Home Forums Glorantha Glorantha Discussions The Arkat Rune

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  • #5419
    Profile photo of Jenx
    Jenx
    Spectator

    It was suggested to me to post this in here, but do note that a lot of this might sound like rambling thoughts on the nature and uses of the Arkat rune.

    I have been interested in Arkat and his story ever since I read about him, and as such I have always had an interest in Ralios and the city-states to be more specific. With the Guide coming out soon, there will be a lot more material on them, and I am interested in potentially running a game set in that area, and as such I came to thinking up some ideas in what way a player having the Arkat rune as a keyword might be able to use it.

    So far what I’ve come up with is this – the Arkat rune must be acquired similarly to the Moon Rune (A lot of this is actually based on the writings on using the Moon rune), with very rare individuals being born with it. The Arkat rune might be acquired through meditation, worship (which thanks to the God Learners hasn’t be a very productive way lately) or through studying the grimoires that Arkat wrote and left behind for his disciples to use. The rune that would usually be substituted for the Arkat rune is Law, though this might vary depending on the various cults and societies that worship him. (People who follow Arkat the Destroyer would probably substitute their Disorder or Death runes instead and so on)

    The rune itself will be usable (again, similarly to the Moon rune) to acquire power or knowledge that the individual would normally either be prohibited from, or would need to spend great times and energy to get in the proper ways. The Arkat rune could be used to emulate the feats thought to various cults, with the Arkati also having to follow the required taboos and geases of said feat or cult. Where the Arkati and a regular devotee of that god or hero differ, is in the fact that the Arkati could choose to stop using the feat and suffer no divine retribution or agents of reprisal (unless he does, because nothing is certain when you are dealing with the Other Side), since he was never really part of the covenant and never vowed to uphold the taboos and virtues that initiates do.

    Comments, suggestions, alternate theories, criticism, snide remarks and insane ramblings are greatly appreciated, since I would like to come up with a good working model for HQ2 characters who can be followers of Arkat and even have his personal rune as a keyword.

    #7785
    Profile photo of Peter Metcalfe
    Peter Metcalfe
    Spectator

    I think the Arkat Rune could be a HeroQuesting Rune rather than a rune for magic in the mortal world. Possession of it* allows the Arkati a greater freedom in moving about on the Other Side (like say Shift between Yelm’s Court and Elmal’s Hall). Rather than circumvent the religious taboos in this world, the Arkati go to the source and get similar magic in the next. Want Orlanthi Teleportation magic? You don’t go to an Orlanthi Temple, rather you visit Orlanth and Mastakos on the other side and partake.

    *Very rare and almost forgotten now. Most Arkati simply worship Arkati cults in the conventional sense.

    #7786
    Profile photo of Jenx
    Jenx
    Spectator

    I was also thinking of a HeroQuesting rune too, though I feel like some application in the mortal world might also be useful, from a pure gameplay perspective. But I too was thinking of using the Arkat rune to understand unfamiliar HeroQuests and to be able to alter them or move freely around in the Hero Plane.

    #7792
    Profile photo of Barry Blatt
    Barry Blatt
    Spectator

    I did a couple of write ups of Arkat cults on my blog, and I took the line Jenx did, Arkat can get you access to magic you can’t normally have, and enables you to do it in the mundane world. It acts as magical camouflage, essentially, enabling the cultist to join multiple cults with fewer restrictions and get away with breaking cult rules, it’s why Arkat was called The Deceiver and regarded as a traitor. I gave Nysalor a very similar power, and the Lunar power could be seen as related to it too. http://expanduniver.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/two-cults-of-arkat.html

    #7793
    Profile photo of Peter Metcalfe
    Peter Metcalfe
    Spectator

    I don’t like the rational of given the Arkati magic they couldn’t normally have. That’s taking the Cults of Terror statement too far (which only says that he joined many cults one after another). Even then I don’t see the Arkati of Ralios joining one cult, abandoning it and joining another. After a while the Arkati are going to get a bad rep and cults will not admit any Arkati on the grounds they are just going to betray us in the end*. That isn’t what we see in Ralios.

    According to um… Arcane Lore (this is awkward) Arkat’s ability was in ranging – going from one plave in the heroplane to another mythically unconnected place. Arkat acquired this insight not because he had the knack of joining multiple cults serially and skipping but because he realized that in two separate initiations, he was at the same place, although in different roles. That is the secret of his power and that should be the basis of Arkati magic.

    Absent a map of the heroplanes (the one in Arcane Lore apparently has no imprimatur), its going to be difficult to quantify what Arkati can or cannot do (I do have a slight suspicion that Orlanthi HeroQuests will map onto the path of Orlanth’s Ring in the Nigh Sky while Dara Happan HeroQuests will map onto Lightfore’s path in the Night Sky). The next best thing would be to itemize how their magic would work in the mortal world. I would prefer that their motal magic flow from their HeroQuesting knowledge. For example:

    IDENTITY CHALLENGE: The Arkati may use his rune to force an opponent using a feat into an identity challenge (S:KoH) p83 even if the opponent is acting true to his god. The Arkati is changing the mythic background such that his opponent finds himself acting as another god in a different myth. It helps if the Arkati can describe the mythical event he is changing to.

    SPIRIT MASTERY: An Arkati may use his rune to assert authority over any manifest spirit (ie Elementals, Spirit of Reprisal, Released Spirits etc). Again he is changing the mythical background.

    MAGIC DUELS: An Arkati may use his rune to provoke a HeroQuest Challenge (S:KoH p200) in This World. It requires a lot of prepartation equal to Crossing the Threshold so it isn’t something he does to a mook in a bar fight. But it is something he would do to an opponent in an ambush or an agreed-upon duel.

    *FWIW my original suggestion for Lunar Magic did have the idea that Lunars worshipping specific cults could join in the religion of other cults (Aronius Jaranthir/Carmania, Natha/Pelanda, Twin Stars/Praxians, Verithurusa/Dara Happa, Irrippi Ontor/Buserian and Lhankor Mhy. It was heavily qualified on the grounds that in addition of the applicants ability to join a certain religion, there must also be a willingness by the cult to accept Lunar worshippers – if they don’t want him, they could stone him or hire an assassin.

    #7796
    Profile photo of David Scott
    David Scott
    Keymaster

    The Arkat rune is what I’d call a hero or god rune. It’s not one one the thirty or so core runes, but derived from them, a kind of shorthand. These runes were prevalent in the Issaries era publications. They’re still around but it’s easier to deal with the core runes alone, so you won’t see them in current publications.

    I think we have to differentiate between a religion of Arkat and Arkat’s religion. If you want to do what Arkat did, you need to join the cults in the right order, etc. As for a religion of Arkat, there appear to be several. We know Arkat returns seven times presumably as the saviour of a number cults who are trying to contact him. As for actually what the rune does – I think it’s an illumination cult. It is Arkat’s insights into the world that illuminates you. As with the dark moon phase it just represents illumination. Now the cults trying to bring Arkat back that’s the intesting part. Most if I recall correctly are covered in the guide, as there’s loads of politics attached to them. How they relate to Arkat’s illumination cult I don’t know. BTW Arkat’s illumination cult is probably the wrong phrase. It could be a school, or a grimoire, or even both.

    #7799
    Profile photo of Jenx
    Jenx
    Spectator

    Thank you everyone for the responses. So the general feel I am getting here is that I should either just start making stuff up (which I am fine with) or just not use the Arkat rune at all, and simply have characters be members of an Arkat cult or society and have them have other runes as their three main ones.

    #7835
    Profile photo of Barry Blatt
    Barry Blatt
    Spectator

    Well, I don’t know what the canon line will eventually be, but I’d say the ‘Arkat’ rune IS a rune, but it is not just Arkat’s. As David says it is all to do with Illumination, Arkat was an illuminate of Nysalor before starting his crusade and that rune we now call ‘Arkat’ was originally Nysalors, and is currently Sedenya’s.

    The modern Arkat cults are taking advantage of the mythological meddling done by Arkat centuries ago, but none has the full story and none has the full knowledge to subvert any new cults (yet). In my write up followers of Arkat Humaktsson would deny being illuminated in any way; they just have a ‘truer’ understanding of Humakt than the run of the mill guys, and they know little of the Arkat Rune powers. The Order of Black Arkat have a greater understanding and an actual book of Arkat rune related spells, but they are limited to subversion of a limited number of cults and dare not openly declare their allegiance to Arkat. Maybe back in the glory days of the Church of Arkat (and perhaps still in Ralios) cults welcomed the presence of an Arkati in their congregation, but no more. It does make people suspicious, it does make them think of betrayal, so while it can be done, it rarely is and it is kept a secret.

    Nysalor’s cult is next to non-existent (though in my game there is a tiny band of nutters in Balazar promoting a mysterious God of Peace they found in a cave), but if it existed it would have the same power – gods associated with, or created by, Nysalor back in the good old days are still ‘subvertable’ – Yelmalio is an obvious one, many other Dara Happan ones, Tarumath, maybe some Darsenite and Pelandan ones – but the lore is lost.

    The individual cultists would hate to admit it, but the Arkat and Nysalor lists could be combined, they have the same runic source – and Sedenya is the current ‘holder’ of that rune and has been busy building up a ‘pantheon’ of her own using the same techniques and building on the groundwork of Nysalor.

    In all these cases the PR was that the rune holder is somehow ‘blessed by all the Gods’, and that he/she and their followers demonstrate that by the indulgence of the gods for their magical anarchism. People no longer believe that of Arkat and Nysalor, but the Red Goddess has legions of fans who believe wholeheartedly that the Lunarised versions of the old cults are better and greater than the originals. After all We Are All One, and there ought to be a unified pantheon of ALL the gods, all the spirits, all the saints. Pity about the hold outs, but they WILL join in the end. There are plenty who say bollocks to that and gird their loins for a rebellion too, but as the old example of Arkat and Nysalor shows they might have to adopt some of the methods of their enemy to stand a chance.

    The Ralios cults? If they put all their fragmentary codices, half remembered prayers and sorcerous rituals together in the right order, found a suitable lunatic and managed to get him through the Otherworld assault course thus derived, they might have themselves another Arkat. But who is he going to crusade against this time?

    #7840
    Profile photo of Peter Metcalfe
    Peter Metcalfe
    Spectator
    Quote:
    Arkat was an illuminate of Nysalor before starting his crusade and that rune we now call ‘Arkat’ was originally Nysalors

    I doubt the “Arkat is an illuminate” is true and I’ve never heard the “Arkat’s Rune is Nysalor’s. I know Cults of Terror did say Arkat was an illuminate but in the years since then, I think it more of a God Learner slander more than anything else.

    #7843

    If the Ralios cults of Arkat were to pool their knowledge, I am certain they would get way more material than was used in the Dark Empire, and possibly get enough leftover stuff to resurrect Gbaji from it (leaving aside whether there would be enough of Nysalor there).

    In a way, Arkat had to become more like Gbaji in order to end the Gbaji wars. When he returned to Ralios to found the Empire, he shed quite a lot of those changes – but the cults of Ralios cannot agree which of those changes.

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