[Glorantha]Visibility of Magic and Divine influences

From: Peter Metcalfe <metcalph_at_quicksilver.net.nz>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 20:26:58 +1300


Andrew Dawson:

>1. I agree that mass/communion is an example of real world magic, but it
>does not produce a visible blessing as does the Western sorcery church
>blessing (since all Gloranthan magic is noticeable).

More than a few people living today will disagree with you that it does not produce a blessing. And if all gloranthan magic is noticeable, that tends to diminish the effects of invisibility and stealth magics methinks.

>This our-world magic does not
>produce a magical blessing that even non-believers can detect with their
>senses.

More than a few gloranthan magics are not demonstrable to the senses. Worship Invisible God infamously described the effects as "all participants in the ritual receive spiritual assurance that the magic points donated to their deity were acceptable to him". Turning to Orlanth in Thunder Rebels, the following feats (among others) don't strike me as being visible magic:

         Avoid Trap              Ignore Pleas to Stop    Stay Awake
         Find Edible Food        Bless New Building      Cite Precedent
         Find Compromise Know True Motive        Calm Child's Fears
         Intimidate Sons         Please Wife             "Yes Dear" 
Reconciliation.

>2. In our world, there is no compelling religious/magic effect that can be
>sensed by anyone, to show that it is real. This leaves faith, hope, and
>fellowship as reasons to believe.

You are putting the cart before the horse here. In the previous post, I listed numerous events that were accepted by virtually everybody in the middle ages and before as being evidence of the supernatural. You cannot say that these events were non-compelling because the people back then did not have our knowledge of the causes of those events.

>3. Glorantha: Short of hypothetical Illumination, Seven Mothers Church
>protection, etc., if one turns from one's religion, one (and maybe one's
>community) suffers demonstrable effects, such as Agents of Retribution.

Ah yes, Divine Wrath.

         Acting improperly incurs punishment.  The first punishments
         fall not on the individual but on his community.  The Gods
         cannot isolate individuals, so the community suffers instead.
         Each deity's punishment differs: sickness, bad luck, freak
         accidents, pests, milk and crop failures, and increased raids
         by the enemy are common.
                 Thunder Rebels p78.

It's only as a result of these calamities that the Priests and God-Talkers find out who is responsible for them. First social pressure is used before the agents of reprisal are called in. So except for the last stage, I don't see this as verifiable magic.

>Our world: Natural disasters and misfortune can be explained as punishment
>from god, but there is plenty of ability to change religions with no
>non-social
>effects.

Does the Man of the Middle Ages know that? No.

>6. If any of the proceeding points are correct, I expect observant,
>rational Gloranthans to act differently toward their religions than has
>presently or historically been the case in our world.

And you would be wrong to do so. Glorantha is a world in which humans act with human motivations. Their attitudes to religion are then the same as the attitudes to religion in the real world.

--Peter Metcalfe

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End of Glorantha Digest Received on Wed 18 Feb 2004 - 06:10:25 EET

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