Bell Digest vol05p08.txt

Subject:  Still No Cute Title,  Volume 5,  Number 8


First Distribution:  January 21,  1991

This issue:
	Combat Variant for RQ				(Kelwyn Osborn)
	What My Mother Told Me: A Personal View of Centaur Culture
							(Mike Dawson)
	New Eurmal Spell in Extremely Poor Taste	(Martin Crim)
	Sworddancing (Part I)				(A.V. Geiskens)
	RQ vampires (digest 05#05)			(Rich McAllister)
	A few ideas on riding				(Roderick Robertson)
	Storm Bull (RQ digest 05#06.2)			(Rich McAllister)
	Reply to R. MacArthur's Storm Bull questions	(Roderick Robertson)
	Writing for RuneQuest				(Mike Dawson)

Ed's notes:  Any unix/gnuemacs wizards in the audience who can tell me how
to hack emacs to use a personal dictionary as well as /usr/dict/words?  I
run a spelling checker on everything I get,  but so many "misspellings"
are special Gloranthan words...
   With this issue,  I've just about caught up with the backlog.  One
article from Paul Reilly and two from Mike Dawson are the only things
I have left.

From: (Kelwyn Osborn)

Subject: Combat Variant for RQ

These rules do away with the round system that characterises most RPG's.
They work quite simply.

The combat system retains strike ranks and a record of these needs to be
kept.  At the initiation of combat, statements of intent are called for.
This is done by asking the character that is the slowest DEX SR first,
through to the character who is the fastest.

To calculate when a character attacks, you add its MEL SR + WEAPON STRIKE
RANK + D3 + any penalities the GM decides are warranted (movement etc, see
also Aimed Blows).  The addition of the D3 breaks up the pattern of a
character attacking on the same number of strike ranks.

Missile weapons are able to be fired every (DEX SR) x 2 + 2D3.  It takes
DEX SR + D3 to load the weapon and DEX SR + D3 to aim and fire it.

Bleeding, Asphyxiation etc Damage.  Damage is taken every 12 strike ranks
after the bleeding etc starts. (see later for more detail on bleeding)

Fatigue.  One fatigue point is lost every 12 strike ranks after a character
enters combat.

Parrying.  A character may parry any attacks coming at him.  If there is
more than one opponent,  then he can divide his parry amongst all the

Example :

Demetriose has a melee strike rank of 3 (SIZ SR 2 + DEX SR 1 = MELEE SR 3)
and is using a Bastard Sword (1 Handed) and Shield.  His statement of
intent is to attack the bandit and parry his sword attack.  The bandit has
a melee strike rank of 5 and weapon strike rank of 2.

Demetriose rolls a D3 and gets 2.  The bandit gets a 1.  Demetriose's first
attack is on strike rank 7 and the bandits is on 8.  On strike rank 7
Demetriose hits the bandit reducing its left arm to -3 HP.  The bandit will
now bleed on strike rank 19,31,43 etc. Demetriose now states his next
intent, rolls  3 on a D3 and will attack next on strike rank 15 (7 [this
strike rank] + 3 [his melee strike rank] + 2 [weapon strike rank] + 3 [roll
on D3] ).  On strike rank 8 the bandit attacks and misses Demetriose.  He
rolls a 1 on the D3 and will next attack on strike rank 16.  Moving on to
strike rank 12 both combatants lose 1 fatigue point.

The combat continues.....

Additional changes to bleeding have been made.  An arm, leg or head can
bleed.  If any location is reduced to negative hitpoints it has been
damaged sufficiently enough to start to bleed.  The character will lose 1
HP every 12 strike ranks until the bleeding is stopped.  Bleeding stops
when a successful CON roll is made, but if the character continues to
fight it will require an additional CON roll each time it attacks or the
bleeding starts again.  If a character exits combat and performs first aid
and stops the bleeding then the bleeding will not start again when the
character re-enters combat.

Aimed Blows.  To hit a "called location" a character must delay his attack
D3 + 3 strike ranks in order to set him up.  The attack is done at 50% of
the attacker's weapon skill.  If the die roll is 25% of the weapon skill,
then the "called location" is hit.  If the die roll is 26%-50% of the
weapon skill then consult the chart below.

Location     Die Roll     Hit Location

Head          01-21	  Right Arm
	      22-43	  Left Arm
	      44-50       Chest
	      51-00	  Miss

Right Arm     01-25	  Abdomen
	      26-42	  Chest
	      43-50	  Head
	      51-00	  Miss

Left Arm      01-25	  Abdomen
	      26-42	  Chest
	      43-50	  Head
	      51-00	  Miss

Chest	      01-13	  Abdomen
	      14-27	  Right Arm
	      28-42	  Left Arm
	      43-50	  Chest
	      51-00	  Miss

Abdomen       01-03	  Chest
	      04-15	  Right Arm
	      16-25	  Left Arm
	      26-38	  Right Leg
	      39-50	  Left Leg
	      51-00	  Miss

Right Leg     01-21	  Abdomen
	      22-50	  Left Leg
	      51-00	  Miss

Left Leg      01-21	  Abdomen
	      22-50	  Right Leg
	      51-00	  Miss

Characters splitting attacks (or parries or dodges) my split attacks
between any number of opponents by dividing the relevant skill by the
number of opponents.  If the character is attacking multiple targets then
his split attacks are separated by D3+1 strike ranks.  The first of his
next attacks is calculated from his last attack.

Characters with attacks at 100% or more reduce their attack strike by 1.  A
further reduction of 1 is made for each additional 100% in its attack.
This is allowed until the character is attacking at his DEXSTR.

eg. After cutting the Bandit Demetriose is jumped from behind by two more
bandits on SR 13.  Demetriose whirls round parrying both attacks.  The GM
adds a penalty to Demetriose'a next attack of an additional 3 SR's making
his next attack on SR 19.  The bandits circle Demetriose and will next
attack on SR 22 and 23.  The first bandit seizes the opportunity to exit
combat an tend to his bleeding arm.  Spying this Demetriose leaps at his
new foes splitting his attack between them (he will attack at 49% on SR 19
and 22).  On SR 19 Demetriose lashes out at the second bandit hitting him
squarely on the head reducing the head to -1.  The bandit staggers back a
couple of meters and slumps to the ground unconscious.  Demetriose's
second attack is parried firmly by the third bandit who replies with a
slash damaging Demetriose's abdomen 3 points.  A D3 rolls a 1 for
Demetriose and a 3 for the bandit.  Demetriose's next attack is on SR 28
and the bandits would be on 32, but being a coward and preferring easy
prey the bandit opts to flee and starts to run on SR 28 (DEXSTR 3 + 3 on a
D3).  Demetriose could run after and catch him but lets him go.
Threatening the injured bandit (who's desperately bandaging his arm)
Demetriose cleans his blade, nods in satisfaction and continues down the

I've also been toying with an alteration to the advancement system.
Players receive a tick for everything that they attempt in an adventure.
At the end of the adventure the GM decides how many of these ticks a
character may utilize.  From an average performance in an adventure a
character should be allowed to roll on four of these ticks.  For harder
adventures, better play the GM should allow characters to roll more than
four ticks.  Likewise, if characters perform poorly they should be
penalized.  This attempts to break up the skill check frenzy, ( I've only
had one player attempt this ) and the jack-of-all-trades.

I also have started using luck points.  Oooo, aaarrrggghh I hear you all
say.  Luck points are non-regenerable.  A character starts off with D3+1
luck points.  A luck point can be spent to bring about a small change in
events eg : a character gets hit critically and only manages to special
dodge.  He decides to spend a luck point.  The dodge then moves from a
special to a critical.   Like wise this can be done with all skills. One
LUCK point can only change the success level to the next group.  So:

Fumble -> Failure -> Success -> Special -> Critical

Two Luck points can change the success level by 2 etc.  Once a LUCK point
is used, it can never be regained.

Well,   this article started off as being a small adjustment to the combat
system and it seems that I've almost rewritten the entire game.
I've test played the changes and they seem to hold up well.  Any ideas,
modifications etc will be greatly welcomed.  Hope to hear some comments

Be seeing you,


From: (Mike Dawson)

Subject:  What My Mother Told Me: A Personal View of Centaur Culture

(c) 1990 Mike Dawson

Who Are You?

I am A Shade of Forest Twilight, wife of the Joy of the Arrow's
Flight in the line of the Lord of Four Gifts.

        Joyful life to you, my child.
        Ever youthful, ever wild.

Who Are We?
        We are the members of the Line of the Lord of Four Gifts.
We were created by Father Galin and Mother Earth, midwifed by the
Gentle Magician, Sarash.  Though our line was enslaved by evil
wizards who conquered Sarash, we had our revenge.  But first our
ancestors were forced to serve their conquerors, killing, making
songs, doing work for the sorcerers who bound our first ancestor
and tried to ride our god like a nag.
        When all the gods rose to smash Seshnela and its red-sworded
legions, Galin freed himself at the call of the earth goddesses.
With him, we turned on those who had bound us, and destroyed
them.  Lacking our unwilling support, their evil land was laid
open to armies of the vengeful and they were cast down.
        When the goddess Seshna withdrew her blessing from the evil
king, we left that land to live here with the goddess Aldrya in
Erontree.  The Lord of Four Gifts and his brothers smashed an
army of dwarfs in the Valley of Stone Tears, and this proved our
worth and devotion to the elves who are Aldrya's representatives

        Curse on Old Seshnelan blood
        Those who drowned in ancient flood.
        Slavers twisted mother's will
        Fatal Screaming scours them still.
        Now unbridled, jumped the gate
        We are free to challenge Fate.

What Makes Us Great?

The centaur people are the strongest in the world, for we draw
our power from the song of the earth.  Alone of all beings, we
are free-willed partners with the earth.  We are not tied to the
forests as the Aldryami are, nor bound to weak spirits as the
animal men are.  We are closer to the goddesses than even the
human earth women, who have other things than the earth in their

        This is given from our Lord:
        Lyre and Spear, Bow and Sword
        Earthly power from our Mother
        Makes our race like no other.

Where Do We Live?

        The centaur people are spread all over the world, wherever
the beauty of nature is abundant, in those blessed places where
we may live in harmony with the spirits of the earth.
        We are residents of the Erontree forest and friends to the
elves that rule this place.  We love the meadows and glens, and
take shelter under the boughs of the Great Trees.

How Do We Live?

We serve the Council of Elders in exchange for their protection
from the spirits that would otherwise cast us out of this
beautiful place.  We enjoy the bounty the Goddess of the Woods
provides to her children, and we hunt the animals that prey on
the forest.  When outsiders threaten the forest, we hunt them
too.  Life is easy and pleasant, a joy always.  The Goddess
provides everything to us, as long as we protect her.  Are we not
blessed to avoid the lives of drudgery the outsiders are forced
to live?
        My brother, Raging Heart of Bronze, was chosen to guard a
party of elves going north to Jorri.  He said that for the whole
trip out of the forest, all he ever saw were tiny men with broken
spirits, tearing a poor life from the ground.  They worked all
day just to get something to eat.   This is very sad.  How would
they ever find time to sing, or play the lyre?

        Long the journey, far to roam,
        Yet the heart returns you home.

What is Important In My Life?

        Passion rules all our souls.  Who can deny the power felt
when a child is born, and her cries strikes to our center?  The
joy that can be found in the simplest thing cannot be explained
to anyone who lacks our blood and heritage.  They are all blind
to the things that make us sing, or laugh, or cry.  We are not
made to feel things in small measure.  Revel in the emotions that
the gods have given us; they rule us as much as any King.
They are a strength unmatched in any other race.
        Battle is the thing our bodies are best suited for.  We are
strong, swift, large and gifted with the Three Weapons.  You have
told me yourself how good it feels to draw back your bow.  Never
hesitate to enter a good fight.  When the time comes, abandon
yourself to that feeling and you will know the true joy of the
        Poetry rules our minds, and can evoke all of the other
things that we need.  Sometimes only poetry will allow us the
release we need from some particularly strong feeling or
inspiration.  You will feel it soon, I think.  We play the lyre,
because it is perfect to accompany poetry.
        Love is the power that brought all things to the goddess,
and will bring all things to you.  Love rules our hearts, and is
the center of our existence.  Who can deny their proper husband
in the correct season?  Not I, and not you when your time comes.
Love makes fools of us all, and we are stronger for it.

        Mind, Heart, Body, Soul--
        Four corners make up the whole.
        Poems, Love, Battle, Passion--
        All exert a fierce attraction.
        Lacking not a single thing
        Freely through our lives they sing.
        Inspiring us in every part--
        Body and Soul, Mind and Heart.

Who Do We Follow?

        We follow my husband, your father, The Joy of Arrow's
Flight.  He gives our service to Sequoia, Son of Vronkal.
Sequoia is High King Elf and leader of the Council of Elders for
the Erontree Forest. He is the protector of the Goddesses.

        Wise Old Elf, Great High King
        Asks of us a single thing.
        Guard his kin on summer nights
        Guard his kin in winter fights
        Thus we stand 'gainst ancient foes
        With the King and a million bows.

What is the Difference Between Men and Women?

        Men are wilder, given to great rages and fighting for
reasons we do not understand.  The leader of a line is the
strongest fighter among his siblings, and also defends his wives
against outsider males.  Many bachelor males of the line cannot
control themselves under the Husband, and leave the herd for a
time.  Many die away from the protection of the herd.  Some form
herds of their own, though most lack females. Some bachelor males
are so driven by their needs that they consort with females of
other species, much to the regret of all involved.
        Women are more even tempered, but have long memories for the
things that have harmed the herd in the past.  Though a male may
quickly fill with battle rage,  he cannot sustain it for long
without release.
        We are loyal to our Husband always.  Be proud of your father
until you have a husband, who may be the next husband of the
line.  The Husband who picks you will be your protection from the
advances of other males.

What is Evil?

        It is taboo to take from the land without permission of the
Goddess.  Doing so makes you no better than a weak human, lost
from your mother's breast.  If you do not choose the Goddess's
path, you must always take food from another's hand, never
gathered yourself.
        Sorcerers are evil.  They tried to chain our ancestors, the
very gods who birthed us.  Their magic dooms them to shrivelled
souls and a meaningless afterlife, and they are jealous of us for
this.  But they are too chained to their quest for power and
domination to abandon it and plead forgiveness of the Goddesses.
        Trolls and dwarves are evil.  They wish to destroy the
natural world--the trolls would consume it, and the dwarfs would
turn it into a lifeless rock, like their god.
        Chaos is evil.  It destroys everything, for no reason other
than that it is there.  Chaos is a blight on the goddesses, and
hideous in their sight.  All sane people recognize this, and
would aid you to kill it.

What is my Lot in Life?

        Your lot is the happiest one any soul could ask for.  You
soul was made by the goddesses, and sent to me when your father
quickened me.  You are specially blessed to have been given the
healthy body you have, and to know the joys that centaurs know.
For that blessing, we are happy to serve the Gods all of our
lives, and we advance in ability and power by the success of our
service.  You have many choices ahead of you--a god to give
yourself to, a special way you will protect the herd and the
forest, and so on.
        When your seasons come, a husband will find you, and in
time, you will have his children.  Thus the lines are continued,
and the Poem of our lives gains another stanza.
        With the passing of many seasons and the coming of many
children, you will  feel the weight of life on your soul.  This
is the Goddesses' way of preparing you for the journey back to
them.  If you were not made ready this way, how could anyone
leave this wonderful life with the glad heart that so pleases the
        When you die, the Elder Sister, Ty Kora Tek will carry your
soul deep into the underworld.  There you will speak with the
goddesses of your life just past, and they will decide what is
best for you in your next life.  The god you choose to devote
yourself to will speak most for you.  If you are greatly blessed,
you may become one of the goddesses' servants and know the
eternal bliss of their immanent presence.  If not, you will
return to the world to another life and more joy, freed of the
mistakes you make in this life, ready to take in the beauty of
the world again.

Who are our Enemies?

        The enemies of Erontree are our enemies.  The Trolls of
Guhan are the worst of these.  They eat their way into the forest
each winter, when the Brown elves sleep.  Sometimes they raid in
the summer, when there is the most food for them.  They are
strong and have black magic from hell, but they are not hard to
beat one on one.
        The dwarfs of Nida poison the rivers and air with their evil
magics.  They rarely come to the surface where we can fight them,
but when they do, they are dangerous opponents.
        The men of Oranor steal from the forest. This angers the
Goddess, and we are the rage of the Goddess.

How Do We Deal With Others?

        The good of the Line must always come first in your
mind, soul, and heart.  To live without the herd is to be crazed--like
a male driven off after losing a fight with the Husband.


Subject: New Eurmal Spell in Extremely Poor Taste

From: Martin Crim

                        NEW EURMAL SPELL

Fart                                         1 point spirit spell
ranged, instant (or temporal and active)
	This is a (very) offensive spell.  The target of the spell
lets loose with a very loud breaking of wind lasting an entire
SR, if the caster overcomes the target's MP.  This spell works on
all man-rune and beast-rune (or combination) creatures that have
bodies.  It specifically does not work on dragonewts or Mostali
creations, on otherworld creatures, or on nymphs.
	When cast on an unresisting target, the spell is temporal
and active.  The target will break wind at the caster's will at
any time during the duration of the spell.  At least 19 SRs must
intervene between each discharge of gas.

The name of the shrine which teaches this spell is Trickster's


From: (A.V. Geiskens)

Subject: Sworddancing (Part I)


Sworddancing is an artform of swordplay, which requires
thorough training. Sworddancing is normally performed in a
circle drawn on the ground (Radius is approx. 4 meters). This
is a ritual fight, with strict rules to be followed. However a
sworddancer can use some techniques in a normal fight.
Sworddancing is normally done with a blade of minimal bastard-
sword size although there are exceptions to this rule (for
example: The dark-elven sworddancers sometimes use two shorter
blades though uneven blades are almost never encountered).

Sworddancing introduces a new skill named (no prize for
originality this time) Sworddance, which is an agility skill
and has a base of DEX*1%. This base is obtained in the
reasonably short time of 100 hours of training. This skill can
be increased by profession or experience.

The sworddance skill is used when doing the following:
     - Outmoving an opponent or multiple opponents
     - Staying inside the circle after knockback
     - Defending after you've used up your actions
     - Quick striking
     - Quickdraw of blade(s).

Sworddancing inside the circle:

Sworddancing inside the circle is mainly done as a sort of
competition, seldom fights to the death are held in the
circle, although they occur now and then, to decide a conflict
between sworddancers. If a fight is held without the intent of
inflicting serious injuries (which is mostly the case), then
as a rule there is someone very proficient in healing present.
In competitions magic in effect is forbidden. And it is
unusual for a sworddancer to use magic (either of his sword or
other magic) in a friendly fight.
When sworddancing inside a circle, one very strict rule
applies: If someone is knocked outside the circle during the
fight he loses the fight no matter what the consequences are
(unless, of course, there is treachery in play).

Every round each one of the two sworddancers has a number of
actions. For each action both sworddancers make a sworddance
roll (this is called the initiative roll), and the best result
strikes, the other defends. To determine the best in case of
equal success (normal-normal, spec-spec etc.) determine how
much each rolls under his skill, the one who's the lowest
strikes (for example: two sworddancers both roll normal
success, but the first rolls 23% under his skill and the second
35% under his, the second one strikes and the other defends.)
Sometimes even this is equal, in which case each writes down
what he does and this is then resolved normally (note that
this can result in two sworddancers striking simultaneously at
each other). If a fumble is rolled, that sworddancer has to
roll another dance roll or fall, and in any case the dancer
has to roll a natural weapons fumble. The following applies
with respect to differences (spec vs normal success = 1
difference =   1: Then side attacked, normal defense.
               2: Then back is attacked, half defense.
               3: Then back is attacked, no defense.
               4: Then attacker chooses where to land his
               critical strike.

If one dancer has more actions than the other, that dancer
will always have initiative for that action (thus can always
strike). The other one must roll a dance roll, success entitles
the defender to defending that strike at half skill, special
dance roll indicates that the defender can defend at full
skill, critical will result in a riposte attack after a success
in defending the strike. If the other one has no more actions
to defend the riposte, he may also make a dance roll to defend
the strike, although he may not riposte again.

The following modifiers apply to the initiative roll.
- Longer weapon (sr less) +10%
- Two weapons -10%
- attacker last action -10% (cumulative so after two times
initiative, minus will be -20% for the third action.)
- defender last action +10% (cumulative)

An example: Sworddancer A has a sworddance skill of 67% and
fights with two scimitars, sworddancer B has a sworddance
skill of 78% and fights with a greatsword.
for the first action the respective sworddance skills have
become (only for determining initiative!) 67-10=57% and
78+10=88%, say A got initiative. For the second action the
skills would become 67-10-10=47% and 78+10+10=98%.
The minuses and bonuses revert to zero when initiative changes
form one to the other (although the bonus and minus from the
previous action applies). For example: A and B are still
fighting, and A has gained a bonus of +30% due to lost
initiative the previous 3 actions. Finally he gains initiative
which means that next action A has a -10% and B has a +10%.

When knockback occurs during sworddancing in the circle, the
one knocked back has to make a dance roll: success = stay
inside and roll dex or fall, special = stay inside and stand,
critical = same as special and +20% on next initiative. If the
knockback is the result of a special or critical attack, use 2
thirds respectively 1 third of dance skill for the roll.

If sworddancing is done with two weapons, the sworddancer may
use a follow up attack at half skill if initiative roll was a
special or better. This attack may be a riposte if the
opponent got the initiative. This follow up attack cost no
extra action and for defense purposes it is treated as if the
opponent has no further actions.

Dancing outside the circle:

Sworddancing outside the circle is mainly used to gain the
advantage over your opponent. This can be done by outmoving
him (or them), quick striking or quick drawing.

To use the sworddance skill for these things, make a dance
roll and determine the effect in the two tables below.

used for: outmoving multiple  outmoving single
          opponent (in open)  opponent (in open)
fumble    half of opponents   opponent has a side
          gains a back        attack, you defend
          attack vs dancer    at half skill.

miss      no effect           no effect

success   one opponent less   strike at +5%
          (second at -65%)

special   half opponents      side attack
          outmoved (no att.)

critical  only one opponent   back attack
          (has half defend)

(between brackets is vs two opponents)

used for: Quick draw          Quick striking
fumble    weapon dropped      you miss the entire

miss      weapon drawn in 4sr no effect

success   weapon drawn, no    strike at -1sr.
          sr lost

special   strike at dex sr.   strike at -2sr.

critical  strike at dex sr.   strike direct and
          and +25% due to     gain one attack
          surprise.           after 3sr.

Quick draw and quick striking cannot be used at the same time.
outmoving can be countered by sworddance roll, an acrobatics
roll (optional skill, will be described in later postings
together with new proficiencies) or dex * 1 roll, note that
specials and criticals are very difficult to counter by
someone not proficient in sworddancing. (dex 15: to counter a
special you need to roll 3% or less). The outmoving table can
also be used with the use of (the optional skill) acrobatics
in melee.

The second part will be about the sworddancing profession.


Subject: RQ vampires (digest 05#05)

From: rfm@Eng.Sun.COM (Rich McAllister)

In RQ digest 05#05, Countzero

asked about RQ vampires:
> In my third edition GDW creatures book, it says under the entry for
> Vampires that they would make potent sorcerers.  In glorantha, however
> Vampires operate to some extent through the Vivamort cult...
> ... so whats with this sorcery thing?  Is it a "generic
> RQ" nasty?  Comments please...

This definitely looks like a "de-Gloranthization" change.

I've been thinking recently that there ought to be non-Vivamort vampires,
even in Glorantha.  The Vivamort connection makes it rather hard to have
somewhat-sympathetic vampires in the modern mold (like in Quinn Yarbro's
Saint-Germain historical vampire novels.)  So it would make sense to invent
"biological" vampires as well as the "divine" Vivamort vampires.  Such
creatures, with long lifespans for study, would indeed make potent

Even without introducing vampires as a race, with judicious use of some of
the nastier sorcery spells like Immortality and Tap a sorcerer could turn
himself into a pretty close equivalent of a vampire.  I suspect that your
typical Humakt or Storm Bull worshipper wouldn't bother to draw a
distinction between a sorcery-vampire and a Vivamort-vampire.

In any case, is there a general prohibition in the RQ3 materials against
god-worshippers/priests learning sorcery?  Most of the Gloranthan
cults seem to prohibit it, but Vivamort's enough different in other
ways that the cult might not object.  Note that the Elder Races dwarf
writeup has dwarves using sorcery, and they're god-worshippers (Mostal
being kind of a weird god as well.)

[Note that Mostali (dwarves) use sorcery exclusively.]



From: (Roderick Robertson)

Subject: A few ideas on riding

A few notes about Andrew's riding article:
> From: (Andrew Bell)
> Subject:  Riding unfamiliar animals

>In RuneQuest,  riding is treated as a separate skill for each type of
>animal.  However,  there is certainly similarity between riding a horse
>and riding a zebra,  or sable,  or even a rhinoceros,  bolo lizard,  or
>griffin.  In "Elder Secrets",  Chaosium gives their first hint of what
>this similarity should be when it says that hippogriff riding skill is
>half of one's ride horse skill.  The following uses that as a guideline
>in establishing similarity factors for various riding skills.

  If I ran the Zoo (Well, I do in My games... :-)):

  Figure that 1/2 of the Ride skill is balance, keeping your seat, etc. The
other is how horses (or camels, or whatever) behave, and appropriate things
to do to get the beast moving/turning/stopping/etc. This part includes use
of goads, spurs, sugar cubes, etc. This is the part that you lose when you
go to another species. On top of this, Andrew's Movement type modifiers would
apply (after halving the skill), to show the difference in balance needed
when changing animals drastically. (I would add Quadruped-Biped to the list).

  The character would get their Ride/2 + the Movement Type modifiers below
for the first time they get on the other species, and until they develop the
Ride (other) skill (When they gain at least 1 point from experience or
training.)  Ride (other) starts as Ride/2. Note that if the entire culture
rides some weird species (Say, Camel), then that would be their 'normal'
animal instead of Horse.

>Temperament:  A temperamental mount is more likely to throw its rider,
>although it can be trained to be a better combatant.  Note that there
>really is a continuum between passive and combative,  but I break it
>down like this for simplicity.

   The temperament of an animal should modify riding a different animal
of the same species (Mare/Gelding vs. Stallion). A different species will
have different methods of showing their displeasure with their rider, For
instance, a Horse may buck, a Camel Spit or bite, & an Elephant try to
trample or reach back with it's trunk (& don't p**s off the griffon...).
  I would determine the temperament of the animal when offering it to the
PC's.  You could give it a TEMP stat, from -4 to +4, (or -20:+20) to
characterize how docile the animal is. The TEMP is added to the RIDE
(animal) Skill to simulate the normal riding problems. Dealing with the
temperament of a different species should require multiplying the penalty by
two, or halving the bonus.

 Also note that a aggressive animal will more often be willful, while
a docile animal might be hard to keep moving. There is a good article on
horses and their advantages/disadvantages in the August 1990 ROLEPLAYER
magazine (Steve Jackson Games, written to the GURPS system, but easily

>Body Shape:
> ...

>Normal vs. Wide:  The normal/wide breakdown is whether a normal saddle
>can be placed on the animal.  It's easier to hold on when your legs can
>clamp around the sides of the creature.  Note that giants might find
>elephants to be "normal",  while pixies might find ponies to be "wide."

>Difficulty modifier for "wide" creature:  -10

   Note that some "wide" animals are not ridden by the traditional method,
but would have a Howdah on the back (look at the asian use of elephants, but
animals of a similar configuration (Triceratops ?) would probably work as
well). The Ride skill would then be a Drive skill (to make the beast go where
you want), and a modifier to combat due to movement for those in the howdah.
(a couple of movies to see: "Octopussy" & "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
(Errol Flynn, no basis in historical reality, but fun) for looks at shooting
from a moving elephant)  Also, if the beast is wide enough, you would ride it
by sitting or kneeling on its back, rather than trying to ride astride.

>Movement Type:  The technique by which the creature moves.

>  "walking" (horse,  elephant,  rhino)
>  slithering (snake)
>  swimming (dolphin)
>  flying (griffin)
>  special (earth elemental,  kangaroo,  tree sloth)*

>	Skill in
>R	 Wa	 Sl	 Sw	 Fl
>i  Wa	  0	-10	-20	-30
>d  Sl		  0	-20	-30
>i  Sw			  0
>n  Fl				  0
>* Handle special creatures and skills on a case by case basis.

(What happened to Swim-Fly?)
Add Quadriped/Biped (-10) to this list. This only applies to walking animals,
though similiar penalties might apply within the other categories (Griffon
vs. Draconid vs. Giant Eagle, Porpoise vs. Eel vs. Ray, Python vs.
Sidewinder)  Let's also not forget the Insect kingdom (I only have RQ II
Trollpak, figuring that the new Troll realms/Gods/etc were the same,
rehashed. Any comments on them?) how about the difference between Spider
(nice & gentle, but watch out for climbing walls & ceilings) and Preying
Mantis (The flight is a rush, but the landing is hell) and Bee/wasp (Fast
fast fast -- see "Honey I shrunk the kids")?

> ...

Of course, how detailed you want to be depends on how the players view
animals. In my current campaigns (English Civil war), horse are like taxis,
just a part of the transportation system. If they want to have a favorite
horse (Trigger?), then I'll hit them with HERO SYSTEM/GURPS style horses,
with  their own *unique* personalities.

  (I tend to scrounge ideas/rules/etc. from other games. I like the idea of
advantages and disadvantages (and a bit more 'experienced' PC's) from
HERO/GURPS style systems)

Roderick Robertson


From: rfm@Eng.Sun.COM (Rich McAllister)

Subject: Storm Bull (RQ digest 05#06.2)

Nice to hear from another longtime Storm-Bull PC player (one of my
favorite characters is an impala rider SB initiate.. a definite
challenge to play a berserker shrimp and keep him alive and on good
terms with his god.)

Based on my play, I've got a couple of reactions to your article.
BTW, our group (playing since about 1980, I think -- it's been
a loooong time!) also mainly sticks with RQ2 rules.

> The first thing my SB did was look at a map, find the first thing that
> said chaos (chaos woods), and convince the rest of the party to head
> there and beat up everything which moved.  Fortunately we never got
> there or my poor little initiate, just out of initial training, would
> have been swiftly plastered by nasties.

Here is the major trouble with playing Storm Bull PCs: keeping them

> The main query is why does the writeup of SB in CoP, when taken with
> the other cults and in the Companion, make SB look like one of the
> major Gods, when this seems to conflict with the actual mechanics
> eg. Priests can only learn 1 and some 2pt spells..
> SB beat up the Devil;

Well, right there is the "mythological" reason for the restrictedness of SB
priests: note in the CoP writeup, it mentions SB was sorely wounded, losing
much power in this battle (had to be recharged by Ernalda, as I recall.) The
implication is he's never quite recovered his original power, and the
weakened power of his priests reflects this.

However, I have another argument from a gaming point of view: it's important
that SB characters be *forced* to deal with characters from other (saner)
cults.  If you get a bunch of SBs together, they're just going to run out
and get themselves killed.  By weakening the magical powers of SB, we force
SB characters to work with other cults in order to get access to powerful
magic; the other cultists must then try to restrain the crazy SB character
to stay alive.  It's a great way to have some conflict within the PCs
without breaking the whole party apart, and it's a great way to keep the
SB character alive.

The most obvious thing here (it even happens in CoP) is the association of
Chalana Arroy healers with Storm Bull berserkers -- you have to have the CA
people around to calm the SBs down after the battle is over, else they start
pounding on each other/friends/trees/rocks/etc.




Subject: Reply to R. MacArthur's Storm Bull questions

> The main query is why does the writeup of SB in CoP, when taken with
> the other cults and in the Companion, make SB look like one of the
> major Gods, when this seems to conflict with the actual mechanics

   Storm Bull is not even politically important in Prax. In Wyrms Footnotes
6,  it mentions that though he is worshiped as a major god in Prax, outside
of that area he is only a Spirit of Orlanth. A major problem is the bad PR
that his worshipers have. The main use of the cult is for berserk elite
frontline chaos fighters. In areas with a large Chaotic problem, their
anti-social behaviour can be overlooked because of the need for their skills
and spells. In areas of little chaos, Storm Bull worship is practically nil.
   Have you checked on the size/political power of Prax recently?  (According
to Glorantha: etc. total population of prax is approximately 500,000) Prax is
considered pretty small potatoes (or nearest Gloranthan equivalent) compared
even to Sartar. It is made up of nomadic herders, whose favorite sport is
chasing each other into the wastes and capturing various weird herd animals.
There is no lasting political unity, and no cities (except Pavis, and it is
mostly in ruins and overrun with Lunar bureaucrats.) The inhabitants have
some larger organizations (cults), but the cults do not dictate policy. The
Khan of the Bison folk will want his priests to aid him in *all* his fights,
even when the enemy has similar priests on their side (As they have to when
fighting other praxians). The entire area is at about the level of the Great
Plains Indian cultures circa 1870 (think of the lunars as the U.S. Cavalry).
The Political/Religious significance of a bunch of unwashed, boorish chaos
killers is just not that large.

> eg. Priests can only learn 1 and some 2pt spells.  Although "The SB
> is one of the oldest manifestations of Umath the god [Primal Aer]";
> SB beat up Lodril (not hard, I will admit :-)); SB beat up the Devil;
> "...finally there are the awesome powers of SB..."; SB is one of
> the (relatively) few cults with enchant iron; etc.

> eg. priests can only summon small sylphs.  This is ridiculous.  SB
> emphasizes both beast and storm/air as its major runes. See Umath quote
> above; numerous quotations about the strength of the desert wind
> in all seasons but especially Storm season; Even Orlanth Adventurous,
> who emphasises mobility above storm/air, can summon medium sylphs.

  I agree that larger Sylphs would be logical for Storm Bull, Of course, I
would make them a bit 'wilder' than your normal sylph. (Give 'em a nice hot,
gritty, dusty form, for that desert duststorm feeling.  Some minor advantages
*might* accrue (choking, visibility) or this could just be special effects)
You could also make size of sylph dependent on season. It would be easier to
get Large+ sylphs in Storm season, not so good in Sea.

> eg. the strength characteristic of SB, such a large part of most of
> the tales of him (it? Just kidding SB!!!) is not reflected in the
> cult except for a spirit available to very few priests.  "SB
> contained ...raw unthinking strength, guided by instinct and the
> sensitivities of a god."

  Through his ties with Zorak Zoran, Storm Bull has access to the BERSERKER
rune spell (the emphasis is on unthinking and instinctual) also, give them
strength training (great, now we have a bunch of unwashed, boorish
weightlifters  :-)) at reduced cost. (Ortak One-tooth will now throw that
bison at those Broos over there...) Just think of these guys as viking
berserkers (most nordic-style fantasy stories have 'em as bad guys), who
play catch-the-scorpionman for fun.  Also remember, that the Bull's heart
spirit is hanging out there looking for a good priest.

> eg. SB members should have some affinity with truestone (besides
> hoarding it at the Block and what they've learn't over the years).
> SB drew the Block from the edge of the world to munge the devil.  This
> is (loyal SB here) the most important happening in history or pre-history
> as nothing else could have stopped the devil, so everything after this
> is nothing compared to it, and there was nothing before to even come
> close.  (No bunch of 5 [ notice they were too wimpy to do it alone]
> pieces of gorp-bait are going to overthrow *THAT* deed!)

  Excuse me, but he was severely beaten before that happened, and Eiritha
gave him power (and created the Dead Place in prax)

  And yet, the Lightbringers are well-known and loved the world over. (Good
PR maybe?  :-) )

  I would not give Storm Bull-ers an affinity for the stuff, because the
Block was only a piece of the Spike, the original God's Home. If anyone
should have an affinity for it, it would be those of poor dead ACOS, who
made the spike in the first place. After all, Storm Bull already owns the
biggest chunk of Truestone. If they were specially attuned to it, they
*would* be more powerful & wider ranging.

> Basically, I feel that a number of changes should be made to SB in
> CoP to reflect the statements.  Firstly, SB priests can learn all common
> rune spells.  Secondly, SB priests can summon all sizes of sylphs.
> Strength made 1/2 price to lay, free to initiates (double time to
> learn, 1/2 cost = normal time).

  In RQIII Gods of Glorantha, they get all common divine spells, plus
specials, plus 'loaned' spells.

> I haven't worked out anything about truestone yet.

  Don't. They already have the corner on the market (All truestone collected
at the Block is owned by the Cult, and they scour the areas around for more.)

> I don't think the above really changes much outside the cult.  There
> really has to be a reason why SB worshipers haven't been munged before
> and pretty much wiped out (they are pretty anti-social and must have
> really upset the gentile EoTWF).  They have always been a small bunch
> interested in one thing and so these changes won't, I feel, overbalance
> the cult while making the mechanics at least look somewhat like the
> Gloranthan background.

  The Empire of the Wyrms Friends didn't go into Prax, and Stormbull was
only really strong in Prax.


From: (Mike Dawson)

Subject: Writing for RuneQuest

You all might be interested in knowing that Yes, Chaosium still owns all the
copyrights, and Avalon Hill owns all the Trademarks for RuneQuest.
Functionally, that means that Chaosium gets to approve any writing, but only
AH can publish.

By the way, if any of you are interested in writing for RQ, AH is ONLY
interested in Gloranthan material, but they are hot for that. I am trying to
work out the details of several projects now, bit it is rather difficult
Their RQ guy is very slow to respond
They DO NOT HAVE written submission guidelines
They WILL NOT DISCUSS numbers when you ask about payment rates.

This is very different from when I dealt with Chaosium, who were very up
front about all the details.

If you want more RQ material, write NICK ATLAS at Ah (the address is in
every RQ 3 book)  and show your support for faster production, better
artists, cohesive plans for development, and a commitment to RQ in general.
Tell him whatever is on your mind about RQ!!!


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