From: David Cake (davidc@cyllene.uwa.edu.au)
Date: Tue 13 May 1997 - 22:17:55 EEST

>1. Can a God manifest physically in the Material World? According to the
>Great Compromise, they can't, except as abstract phenomena, but in River
>of Cradles, Waha is mentioned as walking around as a physical being.
>Also, there's the Red Goddess and Nysalor, who obviously walked around

        Well, if the gods manifest physically, and the Great Compromise
(which is only an Orlanthi concept) say they can't, then the Great
Compromise as you understand it must be wrong.
        My interpretation - the Great Compromise is an Orlanthi attempt to
explain the gods lack of free will, and reasonably valid as far as it goes
(who can tell if the god lack behave as if they lack free will because they
actually lack it, or because they have agreed to do so?). What the Great
Compromise, then, means about the manifestation of gods is that gods cannot
manifest of their own volition - their worships must invoke them (or
perhaps incarnate them).

>Also, there's the Red Goddess and Nysalor, who obviously walked around

        both special cases - partly because both had mortal parts, in the
Red Goddesses case had a mortal body before she ever knew she was the
goddess (to put it in Lunar terms - others might put it less charitably,
but the basic facts remain). The Red Goddess reincarnating into a mortal
body was a means by which she gained free will (at least temporarily) which
the other gods do not have (according to Greg at the RQ Con DU heroquest
seminar), thus in Orlanthi terms evading the Great Compromise.

>2. Similarly, some gods have been described as being powerful spirits,
>rather than actual "gods". Spirit cults come to mind, but there are also
>beings such as ancestor spirits, who aren't gods, but provide many more
>powers than a spirit. What would you say the dividing line between a
>"spirit" (reachable by a shaman) and a "god" (reachable only by worship or
>HeroQuesting) is?

        IMO, none really. Gods that are worshipped by full divine religions
in some parts of Glorantha may be contacted only by shamans in other parts.
Paticularly good examples are Lodril and Asrelia from troll gods (not that
I think the uz actually call them by that name in general, but its the same
deity contacted by uz shamans as by priests in other places). Gods tend to
be bigger, spirits tend to be smaller, but one persons god is another
persons Great Spirit.

>3. Some HeroQuests are described as being on the Material plane. Does
>this mean that the events, situations, and enemies of the Quest just
>appear out of thin air, or does the Quester have to set this up himself
>(like in a High Holy Day ritual)? Could somebody not "in" the Quest
>interfere with it?

        Mostly, you set things up yourself to make sure the ritual goes
more or less right. But the ritual draws people into it at other parts.
Read the various LBQ descriptions in King of Sartar.

        Someone not in the quet can most certainly interfere with it, but
the quest has a way of enforcing itself. Trying to interfere in a random
way is likely to get you dragged into the quest in an unpredicatable way.
Much safer to interfere by trying to find a way that you can fit in

>4. Does a Quest have to be based in a myth, or can it be wholly original?

        Sure, many of the most famous heroquests of Glorantha are fairly
original. But they are famous because an original quest is much much more
dangerous because you effectively leap into the realm of the
unpredicatable, and you are very likely to die. Repeating a known quest is
much predicatable - its still dangerous, but at least you know what the
dangers are and can prepare for them. And then there is the heroquest
techniques pioneered by the Arkati and used by the God Leaners - make an
original heroquest path by combining parts of oter known heroquests.


End of Glorantha Digest V4 #398

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