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From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RQ Digest Maintainer)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Reply-To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RuneQuest Daily)
Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 21 Jun 1993, part 3
Precedence: junk
Status: O

The RuneQuest Daily and RuneQuest Digest deal with the subjects of
Avalon Hill's RPG and Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha.

Send submissions and followup to "RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM",
they will automatically be included in a next issue.  Try to change the
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RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Henk Langeveld)


From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: Spirits
Date: 21 Jun 93 11:48:57 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1133

I've encountered a question that isn't explicitly covered by the rules:

Can the Ghosts of the dead increase their POW by normal means of POW-gain? 
Then why do the spirits worshipped in Daka Fal Ancestor worship require 
POW-gifts? or, come to that, Spell-gifts? After all, they have little else 
to do but go around and hunt spell spirits, whatever kind of spirits those 
might be, and for each victorious spirit combat they may get a POW-gain.
Or is time irrelevant already in the Spirit Plane? I don't think so, at 
least not in the Border Zone, which mirrors the Mundane Plane quite 
closely - it's easy to determine the season by looking at the activity of 
the plants' spirits. The less time they spend on the spirit plane, the 
more they bask in the sun and produce new life energy. For the Inner 
region, however, the necessities of the compromise may not be as valid.

This leads me to my 

Unified Spirit Plane Theory

The Spirit Plane, or more specifically the Border Zone, lies adjacant to 
any point of the Mundane Plane, e.g. Glorantha. The geographical features 
of the Mundane Plane are mirrored by positions of the attached mana of the 
life forms, seemingly inanimate and unliving substances included. Even 
minerals have a life and thereby POW of their own, only much less active 
than that of lant or animal life, and less concentrated. Where it occurs 
in concentrated form, we speak of elementals, or spirits of nature.
Often the inherent life of all the lesser life forms of a place is 
concentrated in a single spirit. One example from the Creatures Book are 
the nymphs, rather powerful spirits of nature tied to a specific site (a 
grove with a sacred tree for dryads, a valley or a hillside for oreads, a 
body of water for naiads, or a shadowy place for hags). We know that more 
powerful versions of these exist, a very powerful oread was Kero Fin, 
mother of Orlanth and Yinkin, the goddess of Wintertop mountain in Dragon 
Pass. A naiad with some divine powers is Kinope, daughter of Zola Fel, who 
plays an important role in the River of Cradles.
Note that there are male spirits of this kind, too. The now dead god 
Genert was the collective spirit of all of Genertela, and the River God 
Zola Fel is an example of somewhat lesser power. Other local spirits are 
those worshipped by Horned Man shamans, or the beast spirits worshipped by 
the Hsunchen tribes, as described in Hykim and Mikyh. Any spirit of more 
than strictly local influence can as well be counted as a deity.
More powerful spirits tend to establish a realm of their own in which they 
are supreme. This realm often is connected to some location on the Mundane 
Plane, but extends outward into the Spirit Plane. The realms of major 
deities extend through all zones of the Spirit Plane into the Gods' Plane, 
where it has the features the deity imposed on its realm, and has paths to 
all places on the Mundane Plane that were established as sites of worship 
or as holy places where some significant mythical action took place. It's 
along these pathways the magical energy transmitted by worship services is 
channeled. Each initiate of a deity has his or her own link through the 
spirit plane to the deity, and along these links (which soon join into the 
nearest established pathways) communication between initiate and deity 
such as prayer or Divine Intervention are performed. This also explain why 
an initiate attacked or held prisoner in an enemy holy place cannot DI - 
the connection is too weak to overcome the stronger pathways of the enemy 
deity. This is an explanation how temple defenses are activated, too - 
they register "unfriendly" links, and cut them off.

In the Spirit Plane only life force is reality. The life force of living 
creatures is focussed in the Mundane Plane, and only when they sleep, 
perchance dream, do they enter the Spirit Plane enough to register as 
living there. This makes them vulnerable, and is the reason why a sleeping 
or unconscious creature has little or no resistance against spirits or 
magic. Most objects and substances considered inanimate simply are 
sleeping rather firmly and thus require no resistance roll when enspelled 
other than the success roll of the spell caster. A dreamng creature might 
even act on the spirit plane, e.g. travel subconsciously into some dream 
reality, special realms reachable through the Spirit Plane.

What does a creature of the Spirit Plane perceive?
First there is the bulk of active life force on the Mundane Plane. This, 
although possibly mobile, makes up the inanimate "matter" and geography of 
the spirit plane. The more life force there is concentrated in the mundane 
plane, the harder the Spirit Plane matter becomes, and the more 
impenetrable. But solid, inanimate Mundane Plane substance provides soft 
and strongly absorbing media on the Spirit Plane. This is encountered in 
the rules for spirt magic detect spells which work through solid matter up 
to a certain thickness. I imagine the effect to be similar to pools of 
Darkness element on the Mundane Plane - penetrable for material objects, 
but impenetrable for the senses relying on anything outside one's touch 
(air vibrations included, as in Mostali Earthsense or Uz Darksense).
Extending from this hyperplane to the mundane world are the links and 
pathways towards the inner regions of the spirit plane. The Spirit plane 
has more than three dimensions, which makes an accurate description hard 
except when movement parallel to the Mundane Plane is described as 
two-dimensional, even when moving vertically in relation to Mundane Plane 
directions. Vertical Spirit Plane movement indicates approaching or 
leaving Mundane Plane's direct influence. Small deviations from the actual 
Border Zone may make movement easier, but navigation becomes more 
difficult. But if one uses well defined pathways, it is possible to safely 
take short cuts through the Spirit Plane. The dragonewt roads in Dragon 
Pass (described in Elder Secrets) are examples for such short cuts, 
anchored now and again in Mundane Plane at the Standing Stones. A lot of 
life force travels along these routes, and creatures staying in the 
proximity of these routes tap into the energies and regenerate more MPs 
than in normal surroundings.
The embodied life force makes up the hard matter on the Border Zone. This 
includes sentients, animals, plants, bound spirits, permanent 
enchantments, and active magical spells. Active spells tend to dissolve 
gradually into the continuum of the Spirit Plane, unless conserved by some 
preservational force, such as divine Extension, sorcerous Duration, or 
Lunar Prolong. The same is true for excess life force generated by the 
various life forms, and explains why normal creatures cannot hold more MP 
than controlled by their POW.
(BTW, even undead creatures can be perceived in the Spirit Plane, as long 
as they have magic points. An undead's POW isn't destroyed, but bound, 
e.g. a zombie's ghost's POW is constantly spent for maintaining the undaed 
form, as is a ghoul spirit's considerable POW when inhabiting a (foreign) 
corpse. I have theorized that more conventional zombies use some random 
ghoul spirit to power the unnatural creation, and have included that 
branch of necromancy into my game world. Zorak Zoran zombies or skeletons 
are automatons driven by the life force permanently spent to power them. 
They are perceived as the POW in the enchantment. The undead are hard to 
perceive, though, because they don't radiate any life force, they only 
register by their shadows, and are different from inanimate Mundane matter 
only by the fact that they may move.)

So how does a sample region of the Border Zone "look" like?
First of all there are all the immobile sources of life form which make up 
the landscape. A forest will look like a complicated cavernous sructure 
with very solid matter, steppes appear as rather thin layer of solid life. 
Beasts and Sentients are mobile parts of the landscape, radiating life 
force and registering as solid Spirit Plane matter. Imagine leaves moved 
by erratic winds or whirlpools in a cataract, and you get the picture you 
perceive in the Spirit Plane. Bound or embodied ghosts look much the same.
Dreaming creatures register like plants blossoming do on the Mundane 
Plane: They expand, reach out, and act in quite erratic ways, but move 
following the landscape, and slightly vertical to the Spirit Plane (i.e. 
transgressing fully or partly into other parts of the Spirit Plane).
So do the discorporate entities of the otherworld. They move around with 
varying "vertical" distance to the Border Zone. Spirits using Visibility 
actually pierce the Border and exist partly in the Mundane world. Their 
life force becomes landscape.
The pathways of force can be perceived as flucturing "liquid" or "air", 
depending on the amount of energy concentrated. Temples during worship 
"look" like geysirs, exhaling larger amount of energy; Mundane Plane 
magicians cause sudden thinning of matter on one point and short, 
intensive currents to another point in the Mundane Plane as well as on the 
Border Zone. Active magic usually compares to a source of light or warmth, 
less so if it's long-term magic preserved against just this effect.
A similar effect to worship gysirs occurs whenever a spell is cast, only 
that something like a spark connects two points of Mundane Plane, causing 
a darkening at the origin, and a lighting as for active spells at the 
target. Instant spells produce an almost blinding or deafening flash at 
the target.
A shaman with fetch looks like a creature (the fetch) staying very close 
to the Border Zone carrying around some inanimate matter (the shaman); if 
the fetch keeps other spirits tied, these appear as carried around and 
somehow chained to the fetch. (To those following the RQ4-discussion: So 
would a sorcerer with Presence in Paul's and Mike's proposed sorcery 
>From the spirit world, possessed creatures differ from unpossessed by an 
equivalent of colour. The mobile part of the landscape has some 
decolouration, either a dark shade if the creature is dominately 
possessed, or a special shimmering glow (similar to fluorescence or 
phosphorescence) if covertly possessed.
It is almost impossible for a creature in the spirit world to tell a 
sorcery user below adept rank apart from an initiate or a follower of a 
shamanistic religion. The initiate produces a slight current in the 
direction of his deity. Only discorporate individuals with something like 
See Rune Magic or Soul Sight running may get information about what kind 
of "initiate matter" they might perceive at, and Mystic Vision, Soul Sight 
or Second Sight allow to perceive currents other than those "touched".
Mundane Plain characters having a familiar or allied spirit can be 
perceived as somehow linked together, as can creatures linked by Mind 
Link. The Link lightens up as soon as any magical energy is transfered, or 
one could describe that moment as a beam of liquid being emitted form one 
part of the link and hitting the other part.

Now how are the different kinds of spirits to be explained?
There are various ways and theories to describe spirits.

Healing spirits and disease spirits can be the life force of healing 
plants or collective disease bacterias, respectively, when they don't have 
any characteristic INT, or they may be parts of the life force of healers 
or disease masters, maybe even with characteristic INT, which makes them 
more powerful.

Emotion spirits may be fragments of creatures that died under severe 
emotional stress ()although this is attributed to the quasi-undead 
wraiths), or may actually be projections of emotions of some living 
creature dreaming or in a state of madness.

Magic spirits are comparatively easy to describe - they are either similar 
to ghosts, i.e. the spirits of creatures with magical abilities, or 
fragments thereof (then these creatures must have been exceptionally 
powerful, e.g. gods that were destroyed during the darkness?), or invaders 
from some outer region, e.g. minions of gods or "demons" from some other 
"mundane" plane (if one accepts the idea of a multiverse, the spirits of 
creatures alien to this Mundane Plane, if one rejects it, or in the case 
of Glorantha has a world effectively separated from anything not connected 
to it by the Void of Chaos, maybe entities from the Hero Planes).

Intellect spirits and spell spirits are fragments of memories of formerly 
living creatures, the only difference being that some have used up all of 
their INT for spell memorizing, while others are blanc; both have fixed 
INT, the main INT of the creature holding the individual identity having 
gone somewhere else. One possible origin for cult spell spirits might be 
pious cult members who willingly sacrifice that part of their memories for 
use by living cult members, one for unaligned spell or intellect spirits 
might be involuntary dismemberment suffered by weaker spirits at the 
"hands" of more powerful spirits. One might rule that those fragments of 
memory hold certain skills that might be taught by the spirit if payed or 
bribed in a proper way, similar to the skills of ancestor spirits, who 
might teach them to their distant relatives when being incorporate.

Power spirits are mindless fragments of creatures, or the spirits of 
plants. In my book plants are very high on life force, but they exhibit it 
only in the most passive way, and "sleep" constantly. The Aldrya cult 
knows magic rituals to awaken a tree, and focus its energy stronger into 
the Mundane Plane. Most of their considerabble life force remains 
passively in the Spirit Plane, there transforming heat into life force, 
and changing (used) air and water into carbon hydrates in the process.

Ghul spirits are maybe the remnants of once corporate creatures that 
hunger for corporate existence and take over fresh carcasses to achieve 
their ends at least for some limited time. Their howl of despair is fille 
with the experience of being separated from corporate existence.
(A Gloranthan note: did Humakt ever Severe Spirit (regard spell name as a 
verb) a whole tribe/race of creatures? These might now try to reenter the 
Mundane Plane. There is a myth waitng to be written, especially if one 
embraces my views of necromancy.)

Ghosts are spirits of the dead that passed into the otherworld, but linger 
close to the Mundane Plane for some reason or other. Ancestral spirits 
stay close to their offspring, to be able to help should need arise. 
Certain ghosts are bound to mundane places by Create Ghost rituals, e.g. 
by (2nd Edition) Humakti or Thanatari.

Elementals are the collective life force of larger parts of inanimate 
mundane matter. Most are mindless and hardly differ in behaviour from 
plant spirits, but some may have fixed INT and instincts, and some few may 
actually be sentient and have a personality. These latter come close to 
nymphs, e.g. the dehori don't differ too much from hags in their 
possibilities. (On my game world a male hag or dehori coupled with 
beast-like Troll Mother to create the race of trolls.)

Hellions are similar to elementals, but present the prime material rather 
than an already formed element. They are neither ordered nor chaotic, they 
only are some sentient portion of entropy plus natural laws. This makes 
them automatically sorcerers when possessing magic, but don't ask me of 
which school. Probably not too different from Brithini Zzabur class 
sorcerers, pronouncing randomness as driving factor of devolution.

Other Spirit Plane inhabitants with part-time SIZ are the spirits of 
nature, collective entities of places or arrangements, such as nymphs or 
succubi, or the fairy creatures from Vikings and Land of Ninja. They all 
have in common some restriction in mobility.

Other discorporate entities who lack POW are more difficult to fit in. 
They have in common that they depend on stealing from life to gain or 
regain magic points. They don't radiate life force, since they don't 
produce it, which makes them hard to perceive on the Spirit Plane.

Wraiths are the only kind of discorporate spirits possessing CON instead 
of POW. This makes them effectively undead, since they cannot regenerate 
magic points by other means than stealing them from living creatures. They 
are somewhat unique in that they have a spectral body without having real 
SIZ, which can be hit with combinations of magic and mundane matter.
Their description doesn't tell us wether they are able to discorporate 
totally; I assume that they are restricted to the surface of the Spirit 
Plane and possess permanent Visibility.
They seem to have some ties to darkness or cold, chilling the surroundings 
even without actually touching (maybe a better word: penetrating) a living 
creature. This might be some sort of "negative radiation" of life force, 
which would make them clearly perciivable as black silhouette on the 
Spirit Plane.

Chonchons are vampirical form of undead creatures who depend on living 
creatures for sustenance. I don't know the legends of their origin in 
Glorantha, nor to which culture they specifically belong. Are they 
universal? Their obvious tie to the Hunger Rune makes them posible allies 
of Krarsht or Vivamort, their head-only material form reminds one of 
Atyar, but they are not explicitly stated to be chaotics. Their inability 
to materialize in daylight makes them creature of darkness, so maybe they 
have some trollish affiliations.

Together with the various cult spirits (of reprisal, of law, allied 
spirits, angelic spirits, fiends, valkyries, Humakti einheriar) and the 
reflections or parts of living creatures these make up pretty much the sum 
of Spirit Plane inhabitants.

--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: STEVEG@ARC.UG.EDS.COM (Entropy needs no maintenance)
Subject: Time & effort
Date: 20 Jun 93 22:02:40 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1134

Sam Phillips asks about year lengths
>Earth years have 365 days.  Gloranthan years have 280ish.

This is something that gets very briefly raised, but never fully discussed.  
It surprises me that only 8 of the 10 power runes are used for week names.  
Adding a Fate week and a Luck week to each elemental season would bring the 
total up to 52 weeks/year.

I've always tacitly assumed a year-on-year equivalence for age &c.

Rob Mace comments on Zen & the art of game publication
>When we talked to Sandy, Greg, etc. at Chaosium about these things
>the answer we got back from all of them was:
>	"You are experienced gamers.  You can fix that."

To which we have to intone the matra

	"We are experienced gamers.  We don't need to buy it."

while I don't think a system can be proofed against subversion, there's no 
excuse for not making it robust as-is.  As a last resort, we have to hit where 
it hurts - in the revenue - so that this notion can be debunked.  When someone 
buys a set of rules, or an adventure module or whatever, that purchase is 
implicitly contracting out some of the skull sweat involved in GMing.  If the 
net return in time saved for $$$ spent is too low (e.g. having to fix RQ3's 
many flaws for mondo $$$) the chance of further sales are damaged.