Bell Digest vol06p05.txt

Subject:  I'm OK,  You're Chaotic,  Volume 6,  Number 5


First Distribution:  May 21,  1991

This issue:
        Summonable Spirits for Each Cult                Martin Crim
        Forthcoming RQ Releases from Avalon Hill        Michael O'Brien
        Getting Published by Avalon Hill                Michael O'Brien
        Reviews of Eldarad and Daughters of Darkness    Michael O'Brien
        Previous Experience                             Michael O'Brien
        The Tachymat                    Michael O'Brien and Andrew Brisbane

Ed's note:  Digest 06#04 choked a couple of mailers due to its size,
so the "official" version of that Digest now no longer includes Martin's
article.  Thus that article is duplicated here for the "official" version
of Digest 06#05,  and I will keep Digests shorter than 40K in future.

Ed's note 2:  Whoops!  I thought I'd mailed this out!  Sorry,  everyone!


From:  Martin Crim 

Subject:  Summonable Spirits for Each Cult


        Often, it is difficult to determine what spirits a cult can
summon.  Summon (Species) is a common spell, and most cults
either show they have all common spells or just list Summon
(Species) as if it were one spell.  Nowhere do the published
materials specify which exact species a cult can summon.  We can
deduce some species from the materials, and guess at others.
        Where the cult teaches Command Cult Spirit, also a common
spell, it should also teach Summon spells for all the standard
varieties of Cult Spirit: intellect, magic, power, spell, and
allied (see the "cult spirits" section on page 21 of the Cults
Book in GoG).  Thus, the notation below of "cult spirits"
indicates that the cult teaches those four basic Summoning
spells, with exceptions as noted.  (Priests normally summon spell
spirits through the Spellteaching spell.)
        GoG also mentions that, for example, Kyger Litor has cult
Fear spirits, which implies that the cults mentioned have the
Summon spells for those spirits.  The list of allied spirit
animals and objects in GoG lets us determine which cults can
summon allied spirits.
        Where the cult teaches another Command spell, whether by
itself or through an associate, cultists probably should be able
to Summon it.  Some of the Summon spells below follow from this
        Many exotic varieties of spirit also exist, which some cults
may summon.  The otherworld contains various forms of "demons,"
or intelligent rune-manifesting beings.

ALDRYA: cult spirits, Hamadryad [otherworld Dryad], Gnome,
     Healing Spirit [all as spirit spells]
     Ancestor [see also Horned Man]
ANNILLA: cult spirits, Blue Demon, Hunting Demon, Selene, Wraith,
     various other demons
ARGAN ARGAR: cult spirits, Shade
ARKAT: all non-chaotic otherworld beings [no Allied Spirits] [all
     as sorcery spells]
ASRELIA: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened dog],
     Ghost, Gnome

BABEESTER GOR: cult spirits, Ghost, Gnome, Wraith
BAGOG: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened animals]
BASKO, THE BLACK SUN: cult spirits, Dehori [darkness demon]
BLOODY TUSK: cult spirits, Ghost, Wraith [note that the cult
     description gives Leaders (such a colorful name) Command
     Cult Spirit, but no Summon spells]
BOLONGO: Boggle [use awakened animals as Allied Spirits]
BRASTALOS: cult spirits, Sylph

CACODEMON: Fiend (cheaper but slower than divine intervention)
CALADRA & AURELION: cult spirits, Gnome, Salamander
CHALANA ARROY: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened
     animals], Healing Spirit
CITY GODS: [varies, but never have Allied Spirits]
CRIMSON BAT: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened
     bat], Madness Spirit, Wraith

DALIATH: cult spirits, Undine
DANFIVE XARON: cult spirits, Ghost, Wraith
DAYZATAR: [none]
DEEZOLA: cult spirits, Gnome, Healing Spirit
DONANDAR: Allied Spirit
DORMAL: cult spirits [all sorcery]

EIRITHA: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened
     animals], Gnome
ERNALDA (including DENDARA): cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--
     use awakened animals], Gatan [earth demon], Gnome, Healing
     Spirit, Oread
ETYRIES: cult spirits
        EURMAL: Boggle (one shrine only) [use awakened animals as Allied

FLAMAL: [none--use awakened plant as Allied Spirit]

GAGARTH: [none--cult shamans provide spells and spirits]
GARK: cult spirits, Ghost, Ghoul, Vampire
GODUNYA: Allied Spirit
GOLDEN BOW: cult spirits, Salamander
GORGORMA: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened
     animals], Fear Spirit, Gnome, Dehori [darkness demon],

HELER: cult spirits, Undine
HENOTHEISTS: all non-chaotic otherworldly creatures
HIMILE: cult spirits, Ice Spirit
HON-EEL: cult spirits, Gnome
HORNED MAN/BAD MAN (including spirit cults, DEHORE, EARTH WITCH,
     FRAMANTHE, LUX, etc.): cult spirits [except Allied Spirit],
     various others, including appropriate elementals [all as
     spirit spells]
HRESTOLI: [none]
HUMAKT: cult spirits, Ghost
HUNTER: [none]
HWARIN DALTHIPPA: cult spirits, Lune
HYALOR: cult spirits
     THOLAINA, etc.) [none--some use awakened animals as Allied

IRRIPPI ONTOR: cult spirits
ISSARIES: cult spirits

JAKALEEL: cult spirits, Dehori [darkness demon], Fear Spirit,
     Lune, Shade

KRARSHT: Krarshtide
KYGER LITOR: cult spirits, Dehori, Fear Spirit, Shade

LHANKOR MHY: cult spirits
LIGHTFORE: cult spirits, Luxi [light demon]
LODRIL (including GUSTBRAN, MAHOME, and OAKFED): cult spirits,
LOKARNOS: cult spirits, Salamander
LORIAN: cult spirits, Undine

MAGASTA: cult spirits, Fear Spirit, Ghost, Naiad, Undine, Wraith
MALIA: Disease Spirit [note that priests are also shamans of the
     Bad Man and that their Allied Spirits are awakened animals]
MARAN GOR: cult spirits, Ghost, Gnome, Wraith
MASTAKOS: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit]
MEE VORALA: cult spirits
MIRINTHA: cult spirits, Naiad, Undine
MOLANNI: cult spirits, Sylph
MOORGARKI: cult spirits, Ghost
MOSTAL: Tin caste: Gnome, Gobbler Spirit, Jolant Spirit, Nilmerg
     Spirit; Silver Caste: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit]
     [all as sorcery spells]
MURTHDRYA: cult spirits, Undine

NELAT: cult spirits, Undine

OMPALAM: cult spirits, Pain Spirit
ORLANTH: cult spirits, Sylph, Umbroli [storm demon]

PAMALT: cult spirits, Gnome
POCHARNGO: [none--use awakened gorp as Allied Spirit]
POLARIS: cult spirits, Salamander

RED GODDESS: Dhrevanewrz [tax demon], Gnome, Lune, Moon Demon,
     Salamander, Shade, Undine
RIVER GODS: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit], Naiad, Undine
ROKARI: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit], Hellion

SESEINE: Succubus
SEVEN MOTHERS: cult spirits, Lune, Madness Demon, Madness Spirit,
     Moon Demon
STORM BULL: cult spirits, Fury Spirit (passion spirit of
     berserkness), Sylph
SUBERE: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit], Chonchon, Dehori
     [darkness demon], various kinds of Demon, Ghost, Ghoul
     Spirit, Hag, Hellion, Lamia, Shade, Wraith

TANIAN: cult spirits, Undine
THANATAR: cult spirits, Spirit of Teaching, Voice of Atyar
THED: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened goat]
THIEF GODS: [usually none]
THOLAINA: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened fish]
TRIOLINA: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened fish],
TSANKTH: Allied Spirit
TY KORA TEK: cult spirits, Dead [Call Dead spell described],
     Ghost, Gnome, Wraith

ULERIA: Tilntae (love demon) [use awakened dove as Allied Spirit]

VALIND: cult spirits, Sylph
VARCHULANGA: cult spirits, Undine
VIVAMORT: cult spirits, Ghoul, Lamia, Pain Spirit, Vampire,
     Wraith [all as sorcery]
VORIA: [none]

WACHAZA: cult spirits, Undine
WAHA: Gnome, Spirit of Law [use awakened riding animal for Allied

XENTHA: cult spirits, Shade
XIOLA UMBAR: cult spirits, Healing Spirit, Shade

YANAFAL TARNILS: cult spirits
YARA ARANIS: cult spirits, Dehori [darkness demon]
YELM: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened animals],
     Angel, Salamander
YELMALIO: cult spirits
YELORNA: cult spirits, Salamander
YINKIN: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened shadow

ZORAK ZORAN: cult spirits, Fear Demon, Ghost, Hate Spirit
     (passion spirit of berserkness: a/k/a Fury Spirit),
     Salamander (through Amanstan), Shade, Wraith

Note: Angels, Dehori, Umbroli, other demons, and Nymphs will
demand that their summoner prove his worth before the spirit will
perform a task.  Most spirits just require a showing that the
summoner is powerful.  Angels and some other spirits with more
sophisticated ethics will require a proof of spiritual
worthiness, and will refuse to perform unethical deeds.  Demons
often slay summoners who fail to prove their worth.


From:  Michael O'Brien (care of


AH plan to re-release the RQ rules in a perfect bound book, with some
rules additions and clarifications.  Who is going to decide what rules
will be changed, and how, is not clear, however my sources tell me
that Nick Atlas (AH's resident RQ man) has been toying with some
D&D-style sorcery spells of the fireball/Bigby's Inflatable Prosthesis
school.  Given that AH still don't have playtesting panels for RQ, it
is unlikely that Atlas's corrections will be subjected to scrutiny
before inclusion in this "RQ4".  Who needs a new set of rules anyway?:
most RuneQuesters out there want scenarios, not some cynical

AH have decided to drop RQ "Gateway" following the massive consumer
rejection of "Eldarad" and "Daughters of Darkness".  (I don't think
that it was just because they were "Gateway" that these releases
didn't sell.  I think that the atrocious quality of the writing, the
slap-dash editing and the abysmal artwork all played a hand too.)  AH
will now concentrate solely on Glorantha releases instead.

Forthcoming RQ releases will include Sandy Petersen's DORASTOR and
Greg Stafford is working on a RQ product with the working title of
"Cults II".  It will be something along the lines of a RQ3 Cults of
Prax, and is due to be completed late in 1991.  However, the next RQ
release to published by AH is a Gloranthan scenario pack called SUN
COUNTY.  I know this to be true, 'cos I wrote it.


From:  Michael O'Brien (care of


Many RQ freelancers out there have been frustrated by AH's lack of a
RQ submissions guide, their unwillingness to discuss pay rates, and
their slow rate of response to queries.  I encountered all these
problems in preparing my manuscript SUN COUNTY.  I offer an account of
my dealings with AH to help other potential freelancers out there.

This scenario pack is set in Sun County of Prax, originally mentioned
in the RQ2 pack PAVIS.  It will be the first new Gloranthan scenario
pack brought out since BIG RUBBLE eight years ago!  It has been
approved by Greg Stafford (unlike ELDARAD or DAUGHTERS which, being
"Gateway", did not require his sanction).  SUN COUNTY will feature 5
(possibly 6) scenarios, the official Yelmalio cult for RQ3, and lots
of background.

I chose to write about SUN COUNTY because CHAOSIUM had already
published background material about this area in PAVIS, BORDERLANDS,
etc.  That way, I could expand on the ideas presented and lessen the
risk of conflicting with Greg Stafford's concept.  You can do this in
your own campaigns, but if you want to get Glorantha material
published, it's got to fit in with Greg's preconceived notions, or be
so mind-bogglingly dazzling to change his mind.  I chose the less
risky option.

Because I had no idea how AH require their manuscripts to be
presented, and having seen the abysmal production quality of ELDARAD
(uninspired layout, atrocious artwork, appalling writing and an almost
total lack of editorial control), I decided to submit SUN COUNTY in a
camera-ready format.  That is, with all side bars, borders, boxes,
table of contents, art placement etc.  I even offered front and back
cover designs, advertising copy and the art assignment (the pictures I
submitted were drawn by Mark Baldwin, whose work has featured in
recent issues of TALES OF THE REACHING MOON).

Although this may have helped my manuscript get accepted, because
unlike a sequence of typed, double-spaced pages it was gentle to the
eye, AH decided that the layout I presented was not up to their
"general standard".  I modelled my layout on that in ELDER SECRETS,
the last RQ release to be laid-out by CHAOSIUM.  I find it hard to
believe that AH would prefer the layout style in ELDARAD or DAUGHTERS
(endless double columns , with no side bars, no borders, no boxes, no
interest).  I do, however, recognize that as the author, I have no
control over how AH presents my work.

AH also rejected the art assignment I supplied.  "Not up to a
professional enough standard" was the reply.  I find this unbelievable
too, coming from the company that has published such appalling artists
as Dobyski (TROLL GODS), Thompson (ELDARAD) and Randall (DAUGHTERS).

After submitting SUN COUNTY, I waited.  And waited.  Finally, after
another letter asking AH if it even got there, I was telephoned by
Nick Atlas, the RQ man at Avalon Hill*.  He stated that until I signed
a release form he wasn't even allowed to look at it.  So, I asked him
to send me some release forms!  This took AH about three months, and
not until I had written again twice, faxed them once and called Atlas

After Atlas had finally looked at SUN COUNTY he wrote me a letter
ordering some changes to be made. I won't go into details here, except
to say Atlas asked me to "think of an old D&D module" when I was
making these changes.

SUN COUNTY was sent off to Greg Stafford.  For once, turn-around was
fast.  Greg read and approved of SUN COUNTY, and had it back to Avalon
Hill in about three weeks.  However, Greg totally disagreed with the
changes Atlas had ordered.  Faced with this contradictory information,
I wasn't sure what to do!  This matter is still yet to be resolved.

Only after Greg had passed the piece were AH prepared to discuss terms
of payment.  Avalon Hill were originally going to offer me an
insulting 1.75 cents per word for all rights to SUN COUNTY (which was
a complete book, right down to table of contents).  However, with some
pretty persistent bargaining, I was able to get this up to 2.5 cents
per word, and then 3.5 cents a word and a 1% royalty on the second
print run.  I also had the option of taking a royalty, even though
this was not initially offered.  Furthermore, I was able to move the
time of payment to "upon acceptance of the final manuscript" from
"upon publication".  Also, originally I was to receive only one free
copy of the finished product, now the figure is 18.

I was fortunate enough to know details about the arrangements CHAOSIUM
make with their freelance authors, and used this as my yardstick.  I
also knew what the author of DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS was paid, and was
able to cite this example.

Nick Atlas wants a new RQ release every two months, but without such
elementary things as a submissions guide or honesty about pay-rates
(let alone the artistic vandalism his artists are going to inflict on
your work), I can't see how he's going to attract the freelancers.
You certainly wouldn't do it for the money AH offer!  At the moment,
the actual rate of publication is actually just two per year, and Nick
has recently been given responsibility for new Avalon Hill RPG.  So,
if anything, I suspect this rate will drop ever lower.

I don't have many positive things to say about my dealings with AH.
In fact, the only thing I can think of is when we switched to
communicating by fax, things sped up.  Quite frankly, I doubt if Nick
Atlas really knows what he's doing.  He had never played RQ before
landing the AH job, only saw any of the RQ2 releases six months into
the job and, as far as I know, when he started at AH his editing
experience was zip (the supplements he's brought out so far - ELDARAD
and DAUGHTERS - seem to confirm this).  But then, you've got to have
your doubts about someone who thinks D.Dobyski's artwork is of an
acceptable standard!

*About 18 months ago, AH were looking for a RuneQuest editor.
CHAOSIUM suggested they hire Mark Morrison, an experienced, published
game author and ardent RQ fan.  AH instead elected to hire Atlas, and
RQ is suffering for it.  Mark has since been snatched up by CHAOSIUM
themselves, and is now in charge of their Stormbringer line.


From:  Michael O'Brien (care of

Subject:  Reviews of Eldarad and Daughters of Darkness



Published by The Avalon Hill Game Company.  Author: Chris Watson.
Illustrations: James Holloway (Cover); J.E. Randall, Terry Thompson.
Maps: Dave Dobyski.  Editing, Production: Nick Atlas, Jean Baer.
Price: approx. A$35.oo


Published by The Avalon Hill Game Company.  Author: Tony Hickey
Illustrations: James Holloway, J.E. Randall, Dave Dobyski.  Maps: Dave
Dobyski.  Editing, Production: Nick Atlas, Jean Baer.  Price: approx.

Reviewed by Michael O'Brien.

DARKNESS are a radical departure from previous Avalon Hill RuneQuest
products.  Unfortunately,  this departure has not been a success.

Written and developed without CHAOSIUM influence, both are set firmly
in RuneQuest "Gateway".  RQ-Gateway players must be warned though,
because reference is made to such RQ-Glorantha releases as GODS OF
GLORANTHA and TROLL GODS, and there is no "Deluxe Rules" section to
help them out.

Both works come in new formats.  ELDARAD comes in a flimsy card
wallet, which unfolds into a full-colour 22" x 17" map of the lost
city.  Inside, you get the 54 page "City Book" , the 57 page
"Adventure Book" (not 64 pages, as claimed in the blurb), a 32 page
Map Book, a nicely painted map of the lands around Eldarad and a game
aids chart.  As usual, these books have the standard AH flimsy paper
covers which are totally inappropriate for roleplaying use.  DAUGHTERS
is a little better.  It comes as a card-covered book.  Unfortunately,
it is perfect bound (glued) rather than stapled, and will probably not
hold up to extended use.

The illustrations are again the full-page format of recent AH
productions, although they are a slight improvement over those in
SECRETS were plain awful, these are just mediocre.  Page 90 of
DAUGHTERS features the most pathetic looking walktapus and jack-o-bear
I have ever seen.  It'd be funny if it weren't so sad.

Well, what exactly is The Lost City of Eldarad?  To quote from the
introduction, "Eldarad is an ancient, ruined city, famous
world-wide... ...Eldarad is no longer a functional city... it is a
great mass of ruins, haunted by looters, ragged warriors, adventurers,
beggars, and worse, all searching for gain or trying to survive."
Hey!  Hang on a minute, doesn't this all sound familiar?  In the
introduction to the 1983 RQII production BIG RUBBLE we read "The Big
Rubble is a vast area enclosed by giant-built walls... only thousands
of acres of ruin and destruction remain, full of robbers, outcastes
and inhuman monsters."  Yes, unfortunately, ELDARAD is a lot like BIG
RUBBLE, and in all comparisons ELDARAD is found wanting.

DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS is set in yet another fantasy world, and most of
the action takes place on a huge peninsula.  The original manuscript
was a hefty work, detailing 10 cities in this region, but had to be
pared down to just one for space reasons.

ELDARAD is much larger, though I cannot say this extra space was put
to good use.  The "City Book" begins with 3 of the most pointless maps
I've ever seen (showing various routes to the sea), and then moves on
to a potted history of the Eldarad region.  It's an astonishingly dull
read, lacking the flair, imagination and scope of the background
material in either BIG RUBBLE or PAVIS.  Who the original founders of
Eldarad were is left vague, except that they were "great tomb
builders" who left "much wealth".  We are told that "knowledge of
their habits, language and even their appearance has been lost in the
river of time".  Oh yeah, sure!  These must be pretty damn featureless
tombs then!  The rest of the City Book is taken up with encounter
tables, unnecessarily detailed building descriptions and an
interesting system of "Barter Classes" to determine the relative value
of items.

What makes a scenario pack though is, naturally enough, the scenarios.
Whereas BIG RUBBLE gave the Gamemaster a 96 page book with 7 separate
scenarios, the ELDARAD "Adventures Book" contains only 2 very ordinary
scenarios.  They occupy only 24 pages, a paltry 13 if you don't count
illustrations or stats.  There are also 2 1/2 pages of Scenario Ideas,
which look as if they were added as an afterthought.  The rest of the
book is made up of building descriptions, similar in style and format
to that in the City Book.  I suspect that the only reason why this
section was included in the Adventure Book was to pad it out to a
respectable length.  Perhaps in an attempt to excuse the dearth of
scenarios, the author has laden the various tombs and Eldarad locals
with truly amazing quantities of loot (including extremely powerful
magic items) that will unbalance a campaign in no time.  On the back
cover of DAUGHTERS, it entices the reader with the promise of "9
scenarios".  One of these "scenarios" is shorter than this paragraph,
and several others are not much longer.  I think I've said enough.

Although the campaign maps are pretty, the rest of the maps in ELDARAD
and Daughters are uninspired.  In fact, the Eldarad "Map Book" as a
whole is a shambles.  Locations in the ELDARAD City Book and
Adventures Book are keyed to maps in the Map Book, but the poor reader
isn't told this.  Even if he does decide to look for the right map in
there, it is devoid of both an index and page numbers!  One wonders
why a shocking omission such as this was not picked up and rectified
during the editing process.

Unlike PAVIS, BIG RUBBLE or that masterpiece of RQII scenario packs
BORDERLANDS, ELDARAD and DAUGHTERS are a chore to read and, I suspect,
would be a chore to play.  I suspect that ELDARAD was never even
playtested by its author, and I know that neither was playtested by
Avalon Hill.  Then again, I doubt if AH even edited ELDARAD or
DAUGHTERS before publication.  If they did, it sure doesn't show: the
text is in an endless series of double columns - no side bars, no
boxes, no borders: no interest!  And I have already talked about the
unforgivable lack of page numbers in the ELDARAD Map Book.  DAUGHTERS
is written in a very simplistic style that is at least readable, but
ELDARAD is marred by a clumsy writing style throughout.  I don't have
space to list the numerous split infinitives, non-sequiturs, poorly
constructed sentences and other grammatical errors here, suffice it to
say somewhere in the City Book Book you get this particularly bizarre
mixed-metaphor, "One can make right pigs ear of a fleece if one does
not know what one is doing"?!

I tried to like these new releases, honestly I did!  They represent a
new editorial direction at Avalon Hill, and are part of a sincere
attempt to bolster RQ's flagging sales.  Unfortunately, they lack
almost everything the old RQ II top-sellers had: clear, concise
writing, imaginative background, exciting scenarios and impressive
production standards.  When one thinks of the projects AH could have
run with - "Prax Pack", "Pent Pack", "Somewhere in Sartar" and several
others of an equally high standard - one wonders why the heck they
chose these?  I suspect the reason might have something to do with
ELDARAD and DAUGHTERS being non-Gloranthan, and therefore, not subject
to the stringent, high standards CHAOSIUM demands for AH's Gloranthan
pieces.  Or it could be they just don't know what the hell they are

The wretched quality of these two releases must bring into question
AVALON HILL's reputation as a credible producer of quality roleplaying

Sadly, if ELDARAD and DAUGHTERS bomb, and believe me, they will, AH's
newly-found enthusiasm for their troublesome role-playing game could
quickly wane.  For this reason, I hope they sell like wildfire.  But I
doubt it.

)1990 M.O'Brien


From:  Michael O'Brien,  again

Subject:  RuneQuest Revisited: Previous Experience

Use the RQ3 Previous Experience system and is there is good chance
you'll end up a teenaged "Barbarian Farmer" every time. While you're
trying to survive with 39% Sickle, there's probably another lucky
bastard in the party who struck lucky and wound up with a 27-year-old
veteran running around with 70% chainsaw (using the VIKINGS previous
experience tables, it is in fact possible to roll up a beginning
character with over 100% weapon attack!)

Here's a variant previous experience system which is a little more
balanced.  It enables you to generate virtually any sort of character
you like, within reason.  Each adventurer will begin pretty much on
equal footing with all the others in terms of skills, spells known and
so on, but the sky's the limit when it comes to background,
motivation, etc!

RACE Characters can be of any race the players choose, but bear in
mind that if everyone wants to adventure together, racial antipathies
must be considered.  For example, Aldryami, trolls and dwarves don't
get along, and it is unlikely that anyone would willingly adventure
with a broo.

SEX AND AGE Characters can be any sex, and any age.  If an adventurer
starts at an age over 40 though, aging rolls must be made (RQ3 PLAYERS
BOOK, p.82)

HOMELAND         Player characters can from from anywhere the player
chooses, bounded only by common sense (obviously its going to be
pretty hard to justify how a Pamaltelan hunter has found himself
working for Gringle in Apple Lane!)  It is fun devising a rationale
why the adventurer has ended up where he is!  The Regional Character
Generation tables in the WoG PLAYERS BOOK can then be used to find
starting percentages for the various cultural weapons.

CULT Each player gets to choose one cult their character may join at
initiate (or equivalent) level. This is of course optional, and
requires the customary sacrifice of one point of POW.  It is not
necessary for the adventurer to make the 5 skills rolls described in
the RQ3 MAGIC BOOK to join their primary cult.

Note that there are some cults (Lhankor Mhy, Xiola Umbar, Waha and
others) which require the candidate to know certain skills at a
particular level before initiation.  For example, Waha demands that
his candidates have at least 50% skill in Ride and a tribal weapon.
If the player elects to join Waha, he must ensure that his character
meets these minimum requirements when allocating skill points (see

Progression to higher levels in cults (rune lord, acolyte, priest
etc.) or joining additional cults must be made during play.

SKILL POINTS Each player, regardless of his character's age, race,
background, hair colour or whatever, gets 320 points to add to his
beginning percentages.  All weapons skills and Dodge (which by the
way, we begin at 25%, not 05% as in the rules) are limited to a
maximum of 50%.  This is AFTER the character's Attack and Parry
modifiers have been taken into consideration.  The only exception to
this rule is if the character uses Humakti/Yelmalio gifts to boost his
abilities over 50%.

Points may be allocated to any skill the player chooses.  320 points
might sound a lot, but they don't seem to go all that far!
Furthermore, only up to 50% does 1 skill point equal one percentile.
Thereafter, from 51-75% costs are doubled, and from 76-100% they
double again.  To summarize:

        01-50% ....1 point
        51-75% ....2 points
        76-100% ...4 points

For example, Gordon has has heart set on his character Sophos becoming
an initiate of Lhankor Mhy.  To qualify, a candidate must have Mastery
(90%) of one cult lore.  Gordon decides on Plant Lore, and calculates
how many skill points it will cost.  The base chance for Plant Lore is
05% to which he adds his character's +6% Knowledge skills modifier.
Sophos's base chance is therefore 11%.  To build his Plant Lore
percentage up to 50%, Gordon will need to expand 39 skill points.  It
costs another 50 skill points to take it to 75% (remember costs are
doubled).  The 15 percentiles from 76 to 90% will cost 60 skill
points, because cost are doubled again.  The total skill point cost to
get Sophos's Plant Lore percentage to 90% is 104, which is subtracted
from the 320 point total.  Taking any skill over 50% using this system
is expensive, but Gordon thinks the prestige Sophos will gain by being
a lore-master is worth it.

MAGIC Adventurers each get 4 points of spirit magic or sorcery to
begin with, regardless of age.  Note that skill points must be
allocated to improve magic skills such as Intensify.  The cult
speciality spirit magics listed in Gods of Glorantha are available at
half cost, so if an initiate chooses his spirit magic exclusively from
his cult list, he will begin with 8 points.

ARMOUR, WEAPONS & GEAR I love to point out that, as the RQ III
financial system currently stands, you can buy 225 points of spirit
magic for the same price as a suit of plate armour!  Restoring this
and other imbalances must be left to a future article.  In the
meantime, here's a very simple way of equipping adventurers:

Each adventurer begins with their POW x 5 in cash.  This may seem
pretty scant, but they also automatically begin with the three weapons
they have the highest Attack or Parry percentages.  Usually these will
comprise a melee weapon, a missile weapon and a shield.  Further
weapons must be purchased, using the RQ3 lists.

Each adventurer also has clothing appropriate to their station, and a
suit of padded cuirboilli or equivalent non-metal armour.

I would also permit each adventurer to have up to a dozen,
inexpensive, non-lethal items to facilitate roleplaying.  For example,
a scholar type might ask for some parchment and a stylus; a fop might
take some perfumed hankies, some love letters and a deck of cards; a
musician would get the instrument he plays, etc.

Better gear than this must be bought, or borrowed from their cult.


From:  Michael O'Brien and Andrew Brisbane,  care of ...


THE TACKYMAT (Chaos Faex) Though resembling a large pile of animal
dung, common enough obstacles on the herd-rich plaines of Prax and
Pent, the Tackymat is actually a cousin of the amorphous Gorp.
Adventurers have their Animal Lore percentage roll to determine that
the monster is not dinkum moo-pooh, but if a Tackymat is trodden upon
its soft outer crust will be broken revealing a powerful reservoir of
acid and corrosive enzymes underneath.

Creatures who step upon a Tackymat will suffer six points of damage
directly to the foot and leg.  Armour will absorb this damage, but
will be eaten away in the process.  Unless helped out those stuck must
roll their DEX x 3 or continue to take damage.  If the DEX roll
succeeds, the victim has successfully removed what remains of his limb
from the Tackymat.

Magic, such as Disrupt, will eliminate the menace, as will fire.
Physical attack is just as ineffective against a Tackymat as it is
against a Gorp (besides, attacking a cow-pat is a rather ridiculous
concept isn't it?)

These chaotic cow-turds are especially despised by trollkin, who often
survive on long scouting expeditions by eating animal excrement.

Certain Lhankor Mhy scholars report there may also be another related
species which spores over a wide area and is said to closely resemble
sheep droppings*.  Other authorities hotly dispute this, asserting
that the dung droppings theory is a load of "shit"**.

GRAZELANDS Vol.III Written and copiously illustrated by the Wild Sage
Thredbo Umbertongue (Master of Taste Analysis), late of Queen's Post.
There is one copy in the Pavis Lhankor Mhy library, available only to
members of the Holy Country faction.  The chief librarian requests
that this book be consulted "somewhere downwind" of his desk.

**See "The Case for the Passive Acquisition of Knowledge", a short
passage in Balthus Slunderer's unfinished yet pompous work THE DECLINE
AND FALL OF DARA HAPPA, Book XXXVIII.  Slunderer's refutation of
Umbertongue has gained wide acceptance, if only because his writing
style itself could be described as "flatulent".


Physical Characteristics
STR     0       MOVE: 0 (Tackymats can
CON     1D6+6    actually move, but very
SIZ     1d2      slowly).
INT     1
POW     3d6     HIT POINTS: 6
DEX     0       FATIGUE: n/a.

WEAPON            SR    ATT%     DAMAGE
Being Trodden On   ?    100%  6 points acid

        CHAOTIC FEATURE: Appears harmless until attacked.
Tackymats have an additional chaotic feature on a roll of POW x 1.

Body          1-20      0/6

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.  Unless specified in the specific article,  all
RQ Digest material is freely redistributable on a not-for-profit basis as
long as author credit is included.

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.