I think if you read "Master of Life and Death" as "Master of his Own Life and Death" it makes more sense. It's like he is responsible for his own life and death, controls it to some extent, can make deals and negotiate because he has responsibility for outcomes.
The difference, in my opinion, is like the difference between a child and an adult. We regard adults as masters of themselves, their own lives at any rate, while we do not regard children as masters of themselves, as responsible for themselves. So adults could be "masters of (their own) life" even of they are not actually very good, or are screw ups, or are unlucky.
We do not normally view adults as masters of their own death - meaning the afterlife/otherside - in Glorantha people rely on their visible gods, or their Invisible God, or their Great Spirits. Shamans, on the other hand, do take responsibility for their own afterlife.
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