Bell Digest vol06p12.txt

Subject:  InDigestibles,  Volume 6,  Number 12


First Distribution:  August 7, 1991

This issue:
	The Gordayan					Jason Prince & MOB
	"I'm so tough I..."				MOB
	Circus based Scenario				Mathew Lowry
	Tribal Outline					MOB
	What there might be in Prax Pack		MOB
	Eldarad -- Another Perspective			Graeme Prowse
	Inspiration?  Greg Stafford and the		MOB
	  films of Herschell Gordon Lewis

From:  Jason Prince & MOB (c/o


History is written by the victors, and the fate of the vanquished is oft left
untold amidst the self-congratulation.  Thus it is only in an obscure footnote
of Pharaoh's official *History of the Building Wall War* that we read of the
decimation of General Alingans Wulinor's defeated XIIth Legion.  One in ten of
the survivors were, by the command of Appius Luxius (Lunar Provincial
Overseer), ordered to serve time in a Danfive Xaron punishment legion.  While
ultimate blame must be placed on the head of the Provincial Overseer himself,
General Alingans Wulinor was made the official scapegoat of the disaster and he
and his staff shared the sentence.

What the Holy Country account does not tell us is that of those unfortunate
enough to be decimated, a further one in ten (including the famed general
himself) were selected for an even more horrible fate.  Indeed, even the
skillful Lunar historians of the war could not devise a face-saving enough
explanation of Wulinor's fate, and whilst one baldly claims that he later
"accidently choked upon pickled herring's roe, perishing in a surfeit of
foolishness", others prefer to simply state that he died in the rout.

In actual fact, Wulinor and the others selected were transported in secret to
Alkoth, and were delivered by night to the gates of the White Crescent Rising
Monastery.  Lest prying eyes speak of what they saw, the coffle was disguised
as a chain-gang of captive Sartarite rebels, who are regularly herded into the

The monks of White Crescent Rising devote themselves to study and experiment on
a grand scale (see TALES OF THE REACHING MOON #2). Sequestered in their tower,
they feel unconstrained by conventional morality.  Consequently, the hapless
Lunar soldiers were subjected to hideous experimentation, not just physical,
but on psychical and spiritual levels also.  Sixteen years later (1621), the
perverted researches had come to fruition: the Gordayan were created and
delivered unto the infamous Lepenski Vur, one of the Lunar commanders in
occupied Heortland (and ironically, Alingans Wulinor's successor).

The Gordayan were fashioned at the behest of Vur (known also, ironically, as
the "Good Prince"; Vur is a illegitimate but acknowledged son of King Moriades
of Tarsh) to form part of his elite chaos shock troops.  Vur's flagrant use of
chaos has made him infamous among the common Lunar soldiers and their Orlanthi
foes alike, as has his brutal methods of stamping out discontent in the ranks
and foment in the villages.  Chaos troops are hard to control at the best of
times, and the Good Prince's twisted mind concluded that by turning disciplined
veterans into chaos corps, he could build a crack chaos regiment that would
crush the Orlanthi resistance once and for all.  That he could "volunteer" his
despised former C.O. to join this project only added to his pleasure.

Vur's plan almost succeeded: unfortunately, each of the engineered beings was
driven irrevocably insane by the process.  One particularly unhinged Gordayan
literally tore itself apart on the long journey south and in attempting to
drill them, two more were killed (along with a larger number of ordinary
troopers).  Lepenski Vur personally ran through another in frustration on the
parade ground before his rage was vented.  That night he drove two of those
left into the wilds; one down south along the Heortland coast, the other into
the uplands of lower Sartar.  That his human troops know they are out there
discourages them from deserting, and the atrocities Vur hopes his monsters will
commit will demoralize an already downtrodden populace.

The last Gordayan Lepenski Vur has kept, more as a pet than chaos-trooper.  For
the Good Prince believes that this one contains at least part of the psyche of
his former commander, Alingans Wulinor.  One of its three faces certainly has a
marked resemblance.  It is kept in a deep pit outside the general's villa in
Boldhome.  It is both a martial law decree and for Lepenski Vur's amusement
that luckless criminals are regularly thrown into the ditch.

Melded and wrought from the original Lunar soldiers, each Gordayan, and there
were at least seven, look like the parts of several humans, male and female,
fused and warped together.  Each maintains a basically anthropomorphic shape,
but a gnarled, twisted arm may end in multiple sets of hands.  Although each
has a bulbous head of several faces, minor body parts such as fingers, ear
lobes, genitalia or breasts may hang or protrude from any part of the body.
Faint tattoos bearing stylized Lunar symbols may be perceived across the
marred surface of their skin.

The personalities of those who were formed into the Gordayan are but shattered
remnants of the creature's mind.  Through exposure to the raw essence of chaos,
the monks successfully corrupted their minds to hate; yet they were
unsuccessful in their attempts to temper the Gordayans' feelings towards their
Lunar creators.  In fact, the monsters despise their creators more than
anything and are enraged by Lunar symbols.  On nights of the full moon, they
have been seen screaming and flailing at it, as if to destroy it or drive it

The Gordayan are touched by chaos, disorder and undeath, and need never sleep
nor rest.  They are immune to disease, poison and extremes of temperature.
Gordayan never eat their victims.

Like those who made them, they are firmly bound up in the Lunar cyclical magic.
On nights of the full moon, they behave as if Fanaticized.  During the half
moon phase, their abilities are unaffected.  On nights of the crescent moon,
they behave as if Demoralized.  During dark/dying periods Gordayan fall into a
stuporous malaise (treat as if Befuddled).

Of the seven sent to Roan-ur, three remain alive, including two at large in the
wild.  Who knows how many more of these horrors the perverted monks of Alkoth
have created, and for what purposes they may be used.

SCENARIO HOOKS *Village elders ask the adventurers to hunt down the horrid
beast that is mutilating and killing their stock.

*The Lunar provincial government also offers a modest bounty for the
apprehension of the chaos horror, in keeping with their efforts to ingratiate
themselves into the populace's favor.  The high command are unaware that the
Good Prince released the monsters on his own initiative, and may be forced to
remove him from his command if given evidence that he did so.  Lepenski Vur
will use all the chaotic force at his disposal to protect his position and
hide the truth from his superiors.

*Captured PC rebels may be thrown into Vur's pit to fight his pet Gordayan.
If he's feeling particularly magnanimous, the Good Prince might let the
criminal keep his hands, his ankle tendons or even his weapon.

*Adventurers working as Lunar soldiers or mercenaries may be ordered to
transport a Gordayan from one location (ie. the White Crescent Rising
Monastery in Alkoth) to another (Sartar or a similar troublespot).

*Wulinor's still-grieving widow has learned, by secret divination, that her
husband's spirit is not yet laid to rest.  Curiously, the cryptic response she
received indicated that her husband is not alive either.  The adventurers
(House Wulinor retainers/agents?) are dispatched to learn the full story.


 STR	6d6+11	 33	
 CON	-	 --	
 SIZ	4d6+10	24	
 INT	2d4+2	 07	
 DEX	2d6+2	 09	
 POW	21+1d6*	 24	
 APP	awful	 --

Breathx3	01	55%	Special		--	--
1H Sword*	06	85%	Weapon+3d6	85%	10
Throttle	06	65%	Special"	--	--
Bite x3		06	45%	1d4		--	--
Punch		06	75%	3d3+3d6		50	arm
Kick		06	70	1d6+1+3d6	45	leg

			Note: The Gordayan may use two of its attacks per
round, *This is a set figure which does	in addition to its breath attack.  not
fluctuate.  If a Gordayan casts any spell, it loses POW equal
to	 Each of the Gordayan's mouths may use its breath attack the number
of points in the spell. 	once per full turn.  The target must resist the
breath as
			if it were a knockback attack, equal to the Gordayan's
Move: 3			POW.  Furthermore, the victim must resist with his Hit
Points: current SIZ +4		Magic Points or suffer a soul-freezing blast of
magical Fatigue: n/a		energy which does 3d3 Disruption-like damage.
Magic Points: 24
			*Lepenski Vur's Gordayan is armed with a scimitar; the
			others will be wielding whatever they have found.

			"The Gordayan will grab at anyone in reach with its
			multi-handed arm and attempt to throttle him.  Match
			its STR against the target's.  Once pinned, the victim
			take 1d6 damage per round.  Armour will protect until
it 			is buckled beyond repair.  Meanwhile, the Gordayan will
be belting the enemy with its sword.

SKILLS: Sense Life 65%.

SPELLS: Each Gordayan knows scraps of spirit magic (1d6 points) that were once
known by the unfortunates who were combined to make the creature.  However, to
cast magic, the Gordayan must expend current POW.

LANGUAGES: Understand New Pelorian 35%; Gibber in New Pelorian 07%.

ARMOUR: Armouring enchantments (8+2d6 AP) protect each of the creature's hit
locations.  Each also has had its general hit points increased by 1d6+1 points.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Never surprised; Mind or Emotion-affecting spells have only
an 05% chance of success.

CHAOTIC FEATURES: Regenerates 1d6 hit points per melee round in random damaged
hit location (double this on nights of the full moon; cannot regenerate at all
during dying/dark phase); Incapable of walking backwards; Detect Life and
Detect Undead will *both* reveal the creature.


Area	Melee	Missile	AP/HP Right leg	01-04	01-03	15/10 Left
leg	05-08	04-06	15/10 Abdomen	09-11	07-10	15/10 Chest
12	11-15	15/12 Right arm	13-15	16-17	15/8 Left
arm	16-18	18-19	15/8 Head	19-20	 20	15/10


From: Mathew Lowry  (Submitted by Michael Barlow

Subject:  Circus based Scenario

I thought I'd share some NPC's from my dusty, forgotten notes from my dusty,
distant RQ II.5 campaign with you. I hope you find them useful as an 
idea-sparker. I have two so far, with a few coming later, but please mention
it somewhere in a.g.r if you want this sort of thing in the newsgroup,
otherwise I'll sulk and not bother-:)
This one's set in Glorantha, in a section detailed in 'Griffin Mountain'.
You shouldn't have too much trouble adapting. If you haven't got GM and you
are looking for a campaign setting, i highly recommend it, RQ or not.
	Here Goes!

Wipp Khoard & his Circus (set in Balazar, Glorantha)
The Circus hails from Tarsh, but as the invading Lunar Empire introduced the
sophistication and decadence of a more advanced culture into Tarsh, the Circus,
run by Issaries Merchant Kthareun Hertheron, became a little rustic. It began to
lose business, and looked like fading away with the failing health of Kthareun.
Then Wipp Khoard and his companions joined. Wipp is a lean, mean Orlanth 
initiate with just as much rank in Lanbril, God of Thieves, as in Orlanth. He 
and his friends had a few new acts which temporarily lifted their attendances, 
but soon enough the Circus began losing money. Part of the reason was that some
of the Old Guard didn't like the new acts, and disapproved of the close 
relationship Wipp forged with the Old Man. They didn't trust him, and left, and
soon enough Wipp and his friends dominated the acts. Naturally, they soon began
dominating policy too.

The Circus travels East to Balazar, an isolated region of Stone Age barbarians
loosely organised around three citadels:Elkoi, Trilus and Dykene (West to East).
The Lunar Empire had ignored Balazar on its push through Dragon Pass towards
the Ocean, until recently. Sick of the pesky barbarian raids on Lunar-occupied
Tarsh, the Lunars captured Elkoi, nearest Citadel, and installed a puppet there.

The Circus is there to make some money, look around and most of all RECRUIT. 
They have jumped ahead of the competition in Tarsh, none of whom have any
"mysterious savages from the primitive East", and Wipp has convinced most
that there will be many strange and wonderful acts they can pick up for a song.
What is more, he correctly saw that the Elkoi garrison of Lunar soldiers, bored
and paid well for their outpost garrison, welcomed the Circus like a gift from
the Moon, and they did a good season there. However, there was nothing in this 
area that they could really recruit. Bear in mind that some of the 'acts' that
Circuses such as these collect can be a bit morally unsound, or outright 

At this point Kthreun dies. It is up to GM to say whether Wipp had any hand in
this, but it should be unlikely. More likely would be that Wipp  saw the old 
man's health was bad, so he joined him and took him to a hole like Elkoi. Of
course, one of Wipp's less salubrious friends may have had something to do with
it, knowing he had Wipp's tacit approval, as long as he wasn't informed.
Some of the Old Guard, either friends or initiates of Kthareun, had stayed up 
until this point for the following motives:

1) They believed they had a future with the Circus, they should inherit an 
interest in it
2) Loyalty to the man. They don't trust Wipp and want to make sure Kthareun and
his family back in Tarsh are looked after.
3) Inertia
4) Miscellaneous

They were understandably upset when Kthareun's will transferred most control
to Wipp until it returned to his family. Wipp had convinced him that the only
way the Circus would survive would be with his leadership. 
Some of the remaining Old Guard left. The remainder below are
there for reasons (1) and (2). But let's have a look at them individually

Wipp & his Band:
Wipp Khoard:	Orlanth initiate & Lanbril initiate

Medium build, wiry, lightning reflexes, extremely handsome and personable. No 
real magic to speak of. Underneath this act he is extremely self-centred and 
only really looks after himself. He is extremely well skilled with various 
daggers, as this is the mainstay of his act. The climax of the show is when he 
invites a duel from the audience with wooden daggers, with wagers on the 
outcome. He also performs the standard knife throwing acts, and is a firly 
skiful horserider.
Wipp has an extremely strong personality, and has a small band
of followers of similar outlook. They follow him because with him
leading them they believe they'll strike it good soon. Wipp's main weaknesses
are greed and vanity. He is not someone who you should trust.

Gharen Urmall:	Personal friend of Wipp's, longtime member of his Band. Gharen 
is a lumbering bear of a man, yet despite his formidable size he is no fighter,
being reasonably clumsy. He's also pretty ugly. He is in fact a very good 
magician (If you have sorcery, he's probably a sorcerer, not a initiate). 
He is extremely loyal to Wipp, there is a genuine friendship between these two.
Apart from performing magic in the act, both as an act in itself and making sure
things move smoothly, Gharen also is Wipp's main administrative assistant and
general right hand man.

Merlow Freth:	Merlow is a new companion, and actually was their entry into
the Circus in the first place. He has a knack with animals, and when the 
previous animal handler left for the opposition, he got the job. From there
he got the rest in quickly. His act is in horses and the motley collection of
animals left behind by the previous handler. He was pretty down and out when
he met Wipp, because he is an incurable gambler. Wipp saved him from a tight
spot, what he doesn't realise is that Wipp had had his eye on him for a while.
		Merlow is your classic animal handler, and is not sure he really
should have got involved with Gharen and Wipp. However he has to admit his
circumstances have improved, and that he may discover some new and interesting
creatures in this strange land. For their part Wipp and Gharen need him for 
their Circus, and pay him well, but don't hold a great deal of loyalty to him.
They recognise that he has an innate sense of honesty, so they don't let him in
on many of their long term plans or baser motives.

There are also one or two lackeys that have thrown in their lot with Wipp. If
you like you could give Wipp a romantic interest. If from within the original 
Circus she'll feel a bit torn between doubt of Wipp's character and his
considerable charm. I didn't because in the scenario I had planned for these 
guys there was no scope for her. Call me sexist -:)

The Old Guard:
Persephone Wrellian:	Persephone was adopted by Kthareun, and enjoyed
the status of his daughter in most ways. She loved the old man, and knows she
has a future with his relatives back in Tarsh. She also has a strong loyalty
to the Circus, and is determined to bring the Circus back home a success.
	She is the primary choreographer, dancer and athlete. She is extremely
strong and dextrous, average looking (she uses good makeup and costuming on 
stage), and reasonably intelligent. Her act is a combination of music, dance
and trapeze skills, and, considering she basically taught herself, she's damn
good. She leads another 6 musicians, dancers and trapeze artists in the Circus.
She is well loved by almost all of the Circus.
	She doesn't trust Wipp yet, but she's determined to give him a chance.
So far she has to admit the Elkoi trip was a financial success, and that they
need more acts, she just hopes that when they get back to civilization Wipp
will get her the training and people she needs to improve her act. She used to
be close to the decisionmaking process, and Wipp is clever enough to not exclude
her from having a say, but she's unsure whether her say is heeded or not.
	If you are so inclined, there's almost certainly going to be someone 
in love with her, probably one of the dancer troupe who can't really dance.
She may be interested too in someone, possible Merlow.

Janrus Herfter: (God I hate making up names!)
		Janrus was the Caravan Leader, orgnaising all of the logistics
required in moving a six wagon, 30 horse caravan. He hired and fired most of the
non-actors, from guards to handlers to cooks to wagoneers. He is a short, 
strong, brutish looking man of average IQ who has a reputation for being 
trustworthy, tough but fair, unimaginitive but competent.
Kthareun was a personal friend, and he hates Wipp's guts. A gut reaction he
cannot explain, and he is not an eloquent or politically-minded man. So far he
has bided his time, realiseing that Kthareun trusted him, and that he hasn't
done a bad job. But Janrus is not sure of Wipp's motives, particularly as it
looks as though he has begun to lose control over some aspects of running
the caravan. Wipp has charmed most of the others so he has kept
his suspicions to himself.
	Janrus' personal interests are running caravans and drinking as many
new and interesting beers as possible on his time off. He particularly enjoys
Troll drinks. Basically you can give him whatever interest you feel like, he's
that sort of NPC.

Miscellaneous Personae
A caravan, even a small one, swarms with people. There are wagoneers, guards,
cooks, riders, errand boys and other oddbods. What is more, the Circus itself
will have clowns, riders, musicians, popcorn salespeople, athletes, magicians,
assistants etc etc. Many oif these jobs are duplicated. Wipp, for instance,
rides with the other riders in merlow's part of the show. 
Also, Wipp collected a small entourage of Tarshites on his way to Balazar. There
will always be a smalltime merchant, crook, adventurer, criminal, escaped slave
etc willing to travelk with a caravan into a new land. Wipp has leased out 
stalls to a couple of traders from Tarsh, employed a couple of mercenaries
for guards, perhaps even picked up a slave or two for running errands or 
whatever. There will doubtless be a couple of hookers along for the ride as 
well. Basically, the opportunities are limitless for adventures, scenario
hooks and so on. Go for it.



From: MOB

Subject: Tribal Outline

This overview is taken from correspondence with Greg Stafford and
Sandy Petersen, some years ago.  It may be helpful to those of you who
interested in writing about the tribes of Prax, Pent or wherever.

		A. Rider Description
		B. Animal Description
		C. Habitat and Food
		D. Animal Breeding Cycle
		E. Family Organization

		A. Method of Living
		B. Typical Group, Settlement or Camp Behavior
		C. Behavior
		    1. Typical, stereotyped
		    2. Inner motivation

		A. Mythos
		B. History

		A. Level of:
		    1. Manufacture
		    2. Trade
		    3. Art, Dress, etc.
		B. Social Customs
		C. Government
		D. Likes and Dislikes
		E. Preferred Spells:
		    1. Spirit
		    2. Divine
		    3. Special Tribal Spells



From: MOB

Subject: What there might be in Prax Pack

Some Idle Speculation From The Creature Whose Initials Are M.O.B.

What's going to be in PRAX PACK?  I don't know, but I can guess.
First of all, I reckon PRAX will be a source pack (like Elder
Secrets), rather than a scenario pack (such as Snakepipe Hollow).  If
my guess is correct, then I expect the contents to be something along
these lines.

CULTS: The Praxian Cults are Eiritha, Foundchild, Gagarth, Storm Bull,
Waha. Ergo, I imagine there will be a full cult-write up on all these
religions, much like the write-up of Cacaodemon and Bloody Tusk in
Elder Secrets.

SPIRIT CULTS: Here's a list of all the Praxian spirit cults I can
think of: Brother Dog, Dew Woman, Evening Star, Father of
Independents, Frog Woman, Good Shepherd, Hyena, Lightning Boy,
Mistress Clam, Morning Star, Pole Star, Rainbow Girl, Raven, River
Horse, Ronance, Sun Hawk, Three Bean Circus, Thunder Bird, White
Princess.  I hope there will be some information on all of these in
PRAX PACK too, perhaps along the lines of the cult descriptions in
Gods of Glorantha.

TRIBES: The main tribes of Prax - Sable, Bison, Impala, High Llama and
Morokanth - will no doubt receive comprehensive coverage.  The
Genertela Book tells us there are about a dozen more independent
tribes; hopefully they will be described too.  These smaller tribes
could include Baboons, Basmoli Berserks, Bolo Lizards, Cannibal Cult,
Agimori, Ostrich, Rhinoceros, Unicorn, Zebra and others.

CREATURES OF PRAX: Flora and fauna peculiar to Prax includes
alticamelus, giant baboon, bison, bolo lizard, bullstitch, buzzard,
chaos gas, herd men, hyena, impala, jackrabbit, morokanth, newtlings,
ostrich, rhinoceros, sable, skullbush, spicegrass, whirvlish.  Will
PRAX PACK feature stats and descriptions of these? Hope so.

SPECIAL ENCOUNTERS: We find the Devil's Hand, Five Great Treasures,
Hidden or Lost Tribes, Medicine Bundles and perhaps even the Eternal
Battle in PRAX PACK.  The monster Cwim is another Praxian landmark,
but was covered in Elder Secrets so it possibly won't appear again.
(Then again, the same cult of Kyger Litor write-up has been in *three*
supplements already, so maybe Cwim will rear its ugly head again!)


From:  Graeme Prowse (c/o MOB c/o Tim Leask...)

Subject:  Eldarad -- Another Perspective

This article is adapted from a letter sent to Nick Atlas, the
RuneQuest Editor at Avalon Hill on 28/4/1991.

I fairly recently acquired a copy of the latest release for RuneQuest
(RQ) i.e. "Eldarad The Lost City".  This is my reaction about the
release.  This feedback takes the form of my impressions of reading
the whole supplement, start to finish.  At least, that was my intent.

To give you some idea of my background, I have played RQ since 1984,
and own copies of almost all published information about both RQII and

Firstly, the cover/map.  The cover artwork is very impressive,
conveying an air of mystery about the grim figure striding out of the
mist.  However, there seems to be no connection between the figure and
a lost city.  Where is it?  Is the man looking for it?  Is he lost?

>MOB: If you look very carefully on the back cover, you can just pick
out what look like ruins, obscured by the very badly placed
advertising hype slapped right over it.  Other writing on the back
cover proclaims that Eldarad was "created and developed by CHAOSIUM
Inc."  Like the claim on the back cover of Daughters of Darkness that
Daughters contains NINE scenarios, this too is misleading.  CHAOSIUM
"created and developed" the original RuneQuest system: it had
*nothing* to do with Eldarad at all, though this is not the impression
given.  >

The description of the supplement on the back cover states that
"multitudes" have come to Eldarad to seek their fame and fortune.  If
the city is truly "lost", as the title states, how did so many people
get there?  The basic inconsistency strikes at the very base of the
reasoning behind the supplement, which appears to be a large lost
city, waiting to be plundered by a group of hardy fortune-seekers.

Opening up the cover, maps of the Artisan's Quarter and the Slums are
seen.  These appear to be fairly well thought-out and eminently
useable.  Minor quibbles that occur to me include:

1. A ruin-grading system similar in concept to the one used in the RQ2
supplement "Big Rubble" may have had application here.  Many of the
people who play RQ do so for the realism that it provides.  This gives
scenario/supplement writers a high standard to aim for.  Breaking down
ruins into "useable" and "unuseable" seems a bit too simplistic.  I'm
sure that CHAOSIUM would have allowed the use of the rubble grading
system in Eldarad.  In contrast, the random character charts have
*five* different levels of ruins.  Consistency is a necessary part of
any good supplement.

2. Perhaps the two maps could have been combined into one.  This would
have made tracking the movement of player characters easier.

The main map is quite well-executed, and easily gives the GM the
overall feel for the city and what general areas it contains.

The map of the Chaos Quarter and Lost Quarter is very poorly done.  It
appears to be hastily put together, and nowhere near the quality of
the other maps.  The main map gives much better quality information
about these areas.  The location lists could have perhaps been
incorporated into the main map.

A basic problem that reduces the usefulness of all the maps
considerably is that *none* of them has a scale of distance that can
be related to any other.  For instance the main map shows the Artisans
Quarter to be approximately 1.5 kms in size east-west, the specific
map of that quarter shows it be over 3 kms wide, whilst the CHaos/Lost
Quarter map shows it be less than half a km wide!  These maps should
flow together better than this.  At this point I began to question
whether the supplement was proofread at all.  A GM of Eldarad cannot
trust the published maps at all without recalibrating the scales and
proofreading any of the published adventures to confirm the accuracy
of distances.

The "wandering monster" charts are fairly straightforward.  Presumably
the books have backup information for these encounters, such as
frequency and general description of the encounter (such as appeared
in the "RuneQuest Cities" book).  I was surprised at the frequency of
encounters in the Chaos Garden - one every melee round.  That equates
to one every ten seconds!  This raises the question: if there are that
many of them that a party encounters some every ten seconds why
haven't the chaos hordes put the whole city to the sword (or at least
taken over) ?  Even five Death Lords and their followers would be
hard-pressed to survive, let alone clear the area of chaos.

The "Lands Beyond" map is physically of high quality, and shows a
number of places that the name alone would lure an intrepid adventurer
to explore their mysteries.  The fact that there appears to be three
established trade routes gives me the impression that the city is not
even misplaced, let alone lost!

	[The Land that Time Temporarily Mislaid? --ACB]

The "City Book" and "Adventures Book" appear in the by-now familiar
low-quality and low-durability paper cover.  Surely thick cardboard
doesn't cost that much!

The "City Book".  An index on the back cover is appreciated.  The
artwork is a slight improvement on recent offerings.  Perhaps some
smaller drawings could also have been used to break up the slabs of
text.  This is especially apparent as all the maps have been placed in
a separate book.

Page One.  The first sentence blows away the myth about the city being
at all lost.  The rest of the first paragraph is nonsensical.  If the
"City Dwellers" were that keen on death and the afterlife, why don't
their tombs reflect this, and provide clues about "their habits,
languages, and even their appearance"?

It would, quite frankly, be impossible to place Eldarad into
Glorantha.  Any city that was "famous worldwide" (quote from page one,
line one) would have to figure prominently in either or both of the
history of Glorantha, or in AH's supplement 8 "Glorantha:Genertela".
As is patently obvious, this is not the case.  Wouldn't the God
Learners have at least visited the place during their long years of
domination.  The "unnamed sea" to the north of Peloria is actually
named the White Sea, as any map of Glorantha will tell you.

The maps on page two are so basic in concept that any GM with the
ability to hold a pencil could have coped admirably without the
prompting provided.

The history/development section is unlikely to be used by anyone.  Any
GM who tries to fit Eldarad into his/her campaign will have his/her
own general history of the world and will continue to use it.
Glorantha obviously has its own history, into which Eldarad does not
fit.  The tone of this history reads like an early AD&D module - it is
superficial and no other releases for RQ has a compatible background.
For example, where did the trolls that Boarn allied with come from,
and why did they build and then abandon their temples in the city,
especially as they are still living in the city?

At this point I gave up on Eldarad, and decided that it wasn't worth
the effort that would be required to run it properly.

Overall, Eldarad appears to have been an attempt to follow the format
used in the RQII supplement "Griffin Mountain".  However, it is not as
complete, as well thought-out, or as well put together.

Whilst the continued viability of RQ requires that new material be
published on a regular basis, poor quality releases serve only to
damage the credibility and reputation that RQ has gained over the last
dozen years.  Whilst I realize that Nick Atlas has only been in his
job for a short time, he must be more stringent with his publishing
guidelines in future.

>MOB: Nick Atlas has actually been employed at AH for over year,
plenty of time to bring out the submissions guidelines sheet that
promising freelancers have been crying out for since AH took over RQ.

Avalon Hill should perhaps consider releasing updated supplements
originally published in RQII, such as an expanded "Borderlands", or
completing Prax Pack or Pent PAck, both of which have been rumoured
for well over a year.

>MOB: As I mentioned in an earlier article (*Please insert relevant
Vol. No. here Andrew*), Greg Stafford's Prax Pack is likely to appear
soon.  I have no news on Pent.  I agree with Graeme that AH should
consider re-releasing the supplements from RQII, which are otherwise
unobtainable now.  However, this should not be at the expense of new
material: there should be an equitable balance, perhaps 1 reprint a
year and 3 new, but bloody good, releases a year.  >

As I do not wish to be seen as merely casting harsh stones of
criticism without attempting to create something better, I have asked
Nick Atlas to send me a copy of their writers' guidelines and details
of any current projects which need submissions.  As of 1/7/1991 I have
not yet received a reply.

>MOB: Once again I must stress that if you want to see RQ survive and
prosper, you've got to let AH know that there are people out there who
still care.  Graeme's letter being a case in point.  Give AH *your*
point of view!  The people to write to are Nick Atlas, RQ Editor, and,
even better, Jack Dott, President of the company.  You can find the
address of Avalon Hill on the front cover of all their RQ books, but
here it is again in case you haven't got it:

Nick Atlas, 		Jack Dott, 
RuneQuest Editor	President

THE AVALON HILL GAME COMPANY 4517 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214
United States of America.

Fax Number: 301-254-0991

You are welcome to cite anything of mine you may read in RQ DIGEST,
but please do not refer to me by name in your letters!  Thanks.  >


From:  MOB

Subject:  Inspiration?  Greg Stafford and the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis

Glorantha is essentially Greg Stafford's creation.  His inspiration
comes from a variety of sources, including the Norse Sagas.  Some of
his inspiration is less exalted, however.  Take the Cult of the Black
Sun in TROLL GODS (co-authored by Sandy Petersen).  This religion has
a beautifully detailed mythological rationale, yet the main activity
of the worshippers consists of capturing all manner of beings,
chopping them up and cooking them in a great stew of mixed body
organs, then devouring it.  To devotees of bad films the derivation
from the works of Herschell Gordon Lewis is obvious.

Lewis, also known as the "Godfather of Gore", produced such
appallingly gruesome films as "Blood Feast" and "Two Thousand Maniacs"
, whose plotlines are not unlike what the Black Sun worshippers get up
to.  Is it as coincidence then, that one of the Black Sun divine magic
spells is called "Blood Feast", and the spirits who serve the priests
of the cult are called "The Two Thousand Maniacs"?

Another parallel may be found with the 1970 Herschell Gordon Lewis
film "The Wizard of Gore" and the Black Sun spirit magic spell, "False
Healing".  In "The Wizard of Gore" , an evil magician performs magic
tricks on people (such as cutting a woman open with a chainsaw), but
they leave the stage unhurt.  Sometime later though, all the damage
inflicted on them suddenly appears, causing them to die horribly.  The
Black Sun spell "False healing" produces a similar effect: the target
is apparently healed, but when the spell expires, the damage
reappears.  Priests of the associated cult Blood Sun are known as "The
Wizards of Gore".

I have personally never seen any of the aforementioned films (nor
particularly want to).  The connection was made after reading the
TROLL GODS entry sometime after watching Jonathon Ross's "Incredibly
Strange Picture Show" (shown on British TV's Channel Four; Channel 28
here Down Under), which featured Lewis along with such other
immortally bad film-makers as Ray Dennis Steckler ("The Incredibly
Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Became Mixed-Up
Zombies") , Russ Meyer ("Beyond the Valley of the Dolls") , and the
legendary Edward D. Wood Jr. ("Plan 9 From Outer Space").  For more
information see also THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARDS by Harry & Michael
Medved (Angus & Robertson 1980), in which Lewis earns a nomination for
"Worst Director of All Time."

I put all this to Greg, and received this reply (which I quote with
his permission):

"As for the Cult of the Black Sun, I think you are probably right, but
can only confirm it by extraction.  I wrote up some material about the
cult in general, modelling it somewhat on an Aztec model of the
universe which totally reverses the meaning of shamanic inner
initiation to be a death cult.  But Sandy Petersen wrote up the cult.
Sandy is a great fan of grade-Z horror films.  I can only conclude
your research is correct.  You can check with Sandy, too, of course."

So I did check with Sandy, and he confirmed my suspicions!  Who knows
what else will come out of this research: that the cult of Donandar is
based on "The Sound of Music", Uleria on "Debby Does Dallas?", the
possibilities are endless...

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