Re: Ghouls

From: Greg Stafford <glorantha1_at_NTVPfvvI4hsvPz_INyBZoxsX8LaST4AKPYB1kdJ6oeVzcRwC89C0MtPPso92gSjto>
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2009 07:54:20 -0700

YGWV This has brought up a point that I'd never considered, or rather, bothered with:
ghouls being undead.
IMG, they are not.

On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 9:47 PM, valkoharja <> wrote:

> wrote:
> >
> > for a creature like this the issue at hand is not aout their overall,
> > general characteristics.
> > There isn't any ghoul kingdom etc; just pockets of strange, warped beings
> > over there, etc.
> > each group is local, different.
> > have their own name, etc.
> Thanks.

You are welcome. I've not thought directly about these things, and it's fun.

> Ghouls remind me of vampieres, in the way of an imperfect analogue. I
> suppose they are a symptom of chaos on Glorantha. In theory hunger (and
> undead) could also be linked to darkness/hell.

Myself, I don't have a clue where the undead connection came from. Most ghouls I am familiar with in any context are NOT undead. They just eat the dead. I do no beleive that in Glorantha eating the dead makes one into an undead. They are alive.

> People breaking the taboos of Heortling society (murder of relatives,
> incest...) tend to cause chaos.

 Not just Heortling, but any society

Is the cannibalism taboo a more universal one, that causes (chaotic)
> breakdown of the border between dead and alive.

Oh no.
First, all the nonhuman eat their own.
ALSO NOTE that the cannibalism here is not ritual cannibalism to obtain a result (magical/evil, or ancestral) --the cannibal cult is one tiny (nonspecific) example of people who eat the dead ritually. These ghouls have to be doing it because they like it, prefer it, etc. I am not sure of what this difference of intention, habit or method that mutates them. It doesn't change the relationship of dead and alive. And as I said, I can't conceive of why or how cannibalism would turn one undead. So, IMG, it is not.

> I'm still curious whether a magician could seek to become a ghoul as a way
> to avoid natural death.

No. IMG, cannibalism does NOT result in immortality.

> As long as you have access to flesh, you can "live" on, I suspect. How much
> is it still you? Do you become a mindless zombie?

Greg Stafford
Game Designer

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