Esoteric Stuff

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Sun 18 Jun 1995 - 13:46:14 EEST

I prefer the recent Sog City Q&A for practical utility, but here goes with a bit of Gloranthan metaphysics:

David D. writes:

> Greg said something about "prophecy works because history repeats."

Here's the relevant chunk from a Lore Auction transcript I was browsing through the other day. I'd like to take this opportunity to praise beyond all measure the wonderful work done by Peter Michaels, Martin Crim, Camo, David Cheng, and all the other dedicated people who produce these transcripts (and to ask when the next Con books are coming out, if anyone knows). Anyway, over to Greg:

Q: Given the Great Compromise, and that the gods are bound by time, what validity does prophecy have or are the gods just bullshitting? Just making it up and saying what they think ought to happen?

  1. The gods don't prophesy, the prophets are humans. Here's why in ancient times all the poets were prophets. It's that the secret is to recognize patterns and repetitions. If you can recognize the patterns and repetitions that are going on, then you can prophesy. That's why all druids were prophets. You can prophecy that the spring will come, that the sun will rise again. Simple crap. But when you get very complex and there's a hundred variables, you have to know the hundred stories to be able to correctly prophesy. People in Glorantha attempt to do that, but many times the mythical structure is looser, more loose. And so they're not as accurate. But there's still some flexibility and I think some prophets are correct. But I also think that there's a lot, lot more of this that goes on in Glorantha. One of the reasons we ignored that in RuneQuest was because it's an impossible game mechanic. Who wants to go out and go talk to your god and find out what your adventure's going to do? And that's really part of the reason why we did that. But I think there are people all over the place telling people what's going to happen. And they're usually about as accurate as they are here. Except for the large mythological events, of course.

I posted something similar re: Lhankor Mhy "prophetic" geasa in East Ralios in reply to David Dunham many moons ago: the trick is that knowing what's happened before helps you prepare for what will happen next. Repetition makes things happen more easily -- this is one of the lessons of HeroQuesting. So if my dad was killed by wolves, I should be geased to avoid them, or kill them; a prophet could warn me about them, or threaten me with them; and, in Glorantha, the fear or warning or knowledge might in and of itself make an attack by wolves more likely. (Mind you, if I'm geased to fight wolves, I am ipso facto more likely to be killed by them, reinforcing the historic pattern and making people respect the Lhankor Mhy geas-layers even more!). You're sort of drawing Telmor's attention to the fact that he's already noticed you, in a sense, by defending against his attention. Head-twisting stuff, but it seems to work.

This is NOT to say I believe the crackpot notion that people who fight chaos are only making it stronger, while those who walk around with signs on their backs saying "Kick Me Please" never get kicked. That's so counter-intuitive only a philosopher could countenance it! Glorantha has a reality which is impinged upon by belief, but ignoring the underlying reality in the hope it'll go away would be a very foolish thing to do.

Scott asks:

> What gods/goddesses/whatever are most closely tied to
> dreams and dreaming?

IMHO, Harrek the Berserk is the most prominent dreamer these days (though not even he knows it: cf. earlier Digests). Dreaming is probably a common form of Divination; HeroQuesting is like dreaming and vice versa, so probably most gods have some kinda connection with it. I had some dream-related thoughts about Argin Terror, the Nightmare Sorcerer a couple of years ago, and may dig these out (it all comes from reading too much Robert Graves).

Xentha might be connected somehow, as Goddess of Night. At least, when she's worshipped by humans. Trolls wouldn't make the link.

King Siglat of Loskalm had a dream, and gave it to all his people: Hrestoli Idealism is centred on the Loskalmi Dream, in which anyone, be he never so humble, can rise to the top.


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