(A tangled ball of) Questions re Heralds


#1

I’m writing (more) fanfic.

How human are Heralds of the various Eternals?

Not so much in terms of physical structure (If you cut them in half would you see organs or fizzing energy of their Realm?)

Not so much in terms of adherence to a human form (it’s a fish! a bird! a skeleton! a rabbit! a small plushy whale! a patch of grass!)

But in terms of emotional depth and range. In terms of mind and/or soul. In terms of Free Will.

I’m guessing that they vary from almost human to almost a small copy of their Eternal, possibly as a reflection of their power level. So at the top level, you’d be wondering if they aren’t actually a puppet of their Eternal, while at the lower level it’s almost human except for a few quirks (I imagine no Herald of the Whisper Gallery, for example, could tell you a secret if it wanted to…).

A Herald on a mission at Anvil would do its best to achieve it’s mission, but do they then have the free will to, for example, go and collect information useful to their Eternal on the way out? Stop and check in on other interests? Go for a drink in a Highguard bar just to wind them up? (probably not, unless there’s an Eternal of annoying Highguard) Pick a fight because that last mission left them in a foul mood?

They generally don’t in-game, as you want that NPC and crew member back to do the next 15 things, but would they in setting?

Can they (individually, and not as a representative of their Eternal) be offended, interested, repulsed, or attracted…

Can a Herald fall in love?

It might be that this is stuff to be explored in play. It might be that this is below the abstraction layer (although it’s known IC), and so hasn’t been written up on the wiki because frankly, it’s not that important . It might be that no-one’s thought about it (Hah!).

But given their appearance on the field and in the fluff over the years, I’m guessing that most of the Heralds we (IC) see are pretty human in outlook…


Beyond mortal ken, file 65
"…after extensive divinatory rituals, we discovered that the crystal was in fact a Herald of Adamant. After three weeks of attempting to decipher the careful chimes and resonances that it was emitting, we decided that it was in fact speaking in a non-linear language about a subject outside of our frame of reference, but possibly to do with the structure of matter at either a very large or a vary small scale.

With an apologetic note, we therefore sent it back to Adamant."



#2

So much of this I think falls into best left to the field. I have picked up information about most of these actually in play.

So the opening fiction of Out of Void, Out of Chaos to me answers that question, at least for one specific herald. (This probably isn’t true of all Heralds equally, for reasons.)


#3

I love the questions, and I hope you get some actual answers but I suspect the general one will be “It depends”.

My thoughts for clarification.
May depend on:
How long the herald has been a herald
Was it human/orc/of this realm to start with
How long has it spent in this realm
How long has it been dealing with humans, and would that cause it to be more or less interested in them, or pick up more or less human traits.
Does the eternal care about humans as more than interesting play things.
Which eternal, as some are a lot less human in outlook than others, and those interested in say secrets will probably be more interested in humans than those interested in rot perhaps.
How close the herald is to it’s eternal, and how much responsibility / autonomy it has been given.

Will be very interested in any examples, as a definitive answer is unlikely.

(Of course coming from Highguard they’re all terrible, and we don’t currently have a bar and wouldn’t be serving a herald anyway.)

NB I believe we have had visits from heralds with bone heads, and canine traits so not all human in shape, and I’m not sure whether the jelly fish and spiders count as heralds but they were from the realms.


#4

How human are Heralds of the various Eternals?

Less than many would like - intraconverting the two states is almost impossible - but otherwise it varies.

Why, incidentally, do people believe that ‘Herald’ describes one class of entity? I’m not even certain that the Heralds would agree.

[I]n terms of emotional depth and range. In terms of mind and/or soul. In terms of Free Will.

I’m guessing that they vary from almost human to almost a small copy of their Eternal, possibly as a reflection of their power level. So at the top level, you’d be wondering if they aren’t actually a puppet of their Eternal, while at the lower level it’s almost human except for a few quirks (I imagine no Herald of the Whisper Gallery, for example, could tell you a secret if it wanted to…).

H’m. Have you asked the Heralds in question as to whether a hierarchy of power is even sensible to consider among them?

I mean, consider Irra Harrah, the Fruit with a Thousand Foes, who hates authority in all forms - would a herald of theirs not be increasingly, fiercely independent the closer they were to their Eternal in nature? Consider Sinokenon, the Turning Mirror - surely the least member of their labyrinthine hierarchies is a reflection of the will of the higher.

A Herald on a mission at Anvil would do its best to achieve its mission, but do they then have the free will to, for example, go and collect information useful to their Eternal on the way out? Stop and check in on other interests? Go for a drink in a Highguard bar just to wind them up? (probably not, unless there’s an Eternal of annoying Highguard) Pick a fight because that last mission left them in a foul mood?

Ever seen one doing this? I suspect the best thing is to ask them. I suspect the best way to draw conclusions is to not consider that ‘Herald’ is one single type of being, or even one per Eternal.

They generally don’t in-game, as you want that NPC and crew member back to do the next 15 things

We also want them to have fun!

but would they in setting?

Can they (individually, and not as a representative of their Eternal) be offended, interested, repulsed, or attracted…

thinkyface.

Yyyyyeeesssss by which I mean noooooooooo by which I mean maybe. Like, yes, Autumn wouldn’t function if none of the heralds could be dealt with individually, but we have to be incredibly careful from a Doylist perspective - most people’s interactions with Eternals are so incredibly limited in time and resource that if we allow heralds to be buffaloed and bamboozled too much then people get confused as to what their Eternal thinks or is for.

Case in point, as my old PC I once spent a couple of hours talking an Arhallogen herald around to the idea that I had weaponised the concept of peace in order to use it as a poison. I did this because I expected to be negotiating with that herald going forward and wanted it on side.

I never saw it again. Arhallogen probably ate it due to the damage I’d done it. Beware. :slight_smile:

Can a Herald fall in love?

YES.

It would be a poor hearth magic that didn’t do what it said on the tin.

It would be a weird troubador or enchantress who tried to find a match for the giant tree or the sentient skin disease.

It might be that this is stuff to be explored in play. It might be that this is below the abstraction layer (although it’s known IC), and so hasn’t been written up on the wiki because frankly, it’s not that important . It might be that no-one’s thought about it (Hah!).

It’s not below abstraction, I don’t think, but the question is more like asking ‘Do pets have free will?’ and basing your answer on the behaviour of a sample set containing a West Highland Terrier, a pot-bellied pig, a hamster, a goldfish, a stick insect and a rock with googly eyes stuck on it.

But given their appearance on the field and in the fluff over the years, I’m guessing that most of the Heralds we (IC) see are pretty human in outlook…

My favourite Heralds are the ones that are physrepped by a dozen-ish people.

But yes, broadly, I think it’s safe to say that most Heralds that appear in the world could be physrepped by humans and that only a really obstreperous and annoyed Day or Autumn Eternal would send the Empire a Herald that didn’t speak Imperial.


#5

This is definitely something that is not below the abstraction layer, most of the time you just have to get lucky with the right Herald.

If you are interested in this part of the game I strongly recommend talking to characters who frequently deal with Heralds (Archmages will usually be able to direct you to the right people if you cant think of anyone yourself).

For the purposes of fanfic: Heralds appear in a large variety of forms and some are remarkably humanoid, while others are remarkably not humanoid in either appearance, free will, thought patterns or some mixture of the above.

Also OMG this is such a cool part of the game, and its really awesome and I strongly urge magey people who like to poke things to get involved with Heralds


#6

I’d assume that humans can become heralds because one became an eternal which would probably be harder to do. I would image than an eternal could bestow blessings or power upon an individual and make them a herald. Once that human becomes a herald I believe they are bound by the feelings and ideas that their eternal portrays. In this way they are a bit more limited then people but not every person. I think in the end you must consider what it is to be human to answer this question.

May I ask why you ask this question? If you want them to be a character in a story, I suggest you start off by thinking about a character and then looking for a herald that may suit it rather than the other way round.

There is a likelihood that one may stray but I think this would depend on which eternal they are bound to. Some may only want to do what they have been sent to do where as others may be more curious and stay to observe something they find interesting.

I think heralds are almost like ambassadors. They can act as they see fit but at the end of the day they must consider the interests of their eternal above their own. If an ambassador grows up in a land of adventures and parties, they are more likely to enjoy said things and to seek such things out.

Love is a very powerful thing both in life an in literature. One day a herald may walk through anvil and stop, seeing someone that just captivates them. They may fall in love but I think if they were looking for a long relationship, they may try and take their lover into their realm as they would most likely get into trouble for staying in our world. If an enteral can love then why can’t a herald?

Remember that heralds are played by people. It is impossible to completely remove the human aspect from them so no one would try.

I’m assuming that you are writing a story about a herald falling in love with a human. I believe that in the end, if the human couldn’t keep up with the ideals of the herald, then they would be left behind. I feel it would be almost like if a season could love. It will stay as long as it could but eventually, it must go and that is the way of the world.


#7

It very much depends on the eternal who they’re a herald of. Take a herald of summer, they’re going to have very strong emotions, or least appear to have. Heralds of Phaleron, being Day, probably less so.

Can they fall in love? Well some have certainly taken human lovers (Summer again) and there are also stories about Heralds living human (ask any Dawnish bard).

A lot of times it comes down to “what can PD Phys-rep” but I know they’ve done weird stuff where they can do it.

If you’re looking for “canon” on this I think it’s there on the wiki of you look in the fiction :slight_smile:.


#8

It is my educated opinion that that in this particular area, past performance should not be your guide to future expectations!

With my Doylist hat on again… why on actual earth would we want to have an NPC that we couldn’t physrep without taking a player off the field (which we don’t want to do) and giving them plot spoilers (which we really don’t want to do)?

But yes. Humans have become Heralds in the past. It’s rare.


#9

Just because a player human is unlikely to become a herald, doesn’t mean that is isn’t possible. A herald could have been anything before hand if none of the PCs had ever met them. Also you never know, a player may decide to become and NPC and some how they become a herald, I don’t know how, I’m no expert. I think the past gives us something to base our ideas on. We should be willing to accept new ones but until what is know is disproven or shown to be unlikely, should it not be considered fact? That was my thinking at least. You may be right though. Magic can be weird and lots of things can change but then lots of things do stay the same, especially if you consider which realm we are talking about.

Thank you for confirming it afterwards though. If you hadn’t, then I would have felt bad for spreading disinformation.


#10

You can’t just decide to become a herald, I am fairly sure PD plot have to approve it, and they are much less likely to do that than in the past.


#11

I hear that some crazy stuff happened in the past. I understand that everything is going to be a little bit less insane as there are a lot more people to manage and most of the rules of the world have been set, I was just suggesting that maybe, with approval, in the right circumstance, someone could become a herald. I might be wrong however, but I just thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts.


#12

I think the process (were it to ever happen) wouldn’t be player-initiated. I think you’d have to:

  1. Meet a Herald
  2. Impress that Herald enough for them to take a liking to you
  3. Continue to do stuff for the Herald so that their Eternal begins seeing you as a desirable commodity
  4. The Eternal extends an invitation to become a Herald

I don’t think you could just announce “I want to become a Herald of Siaka!” to PD; you have to find the plot opportunity to ‘unlock’ the option.


#13

This is likely applicable to most situations or examples :stuck_out_tongue:


#14

In fic - especially fic set in the past - especially fic that nobody can 100% prove to be canon… yes. Absolutely. Totally.

Expecting to ever see it happen again in play?

I’d be very surprised.


#15

Yeah, I think it would be too inconvenient to let them happen again but it is always fun to hear about them.