Bell Digest vol03p07.txt

Subject:  Screaming Chaos Horror,  Volume 3,  Number 7

First Distribution:  April 12,  1989

This issue:
	replies++			(Adrian Joseph)
	random comments			(Steve Maurer)
	And more stuff			(Jeff Okamoto, Burton Choinski)

Ed's note:  Here's all the stuff I found once I discovered they'd rerouted
my mail.  It's more disorderly than usual,  just because there's so much
and I've taken so long getting it out anyway.  My apologies,  I've been

Readership is now up to 86 people...

Trollpak is out in the U.S.  Note that it is not the complete copy of the
RuneQuest II version.  In particular,  it does not include the cult write-ups
(soon to be released as Troll Gods) and the Saszdorf(sp?) Clan,  also soon
to be released.  The adventures in Troll Realms were also part of the
original Trollpak.

I have a copy,  and if I get the time I'll do a review,  esp.  comparing it
to the original version.



Subject: replies++

Okay well a few comments on your comments

> >... one very important point about battle magic (all magic I think) is
> >that it's visible (at least) when cast.
> I don't remember spell casting being particularly obvious;  this may be a
> local variant,  but I don't believe it's standard.  It should be

Humm well as I remember it in RQII all battle magic was visible
when cast.

> fairly easy to tell someone's got a fireblade on their sword,  but telling

Okay fireblade is obvious if you decide the effect of the spell
is to create visible fire, but then you are assuming something
about the way the spell works. I don't remember what the rules
say but I think its probably up to the GM.

> if someone has bladesharp or bludgeon on shouldn't be so easy.  I would also

Okay I think this is up to the GM, generally we decided (as I
think you do) that most spells are invisible once cast. Anyway
the point of what I was saying is that due to the short time
duration of RQ battle magic spells, you would normally be seen
casting them, and hence while the opposition may not know
whether you cast blade sharp or countermagic on your sword
(Orlanthi know why), they would know you cast something and
might want to dispell it, since previously there was a maximum
of baldesharp, bludgeon etc they only need use dispell 4 to be sure of
success against such spells.

> be loathe,  even with visible effects,  to tell viewers how many points the
> spell is.  Thus you see someone casting a spell on their weapon;  how many

I definately agree seeing somone cast a spell does not tell you
how many points of power was in it, but if you watch the whole
thing you can get an idea for the amount of time it took.
However, I think thats an orthogonal issue.

> points of dispel do you use?  You're going to spend more power eliminating
> that spell most of the time,  or you're going to risk wasting magic points
> and time on useless casting.  You're better off with dullblade in this case.

Well as I said in the old days if you were worried about
bladesharp, bludgeon strength etc all of which had a maximum of
4 points you simply cast dispell 4.

> The best time to use enhancement spells,  also,  is when you outnumber your
> foes.  For example,  when fighting a giant,  he can't take the time to dispel
> all your spells even if he has DM.  You can also use enhancement spells when
> fighting unintelligent or non-spellcasting foes,  and any spells that affect
> you (strength,  vigor,  etc.) should require an overcoming roll to dispel.

Okay well I must admit I'm not sure there is a 'best time' to
use spells, we used to use Befuddle (RQII version which we
still use, personally I think the RQIII definition is silly)
when we were outnumbered, Countermagic if we thought they might
do the same to us (in fact, if we thought the opposition was
magic using, and we didn't have a clear numbers advantage we
almost always cast counter magic first). Protection is also
good if outnumbered, and shimmer is good against things which
you really don't want to hit, like giants. This type of
reasoning can go on and on, and then has to be weighed against
the time and power cost, in other words I think when to use
spells can only really be judged on a case by case baisis.

> Don't forget,  also,  the missile-affecting spells.  Speeddarted arrows are
> much more likely to penetrate armor,  and multi-missiled arbalest or heavy
> crossbow bolts can be devastating.  Firearrow also dramatically increases the
> damage of arrows.

True, I must admit we didn't often get a chance to use missile
weapons and I can only remember a very few occations when we
used such spells, and mulitmissile was banned with its old RQII
definition -- humm think about a mulitmissiled ICBM, silly I
know, but silly spell definitions lead to silly uses.

> In RQ III the change in the distribution of spirit magic means that very few
> characters even have dispel magic,  so the situation is much different there.

Well I don't know what other people think, but somehow I can't
manage to swallow the new spirit magic system, where only some
cults know countermagic etc. We still allow lots of common
magic, and Glorantha is glad of it. Seriously thought
personally I really like to have very common low powered magic,
after all the common mothers cure "Kiss it better" (healing 1)
or bladesharp on a plough to help break the ground, and plough
straight, can really add to the feel of a magic rich world,
which Glorantha obviously is.

Hey on another note, I didn't know that there was a version of
Snakepipe Hollow out for RQIII. How about a review, with
comparirions with the RQII version, I have both the old and the
new Griffin Mountain and I must admit the new is very inferiour
to the old, I also have the old Snakepipe Hollow, and would be
interested in knowing how the new compairs.

> Subject: Spell fumbles and Monty Haul
> From:                   (Andrew Bell)
> In article 2.6,  Jeff Okamoto says:
> > I think the current rules for fumbles and criticals are fine.
> > There is no need to add insult to injury or hand out Monty Haul effects
> > just because of a single die roll.
> Actually,  the principle of "special effects" on a single die roll does have
> precedent:  the fumble charts for combat.  Criticals are handled in a
> standard fashion,  but fumbles go to a random chart,  where all sorts of
> things can happen -- like a Zorak Zorani with True Maul, strength, and
> multiple bludgeons up can critical himself for immense amounts of damage.

Okay well here I disaggree with you both. Firstly I don't like
the fumbles table, it somehow seems unreasonable for a seasoned
master to swing at somone and cut his own foot off!! I think
this is especially silly as it dosen't take into account the
skill of the opponent, I agree that maybe a very skilled
opponent might make him try such a difficult manouver that he
could really mess up, but for a complete novice, or even, if you
take such things to extream, (and I do to see if they are
reasonable) a tree trunk to have this effect is really not on.
Anyway we use a simplified (yes this does mean some loss of
detail) critical/fumble system for combat. I'm sure I've seen
something similar but here it ours.

        We keep the same roll requirements for critical, special
and fumble as RQII, but (and I can't remember it this is
standard) the chance for each is calculated from your effective
skill, ie after modification due to your opponents defence. Your
effective skill is also modified by your opponents skill
directly in the following way, for each point of parry skill he
has greater than 100% you subtract one from your chance to hit,
and equally when parring/dodging for each point of your
opponents attack skill greater than 100% subtract one from your
effective skill.
        If your effective skill is less than 26% (random
choice) you use the normal fumble tables otherwise the effect
of attack & parry is calculated as follows. By refering to the
success chart for both the attack and the parry (you subtract
the parry number from the attack number) you obtain a
simple number, this is then refered to on the effects chart
which shows the result. [In practice the charts are very simple
and nobody actually need to refer to them, as you very quickly
remember them]

                        Success Chart
                Action                  Value
           Critical Success               3
           Special Success                2
           Normal Success                 1
               Failure                    0
               Fumble                    -1

                        Effects Chart
        Value                   Effect
          4     Defender takes 2 x damage with no armour protection
          3     Defender takes 1 x damage with no armour protection
          2     Defender takes 1 x damage with 1/2 armour protection
          1     Defender takes 1 x damage with full armour protection
          0     No effect if both failed or if both succeeded
                Defender takes 1 x damage with full armour and shield
         -1     Attackers weapon takes damage from parring item
         -2     Defender may try to disarm attacker, roll
                STR+DEX of defender vs STR+DEX of attacker on the
                resistance chart, or as -1 defenders option
         -3     Defender may take a free additional attack
                against the attacker, the attacker may try to parry
                the attack (See below for parry modifications)
         -4     Defender gets free attack against the attacker
                which cannot be parried

Its also worth noting the we allow multiple parries for a
character. The system we use means that each additional parry
is at a cumulative -20% of parry skill, ie normal skill for the
first parry -20 for the second -40 for the third ... Naturally
you may only attempt to parry when you have a positive modified

        My this is turning into a very long article sorry, but
while I'm at it I might as well mention our very simple aimed
hit and initiative system. Right to aim a blow you simply
sacrifice 5% of your attack skill for each point of aim, then
if you hit you roll as normal, but may adjust the roll by up to
the number of points of aim you have. Our initiative system is
equally as simple, for the first round use weapon strike rank
ala RQII, and there after simply roll a D12. [Okay well its not
really that simple, its actually each persons own first round
        Right well I've certainly put enough rope around my
neck, now I'd like to know what people think about all this
lot, remember if its not fun, you're doing it wrong, have fun


From:  vsi1! (Steve Maurer)

Subject:  RQ Digest entry

> >... one very important point about battle magic (all magic I think) is
> >that it's visible (at least) when cast.
> I don't remember spell casting being particularly obvious;  this may be a
> local variant,  but I don't believe it's standard.

    One of the things which I hoped to be cleared up from RQ2, going into
RQ3, was which spells *exactly* were visible, and which ones weren't.
(In fact, I specifically asked them to make this clear, but they didn't.)
>From the narration of various stories, it appears that the vast majority
of spells are visible, but there are some spells which in their description
appear to be invisible.

    Here is a list of the following rules by which I determine if a
Battle/spirit - magic spell is visible:

    1]  All POW vs POW spells are visible when cast.  The exact spell
	cannot be determined when it strikes, but since the incantations
	are individually recognizable, a knowledgable person can figure
	out what was just cast if they can hear the caster.  (Generally
	I'll tell the party the spell, if it is something someone has,
	or it's pretty standard {and you can hear the caster} ).

    2]  Mind affecting POW vs POW spells (Befuddle/Demoralize) make
	you incapable of realizing your condition, but not incapable of
	casting spells.   ( One Storm Bull in my game, has decided to
	Fatanacize himself any time he thinks he's loosing -- kind of as
	a pick me up.   Though a nearly suicidal strategy, it does also
	help get him out of being Demoralized. )

    3]  Rune magic POW vs POW spells are immediately distinguishable
	from their less powerful brethren.   The air shimmers when cast,
	and there are often rather impressive special effects.
	There is no incantation to these, so unless you are very familiar
	with the special effects, you probably won't recognize it.

    4]  You can never tell what someone else has "in mind".

    5]  Passive battlemagic spells are generally not visible after having
	been cast.   Spells with obvious effects are, of course, exceptions.
	When you initially cast the spell, people can usually tell, unless
	otherwise noted in the spell description.   RQ2's Detection Blank,
	and Dullblade, are completely invisible in casting and duration.

    6]  You can always guess at what Passive spells are up from their effects.
	If your dagger is bouncing off of bare skin, it's a good guess that
	they have some Protection up.

    6]  Spell power isn't known to an exact degree when thrown, but
	everybody knows it takes a long time to "gather yourself in", to
	throw a lot of power behind a spell.   Attack spells with lots of
	temporary-POW behind them tend to "splash" more, when they strike.

    7]  Detect spells are only visible if they say in the spell description
	that they cause a "glow".   Those that don't, are not visible.
	Detect life, isn't visible.

    8]  You can tell whether or not you have succeeded in a POW vs POW
	spell, and whether or not you have "tinked" off Countermagic.
	You cannot tell whether or not the Countermagic is still up.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    I do not play RQ3.  It's not as good as RQ2.   However, the original
Silence spell description in RQ2 was redefined slightly to be:

    Adds 100% to your Move Silent

    This was to prevent Giants from using the spell.   Also, as Aldrya
had a rune spell like this, we needed to make it somehow more powerful.
The rune spell "Silence" adds 500% to your Move Silent (you always "Special"
your Move Silent roll -- only critical Listens will hear you).

						Steve Maurer


>Subject: Re: Spell Crit/Fumble rolls
>From: Steven A. Schrader   (SAS@PSUARCH.BITNET)

Soldifying/Weakening Life Force
   Damage Resistance

   21 - 50    Spell is reversed at half strength

What's half of one point of Armoring Enchantment?  Or the reverse of
a Damage Resistance?

Reversed damage resistance might boost the damage coming in by a factor
of 1/2 on a successful roll - nasty!  But these are supposed to be
*fumbles*...  1/2 a point of something is what somebody of another race
can heal with healing 1! :-)

Jeff again:
Then let me cast a 1-point Damage Resistance on you and fumble.


Subere's Attack Soul spell can be found in the supplement
Gods of Glorantha.


Moving/Slowing something with Life Force
   Binding Enchantment
   Summon Species

   01 - 25   Move the wrong object

What does a Binding Ench or Summon have to do with moving?

Binding keeps something from moving to the point that it can not move.

Jeff again:
A binding enchantment enables you to hold a "spirit" in an object.
If the enchantment moves, the held being moves.  So, if I cast a
Binding Enchantment and roll this fumble, what happens?


Steven on Summoning:
Well, summon has a lot to do with something moving!  How do you think
the summoned creature gets there if not being moved by the caster's

Think of it as Summon the wrong object.

Jeff again:
Then what did I "move"?  Do you have a table for me?


   26 - 50   Lose control of the object until another successful spell
                  is made(Dir 8 sided die)

What do I lose control of when Gluing?

I would say that you lost control of stopping the gluing at one spot
so the gluing continues for a path.  I originally thought of the idea
that new spells could be "found" by a mistake.  A rather interesting
idea that science uses an awful lot! %)

Jeff again:
Glue gives you a 10cm by 10cm patch of glue.  Does this mean I actually
get more Glue to use?  Can I deliberately fumble this one?


   76 - 00   The wrong object moved, but out of control

Again, what does moving have to do with Binding or Summoning?

Steven again:
Well, that seems apparent to me! You either summoned the wrong thing or
bound the wrong thing(your apprentice??) and bound/summoned to the wrong

Jeff again:
Then how is a Binding Enchantment "out of control"?


Using Life Force as a recepticle
   Homing Circle
   Magic Point Matrix Enchancement
   Spell Matrix Enchancement
    21 - 80   Object has 1 point of damage for every point of POW used

Eh?  Would you like to explain that?  Does that mean when I touch it,
it damages me?  Not a bad weapon to use in combat....

No! No! Silly! The object has 1 point of damage! you know like the sword
you were trying to enchant onto, now has 1 less AP!

Jeff again:
Then why not say exactly that?  But, I never put enchantments on weapons
because they're too easy to break.  Also, what if I make the enchantment
on a tatoo?  Does my arm lose one HP?


81 - 00   Object "Eats" POW.  Acts like spell combat.  Objects POW vs
                   defender's POW.  Is resistance fails, then 1 POW is
                   "Eaten" by the object and added to its total.  This
                   Will continue until the place is sealed with another
                   succesful spell of this type.

"This will continue" how often?  Once a minute?  Once a day?  Can I
give it to someone else and have it eat their souls too?

It is more like spirit combat.  Sure you can give it to someone, if you
are alive that is.

Jeff again:
Sorry, but spirit combat affects MP only.  POW is not lost, nor is
the statistic even used.  Make it MP, and I could see it.


Using Life Force to Stop/Start Reactions

   01 - 20  Opposite effects are done

Does this mean an Ignite will put out the fire I was trying to start?

I would read it as you have made the object unignitable (until perhaps
two ignite spells overcome it.)  Be a little imaginative.

Another case where a fumble might be good...I can just see the munckins
casting ignite on their character until they fumble and become immune to

Jeff again:


Using Life Force to Affect another's mind
   Dominate Species
  21 - 40    Half opposite effects

How am I half Dominated?

Easy, the suggestions that are done to you, you have a chance to reject.

Might just freeze the character in place;  you can't move yourself,
but neither can the sorceror.  Or it could be a POW vs. POW struggle
to try to do what you want versus what the sorceror wants...

Jeff again:
Actually, I blew it here.  If I fumble a Dominate, does the target
get a chance to dominate me?  What if it has no sentience?


Transfer of Information from One Source to Another
  Apprentice Bonding

   01 - 20   Wrong Information given

What information do I gain from an Apprentice Bonding?

Silly, silly!  If you are on the opposite end of the spell you get the
vitals to a spell, if you cast it then your translation of the vitals
of the spell are muffed by the spell.  I mean the spell IS needed to
teach another a sorcery spell.

Jeff again:
Then what about Visibility?  Does it give you false info about where
the spirit is?  So that if I try to target a spell on it, it misses?
NEAT!  Let me fumble it on a magic spirit.  Then I'll sit back and
watch while it blasts you and you can't do a thing about it....


  21 - 40   Wrong Sense used

What sense is a Visibility spell?

Why, sight of course.  Perhaps you now, can smell the thing really well.
Not much help to you, huh?

Jeff again:
What sense do you use to bond an apprentice?


Critical Success
   01 - 70   more Detailed information given than is usual

What information do I gain from an Apprentice Bonding?

This is getting tiring.  Spell Vitals.  Say double the intial D6 roll
for percentile.

Jeff again:
To put it extremely bluntly, if you're going to post something like
this, you need to be prepared for these kind of questions....

>>   71 - 90   Double effects
>>   91 - 00   Treble effects
I don't want to be too harsh, but I think that not enough thought was
given in thinking about the effects for each spell for the fumble and
critical effects.

I resent the thought that I would lend out my system to anyone if I
thought that I had not put enough time into them.  I have put an awful
lot of thought into them.  I think you should open your mind and use
a little bit of imagination in employing the rules.

Jeff again:
I'm all for imagination.  But even more, I insist on consistency and
logical effects.  I dislike having to think "what does this fumble
really mean?"  Just look at the questions I had.  I saw fumble and
critical results that were either not immediately obvious or, if
interpreted incorrectly, would turn a good effect into a bad one,
or vice versa.

>Add some spark to the boring, predictable magic system.  The fact that
>a spell can fail really turned me on to RQ and off of AD&D, but if
>there is a failure, why can there not be a fumble.  If there are fumbles then why not
>crits?  I am weakest on the Crits, cause really you want to have the
>spell work as it was supposed to w/o any alteration, so what IS a crit?
>I imagined it as the caster manipulated the energy so deftly that the
>results were ultra-normal.  Maybe not what you wanted, but you did do
>the spell great--too good.


I think that the current rules for fumbles and criticals are fine.
There is no need to add insult to injury or hand out Monty Haul effects
just because of a single die roll.

Perhaps,  but a bit of a problem with RQ magic is that it is so mundane
and mechanical.  While I propose making sorcery spells a bit more
colorful in their effects,  Steve has proposed adding some color via

If you think spells like Erotocomatose Lucidity is mundane....

Again, Andy is right.  I do not beleive anyone has EVER accused my
campaigns of being Monty Haulish!!!  Perhaps a bit deadly, if you did
not think carefully your actions, and sometimes too realistic (whatever
that is! %)  ), but never monty haulish!

My apologies.  I did not mean to say "Monty Haul".  I meant to say
"power game".

I do not believe that my system IS monty haulish.  What is wrong with
5/100 spells being cast with double the effect?

I don't think it's wrong, just that your rules not only don't cover
certain situations, but can inadvertenly juxtapose good and bad effects.

My closing comments.  The system that you use, does not have the color
of mine.


Also, in game testing, one person received a crit.  He was doing
a mindlink.  I secretly rolled and found that he received/gave more info
rmation than just verbal, emotions were received also.  The character
did not realize the difference.  That was one that could have been ex-
ploited really well, but he missed it.  I use the system, and I have
only used the tables once.  It did not overbalance the play at all.

Jeff again:
If you've only used the tables once, can you HONESTLY claim that it's
been extensively playtested?


Two things for the digest...
              Another log on the "Size vs. Height" debate fire:
I have found the following way a good means of handling SIZ vs HEI (height).
SIZ is rolled as for the race in question.  HEI is rolled using the same dice
as SIZ, but the actual value equals (SIZ + roll)/2, rounded toward SIZ.
This method assures that HEI has some bearing on SIZ, but allows one to get
a body form as well (high HEI:SIZ ratio means the character is tall and
thin, low ratios means he is short and stout).

I use the HEI strike rank instead of SIZ, and have the "Locomotion" skills
category that uses it (Swim, climb, jump).  Stealth uses HEI as a negative
modifier instead of SIZ.

When getting clothes are armor, use the greater category: HEI or (SIZ - 5).
                                 Bulking out:
With the separation of SIZ and HEI it now becomes possible to "bulk out".
SIZ may now be increased along with STR and CON (up to the greater of the
three stats).  This simulates weight training to build up body tone (making
it denser).

                               Shrinking down:
A new disease: Anorexia.  SIZ is affected much like other diseases hit your
other characteristics.  HEI is unaffected (unless your campaign is one with
the dreaded "East Sozganjio Diminutive Disease" :-)
 Burton Choinski                             

The RuneQuest(tm) mailing list is a courtesy of Andrew Bell.
All opinions and material above are the responsibility of the originator,  and
copyrights are held by them.

RuneQuest is a trademark of Chaosium, Inc.

Send submissions,  mailing list changes, requests for old article lists, etc.
to:         ...!mcnc!unc!bell

Request old articles by volume number and issue number.