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Western HeroQuesting

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Few Gloranthan cultures perceive their heroquesting in the same way the others do, even though they are all interacting with the same mythic realities. The monotheist/humanist Westerners' perception and experience of the otherworld will perhaps diverge significantly from those of the theistic cultures, be they Lunar or Orlanthi, Yelmic or Praxian.

One model for Western heroquesting is that of knight-errantry. The source of inspiration for these is those Arthurian Romances where a knight can ride just half a day from Camelot and find himself facing symbolic and magical foes, strange castles and kingdoms and tests which properly belong on the Other Side. This might be exactly how a Western Knight would set out on some strange Adventure. The blur between "magical" Glorantha and the Hero Plane makes it possible to slip across at any point. [1]

The characters encountered on the knight's quest could be the Western monotheist's perceptions of pagan deities: cf. the book The Real Camelot and sundry other publications (including various Pendragon adventures) for more information on pagan survivals into Arthurian/Christian legends. Thus a Hrestoli Knight-Errant might meet the grim and silent Black Knight at a ford, where an Orlanthi would have encountered (and recognised) Humakt. Whereas in the Middle Ages, such encounters were survivals from ancient mythologies, in Glorantha they could also be intrusions from the live myths of other cultures.

Most Western heroquesters deliberately refrain from discovering or assigning proper names to the otherworldly entities they encounter on their quests and journeys. This is a reaction to the God Learner experience: their magical techniques included discovering the True Names of "demons" (the gods of the theists), and recognising them under other names wherever possible, but over time this meant the impersonal entities of the Otherworld increased in power as they were lumped together in ever greater agglomerations, with disastrous results for the Middle Sea Empire.

The monotheistic Malkioni of Loskalm and Seshnela strive to prevent the characters they meet, be they the Sorrowful Damsel or the Wounded King, from growing in importance, or attracting worship or attention, by leaving them anonymous and not trying to identify them with pagan deities. [2]

[1] Prince Snodal, Greg Stafford's first Gloranthan hero, inadvertently crossed onto the Hero Plane while fleeing from mundane foes: he did not consciously attempt to HeroQuest. Prince Hrestol, too, embarked on his heroic quest to find and defeat the Goddess of the Lion People as if it were a mundane journey. Knightly vigils and wizardly blessings would help, of course...

[2] This is my Gloranthan justification for the anonymity you find in many Arthurian legends.

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