Bell Digest vol04p10.txt

Subject:  Spell Trading for Erotocomatose Lucidity,  Volume 4,  Number 10

First Distribution:  May 30, 1990

This issue:
	RuneQuest 2, RuneQuest 3 and Glorantha		(Jamie O'Shaughnessy)
	Sorcerous Familiars				(George Harris)
	Re: Losing shamans, possessing spirits, and thrown fetches
							(Eric Jablow)

Ed's note:  Hmm,  'spell' thinks reformated is spelled with 1 t.  English
readers may also want to put 'u' back into words like 'armor' and 'color'...



Subject:  RuneQuest 2, RuneQuest 3 and Glorantha

     I  have  been a player of RuneQuest for many years  now  and
recently  a  GM.  I have always been interested in the  world  of
Glorantha just as much, if not more, than the actual role-playing
game itself.  I have only 'really' played RQ2.  I have a few  RQ3
books  and  boxes  but  as 'yet'  I  have  never  played/GMed  it
properly.  Since  the  change  from  2 to  3  I  have  been  most
disappointed. I feel the quality of the RPG has deteriorated, Some
rules may have been improved, but the level of quality has fallen
somewhat in my opinion.
     The old RQ (2) was a system based around a world, Glorantha.
You  may say that the actual game was not based around  Glorantha
and Glorantha was supplied as a model world to play RuneQuest in.
I disagree. The whole RQ system is supported by Glorantha, if you
take Glorantha away you may as well play D&D (boy am I  unpopular
now!!!).  In  RuneQuest  you play characters who  must  live  and
adventure  in GLORANTHA.  They try to succeed in their cults  and
become  Rune level (Lord/Priest),  etc.  If you play  RQ  without
Glorantha  you play it without the cults and thus without a  real
motive.  You  may say that you have devised a world of  your  own
with Gods,  magic,  etc. in it which can replace Glorantha. Good,
you  have used the system well but I doubt whether it will be  as
extensive as Glorantha.  In this case I guess RQ3 would be better
to use rather than RQ2 because it is well suited to that kind  of
     I  feel  since the introduction of RQ3  RuneQuest  has  been
diluted  to be used in almost any setting.  You may say  this  is
good but I will remind you once again that originally RQ is a RPG
to  be  played  in  Glorantha.  Taking the  game  of  RQ  outside
Glorantha takes out all the interesting points of the game.  This
is  not to say RQ is a bad system.  It is probably the  best  RPG
system ever devised.  Everyone has rules they don't like about it
but  the good thing is that it is so easy to change the rules  to
suit your desires.  Imagine doing that to D&D or Traveller. It is
also  a very simple system to play/learn.  Some systems get  over
complicated in the 'realism' and are difficult to make flow as  a
game should do. RQ is not like that.
     Anyway,  back to the original point. I believe that RQ3 is an
inferior  game (note the word game,  not system) to RQ2.  I  like
some  rules a great deal.  The armor points of weapons  is  very
good compared to RQ2. The magic system is inferior. The cults are
inferior.  Elder  races - especially Trolls have  been  destroyed
compared to what they where in RQ2.  Learning from experience has
been 'improved' though it is not perfect. Some skills are better,
some  are pathetic.  I think some people at Avalon  Hill/Chaosium
(not  the original designers) are responsible for the  generality
of RQ3 in order to make it sell better. - economics - it stinks!!
     I guess a lot of people switched to RQ3 from 2 because of the
lack of availability of products. I currently own a great deal or
RQ2 stuff but I still need:  Borderlands, Big Rubble, a couple of
Soloquests,  Apple Lane, Plunder, and a couple of other things. I
too have resorted to buying RQ3 material and trying to convert it
for use with 2.  I will in time convert myself to a middle ground
of RQ2.5 but to do this I will need to rewrite the Sorcery rules.
If anyone has done this I would love to see your efforts.


From:  gharris@unc.BITNET

Subject:  Sorcerous Familiars

    I have a question about something which I think would come up fairly
often, but doesn't seem to have been covered in the rules or the errata.
Consider the following situation:  A sorceror dominates a creature that
is complete except for the lack of permanent pow (say, a mummy).  He
then performs the Create Familiar (Pow) ritual, & sacrifices n points
of permanent Pow to create that characteristic for the Mummy.  At some
later time, the Mummy casts Hinder at some being whose magic points
fall in the range [n-8,infinity].  The Mummy consequently gets a Pow
check.  What is the chance that the Mummy's Pow will increase?  Possi-
bilities include treating the familiar as you would an allied spirit,
& having it always have a 5% chance, or arbitrarily setting its
'species' max Pow at some multiple of n greater than or equal to one.
Does anyone have any ideas that might seem reasonable, or reasons to
prefer one approach to the others?
                                       George Harris

[I believe there is a comment in Into the Troll Realms that implies all
subservient spirits have a 5% chance of increasing their power if they
succeed in an overcoming roll,  although that begs the question:  do they
have no upper limit?  If they do,  what is that limit?
   Furthermore,  power is not the only problem.  Suppose a person with an
allied spirit knows some sorcery.  What is the allied spirit's casting
chance,  and what is its chance of increasing its skill if it successfully
casts that spell?
   Moreover,  can an Allied Spirit or other bound spirit learn sorcery
skills like Intensity,  or can an allied spirit bound into a creature
train in skills?  If so,  does it follow the normal research rules?  Can
it be trained? --ACB]


From: (Eric Jablow)

Subject:  Re: Losing shamans, possessing spirits, and thrown fetches

>> is by Eric (reformated slightly)
>  is by George W Harris 

>> Perhaps the fetch gets a last ditch attempt to drive off the
>> possessing spirit.  If the fetch is defeated, the body is
>> taken over.  If the fetch wins, the spirit goes back to the
>> Spirit Plane.
>Actually, since the fetch is technically possessing the shaman's
>body in his absence, the spirit would have to drive the fetch out,
>if the spirit could manifest on the mundane plane, which i contest.

Fetches aren't ordinary spirits, in RQ3.  An apprentice shaman
"Summons" a fetch to him, but the fetch is actually a part of
the shaman's spirit, given INT and POW and independence by
the weird rituals and vision-quests of the apprentice.  When
the shaman travels on the spirit plane, and the fetch takes
over the shaman's body, remember that the fetch naturally
belongs there.  Also, look at the Waha "Fix Intelligence" Divine
Spell in Gods of Glorantha.  If a Shaman is subjected to that
Spell, his Fetch immediately takes over the body, and the Fetch
can't leave it.  The fetch needs an active shaman inhabiting his own
body in order to leave it.  If the Shaman is disabled, stunned, or
enslaved, I would assume the fetch cannot leave.

>> Spirit bothering to fight off the losing shaman's fetch.  I
>> would allow a Spell Spirit to attack; it's mindless anyway,
>Sorry, spell spirits cannot initiate spirit combat, which it would
>have to do to overcome the fetch.
>> and it wouldn't know any better.

Spell Spirits usually do not initiate Spirit Combat
spontaneously, but they can initiate Spirit Combat.  After
all, the Spellteaching Divine Magic Ritual consists of a
Priest summoning a spell spirit and ordering it to attack
the initiate wishing to learn a spell.  The Spirit is under
orders, but it is, in fact, initiating the Combat.

My thought is that the Spell Spirit, having been aroused into
a mindless fury by the Shaman, stays in its fury, and goes
after the Shaman's body.  Why and how it gets there is
another matter.

>One thing that needs to be addressed is how the spirit in question
>*gets* to the shaman's body.  The spirit combat is taking place on the
>spirit plane, & when the combat is over, you would *still* be on the
>spirit plane.  Returning to the shaman's body thence is a non-trivial
>task . . .

Well, let's reduce this to a simpler case.  Suppose the
Shaman had won all his combats on the spirit plane, or even
that he had done nothing there.  How does he get back?  It's
a long trip.

I hate to drag in terms from AD&D, but one is useful here,
that of the "Astral Cord".  Let's assume that there is a
spiritual connection between the Shaman and his Fetch, a
cord connecting them, a pathway symbolized by the Mindlink
they have.  This should provide the road back to the
mundane plane that the Shaman takes to travel back.

Now, suppose that the Shaman loses a spirit combat.  The
winning spirit envelops the Shaman.  He perceives the
pathway.  Possibly, he follows it to the mundane plane,
where he encounters the Fetch.  Alternatively, he remains on
the Spirit plane, enslaving the Shaman.  Or, he breaks off

>> Things get somewhat tense for the shaman and his fetch.  The
>> fetch cannot expel the possessor; perhaps it can Mindspeak a
>> companion, or perhaps . . .
>    Why not?  actually, the fetch was there *first*, and would have to
>be expelled before the spirit could possess anything.  & even presup-
>posing that a spirit *did* possess the shaman's body, well, a fetch can
>discorporate & attack in spirit combat, so why can't it do that here?
>However I think (I know, who cares what I think) that the victorious
>spirit would just have control *on the spirit plane* of the shaman's
>magic point-less spirit, while the shaman's fetch would be back home in
>the shaman's body.  This does leave the shaman in quite a fix, which
>is a good reason for a shaman to know Spirit Screen 10.  It would be
>possible for another shaman to attempt to find the offending spirit
>somewhere on the spirit plane & wrest the first shaman's spirit from
>it, but how he would do this I don't know.

In RQ2, when a spirit possessed a body, the original spirit
was displaced.  In RQ3, a possessing spirit can suppress the
original owner, so that two spirits will be in the same
body.  If we treat the Shaman as being lost on the Spirit
plane, and a denizen of the spirit plane comes after the
Shaman's body, then the alien spirit will only have to beat
the fetch to suppress it; if it wins, the alien spirit will
hold the fetch in the shaman's body.  The fetch won't have
the chance to discorporate.

In either case, the connection between the Shaman and his
Fetch is weakened.  Remember, Mindlinks are temporarily
broken by Spirit Combat (a RQ2 rule, I think), and the
losing Shaman should be stunned for a while whatever
happens.  There's still a connection; otherwise the Shaman
would be dead.  It can be followed by an appropriately
prepared spirit.  The difficulty is that this will take some
time, and the Shaman's spirit might get into worse trouble
in the interim.

Spirit Screen 10 is a useful spell, but the shaman had better
cast it before Spirit Combat begins.  Otherwise he must succeed
with two Concentration rolls (3 * INT %), as the spell takes
10 + DEX SR to cast, and this is more than one round.  He must
also succeed with his Spellcasting roll, and so his chance of
casting the spell is at most (INT 18, POW >=19, ENC 0)
                54% * 54% * 95% = 27.702 %.
All in all, I'd try another defense method.

Another shaman would find the "offending" spirit by looking
at the pathway from the Fetch to the Shaman with Second
Sight, and following the track.  Of course, it may be hard
to follow.  If and when he catches up to the offending
spirit, he attacks it.  If he wins, he can release its
thralls.  But why do you call it an offending spirit?  Look
at it from its point of view.  Who knows, perhaps they can

How do we introduce such techniques to RQ3?  We'd need the
equivalent of Tracking, Scan, and Search for Spirit Plane
travellers.  How do we characterize a place so featureless
as the Spirit Plane?  What terrain does it have?  What
landmarks?  I doubt we'll be able to fully describe this
situation until we describe the Spirit Plane fully.
Fortunately, we are talking about a situation that will rarely
come up.

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