Bell Digest v940904p2

From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RQ Digest Maintainer)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Reply-To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RuneQuest Daily)
Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Sun, 04 Sep 1994, part 2
Sender: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM
Content-Return: Prohibited
Precedence: junk


From: (Nick Brooke)
Subject: The trouble with Nick is...
Message-ID: <940903082347_100270.337_BHL27-2@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 3 Sep 94 08:23:47 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6021

Sorry my responses are so slow these days: pressure of work, clan moots, 
plus cooling-off time after reading Peter Metcalfe's recent spleen.

(And then my posting seems to have bounced for being too big. Look where 
reticence gets you! The erratum got through; this is the second edition 
reposting of the article it should have followed)

Michael C. Morrison

> Other issues:  I'm wondering what gods newtlings typically worship.

The newts we met in Apple Lane worshipped the Great Newt. We Greydogs are 
all de facto initiates in his cult (except the Humakti, but they aren't 
Greydogs any more), and meet round the "Spawning Pool" to do the bug-eyed 
ritual thing once a year. No, we can't say any more unless you join us.


> Could someone please summarise the history of the Dragon Pass/Nomad Gods
> trilogy of games? ... I'm a little unclear as to what revisions/errata/
> variants/link rules there may be out there.

Well, there was a unifying errata in an early Wyrms Footnotes which brought 

"White Bear & Red Moon" into line with "Nomad Gods". Think that was in the 
old days of AE/AR/NE/DR/DE combat tables, rather than the modern (neater) 
sixths'n'quarters'n'thirds chart (i.e. back in the Dark Ages).

Early issues of Wyrms Footnotes were packed with errata and variants and 
expansions for "White Bear & Red Moon", but those were presumably weighed 
in the balance when the game was redone as "Dragon Pass".

The third game in the series, "Masters of Luck and Death" (also known by  
its later title, "Lords of Fate") wasn't ever satisfactorily designed, and 
has never been completed or released. It would have been a more mythical, 
ritualised game of questing to become Pharoah of the Holy Country, perhaps 
by taking part in mythological events to gain special powers and allies in 
the Sixths of that magical land.

Part of the original master-plan was for a game called "Shadows Dance" to 
link all the other three games together.

One issue of Avalon Hill's sickly "Heroes" magazine had a Q&A section on 
"Dragon Pass", but this contained no variant or expansion material.

It's pretty easy to run Nomad Gods under modern Dragon Pass rules: my first 

ever game was played at Convulsion with this one quick fix, and no haggling 

points arose.

Stephen Martin, Glorantha guru extraordinaire, has recently revised Nomad 
Gods to make it compatible with Dragon Pass (modern versions) and with a 
more informed understanding of Prax. The Great Gods are particularly good.
The French games company Oriflam will be bringing out their edition shortly 

-- if their Dragon Pass (La Guerre des Heros) is anything to go by, it will 

be beautiful. But in French, alas! There was talk of a possible English 
edition using French-made components but I'm unsure if anything came of it.

I'd recommend writing to Stephen and asking him for more info. He can be 
emailed on:

Stephen is also keen to design a "Masters of Luck and Death". A guy named 
Charles Morehouse has done his own version of this game; David Cheng could 
put you in touch, though it isn't meant to be compatible with the DP games 
(completely different mechanics etc.). On this list, I'd imagine you're 
already aware of Joerg Baumgartner, our resident wargamer (we HAMMERED him 
at Dragon Pass!), who's working on the same part of the world (though from 
a military rather than a HeroQuesting perspective, it appears).

As for "Shadows Dance": if anyone out there knows where the Chaosium file 
on this game disappeared to, why not drop them a line...

Peter M:

> Have a look at the six wounding errors of Antirius and see if you can
> identify the people involved. Why did Plentonius leave that in?

As Plentonius was compiling and not inventing *most* of the material in the 

Glorious ReAscent, I'd assume it was a widely-disseminated myth. Probably 
from Yuthuppa rather than Raibanth, but that's just my opinion based on the 

functional division, where this seems a "priestly" rather than "imperial" 
story. So it would have devalued the GR if he'd left it out ("Where's my 
favourite story about Antirius, eh? This book's not very good!").

> Not having Nomad Gods (proving I'm not a god learner know-it-all), I
> can't really say whether Mistress Calm is actually Brastalos or Molanni.

I've never mistaken you for a know-it-all, Peter.

Mistress Calm is *actually* Mistress Calm. But, in your terms, she has more 

similarities to Molanni than to Brastalos:

: MISTRESS CALM: This is the Mistress of the Calm Sky who appears cloaked
: in wispy but shadowing clouds decorating her benign appearance. Her
: influence calms even the dry chaparral, making life possible where she
: rests. Thus she can support three units.

Counter stats: CF @, MgF _3_, MF 3, RF *

Now, is Mistress Clam "actually" Molukka? ;-)

> Dendara is a planet according to the copper tablets, but does not appear
> in the sky today.

I'm trying to persuade Greg that when Yelm was always in the sky, it was 
appropriate for his wife Dendara to appear gloriously radiant at his side. 
When Yelm went to Hell, it was only fitting that she follow her lord and 
master. Now, she follows exactly the same path, at the same time, as Yelm; 
thus she is never visible. The terrible alternative would make it possible 
for Dendara, the model of wifely fidelity, to go out at night without her 
husband: surely an unthinkable occurrence!

> Isn't the moon always full within the Glowline? :-)

Lunar power is always at its greatest within the Glowline, whatever the 
phase of the moon may be. I'm tempted by all of the following:

i)  The dark face of the Red Moon is visibly black within the Glowline; 
thus, whereas outside the Glowline the moon is not visible for two days of 
every week (as in our world at dark of moon), within the Empire's bounds it 

is possible to see a jet-black orb by daytime.

ii)  A red halo or moon-ring rather like a corona appears around the moon, 
getting brighter as the moon wanes and fading again as it waxes. So even at 

night, you can see what phase of the moon it is.

iii)  Through "reflection" from the Glowline (or some such mechanism), the 
night sky throughout Peloria is tinged with a faint pinkish glow. Rather 
like the way city lights screw up stargazing in this world. This is another 

Lunar rosy glow, and one which makes everything look slightly /different/ 
outside the Empire.

I haven't dabbled in mythic justifications for these visible effects. Also, 

if campaigns want to keep an always-full, horizon-at-the-Glowline Red Moon, 

it's no skin off my nose.


> I run that villages that have enough Bless Earth around don't starve and
> die. How many is "enough"? That all depends ... Bless Earth is an expli-
> cation of background magic. It doesn't need to make numeric sense unless
> one is of the anal retentive persuasion.

Hear, hear! Until we have some solid farming rules for RQ, why frot around 
with the magical details?


Calls for details on how Morokanth survive. I'm sure Sandy's yer man, if he 

can stand the repetition.


> This is what Nick is (I think, principally) objecting to as "God Learner-
> ism", though to some extent, all Gloranthans do this. ("Ah, your sun god
> must be our Emperor. Sorry, I have to kill you now.")

No objections to that. I think the difference is in the clinical, manipul- 
ative or acultural approach of the bona fide God Learner. If you approach 
someone else's story from within your own, that's fine by me.

> I'm not sure whether to praise Nick for his selective leaks, or vilify
> him as a Big Tease. (Clue in the subject line, though.)

Understandably, Greg would be pissed off if I leaked the text of his latest 

work to the Daily. Like other owners of "The Red Goddess", I've been urged 
to exercise restraint and respect in disseminating data. There's a pretty 
nifty curse on it, too (though it's not as heavy as the one on "Argrath's 
Saga"), so I'm in no hurry to Reveal All.



From: (Nick Brooke)
Subject: ... he talks too much.
Message-ID: <940903082453_100270.337_BHL27-3@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 3 Sep 94 08:24:54 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6022

Sorry this is late: my original posting bounced.
Alex 'n' Alison:

My Big Spring Festival in Esrolia was on Flamal's Day, when the seeds are 
sown. Voria's Day in Sartar is, for me, when the first flowers open after 
Storm Season and Sacred Time. I like Alex's variant (the un-Voria-ing day) 
for use in a warmer climate.


> Of course, this makes [Yelmic types] very stern, tending to see things
> in terms of black and white.

You think they're bad, wait til you see my Carmanians!


> Does anyone know where the story of horses' devolution from birds can be
> found?

"The Cult of Yelm", in Wyrms Footnotes #11. A reprint is coming soon in 
Wyrms Footprints, from us charming folks at Reaching Moon Megacorp. Your 
sneak preview follows:

: YELM THE RIDER and the tale of the Horse

: The original steed of Yelm was King Griffin, ancestor of the great race
: of sun-loving creatures. Ever since that time the cult has taught the
: skill of riding flying beasts (specifically griffins). However, when
: Yelm was slain King Griffin quarrelled with the other light gods and his
: children withdrew themselves from being slaves to people who rode them.
: Thus it is that so few people ride on the wondrous animals, even where
: the sun is worshipped.

: One of the feuds which King Griffin had with his fellow light gods was
: over the treatment of his favourite child, Hippogriff. She had been an
: ally to Splendid Yamsur, eldest son of Yelm, who used to be called The
: Victorious. Splendid Yamsur and Hippogriff had taken solemn oaths of
: friendship together, but in several fights Hippogriff was hurt and
: abandoned by her erstwhile friend, who was not called The Victorious
: afterwards.

: Hippogriff underwent a series of painful and humiliating experiences
: during the War of the Gods and the Great Darkness. First she met Storm
: Bull in raging battle and her proud fangs were broken out of her mouth
: so she could no longer bite. In a fight with Maran Gor, the Earthshaker,
: Hippogriff's legs were broken and her bronze claws were ripped from her
: feet, but Yamsur was able to replace her feet with hooves. The greatest
: sore was when Zorak Zoran tore off her golden wings, laughing as he
: robbed her of ever returning to the sky. But most humiliating was when
: this once great godling was taken and broken by a mortal, Hyalor Horse-
: breaker.

: Hyalor was not totally unfit to ride upon her. He was a leader among men
: and he also believed in the long disappeared sun. In addition, he claimed
: descent from the God Yamsur who was slain by the Devil, and claimed that
: he was freeing her crippled spirit from death and wished to make an
: alliance. He rescued her by changing her name and her identity. Even so
: man got the better of the bargain. She was called Hippoi, or simply
: horse. Ever since then her descendants have worked more for man than man
: has worked for the horse.

: When the sun rose again Hyalor was ready to accept him, having survived
: the Darkness through great faith and courage. The horse, already used to
: slavery, leapt to meet her old master. The pair together received great
: bounty in the first years, and their herds and numbers increased greatly
: with the Blessings of Yelm. This is the origins of the Horse Peoples, who
: later became the Steppe Nomads.

All (c) Greg Stafford, and written over ten years ago (for the benefit of 
pedantic GRAY- and DHBE-bashers).

> Are there any aerial predators [in Prax], like griffins or really big
> raptors?

Some Griffins have a nest atop the Block, allegedly. And the giant condors 
of Condor Crags fit the bill.

> Do hyaenas get respect from humans due to their association with the
> Trickster?

About as much respect as human Tricksters do, i.e. this is a *negative* 
factor. IMHO.


> ... This does not mean that Khelmal, Antirius, Elmal, Yelmalio may not
> exist as independent entities, just that their natures are altered to
> some extent by those who still have free will - the heroquesters.

I'd broaden that to "the worshippers", while accepting that it's six of one 

and half-a-dozen of the other. I'd fracture it by saying that both Khelmal 
and Elmal can exist at the same time: if there is a GodLearneresque "core" 
to this common/shared deity, these two are equally valid aspects of "him".

That is to say, it doesn't matter to Sun Dome Yelmalions what stories the 
Imther folk tell about Khelmal, as they have no impact on their own deity- 
aspect, who is separate from the mass. *Unless* one of these stories is 
brought to their notice and they like it enough to covet it for their own 
mythos. Or unless some outsider "forces" it upon them.

Based on the high quality of Harald's excellent Imther myths, this must 
mean there is very little communication between the tribes of Imther and
the poor, thus far mythically-deprived Elmali and Yelmalions of the South.

The Flood:

The "Fortunate Succession" (which makes up the bulk of the Dara Happan Book 

of Emperors) adds a third Lodrili Emperor to the naughty dynasty of Ovosto 
("King Rump"): after Ovosto and Orogoros comes one Orovinos. (He's added to 

the Glorious ReAscent's list in the eighth century, when various Pelandan 
myths seem to be creeping in). Very little firm or useful data about him 
comes out of the notes to the lists.

My suggestion: Orovinos is the famous Drunken Emperor. I see him as rather 
like Peacock's Seithenyn ap Seithyn Saidi, for those of you who still read 
good books. Devin will of course comment on this parallel, and on that to 
the Drowning of Ys. Good. I like parallel myths. Tells me I'm on the right 

Emperor Orovinos had an insatiable thirst. He commanded his cupbearers to
bring all of the decent Wine within the palace to him until he exhausted
that supply. Then he called for foreign drinks, like the Mead of Darjiin, 
and even for vile-tasting and indecent drinks like Beer, and quaffed these 
until his stomach was fit to burst. But still he was not sated, and called 
out for Oils and Elixirs and other unnatural potations. None of these could 

satisfy his burning thirst. Then, finally the Emperor called out for Water 
to be brought.

The cupbearers asked, "Any water?"

The Emperor answered, "ALL Water!"
And thus came the Flood, obedient to the Emperor's Will.

Moons and Comets:

With a pinch of salt, and further to the von Daniken theory of Dara Happan 
origins expounded a few months ago, here's my Velikovsky theory of Pelorian 


Clearly, the "Moon" referred to in the earliest myths is not the moon we 
recognise today. Equally clearly, it is impossible for the "Sun" to have 
gone out, as is claimed in myths found world-wide. The simplest explanation 

is that the so-called Moon of Godtime was in fact a Comet, headed straight 
for Glorantha.

This giant body impacted Glorantha at the moment known in myth as the Death 

of Yelm. Throwing up huge volumes of particulate matter by its impact, the 
clouds darkened the sun, blackening it out at noon for the time immediately 

after the collision. The shock of impact would also have caused earthquakes 

and tidal waves. Longer-term effects of the climatic changes included wide- 

spread crop failure and mass extinctions. For years after the crash, the 
climate would have been colder, and the sun's rays dimmed by the greater 
levels of atmospheric dust (creating the so-called "Cold Sun" of the Great 
Darkness). Perhaps (pace Hoyle) this body brought with it some mutagenic 
agent which was responsible for the reports of "chaotic" monstrosities at 
this time. We can only wonder...

Among the long-term results of the "Moon" colliding with Glorantha were the 

rise in sea-level (perhaps as a result of cometary ice introduced to the 
biosphere), and the mysterious disappearance of a hitherto prominent 
heavenly body. When a state of environmental equilibrium was once again 
achieved (this being known as the Cosmic Compromise), conventional history 
is said to have begun.

All of these factors are, of course, widely attested in Gloranthan myth.

("And if you'll believe that...")



From: (Peter Metcalfe, CAPE Canty)
Subject: Journey of the Blue Wizard
Message-ID: <>
Date: 4 Sep 94 09:17:40 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6023

Hedderley writes
>All this cult discussion (eg the Vinga thread) seems a bit too PRECISE for my
>taste. We're talking about myths and symbols here, and all this highfalutin'
>theology takes the magic and mystery away. 

Hear, hear.  This is one of the major reasons that I attempt to identify
Antirius as Yelmalio as Elmal (but not Khelmal - after all that's Harald's
perogative) or Entekos as Molanni.  If we accept that Elmal is a different god
from Antirius or Yelmalio, then we have severe problems (IMO) in trying to sort
out what happened to the Elmali tribes in the time of King Tarkalor.  They
'wished to be able to bring a sunspear from their god'.  Since Elmal does not
teach fire magics (and is probably not assoicated with Yelm to get the Sun
Spear), then what the dissidents are trying to do is to change to another god. 
To me, this smacks of concious God Learnerism.

What I attempt to do when proposing these (admittedly sometimes convoluted)
histories of Antirius/Yelmalio/Elmal is to make them the same god so that
struggle was about determining the best way to worship their god.  Since this
can be still very acrimonious (for example: Martin Luther and Jan Huss's 
differences with the Catholic church rather than Muhammad's fight with the
Unbelievers and Hypocrites of Mecca), the same amount of blood can be shed (or
more often exceeded).

IMO, the Elmali dispute was settled by bringing in an Elvish version of the
cult that allowed some cult members to cast sun spear (ie High Priest and Light
Son) rather than a totally hardline solar cult that allows sun spear to be know
by everybody (from Yelm).  I suppose the reason why the lunars liked Yelmalio
to introduce it into their lands was that they were afraid that the extreme
dogmaticism of the Antirius cult would allow for a resurgence in Dara Happan

>Detailed delineations of the subcults
>and lesser gods in a pantheon might be appropriate for the more regulated/
>sophisticated cultures, but out in Dragon Pass/Prax I wouldn't be surprised
>if I rode into a village and found they were interpreting Vinga or the Garzeen
>aspect of Issaries completely differently

Some aspects of this are noticable on a larger scale in G:CotHW.  The cult of
the Invisible Orlanth in Carmania and the Cult of Orlanth Victorious in Pavis
are part of the Orlanth body of worship but they are quite different.  I expect
Yelm to be worshipped in some respect in Kralorela but I would not expect it to
be worshipped in the same way as in Dara Happa, or even to find a Yelm 
Imperator there. 

>I don't know
>how you'd fit this in with the RULES 

My idea would be a liberal helping of subcult.  In the Kyger Litor cult writeup
(the one in Elder Secrets - the best version ) the troll subcults all vary
from place to place.  Gerak kag is worshipped only in Pavis and Dagori Inkarth. 
Extending this example to the cult of Orlanth (I have not been speaking about
Vinga as I know too little about her to play around with - I prefer lots of
contradictory stuff) I could imagine, say, a certain spot where Orlanth gained
the sword Death.  A shrine there would teach the one-use spell of sever spirit
or the strike spell taught by Eurmal the murderer.  

Depending on how convienient this Orlanth Deathbringer subcult is, a Wind voice
or wind lord might decide to import it back home.  Eventually it may spread in
which case it could concievably become part of the lexicon of standard Orlanthi
spells.  On the other hand, CoP implies that the aerial aspect of Orlanth in
Prax is minimized in favour of Storm Bull and that Orlanth is primarily known
in his adventerous aspect.  I would not be surprised if there were some khans
in prax who if asked to list the Storm Gods would reply 'Gargrath, Urox and
Mistress Calm' and be surprised if told that Orlanth was a more powerful storm
god than any in his list.

>Maybe I'm on entirely the wrong track here; maybe in a world like Glorantha
>priests CAN just pray to one of their pantheon and get the inside story on
>whether Vinga is Orlanth's sister (older or younger) or daughter, and whether
>it's more appropriate that you throw great parties or gather in the harvest
>to honour her

Not at all.  The only way you find anything out from the gods about the truth
in their rituals is thruogh divination.  If you have divination 10, that's
about 70 words for an answer about the deeper metaphysics of why Orlanth felt
it Just to bring back Yelm from the dead.  The primary reason would be to make
the world a better place and any hint that Yelm's death was unjust would
propbaly be the last reason on the list.  As for rituals, they're designed to
explain certain points about the god to the masses.  If Vinga was fond of
throwing wild parties and also had a harvest legend about her, then what
rituals of her would be played up would depend on the needs of the tribe.  If
they were fond of drinking at every opportunity, the party aspect would
obviously be played up.

Bob writes

>[full description of Horse's descent from Hippogriff deleted]

What really puzzles me is that the Hyalorings are a seperate tribe from the
Jenarong Horsefolk.  I can understand that the Hyalorings were the closest to
the first council and that their myths of the origin of horses would be taken
as gospell.

The Dara happan myth is entirely different, given that the Jenarong called the
Warlords Gamatae suggests that they were descended from the Nivorahings
(Gamatae <-- Gamaratae).  Also Jenerong gets the Sandals of Protection from
Nivorah which suggests that the Dara happans are correct.

In many ways this begins to parallel all the stories of the creation of man I
have seen.  The Galanin are descended from Lofak, the Jenarong are from Dara
Happa whereas the Hyalorings are from Genert's wasted land.  Are there any
other sources of horse that we don't know about?


--Peter Metcalfe