Re: HQ Perception

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Mon 18 May 1998 - 22:55:30 EEST

Richard asks for opinions:

> 1) When you worship, do you _see_ the myths?

Yes, if you are an initiate (cf. King of Sartar's "Report on the Orlanthi").
The uninitiated see a bunch of weirdoes in strange costumes acting out
something from an old script, usually rather badly (and with extremely dodgy
use of Stormspeech, etc.).

>From a chat with Greg at the RQ-Con in Canada, the cultists and priests and
temples put lots of work ahead of time into preparations for their ritual
ceremonies (constructing and preparing costumes, masks, ritual
paraphernalia, etc.), and on the day they see the Real Thing, not the
abstraction they created. This is the interface between the Material world
(perishable, measurable, mundane, etc.) and the Mythic (eternal, infinite,
magnificent, etc.), a Lunar scholar might say.

By making a donkey costume for your small child to wear on the Seven Mothers
High Holy Day, you create an image or semblance of "donkeyness", which is
ready to be inhabited by an archetypal Donkey Avatar at the right time and
place. Your child sings the Donkey Song as well as she can learn it, and by
doing so she assists in invoking the mystical Music of the Spheres, which
was heard at the original Song of the Animals, in 1220 ST at the rebirth of
the Red Goddess.

You know you made the costume yourself from odds and ends of scrap cloth;
you know that your child is wearing it; you suffered through weeks while
they practiced the song at home. But on the day, in the Temple, you see a
Donkey and hear the Song of the Animals.

> If someone was HQing in the myth you're looking at, would you
> _see_ them?

This would normally represent a tanked-up heroquester gate-crashing someone
else's rituals, right? Certainly. You might see them as their mundane
selves, or as mythical approximations -- either their own, or else your
equivalents. Thus, if Orlanthi rebels attacked the Red Emperor while a
Yelmic court ritual was in progress, they would appear to be Rebellus
Terminus. (In fact, if Lunar Dart Warriors did so, they would probably
appear similar -- or else everyone watching would "realise" that Johnny Reb
isn't necessarily a barbarian usurper, but can be any destroyer of Divine

The issue isn't so much who the intruding HQer actually *is*, as whether
they're doing fits your myth. And remember that in a temple on a holy day,
your own cult's magic and mythic reality are much stronger than at other
times and places. It's possible to coerce enemies into acting the way
they're expected to, simply because of the ineluctible grip of the expected
outcome. (If you like, a gate-crasher "takes on" the role of an appropriate
mythic opponent, willy-nilly, in just the same way as the childrens' choir
become avatars of the singing animals).

> When you worship, do you affect the myths?

Not really.

> Imagine a clan who arrive at their favourite watering hole and find
> it polluted. Through their combined worship for help and inspiration,
> do they manifest a putrid watering hole in the Hero Plane, ready for
> someone to HQ to sort out?

More likely, they work out a myth they know which might resolve this
situation, and try to sort it out themselves in whatever manner is
appropriate. If they're the PCs' clan, this involves picking a trusty band
of heroes to undertake a dangerous and difficult quest (yadda, yadda)...;
while if they're an NPC clan, it involves waiting for suitable passers-by,
telling them their tale of woe and hardship, and persuading them to
undertake (yadda, yadda). Or else they haven't a clue, but the PCs may do.

> 3) Could you ever come across someone HQing in _normal_ Glorantha?

Absolutely, yes. Cf. Rurik in the ZZ chapter of "Cults of Prax" (on the
<> website, one of Biturian Varosh's last dispatches). Also
one of my favourite aspects of Glorantha. The HQer is on the otherworld,
meeting river nymphs, redeeming ancient vows to perform the River Ritual; in
the real world, we see (with mundane eyes) an extremely overheated man
wearing heavy gilt armour, thrashing around in the waters of the Zola Fel.

> If the myth they're HQing in involves some place which exists now, would
> you see them at it if you were there in person?

Possibly, but that's not strictly necessary. The Hero Plane's geography is
different enough to that of the mundane Inner World that similarities,
congruences, essential samenesses are enough to invoke it. Thus, you don't
have to be *at* the Hill of Gold (near Bikhy, in Vanch) to find Elmali,
Yelmalion, Shargashi, Orlanthi, Inoran and Zorak Zorani heroquesters acting
funny on hillsides. (But it helps). Likewise, the Six Stones ritual can
happen wherever you find Six (appropriate) Stones; the Hill of Umath's Camp
is close at hand, wherever your tribal tradition says it was; just as
Camelot tends to be located in amateur Arthurian scholars' own post-code
region. (Thanks to Jeff for the parallel).

> Would you be sucked into the Hero Plane?

Odd question. It coexists with the Inner World, to some degree. Are you
"sucked into the Spirit Plane" when you engage in spirit combat? Are you
"sucked into the God Plane" when you worship at your temple? If you can
answer those two questions, then try your own addition to the corpus.

> If someone HQs a myth which represents something which happened in
> the past in _normal_ Glorantha, could they change history or geography?

No, of course not. They would simply be "getting it wrong". Within their own
community of worshippers, they might gain different magical powers (i.e.
they would bring through a "different" version of the otherworld, from their
warped perversion of it, into the established Glorantha we all share) --
like, say, Yelmalio HQers regaining Fire powers, or Yanafal Tarnils becoming
a self-resurrecting Humakti.

But remember that you're talking about someone powerful abusing their
community's backing and the position of mythic trust they hold, choosing
deliberately to pervert the correct outcome of a mythic event and present
this falsehood to their trusting followers. This is *not* very moral, IMO --
you could compare it to nationalist/racist archaeology (cf. Nazi Germany or
indeed India today), or Orwell's "Ministry of Truth", with its ongoing
revision of history, or, stuff it, to almost any form of demagogic

You can try the Big Lie in Glorantha, and excite and empower your followers
that way, but that doesn't make it true. Or nice.

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