Re: The Unholy Trio: Rephrasing the Question

From: pentallion <pentallion_at_zDiR8jG44r52S1pZn-ViK8b8tiYPATXTchVRqx2KTh3W7rXxMBwBNjk1nOMQlcPJv>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2008 22:28:53 -0000

Acutally, this is helping me immensely, thank you very much. The one missing element in all this philosophical debate is that this campaign I'm designing is based around a God Learner who's escaped his fate and walks the world again. He's learned the mistakes of his people, he doesn't "believe" in the "Gods" and he wants them destroyed.

And in the end, he WINS.

> And as a result, that is their place in the world: to fail.

No, their place in my campaign is to be the catalyst to the end of the world. It's what they were in the previous one.

> If you are looking for heroic actions similar to human myths, I
don't think
> they have any. The Heortlings survived because of what Heort did.
The broos
> survived because they had conquered the world and all but
destroyed it.

Conquering the world and all but destroying it isn't "heroic"? Sounds like they must have had some pretty badass heroes to accomplish such a feat in the face of the likes of Orlanth, etc. Hardly unheroic.

> the gods, spirits and everything else in the Underworld did
something new
> and absolutely unprecedented (sometimes called the Compromise,
other times
> Icebreaking, etc.) that cheated the broos (and other chaos) out of
> termination.

Compromise, by it's very definition, is a form of surrender. The gods forged a peace treaty with Thed and the others. Wakboth had to die, but Theds creatures earned their place in the new world.

I'd call that a victory of sorts since Theds side was already winning, as you just pointed out, so the Compromise didn't put her in any worse position than before the "war" began.

> Yes, in fact. That failure is one of the sources for their eternal
pain and
> suffering. Their misery is from simply existing.

Thed's misery didn't come from simply existing, however, it came from her rape.

> I don't think that Thed and Mallia accepted the Compromise, any
more than
> the Devil did. Their continued existence was forced upon them.

They forced her to keep raping them? I don't think so. I think she got exactly what she really wanted: revenge on the Storm Gods. She brought them down. And in my campaign, the God Learner wants his own revenge, on all the gods. They all have to die and by reenacting the entire myth, he wins too.  

> > Is disease borne from Chaos? Well, only in the way that so is
> > everything, the whole world of Glorantha sprang from Chaos. But
> > it's part of the compromise and has its place.
> >
> > What makes more sense to me
> At the risk of sounding too glib, there is a nonsensical part of
this. It's
> mythic—metaphorical rather than logical.
> > is that in the grand cosmology of
> > things, the world is imperfect and is continually being remade
> > (hopefully) trending towards perfection.
> That's an interesting theory, and one that is known in many
cultures in
> Glorantha.
> I'm not clear what it has to do with heroic chaos myths, though.

I guess I wasnt' being too clear then. In such a world, one that renews, there has to be a catalyst for renewal. Something that destroys the old world. Thed and Ragnaglar bringing Wakboth into the world and unleashing Chaos was that thing.
> > The whole Ouroborous
> > imagery of rebirth seems to me to be a major theme. The way the
> > world evolves towards perfection is apparent in each age.
> There is that "perfection" word again!
> I submit that this is not a universal perspective.
> It's equally valid to say the world is broken and struggles on,
each 466
> years barely finding the resources to scrape together another
cycle of
> survival.

Doesn't need to be universally accepted. The other viewpoint is also equally valid. Doesn't change things one whit. Your point?  

> > In the end
> > of this age all the gods die and the world changes.

> That's an interesting theory.
> Is there proof of this somewhere?

"Gods Slain and World Ends"

Right before Apotheosis of Argrath.

Besides, I don't NEED proof, I'm the GM remember? This is MY Glorantha we're talking about and in the first campaign that's what DID happen. So now we're re-running the campaign from the other guys viewpoint.

That seems to be the main premise of my request for help finding any Malian and Thed myths that everyone seems to keep missing. This isn't YOUR Glorantha campaign so woulda, coulda, shoulda, doesn't matter one whit. I didn't ask CAN I run a campaign like this, I only asked, "Is there any good mythology out there and can anyone suggest it or point me to it please?"

I don't know why it keeps getting drug into this kind of debate. Can I prove it is a nonsensical question. All I'm trying to do is explain my rationale for the campaign, what the theme is and so how the story is built so that people understand the reasons I seek the kind of info I do.

> > Why should the
> > old way go to the wayside and be replaced? Because it is found
> > wanting. What was wanting in the old way? Well, from Theds
> > perspective, the Storm Gods were injust, that's one thing.
> >
> > So she wants to destroy the world and in so doing, is the
> > for its transformation. THAT'S her place in the world.
> >
> > But to HAVE that place requires a means, a dues ex machina if you
> > will, of obtaining the power to do so.
> I think that therein lies our disagreement on this.

Well, then don't play with my group. You have your Glorantha I do believe. But this isn't helping me to find what I was looking for.  

> > In all the myths of
> > Glorantha, each culture has the requisites of attaining the
> > they want through their myths.
> Correction: In the few selected myths that have been published,
each culture
> has the requisites to survive, thanks to the powers they can still
> through their spiritual practices.
> > The world WILL end, it says so right in the timeline.
> ?
> > The fact that it gets reborn, well, that's part
> > of the grander scheme of things. And that grander scheme, so
> > has a place for Thed and Mallia.
> Yes, it does have a place for them, absolutely, because their
> helped to make it what it is. They cannot be erased or completely
wiped out
> of creation because they have already been created.
> > (That it won't have a place for them OR for Orlanth, Yelm, etc.
> > the next age is also a part of the story, but that's sidetracking
> > this issue.)
> An issue worth exploring, frankly. An assumption that is founded
on… what?
> But please start
> > By the same token, the heroes have their deux ex machina(s) such
> > the Lightbringers Quest, etc. And all of these are based around
> > heroquesting.
> Well, technically they are not. Neither Heort nor the Lightbringers
> heroquested. They performed original activities that created the
> Afterwards, humans who wish to access the powers used in these
> actions (Arkat, Harmast) discovered/developed Heroquesting to do

But this is essential to the plot. The God Learner in my story is the missing element for why no Chaoticist has brought about the end of the world before now. As one poster here pointed out, the Chaotics don't keep that kind of information of what their Gods did during the previous age. But a God Learner who had explored the God Plane thoroughly would know things that even the broos had forgotten. And this knowledge, instead of just "power gaming" with it like the ancient God Learners did, can be used by him to do several things:

  1. Send his chosen ones, his "hero band" of Theddites and Malians, on appropriate HQ's in order to get them powers to be able to complete his ultimate plan.
  2. Use his knowledge to intersect his Create Wakboth Quest into Argrath's Lightbringer Quest at the point where the Lightbringers must face failure before they get to Yelm - I got that the LQer's have a "face failure" station from I think it was Durnhams LBQ or maybe someone else's, sorry, I forget.
  3. Any other useful things I can think of along the way.

None of which involve screwing up the Hero Plane. So none of which would create a backlash.

> > But the heroes don't cause the end of the world.
> > Being as it's heroquest based, however, the people who DO bring
> > about its end must have HQ's of their own. It's how things work
> > this age. They aren't simply written up with the stats to
> > these things and there they are presto! It's inferred that they
> > built themselves to that level of power and did so by being
> > to their cults. So the means must be there.
> There are a couple of significant errors in that paragraph:
> The end of the world is not heroquest based.

Maybe not in YOUR Glorantha, but the catalyst for causing the end of the world, the return of Sheng Seleris, was in mine.

> The entities (not really people, which I usually use to designate
> beings) who DO bring about its end never even had the chance to
> an activity unknown to them because the conditions didn't exist
(i.e. there
> was nothing to imitate/perform).

They brought about the end of THEIR age. This is a new one. Its end is initiated differently.

> > Anyways, some of the things I've found are stuff like the "Era of
> > Healing" when epidemics were rampant in the Lunar Empire and
> > weakened it prior to the incursion of Sheng Seleris. Bit much of
> > coincidence that, so that's an example of Mallian(s) working
> > a concerted goal.
> Mallians didn't bring the plagues. They were sent. Same as with
> time.
> > No doubt they could have reenacted a "Mallia paves
> > the way for Wakboth" heroquest complete with Mallian germ warfare
> > myths of how they spread disease amongst [name your cult] before
> > Chaos struck.
> Agreed that such could be possible, although Mallia didn't really
pave the
> way for Wakboth. Mallia was just interested in weakening everyone,
> them the way she felt damaged, spreading her form of existence.

I meant Pave the Way for his attack on {name your target}. Not pave the way for his coming into being. ie, hit the town with plague before the invaders strike so that the defenders are weak. Malia would have done the same prior to attacks by Wakboth so those things could be HQ'd allowing the Malian priest to weaken the cities, armies, whatevers defenses prior to an attack by broos, chaos creatures, Sheng Seleris, whatever.

> > Now, if I can tie that in with other myths that
> > discuss being set upon by plague I can start to construct a map
> > Mallia's place in the God Plane.
> Underworld. Or perhaps you mean Gods War—the setting for most
> > Then I can begin creating a set of
> > HQ for the players to take to gain the powers necessary to
> > their ultimate goal of bringing about the end of the world.
> OK, what you describe here is what HUMANS might do (evil humans,
since they
> are planning to hurt, harm, spread suffering, and know what they
are doing).

Yes, like the God Learner who's the mastermind of this little enterprise.

> In other worlds, what you are describing here is what a hero cult
could do,
> after Time began, by studying what has occurred.

You're getting there...
> But in the Gods War, the forces of Mallia were not organized this
way. For
> one really, really important thing, they weren't human.

So? What did they DO is all that's important to the God Learner. And what things that they did, that worked for them, could HE have HIS Malians and Theddites do to get them more powerful. Not the broos race, not any community, simply his hero band and/or those groups or communities he needs to succeed at whatever he has put them to?

> > Mallia was born a spirit of healing, right?
> Can you cite me a source for this? I don't think it's in my
material. CoT
> says she "grew from the Darkness."

Yes, it's right here:

"Malia was born a child of the Darkness, a spirit of healing with great properties to aid growth and birth"

> > So that is remembered
> > somewhere and if so, probably how she changed would have an
> > associated myth around it. A storyline here could be built into
> > a character became a Mallian. Anyone know the story behind that?
> Rather than trying to insert this as a cosmic myth, I'd suggest
you treat
> this as the story of a hero who did this. Or a chain of them, one
> discovering that if he shat in his brother's food his brother
always got
> sick, or whatever; the next one polluting an entire lake, etc.

Except that THAT isn't a very interesting story line. What if, instead, Malia was originally misunderstood? What if she was a healing spirit who tried to save someone from disease and only partially succeeded by granting them immunity? And then the carrier spread the disease to others that wouldn't have died had Malia not given him immunity. Then Malia tries to perfect her cure but that fails and things get worse? Then the rest of the world turns on her. She becomes an outsider.

It's just one possible take on this. It doesn't have to be that way. But just for this discussion, let's say I go that way with it. Now I go back and say, Okay, I'm this evil frakking God Learner and I want to take this good intentioned soul I just met and turn her into a Malian. Could I cause this person, possibly a Chalana Arroy, to fall into this trap and become Malian? How could I manipulate things so that they go my way? In the end I have this corrupted Chalana Arroy who's become a Malian and doesnt' even realize I'm to blame.

Starts to sound like a Practice Quest for becoming an initiate of Malia. Could be a HQ that even seals the deal for full priesthood. That's just a possibility. Or I could come up with something else to explain how a healing spirit became the Lord of Disease.

Lots of roleplaying opportunities in THAT one either way. Plus it could get really good later on of the Malian finds out she was tricked.    

> > The whole healing thing could be played upon from the angle that
> > a Mallian accepts a disease, they become immune to it (except the
> > Plague IIRC) and thus if EVERYONE became Mallians, there'd be
> > no disease! CURED! Like smallpox vaccinations for everyone.
> > Though I don't know how I'd use that in a campaign. Seems like
> > Nysalorians already tried that idea LOL.
> Very amusing. It could be the philosophy of the hero cult. That's
the kind
> of rationale that a human would make.

Or a God like Malia before she was ever tainted by Chaos.

> > Another thing I stumbled upon suggests Mallia was Subhere's
> > at the gate and that is how Ragnaglar got access. Is that
> > considered bunk or not? Doesn't seem likely that the guardian of
> > such an important thing could be a spirit of healing. But maybe
> > there's some symbology there I'm missing, or maybe both things
> > read are bunk and she was neither.
> OK, now if you are making it a Hero Cult, all you need to say is
> "Pooman lay in the throes of his [initiatory] illness and hurtled
> the jumbled realms towards death. He stood upon the gate of
deepest darkness
> and he witnessed the nauseas copulation of Ragnaglar and Mallia,
> diverted his hurtling path to join in that sickness. He became one
> filth, a progenitor of disease. His immortal part became a
spreader of
> disease."
> Such would tend to have local importance or power, but not much
more. To
> everyone else he's just another disease demon.

I'm sorry, I wasn't very clear again. I meant when Ragnaglar went to the secret door and found the source of chaos. I stumbled upon a story that said that Malia was Subhere's Guardian at that door. I couldn't make sense of how a healing spirit would make a good guardian.

Now that I think more upon it, however, perhaps it would make sense if she'd already been outcast for having accidentally started diseases (or perhaps only The Plague) and so Subhere chose her to guard the secret entrance because anyone who saw her would want to stay away from her and not even realize she was guarding anything. She was outcast by this time. And so Ragnaglar comes and finds her there lonely and alone and she's easy prey for his whiles and he gets past her.

I didn't have to flesh that part out in the original campaign, only be aware that at one point, the God Learner could reach the Fountain of Chaos deep in the underworld.
> > Anyways, if anyone has any other stories about either Thed or
> > I'd be interested in hearing them. Thanks.
> Myself, I find no pleasure or entertainment in developing evil
cults, etc.
> Yes, they are possible, and likely exist, but they are villains
for me. I'm
> not saying don't explore this if you wish! But if I ever exercised
> approval rights over published material, it would be over the
> of evil, disgusting or sick stuff. (Please start a new thread if
you want to
> take me to task for this attitude.)

Not a problem. I wasn't thinking of asking for approval to publish adventures about being the bad guys. It's just a campaign for my group. However, the God Learner and what he wants to do makes for an excellent villain and if you're ever interested in hearing my ideas on using him in a campaign, I'd be happy to start another thread on the idea. IMO, villains should be very fleshed out, not just cardboard bad guys. Something they drill into you in professional writing courses. I think you'd like this bad guy.
> --
> Greg Stafford
> Game Designer
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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