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Author Topic: Humakt, Rashoran, and justice (split from rape/Glorantha)  (Read 26498 times)
simon_hibbs
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Posts: 678


« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2003, 12:54:14 PM »

Interesting thread, just a few comments.

The idea of a Humakt cult that retains the air connection is interesting. The orlanthi see a strong connection between breath and life, so obviously since the dead nolonger breathe the god of death is no god of air. But perhaps this subcult have found Humakt in the last breath exhaled by a dying man? But a subcult such as this isn't just about what you gain by such a connection, but also what you lose. Breath is a thing of life, and so perhaps this subcult blurs the distinction between the living and the dead in some way? The Lismelder humakti (anti-undead specialists) would surely have something to say about that!

I think the truth element of the Humakt cult is often taken very much out of context. For example someone mentioned their hero band being against slavery, and another said something about humakt being against rape. I realy can't see where any of this comes from. Taking thrals is an honourable heortling activity, and Humakt has no anti-chaos aspects whatsoever. It's even reputed that Ralzakark (a king of the broos) has a unit of humakti broo at his disposal. I think that's an exageration, but there's nothing impossible about it. All mortal things have a relationship with the god of death.

Humakt is not a god of society, he is a god of individuals because ultimately we all face death alone. Also I don't see justice 'in the world' as being much of an attribute of humakt. What release can the victim of any crime or any injustice expect from a god of death?

Simon Hibbs
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Simon Hibbs
Jane
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Posts: 41


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« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2003, 01:29:43 PM »

Quote from: simon_hibbs

The idea of a Humakt cult that retains the air connection is interesting. The orlanthi see a strong connection between breath and life, so obviously since the dead no longer breathe the god of death is no god of air. But perhaps this subcult have found Humakt in the last breath exhaled by a dying man?

Interesting idea, but no. This is Humakt as the North Wind. That sounds like a fun sub-cult, and one that perhaps I'd like to explore some time, but it isn't Hereward.

Quote

I think the truth element of the Humakt cult is often taken very much out of context. For example someone mentioned their hero band being against slavery, .... Taking thrals is an honourable heortling activity,

Quite possibly, but what do the Heortlings have to do with it? (Quite apart from the significant differences between thralls and slaves).

Quote

Humakt is not a god of society, he is a god of individuals because ultimately we all face death alone.

Oh, nice point! Although it emphasises Death over Truth.

Quote

Also I don't see justice 'in the world' as being much of an attribute of humakt. What release can the victim of any crime or any injustice expect from a god of death?

True, but again you're emphasising Death over Truth. Humakt is supposed to be a god of honour. When his worshippers are asked to choose who to help, who to support, who to execute, on what basis do they make that judgement? It isn't "kill them all, let Humakt sort them out." Nor is it based on the law system of whatever society they happen to have been born into, or to be operating within at the time. (At least, it shouldn't be. Half the roleplaying fun is the fallible human heroes failing to leave their cultural biases behind!)
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nuanarpoq
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Posts: 21


« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2003, 01:57:25 PM »

Quote from: Jane
Quote from: simon_hibbs
Humakt is not a god of society, he is a god of individuals because ultimately we all face death alone.

Oh, nice point! Although it emphasises Death over Truth.


i don't know that it does. perhaps its back to the motif of humakt's truth being an individual truth.
Quote


Quote

Also I don't see justice 'in the world' as being much of an attribute of humakt. What release can the victim of any crime or any injustice expect from a god of death?

True, but again you're emphasising Death over Truth. Humakt is supposed to be a god of honour. When his worshippers are asked to choose who to help, who to support, who to execute, on what basis do they make that judgement? It isn't "kill them all, let Humakt sort them out." Nor is it based on the law system of whatever society they happen to have been born into, or to be operating within at the time. (At least, it shouldn't be. Half the roleplaying fun is the fallible human heroes failing to leave their cultural biases behind!)


on the previous page i listed some of the meanings of the words 'just' and 'justice'. first definition of each pertained to 'just action', or action in accordance with a moral law - ie an honour code. this seems extemely humakti. simon and ian seem to be referring more to a concept of justice as judicial process or the execution of judicial authority, which is more orlanth in the context of the heortlings.

my answer to jane's question would be, humakti make their judgements according to their individual honour codes. for some that may well be 'let humakt them sort out'. others may have chosen to remain sheathed in their community and will apply to due process in their society's law. in between there will be a whole host of variation.

it may be true that Humakt himself retains a single identity, but he's a god - too much for one mortal mind to adhere to. worshippers will concentrate on different aspects of him. if they are wise and skilled in battle, and they survive, they may become closer to the god and learn more of him. i suspect that at the levels of initiates and devotees there is more variation in honour codes than at the level of disciples. different subcults and temples will promote different aspects of honour codes, and these may become the basis for rivalry.

i like the idea that that the particular strictures of any individual honour code are less important than *the spirit of the warrior who cleaves to it*. this is another rashoran-ish idea, i guess. whether the warrior thinks mercy or death is more appropriate to a fallen enemy is unimportant. what matters is why the warrior thinks mercy or death is the correct line to take. are they acting in accordance with their true nature?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2003, 01:59:24 PM »

Hi there,

Simon, those are some great points. Here's my thinking on one of them which goes back to my point about "Truth by principle, but justice when the rubber hits the road" a bit back.

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What release can the victim of any crime or any injustice expect from a god of death?


Release? Who knows. On the other hand, retribution, perfectly placed to sever the perpetrator from his or her gains, seems very likely to be desired by such a victim. Who could one turn to if not the (or a particular) Humakti?

This idea could be taken to a slightly more extreme level, in the sense of initiating oneself to Humakt as a final, hands-down recourse: "When seeking revenge, dig two graves." I kind of like the idea of a subcult or perhaps even just a little-known, rarely-acknowledged ritual, devoted to this practice.

Best,
Ron
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Jane
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Posts: 41


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« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2003, 02:10:14 PM »

Quote from: Ian Cooper

Do you see justice as a primary Humakti concern? Is Humakt concerned with justice as society understands it? I always assumed he was concerned with honor - and that what was what his possession of the truth rune represented.

Nice distinction. Honour for your own actions, justice for considering interactions between others, yes? The trouble is that as soon as one tries to apply Honour to control one's actions, Justice starts to creep in at the edges, because you have to interact with other people. Say two parties have an argument, and both try to hire the same group of Humakti to defend them. Which do you choose to help, if you want to do the honourable thing? You have to start looking at their claims, and choosing the "good" side. And that means having a moral code by which to choose. You're effectively trying to implement "justice" of some sort, like it or not (probably like it not, but being Humakti was never meant to be easy).

Suppose you've managed to get yourself into a situation of having sworn oaths to do two things which conflict? How do you resolve it?

To what lengths will you go to keep an oath, anyway? (This is where our group realised that forcing people - well, beings - into slavery was further than they were prepared to go, because some of us saw that as an unjust act, and rolled good enough dice to convince the rest). Obviously you'd rather die yourself than fail to keep an oath, but how about knowingly causing the death or suffering of a large number of innocent bystanders? Would doing that be dishonourable? Unjust?


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I have in in mind the Germanic warrior code of the 'comitatus' (see Tacitus, but I also have a great book by Pollington called the English Warrior which has some good info on saxon warrior rituals),

Added to Amazon wish list: thanks
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1898281270/qid=1067204866/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_0_2/202-7895665-5036600

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Indeed p.90 of Storm tribe .... justice stated to be concerned mostly with courage and honor.

Is that how you read it?
Quote from: ST90

His initiates serve him by obeying his rules of justice. He encourages honor and courage...

That's two separate statements, surely?


Quote

Obviously to the wider extent that society recognizes or provides the warrior's code of honor Humakt may be involved in the enforcement of 'correct' behaviour, but as you say Orlanth is the source of the rules that allow men to live together.

Only in Orlanthi society. Which, as you say, even Humakti who were once Orlanthi are not a part of. Humakti sever their relationships with their community when they initiate, and I'm quite sure that this is important when we're trying to find out who they see as an authority.

Quote

indeed one suspects that the main point that Rashoran revealed to Humakt was that your origin, chaotic or not, does not dictate your chances of upholding a code of honor.

Good point: the "impartial" concept. And it's another moderately important Herewardi theme: the idea that each person has their own path to the Truth, and you shouldn't try to dictate that path to them, nor tell them that the Truth you perceive is the ultimate and perfect one.

But it also puts even more emphasis on the idea that Humakti honor is not dependent on any one culture: Orlanthi, Solar, Broo: all are equally irrelevant.
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Jane
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« Reply #35 on: October 26, 2003, 02:33:55 PM »

Quote from: nuanarpoq
it may be true that Humakt himself retains a single identity, but he's a god - too much for one mortal mind to adhere to.

Too much for the poor insane PCs, anyway, hard though they try. Us players and Narrators had better not give up so easily, though :)
Quote from: nuanarpoq

i like the idea that that the particular strictures of any individual honour code are less important than *the spirit of the warrior who cleaves to it*. this is another rashoran-ish idea, i guess. whether the warrior thinks mercy or death is more appropriate to a fallen enemy is unimportant. what matters is why the warrior thinks mercy or death is the correct line to take. are they acting in accordance with their true nature?

Oh, that is great! All problems can be solved by introducing another level of indirection, to quote my old computer science tutor. Yet more excuses for introspection and navel gazing :) The Truth behind the Truth, of course, with a slice of "know thyself" for good measure.

Does this Forum system have a "this is the answer" button for threads? Because I think I'd like to press it.

Quote from: William Shakespeare

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Hamlet, I.iii.58
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Ian Cooper
Member

Posts: 126


« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2003, 03:33:52 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Looks like a typo gotcha in your parenthesis about p. 90 in Storm Tribes - clarify? I'm following this discussion very closely and don't want to miss anything.


Yes, bottom of p.90 is a comment about Humakt not disliking Chaos (although perhaps significantly suggests that the cult's warriors tend to support the prevailing opinion of the society they are with).
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Ian Cooper
Member

Posts: 126


« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2003, 03:50:15 PM »

[quote="nuanarpoq] different subcults and temples will promote different aspects of honour codes, and these may become the basis for rivalry[/quote]

I think we are on similar lines in our belief that the honor codes lie at the heart of the way of the Humakti warrior, but that different subcults might espouse different codes, which may also be different from those of the broader society Humakti are within at a given time. Indeed one of the aspects of your campaign that I like from afar is just this in-game exploration of what one such honor code could be. My reading of Kargan on p.103 of Storm Tribe is that the statement "Followers of Kargan say the Sword is only a symbol" seems to support this differing interpretations viewpoint. After all the implication is that not everyone accepts this viewpoint.

Perhaps this leads to a vision of the Humakt cult as untimately platonic as its adherents try to wring human meaning from a single-minded god who is perhaps more an impersonal force than anthropomorphizable. Are they doomed to only ever witness the shadows on the cave wall? Is there a sigificance to the fact that, more so than for example Orlanth, Humakt's subcults are defined by the heroes who seem to have first espoused thier interpretation of the Death? Perhaps.
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simon_hibbs
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Posts: 678


« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2003, 03:15:19 AM »

Quote from: Ron
Release? Who knows. On the other hand, retribution, perfectly placed to sever the perpetrator from his or her gains, seems very likely to be desired by such a victim. Who could one turn to if not the (or a particular) Humakti?


I can see the motive of the victim, but what is the motive of the Humakti? Why should he help any more than anyone else should? I realy don't see humakti as moral crusaders because they are humakti. They may be for other reasons, but those reasons will answer your questions.

Quote from: Jane

Interesting idea, but no. This is Humakt as the North Wind. That sounds like a fun sub-cult, and one that perhaps I'd like to explore some time, but it isn't Hereward.


So it's even more of a living death. I'd be interested to see the writeup.

Re. Thralls

Quote from: Jane"
Quite possibly, but what do the Heortlings have to do with it? (Quite apart from the significant differences between thralls and slaves).


Heortling Humakti live in heortling society, so if you want to posit that they are against common heortling behaviour I think the onus is on you to demonstrate why. I fail to see why humakti would have anything in particular against slavery. Heortlings kind of do a bit because they are into freedom and movement, but it's not a realy strong drive for them.

Since Humakt has nothing to say about freedom, and in fact is more
heavily into obligations if anything, I don't see where the anti-slavery comes from. Humakti happliy operate in many slave taking societies (i.e. most Genertelan ones) with no apparent friction.

Quote from: Jane

Quote from: me
Humakt is not a god of society, he is a god of individuals because ultimately we all face death alone.


Oh, nice point! Although it emphasises Death over Truth.

Quote
Also I don't see justice 'in the world' as being much of an attribute of humakt. What release can the victim of any crime or any injustice expect from a god of death?


True, but again you're emphasising Death over Truth.


It emphasises death, but you seem to be implying that it does so at the expense of truth. Since I believe the statement is true, I don't realy see what you're getting at.

As an asside I'd comment that actualy Humakt does emphasise death over truth. In the old-fashioned God Learning days he held a double death rune, and is still the great god of death where he is not the great god of truth and so only holds some aspects of truth. Nevertheless I see no conflict between death and truth in what I have said.


Simon Hibbs
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Simon Hibbs
nuanarpoq
Member

Posts: 21


« Reply #39 on: October 27, 2003, 04:38:04 AM »

Quote from: simon_hibbs
Heortling Humakti live in heortling society, so if you want to posit that they are against common heortling behaviour I think the onus is on you to demonstrate why. I fail to see why humakti would have anything in particular against slavery.


jane was refering to the fact that in our game the subcult does not originate amongst the heortlings, and that her character and several of the other player heroes are not heortlings. this came up earlier in the discussion, when we were also talking about the universality vs regional variation of humakt.

it may be fair to say that heortling humakti are indiffierent to slavery, dependent perhaps on their clan practices. but if you want to talk the 'universal' attitude of humakt towards slavery, then the onus is equally on you to demonstrate why they wouldn't care.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #40 on: October 27, 2003, 07:26:44 AM »

Hi there,

This is a combined response to Simon's question:

Quote
I can see the motive of the victim, but what is the motive of the Humakti? Why should he help any more than anyone else should?


... and to nuanarpoq's statement regarding slavery:

Quote
if you want to talk the 'universal' attitude of humakt towards slavery, then the onus is equally on you to demonstrate why they wouldn't care.


Quickie note: let's not get all wound up about who's got the onus about what! No one is talking about "real" Humakti; there aren't any.

But I do think the second statement brings home my own response to you, Simon ... that what "the Humakti would think," or "Humakti in general think" is only a starting point.  

We're talking about player-characters and Hero Bands. As soon as the discussion focuses on that, then wham! "What they typically think" stops being "how to play" and instead becomes the starting template for change and transforming myth that's the core of playing HeroQuest. During the Hero Wars, even sticking with the traditional line of thought represents a wrenching decision with its own price.

No myth or myth-system in Glorantha can withstand what's happening in the setting. I think one can see the fault lines in both Orlanthi and Solar culture cracking apart already; finding such gaps and cracks is where the system of the game really shines in the long-term. For me, anyway, scenario creation is all about bringing this into the forefront of everyone's attention.

So where would a Humakti's personal motive come from in some local issue surrounding injustice? From my perspective, answering that question is what playing a player-character is all about.

Best,
Ron
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nuanarpoq
Member

Posts: 21


« Reply #41 on: October 27, 2003, 08:50:48 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Quickie note: let's not get all wound up about who's got the onus about what!


didn't mean to sound snippy - just pointing out that the reverse is also true

Quote
No one is talking about "real" Humakti; there aren't any.


there aren't? holy shit - no santa, no easter bunny and now this? my life would be so much easier if people were straight with me from the beginning. as it is i'm just reeling from one catastrophic disappointment to the next. ;o)

Quote
what "the Humakti would think," or "Humakti in general think" is only a starting point.  

*snip*


what he said
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MarkAdri
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #42 on: October 27, 2003, 08:54:30 AM »

I have been following this discussion with great interest as some of the issues raised are similar to questions I am starting to ask about my Humakti character.

I sense that he is at a crossroads, and the next few choices he makes will have the most profound effect on him and possibly on those around him.  

Ian and Guy know the character as we all play in the same campaign together.

The cause is just - Defeat the Lunar Invaders and return the true heir of Sartar to the throne.

However a series of choices have been made which would be seen as decidely iffy by certain outside parties and even those with the same aims may be disturbed by them.

Duty and honour demand that he follows this through to the end, no matter what is needed.  Justice may not.  He will have to commit unjust acts, innocents may be harmed in the furthering of the cause.  He keeps his honour and thus he feels his connection with his god by accepting this and then simply acting.  

That is what I have seen this discussion to be about.  

I may be wrong and I expect to be told so if I am.

Thank you for helping me clarify my approach to my character.

Mark
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simon_hibbs
Member

Posts: 678


« Reply #43 on: October 27, 2003, 09:52:16 AM »

Some good points from Ron, I'm replying here with those in mind.

Quote from: nuanarpoq

jane was refering to the fact that in our game the subcult does not originate amongst the heortlings, and that her character and several of the other player heroes are not heortlings. this came up earlier in the discussion, when we were also talking about the universality vs regional variation of humakt.


Fairy nuff, I missed that distinction since I didn't realise the subcult was non-heortling. Where is it from?

On slavery (new topic perhaps)?

Quote
it may be fair to say that heortling humakti are indiffierent to slavery, dependent perhaps on their clan practices. but if you want to talk the 'universal' attitude of humakt towards slavery, then the onus is equally on you to demonstrate why they wouldn't care.


Ok, for example Pelanda, Prax and Carmainia are slave owning cultures, so I don't feel any pressure to justify asserting that most Pelandan, Carmanian and Praxian humakti accept slavery as being normal. In fact I'm hard pressed to think of any genertelan culture that doesn't practice slavery in one form or other. I don't see why being humakti would cause someone's attitude in this respect to be different from the norm.

Simon Hibbs
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Simon Hibbs
nuanarpoq
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Posts: 21


« Reply #44 on: October 27, 2003, 10:26:59 AM »

Quote from: simon_hibbs


Fairy nuff, I missed that distinction since I didn't realise the subcult was non-heortling. Where is it from?


we made it up. or rather, the players made it up. i did a sort of 'temple generation questionnaire' thing for them. there's a link somewhere earlier in the thread, i think.

Quote
On slavery (new topic perhaps)?


i think slavery - like rape - is a good area to discuss these issues (honour, justice etc) in. if only because slavery & rape are so noxious to us that they force us to think hard about why others' reactions may be different.

Quote
Quote
it may be fair to say that heortling humakti are indiffierent to slavery, dependent perhaps on their clan practices. but if you want to talk the 'universal' attitude of humakt towards slavery, then the onus is equally on you to demonstrate why they wouldn't care.


In fact I'm hard pressed to think of any genertelan culture that doesn't practice slavery in one form or other. I don't see why being humakti would cause someone's attitude in this respect to be different from the norm.


well, i guess there are a number of reactions different humakti might have depending on how they stand with respect to their original culture. humakti 1 might say, "i stand with the Sambari, and taking slaves is what they do. i might be dead, but my sword serves them." humakti 2 might say "i was of the Sambari before I died. When the God took me the false beliefs of those people fell away before the His revealed Truth. now i know that it is evil to hold another in bondage, or to be held in bondage - that's is why why my temple works for coin, or for honour, but never for obligation".

on Fireday humakti 3 may say. "aaaaiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!  - embrace the point of truth!" to some slavers leading a caravan across Prax.  On Clayday he may sacrifice the slaves he freed, or sell them, if he happens to be the kind of humakti for whom a Truth of the moment is the basis of his code.*

i think the main reason for assuming that humakti can - not do, necessarily, but at least your player hero has the option - have wildly opposing views to anyone else in their original culture is because they may be no longer a part of it. they are aliens. part of their job is to be different. they may have taken to humakt *because* they were different in the first place, too.

*never trust these ones
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