Subjective Gloranthan Mythology,Universality of the Great Compromise

From: remster@interport.net
Date: Fri 16 May 1997 - 00:55:06 EEST


On the whole Subjective/Objective Deity Thread -

This has been a lively debate! IMO, I tend to want to side with Carl
on this one... It seems to me that if deities are subjective in
Glorantha, they're nothing but constructs of the desires and cultural
needs of their followers. If they're totally objective, myths

conflict. However, the muddle-muddle and vague arguements of the
subjectivists rob Glorantha of what makes it special - the unique

personalities of the deities and they're agendas and objectives.
Perhaps some of the folks on this list may be uncomfortable with Deities
who are self-aware and conscious of themselves - I, for one, am
uncomfortable with the idea of Deities in Glorantha who are not. To

make them simple magical constructs who are there to provide their
worshippers with magic is to make Glorantha an essentially atheistic
universe. That, to me, is too damn god-learnerish for my taste. That
seems to me why the God-Learners were struck down... because humans were
violating their powers under the great compromise, by moving the masks
of the gods around, and tampering with the God's powers. Sorry, kids,
you can't have your cake and eat it, too... either central genertalen
myth is correct, and followers of some of the other gods don't have the
entirely right story - ie, the missionaries of the First Council didn't
get to them, or Glorantha falls apart. Everyone who runs Glorantha in
an RPG setting has to decide the objective nature of their Glorantha -
it can take any number of forms. Is this Lightbringer business a bunch
of hooey and the Storm Pentans actually know the truth? Great! Did
Pamnalt actually save the world, and the Genertelan religions just ride
on his coattails? Or are the Gods just big presumptious spirits, and
only the Malkioni know the truth? Whatever floats your boat. However,
in order to function as a Game World, a common structure and actual
truth to myth must be decided. To say the Deities are subjective is to
effectively say they don't exist.

IMO, in the 20+years of development of Glorantha, it seems that perhaps
the world may have gone farther than Stafford intended, and that the
cycle of the LBQ and what we know as Central Genertelan myth was going
to be the "truth". But then, the Malkioni, Kraloreans, Ralios and
Pamaltela were developed, complete with conflcting myths. Thus, we're
stuck with a Gloranthan 'Work in Progess' as it were, which is one of
the things which makes the world so wonderful. I, myself, usually
attempt to reconcile different mythic elements of Glorantha (is King
West Wind actually Orlanth? and such.) What I deal with also depends on
the campaign I run... For Prax and Sartar, this is usually not the
problem. Issues like these only crop up in games where the PC's
actually travel across the face of Glorantha.

Summed up - Deities have an independent existence from their
worshippers. Choose what their answers to that Divination will be, but
make sure they have their own answers!

THE GREAT COMPROMISE

I feel it's a fallacy to think the certain parts of Glorantha are not
'part of the compromise'. While perhaps the issue of the subjectivity
of the Gods is a matter of opinion, the Great Compromise is not. It has
been definitively stated by many sources (CoP, GoG and Glorantha boxed
set, etc.) that while differing cultures have their own take on the
compromise (in the west, Zzabur cast this god-awful spell which
integrated Chaos with the world, resulting in Time, Frex), all cultures
in Glorantha to my best knowledge have some explanation as to why after
the Darkness the world is different, why the Gods can't interfere in the
doings of mortal races and what rules define the relationship between
men and the Gods, and how to interact with the powers of the GodTime.

I bring this question up for debate - What are the universal constants
of Glorantha, that transcend cultures? What are Glorantha's 'base laws'?

In my opinion, in all Gloranthan Myths, these aspects always play a
part...

(1) The existence of a perfect world, before time.
(2) A different nature of time, that makes it distinct from 'Time' as
known today.

(3) The existence of Chaos, and the destruction of the mythic world.
(4) A great act which merges the remnants of the old world and chaos,
and establishes the order of the world we know today.

Thus, to those who say that certain peoples are not bound by the
Compromise and who say that their deities can violate with impunity...
IMO, you're wrong. Gods who walk the earth is quite feasible by the
terms of the Compromise, since all of these instances are initiated by
the God's worshippers. Has there been any case in Glorantha where a God
arrives uncalled by worshippers?

The Great Compromise - No matter what you call it, it's universal law ;)
Comments? Flames?

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