The Nature of Heroism
From Metagyppery, the fourth volume in a series by the great philosopher Mantronos,
late Scholarch of the Academy and Vessel of the Seeker,
following his three treatise on Good Guys, Bad Guys and Gyppery.
A hero is not born. A hero is made. A hero is made by their deeds.
It is not whether these deeds are good or evil or moral or ethical.
It is that these actions are known.
A hero cannot make themselves. A hero is only a true hero when they are accepted by their peers.
A hero is made when their deeds are known.
When a hero is made they will be named.
Only the name of a hero will live for ever.
A hero is one woman or one man. You cannot be a hero together.
There can be a group composed of many heroes, but all their deeds will be judged individually.
Even in Pallas, where holding one’s shield high to defend your comrade is the way, still do individuals become noted for their deeds.
A hero is not remembered for who they were friends with.
A hero is not remembered for the final outcome.
A hero is remembered for the deeds they performed.
All heroes have a heroic title. This is based upon what they are best known for. It is by this they will be remembered.
A hero will only ever have one title, though it can change over time, even after their death.
The title of a hero is not chosen by their own will. It is considered dishonorable to suggest a heroic title for yourself.
It is chosen by their peers and the people.
If a hero performs a deed deemed greater than any they have performed previously then another hero may call them by this name.
If this name enters into popular use then it becomes their title.
Heroic titles take many forms and have many routes.
They can be words from a prophesy, the place where the deed was done, a physical feature, an action.
If a hero disowns their title, then they are considered to be disowning the ideal of the hero.
If a hero wishes their name to be changed then they should strive to perform a deed that defines them more than that deed which formed the title.
Immortality is the ultimate goal of the hero. It can be gained in a number of ways.
The greatest of all mortal heroes ascend unto godhood.
They are so tied to an ideal or concept in life that after their death their name becomes tied to it and they are worshiped.
If a hero is not deified they can still be remembered. Songs will be sung of them for generations.
Bards will tell their tale.
People will remember their name.
Undeath prolongs existance in the physical world, but it is not true immortality.
You are not remembered for ever more.
However it is possible to be a hero and undead. It is possible to ascend unto godhood from an undead state.
But many view undeath as unheroic, especially if it is chosen.
If it is placed upon you by a god or some other great supernatural force then some see this as better.
Some see the destruction of an everlasting material body in a great act of sacrifice is greater even than sacrificing a mortal frame.
It is said there are other ways to an everliving material form.
Either through secret elixers or great rituals. These are seen by most as defying what it is to be a hero.
The everliving Ixion of Persia is one man who was extend his life through other means. He is not a hero.
When a hero meets another being who they also consider a hero they will make a gesture of respect.
This even occurs between heroes who have a personal emnity, thought it’s exact form may differ.
It is a great insult to not greet a hero without this gesture. No matter who they are.
To not give this gesture on first meeting it indicates the person is not worthy of being a hero.
They take their right hand in a fist and place it on the palm of their left hand. The left hand then wraps around the fist of the right.
The head and arms are then bowed, hands still clasped.
The exact way and form that this gesture is performed indicates the view of one hero to another.
If the fist is placed in the left hand with great force this can indicate a threat, but also maritial solidarity.
If the bow is deep and slow this indicates great respect to an equal.
If there are multiple bows this indicates great respect for a better.
If there the gesture is done whilst the performer is on their knees and their head touches the ground this is indicates a supplication to the hero.
This gesture is most often performed when a person is seeking the aid of the hero in a specific task.
Heroes will call each other brother or sister. In the case of great respect this will become honored brother or honored sister.
Often if two heroes are particularly close they will add either big or little,depending on relative age of the heroes.
If two heroes are married or lovers they will often still refer to each other by these terms.
It is a great disrespect for a hero to not call someone brother or sister that they have previously.
It indicates that they believe they are no longer worthy of being a hero.
Sometimes heroes are chosen by the gods to do their work.
They become vessels filled with a god’s power for a specific task or even an avatar the god’s representative in this world.
When a hero is a vessel or an avatar any deeds they perform should be considered not theirs but the deeds of that god.
No matter how heroic they may seem it must be remembered that they were only possible through that god.
Sometimes a hero will sacrifice their heroism to request a god’s power into their mortal frame.
This in itself can be a heroic act, but an actions performed a a vessel of the god are not.
If a child should be produced from a union between a vessel or an avatar and another then this child is a child of that god.
Children from such unions are common as it seems that gods have great fertility and virility.
Often the mortal that is empowered will be a surrogate parent if the godly power leaves them.
In the case of women this can leave them pregnant with the child of the god that was empowering them.
The child that is produced will be empowered with some of the will and the power of that god.
These children are most often heroes because the will and power naturally lend themselves to performing deeds of heroism.
The powers granted by the god are linked to one specific commandment or stricture of that god.
And the power is often related to it in some way.
It is common practice is all of Hellenia for one to bear one’s own cup. This practice is especially
Only those uneducated foreginers and beings from other planes of existence do not bear their cup.
I will write out the traditions of cup bearing here so that such people may be educated.
There are many differing tales of where the tradition originates.
It is a great trust you put in someone that you allow them to bear your cup.
If one wishes to show ultimate submission to another, for example in exchange for a life debt, then you will offer to bear their cup.
One who bears another’s cup often takes a sip from any drink they pour into it first, especially in strange or dangerous places.
So that if there is a poison present then the cupbearer will suffer first.
Even a high lord will not force his lowliest slave to bear their cup for them, or even allow them to wash it.
Even a husband or wife will not always bear their spouse’s cup.
In some marriage ceremonies the spouses exchange cups as a symbol of their devotion to one another.
Sometimes great friends will often exchange cups as a symbol of their trusting bond.
Often the same cup is kept for most of a person’s life. Fixing it if is broken.
A cup is sometimes even handed down through generations of a family.
Giving anyone a cup as a gift is an incredibly personal gesture.
Heroes will fight and strive. These battles will not all be physical.
A hero can rise through great acts of cunning or guise, charismatic leadership.
Even great acts of treachery can be considered heroic.
But acts done in secret will never be remembered.
Demons, fae and elementals are the greatest foes most heroes will face.
Even though gods will disagree it is these others that are the greatest threat.
Demons and fae are the not as all consuming as the elementals.
They can be bargained with and reasoned with, they have strange, evil and
eldritch desires but they require the world.
Elemental lords and ladies and their chimeric offspring, and the half souled elves need no such thing.
They wish the world reduced down to six parts. Homogenised to their own will. No indiviudals.
The chimeras and elves can sometimes see reason, but the elemental beasts, lords and ladies never will.
They seem only the physical elements, no souls to raise them above.
Even most of the demons and fae have spirits of some form.
Magic use by mortals in itself is argued to cause no direct harm.
However others state that any influence gained by the elementals on this world is too much.
It’s also a principle of heroism that once you’ve fought a duel once,
your disagreement with that person is settled, and you don’t need to go back to it
Attacking someone during a meal is really bad form
Battles in the conventional sense don’t tend to happen, except with Persia, which is why Persians are scum.
Generally two armies will line up, wearing shiny armor and good uniforms,
then the cities’ respective heroes will line up and duel, and both armies will abide by that decision.