Re: Newbie Questions; Mythic Origins; Dormal

From: Nick Brooke <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 05:23:15 -0500

"Gazza" writes:

> I'm about to start a new Glorantha campaign with players
> that know even less than I do - gotta start somewhere, I
> figure.

Congratulations, best of luck, well done expanding the flock, and if you have any more questions (or comments, etc.) please go ahead and post them!

This seems to be an invention of Steve Maurer's. One of the good things about the RuneQuest combat system is that nobody is immortal. A good, hefty Critical can bring down most any opponent. (The famous Rurik Runespear, of RQ2 rules-example fame, died when a Trollkin critically impaled him -- twice). But if you're a real powergamer, you need to be certain that your carefully-boosted character won't suffer the same fate as lesser mortals, hence "critical-resistant armour".

(Me, I say they're wusses. I've gone the whole hog and now have damage-proof *skin*).

In all my years of playing RQ, I can't recall ever coming across anything quite this gross. I'd recommend you don't hand it out to newbie players -- and, if you do, make sure there's a convenient pot of acid nearby. (See recent posts).

Jeff Richard, ever at my side, says that armour which *only* resists against criticals would be rather more amusing...

There's a Glorantha-Con in Melbourne, Australia next month. If it's possible for you to get there, there's likely to be OOP stuff in the auction. I'm sure there will be publicity announcements here shortly (BIG HINT to Con organisers!).

You can also find good stuff on Internet auctions, though I have no knowledge of how these work. Ask around, or use a search-engine on the product you're after and see how many "hits" are in frp.marketplace, etc. (Just a thought).

Peter Metcalfe writes, perceptively:

> There are many things that get dropped out of people's
> mythologies and many things that get added in.

Thank'ee for the examples, good clean fun. A couple more of my favourites:

Britain was colonised by Trojans escaping from the Fall of Troy (by way of Italy). Their leader was Brutus the Trojan, who named the island (previously inhabited by giants) after himself. Ireland was settled, I believe, by Spanish Scythians, which may explain the prevailing mood of animosity...

Anglo-Saxon kings in Dark Age England used to have mythical genealogies tracing their descent, by way of migratory and founding heroes, to the god Votan. When they were converted to Christianity, they kept these -- never know when it might come in handy, always good to keep your options open -- but had their monks add extra pages showing their parallel descent from Adam and Eve (by way of prominent OT figures).

Heikki Raappana

> At the Closing of the seas, no man was able to sail out to
> open seas, before Dormal the Sailor came with his Open Seas
> sorcery spell. Thus came the Opening of the Seas. Am I right?


> As far as I know, no other cult teaches "Open Seas" ceremony,
> but do they anyway?

They do. Conveniently, the "Open Seas" ceremony is sorcerous in origin, meaning that it's a technique and not a belief. You don't have to *like* Dormal, or belong to his cult or culture, to be able to perfectly replicate what he did and get all the appropriate benefits. The knowledge of the Open Seas ceremony has spread far beyond the "Cult of Dormal", which itself does not include *all* people who have heard of or pay respect to the Sailor -- Westerners who see him as a Saint are unlikely to share formal worship ceremonies with ignorant pagans who venerate their patron as a "god"! I know sailors are openminded

> Is Dormal's "Open Seas" the only way to penetrate the Closing,
> how do the other cults and other-god-than-Dormal-worshipping
> sailors do it?

They (possibly at some remove) learned or stole the secret from Dormal-worshipping (or Dormal-following) sailors. This does not imply any special regard or reverence for Dormal. Everyone who sails the open seas of Glorantha today must use these techniques.

> I have understood that the Closing was some kind of powerful
> magic of sorcerers of Brithos Island, and was aimed against
> the Godlearners. Does the Closing affect the seaborn cultures
> such as Waertagi too, or was it just to keep the land-dwellers
> out from the open seas?

The Closing certainly seems to have affected the Waertagi -- although the date given for their final sinking of Jrustela in the "Glorantha Book" is after the inception of the Closing, it is IMO more likely that this represents a suicidal, superhuman effort rather than a natural immunity. Orthodox Gloranthan sources (e.g: "Spirits of the Sea" in Wyrms Footprints) say the Waertagi were vulnerable, and suggest that there is a not inconsiderable degree of animosity between the Waertagi and their Brithini half-siblings as a result of this spell.

While the Waertagi certainly *can* sail the seas now, and *couldn't* (or weren't seen to do so) during the Closing, that may be because they spent the intervening years of the Third Age sailing the seas of Hell, after flushing their Dragonships down Magasta's Great Toilet.

> Was the Closing as powerful in Pamaltela and in Eastern Islands
> (they are pretty far from Brithos) as it was in Genertela?

Yes. The Waertagi on the Edrenlin Isles (in the far south-east ocean) were landlocked throughout the Closing. I think this is definitive. The East Isles themselves were not quite so badly hit by the Closing, but it certainly made life more difficult for them. More on this in the next issue of "Tales" (early next year).

Thank you for estimating the power of the Closing as a Sorcery spell -- in fact, the Closing is still in effect (i.e. duration of "Permanent" or as near as dammit), which is why sailors still have to use Dormal's ritual to "side-step" its effects. This makes it an Enchantment with a wholly ungodly expenditure of permanent POW... :-)


PS: we had a Minotaur Storm Bull too... :-(

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