Re: Changed magic in 2nd and 3rd Age

From: julianlord <julian.lord_at_MBXOxrkX3Of5VZCMMiY4bN_id72P4PU497bChAo0qzh21EUX3QL2kvo4RsIsmJ49>
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 07:43:28 -0000

OK, rather than addressing each post point by point for some responses I want to make, I'll just pick on this one as its contents seems closest to some points I would like to elaborate on, spanner-in-the-works-wise.

At Tentacles this year, I had a short one-on-one with Greg about these issues, that I wasn't at the time sure would be immediately productive in any way whatsoever, but there ya go.

LC :

> Todd Gardiner wrote:
> >Actually, no one here has discussed spirit magic.
> I noticed that, and have been hoping to poke some answers there, too.
> >As I read it, the trend is that spells need to have an active connection
> >"proven" to the node(s) that power and direct them, which is (at least
> >initially) done through a heroquest. Probably done by the initial Saint.
> This seems to be the building consensus. Exactly whether that's done
> once, many times, or what is a little unclear.
> And the difference between Saints/orderly stuff and Founder/Sorcery
> remains a bit unclear to me as well.
> If the approach is "founder goes over, establishes the links and the
> rules" then it settles out nicely in that the types of rules and
> connection needed are different, which explains how they diverge.
> Where "veneration" gets in here is a little vague.

I actually talked to Greg at Tentacles in general terms about how the various classical mainstream approaches/theories of God in (real life) Western Philosophy would or would not be mirrored in Malkioni philosophical and magical theories and practices (discussion) --- in relation to the N Worlds model and especially in relation to the dualistic model that has been presented as the general method to do magic in Glorantha, ie open a link with whichever otherworld and the exchange of energies powers up the magic (context).

Briefly, some of these various classical mainstream approaches/theories of God would a priori seem to be at odds with Malkionism as it has been detailed so far ; Malkionism as published can more or less be loosely defined as being dominantly Aristotelian, in that the truth of things and of God in Malkionism has been presented predominantly from the materialist point of view ; that individual worshippers/magicians perform individual acts of faith or magic in relation to a Saint Plane and Saints and a God that are all presented with more or less materialistic features (such as their individuality, and the detail of the magical procedures, etc).

So, I basically asked Greg (and this is all terribly paraphrased btw, and given from _my own_ necessarily partial point of view) whether certain Real World philosophies of God that are a priori completely at odds with this model, and with the N Worlds model as it has been presented here and elsewhere, would or would not potentially be possible in Gloranthan monotheism/wizardry/sorcery.

Would a philosophy more like the Idealism of neo-platonism in general and of Islam in particular, where God and the Saint Plane might be an Ideal Reality and Inner World beings and objects would simply be imperfect copies of their Ideal equivalents (so that the magicians' and the believers' central tasks would be to rid themselves of their imperfections and seek to resemble the Ideal Man) be relevant in Glorantha ?

Would a philosophy of God where God (or the divine spark, or whatever) is present in All Things including all Inner World things, so that God and his Magic would then be directly accessible in this world be relevant in Glorantha ?

And fundamentally, would the N Worlds model of magical exchange and methods be a limiting factor to the kinds of philosophies that would be possible and/or existing (at present or historically) and/or _practical_ magically ? Or not ?

I even asked if the model of reality and truth that has been developed by modern linguistics (and which turns much of classical western philosophical debate on its head), of a *ternary* not *binary* model of truth where the methods and formalism of thought and speech (the Signifier in general linguistic theory) are held distinct both from the physical realities *and* from the world of ideas (and therefore from a Gloranthan point of view as distinct both from the Inner World *and* from the Otherworld(s) ) could possibly be a Gloranthan (Western) philosophical system as well, notwithstanding it being implicitly at odds with the massively binary systems that have been presented in his Gloranthan writings over the last few decades.

His answer (as I understood it) was generally that ALL of these were potentially valid Malkioni systems of philosophy, which I hold to mean implicitly that these are ALL potentially valid magical methods of Sorcery in Glorantha -- and this would also apply to philosophical systems that we did not discuss, such as dialectic materialism, deism, various medieval and modern heretical systems, etc...

Logically anyway, this would imply that the methods of magic that are used by Wizards and Sorcerors and their ilk are **strongly** linked with the _belief/philosophical systems_ that they hold to instead of these systems being predetermined by any a priori structural realities in Glorantha and of the relationship between the God/Saint world and the Inner World --- in fact, the proposal that the God/Saint world might necessarily be distinct and apart from the Inner World would only be held true in SOME but NOT ALL conceivable sects of Malkionism.

Sorcery being something that people **know**, it is then logical that its methods, philosophies, and realities are usually determined a posteriori from the semantic/semiotic/structural contents of the (various) Malkioni cultural systems instead of being determined a priori by any given **gaming** description(s) of the relationship between the Inner World and the Saint Plane(s) and their inhabitants.

Therefore, and from this Malkioni/Western point of view, the proposal that magicians reproduce magic that has been created before, and that new magic requires heroquesting, can certainly be seen as true in some cases, but not in all, depending on the cultural content(s) and attitude(s) of any individual sects and magicians -- and the topic is far more complex than as has been represented so far I believe, because even the position of the goal posts would vary according to whichever malkioni perspective one might be using/examining/discussing.

In a nutshell then, Greg's answers to me would appear to suggest (to me, anyway) that the N Worlds model is more as a tool for **us** as gamers/writers/whatever to understand (or not) and **use** the general interrelationship between the radically different systems of Wizardry, Spirits, and Theism rather than as something hard and grossly factual to cling to in all cases, and as a tool to let us get on with our gaming especially, without any surplus, unnecessary, and counterproductive headache-inducement from the publications, or from these and other discussions and anthropowankery and whatnot.

Regarding shifts and changes in magic from one Age to the next then, these would simply be implicit and natural results from the shifts and changes in the philosophical systems.

But frankly, looking at Glorantha quo Glorantha, the magics of the various sects of Malkionism should quite logically be different between themselves at any given point in time as well as at different points in time, so that the magic of the Castle Coast should from a Gloranthan perspective appear to be quite different in method, scope, effects, and philosophy than that of the mainstream Church in Sog City for example.

But would you REALLY want to have multiple game systems for wizardry/sorcery in your actual games ? Would your players thank you if you did ?

I think not ... :D

(with the caveat that it is desirable to show that the God Learners had their own brand of magic, different to non-GL sorcery, as described in MRQ and its supplements -- and I suppose that other spot exceptions might be desirable to the general rule that in people's games sorcery should always work the same way despite any philosophical anthropowankery one might discover here or elsewhere)


Now what you do with the contents of this post is up to you, but in my opinion any attempts to nail this stuff down once and for all are doomed to failure.

Julian Lord            

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