Bell Digest vol08p10-2.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 @(#)v8n10.2	1.2	93/04/23
Reply-To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RuneQuest Daily Digest)
Precedence: junk
Sender: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM


    High&Low, A&E, Yelorna, Trivia
    Running hard to catch up...
    Re: Lots of Fri, 12 Feb Stuff.
    Re: GodTime, mythology, KoS
    White Wall
    Re: Argrath = Orlanth
    Elmal Cult
    Re: The RuneQuest Daily, Wed, 17 Mar 1993


    Here is a summary of submissions sent to the RuneQuest Daily
    on the theme of King of Sartar and the in-consistency of 
    Glorantha.  Here's part two, the last.

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: STEVEG@ARC.UG.EDS.COM (Entropy needs no maintenance)
Subject: High&Low, A&E, Yelorna, Trivia
Message-ID: <01GUQBWPM12A00074T@UG.EDS.COM>
Date: 14 Feb 93 16:22:33 GMT

> Clay's posting got me thinking about styles of play and wondering on what
> level of power most RQ-Gloranthan campaigns are running.  How powerful in
> terms of the setting are the PCs in your campaign?  Are they major figures
> in world history e.g. kings, princes, high priests, powerful sorcerors,
> mighty warriors;  or are they minor figures e.g. common thieves,
> mercenaries, merchant-adventurers, apprentice sorcerors, initiates or
> priests? Are they the mere footsoldiers in the Hero Wars or are they leading
> the armies?

My own personal experience is that the climb from starting character to
RuneLevel is sufficiently long that the PCs have tended to stay in the shadows
of the establishment figures (who are either where they are by right of birth,
or are RuneLords or RunePriests of long standing - if not well on the way to
Hero status.

This is of course conditioned by tending to play for 3-4 hours once a week,
and changing campaigns(systems, backgrounds, the lot) about every 18mo-2years
in which starting characters have become only moderately skilled (~75%, with
the odd point of rune magic around) by the time the impulse for change comes
around.  And even at that stage PCs are well aware of how dangerous even being
slightly outnumbered by trollkin can be.  Player discomfort ensues because
they'd rather cut through hordes of vermin as they deserve to be, and get to a
point where they can join the movers & shakers, rather than the audience.

> And to add some contention: which style of play do you think is superior
> and why is it superior?

That's a naughty question.  De gustibus non disputandum est!  Myself, I play
for entertainment and escape from the daily grind, so playing the bit-parts
doesn't appeal.

Looking at the timelines in _KoS_  I was interested to note that the fall of
the Red Moon occurs near the end of the 9th Wane, as the Lunar powers ought to
be drawing to their height.  (This contrasts with early material naming the
8th Wane as the HeroWars wane, by the middle of which social disintegration
was well set in.)  More evidence for the untrustrworthy nature of the material
in _KoS_.


From: (Tom Zunder)
Subject: Glo/non-Glo,KoS,Rumours,A&E,FTP
Date: 15 Feb 93 21:00:00 GMT

Greg is wrong, Greg is right, Greg is actually a good boy for making sure
it's intenally inconsistent. I remember the inteview he did with
GamesMaster International and the comments in TOTRM that he wanted to end
the obsessive need to follow the "one true way". Basically I think most
events up to 1621 are roughly as we all know, beyond that (and before that
if you want) you can do what you like. I suggest that Greg make the Lunar
book disagree even further with KoS.

Godlearner bit:

I can see such ideas on a secular Godlearner basis but why? Why not have
a real fantasy world? Obviously the gods are not unchangeable and reflect
their worshippeers, but I'd rather believe in a true core factual reality
to it all.


I repeat, most people I know play more non-Glo than Glo RQ. They like the
game and do not like the restricted feel of Glorantha. Many do not want
to have to gen up on Glo mythology, after all a Glo hack can scare most
casual visitors to death quite soon. They like the game system and the
feel. Some people half like Glorantha but half hate it and reconstruct a
similar but different world of their own. I like the multiverse hopping
of M Moorcock and I'd like to pop between tzunder world 1 and Glorantha.
I could use GURPS and I did run some GURPS Glorantha, but I actually think
RQ is a better system.


Let's create more rumours, shall we?

1:      Hallgrim Ironfist, Storm Kahn of the Pol Joni has been possessed
by a fear spirit and captured by the Dark Sea clan of Morokanth. They say
he's been turned into a herdman. His colleague of some years, Darth Jophayn
is rumoured to have been contacted by the Storm Bulls to help in a rescue

2:      Belvani and Penta Goldbreath have become very friendly recently.




Tom Zunder. A man who pays his own system time, Argan Argar damn it!



From: STEVEG@ARC.UG.EDS.COM (Entropy needs no maintenance)
Subject: Running hard to catch up...
Message-ID: <01GUQXSGNZ9U00070K@UG.EDS.COM>
Date: 15 Feb 93 02:49:09 GMT


The Ministry of Truth bulletin:-

"The Yelmalio cult was imported intentionally by the rulers of Pavis in the
year 875 to help against barbarian raiders"  -- Cults of Prax (Invader gods)

Sidestepping predestination

Comparing and contrasting Glorantha and the "official history" thereof, with
another privately created world of similar long standing, and stature as an
"official campaign world" for a published RPG (though lacking the mythic
quality), with its own imposed history leads me to propose two ways of
handling the dilemma posed by wanting to do your own thing and at the same
time following the official material through significant historical events
with widespread repurcussions. (Out of deference to those displaying delicate
sensibilities, I refrain from mentioning specifics or drawing explicit

1) Accept it and stay close to the action -

Make Argrath the NPC about whom the characters gathered; but in your world he
might be little more than a figurehead when the time came for the overthrow of
the Lunar yoke - convenient because of his ancestry as a token in the power
game, and in whose name the actions of the characters might be remembered -
and in whose name the characters might act after his safe installation on the

In fact, the need to keep Argrath safe until he can be kicked upstairs into
the kingship provides a neat game-mechanical way to keep the PCs in the
limelight : Argrath is too valuable to take troll-hunting (or whatever), stays
at home, gathers skills & POW more slowly than his entourage - perhaps doesn't
ever heroquest, lacking the level of abilities required.

2) The Hero Wars are someone else's problem (though they may trigger other

How might we apply this tack to the Hero Wars?  Well, we can interpret some of
the material from _King of Sartar_ quite narrowly, as referring to local
(Pelorian and/or Manirian at broadest extent) disruptions - if Dragon Pass
could remain shunned for centuries after the Dragonkill, so a larger area,
centred on Dragon Pass might be after the fall of the Lunar Empire.  All the
chroniclers named in _KoS_ might well be from a small, isolated (perhaps by
magical? Lunar? "fallout"(*)) pocket of civilsation in these shunned lands,
the Illiteracy merely a local breakdown.

In this view of things, we follow the history of some other part of the world,
to which the fall of some distant empire across the mountains is but a
herald's rumour (**); and the passing of Argrath's entourage on his westfaring
a significant episode - the characters interacting with this when their paths
happen to require interaction with Lightbringer myth.  There would be other
mundane effects from the movement of peoples and armies in Dragon Pass that
would affect the campaign area, but the focus might be any one of the other
Hero Wars period events discussed in the Glorantha/Genertela box, and which
would be regarded by the peoples of that area as the _real_ Hero Wars.

	=	    =		=	    =		=	    =

(*) Lunar fallout - given the chaos taint of the Red moon, if great chunks of
this  material (and many smaller fragments) fell to Earth, the effects of the
bombardment might well resemble that of saturation nuclear warfare, at least
locally (to which the 1950s-SF style of mutant can be added, by virtue of
chaotic emanations.

(**) Spot the motivation for looking at other parts of the world than the
distressingly uncivilised areas of Prax and Sartar, on which there has been
altogether too much emphasis.


From: (alex)
Subject: Re: Lots of Fri, 12 Feb Stuff.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 16 Feb 93 22:48:00 GMT

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

Steve G:
> 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).

How many lines in KoS does, say Jor-eel get?  And her stats are approximately
.  There's clearly ample room in the
future history storyline to accomodate pretty heavy-hitter Heroes without
having to change things around, even if you stick to every single last
printed self-contradictory word of the Official Line.  Trouble is: how
are you going to run characters like this under RQ{2,3,4}?  Or under
any other game sytem known to man?  "Next year, under 'HeroQuest'..."


> Rules: Could we have more chat and fewer rules?
Bah, humbug.  :-)  Let's have more chat _and_ more rules, or at least
discussion of the odd game mechanic here and there.  Ticking "much more"
to every box is perfectly valid in this case, up till the point that
Henk's machine starts blowing a gasket or two, at least.

But sign me up for the AD&D posting lynch mob.  :-)



From: (alex)
Subject: Re: GodTime, mythology, KoS
Message-ID: <>
Date: 16 Feb 93 23:17:23 GMT

Clay {God} L{earner}: :-)
> Was there really a GodTime?

Tricky.  But if the Godtime wasn't, what was it?  If you see what I mean.
Prehistory?  Just a lota myths?

> Did Orlanth really kill the Yelm?

From my reading of the mythology bit in KoS, the Orlanthi don't seem to
believe the Lesser Darkness was entirely sun-free, or at least it's not
stated as such.  Just an irrelevant (and false?) observation.

> Probably not...though perhaps for several years Glorantha fell into
> near-synchronous orbit with another planet(oid) and the sun was eclipsed. 

Planetoids?  Orbits??  Another round-earth krank, obviously.  Reconcile
Glorantha as a planet and the Elder Secrets stuff on the (substantially
whacky) Gloranthan sky, and I'll give you a coconut (among other things :->).

> "Everything Stafford says is wrong."
> If it doesn't illuminate you, at the very least it will pacify your players.

Tsk.  "Ignorance and fear, fear and ignorance!"  Oops, wrong Rolston


This week's Mammoth RuneQuest Continuity Error:
In episode 3 of the Troubled Waters scenario, anyone notice that Gautama
actually _talks_ to the player characters?  Whoops.  And this from the
man who follows his cult vows "excessively".  (As the Light Keeper, he
is only allowed to deal with other Light Priests, if we believe the
cult writeup.)  More honoured in the breach than in the observance?
Or do I misparse the phrase "Non-Light Priests", which could be taken
several ways?

By the way, no specific credits are given for the scenario.  Who do we blame?
Greg, since Everything He Says Is Wrong?  {\extrabroad :-)}



From: (Tom Zunder)
Subject: White Wall
Date: 9 Mar 93 16:41:00 GMT

{This flyer is in common circulation in Dragon Pass / Prax amongst
Orlanthi after the events below.  If you wish to use KoS then this is
the event that precedes the eventual fall of Whitewall}

Storm Bull destroys the Bat!
Whitewall saved!
Lunar Empire Quakes With Fear!
May the Cold Wind Arise!

At dusk evil forces of the Red Moon brought forth their most hideous
chaos monster against the heroic city of Whitewall. As King Broyan
laughed defiance at the Lunar forces the Moon itself was darkened as
the hideous shape of the Bat was sighted. Brave men's hearts curdled,
even Broyan himself stepped back in awe as the huge shadow fell over
the ramparts of the city itself, it's Air Rune curved walls battered
but unbroken.

Then, as the Lunar armies themselves cowered with fear as the Bat began
to fall from the sky towards the brave city, from the StormWalk
Mountains came a bellow of rage.  As the red miasma of chaotic light
bathed the brave thanes of Whitewall, a huge SkyBull charged through
the Sky from behind the city. Monstrous and proud it hit the Bat full
square and as the astonished Pelorians fell back, a monstrous battle
began between the hideous monster of evil and the huge and powerful

Great was the battle and the heavens opened with terrible storms and
winds, red clouds raining blood rolled over Heortland and across the
lands the debris of the battle fell to Earth. As the Bat and Bull
tumbled to the Earth in a violent crash, a regiment of Tarsh hoplites
were crushed by the monstrous beasts. Storm Bulls riding Sky Bulls flew
from Whitewall and attacked the Third Sylilan Regiment of Sun Spears,
driving them back into the rear positions of the Lunar forces and
slaying their commanding officer, Hulonix Marthiriia, scion of the

As the Bat and Bull once again struggled to the air all could see that
both were close to Death's Door, and as the Bat priests desperately
healed their beast, gusts of Wind buoyed up the Bull. Then, as all
below watched in mounting horror, the Huge Sky Bull began to paw the
Air and charge the Bat. As it contacted the Bat opened it's hideous
mouth, the two creatures exploded in a blast of red, silver and blue
light which showered the ground below in blood, dust, and a wild
collection of debris.

The Bat is Dead!

May the Cold Wind Blow!


From: (alex)
Subject: Re: Argrath = Orlanth
Message-ID: <>
Date: 13 Mar 93 23:15:28 GMT

> From: (Tom Zunder)
> Subject: Quick Punchy Note

> 5:  [...] Obviously from KoS a lot of hell breaks out in the Empire
> proper, and I suspect it gets far more complicated than it once was. Again
> I cite the absence of Arkat from the KoS.

Who was it suggested that Argrath = Orlanth?  Of course, Nick Brooke avered
at Convulsion that Argrath = Arkat!



From: (boris)
Subject: Elmal Cult
Message-ID: <>
Date: 16 Mar 93 17:38:28 GMT

The Cult of Elmal

Now maybe this was all beaten to death the month my system was down and
I was on vacation, but maybe not.  Anyway, this cult has fascinated me
since I first heard of it, I'm not sure why.  I guess for this reason,
I've been very curious about how widespread it still is, as opposed to
that of Yelmalio.  Presented below are my conclusions on this, from
reading KOS, and finally my thoughts on how the cult of Elmal differs
from that of Yelmalio.

All through the _Report On The Orlanthi_ in Jalk's Book, Elmal is shown
to be one of the "specialized cults" of Orlanthi culture.  Not in the
mainstream, their members are looked upon as "eccentric, strange,
exotic, or dangerous".  But this classification includes *most* cults
gamers are familiar with.  Most Orlanthi initiate to Orlanth and/or
Ernalda.  Most of the rest initiate to one of their close associates,
the "Household Deities" such as Minlister, Mahome, Eninta, Barntar,
Esra, Voria, and Voriof.  Only a fraction of the population, too few
for anything less than a full tribe to populate a minor temple,
initiate to the specialized cults.  And the cults listed as such are:
Issaries, Chalana Arroy, Lhankor Mhy, Eurmal, Urox (Storm Bull),
Odayla, Yinkin, Humakt, and _Elmal_.

(This report was written after the Yelmalio schism also.  Referenced as
an example of the "Crown Test" is Leika Ballista, who lived during the
Hero Wars, much later than when Monrogh Lantern Heroquested to found
the cult of Yelmalio during the reign of Tarkalor.)

So even during the time of the Hero Wars, in Dragon Pass Elmal was an
actively worshipped cult, something near the same size as Humakt or
Storm Bull.  It may have been (and probably was) smaller than average,
having lost most of their initiates to the Yelmalio schism 50 years
before.  It may have few Priests or Runelords, but those left would
most likely be very devout, sticking with the old traditions despite
great political pressure to defect to the vigorous new cult.

So, then, what would this cult be like?  Well, it would likely be much
like the cult of Yelmalio, with some small changes.  One, Elmal's Runes
would be Fire and Truth instead of Light and Truth, since Zorak Zoran
never stole his fire powers from him.  Thus the cult would have
available the spirit magics of Firearrow, Fireblade, and Ignite, in
addition to the spells listed for Yelmalio.  As a Truth Rune cult, it
would retain the use of Gifts and Geasa, though some of the specific
geasa would change, as shown below.  Also, some divine spells would be
added, such as Summon and Command Salamander, Command Hawk, and
(perhaps) Truespear.  The associated cults would differ; Yelm would be
dropped, and probably Aldrya and Yelorna, but Orlanth would be added,
offering either Lightning or Thunderbolt (Orlanth armed Elmal, so one
of the attack spells seems appropriate).  Chalana Arroy would most
likely also be added, offering Heal Body in place of Aldrya.

Finally what are relations like between the two cults of Elmal and
Yelmalio.  Not too good, most likely.  History shows on Earth that the
most bitter religious persecution is from religions that agree on all
but one minor, but to them critical, point.  So Yelmalions and Elmali
probably are much like Humakti and Yanafal Tarnils cultists to each
other, bitter enemies who give each other no quarter.

Geas Changes:
34-36   Never seek shelter from the storm would be changed (as Elmal
    *did* receive shelter from the Storm) to something like Always
    stand a double watch (to commemorate Elmal being left to guard
    Orlanth's home).

80-81   Never speak to or help non-Light worshippers in any way would
    be changed to Never flee or surrender to any Chaos creatures.

82-84   Never speak to or help Orlanth worshippers in any way would be
    changed to Never refuse a request for aid from Storm or Earth

And I believe the rest can remain the same.  Maybe change 85-86: Never
allow an Elf to suffer needlessly; it may be only after Monrogh
Lantern's HeroQuest that the cult had close ties to elves.  So that
should change to something similar with cats, perhaps, and 78-79: Never
speak to or help Dwarfs in any way could become Never speak to to help
Chaos in any way.

Boris Mikey, aka        |"Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive
Maurice Beyke           | for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if        | you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire."
Intergraph doesn't want                                      Nietzsche
my opinions.


From: (boris)
Subject: Re: The RuneQuest Daily, Wed, 17 Mar 1993
Message-ID: <>
Date: 17 Mar 93 21:32:21 GMT

>   The Cult of Elmal
>   [much deleted]
>   Also, some divine spells would be added, such as Summon
>   and Command Salamander, Command Hawk, and (perhaps) Truespear.

It may be gauche to correct my own post, but I noticed something after
I sent this in yesterday.  In KOS, Jalk's Book, it says the following
regarding Elmal.

     The deity gave it's initiates blessings upon the earth, good barley
     crops, healthy horses, and winter protection.
                      (King of Sartar, (c) 1992 Greg Stafford, page 196.)

So, for divine spells, it should also (or maybe instead) have Bless
Horse (perhaps from an association with Hippoi or Hyalor Horsebreaker),
Earthwarm (as the Lodril spell), and possibly the Yelm spell Sunripen
(perhaps only effective for barley).  Bless Crops or such sounds more
like an Ernalda spell, but it is the one She offers Yelmalio, so that
may suit.

Boris Mikey, aka        |"Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive
Maurice Beyke           | for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if        | you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire."
Intergraph doesn't want                                      Nietzsche
my opinions.