Divine Individuality & the nature of Glorantha

From: Simon D. Hibbs (S.Hibbs@fcrd.gov.uk)
Date: Tue 20 May 1997 - 17:30:29 EEST

Joseph Troxell :

>What I don't like is stuff like, "Are Elmal and Yelmalio the same diety?"
>Either they are, or they're not. I don't care if the Orlanthi call
>Yelmalio "Bob". It's either the same diety, or it's not. A rose is a
>rose, so to speak. Invariably, the campaigns I've been involved with
>solve this issue by throwing Elmal out the door.

But is a god a mere physical object, like a rose? I don't think it's a
given that divine nature is easily comprehensible, and therefore definable
in the kind of terms you would preffer. You can cut out chunks of
Glorantha because you find convenient in your campaign, but please don't
try to pretend that it's the same Glorantha that Greg writes about and
that I love so much.

Have you ever considered that perhaps Glorantha is intended to contain
paradoxes? Eastern orthodox mystics (such as Basil) accept the paradoxes
inherent in the trinity, for example. They do not believe the mystery is
solvable by human reason and contemplate it in order to acheive a state of
transcendence. To them, paradox and incomprehensibility are merely proof
that the divine world is not explainable through rational analysis.

I draw a distinction between this Glorantha, and the world my RQ players
adventure in. By necessity there are some differences, but that's only
relevent in the context of my campaign, not this digest. But to surgicaly
excise the mystery and cultural diversity in Glorantha in order to fit an
arbitrary rationalist agenda, seems somewhat extreme.

Carl Fink :

>Well, to clarify, I said that we need either consistent myths, OR to dump
>heroquesting and Divination. I don't find them compatible. And, once
>again, I was using hyperbole and trying to be witty, and clearly failing.

But surely the main reason many myths from different cultures contradict
each other is because they have been changed over time by heroquesting.
Thus heroquesting is largely responsible for the myths conflicting.

Surely, heroquesting is actualy incompatible with having consistent myths
between cultures. Surely the choice is between having (consistent myths
and no heroquesting to screw them up) and having (inconsistent, dynamic
myths with rampant heroquesting). I think it's quite evident that the
latter is the case in the published Glorantha.

AF>>4. What do you mean by a myth being "wrong"? Do you mean that:
>> a) It's not correct "history";

But how can a myth be expected to be historicaly accurate, when we know
thay can be altered by heroquesting, unless you want to resurect the
heroquesting/time travell debate?

Please note : I am not simply claiming that all inconsistencies between
myths are due to heroquesting.

V.S. Greene :

> Makes good sense to me. Answers for Divinations for pretty much anything
>beyond the utterly trivial really should be in the form of directions to
>the truth (paths, puzzles, ect.) not straight forward clear answers. If
>nothing else, it's good Adventure Starter Stuff.

Absolutely. Also, any anmswer to a divination will necesserily be phrased
in a way that would be meaningfull (if obscure) to the diviner. An answer
to a divination might lead the diviner to believe that frex, Shargash and
Tolat are the same. Proving it would require a major heroquest leading to
a divine revelation far beyond the scope of a spell list.

Frederic Ferro :

>The only successful revolutionaries seem to be Arkat (but he betrayed so
>many cults that he strengthened Krjalk) and Hrestol.

And Orlanth, of course. And Malkion too, come to think of it.

>the innovative revolutionaries are always wrong and pawns of Chaos or
>self-destruction (Nysalorians, God-Learners, Wyrm Friends, Lunars).

Who says Nysalor was wrong? Ok, he got beaten up by the traitor Arkat, but
his supreme sacrifice still brought the blessing on Illumination to the

Alex Ferguson :

>Simon (D.) Hibbs attempts to duck the tar-brush:
>> I don't even consider myself to be 'subjectivist' in the sense the
>> term has been used in this discussion. My own possition is that
>> the nature of divinity and the true workings of the divine world
>> are beyond mortal comprehension.
>For my money that makes you _precisely_ either a Subjectivist, or a
>Hidden Variable Objectivist, Simon. (A HVO is a Subjectivist with an
>invisible hypothetical security blanket.) ;-)

Hmmm, maybe. Deffinitely not a HVO though.

I'd like to see the objectivists build chaos into their super-rational
'kingdom of logic' style Glorantha. If anything proves the futility of
such an aproach, it's the history of the Brithini.

Simon Hibbs


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