Subject: A Powzy and a Beer Chaser, Volume 6, Number 11 RQDIGESTV06N11 First Distribution: August 6, 1991 This issue: Sun County in Finnish MOB The Hero-Cult of Jalmar Ironword, Tim Leask and MOB Lieutenant of Arkat Lottery Swords MOB A Hard Landing MOB RuneQuest Revisited: Training MOB Ed's note: Several articles appearing here also appeared in Tales of the Reaching Moon, and were submitted by one of the editors of that magazine. ====================================================================== From: MOB (c/o email@example.com) Subject: SUN COUNTY IN FINNISH! For all you RuneQuesters in Finland out there (and there at least 5000 of you, [and 7 of you are on the Digest mailing list -- ACB] because at least 5000 copies of the Finnish translation of the rules were sold), some good news! The newest RQ release - and first original Gloranthan scenario pack in eight years - is to be translated into the Finnish tongue. Lauri Tudeer, who also publishes a Finnish RQ zine, is in charge of the production, which will probably feature the artwork of Mark Baldwin (whose work may be seen in recent issues of Tales of the Reaching Moon). For more information about the Finnish version of SUN COUNTY, or Finnish RQ in general, contact: Lauri Tudeer, Fantasiapelit Tudeer Oy Laulurastaanie 1 01450 Vantaa FINLAND Fax No: 358-0-872-1682 It is also quite likely that SUN COUNTY will be translated into the French: I can't wait to see what wonders ORIFLAM will work with it, if their standard of their previous releases is maintained! Other language possibilities include Japanese and Spanish. ====================================================================== From: Tim Leask and MOB (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: THE HERO-CULT OF JALMAR IRONWORD, LIEUTENANT OF ARKAT Authors' Note: This is not an official RuneQuest cult! MYTHOS AND HISTORY Jalmar Ironword was a Sword of Humakt and was for many years one of Arkat's must trusted lieutenants during the Hero's epic struggle against Gbaji. Originally from Dragon Pass, Jalmar journeyed to Seshnela with his Lightbringer allies to aid Arkat in the war. Jalmar's aid was vital for it was he who had discovered the full powers of Arkat's legendary sword *God-Cleaver*. Called the Unbreakable Sword, weilding it Arkat (said by some to be the son of Humakt) slew men and gods alike, gaining for himself awesome strengths and inhuman abilities. Jalmar's close association with Arkat led to his Illumination; but Jalmar was ever true to his god Humakt and resisted the dark temptations of the Gbaji cult. When Arkat decided to break with his restrictive Hrestoli origins, it was Jalmar Ironword who inducted him into the Humakt cult. As a Humakti Arkat found new allies, and the chaos armies were pushed further and further back towards Dorastor, Gbaji's homeland. However, after Arkat abandoned Humakt to become a troll Jalmar became disheartened with his lord's excesses and returned to Dragon Pass. It was here that he founded the Order of the Knights of Truth, which was renamed the Brotherhood of Jalmar after his death. This order of Illuminated sword-brothers was founded to battle chaos and suppress the influence of Gbaji and the Dark Side in Dragon Pass. Although horrified by Arkat-Kingtroll's shocking actions, Jalmar could not turn his back on the son of Humakt and returned to Dorastor with a legion of his followers to aid the Hero in the final, terrible battle with Gbaji. Jalmar along with most of his followers was slain in the tumultuous conflict, although Arkat emerged victorious. Through careful preparation, Jalmar's soul passed into the Heroplane instead of Hell, and was later contacted by his few surviving followers who established his Hero-cult. Jalmar Ironword gains an association with the runes of Truth and Mastery from his connection with the Bright Side of Nysalor, and shares the Death rune of his master Humakt. THE CULT IN THE WORLD To this day, the Jalmari remain a secret brotherhood of Illuminated Humakti, who strive to uphold all that is good and noble while eradicating those who follow the Dark path in all its manifestations. The Brotherhood may be found in Humakti temples throughout the Dragon Pass region and elsewhere, but the Hero-cult is small and highly secretive. Even other Humakti in a temple that contains a chapter of the Order should not be aware of its existence. Inquisitive outsiders who learn too much are either inducted into the Brotherhood, bound by Oathes or slain. No amount of Divination or mind-reading will reveal a Brother of Jalmar, for their Illuminated status will prevent this. Worship services are conducted in secret on a predetermined day of Truth week every season. The Order's High Holy Day is Godday, Sacred Time; marking the date of Jalmar's apotheosis. INITIATE MEMBERSHIP (Brothers of Jalmar) Members are usually drawn from the ranks of the Humakti, and must be at least an initiate of this cult. Candidates from other cults may still be approached to join the Brotherhood, but are inducted into Humakt during the initiation ritual. Jalmari may join any other lawful cult they feel will aid them in their work. The Brotherhood is unique in that a person cannot actively seek to join it. Instead, suitable candidates are approached by the Jalmari after an investigation is carried out to determine their worthiness as members of the Order. If the prospective initiate is not an Illuminate, the investigation will only take a week in most cases. In the instance of candidates who are Illuminates however, the Brotherhood has to be more careful for they know the temptations of the Dark Side and must be certain of a person's motives. In both cases the Order's special magics will be employed to determine the suitability, reliability, sincerity and honesty of potential converts. Once a candidate has been thoroughly vetted by the Brotherhood, he will be secretly approached and asked to join the ranks of the Jalmari. If the candidate refuses he will be made to swear a powerful *Oath* (as per the Humakt divine spell) to not reveal the existence of the Brotherhood or any of its members. Because the Order is very thorough in its investigations, candidates who refuse to join are very rare. Such persons will be carefully watched for ever afterward, to ensure they are not tempted by the Dark Side. The initiation ritual takes place in a Humakti temple, during Truth week. Converts who are not yet Illuminated will attain this state of consciousness during the ritual. All converts must sacrifice a point of POW to Jalmar, and to show their steadfast devotion must voluntarily promise to take on another Humakti geas. They do not obtain the corresponding benefit of the geas. (Note that because they are Illuminates, the Jalmari may break their geases without fear of retribution. However, to do so is contrary to the tenets of the Brotherhood; for by breaking a geas, an Illuminate opens himself to the further temptations of the Dark Side.) Brothers of Jalmar vow to uphold both the ideals of their Order, and those of Humakt. They must never waive in their fight against chaos and evil. They must remain in good standing in any other cults they choose to join, as long as these affiliations do not impede the cultist in his fight against chaos and evil. For example, a Jalmari would not be expected to uphold the Code of Humakt when fighting an evil or chaotic foe, nor would he be expected to honour the fallen if they be chaotic or evil beings. Because the motivations of sorcery are perceived to be selfish and amoral, Jalmari are not encouraged to practise the sorcerous arts. In any case they are forbidden to become apprentices, adepts or magi. Brothers are expected to tithe a further 10% of their income to the Order, in addition to their tithes to Humakt. On each holy day they devote up to 5 magic points to Jalmar, and are expected to come to the service of the Brotherhood at a moment's notice. They must come to the aid of another Jalmari if requested, and must unquestioningly obey the commands of the Order's rune masters- the Knights of Jalmar. Jalmari are always able to recognize each other, through subtle differences in character, voice and gesture. Likewise, they are able to identify other Illuminates in the same manner. The Jalmari obtain skill training and spell teaching commesurate with their rank in the Humakt cult. However, if one of their Humakti superiors is also a member of the Brotherhood, they may gain priority in teaching time. In addition, the Brotherhood will teach its converts the unique spirit magic spell of *Blade Protection* which Jalmar refined after researching the amazing history of the Unbreakable Sword. Brothers are initially taught 1 point of the spell free, and may learn further points of the spell at the usual cult price. It is never taught to anyone outside the Order. ************ Special Cult Spirit Magic BLADE PROTECTION Variable; Ranged, Temporal, Passive. This spell will add 5 armour points per point of spell on any bladed weapon (such as a sword). This protection is effective against any sort of damage including acid. ************ RUNE LORDS (Knights of Jalmar) Rune Lords of the Brotherhood are the embodiment of Justice and upholders of Law. The life-task of a Knight is the vanquishing of evil and chaos in any of its manifestations, particularly that of the Dark Side of Gbaji. Knights roam the world ruthlessly and efficiently rooting out chaos and evil. They are also responsible for the seeking out and recruiting of new members, and must ensure no member strays from the path of Law and Justice. They are the epitome of the Light Side of Nysalor. Knights of Jalmar must meet all the requirements to become a Sword of Humakt (see Cults Book p.41), and indeed to all but his fellow Brothers, this will appear to be what he is. The Knight gains the gift for whatever geas he volunarily undertook to abide by when he first became a Brother of the Order, in addition to at least one more gift and geas. A Knight must never allow chaotic creatures to roam unchecked and must attempt to destroy any creatures of chaos he finds. He must keep a fervent tab on all Illuminates he encounters, to determine where their sympathies lie. Those found to be agents of the Dark Side must be slain with haste, to prevent their subtle riddlings infecting others. Knights of Jalmar have access to all the divine spells of the Humakt cult, in addition to those described below. Through Jalmar's association with Arkat, they have access to many Heroquesting rituals. Knights of Jalmar must never learn or use chaotic magics, and at least once per season enter into a *Mind Link* with another Knight (or experienced initiate if no other Knights are available). The *Mind Link* enables them to share each others' thoughts and thus verify if each other is maintaining the Order's vows. *Special Cult Divine Magic* ************ WORSHIP JALMAR ritual (ceremony); non-stackable, reusable. CLEAR MIND 1-point spell; ranged, temporal, non-stackable, reusable. This spell grants the recipient all benefits of Illumination for 15 minutes. Once the spell expires the subject will retain but a hazy memory of the last quarter-hour. *Clear Mind* is primarily used in the course of investigating prospective converts, to determine their behavior if they were ever to become Illuminated. The spell is often used in conjuction with *Read Mind*. A successful INT x 3 roll by the recipient of the spell will count as one correctly solved Nysalor Riddle, but only one such riddle can be answered through the use of this spell. GM ADVICE: Ask the player under the effects of *Cloud Mind* what his intentions are now that he is "illuminated". CLOUD MIND 1-point spell; ranged, temporal, non-stackable, conditonally reusable. This spell is the reverse of *Clear Mind*, and will affect only those who are Illuminated. If the magic points of the target are overcome all benefits of Illumination will be removed for the duration of the spell. *Cloud Mind* has several uses. Firstly, it can be cast at an enemy Illuminate before he can discover that the caster is an Illuminate also. Secondly, it can used upon another Jalmari if the caster deems that he has performed a reprehensible action worthy of punishment. Once affected by this spell, the victim is susceptable to his other cults' spirits of retribution. In truly exceptional circumstances, this spell may be used to excommunicate a Brother from the Order. The victim loses all benefits of Illumination permanently. Although in this case the target's Magic Points do not need to be overcome, the spell becomes one-use. READ MIND 3-point spell; range-30m, temporal, non-stackable, reusable. This spell confers the ability to the caster to read the conscious thoughts of the victim without his consent. The victim will remain unaware his thoughts are being read unless he makes a roll on d100 under his INT. A successful MP verses MP roll must be made for this spell to operate. ************ THE JALMAR CULT IN PAVIS A chapter of the Order is said to have existed in the hey-day of Old Pavis (c.850 - 940), according to the secret records of the cult kept in Dragon Pass. However, when several Brothers came to Dorasor's newly-founded Pavis-Outside-the-Walls in 1550, they could find no trace of the Jalmar Ironword cult in the ruins of Pavis Rubble. Although privy to Heroquesting mysteries and rituals of fabulous power (most of which have been lost), the Jalmari of Old Pavis were believed to have perished during the five centuries of strife and invasion the city had suffered at the hands of nomads and trolls. Nevertheless, the modern Jalmari are certain the secrets of the old chapter lie buried somewhere in the Rubble. Among their most prized possessions is a rough diagram of the Old Brotherhood's meeting-house, borrowed from the secret cult records of Dragon Pass. The building was said to have been situated in what is now known as the "Oldtown" area of the Manside ruins. Posing as bandits, the Brotherhood maintain an old fortified mansion (type B ruin) here as their base to comb the ruins. So far they have had no luck. When last they attempted a full-scale (yet covert) excavation of a likely site rumours abounded in the taverns and dives of New Pavis. Oldtown has pestered by treasure-hungry adventurers and Lunar agents ever since. Another major objective of the Order to probe the mysteries of the enigmatic Puzzle Canal. Puzzle Canal was built by the demi-god Labrygon the Illuminate in ancient times, and is said to be an elaborate Nysalor Riddle. The Brotherhood have sponsored several expeditions into the canal, and know at least as much information about it as the Lhankor Mhy sages. Although the Humakt cult maintained a mantle of neutrality, the Jalmari used their status in Humakt to strenuously oppose the chaos-embracing Lunars' encroachment. When New Pavis was taken in 1610 many of its members were forced to take refuge in the Rubble. Some (including the only Knight of Jalmar in Pavis) remain there to this day. The chapter is covertly linked to the Free Pavis faction, who seek the city's independance. The Brotherhood share this goal, but are subtlely using their influence to alter the faction's emphasis to a more active, belligerent form of resistance. Approximately one-fifth of the Humakti in Pavis are secret members of the Brotherhood, led by the Sword of Humakt/Knight of Jalmar General Caspian Vur. The other Humakti in Pavis are of course unaware of the hero-cult's existence. In his role as a commander of the Pavis Royal Guard, General Vur was active in the defense of the city against the Lunars and has been declared an outlaw. Because of the price on his head, General Vur cannot openly return to New Pavis. He remains at the Order's domicile in Manside, co-ordinating the Brotherhood's activities from there. ====================================================================== From: MOB (c/o email@example.com) Subject: L O T T E R Y S W O R D S (A shorter version of this article appeared in TALES OF THE REACHING MOON #5) Author's Note: Lottery swords are *extremely* lethal. They should only be permitted in a campaign with GM discretion. I suggest that if a player-character enters a "lottery", it should be the type where the first contestant to make rune-lord wins the prize. DESCRIPTION A very fancy, well-crafted sword. Although Lottery swords are usually broadswords, the most favoured weapon of the Esrolian Humakti, they could conceivably be any of the "cult weapons" of Humakt. Indeed, the famed blade of Anaxtheus (rune-drake of Quackford) is a bronze gladius. CULTS ASSOCIATED: Humakt. KNOWLEDGE Cult Secret; Famous (in Esrolia only); Few; Owners Only. HISTORY Lottery swords are an innovation of the effete Humakti of Esrolia, and their manufacture is limited to this region. PROCEDURE A lottery is formed when a group of candidates for initiation into Humakt get together, pool their resources and buy a fine sword. Sometimes this blade is fashioned from iron; usually it is bronze. Often the sword hilt is extremely ornamental, encrusted with as many jewels and precious stones as the partners can afford. Any number of warriors might enter a lottery. The more who join, the greater the Lottery sword's power. Of course, this reduces the chance of each participant winning the prize, and so lotteries rarely have more than a dozen entrants. 6 to 8 Humakti is the norm. Once initiated, Humakti are obligated to take a gift from their god. They must also assume the gift's corresponding geas (see Gods of Glorantha, p.42). There are four gifts which improve a Humakti's weapon. These are listed, along with their concomitant geases, below: Gift Geas Increase the armour point of a specific Never lie. weapon by 50%. Bless a specific weapon to do double Accept no spirit magic damage (once armour is penetrated) Heal spells. against a chosen foe species. Bless a specific weapon to do double Accept no magical healing damage (once armour is penetrated). at all. Bless a specific weapon to do double Wear no armour over a damage (once armour is penetrated) specified hit location. upon striking a specified hit location. Instead of blessing their own weapon, each of the participants in the lottery place their blessing on the Lottery sword. In this way an extremely potent weapon is created. However, there is only one such blade, with up to a dozen (or more) Humakti eager to possess and wield it. There are several ways the members of a lottery might go about determining who takes which gift and geas, and who the eventual owner of the blade will be. One of the simplest ways would be to draw straws, but most Humakti prefer to trust their swordsmanship rather than their luck. So, a series of first blood Humakti duels are usually fought. The warriors pair off, and fight. The loser of a duel must take the gift (and its attendant geas) the winner instructs him to, from the above list. It is considered honourable for the winners of the first round to let those they defeated pick which gift and geas they want, but this is not obligatory. Note that the gift "bless a specific weapon to do double damage" may only be taken by one participant. Custom has it that the last person to be defeated takes this blessing. The gift "bless a specific weapon to do double damage upon striking a specified hit location" may be taken by as many participants as there are hit locations (7 for humanoid creatures). The other gifts may be taken any number of times. The winners of the first round then pair off and fight. Again, the winners of the second round decide what gifts and geas those they vanquished must take. The winners keep pairing off, fighting and allocating gifts/geases until there is one swordsman left. He takes the Lottery sword as prize. Furthermore, he need not take a gift which affects the Lottery sword, although the others would be consider it honourable if he did so. Another variation uses the same method to determine who takes which gift/geas, but the last person left doesn't win the sword (he still gets to choose whatever gift he wants though). Instead, the weapon is put into the temple treasury, to be claimed by the first participant to achieve rune lord status in the Humakt cult. Lottery swords made for this method are usually iron. The ritual culminates in a ritual where the blessings are bestowed on the sword and the initiates all assume their geases. Finally, the winner joins the others in an *Oath* spell (for which he must provide the POW), in which all swear to abide by the outcome of the contest. Although the winner usually puts the sum total of his Magic Points into the oath, the others are only obligated to place one MP each. This is significant, because if one of the participants breaks his geas, he is also deemed to have forsworn the oath. If a Humakti leaves the cult, yet continues to abide by his geas, the Oath will not take effect (although the blessing he conferred on the lottery sword will be withdrawn). POWERS While each of the participants remain faithful to Humakt and doesn't break his geas, the powers of the Lottery sword remain intact. If one of them dies, becomes an apostate or breaks his geas, the particular blessing he bestowed on the blade is revoked. Thus, as time progresses, the powers of a Lottery sword diminish. An example of a Lottery sword and its powers is given below. VALUE Aside from their material value, Lottery swords are only valuable to the original participants in the lottery. Because each of the participants are bound by their geases, all would like to possess and wield the sword. The only honourable way a Lottery sword can change hands is by a duel. Any participant in the lottery may challenge the current owner of the sword at any time. Often these challenges are made as first-blood duels, but the wielder has the right to refuse with honour. Only a challenge to the death cannot be refused. Whoever wins gets the sword. Of course, the very deadliness of the Lottery sword gives the present wielder an incredible advantage over a challenger. But, because the properties imbued in the weapon are progressively removed as each competitor dies, each participant will want to get his hands on the sword as soon as possible. Fighting to the death over a lottery sword is expressly forbidden by almost all Humakt temples outside the Holy Country. It is perhaps deplorable but nevertheless common for the owners of Lottery swords to move away, hide or otherwise evade their fellow contestants, in order to avoid continuous challenges. Discipline, truth and honour are vital for a Humakt temple to function and prosper. A deadly squabble over a lottery sword can ruin that completely, sowing deceit, greed and death amongst swordbrothers - comrades who have to trust each other totally in the heat of battle. For this reason, almost all Humakt temples outside the Holy Country have banned sword lotteries as divisive. Only the jaded Humakti fops of Esrolia continue the practise, much to the disdain of their fellow sword-brothers abroad. THE FAMED BLADE OF ANAXTHEUS This famous blade is a bronze Gladius, with duck's head pommel. A fine but strong silver chain runs from the hilt to a wrist clasp. Twelve Humakti (all but one ducks!) participated in the lottery, of which eleven are still survive. Of the eleven, ten still remain faithful. The original winner of the sword, Master Glass (a superior trollkin, the only non-duck to participate in this lottery) was defeated in a death duel by Anaxtheus Ironbill who, until he won the sword, was a Humakti rune-drake of Quackford. His present whereabouts are unknown. Another of the original participants, now known as Piers Waxmoon, has since become apostate and his blessing has been revoked. Special Properties: *POW 22 Sever Spirit strikes any participant who forswears the *Oath* taken at the outset of the lottery (Piers Waxmoon was one very lucky drake!). *34 armour points. *The sword does double damage, after armour is accounted for. *The sword does quadruple damage (after armour) to head, chest, right arm and left leg hit locations (wow!). *The sword does 8-times normal damage (double double double damage!) after armour, when hitting humans and trolls in the hit locations specified above (like, wow!). ====================================================================== From: Michael O'Brien (c/o firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: A HARD LANDING By Michael O'Brien. )1990 All rights reserved. "Come on Murph old pal, you gotta sponsor me in. I can handle a blade as good as anyone, and I've always wanted to be a Humakti... ...So why've I been an Orlanthi all these years? Sucked me in with all that 'call of adventure' crap didn't they? Look, I realize I'm a hell of an ugly bastard right now, but no-one ever got blackballed from Humakt for havin' pimples. Besides, they reckon the rash'll be gone by Windsday next... ...How'd I know that? Bloody priests sent the Impests against me didn't they. That's why I want out of Orlanth. Pull up a pew Murph and I'll give you the full story... ...Nah, I won't sit down meself, they gave me piles too. "You know how we Orlanthi gotta do our annual six weeks workin' for the priests, well, last year I found meself fightin' Thanatari broo - got laid up with the Healers till Sacred Time shakin' off the Crud - and the year before that they had me down at the border sneakin' food an' stuff into Whitewall. This is back when there was talk that the Crimson Bat was comin' down to finish off them Volsaxi rebels. The most terrifyin' six weeks I ever spent in me life, Bat or no Bat. Well, the rebels are still there, and your priest's always got some broo to kill someplace, so this year I think to meself, there's gotta be some soft option I can take for me cult service where I don't have to put meself at risk. "That's how I line meself up for this job standin' guard in the Landing Room at the temple. "What could be easier?", thinks I. Standin' around all day watchin' out for the odd Storm Voice or Wind Lord teleport in. Six weeks hobnobbin' with the gentry, never findin' meself on the wrong end of a broo, what a breeze! "Started out all right, didn't it? Bein' holy week an' all, all of them Lords or priests were too busy makin' the winds blow to get themselves into trouble. I just stood around all day lookin' at the murals. Bloody nice paintin's they was too. Come Freezeday though, and the runies are off. It's only then that it dawns on me that the only time your priest or lord's gonna beam in s'when he's got more trouble than he can handle: and if a Wind Lord can't handle it, what hope have I? "First back is the Wind Voice Aleous, yeah the guy they burned last Windsday. Well, what was left of 'im. Stupid bastard went to do a deal with the Inhuman King. Beams in blackened to a crisp. Seems ol' snake-face didn't get the gist of what he was on about and torched him. I hollered for the medics of course, but there wasn't much even Chalana Arroy could do. "I'm down on the floor scrapin' up what's left of Aleous (yeah, I forgot to tell ya, I find out then that it's me who's gotta do the cleanin' up), when all of a sudden SPLAT! Thumpin' down next to me I see a great pile of iron, tin, silver an' stuff, spread flat over the floor. I have to look again before I realise there's a guy inside it! So, once more I holler for the meat-wagon, and they rush in, throw him on the stretcher and cart him off quick smart. "I got the full story from one of the medics later. It seems Ignatius Orvost was tryin' to notch up his seasonal quota of elves, when one shoots out his sylph from under him. Problem was, the crazy bugger was half-a-mile up when it happened. "No hassle", thinks Orvost just before he hits the ground, "I'll just D.I. out." Forgot that he was carryin' a heck of a lot of downward velocity didn't he?. Boy he hit that floor awful hard! My medic friend reckons it took the Healers and a tinsmith two hours to cut him out of his armour. Later that week a similar thing happened when "Horseface" Pandarus beams in at full-tilt on his warhorse. That's how those murals on the west wall got smashed off. "Now, I got great respect for them Healers (fixed me well and good after me run-in with them broo last year), but I wouldn't want to be one of 'em either. You know that party that set off to kill chaos in Snakepipe Hollow? Yeah, the one that I would'a been in if I hadn't lined up the Landing Room job. Well, it seems that they didn't get far into the 'pipe before they run smack into a stinkin' Walktapi. They set about destroyin' the thing, and all but their leader Caspian Vur remembers to hold their breath. Now, this Wind Drake Vur takes a gust o' gas up the beak and decides to bail out, takin' the whole party with him. This is fine I guess, except one of his Storm Bull pals has already cast his Berserk spell and appears in the Landing Room all itchin' for a fight. It took six Healers to calm him down, but not before he'd sliced up half his pals, split me shield in two and belted the plaster off the east wall. Another one of the Healers bought it when she bent down to give Vur mouth-to-beak resuscitation and copped a blast of second-hand walktapi gas. "O'course, the job did have its funny side now and then. Like late once when I'm on night shift and ol' randy Malcolm Thunderbrow pops in, trews round his ankles and backside bare to the moon. Now, he swore me to quiet, but let's just say he was "helpin' a junior initiate understand the deeper mysteries of the Orlanth cult" when her 'usband comes in and prefers he didn't. Some say the only reason fat Mal became an acolyte was 'cos Guided Teleport sure beat hidin' under the bed or escapin' through the privy door. "T'was 'bout the end of truth week and I'm near half-way through me cult service when I really stuffed things up though. Nothin's happened for near on a week, and I'm bored stiff thinkin' maybe fightin' headhunter broo weren't all that bad, when all of a sudden this Lunar guy teleports in, scimitar in one hand, a severed head in the other. Now, it don't take much nouse to work out that maybe this guy is Thanatar or somethin', and he's snicked off some poor sap of a Storm Voice's head and is usin' his spells to get around. So before he gets his bearin's I hit him, hard, and I hit him again, and again, 'til he stops movin'. Then I yell for the guard. What else could've I done? "Only then do I find out that this guy I've just creamed is an Orlanthi secret agent, who's managed to sneak in disguise into the Lunar camp to kill the commander. That's whose head it was. "Now old Leonidas the High Priest didn't take it too well, me killin' one of his best agents, particularly after the Healers couldn't get him back. Still, me intentions were honest - I'm told the suspicious bastard even went as far as askin' the divine to check me up - so Leonidas can't chuck the Wind Fists at me, thank Luck. Even so, he gave me the Impests... ...yeah, I know its rude to scratch yer arse in public, Murph, I've rubbed it raw this last week... ... and I've still gotta do six more days out at the tin mine before me cult service is up. "Anyway, come next Windsday I want out. Who wants to end up a Wind Lord if the Landing Room's all I got to look forward to? ..."So ya reckon you can get me inta Humakt, huh. Great!... ...Have I heard tell of your Rune Swords and their duellin'? Nah Murph, do tell... ====================================================================== From: MOB Subject: RuneQuest Revisited: Training (A version of this article appeared in TALES OF THE REACHING MOON #4.) INTORDUCTION In RQ II, Training was very expensive and protracted because, in all but Knowledge-based skills, characters had to succeed in an experience roll before they could train another 5% in a particular skill. In contrast, training in RQ III is extremely cheap and very fast: adventurers are able to train all their skills, including weapons skills, up to 75% in one go. Furthermore, in RQ II training could only be taught by Masters; teachers who had at least a 90% proficiency in the skill they taught. In RQ III however, any one may teach, as long as they have a higher percentage in the skill than their student. I propose a compromise between the two methods, in which players may still enjoy protracted training sessions (if they have the money), but only to certain skill "thresholds". TRAINING COSTS The official RQIII economics system is quite frankly stuffed: the huge difference in the price of armor and cult spirit magic is a good example (who'd spend 6750L on a suit of plate armour when you could buy *225* - I'll just write that again - *225* points of spirit magic for the same price! Honest!*) However, it's beyond the scope of this article to examine the economics problem in detail. I'll leave that for someone like Mikhail Gorbachev to sort out. What I suggest for training though, is to increase training expenses by 5, so that it now costs a normal instructor 600L. minimum per week to pay for his living expenses, guild fees, tithes, materials costs and so on. Instructors who have high opinions of themselves, or who are in demand, or who have pressing financial problems (such as paying "Protection" money) may charge higher than this amount, especially if they think that their clients can afford it. I always assume that cults offer half-price training to their members, in the four skills listed under "Initiate Membership: requirements" (see GODS OF GLORANTHA Cults Book). Some cults offer their members free training, usually on the condition they do cult service for an equivalent amount of time. *Based on the price given for a full suit of plate armour in RQIII Players Book, and the price quoted for cult spirit magic (30 pennies + 15p. per additional point of spell!) in Gods of Glorantha Cults Book, p.18. MASTERS Masters, teachers who have a 90% or greater proficiency in the skill they teach, enable their students to have a better gain roll and so usually charge more for the privilege. Whereas the gain roll from a training session with a non-Master is 1d6-2 (or a flat 2% add), students of Masters enjoy a 2d4-2 roll (or flat 3% add). Only Masters may join their respective Trade-Guilds as full-members; all those with skills below 90% become associate-members or are apprentices. When a character purchases training at a Guild or temple, he can reasonably expect to be instructed by a Master (unless he specifically asks for one of the cheaper associates). Private teachers offer no such guarantee. SKILL THRESHOLDS Any skill that can be raised by experience (denoted by a box beside the skill on the execrable RQ Adventurer sheets) may also be raised by training or research, but only to certain thresholds. To get beyond these thresholds, each skill must be raised over the threshold by an experience gain roll. Thresholds occur at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. Note that some skills cannot be trained beyond 75% anyway. For Example: When Coriander's Gladius attack percentage is calculated, it comes to 33% (25% base chance+ 08% Manipulation). Lucky Coriander has some spare cash for training, and spends enough to train his Gladius attack up to 50%. However, 50% is a threshold. Before he can further his training, Coriander has to cross this skills threshold by means of an experience gain roll. On an adventure, Coriander uses his weapon successfully and succeeds in an experience gain roll, raising his Gladius attack to 55%. He is now free to return to his instructor for more lessons, and if his cash holds out may continue to train all the way up to the next threshold at 75%. The same applies if Coriander decided to research the skill himself. POW GAIN I've included a slightly-modified POW gain procedure on the table below, this time a straight return to the RQ II system. In RQ III it's possible to succeed in a POW-gain roll (no mean feat once your up in the high teens!) but, because the die roll for the amount of POW gained is 1d3-1, not gain any POW at all! (true, you can always take the one point add). As all four of the RQ III magic systems require characters to be continuously expending permanent POW for various effects - divine spells, enchantments, creating fetches and familiars etc. - to have such a meagre method of gaining POW to me seems inconsistent, not mention unfair. IMPROVEMENT SUMMARY Method Die Roll Add Time EXPERIENCE 2d4 5 One adventure, plus approx. one game week. TRAINING: -Master (90%+) 2d4-2 3 Hours equal to skill %. -Non-Master 1d6-2 2 Hours equal to skill %. RESEARCH[1,2] 1d6-2 1 Hours equal to skill %. CHARACTERISTIC 1d3-1 none Current characteristic x 25 hours. POW GAIN (d100) 01-10...3 points One adventure, plus 11-40...2 points approx. one game week. 41-00...1 point 1. Must have had a successful experience increase roll. 2. "Thresholds" cannot be crossed by training or research: they must be crossed by means of an experience gain. 3. Some non-Master trainers may be even worse than the increase roll depicted here. To learn anything from a particularly bad instructor might require rolling 1d6-3. Such scope is up to the individual referee. 4. Characteristics may be improved by either training or research. WEAPON-MASTERS As said above, Masters have a 90% or greater proficiency in a particular skill. Being a Master has certain social and financial advantages: only they can join their respective Guild as a full member, and they charge higher prices for the goods they make or the skills they teach. In many cities, a weapon-master has a further benefit: the right to wear the weapons he has mastered in public. The advantages this brings is self-evident to any player who has been roughed-up by street toughs in PAVIS or similar city adventures. To become a registered weapons-master then, is good idea once one has the skill. In my campaign, currently based in the back-alleys of Nochet, anyone may attempt to become a registered weapons-master, regardless of skill. The test requires a deposit of 500L and a letter from your cult, employer, liege, etc. lauding your good conduct. To pass, the candidate fights a mock duel with another weapons-master, and must make 9 successful weapon attack rolls out of 10. A fumble means automatic failure: a critical success roll will counteract one miss. Of course, spells such as Bladesharp can't be used during the test. If the candidate succeeds, the weapons-master certificate is issued and half the deposit is returned. If he fails, he loses his deposit. Note that it is not necessary to have 90% skill to attempt the test. All you really need is the letter, 500L and a lot of luck. One character in my campaign whose broadsword attack was still in the low 70's underwent the test and passed, much to the envy of his fellow PCs! ====================================================================== 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: email@example.com ...!mcnc!unc!bell Request old articles by volume number and issue number.