Chaos Gods – forms of worship

Submitted by Roland Volz on Mon, 30/07/2012 – 10:09

I apologize in advance if this has been hashed out before, but I’mworking on potentially running my first HQ campaign in the near futureand want to iron out the areas where my understanding is lacking. I rana long-running RQ3 campaign using the excellent products from AH and ampretty good on Gloranthan cosmology; where I’m probably lacking iswrapping my head around the HQ2 versions of things.My understanding of “worshipped” (if that word can be applied) Chaosentities is that they transgress the boundaries of the threeOtherworlds. This would seem to me to make their “worship” resemble themixed entities presented in Under the Red Moon, where Cacodemon might(for example) have theistic and animistic elements drawn by those whofollow him. While Thed, Bagog, and Malia probably seem fullyanimistic, Vivamort and Thanatar might have theistic, animistic, andsorcerous elements. Does that make sense? Am I way off base?I’m trying to convert one or two of the Big Bad Guys from my priorcampaign to the new edition to surprise a few players who will haveplayed in both.Roland

Submitted by Nils on Mon, 06/08/2012 – 09:12.

IMG chaos worship looks like the most common form of worship in the area, but really isn’t. You get magic that looks like sorcery, spirits etc. but which really isn’t. You perform a perversion of religious rites, get a twisted reward, but that is all there is to it. You do not get a real community and no afterlife.

Submitted by metcalph on Mon, 30/07/2012 – 23:53.

It’s unclear what version of HQ you are using.  Under the Red Moon is HQ1 but you are asking about HQ2?In any case, the cults of HQ1 and HW were too rigid in terms of the three otherworlds.  In HQ2, Lhankor Mhy gives spells and affinities, Odayla gives affinities and charms and they are not all that unusual in doing so.  Rather than ask whether a given cult of deity has theistic and animistic elements, I think it wiser to ask what sort of magic you think their worshippers should have.Do they cast spells?  If so, they are sorcerous.Do they use charms and have shamans?  If so, they are animistic.Is their magic given to them by an evil deity?  Then they are theists.As a rough guess, I would say that Vampires only use spells because Vivamort has no higher self that can bestow magic on his worshippers while Krarsht, Cacodemon and Pocharngo are Theists.  Thed, Bagog and Malia are animistic.  Thanatar, I think, is a special case being a fusion of Orlanthi Headhunting (Than theism) and Atyari Sorcery.  There are purists who practice either headhunting or sorcery but most cultists practice both.

Submitted by davecake on Mon, 27/08/2012 – 13:48.

I agree that the less rigid cults of HQ2 are welcome. But most chaotic cults (with a few notable exceptions like Thanatar, which is most definitely a special case) are developed enough to deal with more than one kind of magic. I’d agree with all the examples Peter mentions. It is possible that Vivamort has some of his old Divine Magic stealing powers, and maybe there is more than one path to vampirism, but classic Vivamort certainly seems to be sorcerous (and originate in the West). The real question is, I guess, could you access these entities through other forms of magic than the usual, and does this happen? I think with chaos it is surely possible, and it probably happens from time to time. I can see chaos sorcerers managing to contact entities associated with other powers, etc.

Submitted by metcalph on Tue, 28/08/2012 – 02:09.

I’ve never seen a convincing myth or metaphysical explanation as to why Vivamort should have divine magic stealing powers.  The RQ2 writeup looks to me like an unconvincing game-mechanic  more than anything else.
As to accessing chaotic deities through other forms of magic than the usual, you really have to give specific examples of what you mean.  The deities are fixed in what they can do – Vivamort isn’t going to be handing out charms to warped shamans.

Submitted by davecake on Tue, 28/08/2012 – 04:46.
Well, a game mechanic isn’t an argument without some weight. And the divine magic stealing mechanic has a lot of game value in terms of flexibility it gives to vampires as opponents. But I don’t find a metaphysical/mythic explanation at all difficult – if divine magic is about who you are, a change to your very self, and vampires steal part of that self, why can’t they use it as you do? Or to put it another way, Vivamort ‘used his demonic abilities to rip Power from the harried gods’ (to quote CoT), and the worshipper is a conduit to the god, so why shouldn’t Vivamort give his worshippers the ability to rip a little divine power through that conduit?I agree Vivamort isn’t going to be handing out charms to warped shamans, but we all seem to agree Vivamort is a special case. But the idea of divine sacrifice to Malia, or Pocharngo allowing a shaman to contact a range of weird chaotic spirits, or a shaman controlling Krarshtides? A grimoire that allows the summoning (and in theory control) of Cacodemons demonic servants? None of that seems particularly problematic to me.

Submitted by metcalph on Tue, 28/08/2012 – 05:13.

How does a Vampire get to control what is effectively personal between you and your god?  Wouldn’t your god have some idea about who was casting your magic at that particular time.  “Oh I see that Nosferatu has stolen my high priest’s sunspear but I’m going to answer his call because….”  I can’t think of a convincing explanation.
Secondly the lack of a mythical explanation is in addition to the lack of a metaphysical explanation.  There’s no reason given as to how Vivamort should be able to such magic whereas we are given chapter and verse on why vampires cannot cross running water, have trouble with sun light and fear crosses.  The draining magic also does not fit in with the concept of a vampire (even allowing for exotic types such as hopping vampires) and in this day and age looks incredibly cheesy.  It adds nothing to a vampiric foe in terms of being a vampire.
As for the other examples of chaotic magic; Malia isn’t a chaotic deity, Pocharngo doesn’t give out chaotic spirits but gorp and mutation magic while Krarshtides are not spirits but lesser gods.   Summoning and controlling cacodemons is something that can be done through regular wizardry.For the variation you seem to be wanting, it seems to me easier just to create a special demon or spirit and have it associated with the main cult rather than make some unnecessary invocation about chaotic magic.

stolen divine magic, thanatari heads

Submitted by Joerg Baumgartner on Fri, 07/09/2012 – 07:35.
If a Thanatari head retains the ability to perform its magic, why shouldn’t a signigicant piece of a soul have a similar ability?

Submitted by metcalph on Fri, 07/09/2012 – 17:20.
The magic being referred to is not the Victim’s magic but the God’s.   Hence a similar objection applies.  It’s easier to overcome in HQ2 because Thanatar specifically has the ability to take heads and use their power.  With Vivamort, the ability was apparently given as a powergaming afterthought and is not intrinsically bound up with the idea of being a vampire.


Submitted by David on Tue, 28/08/2012 – 03:45.
As Peter said no convincing explanations. When CoT came out, it was a fantastic resource for its time. However our understanding of Glorantha has moved on, and retrospectively Vivamort in CoT was just a way of shoe-horning vampires into Glorantha.
I believe there are probably four types types of vampire: Spirit based ones, Theistic based ones, Wizardry based ones, and those that exist for the plot alone and so don’t need much mechanical defining under HQ2. The first three types may have minor powers that spill over into other types of magic. So a Theistic vampire might have some spirit powers or wizardry. But most will be unique creatures, without any formal magical cult to back them them up, except what they have made others do themselves. I’d say vivamort is just a universal word (godlearner?) for something that has to drain life from others to live, something that has gone bad, and maybe chaotic and or illuminated.
More interesting is the legion of vampires that the lunars have, how do they work? How are they able to reproduce the “vampire” effect. Where they created by the lunars or is it something they found and adapted. Are chosen soldiers sent off to become vampires or are they created. Are they Lunar vampires dependent on glamours?
Also springing to mind was the scenario in in Tales of the Reaching Moon by Steve Thomas in which vampirism was a corruption of the orlanthi hospitality rituals (I may have mis-remembered that one).
David Scott

Submitted by metcalph on Tue, 28/08/2012 – 05:31.

I’m a bit cautious about dividing the vampires along otherside lines – I prefer these days to divide them up by pantheon lines; hence Nontraya for the Orlanthi, Vivamort for the Westerners, Arlu for Vithela.
For Pelorian Vampires, the nearest I can find is the Entekosiad in which various gods are abusing themselves to become Logicians, Incompletes and Ravagers.  Vampirism sounds like a variation of Ravagers (which must be said could also include other forms of human monsters such as Ogres or Ghouls) as they are said to force others to “agree” with them.  So the Ravager may be existential vampires, feeding not off blood and souls but faith in the gods.
I think the Lunar Vampires are a synthetic tradition working of the Vivamort, Nontrayan and Ravager traditions backed up by whatever twisted lunar philosohy they have.

Submitted by Roland Volz on Tue, 31/07/2012 – 13:11.
Thank you kindly for your response! Of course, I have HQ1 – it honestly didn’t occur to me that there might have been such massive changes between editions! I’ll have to pick up HQ2 then; probably the Sartar bundle, for efficiency, since that means most likely my beloved (and well-thumbed) Thunder Rebels and Storm Tribe have been superseded. I’m thinking Lhankor Mhy likely has far more spells than he used to, and Urox’s secret has probably been changed…Are there still misapplied worship modifiers? Alien world modifiers? Seems I have to wrap my head around more than just some cosmology.

Simplified HQ 2 worships
Submitted by Herve on Tue, 31/07/2012 – 15:14.
Do pick HQ 2 and read it : no more misapplied worship, MUCH simpler opposition rules (NO MORE action points bids !), it’s a different, simpler game. Which allows you to focus on the story.
If it’s about chaotic nasties’ worshipper, I have a specific, Illuminated point of view about Chaos. What most people call “chaos” is in fact the universe being torn and violated by contact with the Void, or Entropy, or Prima Materia or whatever you call it : the perfectly inert yet fertile with all possibilities raw material of creation, surrounding the fragile bubble that is Glorantha from all sides. Sometimes it seeps in the bubble, which reacts to keep it out – voilà, you get chaotic manifestations.
Twisted humans and monsters try to harness this power and “worship” such anomalies. Enligthened societies, like the kralori and lunars, can and do recognized the difference between these manifestations, which must be destroyed, and the Infinite Prima Materia, which should be left alone…
As for theistic, animist or wizardly magics – none of them apply to chaos. It’s all that, sometimes together, but perverted by exposure to the Void. Just write in the effects it has on the PCs and that’s that !

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