Re: Are Runes Foundational?

From: David Scott <sciencefish_at_ePIBVW4WgcIxfOwWZsFZzJEWAu2SFHYLxH-ZE_Fqgs6RkM1d4y6aEjR9fnpb-cxp>
Date: Sun, 08 Jan 2012 18:55:00 +0000

On 8 Jan 2012, at 13:49, Benedict Adamson wrote:

> Greg stresses trying to describe Glorantha from a Gloranthan perspective. So, if you were a Gloranthan, how would you determine whether "runes are foundational", and what those runes are?

While I agree with Benedict, that a Gloranthan perspective is important, I also feel that a real world perspective is also important. Sometimes it's difficult to think about things from a Gloranthan perspective, I for one am not a Gloranthan. I live in a different world to them with different values and don't generally have to worry about huge monstrous bats and dragons.

I see the runes as absolutely fundamental to Glorantha. They are its atoms, everything is made of runes and everything is worked by their power. Matter and energy are runes and can change from one to the other. Different mixtures of runes make the different things in the world. There's no real world chemistry or physics here, the runes just work like that. If one rune predominates in a mixture then it's the most important, Things are exactly as Gloranthans see them. The ground is made of the Earth rune, etc. Effects in our world happen in Glorantha and are connected to runes, we may not understand them, but they still happen.

At the core of the runes is the idea that they devolved from a single greater source and that they continued to devolve, separating themselves into the Gloranthan runes we know today. These subsequently mixed and made new things, Gods, Powers and Spirits, and they mixed smaller and smaller parts of runes together eventually making everything in the world. The stories of the separation and mixing of the parts are the myths of Glorantha. If you repeat the stories in a similar way, you can control the runes.

Some runes can be broken down further to make sort of sub-runes like fire being Light and Heat, others can combine to make new less powerful runes like the communication rune and the single rune of a god.

Humans are made up of every single rune, just as in our world we have at least one atom of every natural element. Some predominate and allow certain things to work better. The Spirit rune lets everyone use charms and the Law rune spells, but not every one has them strong enough to do spirit magic or wizardry. In some cultures, some runes will naturally predominate. Magic can be made up of single runes or be a mixture. Luckily HeroQuest chooses to focus on the dominant runes of a character and the runes linked to certain types of magic.

In Gloranthan everyone knows they are made of runes as is everything else, what else are they made of! Everyone has heard their creation myth. But just as on Earth people won't speak in those terms. We say pass the salt not pass the sodium chloride, Gloranthans will be the same. The way the actual runes will be described will dependant which one of the four major cultures you are part of. Just like Earth, different cultures have different ideas as to how many parts their soul is made of and different ideas on their connections to the runes. We have the Orlanthi ideas in the Book of Heortling Mythology (5), the Dara Happans in the Glorious ReAscent of Yelm (6), The Lunars in the upcoming Pavis book (7) and I suspect the West will be similar to Greek philosophical ideas (3) and I've no idea about Kralorelans.


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