History in Glorantha (1981)

Originally published in Cults of Terror.

Table of Contents

    Chaos and Compromise

    History in Glorantha is the sum of events occurring since Time began. Mythical events prior to Time were non-sequential and simultaneous actions happening without the benefit of orderly lineal time.

    Time is the Cosmic Compromise. The world of time is bound by certain laws which the world just follow. If the laws of Time are broken by the world then the impossible has occurred and chaos will re-enter the world. The most impressive display of this came in the Gbaji Wars which concluded the Dawn Age, as detailed later.

    Time permanently separates the gods and their world from the destruction to which they had submitted in the Gods Age They formed the pact to ensure their survival, and the world opted to become stagnant rather than nonexistent. The gods sacrificed all of their freedom in return for immortality. The balance between the extremes of creation and destruction was moderated by cyclical sharing of extremes by the participants. Everything which had been killed in the Gods War had to remain dead one-half of Time, yet also was alive one-half. Thus the world which made up the gods’ bodies was subject to those changes, and the magical energies of the world also followed the flow and pattern. Thus in the winter the earth and fire deities are weak, but in summer the fire gods are most powerful.

    Within the world of Time live other beings, though, who did not share in the Compromise. These are the mortal races who survived. Unlike the gods, the mortals maintained their freedom. They can impose themselves upon the world and change it to a small extent.

    The chaos things surviving the Darkness and Dawning fall into the second category of entities. Few chaos spirits survived enough to become worshipped as deities. Thus, there are few gods of chaos left.

    The mortal races of chaos are more prevalent. They managed to hide in the forgotten places of the world, or to shore themselves up in a few strong points.

    One of the clear distinctions made in the Compromise is that chaos is not of the world. The deities and powers of the world had touched it, and were still afraid of it, and their continued existence required that they remain apart from chaos. Chaos became the enemy which must be fought and suppressed. With one enemy recognized by everyone, the squabbling deities found a common theme for unity.

    The Dawn Age

    The years following the first sunrise saw the surviving races of the world grow and flourish. Lands broken and ruined by the Gods’ War and the Greater Darkness were rejuvenated as the deities reaffirmed themselves within the cold matter of the world. The Dawn Ages began with a calm and wonderful growth reminiscent of the Golden Age.

    After a time of peaceful growth, many cultures collided violently upon their borderlands. Ancient races renewed their primeval conflicts and there was war between trolls, dwarves, and elves again. Human cultures also clashed, as in Peloria between the sun-worshipping horse nomads and the storm-worshipping First Council.

    During this time there is no mention of incursions from chaos except for a couple of monsters which were uniquely immense entities. For instance, the Crimson Bat, already a glowing red spot of horror in the world, was active and making havoc throughout Genertela. It is known at different times to have been driven away by heroes from many civilizations.

    Four primary cultures survived the Darkness to establish dominant cultures. Each originated in one or two places, or were liberated by someone from those places. Each place can be identified as the homeland of one of the four thought-modes mentioned as propounding a view on what chaos was before creation.

    Western Genertela was the source of the humanists. The culture began in the land of Brithos, and was ancient even before time began. It was so old that it had schisms within it even in the Dawn Ages. For instance, the Old Malkioni religion was long forgotten, dead when the god was killed, and instead the Wizards’ secrets gave spiritual mastery and fulfillment for the people, but the dawning of year 2 established the New Malkioni religion — the spiritual support of the Hrestol knights. The two extant cultures expanded into the darkened lands and drove away or absorbed the savages who lurked there. They were a sea-going race, thanks to intimate contact with the race called Waertagi (who tried never to set foot on land). They dominated the regions around the Neliomi Sea, the trade routes into Fronela and Tanisor, and the coasts of Slontos.

    Central Peloria gave birth to the theistic way of life. There the people entered into formal and powerful relations with the intelligences of the universe, and the worshipped gods gave great magics in return, according to the patterns established in the Great Compromise. The Lightbringer peoples led the liberation of Peloria from darkness, meeting the sun-worshipping horse barbarians first, and then the sun-worshipping Dara Happan Empire. Wherever the Lightbringer agents went, these agents of civilization woke the gods and spirits of a region with their worship and magic.

    The god-worshippers also had another source of power in the oceans. The vast spiritual empire of eastern Genertela clung to the mystic secrets of the universe as being the most important. This was another ancient seat of culture whose list of kings was long at the Dawning. These peoples say they were untouched by the Great Darkness, because their powers kept them an island of safety amid the fears of chaos. The dragons are said to have been their teachers; the dragons of Dragon Pass were either worshippers of or proof of the mystical way.

    The naturalists followed the most widespread way of life in Glorantha. They paid worship to local spirits, objects, places, or vague, impersonal, powerful forces. Naturalism is the religion of animals, plants, and spirits. In Pamaltela, the southern continent, this way of existence dominated, and the natives of all races sought to live in a close and simple harmony with their world. In that continent, even many thousands of elves followed this quiet path.

    The expanding cultures of Genertela often encountered indigenous peoples whom they labeled savages and ignorant natives. Despite observer prejudice, these inhabitants were usually were spirit-worshippers of similar outlook to the naturalists, though frequently that outlook would be incomplete or limited.

    In the Dawn Age, these cultures had little contact. Though the borderlands were regions of conflict and synthesis where people broke away from stereotypical world views and integrated new knowledge and experience, there was little penetration of new thinking into the strongholds of belief. The west remained godless and practical, the central lands stayed a land of magical beings and places, and the east was a realm of mystic peace and strange studies. The rest sank in savagery.

    But Dorastor was a different land. Government moved there from Dragon Pass so that the leaders could use the remnants of a civilization discovered there. With its secrets men gained new insights, and many from across the world went there to study.

    They unearthed what they thought to be the secrets of the universe, and a way to determine the truth of the matter. After many debates, the leadership decided to attempt to return the Gods Age to the world by making a god, perfect in every way for ail people, to be named Osentalka the Perfect One.

    As the project began, contention arose with those who were not consulted or ignored; swords flashed in the Hall of Inquiry, regiments clashed in Dorastor, and war broke out in distant provinces. The trolls and dragonewts were especially disgruntled, but their opposition was not sufficient to disrupt the project. Great rituals aided the project, and many spirits were summoned while the gods looked on. Thousands joined in from many countries to lend their power to the project, and the rites went forward with less trouble than theorized.

    Everyone was sure it would be a success.

    The Sunstop

    The year 374 was critical for Glorantha. At that time many synchronous events of tremendous magnitude culminated to force an impossible act to occur.

    In central Genertela, the great Genesis of the Perfect One reached a climax.

    In Fronela, the wizards engaged in a thaumaturgical contest with a powerful heathen god, promising a great sign of their strength to destroy their foes.

    In eastern Genertela, in the land of Kralorela, the latest of the Dragon Emperors meditated upon a potent symbol, whose consequence and inner working was unknown. Without realizing it or not caring about it, he called upon the Dragon’s Eye to shine upon him.

    In Pamaltela, a hundred thousand elves, led by their god of nature called [[Pamalt]], sent their energies coursing through the world to call upon a good spirit to come to their jungle to help combat a virulent rot besetting their inner fibers.

    The sun stopped in the sky.

    None one knows how long it stood there, for that act halted all normal Time. Manuscripts from the west claim that time was different before and after the Sun Stop, but this is not verified. All the mortals of the world looked skyward; the sun did not move from its place, though the people went about their business.

    At first nothing happened, but then dark strands grew bolder in the sky, like huge loops of rope from the western edge of the world, hooked over it tautly. Soon a great dark net was visible, straining to pull the sun back to its path. Strands snapped and unearthly shadows were cast upon the world.

    Then a great dark spot rose into the sky upon the net. This huge bloated shadow flickered with a smokey glow. The shadow crept across the face of the sun, blotting it out and making all the world cold for a moment. A snapping moment of terror pierced the world, then the dark sky-web vanished, and the edge of the sun crept past the shadow. The shadow disappeared and the sun brightened, but everyone thought it looked paler than it had before. Some said it moved differently, too. Thus did the year 375 S.T. dawn.

    In Pamaltela, the heat strengthened the many spirits of that realm. They entered into the jungles, plants, and elves, and combated the rot in their fibers.

    In Kralorela, the Dragon Emperor realized the secrets of the symbol, and was liberated to another stage of consciousness.

    In Fronela, the invading god was struck with weakness; the wizards used their magic to destroy his army, and the soldiers fled in panic, never again to be a great force.

    In Dorastor, there was a birth. Born was Osentalka, the Perfect One. Most called him [[Nysalor]], the White Light, and worshipped him by that name. He was a wonder and a miracle to behold, and the peoples who helped to make him accepted him as a god, and instituted his worship.

    The cult of Nysalor grew peacefully and benevolently; it spread eastward from Dorastor into Peloria, and westward across Kartolin Pass into Ralios. The spread of the cult was kind, and in Peloria many elves developed great fondness for this god of light.

    Against the trolls and dragonewts the cult was harsher. The god Nysalor’s armies carried war to the gates of the Castle of Lead, but instead of storming that impregnable fortress, the god cursed his foes, and the light of his curse shrivelled their children. The descendants of [[Kyger Litor]] everywhere afterwards suffered the Trollkin Curse. The dragonewts were conquered and became mercenaries for the rulers in Dorastor.

    In the west, Nysalor’s proselytizers encountered the monotheists and humanists of the Seshnegi and Brithini cultures, and the new cult was not well-received. But when a plague broke out in Tanisor and spread into Seshnela and Arolanit, the Riddlers of Nysalor were able to heal the plague, and so were often accepted among those peoples.

    Arkat and the Gbaji Wars

    Arkat came from the western land of Brithos. This hero led a long and successful war against the cult of the god Gbaji.

    Some say Arkat’s father was Humakt, the god of war, but the Brithini claim the hero’s father was a barbarian warrior. Whatever the truth, Arkat possessed a powerful weapon before he left the island: the weapon was called God-Cleaver, reputed to be the Unbreakable Sword.

    His mother was driven from home by outraged parents, though none now know why. Arkat grew up among the Aldryami of Brithos. He was raised in his grandfather’s soldier-caste, and proved himself a prodigy in combat. Later, in his youth, he saw the dark side of the foreign cult Gbaji, “the Deceiver.” Because of this Arkat fought well on his island and helped drive the vile religion from the cities. It was here that his life-goal of eradicating the Gbaji cult began.

    As one of the leading soldiers, Arkat accompanied a Brithos expedition attempting to liberate their provinces in Arolanit from the Gbaji influences. Here, though known as the cult of Nysalor, the Gbaji cult gained wide acceptance by curing previously unknown diseases for free. The Brithini wizards discovered, though that the cult actually had planted the diseases in the first place. Such treachery earned Nysalor the new name of Gbaji, and so all his enemies called him thereafter.

    Once freed, the Arolanit city-states volunteered forces to follow Arkat’s army against foreign centers of power, especially in the kingdom of Tanisor. They set off with hope and cheer, but a vampire attack slew many leaders, and the Brithini effort collapsed when routed in one sharp battle. Arkat had no forces to fulfill his vow to destroy the cult. He realized that the Brithini caste structure made impossible efficient use of the forces available. He found new allies in Seshnela.

    The Gbaji cult plagued the powerful kingdom of Seshnela at the time. Arkat raised and organized strong local forces to resist and drive off the cult.

    There he also began to train to become a full Knight of Hrestol. In these years he uncovered the first clues to heroquesting, though making no great advance in the art. He became a great knight quickly, and led a splendid army against Tanisor.

    Tanisor was a traditional enemy of Seshnela. When the Gbaji cult was driven out of Seshnela, they found refuge in Tanisor and swelled the army there, but to no avail. After several years of fighting, the capital was besieged and taken, and even the famous Vampire Legion was destroyed by Arkat.

    Moving deeper into Ralios, Arkat and his army found that many barbarian nations and non-humans had embraced the cult. Since non-humans were uncommon in Seshnela and Brithos, the invaders called the forces arrayed against them the League of Monsters, using the word krjalki to describe their non-human enemies as a single group. In their ignorance, much of the army thought that the krjalki were mutated monsters who had long sold themselves to chaos.

    During Arkat’s struggle in Ralios, diverse forces aided him. Wizards obeyed him, contrary to their tradition for mistrusting knights. Many tribes of heathens followed too, despite their dislike of Malkioni monotheism. One by one the strongholds fell until the forces were concentrated in the eastern part of Ralios, especially the City of Wolves and the fortress of Kartolin.

    The Telmori nation, which worshipped wolves, ruled the City of the Wolves. In taking a taint of chaos to strengthen themselves, they had become a race of werewolves. They commanded the High Llama Pass between Ralios and Fronela. Kartolin fortress commanded the Kartolin Pass between Ralios and Dorastor. Though his efforts against Kartolin failed, Arkat did storm the City of Wolves and put everything to the sword. Though pockets of survivors still hide there and the place still has their name, the Telmori as a people were driven from the land, and afterwards too from Fronela, this last by Talor the Laughing Warrior. They then began their long trek across the continent, to end only when they reached the edge of the impassable deserts.

    While in Ralios, Arkat learned much of the heroquesting art. This method of spiritual conquest and growth was known previously, but none had the knowledge and power to explore and exploit the possibilities. Arkat made many incursions into the spirit world to gain magical tools and allies against the cult he had sworn to eradicate. Sometimes he failed and suffered greatly from these quests, such as when a poisoned magical spear was turned in its flight and struck him in the foot. This wound plagued him long after. After many years of effort and thousands of lives and souls wasted, Arkat left an army before Kartolin and sought a new approach to the strongholds of the cult in Dorastor.

    Peloria knew Gbaji as Nysalor or Osentalka. There this god was widely known and accepted as a benevolent god of light and power by the natives, and their worship of him had gained them peace and plenty in return. The Pelorians afterwards would view this period as the Golden Peace. As the wars drew closer, they gladly provided money and soldiers. Those armies were first used against the races which had betrayed the council and walked out on the creation of Gbaji. especially the trolls (who suffered the tragic Trollkin Curse from Nysalor) and the dragonewts (who had been humbled and forced into servitude). Some humans also fought against the cult, especially at the fringes of his influence, such as Dragon Pass or the northern horse steppes.

    In one great journey through the quavering realms of mythology in search of a liberator, a band of Lightbringers eventually found their way to Seshnela and to Arkat. They convinced him that he could approach Dorastor through Dragon Pass, and that he could find powerful allies there to help him. They also provided him important details about his magical sword and who had made it. Arkat decided to break with his knightly position and to join the cult of Humakt, the god whom people said was his father. These acts endeared him to many residents of the lands he approached.

    Arkat and a western army landed in the Shadowlands, Later called the Holy Country. There they were aided by many islanders, and a great army of trolls rose to help him. Surprised by this inhuman aid, he took it immediately and it was well that he did, for the troll anti-chaos powers were instrumental in breaking the army flowing out of Snake Pipe Hollow against him. The region was cleared after much pain and blood, as a year later the cult of Gbaji/Nysalor was driven from Dragon Pass. An army of dragonewts joined to help.

    The further struggles in Peloria were painful and difficult, and Arkat lost as many battles as he won. His western allies dwindled, replaced by Orlanthi barbarians and trolls. Arkat noted the troll successes and chose to align himself with them more closely. He first joined the cult of Kyger Litor, taking the name Kingtroll, then joined Zorak Zoran as well to bring mighty devastation against his foes.

    This last act horrified many, especially the Lightbringers who had brought him to central Genertela and who now saw their quest a failure since they had brought darkness instead of light. The survivors set off again to find proper help. The Humakti were shocked to see their once-revered leader acting trollish, ordering the devastation of cities and fields to destroy his enemy. Already depleted and demoralized, many westerners returned home with sad and fearful stories of their leader becoming a bloodthirsty krjalki like the foes he once had fought to eradicate. But all the while Arkat’s army inched forward, taking land, city, and fortress, devouring life and leaving little behind.

    Arkat left no part of Dorastor untouched. His remaining armies dissolved in the increasingly awesome struggles that broke the land and drove chaos from it. Both Arkat and Nysalor summoned mighty heroes and demigods to aid in their last fight. Finally, atop the Tower of Dreams, amid the City of Miracles, the two opponents met in single combat as all existence seemed to shatter around them. The city was turned to dust and poison, killing many of the greatest still surviving. From the ruins only Arkat emerged, and the downfall of Nysalor was complete, and he now was known only as Gbaji the Deceiver. The defamed god was dismembered, and his parts were buried in different places beneath many tons of rock and much powerful magic.

    After the battle Arkat was no longer a troll, or so said his friends, and so did many trolls. The war against Gbaji had lasted 75 years; now Arkat retired to quiet lands in Ralios which he had admired in his younger days. There he cleared a simple farmstead and kept the area around it under his watchful eye for his other 75 years. In Ralios the region is known as Arkat’s Peace. After the war was over and people talked about the events, they always wondered how Arkat could be so lucky against the various cult spirits of retribution, and they wondered where his sword went, and they agreed that he was strong-willed and severe in his dealings.

    People in Peloria said that Nysalor’s reign was a wonderful time, and thought it had been much like the Golden Age. But when people tried to sacrifice to the god to help him with prayers, there was no response, and so they also said he was dead.

    The cult of Gbaji was ended. Those of Peloria who had revered Nysalor returned to their simpler, older gods, but ever afterward held bitterness against the demigod Arkat, who had destroyed a friend.

    The Second Age

    The years of the Second Age are ca. 500 ST to 1100 ST. The final years of this age vary by region, most concluding with whatever local disaster overthrew their civilization. Despite the cataclysms at the end of the age, there was little at its start to forebode doom ahead.

    The forces of chaos enjoyed little success at this time.

    Two great schools of investigation existed in the Second Age. One originated in the far east and became a popular mystical religion which created new horizons of magic. The political form of this religion was the Empire of the Wyrms Friend, the Dragonlords. The vast energies for maintaining this type of magic severely oppressed many peoples. and after a time they no longer believed that their leaders could return the Golden Age to them, and began revolting. Aided by foreign gods. the rebellions spread, and destroyed the Empire of the Wyrms Friends in 1042.

    In three generations the peoples of the world took upon themselves the eradication of the dragonewts and their kin, in vengeance for their oppression during the Empire. In 1120, the True Golden Horde entered the nesting ground of Dragon Pass. There they met a world full of dragons, come to their home from across space and time for the sake of their souls. Few humans escaped from this Pelorian disaster, which brought new respect to the ancient races.

    The second line of investigation was from the God Learners. Their secrets were a synthesis culled from many diverse cultures which brought about new types of magic. Cleverly exploiting the similarities and differences in all that they found, creating grand and grandiose devices or magical spells, they wove the four modes of magic into one etheric cloth of powers and energies which seemed to envelope the cosmos.

    They achieved special freedom not available before to god or mortal, making new realizations, devising measurements and recordings, and computing and testing their results among the world of the gods. The two accompanying texts (Fragment from the Lost Book of Salonar Tamaskil and On the Nature of Chaos) show some examples of their thinking and cast further light upon some of the mysteries of chaos.

    The god learners pioneered our understanding of the spirit plane. They knew of the travels of Arkat, and of others before him who did not often realize what they did. The god learners standardized many myths and methods for reaching to the secrets of the gods. They went into the mysterious Other Side to retrieve legendary artifacts or to view cosmic events which had been forgotten. They were accomplished mages, and several among them were noted as heroes of iater ages.

    Analogous to the god learners in the political sphere was the Middle Sea Empire, also called the Jrusteli Empire for the island from which they emerged. They dominated the sea after driving off the Waertagi shipbuilders. They rarely took a region, but seized individual cities or established colonies, then let their overwhelming culture infiltrate and take advantage of whatever outlets were available. They ruled almost all of the important coastal regions of Glorantha in the Second Age.

    They fell because they bent Nature too much to their own ends. The forces of the old world and the old gods made abrupt changes which destroyed the newcomers. The brooding Waertagi struck suddenly and sank not only ships but lands as well. The Kralori lands mustered great mental powers and drove their oppressors into the ports first, then flushed them from the land altogether. The lands of Seshnela, Jrustela, and Slontos were sunk beneath the sea, and Brithos disappeared also.

    A curse swept across the sea, making it impossible to pass over the surface of the oceans. This also destroyed much of the Waertagi strength; they claim this treachery was by Zzabur, ancient wizard of Brithos. Coupled with the great lands lost to the sea. this was a mortal blow to civilization, and the coasts were abandoned. Power shifted to the interior of the continents for the next age.

    Where Arkat settled and retired, there developed a powerful and dangerous country, called the Kingdom of Arkat by its peoples and the Dark Empire by its foes. The nation deserved both names. It conquered with quick success or used horrible magics to subdue, punish, and destroy. Though benevolent when untroubled, the Dark Empire was cruel when provoked. The Jrusteli helped conquer the Empire while aiding their relatives, the Seshnegi. The Jrusteli were quick to share in the plunder, and many saw afterwards parts from the Dark Empire in the Jrusteli secrets.

    The memory of the Dark Empire survived in parts of Ralios. That is often a land of city-states strung along the fertile rivers, and they revere the name of and worship Arkat. But to many afterwards, the name and memory of Arkat was considered a curse, and they looked upon the Gbaji Wars as the thrashings of two detestable foes.

    No cry of chaos or uprising from the ooze dismayed the world. The great lands were sunk, Brithos’ curse swept the seas clear, and then the dragons slew thousands in self-defense. The Second Age was over.

    The Third Age

    The coasts soon became abandoned and mysterious. The great ports became darkened and ruined troll haunts. Though rivers were friendly, no sailor could bear to sail the sea.

    In the west, Tanisor ruled in the south, heir to refugees from broken Seshnela and mistress of the great river system into Ralios. The kingdom of Loskalm prospered in Fronela, controlling a great peaceful bay. The city-states squabbled, fought hill barbarians and krjalki, or temporarily united against Tanisor. In Peloria, the tired eastern duchies trembled before mounted barbarians, while the west knew peace. In Kralorela, the ancient mystics lived on, spreading benevolent peace for the submissive farmers and stirring unspoken passions among the richer classes.

    In 1220 ST, great stirrings in the world centered in the land of Peloria, presaging an event which would utterly change the spread of chaos across the world. It was the birth of the Red Goddess. The birth was a long-wrought magical spell completed with the extraordinary event. Some say that the goddess was a shattered spirit from the Gods Age who was resurrected by the Seven Mothers. No one knows her parents.

    The unearthly powers of the Red Goddess stirred fear and mistrust from the peoples and deities about her, and her early life was a time of battle and victory. Her battle was temporal at first, then she entered into a great heroquest to find herself and her secret inner powers. She was gone for years; her lands fell into disrepair as enemies slowly crushed them. At last she reappeared, this time leading the Crimson Bat, and she spread terror before her. Afterwards, with the Bat and her army, she spread her conquests.

    Because her growth was unprecedented and because she was blatantly connected with chaos, the Red Goddess’ growth stirred the ancient powers of the elder gods. After destroying the kingdom of Carmania, she warred with a race of magical beings at a place called Castle Blue. The old gods were drawn into the conflict, mustered to dispel this eruption of chaos from the universe. The world seemed torn apart, but when it was remade the goddess was victorious. In mystic struggles and arcane judgments she had proved herself a part of the world of Glorantha, unable to be cast out by the greatest powers and magics. Shortly afterwards she took upon herself the great piece of earth which is now the Crater, and ascended into the sky, where she is now visible as the Red Moon.

    The Red Goddess met and overcame some strange deities in her heroquest, and these are said to be part of her source of odd powers. These gods include Arachne Solara and Nysalor, and philosophers say she also is intimate with Time. These are all strange powers to the gods of the world, and many still fear and mistrust her.

    Happily the Red Goddess in no way condones the widespread worship of chaos entities which follow the ways of the Devil and fall into moral depravity. The religion and state do not forbid it, either, as required by their philosophy. The rulers are adroit at manipulating the results if people do fall into the ways of chaotic gods. Lunar history contains lessons of generals and priests gone bad, and point them out as bad examples.

    By its faith, the Lunar Empire must accept chaos in philosophy and make use of it as necessary. The Crimson Bat is an example of how this can be done, as may be the vampire regiment rumored training in the mountains. Yet many Lunar heroes gained fame by killing vampires or smashing the slave heads of Thanatar. The awareness of the educated or sensitive concerning the proximity of chaos makes them acutely aware of their dire responsibilities. The teachings of the Red Goddess, though passionate and fierce, strongly admonishes against certain temptations.

    The Lunar Empire has grown powerful and effective. It has conquered most of Peloria, and nibbles the borders to push beyond, but the final effect of its cults and temptations is yet to be seen. Foreigners are uncertain about what has been brewing inside the imperial borders. Lunar citizens, content in the fruitfulness and peace of the Empire, are often blind to what they might see. Even the Red Goddess, known as the Mistress of Time, is blind to the future.

    Philosophers say it is time for a new cataclysm to end the world age, as seems to occur every 500 years. Others see the gods and spirits drawing closer, as the powers of certain men attain godly stature.

    It is the start of the times when the world is pushed to excess and it is time for hard reckonings. Powers are stirring to make a stand. Old foes have strength for new troubles.

    It is the start of the Hero Wars.

    For more information on Gloranthan history, see also:

    A Prax-centric History

    History of the Lunar Empire: Timeline

    Introduction to Glorantha: Mythology and History

    Fragment from the Lost Book of Salonar Tamaskil

    …of high crown [major importance] concerning the hordes of the Divine Fear may be that the Four Horrors of the Long Night [the Great Darkness] could have been the Four Origins turned into and through themselves, as a glove may be when first it is sewn and then it is worn. Mark that the inside of a glove may be smooth, yet the outside be rough. So might it be that this Plane is the same and yet different, perhaps not just once but many times, for all things will have a start, a stop, and a new beginning. The forces do set well in balance.

    The Void less than nothing, formless beyond emptiness, became the Wasteworld, the concealer of demons.

    The Prime Mover, that natural force never missing, dissolved to Kajabor God-Killer.

    The Silence, the wonder of the world to come, became the Howling Rage, the Mountain Stabber.

    The Well of Wonder [the Primal Plasma faded from a butterfly to the worm, then to the grey Gorpgod, whose waves lapped upon creation and ate it away.

    This I see as tragic, but not tainted with the evil which came but from Wakboth the Devil at origin; the tears of the world come in this way: that which was beautiful and good outside this Plane became foul and fearsome brought once to us.

    translated by Greg Stafford

    On the Nature of Chaos

    [Our] philosophers deduce chaos to be the passionate refusal to recognize the limits of the natural and moral universe. It is part of the mortal condition that this limitation should be vital to a decent life for any of us, but in extreme it is manifested in the so-called chaotic creatures in whom it is virtually the sole passion. Chronic discontent with the limited world therefore causes the chaotic creature to … despise life and the limited happiness it yields when compared to the possibilities of transcending the world. The chaotic are arrogant: they want to be in the world, but not of it.

    This passionate refusal has odd consequences. Whereas a man might decide to commit murder for financial or moral reasons, the chaotic being will consider murder because it is forbidden, and he cannot endure being forbidden to act. This refusal of the chaotic to so submit allows him to draw upon the Power of primordial chaos, and thereby partially transcend the rules of the world. Yet those rules still determine the chaotic’s actions: you or I must obey the laws, because they are the laws; the chaotic must disobey the laws, because they are the laws. Since even the most powerful chaotic cannot defy all laws at once, they feel forever enslaved by all those checks on their freedom. The true chaotic, such as the two-headed dragonsnail, must be then both miserable on Glorantha and a menace to the societies of it, and a warrior does both the afflicted being and all of us a favor by killing it.

    …Chaotic features are the consequence of a particular combination of feelings and … philosophy characteristic of a chaotic spirit, and could not be induced in you or I by anything less than attunement of a cursed crystal. Less intimate connections, such as the ability of some to converse mentally may allow thoughts and feelings to be known, but does not alter the personality structure….

    translation by Ray Turney

    Related Pages