god in secret. If this isn't your definition of "infiltration", please let us know what is.  

> >Err, so what? They are still not the same immortal being. Just
> >because they share the same interests/areas of expertise does not
> >mean that they will somehow "overlook" fake worship from someone
> >from the other cult.
> We already know that an initiate is expected to spend only about
> 30% of their time on appropiate activities. Pure worship is only
> a fractieon of that. The rest, in this case gathering and recording
> knowledge, is applicable to both. So there's plenty of time for
> following both. I'll agree it becomes far more difficult if not
> impossible at devotee level.

But you're still not worshipping one of the gods. The Mortal Cultists *might* notice that you cross yourself right-to-left instead of left- -right, or you say your prayers in Norwegian instead of Swedish, or you expect to drink from the chalice in addition to eating the wafer. The God *will* notice that he's not getting anything from you. (and you won't be getting magic from him, which might be hard to explain to the mortal cultists...)  

> >> We also know that the God Learners managed to infiltrate many
> >> cults and they didn't even believe in the gods. So it is
> >
> >Sure, and look what happened to *them*.
> Yes after a significant period of following a variety of dodgy
> practices. Most of them far more extreme than this.

And their "infiltration" was not something dreamt up and accomplished in a day or even a year, either. I don't have my books out here with me, but if I remember, it took a couple hundrd years for the first successful "infiltration" (and were they really infiltrating cults - ie, pretending to worship, or were they taking notes without worshipping, more like an anthropologist?).  

> >Reliably? Never. But remember that the God has some say in who
> >becomes their priest, especially High Priest. (Not that gods in
> >Glorantha are invalible, but they can, at least, tell if their
> >primary worshipper is faithful or not).
> This is the basic disagreement - to what extent the gods can
> understand what humans are thinking. From previous discussions
> I came to the conclusion that they generally can't. Perhaps
> I'm wrong but it seems an inevitable to avoid the god smiting
> every follower who even thinks of doing something wrong.

It doesn't matter what the worshipper is *thinking*, it matters what he is *doing*. If he isn't sending mystic energy up to his god, the god will notice.

If your definition of "infiltration" means that the spy is actually worshipping the god whose cult he infiltrated, then there are other dangers, like "going native" and leaving your previous god. Remember that you're not "just" worshipping a Gloranthan god, you are taking his place in myths. You become him in the GodWorld on heroquests (which happen every Holy Day). Your actions strengthen him, and his power strengthens you. If you want to do a GodLearner and corrupt the myths, you've got a huge resistance to overcome - all the current and former worshippers that have trod these same heroquests and reinforced the myths.

So I stand by my assetion that "infiltrating" a cult requires you to lie to the god.  


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