Runes Galore!

From: Peter Metcalfe (
Date: Mon 26 Jun 1995 - 02:28:59 EEST

David Cake:

>...while the Dara Happans have far more
>intellectual problems with the idea of a god of life and death - which is
>why they approach the concept more mystically.

Why should the Dara Happans have problems with a god of life and death? They are hung up about Yelm's death and ressurection but see it as Yelm losing his connection with the One and becoming part of the Many so the Many (that's us, folks) can become part of the One etc.

>culturally determined in the same way'.
>Basically, I think any culture that
>uses the Runes will have also learnt the basic of their interpretation.
>Cultures that use the same Runes will have roughly the same concept of
>opposition. Sure, cultures that use different runes will have different

You have made a cardinal error in assuming that because it looks the same, it must mean the same thing to all people. As a counterpoint, I give you the word 'PEAKTOP'. To most of use versed in the Roman alphabet we would see this as peaktop. The Russians and others worded in the cyrillic alphabet would pronounce it as 'reactor'.

The meaning of the runes is _not_ automatic upon seeing the rune itself. The Russian seeing the consanant 'R' where we see 'P' is a case in point. Even if the Theyalans may use exactly the same runes as the God Learners (which I doubt) does not mean they will automatically see it the same way. We can assume they see it in a similar way (like the Hungry Ghosts Cult sees the man Rune as representing Food for example) but that is not the same thing.

>>Only the die hardest humakti found in Dragon Pass and Carmania are unable
>>to be resurrected, IMO.

> So, uh, the Dragon Pass and Esrolia ones that we generally refer to
>as Orlanthi? Perhaps I should have said Manirians where I said Orlanthi,
>but I didn't realise that this level of nitpicking was going to crop up.

Given that the Ralian Barbarians are considered to be Orlanthi makes the comment of 'nitpicking' rather strong.

>> I don't think the inability to be ressurected is an automatic
>>consequence of worshipping the primal Death Rune. It may be a powerful
>>tool for getting to know Humakt but that doesn't mean it's the only tool.

> And worshippers that do not acknowledge it, are probably less
>connected to the death aspects of Humakt. Makes perfect sense - even
>without the concept of opposed runes, regarding it merely as a degree of
>devotion to Death.

Although broadly true, I would think that one can still attain the same level of mastery with Death Magic without the no resurrection geas but one would have to be more fanatical and or extreme, IMO. Things like Castration, cutting off a tongue, ritual bloodletting, frontal lobotomies etc. come to mind...

>While Life and Death are not always necessarily opposed,
>I think Resurrection (normally considered a Life magic) is always opposed
>to Death (whereas Fertility magic, for example, is Life magic that is not
>necessarily opposed to Death (cf. sacrifice rituals)).

Although I agree that resurrection is the reverse of death (being opposite processes after all), we don't have to invoke the Life/Death Rune Dualism to explain it.

>Yelmites did not originally, and may have not seen the Life and Death
>powers of Yelm (which they may not have acknowledged in that form) as
>opposed. I think that they do now, and they also use the Theyalan Runes
>(though not exclusively).

IMO in Peloria the RQII runes standard form (intepretation optional) are to be found among the Lunarized Southern Barbarians and the Western Reaches. Everybody else uses the Dara Happan form which has 112,000 years of glorious tradition behind it. I'm not sure who sees the Runes of Yelm as given by the GoG.

>>Last Rebel opposes the fiery rune itself and not the fertility rune (which
>>I'm not sure is specifically attached to Yelm).

> The fertility rune may not have been attached to Yelm according to
>GRAY, but I think it sure is now.

No, I don't think so. Why would the Dara Happans uses foreign runes to describe their God? I don't see the Arabs given up their script for the Roman Alphabet because the Quran is written in Arabic. A similar position would hold to the Dara Happans who have been using these runes since Murharzarm's time. And I don't think that the Lunar Empire are particularly God Learner Philiac in this respect.

Wrt for the Carmanians who conquered Dara Happa, they hated the God Learners so I don't think that they carried away the standardized version. They also conquered Pelande 500 years before Dara Happa so there was plenty of time for their teachings to become assimilated by the locals.

Hans van Halteren:

>I have suggested in the past that we look more closely at names. Now there
>are two names which are rather similar: Sheng Seleris and Shang Hsa (mhnbc).
>The second might name well be the Kralorelan version of the first. The
>three main explanations are:

>1) Pure coincidence.

This is my current feeling although I originally thought they were the same guy. Basically Sheng Seleris's birthdate is now known as well as the date of his accession to power as Great Khan. These dates share a close relationship with a couple of other mythological events so disturbing that, IMO, Argrath must rank as one of the most stupid heroquesters ever to walk the earth when he bought Sheng back from Hell. The dates concerned are not the Sunstop in which Shang-Hsa may his name be cursed passed on, nor is it the Connected to the God Learner Doom or the Destruction of the EWF.

But, yes, Sheng has enjoyed the fruits of Kralori hospitality (of the kind reserved for their worst criminals). And the Teshnans (surprisingly) don't like him much either.

David Dunham:

I wrote:

>>So the Dara Happans clearly see the two triangles as opposed runes
>>(rightside up = Order, upside down = Disorder/Irrationality, etc IMO)
>>which is something not recognized by the Malkioni.

David cleary shaken to the core, blurts:

>The fact that both use a triangle is surely a coincidence. How many regular
>three-sided shapes are there?

The Dara Happans also know of the Mastery Rune, the Spirit Rune, the Truth Rune (although what they mean by them is still unknown to me - Spirit is given to Pela and Dayzatar does not have Truth!). These runes are complicated in form and suggest a commanality of origin. Considering that the Harmonious Realm and the Kingdom of Logic both had Solar Governers (Brightface and Ehilm respectively) from the Palace of the Solar Emperor Upon the Spike, I think it is safe to conclude that they do enjoy a common ancestor in runic writing systems and interpretations.

The Brithini when they kicked out Ehilm became anal-retentive about the Runes when the Silence befell them. Their runes underwent considerable modification (and I think the God Learners recognize this) for communication purposes, IMO. The Dara Happans originally used the Runes firstly for Astronomical record keeping and latter for generic records. They could still speak so their runes would have undergone different modification. (I'll ignore the Pamaltelean and the Kralori Runes). So the two runes systems would have diverged in meaning much like the Roman/Cyrillic alphabet parallel I suggested before.

As an example, the Dara Happans treat the Truth Rune 'Y' unusally. Envirinus 'the oldest fire god' has a rune which is composed of the truth rune plus the top part of the Illusion Rune. The only sense I can make from this is that Dara Happa sees the Truth Rune 'Y' as the Torch rather than abstractly representing Truth. The Illusion Rune is bound to be similarly mutated.

>I give Humath the Air rune (and the title North War Wind), but so far I
>haven't given him any air rune spells. Perhaps he should get Lightning from
>his brother Orlanth (or even provide it to Orlanth -- currently I have him
>providing Truesword and Oath; Orlanth gives him Thunderbolt).

In light of Humakts association with the Chill North Wind, you could make Humakts spells rather windy in effect instead of giving him actual air spells. Sever Spirit would become the Chill Wind that strikes through a persons warm clothing into his heart, a Person struck by Truesword would feel the sword as piecing his armour in a similar matter. This saves on reinventing the wheel.

>>Bijiif is the
>>odd god out being 'important only internally to the Yelmic Religion'?

>Sure, just like She Who Waits doesn't really get worship from the Lunars.

She who waits is the Seventh Hidden Part of the Six Part division of the Red Goddess whould correspond to Nysalor for the Body of Yelm. So say the Lunars, IMO.

However if Bijiif didn't have a cult then the Dara Happans wouldn't have paid any attention to him in the myth. Such extraneous material gets rapidly dumped and his position in the myths and on the Gods Wall etc will be taken up by some more useful god.

Scott Haney:

>Krarsht has the 'hunger' rune, which is obstensibly also the rune of the
>undead. Undead? Neither live nor dead? And lo! it suddenly seemed to
>me that the hunger rune looked very much like the death rune imposed
>upon the life rune.

Which it indeed is: Cults of Terror from RQII.

>The second one I came up with was Betrayal, which would combine Truth
>and Illusion, but I never did get a rune I liked out of it. The best
>was something like the biomedical contamination symbol.

           .         .     .
Why not:  \ /    or     |     ?
         . | .         / \

And less anybody accuse me of inconsistency in light of what I said above, I've put on my God-Learner hat (so there! Pbbbtt!)

Mike Cule:

>And I wondered if we could find a similar document for Glorantha. Only of
>course the journey would have been literally true. Who could have done the
>whole journey from the deepest pit of hell to the throne of Yelm? Arkat
>perhaps? Or one of the God-Learners? (Finding an unsuppressed document from
>either would be both interesting and dangerous to your health.)

Sir Ethilrist has visited Hell but I don't know if he has visted the Other Place. Certainly his tale would be nigh unreadable because of the sheer arrogance of the man. The Red Goddess oscillates between Life and Death/Heaven and Hell/Salvation and Damnation in seven stations. The Blue Moon does it too but she's just plain batty. Yelm does it every day. Orlanth has visited Hell and is also said to have plundered the Sky although the myths concerned are mere one-liners. Lodril does it in the reverse. I can't think of any from the Malkioni tradition and you have to bug Sandy on Doraddi lore.

>Who would be the Virgil to guide our wanderer on his way? What would be
>their route?

Nysalor for the Red Goddess and the Lunars. Perhaps if he has to be a sinner then it would be Gbaji.

End of Glorantha Digest V1 #329

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