So how do we play Illumination ?

Submitted by Herve on Wed, 25/07/2012 – 16:39

My humakti character, Silkinister, has been intensely looking into the Void under the bridge to deepest hell in the Orlmarthi campaign. He watched as the tiger-headed giant demon, which we had knocked off the bridge into Nothing, dissolved away. And he Saw. Things. Then he went off to kill ikadz, as he had vowed to. And he eventually came out of hell.

Now I’d like to make him an Illuminant to compensate his very morbid nature. But how do we play Illumination these days? The ILH2 rules feel too mechanic, and too complicated. Do we have “official policy” ? I’ll also take all of your unofficial impressions. It’s all about MGF to me.


from some time back…

Submitted by Charles on Sat, 28/07/2012 – 12:25.

See Humakt Illuminated? [need relinking to article]

My take on this: there are many paths to transcendance and Draconic, Nysalorean or Lunar Illumination are just a few of the better known (among fans). In the Hero Wars rules, there was an attempt to provide mechanics for this with Secrets and Great Secrets. But what you discover in play is more important than da rulz!

What do you (as the player) want? What does the GM want? How devoted to Humakt is the hero (both in play and in applicable ratings)? Is that sufficient for Humakt to allow the hero to take another major step towards Humakt? Or is it sufficient for Humakt to intervene to prevent the potential loss of a worshiper to chaos?


The way to humakti Illumination

Submitted by Herve on Sat, 28/07/2012 – 14:32.

Thanks to y’all for taking the time to anwer. I like the suggestion about discovering how one can sever chaos from Glorantha, i.e. removing the chaotic taint from a living creature, a.k.a. killing chaos. That’s a new one. Which’d fit very well with our upcoming telmori adventures: I see removing their chaos taint as the key for them to live peacefully close to nice, civilized sartarites.

My humakti is a lunar hater with a very deep (19M) connection to the power of death, the first (and only) member of the newly-reformed Household of Death, guided by the ghost of Harsaltar the Terrible. I love playing this morbid maniac, but am also looking an exotic touch which would make him different from all other killer fanatics.

I’ll talk to my GM about Severing Chaos…


Submitted by David on Thu, 26/07/2012 – 07:28.

Illumination in HeroQuest is most likely a narrative / Storytelling thing, not an absolute mechanical rule.

There are two types: Draconic and Nysalorian, with IIRC, Draconic being more common, and the Lunars being the home of Nysalorian type.

In the Lunar religion gaining the Black Moon Phase signifies illumination, I would suggest that you can buy it with your Hero points, but with the usual HQ byline – after overcoming a major plot point: “the candidate’s personal world view will be deliberately and consciously assaulted by Immortals, Demons and the Universe.”

I see it being run much like a Pendragon Solo, with the other players taking roles within it (not with their heroes) – a one off scenario.

Off the top of my head, occlusion is probably treated as a flaw at the same value as the Moon rune.

Becoming a lunar shaman will also result in your illumination – the Black Moon Phase Lunes being their fetch.

Perhaps gaining the Dragon rune signifies Draconic illumination.


David Scott


The only official

Submitted by metcalph on Thu, 26/07/2012 – 01:39.

The only official illumination out there is Lunar Magic in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure, which treats them as the Lunar equivalent of Devotees.

Based on that I would suggest that Nysaloran Illumination probably uses a Light Rune for its effects.

There’s also the possibility that your humakti is not illuminated as such but has received some transcedental insight from Humakt (ref a very old Q&A about whether Humakt is illuminated).  In this case, I would base his awareness on his death rune to reflect his fave quotation of the Bhagavad Gita.  If she was an Ulerian, it would be based on the fertility rune.

As for magical effects, this is entering speculation.

I would treat “illuminate” abilities in terms of insights.  These aren’t magical powers in terms of spells, affinities or charms but special abilities not available to normal worshippers. Normally they don’t need a contest to take effect but if one is needed then the “illumination rune” ranking is needed.

Nysaloran insights are pretty much well defined in glorantha (ie The Gods are Not Real gives ignore cults of reprisal, or the Battle Between Law and Chaos is an Illusion gives do not register on a detect chaos magic or ability)

I did give the Lunars special unity insights but this didn’t make it into the final text.  For example Irrippi Ontor sages could participate in the rituals of other knowledge cultists without magical reprisal (mundane reprisals are another matter).  This type of insight had its limits, for example Yanafali could not participate in the rites of Humakt).

For your Humakti based on his experiences, the insight might be to use his death rune to sever the link between chaos and glorantha (ie amputate a chaotic feature from a chaotic horror) and so forth.  If he had another mind-blowing experience involving death, then he might earn another insight.


Severing Chaos

Submitted by Herve on Sun, 29/07/2012 – 05:52.

So both my GM and I are OK to try out Monsieur Metcalfe’s idea of Silkinister’s impromptu, raw, half-understood Illumination giving him the power to Sever Chaos from a living being. We’re working on the specifics, but we’ll probably try something like :

– it only works on volunteers, who expose willingly themselves to the Blade

– if its fails, they die according the “Pyhrric victory” rule (it’s VERY easy to die) ; perhaps Silkinister dies along

The point is to make use of this universe-bending power very, very dangerous, and only undertaken after much (agonized ?) thought.

What d’you think ?


I think using it only on

Submitted by metcalph on Mon, 30/07/2012 – 23:14.

I think using it only on volunteers introduces a modern notion of free will and redemption which isn’t what Humakt is about.  Orlanth did not submit himself to be killed by Humakt for the Good of the Cosmos, he was an evil murderer who needed to be executed (Orlanth’s worshippers disagree but they are clearly nursing bruised egos).  Humakt isn’t the person for agonizing over difficult decisions, he kills without mercy.

Second I don’t think it’s possible to sever all chaos from a given being.  What I was suggesting was that the Humakti could negate a chaotic feature by severing it from its holder.  If a Broo had an instant regeneration that made it almost impossible to kill then Silkinister might attempt his special cut to remove that feature from the Broo.  The Broo would still be alive and chaotic with its other features intact but it could no longer regenerate like crazy and thus be killable.


Severing chaos

Submitted by Herve on Sat, 25/08/2012 – 13:12.

Your point about Humakt not caring much about people “volunteering” for his touch is strong – we’ll probably drop that. As for “one slash severs one chaotic feature for some time”, why not? But it wasn’t my aim. My aim was for Silkinister to use this ablity to help the telmori getting rid of their chaotic were-nature – a major step in our campaign is to solve the telmori problem in the name of Sartar.


The sword is always a good way to solve the Telmori problem

Submitted by RoM on Fri, 31/08/2012 – 03:02.

The sword is always a good way to solve the Telmori problem. 🙂

Sorry, I had to say that.