Bell Digest sup09.txt

Subject: Supplement Number 9


First Distribution:  August 18,  1988

This supplement:
        Dragons in the Dark                             (Henk Langeveld) 

Ed's note:  I lost my copy of this supplement and forgot about it.  It was
rediscovered,  and thus is out of sequence.


[I thought you folk might find this (especially the stuff about Worlds of
Glorantha) of interest.  Those who don't play in or have any interest in
Glorantha might not find it so interesting.]

From: mcvax!eurtrx!henk@uunet.UU.NET (Henk Langeveld)

Subject: My zine, or what's left of it.

Hi Andrew, here's  a table of contents from my zine: I just browsed thru
some of the stuff and I fear I just cannot in good conscience broadcast
all of this stuff.  Especially some of the letters (although from mister
Glorantha himself), go back to about the first quarter of '86.  Slightly
dated... I'll have to skim all of it for stuff that's still interesting.

For Example: the Letters Page (all dated '86-'87):

Greg Stafford on Chaosium's plans with RQ and Glorantha,
Oliver Dickinson on Griselda and her gang, Brain Duguid commenting
on high-powered (Non-) Player-Characters.

[Even if dated,  I know I'd find it interesting.  I haven't had a chance
write to Stafford and company myself,  although I plan to soon.]

I have added the middle part of the zine, which contained some reviews
about Chaosium stuff.  The last two should be considered interesting for
the RQ digest.  You may distribute those parts, if you want.

OK, some stuff included after my signature.


--------X8---cut here-----------------------------------------------

                            Dragons in the Dark
                              C O N T E N T S

                           Editorial ... by yours truly.
              SF Worldcon Conspiracy ... a rather late report.
                     Call of Cthulhu ... thoughts from Mike Williams.
                   Products received ... from Chaosium, mostly.
                   Gods of Glorantha ... a short review.
                  World of Glorantha ... a preview.      
                   Dragons in Answer ... some correspondence.

Games Received

During the last few months I had the honour to receive the following
game supplements from Chaosium (Thanks guys):

Green and Pleasant Land -- Call of Cthulhu sourcebook for Britain of
the twenties. Edited by Pete Tamlyn with contributions of several
well-known British role-players. Produced by Games Workshop, who
should have payed more attention to the hyphenation, otherwise this is
a good supplement and essential for any referee using the British
Isles as a setting.  It contains all kinds of background informaton,
about the differences in class, the Great War, and facts from daily

A chapter about Mummerset, a mixture of dialects useful to create a
'local' atmosphere was ommitted, and appeared later in White Dwarf.  A
very good example of making use of the information in the book is the
scenario The Shadow ove Darkbank.  This makes heavy use of the chapter
The Inland Waterway.  The investigators are on a holiday when they get
in touch with a real sub-culture of Britain in those times: the
boatpeople, who lead a life on their own, boating cargo for factories
and minig companies.

Tournament of Dreams (Pendragon) -- This contains two major scenarios,
and leads for some smaller ones. The first scenario is the actual
Tournament of Dreams.  The player knights are invited to a tournament
organised by king Belinans of Sugales.  He has recently married the
beautiful Elidia, and now has challenged all knights of other kingdoms
to test the skill and courage of his own.  This is a scenario for

The other scenario is more straight to the point.  Somewhere lies the
magical land of the Circle of Gold.  The land is ruled and guarded by
King Farion and his knights, who have gained magical powers through
their association with the circle.  This is a place to get fame and
glory.  Many knights have gone before, only to return ashamed or
return not at all.  The land is one of the few resisting King Arthur's
wish to unify Britain.

I think this booklet is a very good role-playing aid.  The scenarios
are very clearly written, are consistent and have a captivating
atmosphere.  The production standard is also very high.  The text
looks as if it was printed on a high-quality laser printer.  Obviously
it has been produced electronically.  Layout approaches perfection.
The scenarios are organised in a modular way, important phrases are
highlighted in the margin.  Details and additional information are set
aside in the margin to not interfere with the main text.  Everything
has been done to help the gamemaster to present the stories with as
little trouble as possible.

The White Wolf (Hawkmoon/Stormbringer) -- This is a supplement for the
Eternal Champion RPG.  It contains adventures for rather powerful
characters.  This is especially true of the last scenario, Escape From
Yellow Hell. The other items aren't really scenarios. In fact they are
settings for scenarios, three temples, with different associations.

The first one is Darkspire, a temple of chaos with very strong
defenses.  The next one is temple of the Eternal Flame, as the name
says, dedicated to the elemental powers of fire, personified in
Kakatal.  The high priest has created a cult around his own person,
and is rumored to be immortal.  The last temple is Haven, a Temple of
Law.  Founded by a high priest of Donblas, it is a refuge for anyone
willing to renounce chaos.

I am not familiar with Stormbringer Role-playing, although I have read
some of Moorcock's novels.  I think these scenarios can be quite
helpful, but most of the adversaries seem somewhat powerful to me.

Carse Generic Role-Playing aid -- I bought this myself, in Games
Workshop's latest sale.  It can be used together with the Cities
supplement, but for me it looks OK on its own.  What can be told about
it ?  It describes a small town with lots of activity going on, the
ordinary happenings of daily life, and a bit of intrigue and
conspiracy as well.  Nice.  I thought it worth buying.

For the Fool-your-neighbour Role- Playing game.  Contains everything
you need to register as a student AND to graduate from Miskatonic
University.  Just find someone skilled in Calligraphy and you're a
Batchelor of Arts in Medieval Metaphysics.  A tentacled frame is
included, so you can display your diploma in an appropriate way.
Other parts of the kit: The 86/87 School Catalog, passes for the
library and the cafeteria and of course, your student identification
card.  A form is included with which to order a Master's ($9.95) or
Doctorate ($14.95) Degree.  It's a nice thing to get as a present.
And that's about the only use I can think of, buy one for your
gamemaster.  But I don't think I would have bought this for myself.


                             Gods of Glorantha

Gods of Glorantha is the first Avalon Hill supplement for RQ3 related
to Glorantha, it was published late in 1985.  Its sequel, World of
Glorantha will appear later this year. Both tell us much more about
Glorantha, about its Mythos, history, religion and people.

Finally we learn why the God Learners have such a bad reputation, they
tried to gain all possible knowledge about the Gods and their power.
To achieve that purpose they stopped at nothing, and abused each and
every bit of power they could get.

Nevertheless, we have got to pay the Jrusteli their dues for their
research on comparative mythology. From them stems the concept of the
Monomyth, an attempt to construct one Unified Theory of Mythology. The
Monomyth is a very handy vehicle for presenting the whole Gloranthan
Mythos (World Before Dawn) and History (Solara Tempora). This vehicle
is used in the introduction of the Cults Book, the core of the

The main part of the Cults Book is a concise listing of 60 different
religions in the standard cult format.  The introduction has info on
spirit cults, acolytes, shamans and initiates.  There is more
variation in the organisation of cults.  Not the standard Initiate,
Priest, Lord sequence.  Only a few cults have Rune Lords, some have no
Priests, others are beefed up spirit cults and require candidate
priests to become shamans.  An example of the last case is Ancestor
Worship which is a generic cult that replaces Daka Fal.  Daka Fal is
one of several cults of Ancestor Worship.

An interesting cult is the cult of the Red Moon Goddess, there's only
one requirement for initiation: the candidate must be illuminated.
Lunar initiates gain special magic powers, they may manipulate spirit
magic as if it were sorcery.

Allied spirits are still there, but have to reside in objects.
Animals may only be used as familiars, by way of the Alter Creature
divine spell.  So Orlanth cultists still have their cats.

The other parts of GoG are the prosopaedia, listing the (pre)history,
image and role in the world of a 200-odd deities and the Theyalan
calendar, with the high holy days of the major cults.

In conclusion, I must say that Gods of Glorantha is a must for any
gamemaster wishing to run a Gloranthan campaign.  This is what made
RuneQuest one of the best role-playing games around in my view.
Religion has always been one of the key factors in establishing a
background for people to live in.  It gives people a raison d'etre, a
reason to exist.


World of Glorantha - preview

The following observations are all based on parts of a manuscript that
I received early May '87. Some parts were deleted, others unfinished,
still others probably are not going to be included in the final
product. The whole concept of Glorantha has evolved over more then
twenty years, as Greg tells us in the 'Designers notes', one and a
half page of interesting background to the creation process.

Nowhere in the manuscript did I see an explicit reference to Gods of
Glorantha, although it is obvious that the two supplements should be
considered as companion volumes. There are important differences, as
Gods of Glorantha is clearly a gaming supplement, with quite a lot of
technical data for RuneQuest. World of Glorantha is exactly what the
title says.. a world guide. It describes the Glorantha in a modular
way, with the physical plane (or Inner World) distinct from the spirit
plane, the God plane, and Hero planes. Yes there's more than one, or
actually, the Hero Plane is the name for the Lower world, Upper world,
and the Outer world together. The better part of the package is
concerns the Inner World of course, as that's the place where most
adventures will take place. The Spirit Plane is just a grey limbo, and
can only be travelled by shamans, travelling through the Hero Planes
is a different game (HeroQuest is being worked on this moment!)  and
we'd better not talk about the God Plane -- lest the gods should hear

A standard format is used to describe every part of the world: NAME;
location; a verbal introduction by one of its inhabitants "I am ...";
description, inhabitants, history, language, government, religion,
friends & enemies.  Some area descriptions are followed by a list of
Places of Interest.

There are separate write-ups for the different intelligent creatures
of Glorantha, others on the climate - including the routes for sea
travel, and a chapter on languages.  What I thought missing were
population numbers, but according to Greg, these will be included.

The manuscript did not contain any technical data for RuneQuest.
Nothing of interest to Rules Lawyers. I expect that World of Glorantha
will be of more interest to gamemasters. Every player should of course
know what his character's country looks like, but I think it would be
more satisfying to both players and referee, when the players discover
the world for themselves.  Apart from that, referees should have the
opportunity to come up with their own interpretation of the
information in this package.

All in all, I think World of Glorantha is a supplement of interest to
many gamemasters, and I am looking forward to the final product.
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