So one thing that should be obvious about Malkionism compared to other cults – it is primarily a philosophical system, rather than a connection with a god or spirit. The Invisible God is out of reach – that’s why it is called that. The Invisible God provides no magic in return for worship, any more than Arachne Solara or Glorantha do.
Now wait, you might ask, Malkion laid down all sorts of rules for mortals to survive in the world, taught several simple prayers to the Invisible God, and was in contact with the Invisible God – doesn’t that mean something? Yes, it does – and through Zzabur, Malkion shows that mortals don’t even need gods or spirits to wield the magic, they can use sorcery to make the cosmos serve mortal needs.
Malkion organized humanity into four castes:
- The workers. That’s the people who do all the work and support everyone else. Farmers, herders, crafters, and you name it. But like most philosophers, Malkion doesn’t spend a lot of time on the workers except to say that they need to be find fulfilment in their tasks. They exist to labor.
- The soldiers. That’s the people who fight the enemies of the community. They exist to fight.
- The wizards. That’s the people who spend their lives learning sorcery and using it for the benefit of the community. They exist to use sorcery.
- The rulers. That’s the people who negotiate between the castes, resolve disputes, and interact with outsiders. They exist to rule.
Malkionism has usually co-existed with divine and spirit cults. The Talar Froalar mated with the goddess Seshna Likita and their child Yrealm the Serpent-Legged became the Sacred Lord of Seshnela. Seshna Likita, the Storm God, Magasta, Neliom, etc. all were popular cults. Throughout the First Age, Seshnela was a mix of Invisible God worshipping wizards, divine and spirit cults, Hrestoli “knights”, and rulers that treated this like an a la carte buffet.
But in game, if you are a Malkioni you are either:
- A wizard, who uses sorcery exclusively.
- Someone else, who uses a combination of spirit magic and Rune magic (from Ancestor worship, caste appropriate cults, hero cults, etc.), and is buffed by sorcery cast by a wizard.
A good example of a Malkioni hero cult (Ascended Master) is that of Xemela.
Xemela was born in Brithos in the God Time, and there married Froalar, son of Talar, son of Malkion. When Froalar voluntarily went into exile, she followed with their children, Hrestol and Penela, accepting the new land of Formal with her usual grace and charm. Like her husband, she had a strong sense of duty as a member of the noble class, and it was this which drove her to be a voluntarily sacrifice to the Darkness Gods during the Greater Darkness. When she learned that the entire populace was threatened, she gave herself to save her people. For this noble act, she was rewarded with divine powers within the Underworld, and was thereafter the protectress against Darkness, and worshiped as such by the entire land.
“… for the benefit of the community….”? In game examples frequently show benefit of personal power alone, yes? I am curious about the benefit to others. I am a wizard, I need others to support me. I need to study, time to cast spells, etc. As a Malkioni I am entitled to the support of the community – the quid pro quo is I need to be doing things for the community. If I have any question what that means, I need to talk to the ruler.
If I refuse to do what the rulers tell me to do, I will lose that support.
As a ruler, I need to lead for the benefit of my community. If it is only my self-interest, then I am just a bandit, and will eventually be forced out of power.