Joerg and Ludo welcome Bud from Bud’s RPG Review, where we see his hands in a typical unboxing set-up, not just doing flip-throughs but also a whole series of explanation videos:
- Bud’s RPG Review YouTube channel
- RuneQuest reviews 
- Bud explains… RuneQuest (which, at this time, includes the Lightbringers, the Uz, Illumination, and the Seven Mothers)
 It seems that since the episode was recorded, Bud fixed the duplicated RuneQuest video playlist… or maybe Ludo imagined it.
Another place to find Bud is the “Bud and Griff’s Gaming Creepshow” podcast, a “podcast about spooky gaming” (in Bud’s words):
Last but not least, Bud is one of the authors of the Miskatonic Repository bestselling book Viral: A Modern Call of Cthulhu Scenario, with Alex Guillotte. For those of you less involved with Call of Cthulhu, the Miskatonic Repository is the sister community content program to the Jonstown Compendium.
Bud states that his “Bud Explains” videos (which Ludo has faithfully linked from his newsletter) are really for beginners, since delving into the lore of Glorantha can be hard work. He promises more in the future.
Finally you can find Bud on Twitter, if that thing is still going by the time you read this.
Going to our main topic, Ludo says that you will find mention of that guy Arkat in many places, with plenty of lore to dig into. So who is this guy, and why is he cool?
What Does Your RuneQuest Character Knows About Arkat
Bud points out that many of the things Arkat did are kind of hidden.
Arkat is possibly most renowned for being the person who mastered heroquesting and for being the slayer of a god, whom he called Gbaji the Deceiver, but who was known to his worshippers as Nysalor.
Bud remains neutral on whether the deity slain by Arkat was the Deceiver or not.
Ludo gives the context that all of these great deeds happened about 1200 years ago (if you are playing in the normal 1625 time frame). To give a comparison from our world’s history, Ludo suggests a weird Arthurian hero, Jörg interjects that Charlemagne fits the time frame even better. Ludo jokes that Charlemagne was evil because he introduced the school system, but Jörg points out that his evil included the genocide of the Saxons, and that that may be why the peace price of the European Union is named after him.
Getting back on topic, Ludo points out that the Gbaji Wars ended with the blighting and destruction of Dorastor, formerly a beautiful and fertile land.
Bud calls Arkat’s action the rites of cleansing, even though they poisoned the land.
(Arkat did curse the land of Dorastor, and sort of bound the Chaos that had been loosed in the final phase of the Gbaji Wars to this ruined place. The land remained dormant for quite a while until both God Learners and EWF explorers took an interest, which seems to have awakened the land.)
Ludo then talks about Arkat’s star, which appeared when Arkat apotheosized early in the Second Age. Jörg claims that the star vanished since, because the God Learners hid the way.
(Doing some additional research after the podcast, the Guide p.646 claims that Arkat is a prominent constellation in the area of the sky called the Celestial Fields, between the Celestial Forest and the Celestial River.)
(The star map on p. 645 only shows a differently named constellation: the Doves, which is how the Dara Happans name the constellation. They were followers of Nysalor and have no love at all for the slayer of their god, whom they name Gbaji.)
(The list of constellations talks about the constellation of Arkat, stating that only one star was visible there at the Dawn, but that Arkat’s apotheosis caused three bright companions and a number of less bright ones nearby that some claim for the hero as well.)
So Jörg was wrong by remembering correctly that there is no constellation named Arkat on the star map.
Bud then points out that Arkat also is a troll god.
Ludo then sums it up: Arkat was several things to several people, he was some sort of either hero or antihero or evil war general. “He killed a whole bunch of people and did many awesome things.”
The Life of Arkat
Bud starts by telling us that Arkat was born in the elf forests of Brithos, interestingly during the Sunstop… or the Sunspot? Linguistic shenanigans ensue, and come to haunt us.
The Sunstop occurred in the year 375 S.T. (“Solar Time”, after the Dawn) when the Second Council (cooperating with the Dara Happan Empire) created Osentalka, the (presumed) Perfect God, in their capital in Dorastor.
(Several other contributors to the Sunstop include Malkioni sorcerers in Fronela casting a great ritual against the Hsunchen shamans, the Kralori Emperor meditating on a potent symbol – the Dragon’s Eye, and a hundred thousand Aldryami in Pamaltela calling on a good spirit to combat a virulent rot affecting them and their forests. See the Guide to Glorantha p.128 for the wider view. A good introductory read is the history from Cults of Terror, available on the Well of Daliath and reprinted in the Guide.)
Bud goes into detail on Arkat’s birth on Brithos, an island in the western Neliomi Sea that disappeared during the Closing (some say that its disappearance caused the Closing).
Arkat’s birth may have been the creation of the opposite to the newborn god in Dorastor, a balancing force brought in by the universe. The new god was born outside of the Compromise, making the birth of Arkat the opposition of the universe to this insult to Time.
Bud compares this to Argrath being the nemesis of the Red Goddess.
Arkat was fostered by the Aldryami of Brithos, and supposedly illuminated by them at a young age, which Bud thinks is another great irony. About 24 years later he was part of the 4th Brithos Army of Law,
Eventually he became known as the son of Humakt, Arkat Humaktsson.
Progressing through local wars (with the Vampire Kings of Tanisor still as Brithini soldier, then alongside the Seshnegi Men-of-All against the Nieby priests led by Gaalth, then joining the Orlanthi of the upper Tanier River in their fight against Gbaji‘s shock troops, the Telmori who had received Nysalor’s blessing to turn into magical wolves on Wilddays) Arkat became aware of the Riddlers of Nysalor.
In Seshnela, the priests of Nysalor apparently spread poison, or an unhealable disease, and offered healing and protection from it, thereby getting people to worship Nysalor.
Arkat saw and showed that Nysalor had a duality, that he wasn’t just a benevolent god who illuminated people and taught them a different way of thinking, he exposed the deity behind these priests as the Chaos God Gbaji. Arkat made it his life quest to slay Gbaji and free the world from the great Deceiver.
(Much of Arkat’s earliest activities are mentioned in the list of the Kings of Seshnela on the Well of Daliath to greater detail than in the Guide to Glorantha, where p.410 gives details about Arkat’s deeds in Seshnela.)
Skipping far ahead, eventually Arkat managed to invade Dorastor, the homeland of Nysalor, and slew the enemy god atop the Tower of Miracles in the City of Dreams. He supposedly dismembered Nysalor and had its parts scattered and buried around Glorantha.
However, slaying a god doesn’t come easy, and Arkat looked into heroquesting at various points. He brought the Unbreakable Sword with him, the original Death, to enable him to slay a god.
Supposedly when he was on one of his heroquests, he encountered himself as a troll and was wounded by himself, an unhealable wound that he carried with him for his entire life that caused him discomfort.
Also, Arkat is known to have mapped out the Gods’ Realm to enable passage for him, which explains how he ended up so ridiculously powerful.
Before he actually went to slay Nysalor, he underwent the Rite of Rebirth and became one of the Uzuz (the Mistress Troll Race).
There are various pieces of art depicting Arkat as an armoured troll fighting Nysalor.
Once Arkat had killed Nysalor, he created the Autarchy, a.k.a. Stygian Empire, in Ralios and modern Seshnela. Ralios lies west of Dragon Pass, south of Dorastor.
The capital of the Autarchy was Arkhome (on the Nidan river in Rindland, a portion of the ancient Ralian territory of Fornoar now belonging to the modern Kingdom of Seshnela. See the political map on p.417 in the Guide to Gloranha. It was the place where Harmast emerged with Arkat on his first Lightbringer’s Quest.)
Arkat eventually pulled a Thanos move and retired, his work done.
The destruction of Nysalor ended the Dawn Age, making Arkat sort of responsible for starting the cycle of Ages in Glorantha’s History.
Ludo picks up the Thanos comparison and also brings up Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now as another powerful archetype resembling Arkat.
Arkat, The Ultimate Minmaxer
Ludo recapitulates how Nysalor became the god of the Bright Empire, spreading a philosophy of participation and harmony, but on its fringes Arkat figured out that missionaries from the Empire were causing the problems that they professed to solve, resulting in Arkat vowing to destroy Nysalor’s Empire.
In order to do that, he initiated into a series of cults and religions.
(Ludo fails to mention his origins as a Child of the Forest, a bucolic existence in the forest like the happy end for Morag from Biturian’s travelogue, and his illumination experience there.)
Arkat was “initiated” into the Horali caste (his grandfather’s caste) on Brithos, the warrior caste of ancient Malkionism.
Then he moved on to the (Seshnegi-style) Hrestoli Man-of-All, mastering all of the Malkioni castes, and all the power, including sorcery,
Then he went on and became friendly with the Orlanthi, initiating into Orlanth, and then Humakt.
Then he needed anti-Chaos powers and became a troll (through the Ritual of Rebirth, initiating him to Kyger Litor) and joined Zorak Zoran for his final assault on Dorastor.
Arkat basically multiclassed like crazy, making him the ultimate mini-maxer in Ludo’s eyes.
Jörg counters that Arkat’s spiritual experiences resembled serial monogamy – whatever cult Arkat joined, he joined with all his being.
Ludo counter-argues that Arkat kept all the powers, and Bud claims that the reason for that was that Arkat was illuminated. Bud claims that this was due to the illuminates’ immunity to Spirits of Reprisal that would otherwise plague an apostate.
Jörg argues that the benefit of Illumination is rather a compartmentalization of the illuminate’s personality.
Bud continues that Arkat essentially ploughed roughshot over multiple cults, his aim being to accumulate as much power as he could to destroy Nysalor, and that Arkat was right, be cause he did it. (Which is questioned by Jorg.)
Bud feels that this is where Your Glorantha May Vary falls down slightly, when unlike the fluidity of the God Time, things go into the historical record.
What went on atop the Tower of Dreams? Nobody knows, nobody else was there. But everything else is part of the historical record, there are records of Arkat becoming a troll, the whole thing was written down by a troll who witnessed the event (and can be read in the Jonstown Compendium excerpt on trolls provided by the RQ3 Troll Gods box if you are lucky enough to own it).
Bud acknowledges historical bias, but unlike the Gods Age where you can see things from different perspectives – how many versions of the Lightbringers’ Quest are there? – but when it is viewing things from the historical record, that’s really all you got to go off.
Jörg claims that the thing about the Gbaji Wars was a clash of realities.
His personal pet theory is that whenever Arkat looked in the direction of Nysalor, he saw Gbaji, Whenever Nysalor looked in the direction of Arkat, he saw Gbaji, the chaotic Deceiver God.
What Nysalor did (or what actually his creators from the Second Council and Dara Happa did using the Pseudocosmic Egg) was to create a new reality where everything was bright and shiny and harmonious (at least once the dissenting voices of the Heortling Orlanthi and the trolls and dragonewts had been muted), and Arkat was born on the other side of this effect. Arkat brought his anti-Nysalor effect with him, and so realities clashed whenever the forces of Nysalor and of Arkat met.
Jörg draws a comparison to the Glowline (which separates a magical reality full of Lunar glow from the drab mundane reality outside) because the Glowline is a bit of a copy of this Bright Empire thing. (Jörg fails to mention the Young Elementals from the Seven Mothers write-up as his evidence.)
Bud demands to expand that a little more, since the Glowline is something everyone can see (at least on days of the Dark Moon when it makes a difference). Jörg mentions the Dan Barker illustration in the Guide p.724 which shows Arkat and Nysalor, with different skin tones and expressions but otherwise identical faces (or at least beard styles).
Arkat’s Multiple Initiations and Mastery of Heroquesting
Ludo explains how this series of cultic initiations let Arkat experience a lot of “safe” (re-enacted) cult heroquests and gave him a unique experience of arriving at the same God Time events from different quests (including the one where Zorak Zorani Arkat wounded Hrestoli or Horali Arkat).
Arkat was the first heroquester who voluntarily went off-script in his heroquesting, exploring the hero plane seeing connected paths and creating a map.
Arkat greatly innovated the art of heroquesting.
Jörg compares a heroquest to a medieval road map which only shows one linear journey where you reach intermediate spots where you could go elsewhere, leading to your initial target.
Arkat would have followed two (or more) separate heroquests to a Hero Plane location (a Godtime event) and he would have known where both paths leading there came from, and where he could continue from that station.
Ludo compares Arkat’s method to a hex crawl across the hero plane.
Bud offers a different term than off-script: Arkat got to go back-stage, also getting an insight how all of this worked.
Ludo brags about his ChaosiumCon playtest glimpse of the ever-upcoming heroquesting rules for RuneQuest. Bud (jokingly) rejects the notion that such a thing exists.
Ludo goes on to describe how those rules have techniques reminiscent of the sorcery techniques in RQG, techniques like Ranging. Arkat developed these techniques, and later the God Learners put names on them.
Ludo talks about the relationship between Arkati heroquesting and God Learner heroquesting.
Bud points out that a lot what the God Learners did was based on Arkat’s work anyway.
Ludo mentions Arkat’s very specific philosophy that all heroquesting was to be “with respect and humility”.
Apparently, Arkat set up a heroquesting police that was basically patrolling the hero plane and slapping the fingers of any transgressors.
Jörg and Bud point out that the Arkati presence more often manifests as stationary guardians.
Ludo goes on to compare the God Learner heroquesters with Mad Scientists (TM) who got whatever they wanted and destroyed many of the remaining Arkati stationary guardians, exploring the Hero Plane without any ethics.
Ludo imagines playing a Dark Empire heroquesting game where you are the guardians, something Jörg compares to the Time Police. Bud adds that these police would make sure that you don’t mess with reality too much, but that’s the problem. The God Learners effectively wiped these guardians out and made the hero plane their playground.
Jörg points out that when you enter the hero plane these days, you will still find the black guardians at all the major crossings, suggesting that the God Learners failed to eradicate them all.
Ludo approves of their presence for games set in the 1625 era,
Bud claims that the problem about the God Learners is that there isn’t all that much written about them. Bud wanted to do a video about them and was stopped by the scarcity of material.
Arkat Went to Hell
Probably several times, but very prominently involuntarily so when Palangio the Iron Vrok killed and dismembered him in Ralios around 418 S.T. Arkat was sent to a special Hell he could not use his heroic powers to escape from, which since has become a tradition to do to the big bad anti-illumination guy.
That Hell was supposed to be inaccessible, but an Orlanthi hero by the name of Harmast Barefoot managed to get him back.
Arkat had basically two lives. (The Xeotam Dialogue in the Sourcebook p.74 calls this state of being a Kaelith.)
Bud points out that Arkat having been dismembered is what he went on to do with Nysalor. Ludo asks whether that was petty, but Bud calls that the ultimate revenge.
Jörg brings up dismemberment as a proven method to get rid of a god – citing the dismemberment of Umath even before the discovery of Death as proof for the efficiency of the method.
Ludo philosophizes that a lot of people get dismembered in Glorantha, which Bud counters with the predilection of people to lose their left legs in (RuneQuest) Glorantha.
A Hero’s Retirement
Ludo points out that Arkat had fifty years of fighting, and then fifty years of peaceful retirement, during which he sets up the Autarchy (called Stygian Empire by its foes). He spends those years teaching his secrets and benevolently overseeing the lands without much interference.
Bud replies Ludo’s question about the fate of the Autarchy that it fell in the end, to the forces of the God Learners (during the reign of Annmak Peacemaker, in 740 S.T.)
Jörg points out that the Dark Empire was the premier Malkioni (and Orlanthi, and troll) realm in Genertela. It ruled over the entire Tanisor valley (the land ironically called Kingdom of Seshnela in the Third Age) and Safelster, with the capital Arkhome situated in Rindland, the home Duchy of Bailifes the Hammer who founded the new Kingdom of Seshnela.
Jörg nerdplains that Autarchy roughly translates from Greek as Self-Rule, and that that was what he allowed the local potentates to do, the Archons who were basically his disciples who kept oversight over some of those places.
The term Archon still is used for the rulers of Safelster, where a city-state might also be called an Archonate.
Fast-forwarding to the Now of RQG (i.e. 1625 ST), what is the legacy that Arkat left behind?
Bud quips that there is one less god. Or at least Nysalor required a lot of patching together by the Red Goddess, as Ludo points out. Which Bud compares to a jigsaw puzzle with too many parts.
Jörg puts forward that Gbaji was dismembered at the same time as Nysalor, who was cut into 49 parts which the Lunars collected. When the Lunars collected the parts, they ended up with more than 50, and they made sure that they weren’t using any portion of Gbaji when re-assembling Nysalor.
Bud asks whether the Lunars could differentiate between the portions of Nysalor and Gbaji, and Jörg suggests that the Lunars know about Chaos, so he gueses they could. They say so.
Ludo corroborates that when the Lunar propaganda says so, it is probably true. Right?
There are still followers of Black Arkat active on the hero planes, doing things to heroquesters, and (on the mundane plane) to people they suspect of Godlearnerism.
These Arkati can pop up and jinx your heroquests, or even your preparations for those.
Jörg manages to confuse Arkat’s Last Fortress near Kartolin Pass (crossing from Ralios into Dorastor) with Arkat’s Hold in Esrolia, the city at the end of the Building Wall.
Ludo points to The Smoking Ruins which has information and stats on some Black Arkati from that place.
Bud points out that Arkat was in his seventies when he became a troll. Bud ponders whether Arkat underwent the Ritual of Rebirth because trolls are longer-lived than humans.
Jörg counters that Arkat was born as a Brithini, a race that doesn’t age when they maintain their caste restrictions (something Arkat definitely did not do), and age slowly if they did.
Bud mentions the years of war wearing down on Arkat, and his unhealable wound from that heroquest. By normal standards, Arkat would have been an old man yet unable to fulfill his life quest (writing this feels strange the day after the coronation of King Charles III), although by Brithini standards he was still a young man (according to Jörg just about initiation age, really).
Another aspect of Arkat is that as an Illuminate, he should have known better than to pursue his revenge so relentlessly. When you’re illuminated, you understand that Chaos is not always bad.
Jorg interjects that that is why some people claim that Arkat became a Chaos monster in the end in order to overcome Nysalor. Bud asks for citations, Jörg points out that no witnesses survived. (This could be inferred from the upcoming five-fold return of Arkat in Safelster, in the boxed text on p.385 in the Guide to Glorantha.)
Bud reports that the argument has been made that Arkat never became a troll, casting doubt on the reliability of the troll witness of his Ritual of Rebirth. Bud admits that when Arkat returned from his fight atop the Tower of Dreams, he was no longer a troll.
Jörg brings up another pet theory of his, that Arkat might have become a Kitori shape-shifter (in addition to joining the cults of Kyger Litor and Zorak Zoran), the adoptive species imitating the Only Old One capable of taking human, troll and dehori (darkness spirit) shape.
Ludo admits that Arkat did ally with the Only Old One in the Shadowlands, and that he might have picked up a trick or two there. Which would be also more multiclassing, as Bud remarks.
Jörg points out that after the Gbaji Wars, the Kitori were collectively called Arkati by the Orlanthi (at least in History of the Heortling People p.72).
We digress about the Hillbilly nature of Orlanthi, and that an argument (which is what you get when you bring two or more Orlanthi together) might the best collective name for a bunch of Orlanthi (much like a Murder of Crows).
The Illumination Bit
Ludo steers the conversation back to illumination, pointing out that Nysalor was illuminated too. (Cart before the horse, really, as Nysalor was the source for that form of Illumination.)
Ludo is getting more vibes of Anarchy vs. Law/Order than of anti-Chaos vs. Chaos. He feels that the two enemies had opposed philosophies and politics about what to do with the continent of Genertela, with one making everything yellow and bright with great cities and laws and imposed order, and Arkat demanding that everybody should rule themselves (making him the ultimate punk).
Bud mentions his Illumination explanatory video and says that that is the argument against Illumination, and that the Red Goddess is taking the blame for adhering to a difference between Draconic and Nysalorean illumination (which is what the Red Goddess is spreading). Bud claims that when dragons become illuminated, they leave Glorantha, whereas when Nysaloreans achieve illumination, they stay around and use their power of illumination to build up more power, whereupon the universe creates an opposite power, and that where Nysalor was the action, Arkat was the reaction.
Jörg brings up the Nysalor quote “At the Edge of Light, there is always Darkness” as his reaction to learning about the spreading of the disease in Seshnela. Bud quips that that sounds like equivalent of “thoughts and prayers”.
Ludo thinks the dragons have the right idea, but Jörg cannot help to mention that the only dragon he remembers to have left the world was Obduran the Flyer, the only EWF Orlanthi who became a (full) dragon.(Details in History of the Heortling Peoples, p.44, 803 S.T,)
Back on topic, Ludo asks how to put Arkat into your RQG games.
Bud suggests that Chaosium should do an epic campaign, based on the idea that the Lunars put Nysalor back together, and then having Arkat return and deal with it.
Jörg mentions that he contributed to a game like that, the 1995 Freeform Rise of Ralios, a follow-up to Reaching Moon Megacorp’s 1994 How the West Was One, with the core idea that the five prophesied Arkats return.
Ludo asks whether that means that there were five aspects of Arkat coming back from the hero plane, like a troll Arkat etc.,
Ludo points out that when you are illuminated, Chaos is not necessarily bad, and a Chaos Monster Arkat could be useful.
Bud brings up that Arkat defeated the Crimson Bat at one point, and Jörg elaborates that it might have been called the Purple Bat before, a death demon of Rinliddi which Arkat flayed, which is how it became Crimson.
After taking a moment’s pause, Bud calls Arkat a bad-ass.
Bud asks whether there is any other hero in Gloranthan history who has accomplished what Arkat has accomplished. Jörg proposes Sheng Seleris. Bud complains that Sheng was killed, but Jörg replies that so was Arkat. We quibble about stars lost and returning.
Ludo points out that Arkat was liberated by the Lightbringers Quest, and then gives a metaplot spoiler that Argrath is expected to liberate Sheng Seleris with his Lightbringers’ Quest.
Jörg calls Argrath Arkat the Liberator. Ludo rambles on that much like Harmast being an Orlanthi hero performing a Lightbringers’ Quest liberating Arkat from Hell, Argrath is an Orlanthi hero prophesied to liberate Sheng Seleris from Hell, claiming that history repeats itself. Whether because of cycles of cosmic significance or because the designers run out of ideas Ludo doesn’t know.
Ludo points out that Arkat’s story was among the first Gloranthan pieces written by Greg, with the protagonist still called Argat, which only later morphed into Arkat, with the similarity of Argrath (both names meaning “Liberator”) intentional.
Jörg points out that Greg’s Glorantha at the time did not yet know Dragon Pass, When Greg decided to publish his Glorantha stories not as books but as a series of games, he took his character Arkat and put him in that board game called White Bear and Red Moon by a slightly different name.
Ludo stubbornly tries to steer us back towards how to use Arkat in your games.
One possibility might be the presence of pieces of Nysalor (or Gbaji) still lying around in some hiding places, as McGuffins for scenarios, claiming that Arkat might even have taken Nysalor’s own monsters and set them up as guardians of those bits.
Bud interjects that that implies that Nysalor was a thing of Chaos, and he says he wasn’t. Ludo refuses to be Deceived.
Now Bud admits that some say that it was Gbaji who walked away from the Tower of Dreams that day, but Ludo wants to delay talking about the crazy conspiracy theories a little longer.
Ludo points towards Safelster, where each city state may be the guardian of some pocket or snippet of Arkati knowledge, giving way to some sort of secret society/spy game shenanigans, whether in Safelster or carried into the Hero Wars in and around Dragon Pass.
Bud asks whether anybody knows where Arkat was buried. Jörg suggests near Arkhome, but draws a blank whether his body was buried, whether he was cremated, or whether Arkat ascended bodily. After all, Sartar did not leave a body behind, either.
Ludo suggests that he may have asked his followers do dismember his body after he left, hiding them away, and maybe that were some of the extra bits the Lunars found, so that they now have a Frankenstein Nysalor that may contain certain amounts of Arkat, making a Voltron illuminated god.
Jörg suggests that alternatively Arkat may have had a troll burial, becoming a funerary feast.
Bud ominously says “he exists within trolls” (and at least Jörg can hear the idea of hyena skins being sewn together transferred to Arkat and Mistress Race stomachs).
Ludo rambles about the fact that while Arkat ascended as a god, the God Learners installed locks that prevent people from contacting the hero in the God Plane.
Ludo correctly points out that there are still people maintaining these God Learner locks (check out the last paragraph on p.415 in the Guide, the city of Harsad near the ruins of Arkhome). This cripples all the many surviving (or resurrected) Arkati cults that claim they got Arkat’s power. Jörg points out that the greatest of the God Learners, Halwal, who had turned against his compatriots, had attempted to re-unite and return a single Arkat, and even he failed (which may be why he and his opponent Yomili ended up mutually eliminating not just themselves but many of their allies and foes, polluting the region of the Red Ruins to this day).
Ludo explains that when he gets his players into heroquesting, he plans to give them some God Learner or Arkati obstacles. Bud points out that there is supposedly a God Learner alive, as a prisoner of Ralzakark receiving daily torture.
Ludo states that whenever you see something phrased as a rumor, it will be true in somebody’s version of Glorantha.
Jörg repeats the slander that Belintar was a God Learner.
Ludo drops a spoiler for Andrew Logan Montgomery’s Company of the Dragon where your heroquesting players might come across a God Learner who got lost on the hero plane, without any idea how much Time has passed in the mundane world.
Jörg points out that Nick Brooke’s Scenario Duel at Dangerford has a Humakti guardian who might be sort of an Arkati heroquesting guard.
Bud proposes that the Arkati guardians at thresholds in the Hero Plane might not be guarding with death as the alternative. He brings up the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant as having a possible parallel to the Arkati hero plane guardians, as Guardians who aren’t there to necessarily stop you but to prevent you from stumbling into things you aren’t prepared for yet.
And then the God Learners found ways of bypassing a lot of them, which is one of the crimes they committed.
Jörg mentions that one of the guardians removed by the God Learners was a raccoon, the Raccoon Guardian of Tusunimmi Ford, causing some hilarity when telling the story and mis-attributing it (not Cults of Terror, but the Glorantha Book of the RQ3 Genertela Box and subsequently the Guide p.136). Bud’s observation that this sounds like a pipe dream might be accurate given the work environment at The Chaosium at the time this was written.
Glorantha can be more than a bit gonzo, at the same time being this down-to-earth Bronze Age fantasy thing.
Crazy Conspiracy Theories
Bud declines to be first responder to Ludo’s demand for crazy conspiracy theories.
Jörg puts forward that Argrath is Arkat the Liberator, and his Lightbringer’s Quest liberating Sheng is also a way of paying back the cosmic karma to Harmast liberating Arkat.
Ludo asks whether that means that the other four of the five returning Arkats could be player characters, and Jörg agrees. (Played and tested in the 1995 run of Rise of Ralios.)
Jörg suggests that there will be more than five such people claiming to be Arkat. All of them KNOW they are the real deal, but several will be proven to be false.
Ludo’s theory involves the motives of the Second Council awakening Nysalor – to bring Harmony between Glorantha and the Void. Arkat ruined that chance of reconciliation.
Bud asks about the runes of Nysalor. There is definitely light (fire without the dot in the center, aka a circle).
Ludo brags about his brand-new copy of the Prosopaedia for Cults of RuneQuest that he brought back from ChaosiumCon and looks it up. It is Light and Mastery, and there is neither Harmony nor Chaos nor Moon.
Ludo (jokingly?) comes to the conclusion that the Prosopaedia was written by biased people and suggests to ignore it.
Bud finally comes clear that his theory is that Arkat was defeated on the Tower of Dreams, and that Gbaji deceived everybody by pretending he was Arkat, and walking away. That would also make Gbaji the founder of the Autarchy, the Heroquesting police, etc.
One “proof” is that Arkat no longer looked like a troll when he left.
When Ludo casts doubt – after all most that Arkat did afterwards was to settle down on a farm – Jörg suggests that that’s what THEY tell you. Bringing up pluripresence, Jörg states that One of Them (Them being Arkat, or Gbaji) went to Arkhome and settled down,
Bud suggests that that would have been the ultimate deception for Gbaji the Deceiver, deception for deception’s sake, but when Jörg suggests that deceiving everybody possibly included deceiving himself, Bud thinks that is going too far.
Ludo comes forward with another theory – Arkat did win, but only because Nysalor wanted him to win, to dismember him and spread him around all over the known world. Bud objects that the Red Goddess was not illuminated by the body parts of Nysalor but by the spirit of the god in Hell.
Jörg’s suggestion that the dismemberment of Nysalor could be seen as a version of utuma is rejected by Ludo, who wants to have some clear distinction between these two ways towards enlightenment.
Jörg points out that the core point of draconic enlightenment is to make True Dragons out of neotenic dragons, and that human adaptation of that has always resulted in strange things.
Bud refers to Company of the Dragon which has Andrew Logan Montgomery’s essay on draconic illumination, with dragonewts having problems to wake up to draconic reality while dragons spend their time sleeping before finally ascending.
This segues into what kind of illumination did Arkat have.
Jörg dodges this by tracking back where Arkat supposedly received his illumination, giving the aldryami of Brithos as the source, asking what kind they would have had.
Bud goes back into the Godtime, where Rashoran (an aspect or jigsaw piece of the reconstituted Red Goddess) was the source of all illumination. Jörg claims that Rashoran was effectively Nysalor pre-born, or that Nysalor was the reincarnation of Rashoran.
We discuss Rashoran’s credentials (illuminated Chalana Arroy and Humakt, illuminated the Unholy Trio who then killed Rashoran and created the Devil) and his role in the birth of the Red Goddess.
Bud wants to argue that if Rashoran was the earlier version of the Red Goddess, then Nysalorean illumination really is Lunar illumination, whereas Jörg insists that Lunar illumination is Nysalorean illumination. Which one was first, the hen or her egg?
Jörg agrees that the Lunars say that Rashoran was an incarnation of the Red Goddess, and that we know that what the Lunars say is true. They would never deceive us.
In reaction to this riddle, Bud spurts that if the Lunars know that Chaos is not necessarily a bad thing, then it doesn’t matter if their reconstituted Nysalor contained bits of Gbaji, and that their claims of being able to discern what was what was a deception.
Jörg calls that out as vile slander, and probably true.
In this huddle of confusion, bad puns and talking nonsens, we realize that we have reached the targeted length of this episode, and give Bud another chance to promote his presence on the interwebs.
Any further shenanigans (or pre-show banter) are not subject of this transcript.
The intro music is “The Warbird” by Try-Tachion. Other music includes “Cinder and Smoke” and “Skyspeak“, along with audio from the FreeSound library.
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We are all Arkat