Subject: I'm OK, You're Chaotic, Volume 6, Number 5 RQDIGESTV06N05 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 LIST OF 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 rule. 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 WORSHIP (including DAKA FAL, PHARGON, WAERTAG, etc.): 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 Spirits] FLAMAL: [none--use awakened plant as Allied Spirit] GAGARTH: [none--cult shamans provide spells and spirits] GARK: cult spirits, Ghost, Ghoul, Vampire GLOOMSHARK: [none] GODUNYA: Allied Spirit GOLDEN BOW: cult spirits, Salamander GORGORMA: cult spirits [except Allied Spirit--use awakened animals], Fear Spirit, Gnome, Dehori [darkness demon], Wraith GRAIN GODDESSES: [none] 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 HYKIM & MYKIH (including ARANEA, GOLOD, GORAKIKI, SWEMS, THOLAINA, etc.) [none--some use awakened animals as Allied Spirits] 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, Salamander 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 PRIMAL CHAOS: [none] 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 TEELO NORRI: [none] 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], Undine 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 Spirit] 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 cat] 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 email@example.com.OZ.AU) Subject: FORTHCOMING RQ RELEASES FROM AVALON HILL 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 re-release! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.OZ.AU) Subject: GETTING YOUR FREELANCE MANUSCRIPT PUBLISHED BY AVALON HILL, AND WHY THIS AIN'T EASY. 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 myself. 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 email@example.com.OZ.AU) Subject: Reviews of Eldarad and Daughters of Darkness Review: ELDARAD, THE LOST CITY 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 DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS 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. A$20.oo Reviewed by Michael O'Brien. In several ways, both THE LOST CITY OF ELDARAD and DAUGHTERS OF 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 TROLL GODS or ELDER SECRETS. Whereas those in TROLL GODS and ELDER 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 doing. The wretched quality of these two releases must bring into question AVALON HILL's reputation as a credible producer of quality roleplaying products. 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 below). 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 ... Subject: RUNEQUEST CREATURE: THE TACKYMAT 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"**. *See Thredbo Umbertongue's FIELD GUIDE TO THE BOVINE ORDURE OF THE 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". THE TACKYMAT (Chaos Faex) 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. HIT LOCATION CHART LOCATION MELEE/MISSILE AP/HP 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: firstname.lastname@example.org ...!mcnc!unc!bell Request old articles by volume number and issue number.