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From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RQ Digest Maintainer)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Sat, 17 Jul 1993, part 1
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The RuneQuest Daily and RuneQuest Digest deal with the subjects of
Avalon Hill's RPG and Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha.

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From: (David Cheng)
Subject: Oh no, more on Open Seas
Date: 16 Jul 93 16:27:25 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1292

Is it really listed as a ritual?  Well, I guess that teaches me about 
debating purely from memory...  ;-)

Never the less, I still think my idea holds water, pardon the pun.
It makes good sense to me that the Open Seas ritual is a skill that 
you should slowly develop over your tenure as a sailor.  Granted,
believe most rituals should act that way.  I think the meta-skill
Ceremony is too generously applied...

-David Cheng


From: (charles gregory fried)
Subject: blah blah blah
Date: 16 Jul 93 17:14:07 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1293

Greg Fried here.

I loved you thoughts on spontaneous cult eruptions for people practicing
deeds associated with a deity!  I will have to keep it in mind.  BTW, I would
think this would be a PRIME explanation for why a single divine archtype
would have a variety of cultic aspects.  If someone somewhere is a serial
rapist, but the cult of Thed is unknown in his region, and he has dreams
about setting up a shrine, the goddess he worships may have a quite different
persona (though many of the same powers), and even a different name, from the
Thed most of us know of as worshiped by the broos in Prax, etc.  Maybe his
Thed will even be male!  (In my campaign, the Thed eqivalent, Roragen, was
a child of the Sun, whom the Sun sent as the herald of his first Light to
Earth (cf. Lucifer, the light-bearer).  Ror, as he was then known, was simply
overwhelmed by the magnificent riot of Life he discovered.  He wanted it,
wanted to be part of it, wanted to make Life.  He forgot his mission for his
father.  But he could not make life.  SO he stole the power from Earth -- the
first act of rape.  He became Roragen.  Because of his dereliction of duty,
the Sun's arrival in the center of the Sky was greeted with fear and dismay
by many, for Roragen had not prepared them.)
Also: No, I had not made any connection between my notion of ZZ as the
Darksun and any of the stuff you mention.  Just never heard of any of it.  I
just like the idea that Darkness gets its Yelm equivalent.  My thought on
this is that ZZ was MUCH more powerful in the ancient Godtime, before the
coming of the Sun; then, he did shine as the Darksun in Hell.  With the death
of the Sun, and the Great Compromise, Darksun's concentrated orb of Darklight
was dispersed across the heavens as we see them at Night.  Now ZZ is a raving
shadow of his former princely self.
As for your Gedankenexperiment, I would say: don't underestimate the power of
belief to influence the perception and interpretation of "reality"!  That
child raised in the basement might look up at the sun and SEE the horses; or
not see them and think they are too sacred to be seen by mortal eyes; or
think he cannot see them because of the sun's glare; or or or!!!! And BTW, if
you have ever dealt with RL kids, you know that there are plenty of "true"
things about "reality" you can tell them, but when they are confronted with
the things you explained, they just don't see it -- and you yourself have the
darndest time trying to make sense of it yourself!
What you said about the Mercian dynasty having a tough time coming up with a
direct line to Odin got me thinking.  In RL, monarchs obviously invented
their divine lineage when they usurped another's throne.  The discussion of
GLoranthan kingship has implied that this won;t work: you MUST be related to
the kingly ancestor.  BUt how about this: a usurper must heroquest to
ESTABLISH an ancestral link!

GF out.


From: (Carl Fink)
Subject: Eating Lunars
Message-ID: <>
Date: 16 Jul 93 09:24:28 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1294

John Medway writes:

>Have you ever gotten the idea that Lunars have eating problems?
>One Tarshite king choked to death on a 'surfeit of river squid and
>honeyed clams, dusted with the powder of the black poppy'. 
>Euglyptus the Fat, one-time governor in Boldhome choked to death 
>on a 'surfeit of sugared eels'.

  Um, John, have you ever heard the expression "Dart War"?  Let's just
say that some eels are more wholesome than others.
"Ignorant?!  Ha!  I don't even know the meaning of the word!" 
                                     "Fight-Man", Evan Dorkin

Carl Fink        CFINK (NVN)


From: (Paul Reilly)
Subject: Gods and Heroes
Message-ID: <>
Date: 16 Jul 93 19:15:37 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1295

  Paul replying to Joerg:

>You might as well say that every act of voluntary sex (I wouldn't include 
>raping broos) is an unconscious form of Uleria worship

  I do (or I think the Theist scholars do)
> , even though the magic 
>transferred isn't measurable in MP. But then emotions have some inherent 

  In our campaign it is measurable in MPs, i.e. orgasms cost MPs.  This mana
channels into the potential summoning of a new spirit to inhabit the womb
of the female.

>but at least I see no 
>conscious effort in them, rather an instinctive reaction to other actions. 
>Very much a cause-action sequence

  The point is that in this model the nature of the FIXED cause-and-effect
sequence was set by the actions of the Celestial Court and their immediate
heirs, back in Godtime.  (Or perhaps "Out in Godtime" would be better.)
The gods set the shape of the natural laws just as they set the shape
of the land.  (E.g., the Eiritha Hills.)  Thus when Orlanth killed Yelm
it determined that the sun would rise and set regularly (as part of the
Compromise gods that were killed in Godtime are present only half the
time in Time.)  When Kargan Tor faced himself in battle he formed a pattern
that repeats down the ages, e.g., Humakt and Yanafil Tarnils, etc.  

  A concrete example:  Water flows downhill.  You would say that this is a
law of nature and not due to the actions of the gods, right?  But the theists
say that the rivers used to run UPHILL, and that they changed they direction
when all* the waters of the world followed their lord Magasta as he leapt
to fill in the chaos hole left by the explosion of the Spike.  This is
a particular example that is well known of an action of one of the Rune
Owners setting one of the "laws of nature".

  *In our campaign the River that is seen in the Dilis Swamp is Chaotic in
that it refused Magasta's call and still flows uphill, creating the swamp
with water stolen from the Janube, its parent.

>  Are the five Arkats to come aspcts of one now divine being?

  Good question.  Remember Arkat had six companions who underwent the
Uz transformation with him, and were often confused with him.  Were these
mortals subsumed into him upon his apotheosis?  Tricky questions.  Note
the parallel with Argrath the Wakbothi.

  More later, 


From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Pigs
Message-ID: <930716224720_100270.337_BHB40-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 16 Jul 93 22:47:21 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1296


> Are the Tusk Riders 'right'?

Great question!  Let's have a look at "Tusker John" (Elder Races p.92):

} The tusk riders claim that they have an emperor who once ruled the
} whole world, but who now rules from pig-back exile since being 
} betrayed by the Dragon King in elder days...

Well, back in Wyrms Footnotes #3 p.14, we find that:

} Aram-ya-Udram was one of the original Founders of the ancient Empire 
} of the Wyrm's Friends...

And, before that, another source (can't find it now) tells us that he was 
*the* Human leader on the First Council at the Dawning.  You know: there 
was a Dwarf, an Elf, a Troll, a Human, a Dragonewt, a Golden Wheel Dancer.  
And Aram-ya-Udram seems to have represented all the Humans of Dragon Pass.

Which, taken all together, would make the Tusk Riders the 'rightful' rulers 
of Dragon Pass.  The Orlanthi, of course, would dispute this -- but they 
disputed sovereignty with Yelm, didn't they?  And in the peculiar myth of 
"Orlanth the Justice-Bringer" (KoS p.74f), Harand Boar-Dick and Urg-kronika 
the Sow-Wife claim a territory by right of Establishment -- that is to say, 
"we were here first!"

So now you all know why I'd *always* try to ally the Tusk Riders when 
playing Dragon Pass...

The Weapons Debate:

Hoplite warfare was more like a rugby scrum than a duel.  The casualties 
came when one side broke and the others ran over them.  See "The Western 
Way of War" (Victor Davis Hanson) for the full details, then ask why there 
are no rules for this in RuneQuest.  BTW, Lunar hoplites must *surely* 
wield scimitars, and not shortswords.  Think of the Greek kopis.  The 
Lunars do not necessarily have Roman military techniques or technology 
(Players' Book Genertela "Pelorian Cultural Weapons" is an anomaly): 
according to Sandy Petersen, the Romans could have trashed a Lunar line in 
no time -- but only if they didn't use their magic.

Changing the subject, I was led to believe that one strength of the Roman 
stabbing gladius was that it caused wounds that were great for attrition.  
Celts and Germans could chop away at your limbs and ribs with their big 
blades, inflicting shallow wounds which bandages and time could heal, but a 
nice deep stab in the guts was generally lethal in the ancient world.  So 
many of the wounded Romans would recover and return to the fray in a few 
weeks, but most of their barbarian opponents were gone for good.

And, of course, you can stand in tighter order than those Gauls (so more 
sword-points per opponent), and maintain your shield wall while stabbing.  
More things that the RQ rules don't cover...


Your arguments against "Sorcery" as the necessary mechanism for Open Seas 
are persuasive.  Looks like a good case for creating a Ceremony subskill, 
rather than anything more dramatic.  Of course, Western sailors learn this 
technique and call it Sorcery (more probably "Wizardry") -- or else it's 
the Blessing of Saint Dormal...


Re: "natural phenomena like winds", check out KoS p.59f.

} The Old Gods fought against the Predark Demons in ancient, prehistoric
} ways that we mortals cannot comprehend.  For instance, we think that
} dying is a fearful thing.  But the Old Gods could not die, and when
} defeated they were rent and sundered, scattered across the worlds,
} eaten, and used as raw materials.  And after these things happened the
} gods were still alive, and maybe each little shred remembered something,
} but they were *not* dead.  And maybe some of them *liked* their new
} state...

Does that help?

> I think the usual cult structure ... is too rigid anyway.

Seconded.  Sub-cults and variant versions are the answer, it seems to me.

> Are the five Arkats to come aspects of one now divine being?

That's practically the first question I ever answered on this RQ Daily.  
Briefly, they're Arkat's five initiations: Brithini, Hrestoli, Humakti, 
Troll, and Chaos.  Nobody wanted to continue the psychological discussion I 
dipped into, so I shut up about it.  Try looking through the late March 
Dailies if you want to see my reasoning again.

> I remember hearing in a history lecture about the problems the 
> (Christian!) Mercian dynasty had with coming up with Odin in their 
> ancestry...

No problem!  They wrote another one that went back to Adam, so that was all 
right...  I thought the sad ones were the ?East Saxons? (not sure), tracing 
back to Saexnoth, when everyone else went back to Woden...

You and Simon raise intriguing points re: Loskalmi kingship.  A problem is, 
of course, that *somebody* usually has to crown/anoint a king, but that in 
a upwardly-mobile society where the King is at the top (above the 
priesthood) you'll have trouble finding anyone to do the job.  Perhaps 
that's where the "democratic" overtones come from?  Or will we see the same 
problems that crept in for the Franks when Ebbo of Rheims tried to depose 
Louis the Pious (incidentally crippling Hincmar of Rheims' social 

I've seen a Stafford fragment which suggests the Holy City of Malkonwal was 
on Brithos, but do not believe this.  My money, along with yours, says it's 
now under the waves with the rest of Old Seshnela...


Add some boring, prosaic Dara Happan rice.  It's their dietary staple.  May 
be spiced up these days with the Etyries Redheaded Caravans returning from 
the east, but how would I know?

Pious Orlanthi hate those unclean goat-eating Lunars.  Goat's-milk cheese 
or something would be nice...

"River squid" is a euphemism like "mock pork", I take it?  Perhaps this is 
that rumoured Lunar Army emergency ration, the walktapie.  Made from lumps 
of a regenerating Walktapus with the chaos feature of immunity to stomach 
acids.  You eat it once, and then it sits in your stomach and regenerates 
as fast as you can digest it... or faster .  (Yeah, this is the 
unnatural vitality of Chaos manifesting itself in the world -- cf RQC p.27 
[1484]).  "There may be some unknown side-effects" (as they didn't say 
during those Desert Storm CBW experiments).  But if I was starving in a 
besieged city, I might consider it...

No forks.  Use your hands and knives/spoons.  Wear togas.  Eat lying down.  
Drink watered wine from shallow bowls.  Learn how to play 'kottabos' (no 
carpet, I hope!).  Talk philosophically (i.e: Lunar "Nysalor Riddles").  
Have fun!  We always did...


Orlanth Wrecks!


From: (Rob Mace)
Subject: Re:  RuneQuest Daily, Fri, 16 Jul 1993, part 1
Message-ID: <>
Date: 16 Jul 93 10:36:38 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1297

Paul Reilly wrote:
>  I used Uleria's Fertility as an example.  Rob said:
> >These are examples of powers not of gods.  A god may embody one or more
> >of these powers but these powers do not require a god to work.  They work
> >just as well in lands that are filled with atheistic sorcerers.
>   So what?  Remember this is the Theist model.

But I was not proposing a theist model.  I was proposing a meta model that
is behind that of the Theists, Sorcerors, etc.

> >Basically Glorantha is a world were the world view of everyone that lives
> >is correct.  The sorcerers are right in their world view, the deists are
> >right in theirs, the dragonnewts are right in theirs, etc..
>   I tend to agree.  Note however that the definition of 'right' is tricky
> here.  Are the Tusk Riders 'right'?

Yes, as far as their beliefs go.

> How about people who worship God
> Learner constructs like Caladra and Aurelion?

Yes.  In my book Caladra and Aurelion are no longer just a God Learner
construct.  The god learners rewrote the history of God Time.  Now it is
as if Caladra and Aurelion always had their current form.  There are some
in time that know the truth but that does not make them any less real then
Yelm, Orlanth or Humakt.

> If by 'right' you mean 'useful' I agree.

I mean 'right' as far as their beliefs go.  There beliefs do not explain
all phenomena but the set that they do cover they are right about.

The idea of all these groups being 'right' came from a conversation I had
with Greg many years ago when RQ3 was just starting being worked on and he
was talking about how it was going to cover more of the world views within
Glorantha.  When asked about how these contradictory world views all worked
within Glorantha he explained that they were all 'right'.

> While Glorantha doesn't have a rigid underlying objective
> reality like ours, I think that there is an objective reality of some kind.

I think it might have a rigid underlying objective reality or meta reality.
It is just not the normal type of thing that we think of as a reality.

>   Let's do a gedankenexperiment.  I raise a child in a cellar in Boldhome
> and tell him all about the marvelous Celestial Empire outside with its flying
> golden chariots and fifty legged steeds to draw them across the sky.  He
> really, really believes this.  What does he find when he goes outside?


> Remember, "Glorantha is a world were the world view of everyone that lives
> is correct."

By world view I mean how a person explains the things they perceive.

If this child believed in a god named Fred who was say a god of Death and
Fire.  If he prayed to Fred and sent him power Fred would gain a certain
level of reality.  If the child later Hero Quested to find Fred he could
find him on Gods Plane and Fred would be what the child believed.  But being
Freds only worshiper, Fred's reality would probably never be strong enough
to manifest within Time.

johnjmedway writes:
> >>  From: (Rob Mace)
> >>  Subject: Short Swords
> >>  
> >>  My understanding is that it had more to do with metallurgy.  They did not
> >>  have the technology to make longer swords that would hold up in combat.
> >>  
> >>  > Longer swords would require more room to swing and would sow disorder
> >>  > in a phalanx.
> >>  
> >>  This is true.  But I think it was more the weapon leading to the tactic
> >>  then the tactic leading to the weapon.
> The hoplite phalanx was developed with the idea of the 'immovable object'.
> This implied strong defense, and ability to wear down attackers. ...

My point was that the cultures had a limited set of weapons, armor, and
shields to choose from.  They had to invent tactics that worked with what
they had.  You can't have a tactic that uses a longer sword until you have
a longer sword.

Rob Mace


From: (Graeme Lindsell)
Subject: Kralorelan Magic
Message-ID: <>
Date: 17 Jul 93 09:47:56 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1298

Joerg Baumgartner writes:

>Generally agreed. A question though, Graeme: if the summoning cost is 1, 
>2 or 3D3 of sacrificed POW (sorry, don't remember your technical term) and 
>the summoner rolles more points than available, what happens?

 Nothing: you don't get an ancestor, and you don't lose any FP. You do
lose the MP though.

 Basically, my idea of the summoning is that the caster tries to call a
specific ancestor who should be able to help him with his problem ie
"Zheng Pengwei, you who fought against the foreign devils for Godunya, 
strengthen my sword hand for the sake of our common heritage!". If the
summoner can attract the ancestor's attention, the ancestor must be 
satisfied that the summoner has shown proper respect in the past: that is
the summoner has sacrificed enough power for Filial Piety. The summon 
skill is meant to represent the summoner's knowledge of the right ancestors
to call upon in the right circumstances, as well as the magical ability
to contact them.

>Acolytehood: While this is certainly a consequence of family rank (i.e. 
>every ranking family member will be one), I'd make it possible, but not 
>mandatory for the rest of the family. Any household-leader or shop-owner 
>would qualify, though.

 My reason for making them acolytes is that I think most of the ancestors
have a genuine affection for their descendants, and will help them if they
have shown respect in turn ie sacrificed for FP. In my opinion most of the 
usual gods treat their initiates like dirt, and only start to give them any 
real help when they become acolytes. (Aside: this might be an argument for 
the idea that the greater gods do not really need their worshippers very

 The other reason for common acolyte level is that the ancestral 
intervention isn't meant to be very powerful, compared to most rune magic.
The powers of the typical ancestor are meant to be roughly equal to what
4 points of spirit magic can do, though adding to skills is a bit better.
Given that a skill roll is required I don't see too much trouble in making
acolyte level easy. 

>Deathbed blessings: While I agree with Graeme that the form he described 
>ought to be avoided, I find the idea intriguing. What about a spiritual 
>pledge of the dying ancestor to a special descendant that in time of 
>trouble he or she can rely on the ancestor poppig up and helping out, as 
>in the Daka Fal Spirit Guardian spell?

 Sorry, I can't remember what I said should be avoided. Yes, something like
the above might be possible, but I tried to avoid specific scenarios in
the cult write-up, as there are a lot of possibilities to cover, and I 
wanted to make it as generic as possible. 

Graeme Lindsell                      Email: