From: Matthew Bull (
Date: Mon 20 May 1996 - 23:04:56 EEST

Re D M McNamara's question on Illumination. Although this is not particularly
an answer, it is the view I have taken on this and surrounding topics in my
latest campaign, the first to address the subject of Illumination.

- -------
Every member of a cult is forced to live by the limitations of their God, yet
even a God cannot watch all their mortal worshippers. So they don't bother,
instead they read the conscience of their faithful.

The way this works is the access a worshipper gives his to his God during POW
sacrifice, access to his soul. During worship a God will scan the souls
(whatever you care to call it) of those present and searches for signs of

A prime example of this is tribute to Chalana Arroy, for healing. Most
players, particularly the richer ones, will try various scams to aviod paying
their dues to a Healer who has saved their life (the ungrateful %&*) and
although these schemes do avoid the "letter of the law" my opinion has always
been that deep down the person knows they have cheated and it is this that a
God will pick up on.

And Illumination
- -----------------------
Illumination is a magical removal of this conscience. Hence the immunity to
spirits of reprisal and ability to join opposing cults (you know it's wrong
but your God never senses it).
Similarly Detect Law/Chaos normally works on the subjects "inbuilt" knowledge
of which they are. But an illuminated subject is aware that he is neither.

The Dark Side
- --------------------
The sense of right and wrong is built by society to 'protect' itself. Whenever
a person realizes they are above such things they become very dangerous.
Illuninated beings have the ability to be above the restrictions of society
and their choice of wether or not to do such is the difference between Nysalor
and Gbaji.
A Nysalor understands that right and wrong are ideas but accepts that society
needs such limitors. They will tend to conform as the 'right' thing to do,
however they are also free to transgress these laws for the sake of the
greater 'good' ('right' and 'good' in this case are different for each
individual, for a Broo it could be considered 'right' and 'good' to deficate
on objects of value).
A Gbaji understands that all these rights and wrongs are mearly ideas and so
they choose to ignore them. Such people are dangerous to society.

Knowledge Or Magical Ability
- ------------------------------------------
Well actually it's both. I tend to read Glorantha as a place where knowledge
(and training) can be considered to be almost tangable, to those who
understand how to manipulate it and therefore is, in a sense, a form of magic.
Most mortals only aquire knowledge through training and practice but it can
just as easily 'given' or 'taken away' by a being with the ability to control
knowledge (almost in the way us mortals control money). Hence Illumination is
a knowledge which virtually no one knows how to impart through training or
practice but many mortals have learnt to instantly impart (in the form of
riddles), but still just knowledge.

Well if any of my players have read this they will have a big one up next time
they try to swindle a Chalana Arroy :-)



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