Bell Digest vol09p02.txt

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From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM
Subject:  RuneQuest Digest Volume 9, no 2
Reply-To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RuneQuest Daily Digest)
Precedence: junk
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	Arganth	 	-	Trickster stuff			[ed]
	Nick Brooke	-	Yaks and Books and Things That Go Bump
			-	Lunar Cults & Founders
	Sam Phillips 	-	General Rant. I Love RuneQuest..
	Lewis Jardine	-	God Learners, Mythology and Us!


	It's been silent for a while on the Digest.
	This is a selection of Gloranthan stuff [again].

	I could probably collate 200k (around 8 issues of
	digest) about a recent discussion of sorcery.
	Is anyone interested?  Is any of the current
	subscribers interested in digesting/summarising
	the dailies by theme?

	Current themes on the daily are: Glorantha, Sorcery,
	    God Learners.

	Tell me what you'd like to see.

	[ed] indicates that I changed the title

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	


Subject: Trickster stuff			[ed]
Message-ID: <9305101339.AA01063@serdlc5>
Date: 10 May 93 13:39:34 GMT

 Seen a lot of Trickster stuff floating around recently, so I thought
I'd chuck in this spell which occurred to me the other night while we
were playing (I'd had something to drink so I've got an excuse).

 New Trickster (Eurmal) spirit magic spell

 Eggs, Egghead, The yolk's on you

 3pt, non-variable, temporal, passive

 This recreates the egg from the back of the head routine. The
trickster reaches round behind the 'victim's' head, casts the spell
(the words are 'ta-da' - nothing to do with the bloke who saved
Ernalda) and an egg appears in his hand which he then reveals to the
victim (hopefully) to his amazement. The one necessity for this spell
is that, if the victim asks to see the egg (e.g to test if it's real)
then the Trickster must (preferably with a flourish) break it over the
victim's head, or in his face.

 So, although this can be a useful spell for distracting guards ,etc,
there is a flipside which can place the caster in even more trouble. If
ever the Trickster fails to do this then he develops a rotten egg
smell. Hate to think what Eurmal would require him to do to get rid of it.

 In the campaign I'm running in Sartar (what an original locale), the
p.c's are currently attending the Orlanthi High Holy day in an attempt
to become initiates (one p.c failed to join Humakt when he told the
examiner that, if he gave his word not to harm someone who later turned
out to be an ogre, he would kill him when he discovered the truth). 

 As this occasion tends to turn into a bank holiday (or bank Holyday)
for most people, the Tricksters have turned up. The egg joke worked
wonderfully on one character who got one right in the face (makes me
wish I'd live-roleplayed it).

 So far the best thing the Trickster has done (apart from trying to
steal the religious paraphenalia from the local temple to all deities)
is to convince a Storm Kahn and his 40 braves (who had ridden all the
way from Prax following a dream sent by the bull himself telling them
about a large chaos presence in the region) that the chaos was actually
a large group of gorp cunningly disguised as cow pats in a nearby
field, and that the only way to destroy the chaos menance was to ...
eat it (well he is a Trickster, and he figured that it may well sweeten
the Storm Bulls' breath). Great spell 'lie'.

 So, you can imagine what one of the p.c's who wanted to become a lay
member of Urox had to do to prove his sincerity. He's still picking the
pieces of straw out of his teeth!

 Anyway, better get on with my revision.

-When a man lies he murders a part of the world


From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Yaks and Books and Things That Go Bump
Message-ID: <930513082318_100270.337_BHB73-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 13 May 93 08:23:18 GMT
Dave Pearson / Yaks:

No Yaks in Prax .  You need to cross the Great Wastes of Genert to find 
the Yak-Men of the Shan Shan Mountains.  They're a Hsunchen people.  Now, 
will someone tell me where I can find a musk-ox in Glorantha?  Just 
mundane, nothing mystic...  I'd go looking for them up towards Tastolar 
myself, but have any been sighted in North Pent?

Mike Dawson / Books:

You mention some "systems that existed before the Dewey Decimal."  Well, I 
heard from a librarian there that the Bodleian Library at Oxford *still* 
sorts its books by size.  The only sensible way to do it, when you have a 
copy of almost everything in the English Language.  Even with computer 
assistance, conveyor belts and the like, it still took an unreasonable 
amount of time to call up anything.  Oh, but the *joy* of being the first 
person ever to cut the pages of a book that reached the library seventy-odd 
years ago!

Yeah, I guess the real answer to Paul's plea -- "I thought those notes 
meant something" -- is that they did: but only to the sage who wrote them!  
(That said, the Jonstown and Nochet systems are remarkably coherent -- if 
it wasn't for the lovely write-up of "what went wrong" on Tales 4 p.7f, you 
might almost assume they worked!).

Expanding from double entry bookkeeping, I have two further points.  One is 
that it's damned difficult to get the hang of DEB -- I speak from 
experience.  Making this method a cult secret for a magic-poor cult makes 
all kinds of sense.  Anyone else trying to learn it will necessarily see 
and accept the virtues of Lunar Balance: does this give them a Nysalor 
Illumination % willy-nilly?

The other is that, if Etyries has DEB, might not Irrippi Ontor have a 
coherent system for Library classification / referencing?  Maybe a 
Gloranthan version of Dewey?  Don't waste my time saying it's 
anachronistic: with my understanding of the Lunar Way and the things that 
become possible with state-run cults and loads of mobility through the 
Empire, this seems plausible to me.  Again, Lankhor Mhy sages aren't going 
to chuck aside their tradition of independent research to jump on a Lunar 

Both DEB and DD would be innovative secrets that, in Mike's phrase, "don't 
run the whole world -- YET!"  Like the Lunar Empire itself, really.

Greg Fried / Lodril:

I can't resist giving you the full Freudian works, so:

The fiery male Sky Spear is flying above the fertile female Earth, when he 
looks down and sees a squidgy, hairy thing known as the Mother Mouth.  So 
he plunges to earth to battle with her, but finds he is only able to defeat 
her when thrusts deep into a tunnel and explodes, mingling his essence with 
hers.  After that he feels very lazy, and lies around in the Earth Womb for 
a while -- this is when his children Caladra and Aurelion are born.  But 
whenever he gets excited, a huge bulge appears in the earth, then explodes, 
foaming with hot lava.

And they call me sick!  Yup, Stafford has confessed to this.  If you get 
the White Wolf cult writeup, pay special attention to the Pelorian "Cult of 
the Invisible Underpants" (as we call it round here), a sad bunch of Iron 
John types, and the devastatingly macho spell of Lava Spear, which allows 
you to brandish your mighty weapon against your foes and rain hot gobbets 
of molten stuff upon them.  Understandably, it's usually banned by the 
nobles -- and a good thing too!

Paul Reilly / Magic:

I am loving your "Laws of Magic" examples.  As I understand it, you are 
proposing that this kind of thing happens every time a spell is cast, not 
that there should be an extra set of game rules giving bonuses or penalties 
for clever ideas.  Your Sorcerer-Artist was a particularly interesting 

Graeme Lindsell / Loskalm:

Please recognise that I am playing Devil's Advocate here to some extent 
(well, someone has to, now the Pope's abolished it: seems he might have had 
interesting things to say about that fascist who ran Opus Dei and is now in 
line for beatification).  That said, I *loved* your comments on Tuesday's 
Daily.  Made me want to start singing patriotic songs: "Loskalm, Loskalm 
Uber Alles!"  The point about the Hrestoli system requiring militarism for 
social advance had previously passed me by; I shall certainly be using it 
in invective, even if I'm not quite sure that it's the whole story (David 
Hall says he'd be happy as a peasant and not want to rise above his roots).

Thanks too for your positive feedback on Humakt-as-Westerner.  I try only 
to say things that are partially plausible.  It's good to know other people 
think about them, and are sometimes convinced.  Balm to the soul of the 
struggling author / Gloranthologist.

Bill Robertson / Argrath:

What an excellent point -- the re-enactment of the Ritual of the Net 
leading to even less involvement by gods in the world of men (or vice 
versa).  This looks like a True, Big Secret you've come up with here.  A 
question it raises is, did this happen last time?  Were the gods 
effectively "trapped in Arachne Solara's Web" at the end of Godtime?  Seems 
plausible to me...  And, once again, did Argrath know it would happen that 
way?  He's probably met Cragspider at some point in his career, so he could 
well be better informed about these matters than the rest of us.

Adam from Aberystwyth:

This is neat.  You suggest say that pre-God Learner sorcery was nothing 
like the RQ3 stuff; that the GL's come up with all this manipulation 
business, which then creeps back into the Malkioni Churches as an 
alternative to the mainstream tradition.  Note, though, that belief in the 
Invisible God predates the God Learners.

While this is nifty, I'm not altogether sure about it.  I'd thought that 
the only "pure sorcery" in Glorantha was that of the God Learners, that the 
divinely-inspired Wizardry of Seshnela and Loskalm was very different to 
the "Scientific Sorcery" of RQ3.  Driven by piety, not knowledge.

The original Cult of Arkat (state cult of the Stygian Empire) was shattered 
and wiped out by the God Learners.  Some members of that cult apparently 
still survive on the Hero Plane as "shadow warriors" -- but I've not met 
one myself.  There are any number of Arkati eschatological traditions in 
Safelster; the Troll sorcerers worship Black Arkat (in TG); etc.  Part of 
the problem in identifying "THE Cult" derives from the "Five Arkats" thing: 
which of them was the Real Arkat?  (i.e: the write-up at the back of CoT 
doesn't look much like a Troll's version).

So: you asked "the Cult of Arkat: is there one?"
My answer would be, "No.  Far more than that."


"Violent disagreement is the last refuge of the incompetent."

From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Lunar Cults & Founders
Message-ID: <930519184343_100270.337_BHB53-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 19 May 93 18:43:44 GMT

Jeff Okamoto writes:

> Given the way the Lunar "cults" are set up, I really wonder if
> the Seven Mothers would have modeled their spirits of retribution
> after the "adopted" cult or not.
>	...
> It would be interesting to know what choices the Seven Mothers
> had to make when they were deified -- did Duke Tarnils choose
> his cult to emulate Humakt or did he have to do so?

Seems an odd approach to solving the "Lunar problem".  We know that, prior 
to their becoming gods, the Seven Mothers were just ordinary mortal 
cultists.  We know a fair amount about two of their cults, a little about 
two more, and almost nothing about the other three.

We know that Yanafal Tarnils was a Humakti.  His cult has been briefly 
described as "Lunar Humakt", and every version I've seen (including a 
Chaosium draft) is based heavily on the familiar Humakt cult.

We know that Irrippi Ontor was a Lankhor Mhy cultist.  His cult is the 
Lunars' equivalent to Lhankor Mhy, and even shares Temple space with them 
at times.  Again, we have a fairly exact correspondence.

Queen Deezola was a "priestess of Arachne Solara" (whatever *that* means); 
her cult has Healing and Earth magics (plus poetry, of course).

Jakaleel the Witch was "a priestess of Zorak Zoran from the Mountains of 
Jord"; her cult has terrifying Darkness magics.

The other three (Teelo Norri, Danfive Xaron, and "She Who Waits") are 
peculiarly Lunar, and have remarkably inadequate, impotent, or inaccessible 
cults.  I'm not going to use them in my theory until we know more.  If you 
want an eristic argument, refute me with them...

But it is noteworthy that, whenever we know the cultic origin of one of the 
Seven Mothers, the cult of that Mother is a fairly solid Lunar version of 
the original cult.  I'd guess the Seven Mothers had already "made their 
choices" (in Jeff's phrase) *before* participating in the ritual that 
created the Red Goddess.  They stole, used and abused the powers of their 
original cults.  (Insert here any bits of the debate on spirits of 
retribution that tickle your fancy).

In short, Yanafal's cult teaches Humakti secrets because those are the 
secrets that Yanafal knew.  It would have been surprising if a deified 
Carmanian Humakti nobleman had instead taught people how to make the corn 
grow high, or walk on water, or conduct orchestral manoeuvres in the dark 

Och, this looks like the right place for a *really nasty* theory that was 
doing the rounds here a year or two ago:

The Seven Mothers are often compared to the Lightbringers: they undertake a 
quest to rescue a dead deity languishing in Hell, who when returned to the 
world becomes a heavenly body that visibly passes between Life and Death on 
a regular cycle.  Famously, each of the Lightbringers failed to use their 
most important powers or virtues at some point on the Quest (cf. KoS p.86: 
"each of them had a moment of failure, when their best and proudest skills 
were seen to be naught").  What if the Seven Mothers went into the ritual 
that brought back the Red Goddess  intending *cynically* to fail in the 
exercise of their cultic virtues?  They deliberately betrayed their ideals 
in order to pass through the various challenges of the test.  That would 
reinforce my suggestion that the spirits of retribution of their "original" 
cults have the knives out for them...  (Not yet sure this is how it worked, 
but how's it grab you as a suggestion?)

Pretty boring RQ Daily yesterday.  David Cheng's suggestions look good: if 
you're going to keep Strike Ranks at all, that's the way to treat them.  
Though I'd prefer to see more magic cast in combat rather than less (as 
David wants): I think it's more reflexive / intuitive than you give credit 
for (except Sorcery, of course).  Recommendation: a great book for all 
kinds of spirit magic in everyday use: "On Stranger Tides" by Tim Powers.

Paul Reilly's contributions were as thoughtful as ever.  Yeah, any *single* 
set of Elemental Oppositions will quickly run into trouble.  The Pentagram 
had two sets, because the lines of Evolution showed you more tensions; as I 
said, though, I am not sold on it as a theory or a model of Gloranthan 
magical realities.

Loved the Red Tapeworm!!


Dictum est antiqua sandalio mulier habitavit,
Quae multos pueros habuit tum ut potuit nullum
Quod faciundum erat cognoscere.  Sic Domina Anser.

From: S.Phillips@Glasgow.UK.AC
Subject: General Rant. I Love RuneQuest..
Message-ID: <_2_Jun_93_17:26:08_A10042@UK.AC.GLA.VME>
Date: 2 Jun 93 16:26:08 GMT

Hello from Sam Phillips.
Campaign Settings, RuneQuest, Glorantha, Gygax! & Love.
Our campaign has predominantly been based around Dragon
Pass, Sartar, Prax & Pavis. We spent a short while in
Balazaar but found it a bit on the grim side and so left.
We started in Apple Lane over ten years ago. I played a
Issaries Centaur Trader (We didn't realise how
uncivilised they were then!). This caused a few problems
when it came to getting lodgings etc. I spent a lot of
nights in barns, days standing outside pubs, hours doing
deals through shop windows, minutes before I was asked to
leave as I was putting the locals off their beer. Still
it was fun and it had its up-points (kicking the
Johnstown Barracks doors in for one!). These were the
salad days of Runequest II when all we had was a scrappy
copy of the rule book, a treasured copy of Cults of Prax,
the old pamphlet that was Apple Lane and a lot of
photocopies of Harry's old GM's notes from when he played
in Dublin the year before (Including his version of
Johnstown -- with Y-shaped Lankhor Mhy temple).
Trollpack hit us like a thermo-nuclear blast. And
suddenly a new realism took us. We ditched a couple of
power-players who we no longer saw eye-to-eye with and
set off into Dagori-Inkarth. Many splendid adventures
With the arrival of borderlands we set off across Prax.
To seek fame & fortune.. Pavis Pack, Big Rubble, all
served to keep us in this neck of the woods. Then back to
a grimmer more realistic Sartar where we became freedom
fighters complete with a secret hide out. Then, our
bought adventures all played out (or those that fitted
with the campaign) and our GM a little tired of making
his own storylines up (you can only play the Robin Hood
scenario so many times before becoming thoroughly sick
with it), we were badgered into heading to Balazaar. It
meant new characters for most of us but it seemed about
time we retired some of our big guns. Balazaar was grim
though. It seemed to lack the colour and excitement of
Prax and by now was a little old fashioned compared to
what we had taken on board since. 
Thus the big guns came out of retirement, went into
Snakepipe Hollow (finally) where they met their allied
spirits and finally became RuneLords/Priests. Then back
to Pavis where trouble was brewing. Then the Cradle
adventure. Which we thought was *splendid*. The
atmosphere especially captured some of the feelings that
I hadn't felt since I first started playing or at least
since playing Borderlands. Real tears of emotion were
spilled by players over this - not seen since Dane was
killed (Borderlands) - not counting player character
deaths (few, actually, in 10yrs play). 
Then retirement again.. The big RQ void had returned. No
new adventures, no new packs. Nuffin..
So we gave up Runequesting. And it was shelved for years
while we took on new and wonderful games that had arisen
only because of but had in many respects surpassed our
humble RQ. Cthulu, Vikings, Twilight2000, StarWars,
CyberPunk etc. We played them all - trying to regain some
of the magic we had lost. We didn't. In fact none of them
had the sheer charm and satisfaction of RQ. TW2000 was as
grim as hell. 4 or 5 times as grim as Balazaar. Vikings
was limited by the material. Call of Cthulu is held back
by the subject matter too - you can't really get to know
and love your characters as they will be bumped off soon,
and there is also the big - 'what the hell are we doing'
aspect of it - you pretend you don't know what you are
investigating - but at the same time you can't walk away
in disbelief (like anyone normal would) because it would
ruin the game. So you walk in like headless chickens -
see something horrid, then go mad and die. 
RQ has purpose. In RQ you can explore yourself as well as
Glorantha. RQ cults were the best thing that ever
happened to RPG's. They stopped RPG's from being Wargames
and made them into ROLE playing games. No longer were you
just striving for treasure. You had purpose. Then when it
was time to move on to another character you could
experiment with another way of life. In our first ever RQ
game we had an Issaries and a Chalana Arroy as two of the
key members of the party. We had just given up D&D and
were craving for something like RQ. Something with
But now we are back on the RQ wagon. Things seem to have
taken off again. RQ had returned to Glorantha and the
feeling seems to be back in it. We still haven't had
either Cults of Prax re-released or something of its
quality and depth of feeling released but I feel it won't
be long. 
Hopefully a Prax pack will do this. As far as I am
concerned RQ isn't a game about stats and spells, strike
ranks and weapon lengths. It is a ROLE playing game where
what matters is the depth of background and role-play
opportunities offered. Gods of Glorantha was great for
GM's as was the other new RQ packs. The content was wide
ranging, vague and contained a hell of a lot of info. But
for players it was of little use. The cults in COP
contains enough different Cults to suit players of all
types from the power-monger to the peaceful-underdog. But
what was needed was the cultures. They were hinted at but
never filled out. 
TrollPack did this - For trolls. Another GM pack
unfortunately being none of us were playing a troll at
this time.
But this is what we need. A troll pack for players about
Gloranthan people. With descriptions of the towns, the
tribes, the cultures. What you would know if you were a
praxian or a sartarian. COP told us what you would
believe but very little about who you are.
Who ARE the Lunar?. What do they want?. Do I know about
Giants, or elves?. How do I fear Chaos?. How do I respect
a Storm Buller?. Where would I never go?. Who are the
ordinary people who stay at home?. How unusual am I that
I have left home and gone wandering?.. Do I know all the
other cults listed in GoG? Do I know all about magic? The
spells and their names? What do I wear?... etc.
I would be nice, wouldn't it.
But I am rambling. This started off as a little
description of our campaign and has ended up as an
outpouring of pent up emotion. -- You see I love
RuneQuest. I loved it from the beginning. We had a trial
separation but we soon realised that we needed each
other. Yes, I know I slept around a bit - but I was
looking for gratification - not love. I had love already.
But now there is talk of a RQIV. And I have seen it. And
yes It's quite good. In places it is very good. In places
it isn't. But then so were RQII & RQIII. I appreciate the
time that people have put into it. I rejoice that people
still have such passion about RQ to be undertaking such a
But do we need RQIV. Is it really desirable. Should we be
writing new rules?. EXTRA RULES?. We have loads of rules
already. Rules for nearly everything. We have shelves of
rules we have never used. But we only have one battered
old copy of Cults of prax. 
Please! - stop rewriting the Rules. I know they are not
perfect. They never were. But in this search for better
rules the beauty of RuneQuest has been forgotten.
We need to sell RQ as a ROLE playing game. Something for
the WarHammer generation to aspire to when they grow up
and realise that White Dwarf was once a magazine in its
own right and that Chaos parties with goatee heads
weren't invented by Games Workshop. That Gygax! is a
swear word in another language and ...
You get my point.
RQ is, I'm sure, in good hands - the Garhound contest is
probably the BEST beginners' scenario I have ever seen.
We introduced two new players with it. They learned the
whole essence of RQ in a few game sessions. Brilliant. So
if the new stuff continues in this vain we have no
Keep lovin' RuneQuest..     
Sam Phillips.
Not Scotland But Sartar. x

Subject: God Learners, Mythology and Us!
Message-ID: <9306151318.AA27765@Sun.COM>
Date: 15 Jun 93 13:15:00 GMT

Reference: X-RQ-ID: 1032

Who cares whether all the God Learner's disciples were wiped out?  
Because, we all know that some of them are alive now and using this net!

Seriously do you realize that all of us interacting on this net is 
effectively a HeroQuest which is affecting the mythology of Glorantha 
by our collective decisions about the nature of things 
(especially with regards to sorcery and Malkioni society).  
MORAL:-  If you desire a particular outcome it is imperative that 
you fight for it here on the Hero Plane, or you will lose it forever 
when AH or GS prints what we have decided.  

Of course you might be lucky and mythology might resent these God Learners
interferring and reject them all.  

		Selwi Jerandi


To be continued...