Alex’s Analysis – One Mask, Many Faces

posted by on 15th June 2018, at 10:33am

So a new Guthixian Cache sort of minigame came out. You go to this big cave, you fill a jar of memories, you throw it in the anima, and then you get divination experience up the wazoo. Akin to chopping ivy or fishing crystals, but for Divination. Because that’s not at all a boring skill that needs some updates as to how it’s trained.

I am kidding, of course. It’s not just the training method. It’s also a good way to get in a fair bit of lore into the game. Especially lore that relates to one of the biggest mysteries the game has to offer; Guthix’s Plans for the world.

Naturally, being chosen by Guthix to protect the world being the pivotal point of the game (ushers the world into the 6th age, after all), you’d want to know as much as your employer as possible. What he had done in the past, what his plans were for the future, and what he really wanted you to do for him when he made you his champion with powers that protected you from the Gods themselves.

I’m going to be honest. I’m not a big-time lorehound. I’ll read into something the game offers, probably just see it at face value, maybe do a bit of analyzing and what-ifs, and then a story is built up. Usually my hyperactive imagination plays up and I imagine a series of events will happen, then wait until the real ones actually happen and see how close I was. Quite often I’m not at all close, but it’s all a part of the fun.

That being said, this is not an article about the dark secrets that Guthix has hidden away. I’ll let you guys discover them for yourselves, as it does tie in with a lot of events; some of which don’t even happen in the Runescape game itself.

Instead, there’s another side to this update I want to talk about. It’s not the forbidden secrets themselves.

It was the fact that Guthix was keeping these secrets hidden away. It was the fact that these secrets existed in the first place. This isn’t about the happenings in the Runescape world.

This is about Guthix himself.

Who is Guthix? Well, he’s a God. This big almighty divine being that you probably most definitely couldn’t take on in a fight, even with prayers and potions. You’re not meant to fight him. Impossible. He’s a God. Way too strong for that. Heck, you’re not really supposed to even interact with him. He’s got no time for your problems. He’s got an entire world to watch over!

So you simply respect him. You either pledge yourself and your service to him out of pious loyalty, you scoff at his ideals and commit efforts to destroy all he stands for, or you simply ignore his existence and carry on with what’s really important to you. That’s it.

But who is he, really? How tall is he? What’s his favorite food? Is Guthix really his full name? Was he always a God or did he ascend somehow? You don’t just interact with him directly in the game. Every time he’s referenced, it is by the interpretations of another. He’s a mysterious character.

Same goes with the other Gods, and Gielinor’s got a lot of them. Lots of different ideals, lots of different concepts, and therefore lots of different ways to live out your Runescape life.

I’m once again going to take you guys back in time. Back to the days of RuneScape Classic and RuneScape 2. At the time, we only knew of the Gods by references in quests and NPCs. At first it was the big three: Saradomin, Guthix, and Zamorak. Then mention of Armadyl came about, then the tablet with the symbol of Zaros was found, the goblins started mentioning a Big High War God, the elven lands came out, and it just branched off from there.

But forget all them for a sec. Let’s focus on Saradomin, Guthix, and Zamorak, and how they came across.

Saradomin was the god of good and wisdom. He was the main God in all the kingdoms. Each of the main churches were devoted entirely to him, and many individuals used him as their chief reference to the divine. In Lumbridge, one of the first NPCs you interact with introduces you to the God and even gets surprised when you say you’ve never heard of him. Even the prayer icon itself is a Saradomin symbol. From the original God Letters (now evolved into the Postbag from the Hedge), he comes across as a wise scholar, offering knowledge and teachings to all.

Zamorak, on the other hand, was the god of evil and chaos. His followers had to go into hiding, and their temples still showcase skulls and blood to the grossest degree. Many of his followers seek to control the world or wage war, resort to underhanded tactics, and ultimately create conflict enough to generate much of the quest content. In the letters, he is pure downright nasty, constantly badgering those who write to him and not afraid to laugh at a player’s feeble attempts to threaten him.

And Guthix was, well, the god of neutrality and balance. You follow him, you basically acknowledge that nobody’s perfect and, so long as you understand what and why you do something, everything happens for a reason. He’s a much more passive ideology because of how subtle everything he stands for is, and by all accounts, he never really seemed to do much for the mortals. As such, he has even fewer followers than Zamorak, and he comes across as a somewhat indifferent being that preaches order and indirect answers in the letters. In a way, he somewhat resembles Saradomin, but a lot less direct.

So we’ve got our three personalities from back them. Saradomin: a wise, good teacher. Guthix; a calm, indifferent sort of hippy, and Zamorak: a twisted narcissistic psychopath.

Now let’s return to the present. Does that still sound right?

No. Not at all.

Saradomin’s not at all a paragon of good. He’s egotistical, controlling, quick to judge, and even aggressive at times. Heck, he attacked me for the unicorn horn wand because I tried to argue that it had deemed me worthy of its power, and surprise surprise; it didn’t properly work when he used it. Still waiting for the next quest in that series, Jagex story-writers.

Zamorak is not really a psychopath. He preaches chaos because he believes the world needs it to become stronger. He hunkers down and plans his moves rather than sporadically sending zealots to their deaths. He takes good care of his followers, even going so far as to defend Moia (an abomination in their eyes) from his fellow Mahjarrat during the Endgame.

And Guthix is by far not passive or indifferent to the world. He did a TON of things to it. He brought in its first inhabitants to live on Gielinor. He killed a God even more dangerous than Saradomin or Zamorak. He even chased away all the Gods when the God Wars broke out.

Why such a dynamic difference in character? And why to the Gods?

Let’s face it; in RuneScape, almost everything exists to eventually be killed by the player. Vorago. Yakamaru. Telos. Solak. These are great and power entities that no doubt have a fantastic story on how they became so incredible and powerful. And you kill them over and over for better weapons and armor.

Not the Gods, though. They don’t exist to- OK, we killed a few of them. But they’re not supposed to exist to die. Ergo, they are the safest characters to develop because, since they don’t exist to die, we are more pushed to getting to know them better. Again, out of respect. I know I’d want Armadyl by my side when I fight Araxxor.

We are learning a lot more about the Gods now because they are the focus of the Runescape story. They are no longer ideals, but actual physical beings that bring about change to the world. World events, whole questlines, even a big giant war. They are the ones that drive the Runescape story.

They are the main characters now!

And it’s funny. By the sounds of things, during the Sliske storyline, you begin learning that even your own character has a bit of a mysterious past, and the new tutorial island (Ashdale) basically has your character already grown and raised. A lot could’ve happened before all that. And yet we’re getting oodles of information about the Gods and very little about the very avatar you control. Almost as though he’s now a secondary or tertiary character to the whole ordeal.

Which really is a bit of a twist for a roleplaying game like RuneScape. We’re accustomed to our characters being the center of everything. We are the heroes and the protagonists of those worlds. All the quests we do, we complete to the fullest extent.

Not so much in RuneScape. Lots of the quests like Devious Minds, Regicide, and the Prince Rescue series end in a cliff-hanging failure. Your meddling causes doom and you are often tricked into doing something incredibly foolish.

But then again, isn’t it a lot more fun when the world doesn’t revolve around you? That you’re constantly thrown in states of hardship? That there’s always going to be something much more powerful than you are, and it’s standing right in front of you?

Appreciate it. Get to know the Gods a bit more. There’s a lot of things happening in RuneScape now, and they’re all at the epicentre of it.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!

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