Bell Digest vol08p10-1.txt

To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM
From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM
Subject:  RuneQuest Digest Volume 8, no 10,  part 1 of 2
Comments: Revision @(#)v8n10	1.3	93/04/23
Reply-To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RuneQuest Daily Digest)
Precedence: junk
Sender: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM


    Various bits and pieces etc.
    Everything Greg Stafford says is wrong.
    Greg is Wrong
    Red Moon, Glasnsost and AD&D
    Re: Self contradictory KoS
    predestination, cats, ancestors, rules, servitude & worlds 
    Re: Greg is Wrong
    Re: Greg is Wrong...
    KoS, TOTRM, non_Glora, Power levels
    KoS and multiple Argraths


    Here is a summary of submissions sent to the RuneQuest Daily
    on the theme of King of Sartar and the inconsistency of 
    Glorantha.  In two parts...

Henk Langeveld, Maintainer/Editor of the RuneQuest Digest and RuneQuest Daily
Submissions for the Daily to:		
for the Digest: 
Subscriptions and questions: 
Me: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM	


From: (Tom Zunder)
Subject: Various bits and pieces etc.
Date: 6 Feb 93 15:42:00 GMT


1:      Elmal/Yelmalio.

I think that my view of this is twofold, one why did GS f***k it up and
mess around? This is too late in the day to fundamentally mess with a cult
like Yelmalio. Still, he did, and whatever he says, we'll have to live with
this one. Small differences are okay but this is a biggie.

I view what KoS says as an evolution and I think that the Sun Domers would
view it similarly. Thay wont have forgotten Elmal, they will have realised,
thorugh Monrogh's help that Elmal was Yelmalio, and with his help seen the
full Truth as opposed to a muddied Orlanthi view of their god.

The cult hierarchy will not spread this knowledge too far, but will say
that Elmal is simply an obscured view of Yelmalio. Therefore the cult is
contiguous. The Old Sun Dome Temple isn't a problem, it was an Elmal

That the Sun Domers have culturally changed is no problem, all cultures
change but fundamentally believe that the past was as the present. It is
the mythical past where big changes happen.

Therefore I see the Elmal thing as easily dealt with. The old documents
may refer to Elmal, but they'll be in Sartar and buried in the archives.
Thos sophisticated enuff to see them will know the story and know that
Elmal is just another name for Yelmalio. 

NOW: Does Glorantha have a real set of gods or are they a reflection of
the worshippers? If there is a core set of "real" gods then we can accept
all varitaions as the effect of seeing the same mythology differently.
Terefore Elmal and Yelmalio probably are the same god, indeed one can
easily see that Yelmalio and Orlanth fought, Zorak Zoran stole Fire from
Yelmalio and at a later date they fought and became colleagues. That
Yelmalio stayed in the world when Yelm died and when Orlanth went to hell
im perfect as the god who defends the last homestead. In Orlanhi culture
he is played up a thane of Orlanth, in Yelmic culture he is noble even to
the pouint of aiding the rebellious Orlanth in making repentance to Yelm.

If they don't exist then it's all relative and you can explain it how you
like. If it is relative then I think there would be more variation than
the RQ material would sugest.

I prefer the idea that the gods are fundamentally real but changeable by
their worshippers to some xtent.

The feel of KoS is that Glorantha becomes scientific/secular and modern
in the Age of Illiteracy. I don't like the idea of that at all.


From: (Clay Luther)
Subject: Everything Greg Stafford says is wrong.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Feb 93 05:20:01 GMT

After basically forbidding my players to read to unfortunately dull but
informative "King of Sartar", I was asked by them "why?"

"Because," I said, "the first sentence in the book spoils everything."

They inquired further.

"Well," I replied, "it's like this.  What I have here is a *history* of the
events that are about to occur, starting in about 2 years, relative to
yourself.  Now, if I assume these events are in fact moderately accurate of
at least some of the events that are to occur in those years, then I'd have
to say that letting you read this book would spoil the entire sense of
future in the game."

"You mean," my quickest player replied, "that events in Glorantha are
predestined to occur?"

I nodded slightly, unsure of a proper answer.

"And," continued the player, "our heroes have no real chance to become true
Gloranthan heroes and have their names hailed by future generations."

The Sartarite Storm Bull player piped up, "You mean that *I* cannot even
*hope* to be the hand that destroys the Evil Empire?  I was so looking
forward to that."

"It's good to want things..." I said lightly, hiding my grimace. "You must
realize that destroying the Empire would be a difficult thing to do, let
alone doing it single-handedly.  I don't think anyone could do that.  Even
Orlanth, a god, can't do that."

"I bet that Argrath guy mentioned on the cover does it." said another
player.  "Single-handed, too."

"Yeah, that'd be just like Stafford, the jerk.  All the glory goes to his
pet heroes, and nothing is left on the plate for us to except slim
pickings." said another.

A mutual "bummer" was muttered by my eight players.  A silence fell over
the group as their prospects of gaining True Gloranthan Heroism sank into
their sea of disappointment.

"And I was beginning to like RQ..." said the Storm Bull, "I coulda beena

"The One True Path Syndrome!  Damn, I *hate* that in games." said the fist
player to speak.

I had to do something.  Damage control.  Something.  Things were
unravelling faster that Wakboth's Girdle.

"Well," I ventured, "this is a *history* many hundreds of years hence and
it is a rather single-sided opinion."

Silence and glares.

"And, uh, well, I think Stafford is writing a completely contradictory
Lunar version of the same history."

"Meaning," began an increasingly angry Storm Bull player (who's personality
is remarkably *like* what I'd imagine a real Storm Bull's to be like) "that
there's a non-zero possibility that the Lunar Empire doesn't get

"Um, well, I suppose."

"Well, shit...depressing..."

And mutually again, "Bummer."

This wasn't working.

"Well," I admitted, "in our real history, the Visigoths might have declared
the end of Roman Empire to be when they sacked Rome, though I'd think the
Romans would say it continued much longer after that."

They seemed to respond favorably to that line of thinking.  Maybe I hit
upon something.

"And, well, I'll admit that Argrath does, according to this book, have a
major impact upon history in the region."

Ooops, I lost them again.

"But!" I hastily added, "This could all be bullshit!" I said thumping the book.

"Eh?" said the Storm Bull looking up.

"Yeah, it *could* be bullshit, you know.  Argrath was some weanie, see. 
Some greasy spineless asshole who was just lucky enough somehow get his
name substituted in the history books as the person who performed these
heroic acts."

"But what about the Hero Plane and Gloranthan Myth." piped up the Quick
Player.  "Wouldn't Argrath leave a 'stamp' in Myth that future heroquesting
could use to confirm the actions of Argrath, sort of like Mythic Carbon

I shrugged.  "I don't know, but it sounds reasonable."

"Then that would mean, assuming the historians would try to do such a
thing, that they could confirm Argrath's actions."

"Well, maybe, but I don't think so.  The book pretty much makes it clear
that they are using what'd we consider normal historical research
techniques.  In fact, I get the opinion that they don't really know how to
heroquest, or even believe it could happen.  Heroquesting's become Myth."

"Ahhh," savored the Storm Bull player, "then that history *could* be a pack
of lies reading the Necronomicon in Taylors, 100% bull!"

"Or," I said, "the history could just be wildly inaccurate.  Argrath could
have been several people.  After all, he did live for an extraordinary long
time - a few hundred years or so.  Why not make Argrath several people
making up a single Mythic being that future heroquesters would see and
emulate.  A macromyth, if you will."

The players thought on this for a moment.

"You mean then," said the Storm Bull player, "that there is a non-zero
chance that I could be the Argrath-person who defeats the Lunar empire?"

"Sure," I smiled, "It seems equally possible."

"And I could be the Argrath-person that becomes King of Sartar?" said
another player.

"Of course.  You could all do something as Argrath-person which later
becomes Argrath-Myth."

"Everything Stafford says is wrong then, isn't it?" said the Quick Player.


Clay W. Luther                       
Software Engineer                             Vortech Data, Inc
Office (214) 994-1377                        Fax (214) 994-1310


From: (Tom Zunder)
Subject: Greg is Wrong
Date: 9 Feb 93 21:05:00 GMT

God I loved Clay's description of how KoS effed his game. Very very funny.
I agree totally, and fortunately although all my players own KoS (they're
all RQ refs as well) only one will read it (and he plays Lhankor Mhy) so
I can keep my fingers crossed. I mean they are sophisticated and can cope
with playing in a predefined milieu, as they can in Trav, but I think
they'd like to not know too much. I mean I think KoS should have  a very
high SAN loss associated with it. In many ways I wish I hadn't read it.
(But also I wanted to and am secretly pleased I did). Oh the Apples of the


From: (Tom Zunder)
Subject: Red Moon, Glasnsost and AD&D
Date: 9 Feb 93 21:05:00 GMT

Although KoS is a pain and a blessing I think it leaves a broad area for
interpretation. I certainly am considering that Argrath may be a composite.
Also the fall of the Lunar Empire may well have far more to do with
internal dissension than Argrath. I suspect that we may be guilty of seeing
a purely Orlanthi view of it all. If Greg produces a Lunar view which is
more sophisticated (the Lunars should have left better records) then we
might know.

I liked the idea that the Red Moon was still there and although the future
felt secular I might decided that in fact other bits, ie Peloria are in
better nick. I think Greg did the best and worst he could with KoS. We all
wanted to know but couldn't accept it in game mechanics or an RQ

Could we keep AD&D out of this digest. I don't want a flamewar but Zorak
Zoran may be unleashed if such heresies are let loose again.

Non-Glorantha: I think that non-Glorantha is a good idea, but that it needs
a coherent background. Alternate Earth was a good idea and if developed
would have been enjoyable as the "other" setting. It needs a rider in each
book saying that one can leave out the RQ magic if it grates (it does most
of my players in a non-G setting). Non-specific settings such as Daughters
or Eldarad are pointless.

I have to say I would like to see Questworld redeveloped. I enjoyed that
and would like to have seen it grow. That would be a good place for
alterantive magic systems and cultures.


From: (Peter Wake)
Subject: Re: Self contradictory KoS
Message-ID: <>
Date: 9 Feb 93 18:24:29 GMT

Of course the KoS is self contradictory in many places.


The thrust of all this is that people feel confined by Glorantha.  You
get locked into all sorts of problems.  I remeber when I was playing
in a great campaign, and we were helping Starbrow and he was a real
cool guy and then it happened: I got the Wyrms Footnotes that revealed
that Starbrow's a woman.  What was my poor referee to do?
People are really hung up on the official line for Glorantha and it's
a bad thing.

Greg Stafford talked about this problem a lot at Convulsion '92.  He
made clear that forthcoming stuff (that included KoS) would be
contradictory and muddled to try nd give people more freedom.
KoS is a 'historical document' not official game timeline or anything
so it could be complete fiction, or anything else that you choose in
your game.

The end of the line is that Greg (and I) think that your game is your
game and if you want Starbrow to be a man, or Argrath to be a toilet
sanitiser then so be it.  So Greg Stafford's not God and your campaign
isn't wrong if it's different from his.  OK!  Hail Eris!

The Chaosium/AH line is that future stuff will try not to screw you up
too much.
Peter Wake


From: STEVEG@ARC.UG.EDS.COM (Entropy needs no maintenance)
Subject: predestination, cats, ancestors, rules, servitude & worlds 
Date: 9 Feb 93 16:52:07 GMT

> the unfortunately dull but informative "King of Sartar"

Too true!

> "You mean," my quickest player replied, "that events in Glorantha are
> predestined to occur?"

> I nodded slightly, unsure of a proper answer.

> "And," continued the player, "our heroes have no real chance to become true
> Gloranthan heroes and have their names hailed by future generations."

So what's new - it's been open knowledge since 1978 that Argrath
Dragon(spear|tooth|friend) would free Sartar (probably around 1640ST,
according to the earliest references I have) - not Kathreda of the Three
Earths (my own favourite Gloranthan PC), or Thane Duntris of the Brenholme
clan (the notional leader of that PC group).

This sort of thing - the fact that the PCs are inevitably moving in the
shadows of greater figures - is one of the other reasons (beside players
dissatisifed with RQ as mentioned above) that all the Glorantha campaigns I've
been in have been short lived.

> a non-zero possibility that the Lunar Empire doesn't get destroyed?"

Perestroika aside, I've read in recent (but pre KoS) issues of _Alarums &
Excursions_ some other alternatives - one posting by Steve Marsh listed 8
possible paths by which the White Moon would arise; another by Rob Heinsoo
suggested a real turn-up from the books in a mutual abdication by Orlanth and
the Red Goddess (leaving a _very_ strange white moon that appears occasionally
in the sky, with no-one ever noticing its arrival); or my own proposal of a
mutual annihilation as the Red Moon moved to battle in the heart of the
Orlanth storm pinwheel (following the Dwarf prophecy in the
Glorantha/Genertela book).

> Argrath could have been several people.  After all, he did live for an
> extraordinary long time - a few hundred years or so.

I recall at least one reference (in respect to Jar-Eel) of the having obtained
"the HeroQuester's goal of avoiding age"

> "You mean then," said the Storm Bull player, "that there is a non-zero
> chance that I could be the Argrath-person who defeats the Lunar empire?"

Just drop Garrath Sharpsword (the well known anagram) from your version on


From: (Thom Baguley)
Subject: Re: Greg is Wrong
Message-ID: <9302111859.AB16507@Sun.COM>
Date: 11 Feb 93 04:23:27 GMT

>"Of course.  You could all do something as Argrath-person which later
>becomes Argrath-Myth."

Nice idea.

>"Everything Stafford says is wrong then, isn't it?" said the Quick Player.

A bit unfair. As I understand Stafford has been trying to avoid giving a
one-true-path Glorantha. I haven't read KoS but I gather it is meant to be
contradictory and inconsistent. I think they are all possible paths that
players may shape or take part in.



From: (Clay Luther)
Subject: Re: Greg is Wrong...
Message-ID: <>
Date: 12 Feb 93 06:00:18 GMT

Unfair? *Unfair*?

Between you and a previous poster, I see I didn't quite make my point...or
more to the point, some people ;) missed the forest because of the trees.

The subject "Everything Stafford Says Is Wrong" is absolutely true, and you
yourself already accept that when you say

> As I understand Stafford has been trying to avoid giving a one-true-path 
> Glorantha.


The whole point of that post was a response to a previous poster (either
here or on r.g.f.m) that Glorantha was boring because everything was set in
stone by Stafford.

Admittedly, at first glance, this looks to be true, and I was relating my
own path of illumination from that very same feeling to the realization
that Stafford had, indeed, done the exact *opposite*, as proven by KoS.

Stafford has been wrong, and has always been wrong, about everything he has
ever told anyone, save perhaps Sandy Peterson, about what really happens in
Gloranthan myth.  But, that's *fine*.  That's the Way It Should Be(tm). 
What do we *care* about what *really* happened?  Stafford probably doesn't
*really* know, either.  He just has "ideas."


Take Orlanth.  Was Orlanth always a God?  No, I don't think so. The
Orlanthi myth even hints that he wasn't ("When Orlanth was just a Godling,
and had no inkling of his powers." paraphrased, KoS, Orlanthi Mythology) 
Just some person who eventually apotheosized.  Just like all the rest of
the gods.

Was there really a GodTime?  No, probably not.  Did Orlanth really kill the
Yelm?  Probably not...though perhaps for several years Glorantha fell into
near-synchronous orbit with another planet(oid) and the sun was eclipsed. 
It couldn't last too long, though, becase *everything* would die.  Maybe a

But what about the Block?  The Spike had to explode to land on the Devil,
right?  No.  Pure luck.  Some big planetoid (perhaps even the one that was
eclipsing Glorantha (or maybe just Dragon Pass) finally fell to earth. 
Maybe it's radioactive.  Maybe it's a Rama-like alien spaceship.

But Prax was once a garden, now its wasteland, explain that!  The water
table was drained away by a crack in the crust formed when the Block
crashed into the earth.  No ground water, no life.


So, the next time your players complain about Glorantha being stale or
immobile or immutable, quote the mantra:

"Everything Stafford says is wrong."

If it doesn't illuminate you, at the very least it will pacify your players.

Clay W. Luther                  
Software Engineer                             Vortech Data, Inc
Office (214) 994-1377                        Fax (214) 994-1310


From: (Tom Zunder)
Subject: KoS, TOTRM, non_Glora, Power levels
Date: 12 Feb 93 22:38:00 GMT

I think KoS was the best GS could do short of not publishing. I do hope
that they still do a Sartar book tho. ie a 1602-1621 one like the Prax


From: (David Cake)
Subject: KoS and multiple Argraths
Message-ID: <>
Date: 12 Feb 93 23:43:04 GMT

	After buying KoS I attempted to create some sort of Hero Wars
time line, at least for the years 1615-1640 (about the most I expect
any campaign to cover, even when the rumoured Epic rules come out). I
discovered that the book contains two quite different versions of
events (Argraths Saga and the CHDP) and a third time line that
disagrees with both (the Minaryth 'events in my life' near the back).

	Looking at the introduction, I discovered that Argraths Saga
was supposed to be constructed from multiple sources long after the
event, so it is the most dodgy for real history ( not to mention very
few dates mentioned, and obvious confusion - ie Jar-Eel dying and
re-appearing later without comment, Harrek being banished from Sartar
and fighting alongside Argrath just afterwards) so I decided that this
is the source to ignore if in doubt.  Some events that appear to be
different can be resolved to be the same if you ignore the Argraths
Saga timeline ie the Battle of Gargantuans(if I got that right) is
probably the same as the Battle of Dwernapple.

	But still the (very detailed for the years 1615-1627 or so)
definately contradicts the Minaryth timeline. Aargh! Greg you

	As to Argrath being a composite, note that the figure of
Argrath of Pavis (who has a one page write-up) cannot be the same
person as Argrath who participates in the Cradle scenario (aka Garrath
Sharpsword, but definately Argrath). However the only words recorded
spoken by both of them are approximatlely the same. Note that GS then,
in his 'Conclusions', then, despite great indications that they are not
the same person (Argrath of Pavis explicitly does not go on the Cradle
adventure, and is active in Pavis while Argrath Dragonspear is voyaging
with Harrek, and is inside the city when the nomad army (allegedly led
by Argrath) advances on it), GS uses one parent from both to create
Argraths genealogy. Bastard again!

	There is a third (I think almost entirely contradictory)
version of Argraths genealogy given when he meets with Leika Ballista
of the Colymar.

	I loved reading KoS. But trying to work out my own Hero Wars
chronolgy will be a real pain. I think that I will basically use the
one in CHDP as the most authoritative.

	This contradictory history is a nice idea - but I suspect is
going to really irritate me in practice. But I would much rather this
than going without the book (which I really like).

						Dave Cake

PS It was good to see Leika Ballista mentioned. I think she is a PC
from GSs campaign. At least some of her exploits are written up in
Dragons Past in Wyrms footnotes.