Why Greg contradicts himself, etc.

From: Nick Brooke (D&T CAS) (100656.1216@compuserve.com)
Date: Tue 20 Feb 1996 - 18:15:10 EET

Robert asked for guesses as to why Greg included contradictory sources in "King
of Sartar".

Offhand, I can think of a few more good reasons to stand alongside "all
historians are partial, prejudiced and ignorant", which (speaking as a historian
myself) I'd whole-heartedly endorse. All good things come in sevens (Mothers,
Phases of the Moon, Incarnations of the Goddess, Wanes of History, etc.), so
here are my Seven Speculations. (Note that any or all of these could be
simultaneously True).


(1) As the sources don't tell us straightforwardly what happened
        in the Hero Wars, we can still be uncertain as to how it all
        turns out. This allows our own RuneQuest campaigns to develop
        their own "future history" alongside Argrath's Saga.

(2) Since *all* the evidence in "King of Sartar" is somewhat dubious,
        we're free to pick and choose the parts of the book that we want
        to believe or use, or make up something else that suits our own
        campaigns. Sandy Petersen is a master at this, and more power to
        his elbow!


(3) As well as showing the "bias" of historians, the sources show
        how historians can make sweeping (but incorrect) statements, or
        leave out important facts they were unaware of, or come to the
        wrong conclusions (as Greg deliberately did in "Who Was Argrath?")

(4) As well as displaying bias and ignorance, the sources show us
        a way of exploring Glorantha subjectively: no document written
        inside Glorantha can be truly objective. If you know *who* is
        writing something and *why* they are writing it, it becomes a
        lot more interesting to read than UN Population Figures.


(5) Greg didn't want to spend time ironing out all of the little
        niggling inconsistencies in his work, so he put in some big ones
        too and drew attention to the fact, to distract nit-pickers and
        pretend it was all intentional.

(6) Greg had been annoyed by the over-literal interpretation of his
        previous writings by some RQ2 players (just look at the shift in
        his attitude to the God Learners between editions), and wanted to
        make it quite clear that this book was NOT the Definitive Truth.


(7) He did it deliberately, to screw up your campaign, lame-brain!
        (I don't believe this, but we've all met people who do)

Peter writes:

> I'm not 'whole-scale overhauling' the sources, I'm suggesting
> a possible solution _explaining_ the contradictions.

Sorry if I misread something, but a source-juggling theory about becoming King
of Dragon Pass -- which denies that Sartar, Tarkalor and Moirades ever did so --
appeared (to me) to have dropped three very significant balls. You hadn't
previously made the distinction between the Title and the Magical Power of

I agree we can't be sure what the Inhuman King was doing turning up to the
coronation of Sartar as (human) King of Dragon Pass, but it does seem to lend a
certain magical importance to the ceremony, doesn't it?

The Kings obviously didn't all become King in exactly the same way, BUT this
doesn't mean the magical sovereignty wasn't genuinely conferred on all of them
(perhaps in proportion to the success of their rituals?).

(I don't like ZZ's Third Eye much, either. Trepanning, perhaps?)

Andrew asks for

> good info on Wenelia and the Boar tribesmen/worshippers

Further to the summary material Andrew mentioned in his last post, the Boar (one
of the animal-totem clan ancestors of the Wenelians) is the defender of the
forest. He protects the goddess of the woods (the Oak Woman, a womens' deity
arguably connected to Aldrya) by wounding or slaying all those who would despoil
her natural bounty. His worshippers obey the commands of her priestesses.

A (very low-budget) God Learner might theorise that he represents the local
"Storm Bull", although focussing on pro-Nature more than anti-Chaos. He might be
connected with Gouger the God-Pig (cf. Cult of the Bloody Tusk, Ivory Plinth,
etc). The Tusk Riders live in and around this part of the world; Aram ya-Udram
was a human ruler from the Holy Country; the pig is a sacred animal to the
Ernalda cult; the Mraloti are found in Ramalia, just the other side of

I'm NOT saying that Wenelia was God-Learned, BTW: the locals are just too
backward and primitive to have been worth the effort. Even the Lightbringers
didn't take root there, merely passing through on their way to Ralios!

Note also that the Wenelians do NOT get on well with their Aldryami neighbours,
despite this "protect-the-forest" ethos. Their culture-hero, Wendel, was born of
a lightning-struck oak tree, and this is still one of the most significant
rituals of their religion.

I don't yet know the name of the Boar God, but it could be something like
"Mralot". Try grunting that gutturally (and fearfully) to yourself a few times,
then work out another spelling for your pronunciation and run with that.
Westerners would surely call it "Mralot" whatever the natives say; and they may
be afraid to speak their deities' names!

Ian writes:

> The moon occupies the Middle Air. Given the height of the Sky Dome,
> that suggests that the Moon should be somewhere around 1000 miles
> above Peloria.

Given that you can jump to the Moon from Top of the World, and that the distance
to the horizon from the top of the Great Ziggurat of Raibanth is around 25 miles
(and the Yelmies *know* the Dome is a perfect hemisphere), I'd suggest the Red
Moon is believed to be lower than that. But once you're that high up in the
Middle Air, you're in the Hero Plane anyway, where natural laws, distances,
directions, sizes, etc. don't have to make anything other than relative, mythic

You may have read my take on:

> the problem of how it can be Full Moon day in Tarsh and Thrice
> Blessed on the same day

(which was, in short, "it isn't"): it was posted here, printed in Codex, and now
lives on my homepage -- which I *must* get around to expanding some time: I'll
repost the address when there's anything new up there.

The theory of "curving light" serves two purposes: it makes the Gloranthan
horizon act the same way our own does (for simplicity, to give scenario-writers
and artists an easier time), and it makes Gloranthan physics interestingly
different from their real-world model. Speaking as one of its authors, I
wouldn't rely on it for any more than that: whoever said that Pure Light works
the same way once it's above ground level and shining through the celestial
expanses of the Sky Dome? ;-)

I'm particularly leery about your phrase that:

> the red phase must attract light and the black phase repels it.

When I see stuff like this, I feel an attack of "Greg Reason Six" coming on (see
above): violence is being done to my vision of Glorantha through over-dedication
to one of my theories.

> What does the dark part of the moon look like during daytime?

IMHO, outside the Glowline it fades into the blue sky, so the Moon is all but
unseen in its Dying and Black phases during both day and night, except when it
occults bright objects (not very obvious) or at the beginning and end of these
dark moon phases (as the last/first traces of the Crescent trundle out of/into

Within the Glowline, it can be seen as a visible patch of blackness by day; by
night, a "moon-ring" (or "corona" or "halo") effect makes its position visible
even in its Black phase.



End of Glorantha Digest V2 #391

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