The Moon is dead! All praise to the Moon!

From: David Cake (davidc@cyllene.uwa.edu.au)
Date: Wed 07 Feb 1996 - 11:44:51 EET


A long rebuttal/ discussion of points raised by Phillippe, hopefully not to
flamable or dull or too blatant a contravention of the rules

>I will start by saying that I was genuinely impressed by the references
>collected by Nick D., and that they sparked a lot of neat ideas. Of course
>I don't agree with a lot of his conclusions, and this is what I discuss
>below. The only sad thing is his tone, which I don't like much...
>
        I think you are overreacting.
        And your own tone is fairly aggressive. Just relax and enjoy a
robust debate - after all, the topic in question is subject to wild
subjectivity and interpretation, so the ideas raised are far more important
than an eventual conclusion.

>> The first and most outrageous theory is that Argrath, at the end of
>>King of Sartar, is deliberately helping the Red Goddess when he tears the
>>Red Moon from the sky.
>
>Even from an Orlanthi point of view, this makes perfect sense, only not
>with the _Red_ Goddess, but with the _Moon_ Goddess:
>
        Yes, of course. The Red Goddess is only the current incarnation. She
will eventually become white in colour.

>1) The Goddess was already alive during the God Time.
>
        Yes. Originally as a White planet (Veritherusa?), later as a goddess.

>3) She was not Resurrected / Revived / Reconstructed before time was
>born.
>
        Well, she was, but then she was destroyed again and fell even
further. Until eventually she was nothing - a dead being, of mortal stature,
in the worst hell. But she rose from that, and has been rising ever since.

        I hope you don't mind being Gregged too much, but Gregs discussion
on the Goddess has got several people so inspired I don't think we could
discuss this sort of topic without using it.

>4) She was reborn as a Goddess during Time. This violated the cosmic
>principle of the Great Compromise, as it allowed her to exist as a God
>outside of the God Plane. It was a thing of Chaos, the only force
>powerful enought to defeat entropy (Wakboth was the only one who could
>slay Kajabor).

        Nice theory - very Lunar, and a touch God learnerish (to cultures
like the Praxians, for example, I think Kajabor is Wakboth is the Devil is
Chaos is the enemy)

[Phillippe's theory of a Red Goddess trapped in the mortal world by the
Chaos within her, inwardly begging for release]
        I like your theory a lot - a flawed Orlanthi understanding of what
really happened, obviously :-) but gets the essence of it - Argrath
destroyed the Red Moon not in order to destroy the Red Goddess, but in order
to heal her so that she might become the great White Goddess.
        I disagree with you on two points -
        1) I am a bit vague on what you mean by the difference between the
Hero plane and the God Plane - in fact, I am a bit vague on what anyone
means by it, including Greg. I think the difference between being on the
God-Plane and being on the Hero Plane is nothing so mystical.
        I think the Goddess literally fell - she was in the Sky, then she
was in the Middle Air, then the Earth, then the Underworld, then the deepest
parts of the Underworld, now she is rising up once more. She has risen from
the dead, been on Earth, and is now back to the Middle Air. She wishes to
rise back to the sky, but to do this she must purify herself back to her
White state. If you wish to think of the Sky as part of the God Plane, and
the Middle Air as part of the Hero Plane, and this makes sense to you, fair
enough, but such a distinction smacks of rampant God-Learnerism to me, and
not of a very useful sort.
        2) The role of Chaos - I don't think she must reject her chaotic
nature, I think she must fully come to terms with it. Much of her struggle
has been about coming to terms with chaos, not outright rejection of it. I
think she needs to fully succeed at this, and teach chaos that 'suffering is
not life'. Healing individual chaotics through illumination is only the
start. I also think if we are to think about the God Plane, then I don't see
a Chaotic nature as keeping you out of it necessarily - indeed, if there is
a God Plane I am sure there are chaotic horrors scattered all over it, if
you go to the wrong parts.

>Think about the exorcist, as an example: When you listen carfully, you
>can hear the pitiful small voice of the trapped Moon-Goddess saying:
>"Please help me, Chaos is devouring me, II never asked for this, I'm
>Trapped, please, plea...".

        What I see is the Red Goddess, herself aware that she has come a
long way on her journey, but is not yet complete. Most of her worshippers
think that she is great and glorious, and the time for her transition to the
next stage is not yet come, and in any case will occure when they purify the
universe of opposition to her. They even suppress those (the White Moon
cultists) who try to hurry her transition. But the Red Goddess is patient,
and wise - she enjoys her earthly empire, but knows that soon she must move
on to her next stage of existence. It will require some suffering, but she
is no stranger to that.

>I agree with you that the _Moon Goddess_ wins, helped by Argrath, but
>the Red Moon is no more, and the Empire is only ashes. Saying that the
>Lunar wins is only fanatic propaganda.
>
        I agree that the Moon Goddess wins, and also that the average
citizen of the Empire is unlikely to find much cheer in that, after the
savage wars in their country.

>Some Lunar philosophers may interpret it as a necessary change that will
require
>a lot of bloodshed to happen. But that also means that their present state is
>unsatisfying (empire, red moon and all).
>
        Ah, but the Lunar Empire is still better than anything previous.
Self-evidently better than being ruled by Yelmites, Shargashi, Carmanians,
nomads, Spolites, or any of the rest of the cavalcade of oddballs, wowsers
and tyrants that have managed to claim the Dara Happan throne.

>[Argrath and Sheng]
>> Well, umm, yes. Not the brightest act in retrospect.

> it is interesting to note how great the power of the Red
>Moon was on the Physical and Hero Planes, being there in person instead
>of trapped on the God Plane like Orlanth (by his own choice during the
>Compromise). So Argrath decided to fight her with "terrestrial" weapons
>and resurrected Sheng.

        Hey, maybe Argrath worked out that his real enemy was the Dara
Happan Empire, not the Moon Goddess (who was originally an attempt to move
away from the ruling Carmanian empire, and even now tempers the male
dominated, aggressive, conservative Dara Happans only somewhat). If the
Empire was not still really ruled by an Emperor, perhaps both Argrath and
the Moon Goddess might be happier).

        Or as Pam Carlson so wisely pointed out
>IMO, one of the subtle
>goals of the Lunar Way is to free Peloria from the forces of Empire,
>underwhich it has suffered since before the Dawn. The _Lunar_ Empire is
>merely a regrettable step.)

        I agree. The 7 Mothers originally summoned the Goddess by a ritual
designed to bring the Other of the Emperor - his complete opposite. Which is
why they ended up with a tolerant Moon goddess who strives for change,
rather than an intolerant Sun God avatar supported by a conservative
religion. Of course, this was when the place was ruled by Carmanians, who
were even worse.
        But the Goddess became friendly with the Emperor Yelmgatha (perhaps
a deliberate subversion - Takenegi may have avowed friendship with him, but
I find Yelmgathas sudden death just when Takenegi is ready to take over,
accompanied by his supporters mysteriously having their heads explode (super
Mindblasts?) downright suspicious), and this Emperor guy (later called
Takenegi - but who knows what he was called before - Doskalos maybe (;-) to
Nick)) takes over, and we have an Emperor once again.
        But I don't think the Goddess ever intended the Lunar Empire to be
permanent - I think it is just a step on her path to removal of the Emperor.

        So, to come to a compromise (no pun intended) we have the Lunar
Empire, and the Lunar Way. The Red Goddess wants the Lunar Way to continue
to its next stage, but cares little for the institution of Empire. Argrath
cares little for or against the Lunar way (maybe....), but despises the
Empire. It suits both of them for the destruction of the Empire and the Red
Moon to occur.
        So they both win - but the Empire itself loses.

        And possibly the Empire may even have known it was going to happen -
why do you think they were always suppressing the White Moonies? Because the
White Moon is good for the world, but not good for the Empire.

        Though I am sure that there are many Yelmite Dara Happans who think
it all turned out all right somehow. After all, they finally seem to have
properly defeated the nomads that have troubled them since before time.
They've restored a planet to its rightful place in the sky - and any sign of
the Sky returning to the way it was during Yelms Dominion must be very good
indeed. And they have got rid of that vile decadent Moon Emperor and, as
soon as all the fighting dies down, there is a good opportunity to put a
decent Yelmic sort of chap on the throne again. So what if there are a few
battles at the moment, the Empire has coped with worse - was entirely
flooded once, you know, old boy.

        I think it is only the average people of Peloria who have completely
lost out - before the Hero Wars, they were at peace, rich, happy, well fed,
in a tolerant society. And then all these horrible things happen, wars,
natural disaster, evil tyrants.
        But its always the common folk that lose on these things, nothing
new there!

>Because he could learn from his first mistake, he choose not to fight
>the Monster armies (destruction vs destruction again), but choose
>instead to dismember the red-moon, freeing the moon goddess in an act
>of compassion. Is this not the mark of a true hero ?

        Absolutely. Argrath is a hell of a guy - I am sure even those who
hate him see him in the Arkat mold (an amazing guy who fell victim to
certain moral flaws).
        And I am truly impressed at his insight in attacking the Empire by
magically aiding the Moon. Smart chap.

>> I think he has some idea. But not as much as he thinks he does.
>> Similar to the Seven Mothers, who thought they knew what they were
>> doing, but got a real surprise.

        I was referring to what they did during their original summoning.
Where they were not really expecting what they got either.
>
>Yes, I think the Seven Mothers were truly surprised by the result, and
>were consumed by the final transformation from red-moon to simply moon.

        On the contrary, I think they are gods now. And probably coping OK
with the tranformation from Red Moon to Moon quite well - I imagine they
(and the previous blessed inhabitants of the Red Moon) are now in the Sky.

        They may have been very surprised by what they got, but most of them
coped pretty well.

>[Delete Delirium about the Lunar Goddess shaping Argrath]
>
>Remember what you wrote here when you accuse me of Orlanthi propaganda.
>Not only does your text spell propaganda, but it is even written like
>some I've seen.

        Propagandists always accuse each other of propoganda. Please forgive
Nicks missionary zeal, we are not all that bad. Why don't you come down to
the temple some time and meet some of the other Lunars? I'm sure you would
like some of them, and we definately are willing to accept your curious
Orlanthi beliefs, we are very tolerant you know... (continue mumbling
proseletyising for some time)

        But to step out of character - religion is about propaganda. Of
course its propaganda. Propaganda makes people believe, and if they believe
what you do, that is power - in Glorantha (on the hero plane especially)
that is true in a good deal more literal sense than we generally expect.

> > What? The Lunars planned it? Why did they fight like cornered rats to
> > prevent it, then?

        Its always darkest before the dawn, and other encouraging aphorisms.
They were beset on all sides by their enemies, but managed to transform his
evil magics into the greatest victory of all.

Nick said
>>Please remember, nobody in Glorantha understands what
>> the Dragons (or Dragonewts) are doing, or why they are doing it, by
>>definition.
and Philippe said
>I will point out that you were the first to use draconic arguments,
>with your "Ceremonial Utuma".

        Ah, but there is a difference between using draconic magics and
knowing what the dragons/dragonnewts are really up to - as the EWF affirmed
on so large a scale. When Argrath tries to perform a ceremonial utuma, he
has a reasonable idea what is involved, and what will happen. He does not
understand it in the same way a dragonnewt does, but his understanding
suffices for his purposes. He has salvaged enough EWF lore and magic to have
at least as good an idea of what he is doing as they did. And while they may
have fallen in the end (probably by believing they knew what the dragons
where thinking), they did have a good enough understanding of those magics
to build an empire on them.
        But why the dragons choose to participate, who knows? We have
plausible theories about what happened, and the motivations of Argrath and
the Moon Goddess. But we don't have good theories about the motivations of
the dragons, and I don't think we can have them.

        Cheers

                David

       
Computing Officer |"Our machines are disturbingly lively,
Arts Faculty UWA |and we ourselves frighteningly inert."
davidc@cs.uwa.edu.au | -Donna Haraway
>Microsoft, meanwhile, denies that the problem exists.

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