Illumination (!!!)

From: Erik Nolander <>
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 09:01:00 PST

Greetings and salutations,

First, thanks to Stephen Martin for answering my musings (and praising my observancy...). Muchas Gracias!! But now onto something completely different:

I'd like to address the question on the Nature of Illumination [gasps and sighs]. Yes, I know, it's another one in the series of Unanswerable Questions. My angle, though, is to concentrate on the rules-y bits. I thought about sending this to the Rules Digest, but seeing as it's so closely tied in with Glorantha, I sent it here. Off we go, then.

Mainly, what I am dissatisfied with is the way Illumination is presented in the current (RQ3) rules, i.e. in LoT and D:LoD. The convention of assigning a Riddle to a RuneQuest-skill is way too arbitrary and constrained IMHO. Now I know that the books stress the fact that skill checks alone cannot make you Illuminated, but this doesn't remove the skill=Riddle connection.  

What I'm proposing is something akin to the Cthulhu Mythos-skill in CoC. Let's call it, for lack of a better term, the Illumination-skill (ta-da!). This starts at 0%, and can only be raised through the given ways: being posed Illuminating questions and understanding them. The understanding, I feel, must be left to the individual GM and player(s). That is, they must agree upon whether a given character has understood a certain Riddle. If the character "successfully" understands the Riddle, his/her Illumination score is raised by a certain amount. Every year at, say, Sacred Time (or whenever the GM thinks it's appropriate), the character checks against his Illumination score. If he/she succeeds, Hey Presto! Illumination is achieved! Note that this also allows for involuntary Illumination, which I think is possible although rare.

Tied in with this, I think there's a theoretically infinite number of Riddles. Why? Simply because I don't like the idea of a set number. Maybe these Riddles are the most famous, or maybe they are considered by the Orthodox Illuminati, sorry, Freudian slip, ILLUMINATED to be the canonical Riddles. For me, Illumination feels more like Zen-ish than straight Riddle-ish (but then, my understanding of Zen is fairly basic).

Note: none of this has been playtested in any way. These are merely thoughts I have, and constructive criticism is very welcome!

A Good Day to y'all,

Erik Nolander

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