Part 16: The PharaohExplore our tula!
Truthfully I think it's one of the larger tragedies in traditional gaming is that the Gloranthan pnp never got more than a single lump of coal in its steam engine. The local equivalent of an epic level character can completely fuck over the cosmology by acting like a douchebag in the realm of the gods. The stories that would come out of this would be incredible.
No kidding! I also think Glorantha would make the best-ever MMORPG setting precisely because it can get around what most irritates me about the others. I get to play a unique hero who goes out and does exactly the same plotline quests as everybody else? When you just finished exposing the lich king and the RP conversations you're having about it devolve into "it's better to grind the troll quest later," immersion is broken hard.
A Gloranthan MMORPG could repeat things like raiding at lower levels (stealing cattle from the Vostang? Of course you run into the same guys and the map's the same... unless they changed something since last time) and heroquesting at higher levels, and there'd be world-changing consequences if most of the people doing the Daga quest decide to just kill Daga. As Coolguye points out, not all the consequences would be positive or intended.
It's also possible (though not in KoDP) to get drawn into other people's heroquests, where you get to decide whether to go along or try to mess them up (with all sorts of potential consequences), or even to counter-heroquest to try to spoil someone else's heroquest.
Here's a brief no-spoilers example: that Pharaoh guy the clan ancestors ended up fleeing from? He showed up in a place called the Holy Country, which was mostly a matriarchy run by earth clans and ridiculously well-populated for the region because of all the fertility rituals. They employed the Year-King concept to keep the fields productive (and maintain female rule, effectively): that's the "guy gets to be king for a year and then they sacrifice him to the land" concept in play.
The Pharaoh got himself made the Year-King. Then he figured out a way to survive being sacrificed. Not avoid being sacrificed... he was sacrificed and then he showed up in a new body afterwards. As he was still alive, he was still the Year-King, and hence he was able to basically hijack the whole society and take over while preserving the Year-King rituals.
From a particular (outsider) perspective, men now compete every year in the Pharaoh's lands for the honor of having their spirit destroyed and their body used by the Pharaoh for a year before it's fed to the ritual. The locals don't see it that way, and I'm not even saying that's what goes down, but there it is...
I'll wait until later to talk about the Godlearners, but the simple comment is that they're a society of power-gamers who decided to exploit the system. The world killed them before what they did could destroy it. Exploiting loopholes in a world that needs to be ritually patched up every year to keep it functioning is NOT a wise idea.