Bell Digest vol08p02.txt

Subject:  RuneQuest Digest Volume 8, no 2, Discussion and Convulsion
Comments: Revision @(#)v8n02	1.3	92/08/04


Tim Leask		When can a player D.I. ?
Peter van Heusden	Combat system modifications
Peter Wake		Convulsion '92
John Dallman		Convulsion Report
David Cake		Runes yet again
Eric Rowef 		Expanded Concentration Rules


The Queue is almost empty.  I've got one cult (from Steve Maurer) plus
two technical articles on Dragonewt PCs (from Peter Maranci) and
alternate rules for Rune Magic (from David Cheng).  So I can use more
submissions; send them to RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM.

In case of trouble, mail me direct: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM

A bit about myself:

I discovered role-playing in 1981, RuneQuest in '83.  When RQ3 came out
in '85 I started my own 'zine, ``Dragons in the Dark'', which has led
a very dormant life after five issues.  What hooked me on RQ was
Glorantha.  RQ was the first rpg where the designer seemed to have 
started from a `world' and built his game around it.

I live with wife and son in a newly built ruin in the center of the
Netherlands (see sig)

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From: Tim Leask 
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 92 15:46:08 EST
Subject: RQ Discussion - When can a player D.I. ?

In RQ 2 Divine Intervention was very clear cut: initiates got one
chance a week, Rune Levels had it at call. A D.I. attempt could be made
before death for priests and initiates and up to a round after death for
Rune Lords.  In RQ 2 players rarely fell unconscious in combat, they
were either conscious or dead. The decision to D.I. or not was clear
cut.  ``Oh dear my leg's been lopped off! Help me Orlanth!'' - RQ 2 ``Oh
dear I think I'm going to pass out!'' - RQ 3

Now the problem with RQ 3 is that death isn't instantaneous and that
you can fall unconscious more easily.  The effect of this in my
campaign* is that players expect to be able to D.I. while unconscious
or at death's door (dying at end of round).  Which I am unhappy with, I
think that you should be conscious, but the problem with that is that
it cuts down the opportunity to D.I. for the player. A player knocked
unconscious who then bleeds to death over several rounds hasn't really
had an opportunity to D.I.  Matters are further complicated by the
hybrid RQ we play. The death's door rule applies for 10 SR's from when a
player is `killed', not till the end of the round which we felt was too
much a game artifice.  Rune Lords also get a few of the benefits they
originally got in RQ 2, including the D.I. after death.

What do others think on the important issue of D.I. ? How do you play
it in your campaign ? Does anyone at all share similar concerns or am I
making a Griffin Mountain out of a mole hill?


* - I should point out that by `my campaign' I mean the campaign I play in.
As ref I wouldn't allow an unconscious person to D.I.

Department of Computer Science    /*\__/\      "Money is something you have in
University of Melbourne          <       \     case you don't die tomorrow."
Parkville, Vic., 3052, AUSTRALIA  \  _  _/     Gordon Gecko.
Phone: +61 3 282 2439              \| --


From: Peter van Heusden 
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1992 10:34 +0200
Subject: Combat system modifications for RQ3

I have found that a major flaw in RQ (RQ3 at least, I think in RQ2 as
well) is the fact that they do not separate damaging capacity and
penetrating capacity. Eg. A bear's claw will do a hang of a lot of
damage against unarmoured flesh, but it will be pretty well blocked by
a suit of plate armour. Thus I have set about rewriting the system by
separating each weapon's damage on penetration (called DAM and PEN). It
requires more rolls, but what the heck....

The PEN of a weapon is the same as its DAM for edged weapons. For
crushing weapons against hard armour types, the PEN is 1/2 the weapon
DAM. For natural weapons, the PEN is always half of the DAM. (This is
because a natural weapon will be a softer weapon, eg. claws are not as
solid as steel)

If the PEN rolled is 3 or more over the number required to breach the
armour, normal damage applies. If not, damage is still rolled, but it
is halved.  (Note: This rolled damage must still overcome the armour,
as per standard rules.)  If the PEN roll does not overcome the armour,
the attacker's strength mod is counted as damage against the weapon
(again, this must overcome the weapon AP to do actual damage). For
these purposes, bone is counted as 3 AP/cm.  Thus, a bear's paw could
contain about 2cm of `bone' (all other bodily materials converted to a
bone equivalent). If the bear hits, does not penetrate, and rolls over
6 on its damage mod, it has just broken it paw.  If a critical or
special hit is rolled, the PEN must of course be adjusted. A rule must
also be made to accommodate the results of a failed PEN check on a
critical hit. These have not been put together yet.

Knockback is calculated from the full normal damage of a weapon. Thus a
tin can knight has a smaller chance to be damaged, but the same chance
to be knocked back across the room.

I realise that this system is still very basic. Any ideas to improve it
would be appreciated.


From: Peter Wake 
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 92 17:41:54 BST
Subject: Re: Convulsion '92


If fought - we won: or what happened there.

There was a number of panels - all apart from the CoC panel were
mainly RQ discussion.  Ken Rolston outlined the next two years ahead in
RQ products.  The three products planned for this year will be...

1) River of Cradles. 

This is for real - I've seen the manuscript.  This covers a lot of
stuff from Pavis as well as new scenarios and things compatible with
Borderlands and Sun County.

2) Strangers in Prax.

This is waiting for Ken Rolston to write some/one of the characters.
For some weird reason this will be a Prax Pack type thing but centered
around four personalities alien to Prax - one of which is a Palmatelan

3) Shadows on the Borderlands.

Scenarios set outside the borders or Raus' domain - fills in the lower
portion of the river of cradles - some sort of cave bash apparently.
This one looks unlikely to make its schedule.

Next year

Runequest 4 (actually 3.1) will add a new skill, simplify and reduce
Sorcery reducing it to an NPC thing and will fix a few bugs (mainly
fatigue will be fixed and streamlined).  Apparently Sorcery is due for
major repair in Runequest 5!  Runequest 5 will also have tactical
movement and even less fatigue.  I can't see how tactical movement is
any use without encumbrance rules - the whole point about heavy armour
is that it's slow: that's why people have lightly armoured skirmish
troops - but Ken has spoken...  I hope he changes his mind.  It'll be a
long road to RQ 5 anyway.

Apparently the Palmaltela stuff is written (it was completed for the
Glorantha box) but will not be coming out for the moment - no reason
was given.

There will be no more boxes - it's all proper books for the future.
RQ4 will probably be softback, not hardback as was suggested earlier.

There will be four releases `next year' but I think that they might be
more or less anything.  One thing mentioned was a list of place names
with descriptions and what map they can be found on in what book;  RQ5
was another; lots of things are planned but I don't think they have a
clue yet.

Greg Stafford

Declared that HeroQuest will be called `Glorantha the Story' and will
be released SOON.  He's back working on Glorantha and keen on it
again.  It will contain a history of Sartar and the Colymar tribe, plus
maybe more Orlanthi info.  It looks a lot different to a role-playing
game per-se and you can use it a lot of ways.  I like the idea but some
may not.  See Tales 7 for a description of some of it.  There are plans
to release the body of the Gloranthan Cyclopaedia, but I couldn't tell
if this was going to be part of Glorantha the Story or a separate

Greg said that if it is a success he will complete his THREE Glorantha
novels: Arkat's Saga and two versions of Harmast's Saga.  This will lay
out the Lightbringer's quest for all to see.

Furthermore he declared that ``Humakt is not illuminated - but I once
thought he was.''

Western society as explained and Greg has declared an end to `official'
Glorantha.  He hopes to release contradictory and independent material
that he thinks is good.  In fact he plans to produce contradictory
stuff himself.  This looks like a plan to put an end to the anal
retentive `fan-boyish' obsession with his stuff.

Tales of the Reaching Moon was declared to be the forum that people
should try first before sending to Chaosium/Avalon Hill and that it
will contain pre-release stuff from all the upcoming releases.

Home of the Bold

This was a gigantic free-form game set in Boldhome a few days before
and including Argrath's return.  There was a rather neat booklet for it
that has a description of Boldhome and some Sartarite history.  There
were also some Lunar coins that were cute.  Greg Stafford played the
Lunar administrator and Ken Rolston his supposed `chief constable' Duke


The Gloranthan Cyclopaedia went for GBP 420 (I think) and Sandy
Petersen's campaign notes went for almost as much.  Cults of Prax was
fetching around GBP 30!  Even though there were multiple copies.  No
Pavis or Big Rubble was sold but they surely would have fetched a high
price.  In general Runequest stuff went for silly prices and anything
Chaosium was dear.  TSR and other companies' stuff went for a song.  A
complete set of SFB failed to make the reserve of GBP 20.  The original
CoC manuscript didn't fetch very much either!

Rules Rulings

Rules were avoided as much as possible - the real answer was `decide
for yourself.'  The addenda will be published in Tales and are
available from Avalon Hill.


These occurred - there was Stormbringer, CoC and Pendragon.  Signed
books were prizes.


Greg Stafford will be appearing at more conventions - maybe.
Convulsion will be back next year.


From: John Dallman 
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 92 22:06 GMT
Subject: Convulsion Report

``Everybody gets +5% in `Worship Greg Stafford'...''

Impressions of Convulsion, by John Dallman

Convulsion (of the Trillion Tentacles) took place at College Hall,
Leicester, over 24th-26th July 1992. The guests were Greg Stafford,
Sandy Petersen and Ken Rolston; the membership was about 150 and they
generally had a fine time. The convention was organised round a
`free-form' game, The Home of the Bold, in which 70-odd participants
took the roles of inhabitants of the Dragon Pass town of Boldhome at a
time of some considerable tension...

The programme was good, on the whole, but more of it would not have
hurt anyone. Notably good things that I saw included the `RQ
Renaissance' item, where Ken Rolston revealed great plans for editing
Avalon Hill's RQ product line, provided that his mind and body hold
out, and that he gets the submission he needs. ``This means you'', he
thundered: the audience seemed seasonably happy at the idea of seeing
its collective name in lights. The Conjunction committee _nearly_ won
the Pub Quiz later on Friday night, we lost to Mike Cule's team by the
points he picked up on Tekumel, of which we know too little.

`Free-form' (AKA `Interactive Literature') games are essentially
live-action role-playing with no violence. With players representing
all the major and many minor causes and power-blocs in Dragon Pass, The
Home of the Bold slightly resembled 70-player Diplomacy with no board,
individual goals and limited communications. Given this, the seven
hours of Saturday evening that it took up doesn't seem to have been
enough. It was reportedly slow at first - not surprising, when so many
people have to establish contacts and alliances - but became too
intense towards the end. An hour per game-time day seems too little;
running it for 40-odd, with less time pressure might have worked
better. Bigger isn't always best.

However, the only real problem with Home of the Bold was the lack of
anything else to do if you hadn't got in. I went off and played
HeroQuest (under D&D, RQ2, RQ3 and Champions at the same time!),
dropping back occasionally to see what was up. Free-forming isn't
really a spectator sport, and most of my information came from talking
to participants afterwards. ``Next time, it will be different'', spoke
the committee: the mistakes should be fairly simple to fix and
experience with this audience should help a lot.

I spent Sunday morning in a playtest for GURPS Arabian Nights, which
seemed promising - we found that, as for Three Musketeers games,
players and their characters tend to develop very strange speech habits
(``Weeth Franch charactairs, ze playairs speek like zees, whereas my
ignoble tongue cannot fully express the beauty of Arabic speech in its
early flowerings''). All good fun. The auction raised staggering sums,
and went on far longer than it was scheduled for.  Some remarkable
bargains were to be had, if you weren't after Gloranthan material, and
a few good items even if you were. Following a closing ceremony at
which I hope the committee learned a standard lesson: don't read out
the names of your gophers - it's very boring, and you'll upset people
by forgetting them - there came the best thing at the con: a reading by
Greg Stafford.

Greg has recently started writing about Glorantha in extended mythic
and historical narrative forms, for the background material for a new
game. He'd never done a public reading before, and it was only
scheduled for half an hour. Two hours later, he finished. Describing
what he read and how he read it is beyond me - I've been interested in
Glorantha for years, but had never seen why Prince Argrath is the
central figure to Greg, until that evening. He had the impact of a
gifted actor - I've only ever seen one person read better, and Harlan
Ellison does it for most of his living. It was tragic that the item
took place after so many people had left the convention, but that won't
happen again. Details of the new game are unclear as yet, but it's got
some good source material.

So how was Convulsion? Good concepts, occasional flashes of brilliance
in execution (like getting Esdevium Games to take a room), some errors
of inexperience and over-concentration. In my opinion, The Home of the
Bold should have been sub-contracted, rather than done by the main
committee - it dominated proceedings too much. The site let us down on
irritating things like sandwiches and coffee behind the bar (not that
there was much room for them) and more work in negotiating might have
helped with that and some other annoyances (e.g., not closing the bar
on Sunday afternoon). The committee were talking about another
Gloranthan convention in ``a couple of years''.  They've got the
experience now; they should do it.



From: (David Cake)
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 92 16:09:53 WST
Subject: Runes yet again

In an earlier RuneQuest digest (37?) (Carl Fink)
referred to an article that appeared on an earlier RQ digest, about

He takes issue with two of my naming of runes, both appearing in Gods
of Glorantha, but not in the Rune list in the Introduction to Glorantha

He first says that the rune that appears above the cults of Godunya and
the Path of Immanent Mastery, which I called the `Godunya' rune, is
actually the Dragon rune. He is correct, mea culpa, I misremembered
from a letter that I had not read for some time. Both Greg Stafford and
Sandy Peterson confirm this, though Sandy notes that this rune and the
Pamalt rune (which is the `up-arrow' above Pamalt) were assigned by the
God Learners, and that the Doraddi and the Kralorelans actually have
their own system of Runes, which they use in preference (thought they
are probably familiar with the conventional ones, from the God

My apologies for posting incorrect information to this group, I should
have checked.

However, on the second Rune, the Rune of Shadow (which appears above
Gorgorma, and looks like a circle with a line through it) I stand by my
words.  I have the original letters from Greg and Sandy, with both
explicitly state this, so I can say this with some confidence!

Carls reasoning is wrong on a few points. He refers to it as a unique
Rune. It also appears in the cult of Moorgarki, were it is again named
as Shadow.

Carl also notes the very exact duality in the Earth Goddesses Runes,
each in a pair of opposites. Gorgorma is the opposite of Dendara, which
has the Runes of Light Earth and Light, so he theorises that Gorgorma
should have the runes of Dark Earth and Darkness. But Dendara has
Light, which is Fire/Sky without heat, so the exact opposite Rune is
not Darkness, but Shadow, which is Darkness without Cold. The Shadow
Rune symbolises fear and ignorance (says Sandy). It also implies
ordinary shadow (says Greg), and this appears to be why Moorgarki has
it. There is another cult somewhere which also has it, but memory fails

I have also checked that the Undead Rune is know called the Hunger rune
which explains why non-undead-using Krarsht now has it.

Thanks to Carl for making me check these things.
					David Cake


From: Eric Rowe 
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 92 04:07:23 -0700
Subject: Expanded Concentration Rules

In our gaming group we had a sorcerer who wanted a little more detail
in the concentration rules. I had him write down a small chart and here
it is, courtesy Dave Pickering.

Concentration Chart:

Int Roll	Event

x1              Body location taken negative.
x2              Light wound.
x3              Attacked! May defend (dodge).
x4              Someone bumps you hard. Someone lectures about the
		theories of particle physics.
x5              Someone lightly jostles you. A sudden loud noise of
		flash of light. Replying in normal conversation.
x6		Grunt in response to conversations around you.

Sure, it is pretty simple and obvious, but we like it better than INTx3
for any disturbance.