Arkat =/= Chaos, Chaos and the Compromise.

From: mr happy (ajbehan@alf2.tcd.ie)
Date: Thu 11 May 1995 - 15:37:10 EEST


 

 Here's a suggestion as to why the rabidly anti-chaotic Arkat is the chaos superhero (quite apart from the fact that joining half a dozen cults puts him firmly on the dark side...)

 In Tales #12 John Hughes said that chaotics don't have heroquests because chaos is anti-myth. Without myths you do n't have heroquesats.If you've got no heroquests how can youy have heroes? Without chaos heroes
(and there are no hero cults in Cults of Terror) the chaos superhero would have to be an anti-chaotic whose
existence was defined by what he opposed - Arkat.

 I think this idea has a few ramifications so sorry if I go off on a tangent. For a start how do you explain Ralzakark, a chaos hero? Ralzakark maybe a broo but as an illuminate he has spells from Humakt (Parry) and Chalana Arroy (Cure Chaos Wound) for example. I think that he got his heropowers on orthodox Theyalan heroquests.

 It is well established that when someone does a heroquest they alter the myth just a little even when they try hard to maintain the status-quo. Bearing this in mind the prospect of a gang of illuminated broo doing YOUR cults secret quests should be just a little bit frightining.  

 There is a difference between chaotics doing a heroquest and a chaos heroquest. I would suggest that the latter just does n't exist. A heroquest is a way of using your will to change reality which respects the Great Compromise. Chaos gods do n't pay any attention to the Compromise, unless they are forced to. Look at Cacodemon and the Crimson Bat, they are both more than happy to manifest in the Inner World.  

 From TotRM #7 and Steve Maurers heroquest rules I gather that you can change reality by the force of your will on the heroplane/god plane if you are attuned closely enough to the appropriate rune, either directly
(or by proxy through your god.) Maurer suggested that this was possible
but difficult (i.e. -100% die mod) in the Middle World. I would suggest that reality is just as flexible on the Mundane Plane as on the Outer Planes and that a character can alter reality by force of will alone there to.  

 Unfortunately there is a big difference between something out of kilter with reality happening in a "Once Upon a Time" heroquest and the same occurence happening in the real world. In the Mundane Plane an Orlanthi who willed his opponent to burst into flames would be breaking the Compromise and letting chaos into Glorantha; literally. A small infringement of the Compromise might plague the character with boggles, a significant tear in the fabric of reality (like that above) might cause a gorp to pour out of thin air and a major wound to reality might result in something like Arkat (or the Hero Wars.) IMHO willing a change in Mundane Reality is the fundemental chaotic act, the next time the hypothetical incendiary Orlanthi went into town he'd be waylaid by a dozen frothing Storm Bulls.

 For chaotics I would imagine tearing a hole in the Compromise/reality is considered an act of great piety, there are few more dramatic ways to break the laws in Glorantha. It would act as a substitute for heroquesting as a way to get serious magic and explain both why chaos has no myths and where gorp comes from.

 I'm not suggesting that this be a viable substitute for heroquesting. Rather, I would suspect that it is extremely dangerous and only really on for deranged fanatics. I doubt that many Gloranthans even realize that this is possible. Illuminates probably do and powerful heroquesters probably realize sooner or later. On the other hand I think it gives chaos an immediacy it presently lacks (sharpening this is of what the Compromise means) and makes it a serious temptation for the brave and stupid.

 This does n't explain where chaotic foes/frontmen on heroquests come from. This is a problem with John Hughes original assertion however. There are three possiblities 1) they are n't really chaotic (Five Foes Tales #2), 2) they are captives provide by the cult of the heroquerter (a bit like the situation the Yelmalians putr Biturian Varosh in) or 3) they are demons rather than heroes (like the Crimson Bat.)  

 I think there are precedents for the idea of herquest substitutes. Apart from Dragons Paul Jacquay did an article on avatars in DRAGON a few years back. Did n't the Digest come to the conclusion that Dara Happans used avatars instead heroes so as to avoid causing any change to the Outer Planes? Incarnation is at the other end of the spectrum to chaos magic with heroquesting somewhere in between.

 Needless to say this is all very definitely IMHO and criticism, insults and general rudeness are welcomed.
- ----------
Andrew Behan
e-mail: ajbehan@alf2.tcd.ie



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