There are a bit more than 8 million Malkioni in Glorantha, most being in Seshnela or western Fronela. Malkionism is, if anything, even trickier than the Lunar Way to define. All Malkioni are human and believe the cosmos exists to be understood and exploited by humankind. They worship the Invisible God and divide themselves into classes so each mortal can contribute to society. Beyond that though, the religion is divided into numerous factions or sects, each declaring the rest to be heresies from the true way. A unified Malkionism has not existed since the time of Malkion himself.That being said, this is a fairly mainstream Malkioni perspective:
WHO ARE THE OTHER GODS?
The gods are great and powerful entities who manifest one or more of the Runes. They are dangerous, for they wish mankind to serve them instead of being forced to serve men like us. Each god is limited in knowledge, and therefore, has weak, vulnerable places. Priests and priestesses are the leading slaves of the various gods. Worshipers are the pawns of the gods and the lackeys of the priesthood.During the period of time now referred to as the Great Darkness, people were lost and frightened. In an effort to understand their world they imagined gods in their own image. By personifying their social desires, the forces of nature, or their emotional needs, they withstood the turmoil of the Darkness.These gods are always carefully represented as benevolent forces, but each possesses a dark side which is revealed only when it is too late. The catastrophe of Gbaji’s creation is the penultimate example of this god-making folly.We are free of the self-imposed limitations induced by the personification of natural forces. We try to understand nature as it is. All other gods are, at best, lesser beings subject to the laws of nature and to worship any of them is folly and ignorance.
Although the Malkioni do not subjugate themselves to the gods, there are numerous mortals whose deeds revealed certain truths about the Invisible God, allowing them to intercede in the world to ensure the well-being of those who venerate them. Of these, Arkat, Hrestol, and Malkion are the most important. We Malkioni belong to many different castes and sects, but all of us recognize the divinity of these heroes, no matter what sect they belonged to. It is notable that the Brithini, who profess no contact with the Invisible God, have produced no such heroes.
For those wanting a “scientific explanation” for Glorantha, go to the West. For example, I asked a zzaburi where the world came from, and this is what he said:The Invisible God, the primordial being of pure immaterial energy, created the world through Thought and set its immutable Laws – the Runes. The world is the result of interactions between Rune powers. The original Runes devolved, multiplied, and combined with other Runes, creating the natural world whose mixed matter and energy follow the impersonal Laws of the Invisible God. Many forces of nature exist, working in extremely complex patterns. These energies have always existed and always will exist, as we can demonstrate through methodical experimentation.
I later asked the zzaburi what happens after we die. Here is what he told me:
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER WE DIE?
After we die, we separate back into matter and energy. However, only the weak-willed among us face oblivion. Those enlightened ones, who learn to understand and master their place in the world, will be able to maintain their individual identity indefinitely.
The Blessing and Banishment funeral prayer of the cult is basically the same everywhere. The ceremony separates the dead from the world of the living and prevents the spirit from bothering the living. The funeral rites vary according to the caste of the deceased; however, the Malkioni revere their dead ancestors, regardless of caste. The dead are buried in a grave or crypt; those with high enough status have mounds or tombs erected over the grave.
The Arkat Kingtroll cult worships Arkat but are not philosophically Malkioni by any stretch. They view Arkat as a troll who stole the secrets of sorcery for the trolls. They revere Arkat as the greatest troll to born born in Time. And the Waertagi are “Men”.