Bell Digest v940620p3

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 20 Jun 1994, part 3
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Subject: Lies With Truth
Message-ID: <>
Date: 19 Jun 94 08:00:23 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4665

Or, filling in the gaps left after _The Glorious ReAscent of

     The God Learners went everywhere and called the local sun
god by a single name--Yelm, maybe, but more likely Elmal, the
Good Sun of the Orlanthi.  I surmise this because the God
Learners were influenced by Theyalan culture much more than by
Dara Happan culture.  In fact, aside from the Goddess Switch, the
God Learners had little to do with Peloria, because the EWF
blocked their access through Dragon Pass.  Modern Gloranthans are
the heirs of God Learner teaching, which presents an over-
simplified mythology.  We readers are also misled by the Orlanthi
bias of most of the published material on Glorantha (Trollpak
being the main exception).  

     We know that the God Learners did not deeply understand
Pelorian mythology, or they would not have performed the Goddess
Switch.  GRAY presents the real Dara Happan mythology--the Dara
Happan attempt to explain the recent and distant past, from a
perspective in the early third century S.T.  Although Plentonius
probably relied on older sources, my guess is he relied on
inspiration both divine and mundane (that is, he made it up--and
in magic, saying it right makes it so).

     The Yelm cult appeared in _Gods of Glorantha_ and _White
Wolf_ #16.  I decline to follow Stephen Martin's view, presented
in the RQ Con program book, that the WW16 write-up is Pentan,
because that write-up refers at many points to the Dara Happan
cult, contrasting it with the Pentans.  However, the previous
publications do present a view of the cult which is tainted by
God Learner and Orlanthi world views.  Thus, their validity is
fairly low.

     The published Yelm cult is still good enough for gaming
purposes, perhaps.  Before I set a game in Peloria, though, I'd
want to have the Lunar Book, to understand the current state of
Solar mythology.  A gamemaster could make his own speculations,
but they'd be contradicted soon.  

     The lesson I've learned from _Glorious ReAscent_ is this:
don't extrapolate from game rules, even cult descriptions. 
Extrapolation is fun and relatively easy, but it leads to all
sorts of errors.  You could extrapolate from Orlanthi propaganda
and write a Solar myth that is the mirror image of the Orlanthi
myth.  You could extrapolate from the sorcery rules and believe
that people who know Form/Set can mass produce goods.  Both are

     What do you do if not extrapolate?  Work from a vision, as
Greg Stafford does.  Visions change as fast as Arkat, of course,
but you can hang onto a vision long enough to flesh it out.  A
gamemaster must fully enter into a world's mythologies before he
or she can make up parts of that world that are True.  

     There is a place for extrapolation, in filling in the detail
left unsaid.  Here's an example, which is my two cents on the
Elmal/Yelmalio bit, in response to David Hall and Stephen Martin
in the RQ Con program book:

     In the Gloranthan present (1610-1625), the Sun Dome Temples
have enthusiastically embraced the teachings of Monrogh (or
Monrough) about their lord, whom they now call Yelmalio.  We know
about them, and about the loyal Elmali.  The elves of central
Genertela clearly worship a god whom all agree is the same as
Yelmalio, although the elves have a different name for him.  The
elves do not have any reason to honor Monrogh, since they haven't
made any changes to their mythology recently.  Thus, elves don't
have the Lantern spell.  If you are an Elmal cultist, do me a
favor and go and see if you can get admitted at an elf Yelmalio
temple.  Once you resolve that question, all the loose ends about
elves will be tied up.  However, there are other Yelmalio
worshipers around who need more explaining.

     According to the cults distribution chart in _Cults of
Prax_,  there are Yelmalians among the animal nomads.  River of
Cradles is less explicit, but acknowledges some Yelmalians
amongst the nomads.  The Praxian Yelmalians fall into three
groups: the Waha style, the Zebra style, and the Ostrich style. 
I ignore any 1% notations on the chart as being too small to be
viable.  (When Orogurri the Bison ruled Sun Dome, he brought all
the Bison Yelmalians with him, and they never returned to the
plains.)  The Pol Joni part of the table is clearly outdated, and
anyway all members have to worship Orlanthi cults.  Maybe there
are Pol Joni Elmali?

     The Waha style Yelmalians live among the Impala and Sable
tribes.  Like almost all Praxians, they belong to a society in
which shamanistic worship was predominant until recent times. 
Their ancestors worshiped the Praxian solar deity Sun Hawk, as
well as other spirits of light.  These include Morning Star,
Evening Star, and Oakfed.  Many modern Yelmalians of the Impala
and Sable tribes belong to Praxian spirit cults of light.  Among
those two tribes, light worshipers make up whole septs or even
clans.  (Women of those clans, however, still worship Eiritha.) 

     The Waha style Yelmalio cult is like the version in _Sun
County_, with some exceptions.  They do not honor Monrogh (or
learn the Lantern spell).  They let shamans belong to the cult. 
They have no Light Captains, Light Guards, Light Keepers, High
Priests, or Light Sons.  (Light Sons may ride no animal but
horses, and Stephen Martin was right about the dual nature of
cults with two rune levels.)  They sometimes worship at the Sun
Dome, but often do not.  Their liturgy is in a Praxian style, and
they call their god by a name in Praxian which I leave to someone
else to make up.

     The Zebra Rider Yelmalians are closer to the _Sun County_
model than the Waha style Yelmalians are.  Zebra initiates of the
cult mostly belong to certain families with ties to the Sun Dome. 
They have accepted Monrogh and his revelation.  They honor
Kuschile and Togtuvei, as they always have.  The major difference
is that they have no Light Captains, Light Guards, Light Keepers,
or High Priests.  (For one thing, their cult is not large enough
to have many priests, so the priests they do have do not
specialize.)  Light Sons among them say, "Of course, zebras _are_
horses."  They worship at the Sun Dome whenever they are nearby
on holy days.  Their liturgy is close to the Praxian Sun Dome's,
and they call their lord Yelmalio.

     The Ostrich Riders have their own traditions, but the Sun
Dome cult has influenced them.  This influence has been greatest
in the period since the Dragonkill War wiped out the tribe's
ruling lineage (whom modern Ostrich Riders believe to have been
Yelm cultists).  They do not know Monrogh or Kuschile, but do
have a spirit named Veng, patron of riding.  They do not have
shamans in their cult, or join the Praxian spirit cults of light. 
They have Light Sons who do not follow the "horse or walk" rule. 
If pressed, they will insist that Ostriches are creatures of the
Sun and therefore proper mounts.  (Sun Domers distrust Ostrich
Light Sons for this reason, and simply believe that they are
breaking a geas.)  The Ostrich riders have no Light Captains,
Light Guides, Light Keepers, or High Priests.  They have their
own liturgy and their own name for Yelmalio, which I also leave
to another to make up (Mike?).

     When foreigners ruled Sun Dome County, they brought their
foreign ways with them.  Thus, the original Sun Dome cult was
melded with Praxian Sun Hawk worship.  However, most traces of
this melding have disappeared.  Scholars can find one clue in the
fact that rural Sun Domers have wise women (shamans), whereas
Dragon Pass Sun Domers do not suffer witches to live.  The two
Sun Dome temples have different liturgies, but this may be more
due to long separation than to Praxian influence.

     This puts me firmly in the "different cults for different
folks" camp, as if there were any doubt.  But the cultists all
believe they're worshiping the same god, just as Sikhs and
Quakers worship the same God.  Some are of the "We each have
different ways, who is to say which is right?" crowd, while
others are "We will show these fallen brethren the error of their
ways, by force if necessary" crowd.

     Anything that makes for more interesting stories, I'm in
favor of.  If a campaign is only involved in looting dungeons,
then this sort of thing will never come up, so no whingeing



From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: stuff :-)
Date: 19 Jun 94 16:23:41 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4666

Paul Reilly in X-RQ-ID: 4656

> I think that the Brithini and the early Malkioni believed
> that the "ghost" was just a form of leftover decomposing "spirit energy",
> similar to the decomposing matter of the body.  The ghost is NOT the person.
> I think that the original Brithini converts to Malkionism did NOT believe
> in an individual afterlife per se - such would not have appealed to their
> emotions or their reasons.  I think the Solace ritual was supposed to 
> DISSOLVE you ghost into its component energies, and that the information that
> made up YOU would be remembered in the Mind of God.  Thus the original
> Solace was a mystic union with the GOdhead, not an elaborate afterlife.  Later
> on, when the religion changed (probably Second Age even) this shifted around
> and the belief in a Transcendant IG OUTSIDE Glorantha arose. Only then did
> the idea of souls going to some afterlife get into the religion.  Competition
> with the pagans and their afterlives influenced the religion, esp. during the
> Second Age.  

Where do you put the infamous passage from Cults of Prax' Daka Fal write-up 
about 1st Age Seshnegi Ancestor worship? (Please don't tell me it has been 
Gregged, because every Greg so far did _not_ nullify earlier comments, but 
did introduce a new angle of looking at the problem.)

I think Malkion's original message of Solace involved more than 
just a burial rite. It helped the Brithini who accepted it through the 
turmoils of the Ice Age and the other troubles of the Darkness. I think 
that it must have included some everyday component as well, although I 
agree that virtually all of the original revelation was lost and forgotten 
before the Dawning.

I think Paul, I and a few other people agree that Malkionism changed 
significantly several times in history. One turning point is given 
as Arkat's arrival in Seshnela, where he brought spiritual unity to 
gain support for his crusade against Tanisor, another is the Return to 
Rightness Crusade, the next is the de-God Learnerisation at the end of 
the Second Age in Fronela, Seshnela and Ralios.

The competing pagans were there in force already at the Dawning, and 
Seshnela was under their control after their first Brithos venture. (This 
was repeated in the Second Age, and I think it will in the Third, however 
the Arolanit Brithini try to turn the perspective.)

>   Since this emphasis on rewards in the afterlife is (IMO) a feature of Earthly
> western monotheistic religions, I'd like to get it out of the GLoranthan
> western monotheistic religions, and leave it in Gloranthan paganism, where
> we know it exists already.  Makes a nice reversed picture from Earth.

Hmm. Neither the Walhalla myths nor the Islamic paradise are elements of 
western monotheistic religions, but to the typical member of these religions 
they comprised the ultimate collection of pleasures. I think that the 
Christian version of the afterlife as we know it today was decisively 
influenced by Dante's travels through Heaven and Hell which rewrote 
earlier versions in a very God Learner way.

>> "enemy stronghold" and "enemy holy ground" are different things, but  
>> I'll only say that my house rules hold that enemy holy ground cannot  
>> be DIed within.

>   I've always played this way too, despite what "the rules" said.  Actually
> I thought it should work the other way around - in an enemy God's territory
> your God might still be able to give you hints, but direct intervention would
> violate the Compromise.  Also, the limitation makes for better stories.

And it makes even minimaxers go for Sanctify, which makes an excellent 
preparatory spell for combat if it keeps enemies from DIing, taking much 
of the effectivity from the enemy Rune Lords.

--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: (alex)
Subject: Vinga
Message-ID: <>
Date: 19 Jun 94 16:44:36 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4667

David Dunham:
> Spoken like a true Internet user. Not all Digest subscribers have Internet
> access; I'd rather see dribs and drabs posted each day for a month than
> know that it sits inaccessible somewhere.

I have no objections to anyone's swathes of stuff appearing here, but it
should be possible to set up a mailserver on soda, if you Ask Shannon Nice,
I'd imagine.

> >Orlanth laughed at her

> This from the god of the culture where 15% practice non-gender roles? I
> much prefer Nick's version of Orlanth, allowing Yinkin to herd even when he
> knew he'd fail.

I heortily agree.  Of course, this myth is going to be in substantial part
_why_ 15% practice non-gender roles (i.e., is the rationisation for this),
so some conservatism by Mom and Pop would be manifested.  Ernalda:  "Put on
a clean dress and go play, dear."  Vinga:  "Grrrrrr..."

> >Vinga castrated Eurmal

> Must all Orlanthi warrior women be castraters? It makes sense for Babeester
> Gor (who's an anti-fertility goddess), but do women warriors have to be
> nasty? Besides, Eurmal shows no effects of this important mythical event.

Apart from his Famed Detachability, of course.  I agree this element seems
odd in this context.



From: (alex)
Subject: Peloria, Pel-ooooo-ria
Message-ID: <>
Date: 19 Jun 94 16:46:43 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4668

Barron Chugg:
>   Anyway, I was wondering if I had missed an obvious Lunar Trickster.

Poor Lunars borrow, great Lunars steal.  Note the Empire already has a
Trickster figure in Rakenveg, and may also have a "healed" version of
Eurmal (or simply import the cult in some places).

Nick Brooke:
> The Glorious Reascent's account of Dara Happan myth is non-God Learned (it 
> pre-dates the God Learners) and was never assimilated into the monomyth, as 
> the God Learners never got to Peloria (cf. the Secrets Book appendix: "The 
> Pelorian mystical geography was almost virgin territory since the area was 
> never actively part of the God Learner's conspiracy"). So it hasn't been 
> shoehorned/pruned into the Monomyth.

The Big Picture of Dara Happan mythology certainly was squished into the
monomyth, as a quick glance at GoG will confirm.  Partly, of course, the
Theyalans helped do the GLers dirty work for them, by identifying some
Solar entities with parts of their own myths, and indubitably their view
colours the monomythised version.

> As Sandy said yesterday, to cope with weird and different mythologies the 
> God Learners spawned splinter groups.

I think this confuses cause and effect.  (Big problem in the godplane, as
we've seen...)  The empire splintered, I'm sure, for reasons of excessive
distance, politics, and greed, not Scientific and Artistic Differences.
One unified empire would eventually have produced a Bigger and Better
monomyth to explain _everything_, I'm quite sure.

> > Why the Sow Mother, and not (male) Mralot? Or are both worshipped?

> They're the same person, Joerg: Hsunchen androgyny.

Nickly God Learnerism?  C'mon, Nick, you have to Denounce your heresy
before we can help you with it...

> BTW, the "Esrolian Humakti" from MOB's Lottery Swords are more a product of 
> the cosmopolitan urban Holy Country culture than a reflection of what goes 
> on out in the sticks, IMHO.

Seems a feeble complaint to me, since Esrolia _is_ the most cosmopolitan,
urban part of the Holy Country.

> I get sad when people say they feel "a bit Nicked" 
> whenever I open my big mouth, but there's sweet F.A. I can do about it [...]

It's probably a sort of left-handed compliment, Nick, that your musings are
so often taken as being authorative (if deluded, I suppose, if they're being
complained about).  It is, however, symptomatic of the wider phemonenon of
someone asserting some position, and everyone else trying to guess whether
he or she means According to Zee Roolz/Greg Sez/By Obvious Extrapolation/
In My Campaign/I Thought This Up Ten Minutes Ago.  I'd suggest that everyone
attempts to label their opinings thusly, by their own rating of its Lhankor
Mhy Truth Grade Rating, but I bet this would go the way of John Hughes'
"level" declarations, and I'm not sure I could be bothered myself.  If we
consider everything to default to I Thought This Up Ten Minutes Ago, though,
the least friction will probably occur.

> [...] short of shutting up.  And that's not an option I'd consider...

Well, that's all right, then.

> Bryan posited:
> > And it could be that the Lunars really have no idea that Orlanth is
> > worshipped in Ralios and points distant.  They may know that "a storm
> > god" is worshipped there, but little else.

> And, so far as their theory goes, they could be right (Or was Odin really 
> Mercury all along?). Against the vocal God Learner majority on this list, I 
> think there are far more differences between various Ruling Storm Gods than 
> the spelling of their name.

Shurely shome mishtake, "As part of the vocal God Learner majority", no?
I seem to recall the first (and second) human to complete the LBQ being
domiciled in Ralios, so if he was deluded in his belief he was worshipping
Orlanth, gimme s'more of that delusion, man.

> BTW, as a name for "the Ralian form of Orlanth" 
> I've used "Orlando", which has several pleasant associations: berserking, 
> amorous insanity, chivalry, Ariosto, orange cats.

That works for me.  Indeed, I have a Cunning Plan for which this'll be
handy...  Shame about the connotations of that place in the free-fire zone
of the New World, though.

> The trad. Ralian form of elective confederate kingship looks significantly 
> different to the more hereditary type we see in Sartar, to my (optimistic) 
> eye.

This is probably just a "larger scale" variety of the elective, confederate
kingship that Sartarite tribes have.  No big deal.

> Orlanth Rex would be King of the Gods for different reasons in Ralios, 
> and far more easily ousted by dissent among his followers.

Orlanth Rex is also, apparently, the god of elected positions such as tribal
king, and thane.

> Extension to language is one more logical 
> step along the same path. And we *know* the Lunars designed and built an 
> efficient and stylish new language for their Empire.

Yeah, but we have reason to doubt that it's one in which the concept
"Chaos is Evil" is inexpressible, seeing as this would be, well, a practical
impossibility.  (Short of abolishing the necessary linguistic constructs
to denote either of the concepts, or of predicative assertion.  This is
a language people actually _learn_, and _use_, after all, unlike Newspeak
even in fiction.)

> It doesn't have to work: Ingsoc's Newspeak didn't; Pao's languages didn't; 
> even the Ascians' little red book didn't. You don't have to use it: there's 
> nothing "official" about the suggestion at all. It's just one of my ideas. 
> If it upsets or revolts you, please ignore it. (Or, better still: tell us 
> something else interesting about New Pelorian).

I liked someone's (David Gadbois'?) idea of "distfix" qualifiers in New
Pelorian, but like Nick's Newsquawk idea, I think it's a bit much to create
out of whole cloth.  After all, New Pelorian is known to be substantially
similar to Dara Happan, and the Pelorian Hick languages.  One way I can
imagine such constructions being used is as linguistic metaphors for Lunar
Balance; for example the Dara Happan words for "good" and "evil" might be
prefixed and suffixed respectively to the given root, to indicate "partaining
to moral issues" (or by subtle Newsquawk implication, either "good", or
"evil", according to context and implication).