Home Forums Glorantha Glorantha Discussions The Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death

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  • #5235
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    The Guide to Glorantha contains a fair amount of information on the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death. Here’s a snippet:

    Quote:
    When Belintar’s mortal body expires, the next day select individuals, chosen by a means known only to the God-King, awake between dawn and day in a thoroughly magical Holy Country with the awareness that they are part of the Masters of Luck and Death. These individuals on the Other Side compete for magical powers and mystical insight.

    The rulers of the six lands of the Holy Country and Belintar’s close companions are usually qualified to participate in the Masters of Luck and Death. Others are as well – people wake up knowing they are a candidate for the Masters of Luck and Death, but never why.

    The Tournament is extremely dangerous. Most losers die during the contests or are magically crippled, although a few are known to have not only survived but strengthened by their participation.

    The winner of the Tournament of Masters of Luck and Death unites with the divine essence of Belintar and his body is overtaken by this immortal element, which flows through his whole being and dwells in it. The winner becomes a living god – Belintar the God-King. The great magical energy inexorably overtakes the mortal body, and after a number of years the God-King requires a new body. Upon death, the winner’s soul is liberated with consciousness and full powers to a blessed existence.

    #6010

    The mortality rate must be somewhat manageable, otherwise each time the Pharaoh goes through one of his mortal bodies the rulers of the Sixths need replacement, too.

    Who are these individuals, btw? Representatives of the Pharaoh like those gouvernors of Heortland listed inHotHP or rulers like Broyan or the Ludoch king of Troll Strait?

    #6011
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    Since the first death of Belintar in 1336 and his disappearance in 1618, there have been 21 tournaments of the Masters of Luck and Death, or approximately every 14 years. And the list of individuals pulled into the tournament change every time. Nonetheless, the rulers of the sixth participate more often than not. The Volsaxi king is rarely among the contests but the Ludoch often are.

    #6012
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    In comparison, over the 247 years of the 18th Dynasty in Egypt, there were 15 Lords of the Two Goddesses, with an average reign of 16 years. So on average, a particular incarnation of Belintar lasted about as long as a reigning Egyptian pharaoh.

    BTW, the word Pharaoh is not one of the titles of Belintar. The word Pharaoh means “Great House”, which is not a particularly meaningful when applied to Belintar. Greg mistakenly thought it meant “God-King”, which is Belintar’s title. So is Divine Lord of the Six Lands, the Living God, Lord of the City of Wonders, and the Immortal Wonder of the World. And probably plenty of others.

    #6013
    Profile photo of Charles
    Charles
    Keymaster

    Belintar is one of the most interesting demi gods of Glorantha. He appears to have got there though access to knowledge. Some of the knowledge may have originated with the god-learners. And some may have come from the Lunars or some predecessors of the Lunars.

    #6014
    Profile photo of Scott Martin
    Scott Martin
    Spectator

    Hi Jeff, if you have a minute, as which elder race(s) has the Belintar won?

    (Yes, tangled syntax but you know what I mean.)

    #6015
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    At least three trolls, and at least one Ludoch (possibly two).

    #6016
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    There’s plenty of ways to look at Belintar. He’s the eternal essence of rulership of the Holy Country, magically uniting with the winner of the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death. He’s a demigod who possesses the winner of the MoLaD to perpetuate his rule. He’s the invisible magical guardian of the winner of the MoLaD. And so on. Each incarnation is different, yet each is Belintar. The gods always recognize and acknowledge the God-King, and the magical oaths that bind together the Sixths remain.

    #6017
    Profile photo of Peter Metcalfe
    Peter Metcalfe
    Spectator

    Three trolls? That’s an awfully large number. I wonder how many successful troll contestants entered into the contest with the express intention of restoring the rule of the Only Old One.

    FWIW I think that Greg’s objection to the Pharaoh lies more in that it strongly implies a specifically Egyptian look-and-feel.

    #6018
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    Three of 21, that’s right. Certainly disproportionate to their numbers, but they do rule one of the Sixths.

    Greg and I have talked at copious length about the title “Pharaoh”. Not only does the name strongly imply an Egyptian look-and-feel (which is wrong), but the name itself is inappropriate, since it does not mean God-King (which Greg erroneously believed was the literal meaning of the word).

    #6028
    Profile photo of Jim Groves
    Jim Groves
    Spectator

    My pardons for this remark in advance, because I don’t have an advanced knowledge of Glorantha (that’s why I am looking forward to the Guide!)

    Belintar is very interesting to me as well, on many levels. One way in which he’s interesting is when you contrast him to the Lunar Goddess and how he seems less contentious. Allow me to explain:

    One reason (among many I’m sure) that Orlanth doesn’t like the Lunar Goddess is that her existence is in defiance of the Great Compact of Time. Belintar has become a god, but whatever methodology he used to achieve that state of godhood does not “offend” Time in the same way.

    It doesn’t seem like it is a matter of living, dying, and coming back to life—because that seems to happen quite often.

    So it’s okay to have been a god before Time and its okay to become a god after Time started, but the Lunar Goddess has done something particularly egregious from the Orlanthi perspective? I’m not trying to derail the conversation to talk about her, but rather to a handle on what it means to be a “living god”.

    I always liked the Holy Land. It’s on a top 5 list of places which I would like to see more detailed books written about.

    #6029
    Profile photo of Jim Groves
    Jim Groves
    Spectator

    Is there ever confirmation about the “blessed existence” that the winners receive? Communication from the Other Side?

    Such an existence would have to be somewhat flexible in order to accommodate widely different individuals who might have varying interpretations on the meaning of “blessed”.

    #6033
    Profile photo of Scott Martin
    Scott Martin
    Spectator
    Quote:
    Quote from Jeff Richard on October 10, 2013, 06:41
    At least three trolls, and at least one Ludoch (possibly two).

    Awesome. Thanks — hearing that either race was able to not only compete but win would have been somewhere between eyeopening and breathtaking, so your confirmation on both is even more gracious.

    #6039
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster
    Quote:
    Quote from Jim Groves on October 10, 2013, 18:09
    My pardons for this remark in advance, because I don’t have an advanced knowledge of Glorantha (that’s why I am looking forward to the Guide!)

    Belintar is very interesting to me as well, on many levels. One way in which he’s interesting is when you contrast him to the Lunar Goddess and how he seems less contentious. Allow me to explain:

    One reason (among many I’m sure) that Orlanth doesn’t like the Lunar Goddess is that her existence is in defiance of the Great Compact of Time. Belintar has become a god, but whatever methodology he used to achieve that state of godhood does not “offend” Time in the same way.

    It doesn’t seem like it is a matter of living, dying, and coming back to life—because that seems to happen quite often.

    So it’s okay to have been a god before Time and its okay to become a god after Time started, but the Lunar Goddess has done something particularly egregious from the Orlanthi perspective? I’m not trying to derail the conversation to talk about her, but rather to a handle on what it means to be a “living god”.

    Belintar did not violate the Compromise – even his enemies agree to that. When he came to the great Earth Temple in Esrolia, the goddesses all recognized and knew him (to the shock of many of the priestesses). Even the Volsaxi don’t think he violates the Compromise – they hate him because he tried to make them do things they did not want to (nobody can make you do anything!). He dismembered their ancient friend from the Darkness, he killed their king and installed something wearing his body in his place, he appointed foreigners to rule them, and he interfered with disputes he had no right to meddle with. But not even the most ardent supporter of Hardrard the Green though Belintar violated the Compromise or was Chaos.

    The Red Goddess did violate the Compromise – even her friends agree to that. She called upon the powers of Chaos and brought a Chaos demon into the Middle World to serve her (Crimson Bat and later even Cacodemon!). She challenged the gods of the Compromise and seeks to displace them from their place in the world. She openly displays the power of Chaos and even her friends acknowledge that she was taught by Nysalor.

    Now a living god is a strange thing. Such a being must exist in the God Time and the Mundane World simultaneously, with both a divine soul and a mortal body. Such beings are rare – I can think of very few offhand that meet that test in 1621: the Red Emperor, Jar-eel, Great Sister, Send Valu, Harrek the Berserk, Jaldon Goldentooth, Androgeus, Ralzakark, Cragspider, Ironhoof, Godunya, Can Shu, Dech Oru, the Emperor of Vormain, Seseine Kalig, Estengitorox, Terthinus the Voice of the Deep, and Bevilt Chaosfire. Some of these might not meet that test, and there might be a few I overlooked. But that list is less than twenty. And of that list, five are Chaotic (which is not a good thing!). Each one is very different and probably should be considered a class by themselves.

    Quote:
    Quote from Jim Groves on October 10, 2013, 18:09
    I always liked the Holy Land. It’s on a top 5 list of places which I would like to see more detailed books written about.

    Me too!

    #6041
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster
    Quote:
    Quote from Jim Groves on October 10, 2013, 18:11
    Is there ever confirmation about the “blessed existence” that the winners receive? Communication from the Other Side?

    Such an existence would have to be somewhat flexible in order to accommodate widely different individuals who might have varying interpretations on the meaning of “blessed”.

    Yes. The previous incarnations of Belintar are worshipped as gods in the Holy Country. They get their own temples, and the priests of Belintar offer them sacrifices. Upon death they do not join the procession of the Dead in the Underworld but directly join the ranks of the gods.

    Not a bad deal at all!

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