Bell Digest v930225

Date: Thu, 25 Feb 93 17:25:59 +0100
From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Digest Subscriptions)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Subject: The RuneQuest Daily, Thu, 25 Feb 1993

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The RuneQuest Daily is a spin-off of the RuneQuest Digest and deals
with the subjects of Avalon Hill's RPG and Greg Stafford's world of
Glorantha.  			 Maintainer: Henk.Langeveld@Sun.COM


From: (Morgan Conrad)
Subject: digest submission
Message-ID: <>
Date: 23 Feb 93 21:00:22 GMT

The way to handle two high level Rune-Lords fighting is simple - have
one of them cast Fanaticism on one of them.  (whether to castt on
yourself or the opponent is open to debate) The melee should then be
over quickly.

Morgan Conrad              Who grants absolution
Applied Biosystems           for sins that never were committed?


From: jeff@cotopaxi.Stanford.EDU (Jeff Freymueller)
Subject: Re:  Learning Ritual Sorcery
Message-ID: <9302232108.AA07903@cotopaxi.Stanford.EDU>
Date: 23 Feb 93 21:08:34 GMT

Tom Zunder ( asks:
> Did anyone have an answer to my silly question about ritual sorcery magic
> and whether you have to learn the spell fully or just spend 50 hrs?

I believe this was dealt with in the errata. You spend 50 hours to
learn the ritual, and your chance of success is your percentage at the
appropriate ritual skill.



From: (Andrew Bell)
Subject: Re: The RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 23 Feb 1993
Message-ID: <>
Date: 23 Feb 93 21:45:14 GMT

> Did anyone have an answer to my silly question about ritual sorcery magic
> and whether you have to learn the spell fully or just spend 50 hrs?

The official answer seems to be that you only have to spend the 100
hours.  (It takes two weeks to learn a sorcery spell, unless I'm very
confused.)  The incredibly powerful NPC sorceror in "Griffin Island"
has no skill in any ritual magic spell, despite having matrices for
many and having used many.

> I think you learn it like a normal sorcery spell and your skill is your
> Ceremony/Enchant/Summon % or your spell skill %, whichever is lower.

Would you limit a spirit magic user to (POWx5)-ENC in his/her ritual
spells?  I wouldn't play it this way.

> The "total points of spells <= INT" limit at RQ3 should be enough to keep the
> size of spell known small, except in games in which the GM gives away too
> many POW storage crystals and INT spirits - magic items corrupt, powerful
> magic items corrupt absolutely.

The GM doesn't have to give them away.  A priest, sorceror, or shaman
can make them, and a non-adventuring priest who just keeps his pow at
11 or thereabouts can make 2-3 Pow spirit binders or an Int spirit
binder every year.  And if you adventure and get POW checks...

Anyway, I've got a few different items to throw into the discussion.

In the Chalana Arroy write-up in "River of Cradles," it says that
CAers may only learn bindings for Power, Healing, and Intellect
Spirits -- at least from CA.  First, why Intellect spirits?  One would
think they were intelligent -- they aren't described as not being such
-- and thus if any spirits are restricted, these should be.  Second,
why not spell spirits?  Spell spirits are specifically described as
not being capable of rational thought, but simply of being able to
hold a spell.  Seems more reasonable that spell spirits would be
acceptable -- especially since CAers must periodically beat them up
anyway to gain new spells.  Thirdly, do you think CAers would be
willing to use elementals or other spirits with no intelligence
rating?  What about riding horses?

Andrew Bell


From: (Brandon Brylawski)
Subject: Re: The RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 23 Feb 1993, Godtime...
Message-ID: <>
Date: 23 Feb 93 21:00:08 GMT

Clark Hobbie writes:

>According to
>RuneQuest, when characters go on HeroQuests they actually enter
>Godtime.  This means that players, both characters and GMs, actually
>have to deal with events that do not occur in time.
>I would claim that TRUE timelessness is not a concept that players can
>actually model in any practical way.  In fact, I would say that we
>cannot ever deal with some of the major consequences of having no
>time.  To illustrate, what are the consequences of not having time?
>They are:  inability to order events in such a way that all observers
>agree on the order, no causality between events, and time travel.

I agree that acausality is verrrry difficult to deal with, but why
can't heroquesting be causal? When Orlanth slew Yelm, it happened in a
particular order : Orlanth was defeated in the contest, attacked Yelm,
killed him, brought on the Greater Darkness, and had to quest to bring
back the Light.

The timelessness that Heroquests have is not one in which events do
not occur in sequence, rather it betokens actions that are not bound
to time.  If on the hero plane, I see a castle in the distance and
declare that I am going there, I am _there_ and no particular amount
of time has passed, assuming that nothing resists my action. There is
also no particular relation- ship to "when" I perform an act on the
hero plane with respect to when anyone else performs another act,
unless they are with me at the time and we are reacting to one
another's actions. That's why you can change the mythology, why you
can "go back" and fix or amend something that occurred "in the past" .
What you are really doing is confronting an existing pattern and
changing it, not "undoing" it.

Zelazny's shadows are fascinating, but I view Gloranthan Heroquesting
as more unicameral. IMHO, there is only one world and one stream of
events, albeit alterable. The Hero Plane, however, isn't a simple
world like the mundane world : different people in a situation see
different things, indeed what you see is wholly dependent on why you
are there and what you want to do.  Additionally, actions on the Hero
Plane (and in GodTime) leave patterns behind that others can
encounter, if the actions are important. Most of what you encounter on
the hero plane aren't other heroquestors but rather the residuum of
their acts. Again, there is causality and sequence of action, but no
strict time relations.

Brandon Brylawski


From: MAB@SAVAX750.RUTHERFORD.AC.UK (Mystic Musk Ox)
Subject: RE: The RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 23 Feb 1993
Message-ID: <9302240911.AA28360@Sun.COM>
Date: 24 Feb 93 08:12:00 GMT

> Did anyone have an answer to my silly question about ritual sorcery magic
>and whether you have to learn the spell fully or just spend 50 hrs?
> I think you learn it like a normal sorcery spell and your skill is your
> Ceremony/Enchant/Summon % or your spell skill %, whichever is lower. Is
> this how evryone else plays it?

I've always assumed (and used in my games) that learning a ritual
sorcery spell is done just like any other spell. However there is no %
skill for individual ritual spells, when casting you just substitute
the appropriate sorcery skill %age. i.e. if your Enchant skill is 58%,
then all Enchant rituals you do will have a 58% chance. This can be
boosted by Ceremony as usual. This way I feel that the ritual skill
percentage reflects use of a common body of magical knowledge and its
application to rituals in general. Rituals are very expensive in terms
of POW usage or outright loss, and most players don't attempt them
until they can get (Ritual skill%) + (Ceremony bonus%) to a reasonable
level (depends on how much POW they are risking at one go!).

Mark Buckley.


From: WALLMAN@VAX2.Winona.MSUS.EDU (Ed Wallman)
Subject: tale heard in Gimpy's
Message-ID: <01GV3U4YPHAA00347W@VAX2.Winona.MSUS.EDU>
Date: 24 Feb 93 11:25:35 GMT

I was in Gimpy's last Fireday when a Lunar entertainer began
performing who said he came all the way from Glamour (although since
then I have heard he's never been farther north than Furthest).  He
sang of a land on the bottom side of Glorantha where the people hang
from the ground by their feet.  How they keep from falling off he did
not say, but he did explain that in this upside-down world everthing
is backwards.  Chalana Arroy worshippers spread disease and Malia
worshippers heal the sick.  Voria is the goddess of war, and Humakt is
a fertility god.

His tale was starting to get interesting, but when he began to sing
about an angel trapped under a block of pure chaos which is protected
by broos from swamp dwelling Storm Bulls, some young men in the back
began throwing their drinking mugs.  He must be an experienced
entertainer because I could see his magical protection warding off the
flying earthenware as he dodged for the exit.

All in all, it was a very fascinating, although somewhat confusing story.  

- Spyro, harmless leatherworker from Prax


Subject: Uniform Skill System in RQ
Message-ID: <>
Date: 24 Feb 93 21:43:00 GMT

I think that RQ is basically a pretty simple system with a few well
chosen ornaments that make it plausible. I would like it to keep these
characteristics (simplicity, elegance, plausible) in future editions.

The following is the text of a letter I sent to Oliver Jovanovic
concerning the skill system that is presently in the RQ4 playtest
rules. I thought it might be of interest to you all, and it might spur
discussion that could affect the future form of RQ.

                                * * *

Hi Oliver,

Since you are revising the system so thoroughly, it's time to simplify
the RQ skill system. Currently it's very complicated, with four levels
of skill difficulty and skill defaults that bear no relationship to
those levels of difficulty. Also, the cultural skills are at many
different default levels. Although all this may make the game slightly
more realistic than a uniform system, it makes it so much more
complicated that I don't think the increased realism is worth the
effort, or the corresponding loss in elegance and playability.

Here are a few solutions, any one of which would be simpler than the
present system.

1. Keep easy, medium, hard, and very hard categories for skills.
Defaults for them are as below:

   Easy   40%  or  30%
   Medium 20%      10%
   Hard   10%       5%
   V Hard  5%       0%

Cultural skills, which would be determined by culture or cult, are
emphasized by the culture and the character would have them at an
increased beginning chance. This should be fairly high to encourage
players to use and develop cultural skills.

   Cultural 50%  or  40%

Leave skill improvement rules as presently written.

2. Keep easy, medium, hard, and very hard categories. Rather than
computing skill bonuses by summing the stats-10, compute skill bases
for a category of skill (attack, defense, knowledge) by averaging the
stats involved. For negative influence, use 21-stat instead of the

   Easy   skill base x 2
   Medium            x 1
   Hard              x 0.5
   V Hard            x 0.25

For skill increases, add the default skill to the roll. This should
penalize V Hard skills compared to Easy ones. Since this makes
advancement generally easier, compensate somewhere else to make it
hard, such as with your experience point system (which I still hate,
by the way).

Cultural skills are listed as in option one, but instead of using a
straight percentage, are also computed from skill base.

   Cultural skill default = skill base x 3

This also makes the various levels of skill more unique for different
characters. Trained level would be SBx3, Standard would be SBx4,
Expert would be SBx5, Master would be SBx6, and so on.

3. Get rid of redundant skills (such as bargain=bribe+fasttalk).
Choose all skills so that they cover an equal amount of game time,
using the "campaign utility" model (Hero system) to select them rather
than the "effort to learn" (GURPS) model. Every skill should be about
as easy to crock as every other skill. This makes the
easy-medium-hard-v.hard scale unneccessary, irrelevant, immaterial,
and incompetent. (thanx to Perry Mason :-) You can keep the present
default system, or use one of the simplified ones above. Use this
skill set as the base RQ skill set and use it in the chapter on how to
run RQ in a non-gloranthan setting. Make sure to publish a character
sheet with these choices. Then make the changes that need to be made
to the game to let it fit in Glorantha, such as splitting up the
medical skills and adding mystic skills like sense chaos and sense
assassin, and any other skill mods that you have to do to make RQ work
with Glorantha. Make the Glorantha version the main character sheet,
but do not make the other one less useful or otherwise inferior.

You may wish to combine some of these methods. The key is to look for
things in the current system that we can simplify without losing RQ's



Subject: Godtime is a quantum particle
Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 Feb 93 02:44:07 GMT

On Myth, Godtime, and revisionist history (by way of reply to an
earlier Digest posting)
In Glorantha, the final truth of the world is that belief shapes
everything. This is, of course, also true of our world, but in
Glorantha, with its strong magical nature, it is even more true.
The structure of myth in Glorantha affects the way societies work, and
how they interpret everything, including the past. Since this myth
structure exists synergistically with the power of belief, it affects,
and is affected by it. Belief and myth are inextricably linked.
When someone tells a story around the fire, or in the temple, if he
consciously chooses to change that story, to evoke his personal vision
of myth, then he has a chance to strike a chord in those who hear the
story. If enough people internalize that new, changed story, then they
may begin to treat it as they treated the old stories before this one.
In time, it may become the new vision of the myth structure they live
Heroes arise to prove this new vision, to prove it to the world, or
die trying. If a new belief is important to a people, then they lend
their support, and hence mythic power, to the would-be heroes who must
prove the truth of the belief to the outside, unbelieveing world.
People who believe in a myth change their reality. Where magic works,
the material or spiritual world itself may change. Thus, as Stafford
said, the revision of the Elmal cult into the Yelmalio cult caused the
creation of material evidence that the cult had always existed as
In the past, Elmal was a servant of Orlanth, the guardian of his stead
who protected Orlanth's possessions in the darkness. They took the
place of the Solar gods in all Orlanthi ceremonies, where they acted
as targets and losers. When the Elmal cult got exposed to the Dara
Happan solar cult, they started to get uppity, and in Orlanthi
ceremonies they started to try to win. This caused tremendous trouble
in Orlanthi society, of course. The Elmali tried to separate
themselves from the Orlanthi, but they were tied to the rest of
society by ancient oaths of mutual protection and fealty.

Scott Schneider suggested a wild idea that Stafford loved. Suppose an
Elmali goes on the Elmali heroquest, but actually sets out to fail, so
he can re-define the God's role.
He is supposed to guard the steading. Instead, he heads off into the
darkness.  He is beset by darkness demons, and may call for Orlanth's
aid.  Instead, he gets the worst of it from a bunch of nasties,
including Zorak Zoran.  Orlanth finds his wayward guard, and offers to
heal him if he will swear to return to the steading and resume his
duties. Instead, the hero rejects Orlanth's aid, and Orlanth takes
away the weapons he gave to his thane. Orlanth foreswears Elmal:
removing any bond of loyalty between them. Yelmalio is born.
This is just a different view of Yelmalio's adventure on the Hill of
Gold, of course. But to the Yelmalions, the actions of their heroes
has clarified their god's actions in myth. They say that is how it
happened in Godtime. To them, that means the real "first time"
before-the-Dawn Godtime. To Orlanthi, the event is nothing more than
the loss of one of many retainers due to the horrors of the Darkness.
Where is the conflict in the myth?
Perhaps the Godtime is timeless in the way that an electron is
timeless. Everything is motionless around it as it goes on its way.
The mundane world is like a physicist trying to determine what the
electron is doing. Depending on how you look at the Godtime/electron,
and how good you are at looking, and how long you look, and how you
look, the Godtime/electron may look different.

More importantly, how the mundane world looks at it may change what
the Godtime/electron is doing.
M >|<


From: (Dicks M)
Subject: Heroquests
Message-ID: <>
Date: 24 Feb 93 12:34:50 GMT

Good to see HQ's rearing their ugly heads again.

If anyone out there has a decent or even half decent HQ then could
they send it in?? Reason I ask is because I'm trying to compile a list
of cult HQ's (so far I've got about 6 each for Orlanth, StormBul,
Humakt and Zola Fel) but non-cult 'sharequests' are also useful.

Anyone noticed the lack of availiability of Spirit Block to Daka Fal
in River of cradles? In cults of Prax he invented the spell!!


p.s according to river of cradles, the block isn't truestone, it's
adamantine - yeah ,I know that this discussion was taking place about
2 weeks ago, but I haven't had a chance to send this in until now.


Subject: THIS N THAT
Message-ID: <>
Date: 22 Feb 93 03:44:00 GMT

>The rules system influences the world
Good storytelling has its own rules, and sometimes a particular
system's rules get in the way. When building a world, game mechanics
are generally one of the last things I consider.  Therefore, I'd say
that the world influences the rules system.


Does anybody have any inside knowledge or educated guesses about the
"Invisible Orlanth" cult or the reversed air rune? I'm fascinated by
these little bits of Gloranthan trivia.


From: (Peter Wake)
Subject: Re: The RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 23 Feb 1993
Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 Feb 93 13:59:19 GMT

>The "total points of spells <= INT" limit at RQ3 should be enough to keep the
>size of spell known small, except in games in which the GM gives away too many
>POW storage crystals and INT spirits - magic items corrupt, powerful magic
>items corrupt absolutely.

Oh dear...  You seem to think that there is a right amount of power or
magic in a campaign.  Fact is I allow exactly the right amount of
magic in my campaign.  You allow exactly the right amount of magic in
your campaign.

Let's see an end to the 'ONE TRUE PATH' idea of roleplaying.  Telling
people what is a right way to run a campaign is bad.  Pointing out how
to solve a problem is good.  The poster above set out to do one but
ended up doing the other.  So let's all recognise that different
people do things differently and might take offence to someone telling
them that their way is *wrong*.

Even as things stand a good Humakti might have one spell: bladesharp.
If he decides that bladesharp 14 is better than a mix of smaller point
spells the rules as they stand don't stop him.  Surely it's good for
people to have some control of their spell selection?  But I'll say it
and say it again: NO ONE TRUE PATH.

> Just get Mr. Friendly Shaman to bind you up a nice big spell spirit

>To the average Sartarite, the typical shaman is at best one of those
>Choas-tainted Telmori (Wolf Hsunchen), or possibly an elf or troll.
>Not the sort of person one goes up to and cadges spells from.

In one campaign perhaps.  But there is no absolute truth about this.
In my capaign I wanted to keep the magical flavour of RQII so I allow
PCs to 'buy' spells from non cult sources (with restrictions).
Commerce with Praxian Shamans makes sense if the PCs have spent years
living amongst the nomads.  Oh darn I broke the rules, so shoot me.
Everything Greg Stafford says is wrong.  Everything the rules say is
wrong...  If you choose it to be so.  NOT!

>> ignore the severed limbs need regrow clause and let them be healed as per
>> maimed limbs.

>the good old Healing 6 aka Glue strikes again...

Part of the classic flavour of RQII that I was trying to capture.  Of
course if you want it differently so be it.  I've run campaigns where
regrow/regenerate was required to restore a limb lost to a slashing
weapon, and even where there was practically no healing because only
the healer cult had it (non Gloranthan).  You get a different falvour
each way.  I like them all. (I even tried banning it altogether in one
campaign, it was great fun for a while but too much like Twillight

>> "But the point of this is that the low level characters get creamed,"

>The point is actually that the reasonable fighting type, with skills ~60% has
>maybe six points of worn armour and then a 60% change of twice as much again -
>you have to calibrate damage against that - and as the skill %s get higher,
>the chances of critical match those of a failed parry.

But how does this represent a problem?  The answer isn't "low level
character's get creamed" by any chance is it?  Correct me if I'm
Peter Wake