Bell Digest v930219

Date: Fri, 19 Feb 93 16:14:54 +0100
From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Digest Subscriptions)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Subject: The RuneQuest Daily, Fri, 19 Feb 1993, Carse in Glorantha

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From: (Tom Zunder)
Subject: Karse
Date: 18 Feb 93 22:35:00 GMT

Carse, City of Evil!

"Carse, or Karse, is a city of quiet vice, a cesspool of unbridled
trading and profiteering with any willing to exchange coin or bolgs
for sex or goods. Under the Pharaoh Karse was the place where the
loose Northern Hendriki let off steam and the pleasure seeking rich
boarded for the journey to Casino Town. Now, under the Red Moon, the
filth of Carse grows worse.

Under the rule of the quisling Baron Bogardis Almareth, nephew of the
good Baron Egriff taken away in chains by the Lunars, Carse has
capitulated all honour to the sickening rule of the chaos goddess.
Some two thousand troops are stationed at Carse at all times and the
heel of repression grinds down any who would stand in it's way.

Carse was always a place of corruption, now it is beyond repair.  When
Orlanth comes to sweep away the forces of Chaos, surely he will blow
down the walls of Carse and put all within to the sword!"

The speech of Erik the Bloody, rumoured Cold Wind activist in New
Pavis, 1620ST. Transcribed and circulated anonymously.

Karse Military Records Division. Sun Dome 1602ST.

Population: Four Thousand Souls. Ruler: Baron Egriff, 
acolyte Karse, initiate Orlanth Species: Human (99%), 
Trolls (1%), Others (1%) Religions: Issaries (55%), Karse 
(85%), Ernalda (30%), Orlanth (20%), Argan Argar(3%), Dormal(3%), 
Humakt(3%) Industries: Trade, exporting Heortland produce to 
Esrolia and transhipping Esrolian goods to barges for export north 
to Heortland. Fishing and agriculture are self sufficient and do 
not generate trade. Politics: Loyal vassal of Pharaoh, 
independent within Heortland.

Notes: Well known for its immorality and vice. Known as a bolthole for
the scum of Kethaela.

GM notes on Karse

This section is an attempt to convert Carse, the Chaosium/Midkemia
universal fantasy city into Karse, the city on the Mirrorsea in
Glorantha. Although medieval in feel Carse can be used quite easily,
with the following details for the personalities listed in the book,
with the addition of some more people to fill the need for Gloranthan
religion to be well represented.

Rumour has it that Sanctuary was Karse in the Chaosium house campaign
but I'm sure that Karse will have many incarnations. This is just one
and I hope it might be of use to some. You will need to buy Carse to
make full use of any notes but I think it (and Cities) are well worth
the investment. If you don't want to then you can make use of most of
this if you want.

All trademarks, copyrights acknowledged. Additional material copyright
T H Zunder 1993.

Personalities 1622 ST All are Karse initiates unless otherwise stated.
The cult of Karse is explained below.

Baron, Bogardis Almareth IV.  (45, male) Brown hair and eyes, average
build, strong and competent. Nephew of Egriff. Bogardis is an acolyte
of Issaries Garzen and regards himself as the Merchant Baron of Karse.
He sees no point in challenging the Lunars overtly, they bring trade
and money. The Baronial house trades itself, controlling the salt and
Corflu cotton monopoly.

Baroness, Winoma Almareth. (30, female) Daughter of an old Karse
family with Esrolian trading links. Slender, fair and green eyed.
Member of Sharwen, and Ernalda acolyte.

Chamberlain and High Priest of Karse, Gran Darwellan. (51, male) High
Priest of Karse and acolyte of Issaries. Thin, tall with dark hair and
blue piercing eyes, Gran runs the city treasury as administered by the
cult of Karse. Under the control of the city council, headed by the
Baron, Darwellan administers both religious and secular spending. Has
been suffering from shaking and fits recently and it is rumoured he
has been cursed. Divination cannot find any cause. (Mild epilepsy, not
fatal, unknown trigger.)

High Priest of Issaries, Garzen, Silven Erstiasson. (52, male) Tall,
heavy, unfit. Silven heads the formidable Council of Trade which runs
all city markets and collects all tithes, taxes and tolls on behalf of
the Karse cult and certain others (at a 2% handling charge). Reputed
to have sold his second wife for a profit, he takes the concept of
free enterprise so far that he always pays a small fee before entering
a house but then charges a higher one to speak!

High Priestess of Ernalda, Hilya Heylonsdottir. (39, female) Short,
plump and slightly smelly, fair hair and green eyes.  Priestess of
most women of Karse and of most of the rural population in the
outlying Barony. Mother of seven children, four of whom live, Hilya
has great social power. Politically the High Priestess has had a
limited role in city politics, largely used as ambassadors and
go-betweens in any trade discussions with Esrolia.  Secret leader of

High Priestess of the Seven Mothers, Zar-ek Xenorides. (45, female)
Tall, elegant, highly attractive, red haired, green eyes.  Priestess
of the Seven Mothers temple, illuminated. Direct liaison between Karse
city council and Tatius the Bright. Has agents in the field and a
growing congregation in the re consecrated ex-Orlanth temple.

Sheriff, N'tara Lakven. (35, male) Commander of the Karse permanent
militia. Dispenser of Low Justice. Yanafil Tarnils Sword from Sylila.
Loyal to the Baron as the duly appointed ruler of the Lunar Empire.
Holds a higher oath to the Lunar Provincial Governor directly, a fact
known by all, since N'tara does not keep it a secret. Tall, heavy,
red-haired with black eyes and a quick temper. Ambidextrous.

Deputy Sheriff, Feylen Alkara. (29, female) Deputy commander of Karse
permanent militia. Yanafil Tarnils initiate from Sylila.  Commands
watch in evening, skilled in rapier, head easily turned by pretty boy.

Captain of the Guard, Bullroarer Redhand. (37, male) Tall, heavy and
red haired as N'tara. Good drinking buddy with N'tara but unrelated.
Bullroarer is a Tarsh Seven Mothers initiate and organises the Karse
non-permanent militia in its patrolling and training duties. Only
loyal and pro-Lunar citizens are allowed to join these units which are
largely symbolic and made up of pre-Lunar guardsman put out to grass.
Magistrate, Gehazi Zemwara. (51, male) Tall, gaunt, balding brown
hair. Dispenses Middle Justice from admin buildings (H-17) Appreciates
a good meal and takes a bribe for unimportant matters. Was an
ambassador to the Shadow Plateau as a younger man and speaks good
Darktongue. Initiate of Argan Argar, takes private commissions to
resolve troll trade issues.

Organisations and Politics.

The Sharwen The Sharwen is a female organisation based around the
Ernalda and Uleria cults which aims to overthrow the patriarchy of
Karse and "re-instate" the matriarchy which they claim preceded it.
Close links with the Red Earth Alliance in Esrolia, they have recently
seen the Lunar way as offering the path to improved female power. The
Sharwen has a long history in Karse but only recently has it become

The Iron Fist The Iron Fist is a male oriented secret organisation
which grew up originally as a men's club with some hostility to the
Sharwen. Made up almost entirely of Orlanthi it became militant with
the invasion of Heortland and the taking of the city. Now completely
underground it holds secret Orlanthi ceremonies and keeps contacts
alive with rebels and the last Orlanthi King Broyan. Increasingly
desperate and alienated it engages in acts of brigandage and

NB: Because of this dichotomy in Karse society the Ernalda and
Orlanthi cults are not as friendly as usual. Orlanth has been banned
within the city walls, following an Iron Fist outrage on some Lunar
women. The Orlanth temple was stormed by Lunar spirits and re
consecrated to the Seven Mothers. The Ernalda High Priestess is the
leader of the Sharwen, the leader of the Iron Fist is an anonymous
Wind Lord.

Karse (permanent) Militia This is actually made up of Lunar troops
transferred to Karse as part of a regular tour of duty. It is
considered a cushy number, although Iron Fist attacks are increasing.
It is called a militia since fictionally it is the continuance of the
original Karse militia unit. This force numbers some 200 men at all
times rising to 1000 (in temporary accommodation) at times of tension
or manoeuvres.

Karse Guard This is a non-permanent group of Karse citizens who have
declared their loyalty to the Empire and initiated in the Seven
Mothers. They perform limited guard duties and are trained to fight.
They are the basis of any future citizen force for Karse. This unit
numbers about 50.

Brotherhood of Dalshra Karse includes some sorcerers and Malkioni.
They maintain a quiet and discreet organisation named after the High
Wizard of Malkion in Nochet. They are known of by the Lunars and are
quiet. Sorcery in Karse is not explicitly forbidden but is frowned
upon and never practised in public.

Troll Caravanserai The Caravanserai in Karse is a troll trading
outpost with about thirty troll kind living there. They trade troll
and human goods between Karse, the Shadow Plateau and other troll
settlements. Most are initiates of Argan Argar and support a shrine to
him. Many humans are also initiates of Argan Argar and a priest or
acolyte often holds large worship ceremonies at holy and high holy

{The caravanserai in Carse is Arabic, simply translate camels to
beetles, Abdul to Azgrak, and away you go!}

The Cult of Karse

Karse was an Issaries trader. On her trading through the Dawn Age she
yearned to settle and raise a great market city in which to let all
peoples come together and trade their goods and knowledge.  To that
end she travelled and traded with many, eventually meeting with Argan
Argar and the Only Old One and receiving from him the grant of lands
at the mouth of the CreekStream. There she began the city of Karse,
building from the profits of her market the walls and infrastructure
of the great centre of trade we know today.

Karse is a demi-deity, a spirit embodied in the city she founded.  The
cult of Karse is inescapably entwined with the Issaries cult and
indeed the cult is almost a subcult of the Trader God. It does,
however, have a seperate existence.

It's Runic Association is with the Trade Rune. It has no role to play
in funeral rites and so on.

All divine magic and divine magic from Karse only works within the
city boundaries, as defined by the consecration of land by the cult.
The city does therefore extend some way beyond the current walls.
Priests of the cult may use divine intervention beyond this radius.

Lay Membership

Lay membership of the cult (or higher) is compulsory for all within
the city boundaries. Membership can be gained by the payment of one
penny a season, in exchange for which a bronze button bearing the
season and the year is granted. This is worn as a badge for the
relevant season as a sign of membership and may be demanded by any
city official, cultist or guardsman at any time.  This button is the
same size and value as a clack and may be used as currency after the
season's end. In Karse coins are often called "buttons". The buttons
usually bear the head of the current ruler on one side and an animal
head representing the season on the other side.

There are no cult restrictions, limitations or duties on lay mebership
of Karse. There are also no benefits save that of entry to the city.

Initiate Membership

Initiation into the cult of Karse is a requirement for all who reside
within the city boundaries for more than one season a year.
Initiation involves the sacrifice of one point of POW and the payment
of 21 pennies a season to the cult, and two days of work.  (This work
may be replaced by the equivalent of two days income and the tithe by
four days work.) Initiation is denoted by the giving of a silver
button, identical to the bronze lay member button in design, which
must be worn or carried for the season and may be used as currency

Initiates may sacrifice for divine magic on a one-use basis save for
spells which are one-use for a priest.

Cult Skills: Orate, Speak Heortling, Speak Tradetalk, Evaluate

Spirit Magic: Glamour (max 2 taught by cult), Befuddle

Acolyte Membership

Requirements: Standard RQ plus must be an initiate of an associated

Duties and benefits: Acolytes may sacrifice for divine magic as
priests, paying as initiates. They may receive divine intervention
only within the city boundaries. They must spend 50% of their time on
cult or city affairs. They must pay a tithe of 10% of their income to
the cult.

Priest Membership

Requirements: Standard RQ but must also be an initiate of an
associated cult.

Duties and Benefits: Standard but may request Divine Intervention 
beyond city boundaries. Only 1 priest can be supported in Karse 
per 1500 inhabitants.

Common Divine Magic: Excommunication, Mindlink, Worship Karse

Special Divine Magic: City Harmony, Create Great Market of Karse ( as
similar Issaries spell GoG p49 but limited to Karse )

High Priest and Chamberlain

There is one high priest in Karse at any one time. This person is also
appointed Chamberlain and controls the treasury of the current ruler.
Only priests of Karse may be elected to this post.

Duties and benefits: As a priest but must have been a priest of good
standing for three years before appointment. Appointment is by the
city council, upon which the Baron has total veto if exercised. A high
priest may roll 1d20 for divine intervention within the city
boundaries of Karse.

Associate Cults

Issaries: Create Market (GoG p49)
Argan Argar: Safe (GoG p28)

Spirit of Retribution

Karse herself, POW 30, will hunt down any city official who betrays
the city and engage them in spirit combat. If defeated then the victim
will have his shadow permanently stolen. If reduced to 5 MP then Karse
will withdraw. Karse is not a violent goddess and as such betrayal is
to do with threatening the trading entity of Karse, not changing the
ultimate overlord to whom it answers.


Karse, Issaries and, to a lesser extent in recent history, Argan Argar
are intertwined in the city. Tithes are collected by the Issaries
temple on behalf of Karse, at a 2% handling fee. The temple of Karse
adjoins that of Issaries. Most Karse priests are also Issaries
initiates or even priests, since both gods allow multiple membership
on equal footing. Argan Argar is now a smaller force than in the days
of the Only Old One, but many Karse priests of history were also of
that cult and many still follow the "darker path".


                               "May the Red Moon Illuminate You All!


From: SPB1@VMS.BRIGHTON.AC.UK (Ghost Dancer)
Subject: Worshipping whilst on your Holidays
Message-ID: <9302182055.AA26370@Sun.COM>
Date: 18 Feb 93 15:04:00 GMT

It's nice to see the subject of where do people worship whilst out of
their normal area come up. It is a problem that I have often been left
trying to deal with in my games, sometimes more successfully than

In general I look to the real world to try to find a point of
reference from which to base my rulings about worship and temple

In brief anyone below Rune level can get away with not attending
Temple worship providing they are devout and uphold their ceremony
observance in kind, praying etc..  High holy days are a bit tougher
and will at least require the devotee to spend the day performing
Temple type duties, trying to convert the heathen etc.. Of course
normal worship is expected should a Temple or shrine be available.

Rune levels have a harder time, generaly they can only opperate away
from their temple with permission of their temple superiors or with
permission of their God, usualy obtained by Geas or DI. Rune levels
who are unable to observe High Holy days may have to undertake some
form of task on that day in line with their Gods mythic past.

All worshipers will of course lose the ability to gain temple benefits
whilst so absent (such as gaining Rune Magic) and will be expected to
spend an appropriate amount of time performing catch up worship when
once again near to an appropriate Temple.

This is definitely a subject that should be given some sort of
coverage in RQIV if not before.
  /! \  Alternative
 /-!-/  Realities                   Jarec
/  ! \  Games Club                  e-mail: SPB1@VMS.BTON.AC.UK


From: (Brandon Brylawski)
Subject: Re: The RuneQuest Daily, Thu, 18 Feb 1993
Message-ID: <>
Date: 18 Feb 93 17:25:52 GMT

Dan writes:

>	There is a quite simple and easy fix we use all the time. I call it
>the anti-ping rule: for every 5 points of damage absorbed by armor/shields/
>magic, the PC takes 1 point of general system damage (i.e. not location
>specific). So if a PC absorbs from 1-4 pts of damage, no effect; from 5-9
>pts does 1 additional damage pt in addition to anything not absorbed by
>armor; etc. I've had no problems running this in my campaign.

Ooh, I like this. getting hit hard should at least fatigue you if not
actually hurt you, even if the armor prevents any focal injury from

Brandon Brylawski


Subject: Use of Shields, Parries, etc.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 18 Feb 93 07:46:04 GMT

An Idea which is worth lifting from other games is that shields have
hit points.  In other words, if they are used to parry, they stop all
of a blow, but the damage is subtracted from the hit points of the
sheild.  When this hits zero, the shield is useless.  Note that these
hit points may not be all that high, considering that it was common
practice to make shields out of something cheap and get a new one
before each battle.  However, some shields were made VERY well and
designed to be re-used.  The latter were usually common in those
cultures which had large infantry armies, the former, flimsy shields,
were more common to cavalry-heavy armies.

Basically, your flimsy shields would be designed to hold up to one
good day's battle, and not be worth the trouble to repair.  They would
be lighter and cheaper than a good shield.  A good shield might have
quite a few hit points and more than a couple of armor points in its
own right.  These would be the Scutum of the Legionnaire or the Bronze
shield of the Gaul.


From: (alex)
Subject: Those pesky priests again.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 18 Feb 93 23:18:42 GMT

Okay then, a quick, minimal fix to the Problem of the Priestly POW
Perverse Perquisite (okay, I'm feeling alliterative, so sue me).  Use
the usual procedure for determining success of the Worship Ceremony.
If the ceremony skill roll is less than the priest's POWx5%, (s)he
gets a "POW tick", but not otherwise.  For the sake of consistency,
this could be applied to all participants in a High Holy Day ceremony,
but that's by the by.

I'm somewhat more inclined to put a POW-based limit on the actual
Worship chance, but that'd tend to put a hard top onto maximum chance,
rather than leaving open-ended, as it is at the moment.  Don't know
whether that'd be significant or not.  What happens when the priest
blows his roll anyway?  No gain rolls, obviously, but apart from that?
Punters queuing up for their money/magic points back?  An UnWorshipped
diety?  Inactive initiates?  Nothing much?

Incidently, I'm not entirely clear about the use of Ceremony skill in
enhancing spells/rituals.  Does this require a successful Ceremony
skill roll, or is skill only relevent for determining the maximum
increase in casting chance?



From: STEVEG@ARC.UG.EDS.COM (Entropy needs no maintenance)
Subject: Re: The RuneQuest Daily, Thu, 18 Feb 1993
Message-ID: <01GUVZ5U9YMQ000LM9@UG.EDS.COM>
Date: 18 Feb 93 17:22:01 GMT

> Has anybody figured out what the "dark Earth" rune of Babeester Gor
> signifies?

This is the one that is common to Maran Gor, Ty Kora Tek and also
Gorgorma of the Two Mouths.  I call it the Dust Rune, myself, as it is
connected with the sterile aspect of Earth.

Other runes that I first saw in _Gods of Glorantha_ are:-

The disk with "ears" rune of Gorgorma is Shadow; the X on lozenge is
Dragon (as in Godunya & Immanent mastery), and the up arrow is
Pamalt's own Rune.

>> >>If anyone has managed to find a work-round to this problem, I'm eager to
>> >>hear it.

Thanx for the suggestions, guys!

>> But D'Artagnan lived in a vastly later period from Sir Lancelot, where
>> guns (and perhaps longbows) ... RQ, according to the write-up in RQII,
>> was meant to simulate a more classical, even primitive world

OK, so what about the Classical Greek warrior going of to battle clad
only in helm, with huge shield & long spear?  Or the Periclean era
peltast or velite?  While the Three Musketeers seem to be an abiding
influence on players, the un- or lightly- armoured warrior was common
on the battlefield at all times (merely eclipsed by the iron-clad
nobility of the high middle ages).

>> Especially in such things like spirit magic. RQ spirit magic heal
>> creates a world where people are not very worried about major wounds.
>> How many fantasy worlds, apart from Glorantha, can you think of where
>> people can stick their legs back on after they are chopped off?

Almost every FRP(*) supplies copious magical healing, leading to
casual treatment of wounds; the "Well Fred & I each took 100
hit-points but we stomped dem balrogs" syndrome which causes some folk
to look askance at other well known systems.  It's just that since
most systems treat characters as amorphous blobs of hit points, the
possibility of severing limbs is one of the trademarks of RuneQuest
(see also Gimpy's Tavern...)

(*) not only pure fantasy - ShadowRun magical healing makes gunshot
wounds but a mere inconvenience...

>As someone else pointed out the Rules system must influence the world so you

Certainly a world is best described by a system that goes with its
grain; and emphasises its unique points.  While certain kernels of the
mechanics may be pure (e.g. Skills are %age scores; armour absorbs
damage) others must reflect the flavour of the world (Donating POW to
the gods gives spells; Iron does special things).

Typically the latter rules tend to be concerned with the magical
nature of the world (usually its most unique point), and become the
bone of most contention.  (I've known at least one player give up on
gaming because he was never satisfied with any of the magic systems he
designed or encountered!).

> but many of the rules structures seem to be dated compared with more recent
> systems:  no standard set of skill difficulties, few default skills for
> people skilled in a related area,etc.

If anyone can still find copies of it, the _Lands of Adventure_ system
(written by Lee Gold, published by the late lamented FGU) is a good
starting point for RQ skill system improvements.  While in some
respects it stood to RQ as C&S did to D&D, there were a number of
things worth stealing, such as evolving default values for skill

> 2. Numbers. (Trollkin or Rubble Runners by the dozen.)

The brittle nature of RQ characters shows here, redoubled & in spades!
As Greg has often recounted in the past of massed trollkin "Two of
them did for Rurik Runespoon!"  As an heuristic from experience, for a
moderate initiate (~75% skills, 6 point armour, medium shield) one
troll is too much, one trollkin to little, and two trollkin almost too


From: (Peter Wake)
Subject: Re: The RuneQuest Daily, Thu, 18 Feb 1993
Message-ID: <>
Date: 19 Feb 93 11:57:39 GMT

>[Paraphrasing, Steve is perplexed by the problem that a bad guy strong enough
>to hurt a well-armored character will smush lightly armored characters
>and kill on a single crit.]
snippity snip
>On the other hand, against the RuneLord in full iron plate(12), Shield IV (8),
>protection IV (4) and a large iron shield(24), even a maximum crush (40)
>points will ding.  Anything (short of criticals) that worries him will turn
snip snip

There appears to be a bit of a RQII hangover persisting here.  In
RQIII there is *no* limit to the size of spirit magic spells.  That
means you can have Protection 12, Bladesharp 10 or whatever.  I've run
a RQIII campaign that started off three years ago with brand new
2d6+14 year old characters, they're now 12 years older and half of
them are rune levels.  The average protection in the party is 8,
everyone has 10 or so points of Bladesharp, the Humakti Sword has 14 I
think.  Of course this makes the problem *even worse*.  Boo hoo hoo.
There's no limit on divine stacking either.  Shield XII is OK.
(Please correct me if I'm wrong).

This does mean that a lowly initiate can have Protection 10 for 300
guilders however, much cheaper and lighter than plate.  Perhaps that's
what those elusive swashbucklers use, or perhaps they have even more.
Just get Mr. Friendly Shaman to bind you up a nice big spell spirit
and you can have your INT for other spells.  What, your cult doesn't
allow you to learn Protection?  You can still buy a matrix with it
in...  It all depends on what the referee wants in his campaign.

Actually what happens is that most every hit not parried or dodged
severs a location but does not kill.  This is a pain under the RQIII
severed limb rules (regrow/regenerate required to restore).  I got the
players to vote on this and we agreed to keep the gross spirit magic
(as that was only aggravating the problem) but decided to ignore the
severed limbs need regrow clause and let them be healed as per maimed

Still characters do die from criticals and on torso and head hits.
Too bad they should know fights are dangerous.  Remember Ressurection
is a reusable spell in Glorantha.  Plus there are so many d10 divine
intervention rolls.

"But the point of this is that the low level characters get creamed,"
I hear you say.  It's true, there's no doubt about it.  My solution is
to keep the party balanced and not mix low and high experience
characters.  The rules of Runequest reality seem to make this a
practical strategy for all concerned.  A Rune Lord can't afford to
have weaklings in his retinue, they just die and are lost to the cult.
Maybe even Zorak Zoran realise this (there's death and then there's
losing, and losing is bad).  Maybe this doesn't help many people.
Perhaps it'stime for a Rule Lord to be retired and become an NPC so
that your party can be balanced?  If everyone wants to play Rule Lords
perhaps the weaker characters ought to be artificially propped up to
give them a chance of survival.  How do *you* do it?  I can't tell you
that, it's your campaign.  -- Peter Wake