God learner secret; spirits

From: cpearce@Incite.com
Date: Wed 22 May 1996 - 02:58:03 EEST

>I happen to know that you have played some Gloranthan scenarii on
the player side of things, so [stating that I get my Glorantha info
>solely from the mailing list] isn't quite accurate.
Loren is right. My wording is confusing. I played River of Cradles and some
scenarios in Sun County a couple of years ago--that is where I was
introduced to Glorantha.

So while I "have gotten" some Glorantha information through direct immersion
in those scenarios, I currently "get" my Glorantha information solely from
the list. Particularly in regard to all these exotic places list readers are
so knowledgeable about (Brithos, Eastern Isles, Pamaltela, Fronela, ad
>I think that ZZZZZZabur mucked with communication spirits later, and
>that was why Snodal and company offed the God of the Silver Feet (a
>western cousin of Issaries).

That's a shame then, that the communication stuff Zzabur was doing postdates
the destruction of the God Learners.

What I find really suspicious is that the God Learner is supposed to work
any more. I think that figuring out why it doesn't work any more is the key

to discovering what it was in the first place... as long as the reason that
it doesn't work any more is as the result of a Gloranthan historical event
and not simply due to damage wrought to the Hero Plane by the God Learners

>Didn't need it. They had RuneQuest Sight, which allowed them to see
>the runic/elemental structure of everything, thus giving them a foot
>up when it came to using sorcery on things.
>> I think that communication spirits must be what really inspire tribal
>> loremasters and storytellers with not only their gifts but also the
>> themselves.
>I don't think this is necessary. I dislike spell spirits in the first
>place, and to say that not only magic spells, but also songs and
>stories, are gifts from spirits and not the product of the human mind
>grates against my (admittedly modern) sensibilities.

I think you have your rulesmeister glasses on and that's why the idea of
communication spirits upsets you.

I personally find Runequest gaming system magic rather sterile, like most
gaming systems' magic. The reason is that gaming systems have to worry first
about how to keep players from abusing the system and second about
communicating a formal means of exercising the system. So in Runequest there
are a set of well-defined usages of "spirit magic," a collection of powerful
but well-defined usages of "divine magic," and a set of skills and spells
called "sorcery." Progressing within these disciplines is a matter of rather
clear cut summonings and training.

That scheme works fine for a computer game, but it sucks for fiction because
it exposes the mysterious. I think the rules are at best an approximation of
something that happens in Glorantha and are more than half a nod in the
direction of traditional TTRP, where magic-users are expected to play
balance against other members of a troupe.

I think Gloranthan mystics are really reaching deep inside
themselves/communal unconscious/world fabric and are using mental constructs
as a way of perceiving and influencing the world. Under this model,
everything in the world becomes malleable--certainly more malleable than a
set of dice mechanics.

So certain stories definitely do have life of their own--the special stories
of epic heroes and the acts of the gods. The specialness of these stories is
maintained by their being told only in hushed tones during certain ritual
times (holy days and Sacred Time). A good story draws upon a deep well on
the creative side of the mind and really seems to have a spark of its own.
Its when you try to pigeonhole X as a Runequest skill and Y as a Runequest
magical effect that emotions of distaste arise.

Without the Gods of Communication, could people talk, trade, barter, or tell
stories in Glorantha? There is a magical component to everything in
Glorantha. Your Gods might be my spirits.

I think the Gods really are ways of perceiving the God plane through a prism
of story telling/lore. So Chalana Arroy and Xiola Umbar are to some extent
be a similar region of the God plane (though not necessarily wholly the
same) and ultimately every god is every other god or the same god, however
you want to see it. The runes reflect certain commonalities, but they're
just a model also (a road map?) with all the possibility of error that

I think a lot of modern writers might see their stories as having always
existed in some form separate from the writers themselves and that the
writer is really just a medium through which the story expresses itself.

Sorry, that rambled some, but I touched on subjects filled with so many
contradictions (not that I know how to resolve them) that if you try to say
it you end up saying nothing at all. I think there are things that whether
you say "yes" or "no" you are lying.

>Loren Miller <http://hops.wharton.upenn.edu/~loren>


End of Glorantha Digest V2 #584

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