Subject: A Rune with a View, Volume 7, Number 2 RQDIGESTV07N02 First Distribution: September 22, 1991 This issue: Reality-Based Societies for RuneQuest Martin Crim RQ Combat Additions Bruce Mason Eurmal Shrines and the Things They Do! Maurice Beyke Best Creatures for Familiars Martin Crim Personalities of Glorantha MOB and Trevor Ackerly ====================================================================== From: Martin Crim
Subject: REALITY-BASED SOCIETIES FOR RUNEQUEST The Domesday Book presents a surprisingly clear view of English culture in 1086. In Domesday: A Search for the Roots of England, Michael Wood has written an accessible overview of Domesday and the scholarship which has interpreted it. This gives us a realistic historical model for so-called civilized cultures in RuneQuest. With some modification, this model will fit societies on the border between civilized and barbarian cultures. Domesday surveyed a society that was still coping with the effect of a devastating conquest. At the same time, it had an established bureaucracy that could collect enormous tax revenues efficiently. Tax revenues, in fact, motivated the compilation of Domesday. The table below gives a mixture of actual and projected population figures. The figures for rural laymen are actual; the numbers for the others are scholarly estimates. Each percentage point counts approximately 3250 men. Because Domesday only counted men, the numbers should be applied to total population figures with care. Scholars have suggested an average family size of 4.68, based on a survey from around A.D. 1200. The discussion after the table provides some interpretation to the meaning of the various social class terms, and sets forth possible bases for land tenure in a magical landscape. Class/City Percent D100 Comment villeins 33 01-33 unfree peasant landholders bordars 25 34-58 like villeins, with less land cottars 2 59-60 ditto, with even less slaves 9 61-69 chattel property of landlords freemen 4 70-73 relatively free landholders sokemen 7 74-80 similar to freemen noblemen 2 81-82 baronial and knightly classes clergy 5 83-87 priests and monks miscellaneous rural workers 2 88-89 craftsmen, day laborers, etc. London 2 90-91 population about 25,000* Winchester/York 1 92 population about 6000* each 4 next cities 1 93 population 4000-5000* each 20 next cities 4 94-97 population 2000-4000* each 25 towns 1 98 population 500-2000* each 80 villages 2 99-00 population less than 500* each *counts men, women, and children Land is much more than property. That was true in the middle ages, and is still true today. Land in the middle ages defined social class, living conditions, and almost every other aspect of life. An understanding of land customs deepens any depiction of medieval or pseudo-medieval culture. Villeins, bordars, and cottars owned land, but owed rent in some combination of kind, money, and labor. The usual pattern involved duties of "boon-work" on the lord's land a given number of days per week: usually two or three. The distinctions between the unfree classes were based on amount of land held. Villeins normally held between 30 and 100 acres of plow land. (At the time of the Conquest, an acre was a fairly loose measure of land, equal to a day's plowing.) Bordars held between 4 and 30 acres of plow land. Cottars held 4 acres or less, sometimes as little as a garden plot. All peasants kept sheep, and many kept pigs and cattle. Pairs of oxen provided the energy for plowing. Unfree peasants could not sell their land without their lord's permission. In practice, unfree peasants could not sell their land at all. However, they still owned it, that is, had property rights in it. If his landlord or a stranger dispossessed him, a peasant could seek redress in court. England's jury system ensured a relatively fair hearing. Freemen and sokemen differed from unfree peasants in being able to sell or give away their land if they wished. They led much the same way of life as unfree peasants: performing duties for a landlord, including plowing, herding, and cutting wood. Being a freeholder or sokeman implied nothing about the size of one's holding. Some freeholders held less than an acre. Noblemen and clergy formed the landlord classes. The greatest noblemen of William's time were almost all Normans, but many of the lower noblemen were Saxons or Scandinavian English. Eleven hundred "chief tenants" held large grants of land directly from the king. These included dukes, earls, barons, and royal office holders. They owed feudal duties directly to the king, the most important being loyalty and knight-service (sixty days military service per year). Six thousand "sub-tenants" held land from the chief tenants. Sub-tenants held at least enough land for a manor. They owed loyalty and knight-service to their lords. Slaves and unfree peasants worked the landlords' lands. Under William's laws, every man had to have a lord. Thus, all the peasants held their lands from a chief tenant, sub- tenant, or some church or monastery. This feudal hierarchy ensured that every man could be brought to justice, and every man paid his share of the taxes. Bishops and abbots administered most of the church's lands. They collected rents and administered justice over about a third of the land in England. The closest modern parallel to feudal land customs arises in certain planned communities. When you buy a new house or condominium, you incur both positive and negative obligations. Negative obligations include complying with restrictions on the height of your house, the placement of fences, and so on. Positive obligations often include paying a certain amount of money each year to your property owner's association. When you sell your land, the buyer has to pay the annual dues and comply with all the restrictions contained in your deed. Similarly, one who inherited land from a villein held it in villenage (that is, owed villein duties to the landlord). If the villein managed to grow rich enough to buy a freehold, he was a freeholder only as to that land and its lord, and remained a villein as to his original land. The obligations stayed with the land until a cataclysm like the Black Death remolded society. Anyone convicted of felony forfeited his lands to his lord. The lord could thus hold lands in villenage, but he would hold them from himself, and thus not owe any villein duties. When the lord transfered the land to someone else, that person would owe villein duties to the lord. Note that the above table does not break down society by trade or profession. Tradesmen were rare. Cottage industry produced most worked goods. Lowland peasants did not specialize in plowing, herding, or fishing, but practiced a little of each. In the highlands, some specialized in herding because farming was impossible. The only professionals were the clergy, who monopolized all the learning available. Unfortunately, little historical evidence guides us to an understanding of city dwellers of the time. Domesday did not record city dwellers. To adapt these concepts to a fantasy setting, one needs to imagine a society molded by all the forces that make ours, with the additional factor of demonstrable magic. Let us start with the lowest level of daily life and move up. The peasant still has to work his land to make it bear. Magical blessings may eliminate some of the risks, but the vast majority of laborers must plow their fields using oxen. By what units would Gloranthans measure land? The acre is a natural measurement of land. However, the amount of land a man can plow in one day varies with the type of plow and condition of the soil. Furthermore, the Romans used a standard measure different from the acre, and we can expect Roman analogues in fantasy worlds to use standard measures also. The most obvious standard measure of land requires only the possession of a spell like Light, which can create an effect anywhere. A square 50 meters on a side--the range of a spirit spell--contains approximately .62 standard acre or 1/4 hectare. If you have visible spell effects in your game, you can use any spell to measure off a spell square. If you do not, appropriate spells include Darkwall, Detect Magic, Detect (Substance), Ignite, Lantern, Light, Lightwall, and Second Sight. With the darkness and light spells, the caster simply throws the spell as far as he can. With the detects and Second Sight, a confederate starts well beyond spell range and walks forward until the user can see his aura. Nearly all farmer women belong to Ernalda, Dendara, or a Grain Goddess cult. Thus, they have access to Second Sight. The square is the sacred Earth symbol, so square fields 50 x 50 meters must predominate at least in Esrolia. We will call this unit an earth square. The Lodril spell Earthwarm affects one earth square. Thus, Pelorians usually lay out their frost-sensitive crops, like orchards and vineyards, in earth squares. The Bless Crops spell obliquely refers to the acre ("an area of ground equivalent to that which a farmer can plow in a day"). If we assume that farmers cheat a little when the priestess gives them a Bless Crops, they should be able to plow two earth squares in a day. Techniques of cheating include casting Endurance, Strength, or Vigor on the oxen, with Endurance being the most effective. Mobility does not work, because it does not affect the plow. Perhaps the Barntar cult teaches Endurance. Lodril, another male farmer cult, teaches it. Thus, a Gloranthan standard acre would equal two earth squares. In Yelmic lands, another measure of land is the Sunripen circle. This is a variable area, because the spell affects a circle with radius of 10 meters per point of spell. Each circle must have a different priest cast the spell. Old priests who have specialized in this spell might have a 100 meter radius circle. Most priests will have only a 10 or 20 meter radius circle. Because this spell affects a relatively small area, priests would probably cast it on only the most valuable crops, like fruit trees or grape vines. It thus conflicts with, or at least overlaps in purpose with, the Lodrili earth squares. Malkioni, with their sorcery, have a greater flexibility than polytheists in measuring land. Their spells have the potential for greater ranges, but only apprentices and higher can use these greater ranges. Common folk can only cast 10 meter range spells. They could cast five successive 10 meters spells to trace out one side of an earth square. A specialist, however, could more simply delineate a field using a higher range spell. A field 160 meters by 20 meters (or 320 x 10) contains .82 standard acre, and could serve as a unit of measurement in the densely-populated West. Spells with visible effects include Animate (Substance), Fly, Form/Set (Substance), Glow, Mystic Vision (used much like Second Sight), Phantom (Sight, Touch), Sight Projection, and Sense (Substance). Note that Malkioni cities, towns, and castles tend to be circular, to take advantage of the Protective Circle spell. Anyone running a Kralorelan campaign should research Chinese geomancy, an art and science readily transferable to Glorantha. Magic affects landholders' duties in pagan society by strengthening the policy toward religious involvement. Societies in general, and noblemen and priests in particular, will pressure peasants to maintain good standing in their temples. Good standing maintains the temple size, which governs spell availability. Some lords might require membership in their favored cult as a duty incident to holding land. Temple landlords could also require membership. Malkioni lords would care less about such matters, being content so long as they receive their feudal dues. This enables the lower classes to persist in paganism. Magical rituals bind and unbind men from the soil. To transfer a plot, the giver and receiver must travel to it. There, the giver symbolically presents the land to the receiver by handing over a clod of earth and a tree branch or stalk of grain. By properly evoking the right gods, spirits, or saints, they can create or end rights and duties in the land. (The two most common transfers are subinfeudation, where the receiver becomes the vassal of the giver, and a simple land sale.) Someone must make a successful Ceremony roll, so priests often officiate. A failed roll forces the participants to wait for another auspicious date. Fumbles and Criticals have no special effect. Modifiers for the magical influence of a date follow the table below. TYPE OF DAY MODIFIER Extremely auspicious (e.g., Clayday/Mobility/Earth) +25 Auspicious (e.g., Clayday/any/Earth) +10 Normal none Inauspicious (e.g., Windsday, or Storm Season) -10 Extremely inauspicious (e.g., Windsday/any/Storm) -25 Anyone who takes land without a ceremony is a mere tenant at will, subject to dispossession by anyone. However, someone who takes previously unowned land can establish his rights by proper sacrifices to the guardian spirit or saint. ====================================================================== From: Bruce Mason Subject: R.Q. Combat additions At the risk of getting too involved with rules-lawyering here's something I wrote a couple of months ago for no very good reason. Somebody might find it useful or interesting. This is my attempt at muddying the RQ combat waters. They form part of a whole raft of changes that I've made since I first started playing RQ3 backing in 1984 --- when it cost L38. The basic premise of the changes is not to make the system more realistic but to make it more dramatic. Combat systems tend to enforce certain strategies on characters out of sheer survival instinct. Rather than base my ideas on the findings of medieval re-enactment societies I base them on films and books. Obviously no combat system will ever be able to handle fights from _Princess Bride_ to _Excalibur_ equally well and be playable with just a few dice. However it should be able to enforce certain motifs, cliches if you like. You want to be able to play a quicksilver swordsman, a foaming barbarian or a knight in white plate and feel like you're doing so. These are some of the rules that I use to add to that feel. * Encumberance and Strike Rank. The basic premise is that people in lots of armour carrying 3 months worth of trail possessions on their back (ie.\ with high enc.) have to overcome more inertia. So a rule of thumb is: For each multiple of ENC in excess of STR a character is carrying they must add one to their DEX SRM. So, someone who is STR 10 can carry up to 10 ENC without penalty. 11--20 ENC adds 1 to DEX SRM, 21--30 adds 2 and so on. * Fatigue and Strike Rank. Someone who is tired, knackered shagged out, dead, whatever also takes a long time to muster the energy for an attack. So, for each amount of negative FPs equal or less to a multiple of their STR a character must add 1 to their DEX SRM. Example, someone who is STR 10: on -1 to -10FPs adds 1 to their DEX SRM, -11 to -20 adds 2 and so on. These two rules add penalties to wearing excessive amounts of armour. An average human being (STR 10, 21FPs) wearing a suit of plate (30 ENC) is going to be suffering a -4 adjustment to his DEX SRM. This does have the counterintuitive effect of meaning that he can attack with a 2H long spear (DEX 3 SIZ 2 Weapon 1 adjustment +4) but not a dagger --- not enough strike ranks in the melee round. The alternative is to have ENC effect skill levels which I don't personally like. This way, if you stick two identical characters against each other: one lightly armoured and relying on dodge, the other heavily armoured and going for brute force you give the lightly armoured the benefit of first strike and the armoured one the benefit of 6 points of armour. Seems fair to me. This method also gives you the chance to get rid of the fall asleep when you reach your negative fatigue points level. Instead you get slower and slower and slower... Why not just use a flat rate figure (say 10) rather than STR to simplify above calculations? It would be easier but the system above pro-rates for larger characters. Trolls have enough problems already. To slightly counterbalance the above rules and to add a couple of more combat options I also propose the following. Storm Bull cultists will love them. * Rush attack. For those occasions when you really *can't* afford to wait for your normal strike rank this is just what you have been waiting for. With this type of attack you SR is based on SIZ SRM plus Weapon SRM and your DEX SRM is ignored. The penalty --- well a rush attack, like an attack on the run, counts as two actions. Fools rush in but don't get to parry. Basically this is an attack based around brute force rather than finesse. Damned useful for those times when your DEX SRM modifier is through the roof due to encumberance and fatigue. * Overwhelming rush attack. For when you really want to *hurt* that 10ft scorpion man with +8pt skin. Basically just like a rush attack (SR = SIZ SRM + Weapon SRM) but you get to step your damage bonus up one, ie.\ zilch becomes +d4, +d4 becomes +d6 and so on. The disadvantages? Well like rush, it'll be your only action that round plus, you lose an extra FP for each ORA you perform above and beyond the normal assessment for the round. I'm thinking in terms of the various _Excalibur_ fight scenes here where two armoured behemoths hammer at each other beyond all normal limits of endurance and sanity. What about 100%+? Yes, you can split rush attacks (both types). I would say that all opponents have to be within the move rating of the attacker, ie. within 3m for a human. I would also say 1 SR separates each attack. And don't forget for an ORA you lose an extra FP for *each* attack you make. Of course, if you're Beserk why worry about FPs and you weren't going to parry anyway were you? And if you're Beserk you really want to hit first and make sure they stay down. Some notes on splitting attacks generally. Rules say, you have to attack different targets --- can't hit the same man twice. This is one way to feint in RQ: you attack the air near a person once and the person himself once. That is to say one attack is a feint. Of course the enemy doesn't know that and is liable to throw that precious parry away, leaving himself wide open. How do you defend against a feint? You can hope. You can guess which one to parry. One games system possibility is to try to ``read'' the attack. This adds a SR to your normal attack rank and you then should try to do a POW vs POW roll to try to figure it out. (Or other mechanic which may seem appropriate). Or you can always split your parry if you're good enough. These four additions are ways which I have used to add a bit of variety to RQ combat. Some of them work better than others and mostly they're only really useful in grandstand fight scenes against major villains. I find it's always useful to pull a feint against players --- it pisses them off, rarely kills the character and it makes them think. What I like about RQ combat is not its amazing realism (chortles mightily) but the tension it builds. RQ fights are bloody, chaotic and great fun. I think the stuff above helps. --Bruce firstname.lastname@example.org ====================================================================== From: Maurice Beyke Subject: Eurmal Shrines and the Things They Do! I don't know about other campaigns, but Eurmal is one of the more popular cults in mine. Which, given the amount of material presented about the Father of Jokes in both second and third edition RuneQuest, usually gives me some work to to. One of the more enjoyable parts of this however is thinking up all kinds of devious things to make those Eurmalis do to get divine spells from various shrines. Since his cult is nowhere very popular (in Glorantha, anyway) I figured that there are few if any temples to Eurmal larger than shrines. Therefore few places would offer more than one or two divine spells, not counting Worship Eurmal. This keeps the PC cultists busy traipsing from town to town, trying to find the cult, and then doing whatever devious task the priest (i.e. me) has for them. Listed below (cutting finally to the chase) are various Eurmal shrines, I've come up with, with spells they offer and deeds they require to learn them. Needless to say, all of this should be roleplayed. Trickster's Appetite shrine, teaches Swallow. The initiate must crash a banquet or some other function to which they are not invited, make a total ass of themselves there (of course), and then throw up on the host or hostess. Trickster's Clothes shrine, teaches Become Dung, Make Fine Clothes. Must find a some named object in the sewers, or buried in a dung heap, etc. Trickster Destroys shrine, teaches Crack, Illusion Substance. The initiate must break the town bell. Trickster Dreams shrine, teaches Hallucinate. Requires the initiate to dye the skin and/or hair of some prominant citizen some strange color. Preferably one who is vain, and must be done at a time when they _have_ to appear in public (or be done in public). Trickster Escapes, teaches Conceal. Requires the initiate to help a slave escape, preferably from a highly placed and well known figure. Trickster's Lust shrine. Teaches Charisma. Requires the initiate to seduce some prominent married citizen of the town. Trickster Lightbringer shrine, located near Sun County, teaches Hold Fire, Illusion Sight. The initiate must enter the nearest Fire/Sky temple, light a torch from the holy fire inside, put out said holy fire and bring the lit torch back to the shrine. Trickster Scares shrine, teaches Panic. Requires the initiate to scare a veteran warrior into backing down from them. Trickster's Shadow shrine, located near troll lands, teaches Change Mace to Bladder$. Requires the initiate to steal the mace, maul, or club from a troll warrior and bring it to the shrine. Trickster Slays shrine, teaches Strike, Turn Shield to Clay*. Requires the initiate to kill someone with one blow. Trickster Steals shrine, teaches Change Cow's Color. Requires the initiate to steal some town treasure or artifact from some inaccessable place. Trickster's Wealth shrine, teaches Turn Gold into Straw. Requires the initiate to steal an expensive item and destroy it. Trickster Werewolf shrine, located near Telmori lands, teaches Become Wolf. Requires initiate to eat, and also get someone else to eat, human flesh. The other person must be informed of what they have done, but not necessarily before the fact. Trickster's Words shrine, teaches Lie. Must convince a city official or guard of something patently absurd, the mayor is really a spy in disguise, arrest him. *Turn Shield to Clay Divine Illusion Spell One Point, Stackable, Ranged, Temporal As the name says, this spell turns a shield to clay for the duration. It looks and feels the same, but it has _no_ armor points, and when struck, will shatter (surprise). One point will affect a buckler, two points a medium shield, or 3 points a large. More points can be stacked to change a shield which is iron or has armoring enchantment on it, at one point per 5 extra armor points. (One option is to make the spell ineffective against enchanted shields, but I like to see my PCs spending more money). After the spell ends, the pieces of the shield return to their original material, so it can be repaired. $Turn Mace to Bladder Divine Illusion Spell One Point, Stackable, Ranged, Temporal This spell will turn a mace into an air filled bladder on the end of a stick, which makes a lot of noise when struck against someone but does no damage (and you thought a berserk Zorak Zorani couldn't get any madder!). One point will affect a one handed mace or club, two will affect a two handed mace or large club, and three will affect a troll maul. Additional points may be stacked if the weapon is enchanted to do extra damage, at one point per 3 points of extra damage or per extra die. After the spell is over, the mace returns to normal, even if it was damaged while a bladder. ====================================================================== From: Martin Crim Subject: So you think you want to make a wraith or chair your familiar? BEST CREATURES FOR FAMILIARS PC Sorcerers often have difficulty picking an appropriate subject to be a familiar. GMs often have difficulty in quickly assigning reasonable familiars for NPC's. Therefore, I have grouped the various possibilities into five categories, from best to worst. Within a category, the creatures are listed alphabetically and the names of the most common familiars are capitalized. An asterisk marks creatures with INT usually 7 or greater. All creatures listed need only the addition of INT, except as noted. The notes are keyed by number and listed below. Other things being equal, a sorcerer should choose a creature from the highest category in which any creature is available. This listing assumes that the sorcerer is land-based, and either a human from a horse-riding culture or a troll. If your character's society uses animals other than horses as mounts, that animal would replace Horse in category C. If your sorcerer is a dwarf, then he probably will take some dwarven construct as a familiar. If your sorcerer is a seafarer, then his preferences should run as follows (with notes explained below): Nereid* (2), Succubus* (1), Sea Serpent, Plesiosaur, Undine (6), Sylph (6), Whale* (12), Sea Hawk, Ghost* (7), Bat, Crocodilian, Shade (6), Wraith* (10), Magic Spirit* (7), Walktapus (1), Shark, Octopus, Intellect Spirit (7), other spirit (11), Manatee. A List (the very best, but rarely obtainable): Charnjibber* (1), Crimson Bat* (1, 2, 13, 20), Dream Dragon*, Headhanger* (1), Jolanti/intelligent* (5), Nymph* (2), Succubus* (1, 18), Vampire* (1, 3); also, a human, morokanth, or awakened herd animal with Fix Intelligence cast on it* B List: Baboon/unintelligent, Bandersnatch (4), Basilisk (1), Chimpanzee*, Cockatrice (1), Gorilla*, Gulper (13), Herd Man, Hoon*, Jolanti/normal (17), Roc (13, 20), SHADOW CAT, Stoorworm* (1) C List: Amphisboena (16), BAT, Brown Bear, Bull, Catoblepas (1), Chonchon* (9), DOG, Elemental (6), Fox, Ghost* (7), Ghoul* (1, 3), most Giant Arthropods (especially BEES and WASPS), Griffin* (12, 13, 14), HAWK, Hellion* (8), Hippogriff* (13, 14), HORSE, Hydra/lesser (1, 16), Lamia* (1, 3), Lion (13), Magic Spirit* (7), Manticore* (12), Mummy* (3), Panther, Polar Bear (4), Python, Redcap* (1, 5), Rubble Runner, Sabretooth (13), Skybull (13, 14), Tiger (13), Two-Headed Dragonsnail (1, 16), Wolf, Wraith* (10), Zebra D List: Alticamelus (14), Baluchithere (13), Behemoth (4, 13), Bison (14), Bolo Lizard (14), Cliff Toad, Crocodilian, Deer, Demi-bird (14), Dinosaurs (13), Dragonsnail (1), Elephant (13, 14), Impala (14), Intellect Spirit (7), Lesser Hydra (1), Ostrich (14), Rhino (14), Rock Lizard, Sable Deer (14), Skeleton (17), Titanothere (13), Tusker (14, 19), Walktapus (1), Zombie (17); any small, inoffensive creature, such as a BIRD or CAT E List: Gorp (1, 15), any spirit not named above (11), any plant or inanimate object (needs six characteristics) 1: creature tainted with chaos--available only to Boristi (maybe), Galvosti (maybe), Brithini, Lunars, and chaotics; NOTE: a chaos feature beneficial to the sorcerer will bump the creature up to a higher level of desirability (POW x 1 chance for Ghoul, Gorp, Hydra, or Headhanger; POW x 3 for Stoorworm; 1D3 features for Dragonsnail) 2: needs STR, CON, and SIZ only (no permanent body) 3: needs POW only (no soul) 4: non-Gloranthan 5: needs CON only 6: needs CON, INT, & DEX 7: needs STR, CON, SIZ, & DEX 8: needs STR, CON, POW, & DEX 9: needs STR, CON, SIZ, & POW 10: needs STR, SIZ, POW, & DEX 11: needs STR, CON, SIZ, INT, & DEX 12: only available if this creature is unintelligent in your world 13: warning: extremely large appetite 14: requires specialized Ride skill to be used as a mount 15: needs STR, INT, & DEX (arguably, though, a gorp only needs INT, since it has STR and DEX of zero--if so, it should be in category D), but how does the sorcerer touch it? 16: it is arguable that each heads' INT must be increased 17: needs CON, INT, & POW 18: needs SIZ only 19: only friendly to Tusk Riders 20: get real! You could also include the Mother of Monsters and several other monsters and terrors in this category. As with the recipe for Bear Stew (first kill a bear), the first problem is getting the spell Dominate Roc/ Dominate Crimson Bat/ Dominate Mother of Monsters. ====================================================================== From: MOB and Trevor Ackerly Subject: Personalities of Glorantha PERSONALITIES OF GLORANTHA Some Character Assassinations by MOB and Trevor Ackerly (with apologies to the authors of CULTS OF PRAX and CULTS OF TERROR) Both Cults of Prax and Cults of Terror contained narrative sequences which helped characterize the accompanying text. Cults of Prax used the journal of one Biturian Varosh, a wandering Issaries priest who made an eventful journey through Prax in the winter of 1614-15 S.T. Cults of Terror quoted from the memoirs of Lunar bureaucrat Paulis Longvale, who as a youth witnessed a protracted campaign against the forces of chaos in the Lunar client-kingdom of Bilini. It is said in Cults of Terror of Paulis that although he was a "bright, humorous young man, he grew colder and more sardonic as the years passed" (CofT, p.22). This obscure reference to Paulis's later character prompted us to imagine what he would have been like in his "cold and sardonic" period. As you will read, we took the "cold and sardonic" bit to the extreme. If it's any consolation, Cults of Terror goes on to state that upon his retirement, Paulis's personality mellowed. The misfortunes of his comrade Biturian Varosh follow. PAULIS LONGVALE Paulis is in his cold and sardonic stage. With a reputation of being incorruptible, dispassionate and inflexible, Paulis has served in a number of undesirable posts on behalf of the interior Lunar bureaucracy. Tasks given to him in recent years include Collector of Back-Taxes for the famine-wracked province of Saird, Inquistor-General during the heresy hunts at Ulifilas; Comptroller of Forced Resettlement in the newly-won provinces of Sartar and Heortland, and Lunar Ambassador to Tork. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he has been assassinated and resurrected seven times (something of an Imperial record), and has even been visited once by the Tax Demons. As a final blow, his vast estates in the Heartlands were sequestered by the state, as a punishment for not recovering the revenues sought in Saird. These persistent catastrophes have taken their toll on him, both physically and mentally. Physically, he lost an eye to the dagger of a treacherous friend, after Paulis denounced him as a heretic before the mob at Ulifilas (his friend had the final word: soon after this episode, Paulis too was murdered by the zealous fanatics of that city). Because of the numerous resurrections, Paulis's physical characteristics have suffered, as has his flute playing. Yet Paulis loves to play, and anyone complaining of the cacophony will incur his wrath. Mentally, Paulis has acquired a distrust of all Lunars and a contempt for all non-Lunars. This mental imbalance has led him to some eccentricities, such as when he recently shaved his head as a protest against the rampant political instabilities of his age. Paulis has tried to overcome his setbacks: his most recent task of Debaser of Coinage in Vanch has somewhat restored his fortune, and he has bound a spirit (some say that of his treacherous friend) into a tiny *spit snake* . This snake Paulis has hidden in a cavity in his glass eye. The snake helps him to keep a rather distorted distance vision. It can also spit out its acrid venom through a tiny hole in the center of the eye. Paulis delights in spitting his snake at unaware passers-by. The prospect of death annoys Paulis rather than evoking fear in him. Thus he wears no armour, yet carries a wide range of weapons in order to inflict as much pain as possible on his assailants. Paulis is tall but stooped, with a permanent scowl on his face. His skull is covered with extremely short bristles of dark hair, just beginning to grow back after he shaved it all off. Though he wears no armour, Paulis carries a wide array of weaponry and a flute of solid silver. His dress is expensive but shabby, though he wears the silver crescent brooch of his high office prominently at his throat. His most arresting feature is his right eye. It stares blankly forward or jerks unnaturally about independent of his left. Only when concentrating do the eyes work together. Paulis flaunts his left-handedness in all greetings. Paulis Longvale Human male, 43. Initiate of Irrippi Ontor. STR 09 CON 09 SIZ 15 INT 17 POW 18 DEX 09 APP 08 19-20 Head 20 0/4 16-18 L.A. 18-19 0/3 13-15 R.A. 16-17 0/3 12 Chest 11-15 0/5 09-11 Abdm 07-10 0/4 05-08 L.L 04-06 0/4 01-04 R.L 01-03 0/4 Weapon SR Attk% Damage Parr% A.P. Scimitar 8 76 1d6+2 69 10 Sickle 9 60 1d6 32 6 Rapier 8 59 1d6+1 31 8 Dagger 9 41 1d4+2 38 6 Kick 9 50 1d6 29 3 Fist 9 81 1d3 58 3 Fatigue: 18 - 4 ENC = 14 Dodge: 66 - 4 ENC = 62% Hit Points: 12 Move: 3 Spirit Magic (44%): Mindspeech-1; Demoralize (2); Disrupt; Glamour-1; Countermagic-3; Detect Silver; Detect Parchment; Detect Vellum; Detect Ink; Detect Enemies; Detect Detection; Detection Blank-3. Divine Magic (one-use): Spirit Block I. Skills: Evaluate 91%; Orate 57%; Negotiate 40%; Fast Talk 45%; Human Lore 68%; Gloranthan Lore 73%; Scan 69%; Listen 54%; Devise 44%; Play Flute 05%; Issue Cruel Decrees 80%; Be Unpopular 95%. Languages: New Pelorian 67/57; Old Pelorian 87/87; Tradetalk 51/36. Magic Items: Crystal storing 6 MP set into brooch. Treasure: Silver flute worth 800L; Glass eye worth 305L; Ransom estimated at 5000L. Spirit: A cult spirit is bound into a tiny spit snake which inhabits a hollow cavity in Paulis's glass eye. INT 13 POW 09 Spit 95%. ***** BITURIAN VAROSH A former Issaries Goldentongue, Biturian suffered several personal misfortunes which precipitated him leaving the cult. Firstly, his wife Norayeep, a former slave whom he had purchased several years before (along with her strange younger brother), deserted him. She ran off with a Sable Rider, taking many of his valuable trade goods. In seeking to recover these items, Biturian inadvertently received stolen goods himself and was visited by the Issaries Spirit of Retribution *Raw Greed Eed*. Since then he has been compelled to covet and possess one item of the stolen hoard, a silver salt cellar which he will not part with for any price. The stigma of having tasted Raw Greed brought scorn and ridicule from his cult peers, finally driving him to insanity and drink. Though still an inactive priest, Biturian sought solace in a Danfive Xaron monastery, seeking to cure his addiction. Biturian spent five years in the monastery, a fact exploited by the Lunar propaganda machine. Eventually, he was excommunicated from the Issaries cult. Unfortunately, this meant he was no longer of any value to the Lunar propagandists and so was evicted from his refuge. Almost cured of his drinking problem, Biturian became a wine dealer in the Etyries cult and began to make a new start in life. Soon, however, he was beset by further misfortune. Morak, the brother of his estranged wife, had turned out to in fact be a minotaur. During the five years of Biturian's confinement Morak grew up, and, when reunited with his sister, heard an exaggerated account of her mistreatment at the hands of the merchant. Morak bellowed with rage, swore revenge, and set about seeking Biturian out. Upon finding him at the market in Furthest, Morak slew him. Several days later Biturian found himself resurrected. He was mistaken at the Lunar morgue for Paulis Longvale, an important Lunar bureaucrat also killed that day. This unlikely coincidence impressed Paulis when he too was revived, and he co-opted Biturian onto his staff. Unsurprisingly, Biturian became very uneasy when he realized that Morak was after him. This uneasiness grew into a pervading paranoia after Morak attacked and slew him again, several months later. Being the only person who was willing to work closely with him, Paulis asserted his authority and enabled Biturian to again be resurrected (albeit three days after he was killed). Upon awakening, Biturian promptly sacrificed much of his personal POW on one-use spells to help defend himself against future attacks by the maddened bull-man. Since then, Morak has made at least two unsuccessful attempts on his life. Biturian's once strong features have been ruined by his addiction to wine and his exposure to catastrophe. He affects a limp, though this is known to change feet from time to time. Continuously fearful, Biturian has difficulty sleeping and if possible will stand with his back to a wall. His general nervousness has brought on a stutter, which has destroyed his once formidable skill as a bargainer. He is often seen mumbling to himself and will occasionally shout obscenities aloud to no-one in particular. (In actual fact, Biturian is speaking to Eye-Whisper, his former allied spirit. Eye Whisper, whom you will recall from Cults of Prax spent most of its POW to save by divine intervention Biturian's life during a Yelmalio ritual combat at the Sun Dome, has been given permission by Issaries to convince the wayward priest back into the fold. Eye Whisper continually hovers about its former master, but, being so low on POW, can do little to assist him. Biturian considers the spirit to be a great nuisance.) Biturian is by no means a Lunar patriot, and secretly despises his master Paulis. However, while Morak is at large, he sees his best chances of survival staying where he is. Biturian Varosh Human male, 53. Initiate of Etyries (ex-Goldentongue priest) STR 06 CON 08 SIZ 17 INT 15 POW 06 DEX 12 APP 09 19-20 Head 20 0/5 16-18 L.A. 18-19 0/4 13-15 R.A. 16-17 0/4 12 Chest 11-15 0/6 09-11 Abdm 07-10 0/5 05-08 L.L 04-06 0/5 01-04 R.L 01-03 0/5 Weapon SR Attk% Damage Parr% A.P. Q. Staff 5 82 1d8 76 8 Scimitar 6 29 1d6+2 26 10 Fatigue: 14 - 4 ENC = 10 Dodge: 43 - 4 ENC = 39% Hit Points: 13 Move: 3 Spirit Magic: None. Divine Magic (all one-use): Madness IV; Mind Blast I; Shield II; Path Watch III. Skills: Bargain 15%; Evaluate 78%; Raw Greed (for salt cellar) 125%. Languages: Tradetalk 65/- (has forgotten all others). Magic Items: Silver salt cellar is enchanted to store 24 MPs, however every time MP are drawn from it, the user must attune the item again. Treasure: The salt cellar is of heirloom value. Special: Biturian is continuously watched over by Eye-Whisper, his former allied spirit. INT 11 POW 02. Spirit Magic: Mindspeech-1. ====================================================================== 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.