Biolgy and Stuff

From: Kevin Rose <>
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 1997 22:16:08 -0500 (CDT)


From: Paul Chapman asks:
> Kevin Rose confuses me with his "Smart Arrows" posting:-
> >I don't think that this seems like the appropriate way to make elven
> >arrows more dangerous. Most Elves are going to be so damned good that
> >they will hit nearly every time anyway, but deciding that they can go
> >around corners, etc, seems too much.
> Who is this addressed to? I don't think anybody _did_ decide this. In
> fact, all the postings I have seen on this seem to be against the idea of
> homing arrows.

I, unlike some others (to judge by the number of messages generated) actually find that I don't have time to read all of these messages as they come out. Matter of fact, I sometimes read a couple of days worth in a single sitting. But the message that I was sort of responding to was:

 "What a neat idea, actually. Picture a special, incredibly rare weapons plant whose fruit is a self-guiding arrow. Maybe they'd only be useful against a specific type of enemy. Figure that it would always hit its target, maybe even if it is out of sight." And other assorted responses to this, some of which seemed at least semi-serious.

Judging from some of the semingly self evident foolishness that has been published (Like the Basmoli stuff), it seems useful to not let really bad ideas (IMO) walk through unchallenged.

> >My thought would be that the appropriate sort of effect be achived with a
> >biological method, not some sort of non-line-of-sight magic arrow stuff.
> >The obvious ways to do this are to use really nasty toxins or biologically
> >active agents (fungus or bacteria) that would cause the target to become
> >dead, or eat his armor, break down his defensive magic, or do other nasty
> >things.
> Again, nobody has seriously suggested this. My main posting on the subject
> suggested a mythical explanation for magically grown arrows that produced
> just these sorts of effects. The problem with biological answers to things
> is that biology makes things too easy for Game/World balance if it can
> produce the sorts of effects that you describe above. Also, you are
> referring to mystical effects from your arrows (destroying defensive magic,
> etc), this is OK since biology and magic are closely interlinked in
> Glorantha but denies a truly biological viewpoint as we would understand it
> in the RW.

I quite possibly missed the posting, or it may have been mixed in with the kitori stuff (which is almost as much fun as the doctoral disertation level analysis of pelorian culture based on King of Sartar) which I tend to mostly ignore. But anyway. . .

Why do naturally poisonous Aldryami arrows make it "too easy for Game/World balance"? In what fashion? As I do not ever expect to allow anyone to play an Elf in a functioning Aldryami society I don't see any reason why this matters. Alydryami are plants, hence they can handle toxins that are really lethal to animals (Like nerve agents) and ignore them.

You may have to posit a reason why the Alyryami don't rule the world with these weapons, but Mostali pike and musket regiments have not exactly destroyed the world. And they have a very real and physical basis for why they work.

> This sort of thing is best left to myth, I feel...

Insisting that everything be reduced to some sort of hand waving explanation of "mythical reasons" seems to be too often used as a cop-out for incomplete or poorly though out ideas. Sure, it is appropriate sometimes, but hardly as often as people seem to use it.

> Paul.


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