Re: Longevity and immortality in Glorantha

From: jorganos <joe_at_bN_iMCHDELvHIzItYcgLW4giL_04F4TpQvBhPuPp1lyrAbkNW_U27z0EzGbexSTyWJLgTOhh>
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 10:26:41 -0000


> The Loskalmi have learned the art of physically building spells as
> architecture. That is, instead of waving your hands and chanting, or
> whatever, you can build the magical pattern into masonry and have it
> sit there as long as the masonry stands and devotional energy
> continues to pour in from worshippers and loyal citizens. This
> includes preservation spells (among other things) that greatly
> elongate the life of the nobility.

So do we get the equivalent of a chapel of Dorian Grey, or rather the pyramid effect (spoofed by Terry Pratchett in "Pyramids")?

Both Westerners and Eastern materialists (like e.g. Thalurzni) might also benefit from seemingly mundane "healthy living" and alchemical geriatrics, which would appear to be magic to the uninitiated, and by that definition are magical in Glorantha.

Magical methods might tap into the pre-Fifth Action methods of agelessness (i.e. adopting the innate magic of the Brithini or Vadeli), preferably sidestepping some of the price that has to be paid (or shifting that price into a final bill).

One overly clever method might be the use of Tapping of negatives. Come on, the God Learners cannot not have tried this, and a variant the Boristi Shriving rites might work too, especially if aging is regarded as a form of sinful existence. The Loskalmi in "How the West Was One" had such a ritual, involving a device called "the Comfy Chair".

Classical RuneQuest Immortality ritual spells made use of vast material and magical resources, ideally with an increase in effort that ultimately made the avoidance of aging (or alternatively, the avoidance of death by old age while the aging still went on) an obsession eating up all the time gained by it.

If a Loskalmi's ongoing agelessness can be obtained by producing architecture to ensure that, I would propose that this architecture would require an ever increasing rate of expansion to catch up with the increasingly unnatural lack of age, or otherwise provide an ever stronger link to the sorcerous otherworlds (which would require ever greater investments of power and material, as well).

The Heimskringla has the story of Aun the Old (in the Ynglingatal) shows a decrepit (and continuously aging) king who survives by sacrificing his male offspring to Odin, bargaining their youth against his own death. As decrepitude crawled on, his ability to sire more sons failed, and finally his advisors chose to crown the last of his sons rather than prolong their king's life by another small amount and then being left without a leader of divine origin.

I once made a connection between this tale and Nralar the Old, the king of Seshnela at the onset of the Second Age. However, Nralar's numerous offspring survived, and while not inheriting their father's office, they chose the Froalar option and settled Jrustela, so we can safely assume that whatever longevity method Nralar used, it did not copy the Brown Vadeli method of sacrificing (and eating) their offspring.

The Vampire Kings of Tanisor (Dawn Age) or Ramalia (post-Second Age) appear to have avoided the "own offspring" clause by a form of tapping. I wonder whether the Galvosti do, too.

The agelessness of capital H Heroes IMO is something different, and resembles the Relevation of Now practiced by the Brithini and their ilk. The individuals in question place part of their being in the immutability of an Otherworld presence, and cease to change in that respect. Successful heroes make aging one of the aspects that become immutable. Even more successful heroes make living and breathing such an ingrained habit that they even return from being sacrificed, eaten, burned, thrown into volcanoes etc., although in the case of Belintar paying for this in accelerated aging (and only sidestepping the issue by finding replacement bodies).

Mystics do the same, deliberately.            

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