Over the Wall, Death

From: David B. Henderson (db.henderson@dcs.napier.ac.uk)
Date: Thu 09 May 1996 - 14:32:15 EEST


Long Post!

Martin Laurie sez:

> I think what you mean is that Nick "takes the piss" to their
> face but _insulting_ is another matter. Where I'm from (Sunderland in
> Northern Enlgand) a guy does that to you and he loses most of his teeth.

The joys of informed an mature discussion about a hobby that unites
people all over the world, giving us a unique insight into other's minds
and allowing us to explore many different and unusual viewpoints.

- -OR-

You spilled my pint, ya'bastard! I'm gonna do you!

No offence meant Martin, but I can see where Onslaught takes many of his
attitudes from. If Nick pisses you off, fine, but threats, real or
implied, have no place on this digest (or any other, except
maybe glorantha-Harrek-as-a-role-model-digest) as far as I'm concerned.
And as someone who lives about 100 miles away from you, though on the
right side of the Border, it does confirm many of my prejudices about you wacky
sassenachs. :>

The Storm Bull/Humakt option: "Violence is the only solution."

Proper stuff:
 
> (1). The connection with Death, what effects does an avatar of this power have
> on his surroundings? (Very important this one)

Loren did a good bit on this, but generally, for humans, cold, fear,
loss, separation, decay. For Uz, this is probably just like home.
Possibly also a dampening of sound, emotion, light, sorta like suffering

depression, where everything is grey and muted, and seems to be at a
distance.

> (2). What is the social impact of such a person and how do they fit in with the
> Humakt and social heirarchy? (This seems to me to be the most tricky one to
> quantify)

Soemone as powerful as Onslaught, behaving in the same way, would need
powerful friends. In the same way that any danger to the social oredr is
removed or exploited by the rulers, he would either work for the local
bosses or be killed. The greater the threat, the greater the effort
expended on removing it, so eventually there would be mass sendings of
spirits, hired bounty hunters, spies planted around Onslaught who would
try to arrange situations in which he would die, etc. Think rabid dog,
man-eating lion, etc. Even if he was working 'for' the local rulers,
they would eventually want rid of him because he could be used against
them eventually.

As for the Humakt hierarchy, I would say this would depend on the
particular temple/Chief Sword. If he fitted in with their ethos, fine,
if not, bye bye. No doubt many duels would follow, so eventually
Onslaught would be wandering around killing entire temples, which again
would result in him being hunted down, even if he never became apostate
(which i reckon he would).

> (3). What powers other than those related to combat does a minor hero of Death
> have access too? Eg can the cause a field of Death around themselves that
> causes seperation?

Separating magic fom its source, people from their emotions, 1HP of
damage to those within 10' (small animals and plants die as he passes,
circles of dead vegetation where he slept). Fear/unease in non-death
worshippers who see him. Food rots at his touch (he does not need to eat
any more, as he is half-dead) ...

> (4). Is Death really the opposite of fertility for without Death would their be
> room and materials for new growth? I think that pre-death fertility was
> _different_ to current fertility. Any ideas anyone?

Death is not the opposite to fertility/life, Chaos is. Chaos is
non-existence, life and death are part of existence and the Compromise.
Pre-death fertility was not part of the cycle that exists after the
Compromise, as there was no death part.

> (5). Humakts character. What does the God really want, is he a force that is
> given a form by the perceptions of his worshippers? This one applies to most
> other gods too.

I reckon that the Gods are mutable, depending on their worshippers and
changes in interpretation. This comes about in Glorantha largely via
heroquests, where communities affect their own (or other's) Gods on the
Hero plane, and the belief is focussed on this. If a God still wants to
receive worship, it must fulfil the worshippers expectations, or the
worshippers will turn to new Gods. Hero cults are a local manifestation
of this, where an individual provides a new interpretation of the God's
powers to a local group of worshippers.

> (6). Is Humakt a broad church with many different views within a borad framework
> or a monolith of rigid ideals of behaviour? I prefer the former though some
> seem to prefer the latter.

See above for my views. There are as many different views of a God as
there are worshippers, though they will tend to fall into groups. The
Lunars and similar religious empires are an exception, but there is still
variation even within this ostensibly uniform religion.

> (7). Is a Dwarfen construct capable of acting human enough to be Onslaught and
> if so what is his purpose and what happened to his memory? Implants like in
> Total Recall? I'm seriously tempted to try this one out on my players some
> time, I have done something similar with God Learner Knowledgists. Good idea
> whoever mentioned it first!

The whole lozenge and everything in, on above and below it are Mostali
constructs, so of course he can act human. His purpose is, like all
constructs, to repair the World Machine. He does this by killing.
Perhaps the Mostali want to improve the resistance of the human model to
death, and so have created a bunch of killing machines. Harrek is, of
course, one of the deluxe models!
 
Cheers,

David Henderson

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