this n'that

From: David Cake (davidc@cyllene.uwa.edu.au)
Date: Mon 14 Apr 1997 - 10:43:56 EEST


>2. The Hero Plane: It seems to me that _this_ is where the gods actually
>live. There are numerous descriptions of gods existing in this plane
>(Yelm, Krarsht from LoT, etc.), and it is also where the "afterworlds" are
>said to exist. So then what is the God Plane for?

        My belief is that the God plane is just like the Hero Plane, only
more so. The God Plane is in essence the 'deeper' part of the Hero Plane.
        If anyone disagrees vehemently, I would really like to know.

>3. Rune Lords:

        They are basically anyone who is not an acolyte or priest, and who
has religious status is part due to their hight skills. In RuneQuest second
edition (almost always abbreviated to RQ2) the status of Rune Lord was
quite distinct. Every cult had them, they all required mastering (90%) five
skills or so, and they all had pretty much identical powers (and none of
them had 'Rune' magic (Divine) unless they also became a priest). Now,
things are a lot vaguer. Most cults don't have a separate Rune Lord status,
some have combined Rune Lord and Priest status for all intents and purposes
(Humakt and Storm Bull, for example), and some Rune Lords get resuable
Divine Magic, and some don't (there are other benefits that Rune Lords may
or may not have as well, some get d10 rather than d100 for DI rolls, for
example). So its a vagueish sort of term. The source for a broad range of
cult information is Gods of Glorantha, which explains all this, sort of.
Cults with a distinct Rune Lord status are a minority, but still many. Some
examples of Rune Lord status include - Waha Khans, Seven Mothers Rune
Lords, Wind Lords, Wood Lords, Light Sons of Yelmalio, Kargs Sons of Kygor
Litor, Jaws of Krarsht, Doom Lords of Thanatar. For historical reasons,
cults with a distinct Rune Lord status are usually older ones.

>4. The Mostali: I like their "scientific" viewpoint and the World
>Machine. Their technology has been described as "advanced", but how
>advanced is this? Steel-making? Clockwork devices? Steam Power?

        Steel in Glorantha probably means 'enchanted iron'. In which case,
yes, the Mostali originated the technique. Its not what we mean by steel,
though. Clockwork? yes, but very primitive. Steam? Steam power? sort of,
but more along the lines of the occasional aeolopile rather than james Watt
type steam engines. But YMMV. Some people like to make the Mostali
technologically more skilled. Its worth noting that they often accomplish
things through magic not technology, its just their magic is well
integrated with their technology and may not be noticed.

>5. The "Invisible God" of the West: Real, or just a myth invented by the
>West to explain away their sorcery?

        Depends who you ask! To the devout Malkioni, the Invisible God is
just as real as the Christian God is to a devout Christian. Its an
unanswerable question, and its unrealistic to expect it to have a definate
answer.
        As a GM, its probably better to remain agnostic to some extent -
but remember that the Westerners can obtain real magical power from their
worship of this deity (at least, the occasional Saint certainly appears
to), so don't be too sceptical.
        Some excellent stuff on the Malkioni religion can be found in Tales
issues 13 and 14? and on Nick Brookes web site.

> I think that most elves use a form of
>magic different from Divine Magic or Spirit Magic.

        I bloody well hate it when people say this. Either go to the
trouble of explaining WHY they don't use divine and spirit magic when it is
accessible to them, and then go to the trouble of writing up their magic
system in at least sketchy terms, or don't say it.

        (That said, I agree that elves have special magics that only elves
are capable of using, that involves using elf sense to encourage the growth
of magical plants. It takes months at a minimum, and game rules are
probably simply knowledge of plant + seed + elf-sense roll + plant lore
roll + months of time or Accelerate Growth(s) = special plant. But I think
they use spirit magic, taught from shamans just like human spirit magic,
and divine magic, just the same as humans as well. Substitute elf-sense for

magic skills in their divine magic if you really want to get picky).

>Actually, the Lapps aren't that far from the
>culture of the Praxian beast riders if memory serves me correctly; could
>there perhaps be similar folk in the north of Genertela?

        There are the Uncolings, reindeer folk of Northern Fronela (I've
think they've got as far East as the Lunar Empire, and they are the main
inhabitants just above and east of the Winterwood, across to Rathorela
lands, at least). I always, for some reason, figured that they were a) not

hsunchen b) lived off the reindeer, but didn't ride them. I had them pegged
as sort of reindeer hunting inuit. But I'd like to know more about them,
they cut rather romantic figures, the last humans before the glaciers
begin, I think. Perhaps some of those Gateway tundra cults, like Enuk
Manamee, could be salvaged for nice stuff for these guys.

>Has anyone worked up any notions of what the Hero (and/or God) Plane(s)
>physically look like?

        my contention is that as you go deeper into the heroplane, things
get more and more abstracted. At the deepest parts, things are very simple,
you eventually get to a place that represents a single idea, like
suffering, or light, or dark. This is where the most mystic of gods live. A
level of abstraction greater than this is so undescribable as to hardly
merit the term place - more an ineffable mystical experience. If you are
only a very small way into the heroplane, then things look much like a more
magical version of where you were when you started. Somewhere in between
you have places that represent an intermediate degree of abstraction, but
still cannot be reached easily from the real world, like the place of
wolves, or Orlanths hearth.
        I have quite a good idea of how heroquest navigation works, but its
difficult to put across in words. But basically, to travel deeper you must
follow a path through a range of obstacles - travelling deeper always seems
like travelling physically, but not in any clear direction.
        For example, to travel to Orlanths hearth you probably must travel
a known path. You might go via the Halls of Silence, because that is how
dead people get their. You might travel on a wind, because that is how
Orlanths servants get their.
        Basically, I think if you wanted to meet sea spirits, then you
should travel along a route that takes you physically to the sea. But if
you want to visit the deepest secrets of the sea gods (say, Daliaths Well
and the Baths of Nelat), you must travel to the sea AND travel on a path
that takes you deeper into the heroplane. Just beating up sea spirits
probably is not that path. But just travelling to the sea and beating up
sea spirits might be a path that will get you Breathe Air/Water.
        Anyway, to answer the original question.... I think, frex, that
Orlanths Stead looks much like what the worshipper expects to see, which is
sort of dependent on the path taken. Generally a large, glorious, Orlanthi
stead. So in that respect, the gods do have 'castles'. But Orlanths stead
isn't just bang in the middle of Sartar, or wherever, its moderately deep
into the heroplane, and as such can only be reached by following a path
there.
        I fairly much agree with Mike Cules description of the heroplane.
'Maps' of the heroplane have only rough correspondence to geography. Its
more like paths of actions to take. There are some rough geographical
elements (sky is up, deep water powers are at the bottom of the ocean,
etc), but its certainly not everything.

        David

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