Re: Written Magic?

From: Greg Stafford <glorantha1_at_gYUPAMj-TaAe4L9PPjJDLe2GX59ChLaaAYnF26JTU98q8gW-ov8I7cQdSgM5M85Ld>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2008 08:57:52 -0700

YGWV On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 7:42 AM, Terra Incognita <> wrote:

> Thanks, Peter, Jamie and Greg.
> Me:
> >>Adjective 'Sharp' was also used in God Learner Version of Abiding Book.
> It
> >>might be a random, or intentional coincidence. IIRC, in MSE the god
> >>'Malkioneran the Devil' was the God of 'Sharp' Abiding Book.
> >>(Isn't this opinion supported by Rokari?)
> Peter:
> > I don't like the adjective "sharp" as it feels too modern and it isn't
> > used
> > in the MSE.

I think the adjective "sharp" came into use after the MSE. Sharp, here, is more like a common term than a theological one.

> The Rokari believe that Malkioneran is a false image of
> > the one true god, Makan. In the Imperial Age, the worshippers of
> > Makan and Malkioneran had complex issues about each other but
> > weren't quite willing to put it to the test. To muddy waters, the
> > Loskalmi consider Makan and Malkioneran to be the same devil.

All being reflections of the ease for them to demonize even each other. The actuality of this or that being what is demonized is not important to the demonization process.
Ironically, however, is that there IS a "demonized zone" of the Essence Planes. If group A succesfully demonizes Group B then Gp B can access those demonic powers. And, inevitably, someone does...

> I was wrong, "Sharp" Abiding Book of GL is in Revealed Mythologies p.16.
> Peter's answer is from MSE p.42.
> Me:
> > My imagery to Saintly Formularies are a sort of a colorful picture
> scroll
> > depicting each of lives of Saints. For many formularies are titled
> 'The Life
> > of Saint []'.
> Jamie:
> >Actually, no. That's scriptures.
> Currently HQ rulebook is not at my hand, but I suppose Jamie is right.

And to confuse matters, it is entirely possible that a Saintly Formulary could have the life of a saint inside. And if I was playing in the West I cold not possibly resist the image of these big and bold knightly orders having a sacred comic book --that is, "a sort of colorful picture scroll."

> >I think so too. This would have been after Death had come, and the Saints
> >provided a way to re-establish the flow of divinity back and forth.
> Hmm, then saints have existed since the Death came. I am not sure the
> definition of Saints and Prophets.

A Prophet is a person who establishes initial, new, original contact with the Essence World that is sufficient to establish widespread interchanges of enerby between worlds. In modern parlance they are the originators of a cultural paradigm shift.
Zzabur -- never actually considered a Prophet anywhere because he's still alive and would deny it, but he he certainly established the first "rules of engagement" for interacting between the Essence Planes and the world of humans, which would later become the Everything World. Malkion -- The being who established the methods of interaction between the Essence Planes and the Everythign World. Hrestol -- The being who established the methods of interaction between the Essence Planes and the Everythign World after Time.

> In most simple game term, I suppose saints are entities who give spells to
> malkioni player characters (but not wizards). :)

Saint would have a religious connotation here. After the Prophets established methods, individuals refined it. They established relationships and systems with more specific parts of the Planes, often for limited memberships. Thus the "water wizards" establish links with the watery parts of the Esence Plane, and so on. Saints are people who did this within the limits of the Church, "Superadepts" (jeez, what's the real term?) are people who do it for sorcery.
But Saints and Superadepts are really the same thing, functionally (not socially, not personally, etc.)

> Many saints are good for player characters for game and variety of spells.
> But not good for me and Theoblanc. :)

Theoblanc is really conservative and trying to get rid of all who are outside of the Church's (i.e.- his) control. And will keep trying until he initiates the Iconoclastic Movement.
One of the tensions in the West is this division between Theoblanc as the pinpoint entry point for what is right and wrong and all of the othr factors that deny that.
Regetably, Theoblanc has embraced the thought that the best method is to get rid of the woshippers, since he can't change the reality of the Essence Planes.

> Peter:
> >My position is that these earlier religious works were written down
> >in emulation of the Abiding Book and later misunderstood to have
> >existed in written form long before the Abiding Book first existed.

I'm not sure which Petre means by "these earlier religious books" so maybe my comment here may not be relevant, but: There certeainly were earlier religious books before the AB, written down a wide variety of scripts and methods, and which functioned exactly as the sacred scriptures do in modern time.

> >But before that time, the Malkioni were unable to obtain any
> >religious insight or magic from the written word - if somebody
> >wrote it down, it would be little more than uninspiring words on
> >a page and to teach the truth of God to men, they had to use
> >other methods.
> Maybe, we must think more about the source of Wizardry magic,
> it is from Essence Plane,

Of course there is wizardry (when seen as a method) that uses the God World, Spirit Plane, Underworld and Upperworld and even the Everything World as "sources" to provide power for magic. (It--wizardry--is not as effective as when it is used to interact with it's "native plane" of course, but I don't think that the Gloranthans have any way to accurately measure the effectivenesss of their magic. At least, not in the 3rd age.)

> but I am not sure the conduit is
> spoken syllables, magic book (scripture, formulary, grimoire or so),
> or written characters (runes?).

There is a huge tradition that Western magic requires written stuff to read, but that is not so. It is not about reading words, but about changing one's consciousness with the help of visual symbols. And "all" Gloranthan magic requires sound, movement and something else in the physical plane, as well as a form of spiritual consciousness (of which there are three that are widely known: essential, animistic and divine).

> And Greg, frankly speaking, what I want to know in another sense is that
> your current opinion of literacy rate of population in Glorantha West.

Most of the altenative symbolic communications have been largely suppressed in the West, and most people think there is one way to read and write (much like a commoner today who has not been exposed to any Asian or ancient methods of writing). So in those places literacy = reading Seshnelan and, for those highly educated, Ancient Seshnelan (as it is called). In those terms I would think that up to 10% of the population may read--the entirety of the clerics (though many can only read scriptures badly) which is more or less 2%, plus a number of the noble class (inheriting the ancient Talar traditon; and also lumping in the illustrated manuscripts of the Orders (whose comic book parts illustrate, but don't convey the actual magic spells); and also a segment of the merchants knowing enough to keep tallies and make contracts.

Greg Stafford
Game Designer

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