Re: sandy's amazing heroes

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Thu 04 May 1995 - 01:34:35 EEST

Errinoru: was he a hero? Was he a superhero?

        Well, in the first place, I think there's little doubt that he's a hero in the classic sense, star and all. He even had an important cult for many centuries after his apotheosis. I don't think he was a (narrowly-defined Gloranthan) superhero, though. Note that he didn't seem to do much fighting during his time on Earth, like that other famed Pamaltelan hero, Elamle. At least Errinoru may have fought when he was in Hell, but Elamle apparently never raised a weapon in anger, and is considered a holy person of the Chalana Arroy sect.

> 1) A hero is a mortal who has had his star appear in the sky.
> (Admittedly it may appear only in the Underworld sky, as a troll or
> dwarf hero.)

>This is closer to superhero, IMO. Consider: Sheng, Arkat, Errinoru

        Superheroes get stars, too. But we know of a certainty that heroes receive such stars. Ethilrist (no superhero, he) hoped for his star before his harrying of Hell, so he knew that it was at least possible to have attained it as a mere hero (presumably if he was a superhero, he'd _know_ it, via his mastery of all mana flux nearby).

> By these definitions, many of the beings in DP (for instance)
> do not qualify as heroes -- like the Inhuman King, or Androgeus.

>I disagree. The Inhuman King is yet another candidate for
>superhero-like abilities, but he is a dragon in other guise. One
>could optionally class him as a true dragon, which means much the
>same. Androgeus is a mystery, as intended.

        What, exactly, are you disagreeing with, Joerg? I was saying, as you seem to be, that the Inhuman King and Androgeus are _not_ heroes or superheroes, but some other type of entity. Ditto for the dragons, Crimson Bat, and other monsters.

        Each known superhero of Glorantha seems to have been tied to a specific Rune and no, I'm not talking about the Infinity Rune (though they get that one, too).

	Jar-Eel = Harmony
	Harrek = Death
	Hon-Eel = Fertility
	Sheng Seleris = Magic
	Arkat = Chaos

If Errinoru was a superhero, his Rune was clearly Plant, and Tada's Rune was probably Earth. If Garangordos made it, his Rune was Man. I think this is interesting and worth exploring further, but I shan't do it now.

>Did Harrek complete the circumnavigation, or did he stay in
Laskal? >He jumped hero-state when he skinned the White Bear, and became >superhero at once.

        You're mad. He wasn't even a hero after skinning the White Bear, which is one of the first things he ever did. He became a hero as king of the Wolf Pirates, and became a superhero after traveling through Hell and setting up his kingdom in Laskal.

>So what sex is the bat? Does it matter? Might there someday be
>little batlets?

	Answering your questions in order: "It". "Only to another  
Bat." 	"According to various old publications, there already are."

Jim Chapin:
>Sandy's list of cultures was certainly strange, unless it was
>intended as a goof.

>18th and 19th century Great Britain was one of the most rapidly
>changing cultures in history: almost by definition, THE most
rapidly >changing culture in history until our own century. Japan in the >17th century was undergoing rapid change (unlike say, 18th century >Japan) as was France.

        You failed to see my point, which was that early modern Britain, Japan before Tokugawa, and Louis XIV France all perceived _themselves_ as being static and unchanging, as having _always_ been much like they were at that moment. I've read works of fiction written in all three cultures, and it's quite clear that the authors (and presumably their readers) had no idea how much their mores and morals had changed from only a generation before, and clearly thought that the way things were _then_ would be how things would continue in the future. At least until the late 19th century in England, when there is a clear perception that the future will be one of Dark Satanic Mills. Also all these groups had a rigid class structure. Dara Happa has undergone at least as huge changes culturally as anything Britain went through, but was accused of being staid and boring.

>Dune was changing so rapidly as to be about to explode and conquer
>the galaxy.

        Dune was, but not the cosmic aristocratic culture that it was about to destroy.

>Arthur's Britain (the real or the imaginary) was undergoing rapid

        Malory makes it clear that things have only changed slightly, and for the worse, since Arthur's time. Of course Malory was wrong wrong wrong, especially when you consider that he was writing during England's Wars of the Roses.

>Am I correct in guessing that what Sandy is getting at is that
>formalized rules for cultures makes adventuring more fun than the
>Conan's Empire, 5th-century barabarian invasions syndrome where
>Anything goes?

        Well, at least I was trying to say that formalized rules for cultures (a) don't mean the culture has to be the teensiest bit stable and (b) don't mean it can't be fun to play in. While I have no objection to playing in more barbaric areas, restrictive rules can be keen, too.

>Jim Chapin seems to have missed the point. Like poor old Dara
Happa, >the cultures on Sandy's list are generally *considered* dull and >boring and monolithic and unchanging and patriarchal and hereditary >and hierarchical. This does *not* mean they have no dynamic >potential, or are not undergoing rapid change, or are bad places to >set interesting and exciting stories.

        Consider: take a time machine and visit central Peloria every 400 years:

	 1 S.T. -- Mongol-like horsemen rule the land.
	500 S.T. -- everything is sweetness and light under  
Nysalor's Bright Empire.
	1000 S.T. -- Dragon magic fills the air as we are one with  
the EWF.
	1500 S.T. -- the Lunar Empire
	And by visiting only every 500 years, we miss out on lots  
of exciting stuff, like the Carmanian invasion, Sheng Seleris's rise, the wars between Dara Happa and the First Council, and so forth.
	Now let's visit Heortland every 500 years:
	1 S.T. -- Orlanthi tribal culture
	500 S.T. -- Orlanthi tribal culture
	1000 S.T. -- Orlanthi tribal culture
	1500 S.T. -- Orlanthi tribal culture
	Of course, they have a series of different absentee kings  
(the Only Old One, the Pharaoh, Lokaymadon, etc.), but nothing really changed, not even the language.

> The only major human cultures that don't worship a female Earth
are >the monotheist West, and I'm surprised they don't have a female
>Saint with Earth connections.

        Oh yeah? How about the East Isles, bub. [stops for thought] Oops. Forgot about Vitha and Theya, the two most important gods in their religion. Ah well.

        As for the monotheist West, howzabout Xemela? She's a healing saint (the main one), and is female as they come. Also the the Brithini at one time were believed to have all their females belong to a single caste (can't recall her name), and she was thought to be rather earth-like. Nick?

Rich Staats
>The Trolls were cursed twice. The first time when Yelm went
>calling. Mistress --> Dark Then, it happened again with the Curse
>of Kin. Dark --> Trollkin
>Speculate, what would it take to reverse either or both of these

        Technically, the Yelm Curse _has_ been reversed. This happened at the time of the Great Compromise, when the trolls balked at agreeing to let Yelm come back to the surface, feeling they'd won the war vs. light. At that time, a spider whispered in Kyger L's ear, and she agreed to the Compromise. One story is that she agreed because Boztakang would be returned to her in the Underworld. I.e., all trolls are Mistress in Hell, so the curse is cured once we're home where we belong. (Another good reason for humans to _not_ want to go to Hell.)

        Now, the Curse of Kin is a different matter. To reverse this curse has been tried twice, so we know two techniques that _don't_ work, though they each led to interesting results.

        Finally, the trolls have been cursed more than twice, just not the Dark Trolls. The Shadow Trolls (aka hot trolls) of Pamaltela regard their current state as a big letdown from their previous status. They believe that they were cursed when Moorgarki was crippled by Pamalt. They have been seeking ways to lift their curse and regain their former might. In fact, in my campaign, a magical attempt by the Shadow Trolls to lift their curse became an important theme that had ramifications for years afterwards. Later I'll probably tell about their attempt in this digest, but not today. Short on time.

End of Glorantha Digest V1 #264

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