I’ve been thinking of Glorantha as a four-dimensional setting. So three dimensions is pretty easy to get – we have geography, culture, and time, right? I’ve done a lot of posts about that recently.
So the fourth dimension is how magic-mythology intersects with all of that.
The magical nature of Glorantha is not culturally determined. If anything it is the opposite – culture is derived from our experience of the divine. Heck, that’s there in the word “culture”. So we might have experiences that give us the myth of Orlanth’s contests with Yelm, but there is a core archetype of the Storm killing the Sun in Glorantha’s cosmology.
This “fourth dimension” affects the other dimensions, and all interact with each other. But at a certain point it is also its own thing – there is a Glorantha cosmological structure independent of geography, mortals, and history.
This was a big part of what the God Learners were striving to understand. The monomyth allows us to see the contours of Glorantha’s cosmological structure through our own myths and stories. But it is a model for understanding Glorantha – that’s its biggest limitation.
The idea that the magic-mythology dimension is its own thing, undergirding the cosmos, is a hard thing for us moderns to grasp. Remember that the God Time is not the past – it is also the now. It is the endless.
If you think of the God Time just as “history before the Dawn” – you miss something very important. The God Time established Time. It undergirds it. It is why the Sun sets, and why it rises too. And it is recurring eternally.
Now if I am playing or running RQ, do I NEED to try to keep this 4 dimensional model in my head? The answer is of course not. I don’t really need to worry about any of the dimensions if I don’t want. But they are there, behind the scenes, behind the rules, to be used whenever I want. That’s the real richness of the setting.