Re: Ghouls

From: Richard Hayes <richard_hayes29_at_XESsbuSW2zgRk8IsbGuEhFP-XAr1fsBfoo8NzoIXxKf_HyLIAZcfiZFVsaY4>
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2009 15:15:19 +0000 (GMT)

Metaphysically (rather than in terms of a game mechanic, like magic to detect undead), is there a way of defining,on a yes/no basis, whether something in Glorantha is undead?  
In terms of RQ mechanics I saw this in terms of being able to regenerate magic points/POW automatically over time, but this may just have been my Glorantha varying (and it probably has no obvious or useful equivalent in HQ anyway). Though I quite like  it because it is a way of saying that undead are unnatural, horrific (and ni some cases potentially tragic too?) because they are cut off from the cycle of life  
On the subject of ghouls, the old Vivamort cult used to have rune magic allowing for limited control over ghouls. Is there any mythic link between the two "species", or is this just a handy sorcerous trick that Vivamort cultisits can do? Indeed is this power some vampires have over ghouls still part of the canon anyway?  
Secondly, do ghouls have religious beliefs? If so, what are they like? Is there a god of ghouls? Would these beliefs be anything like the ghoul religions in  Delta Green/Call of Cthulhu, for example?  
Richard Hayes  
--- On Wed, 16/9/09, Greg Stafford <> wrote:

From: Greg Stafford <> Subject: Re: Ghouls
Date: Wednesday, 16 September, 2009, 3:54 PM

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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