Subject: InDigestibles, Volume 6, Number 12 RQDIGESTV06N12 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 firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: THE GORDAYAN 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 monastery. 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 away. 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. GORDAYAN CHARACTERISTICS STR 6d6+11 33 CON - -- SIZ 4d6+10 24 INT 2d4+2 07 DEX 2d6+2 09 POW 21+1d6* 24 APP awful -- AVERAGE WEAPON SR ATT DAMAGE PAR AP 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 will 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. HIT LOCATIONS: 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 email@example.com) 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 bullshit. 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 DRAMATIS PERSONAE 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. ------------------ Mathew ====================================================================== 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. I. OVERVIEW A. Rider Description B. Animal Description C. Habitat and Food D. Animal Breeding Cycle E. Family Organization II. INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY A. Method of Living B. Typical Group, Settlement or Camp Behavior C. Behavior 1. Typical, stereotyped 2. Inner motivation III. PAST A. Mythos B. History IV. CULTURE 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 V. MISCELLANEOUS ====================================================================== 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 RQIII. 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... ====================================================================== 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. 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