Bell Digest v930928p1

From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RQ Digest Maintainer)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 28 Sep 1993, part 1
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RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Henk Langeveld)


Subject: Faith etc.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 24 Sep 93 19:25:07 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1826

On the subject of faith and religion in Glorantha.  How I intend to run things  
(I have always done so, but I will emphasize it more strongly from now on) in  
my campaign:

PCs are considered to be a bit wacko by the vast majority of society.
People in Glorantha are automatically "initiated" into the religion at a given  
age.  Now, stupid, ignorant God Learners would only be able to see this as  
being initiated into the religion of a single deity who is identified as the  
cheif of a pantheon.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth is  
that the person initates into the RELIGION, not a particular deity.  I am  
currently writing notes for the major religions to be found in the Pavis area  
to show exactly what I would mean in game terms for this initiation.

Now, some wierdos or talented sorts may, at a later age, find themselves drawn  
to inner secrets of a particular deity of a religion.  These are the "cults" as  
written up for RuneQuest.  If the person is fortunate enough to be turned on by  
the dominant deity of a faith, then little happens excepting that this person  
has opened an avenue for further authority and respect among their people and a  
few special abilities can be gained over the "basic" initiation.  Now, if the  
deity is not such a god, the initiate must undergo rituals to tie themselves to  
the new deity.  Generally, a new sacrifice of POW is not necessary since this  
is considered to be a "friendly transfer" of a follower.  For example, under  
Orlanthi faith, a young adult drawn to the path of Humakt would undergo a  
ritual in which his possessions are stolen from him by a Trickster, an Orlanth  
Adventurous would commit a ritual crime with the possessions, the incipient  
Humakti would renounce Orlanth for a time (possibly a season).  This would be a  
very dangerous time for the incipient Humakti, since all divine and cult spirit  
magic would be taboo to use.  However, in this time, the incipient Humakti is  
taught the inner secrets of Humakt.  After the season, then the applicant is  
ritually reconciled with the Orlanth Adventurous and the Humakti is admitted  
into the rights and priviliges of a Humakt Initiate.  However, he surrenders  
those of an Orlanth initiate.  The Humakti has cut himself off from normal  
society, however, by these acts.

This is all still VERY VERY VERY rough, and I need to work it out.  Once I  
have, I will make the details public.


From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Scripts of the West
Message-ID: <930925083004_100270.337_BHB30-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 25 Sep 93 08:30:04 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1827

A nice post from Graeme Lindsell: I'll see what I can cover, then do some 
other stuff briefly.

Me, I said:
>> Me, I say Western script is Latin. But the modern Western languages 
>> have evolved from their pristine Classical Brithini roots. They now
>> speak French [[et cetera: different spoken Romance languages]]

Graeme said:
> This means that literate people in the West do not write in their own
> languages at all, but use Classical Brithini/Old Seshnegi/whatever it
> is uniformly. Is the spoken version the language of the educated in the
> West, replacing Tradetalk there?

Yes. This is, of course, what happened in the "real" Middle Ages, and what 
the Glorantha Book tells us:

:  WESTERN: The tongues of the Malkioni-worshippers of Umathela and
:  Genertela. All share the same written language, termed Western, 
:  though the spoken languages differ. Hence, literate Westerners
:  from any land can always communicate by writing.

The extrapolation from this to having written Western 'Brithini' script as 
the language of books, wizards, scholars, etc. is too easy and attractive 
to miss. It would technically be possible to write in the vernacular (using 
the Western alphabet to write in a 'debased' dialect), but this would 
probably count as a sign of terrible heresy and ignorance. Probably some 
Stygian Ralian poet will set the ball rolling any year now... this is the 
stuff of heresies and new campaigns!
> So do the Church use this in their litanies/casting spells, or is this
> an area of dispute between the sects?

Dispute it, please! I *hate* to see religious types agreeing (anyone for 
CREDO??). It is inherently plausible, given the importance of written 
materials for sorcerers, that they would cast as they read; likely, too, 
that this is not uniform between all the various Colleges of Magic.


>> BTW, anyone else spot the "Year -150" date for the LBQ on KoS p.270 ?

> Yep. I don't think he has much evidence to back it up.

Well... Some would say that you worship Gods as they were in the Godtime. 
But Lhankor Mhy and Issaries and Chalana Arroy etc. are said to have met 
Orlanth for the first time on his LBQ. If there was a sufficiently lengthy 
stretch of Godtime yet to run after the successful completion of the LBQ, 
we'd have mythic connections between these deities as members of a court or 
council, rather than just as fellow-travellers upon a dangerous quest. Of 
course, since KoS also shows us Orlanthi myths where the other gods are 
associated with Orlanth before he sets out (or even advise him to set out), 
this theory has lost a lot of its force...


> There is still the element of "well we disagree on the fine points
> but we all believe in the _Real God_, not like those pagans" when
> there are a lot of pagans.

Stuff and nonsense! The insidious threat of internal heresy is far more 
dangerous to your established church than the blatant and not very active 
external pagans. If disunited 'Malkionism' was under threat from pagans, 
then perhaps you'd see that element. But at present they're still going 
strong in their separate kingdoms, with only the KoW as a major threat to 
(more or less united) Loskalmi Hrestolism.


> "I have here the names of fifty prominent God Learners high in the
> Orlanth Rex heirarchy."

No surprises there. The Orlanth Rex cult was developed in late Second Age 
Ralios. Late Second Age Ralios was a hotbed of God Learnerism. Draw your 
own conclusions... 


> The problem with the current system is there is no motive to make
> such a change. Should your sacrificed rune-spells for one god 
> change to those of the next?

Yes. Another plus for the *excellent* RunePower system! The motive is that 
it's silly for a grandmother to have little girls' Rune spells left over: 
she ought not to be able to access them any longer. Voria cultists grow up, 
and become Ernalda cultists. Earth worshippers who are traumatised change 
to Babeester Gor or Maran Gor: they don't take their Bless Crops etc. 
spells with them. This is not a player character problem, as a rule, and I 
forsee terrible trouble with powergamers whatever rule is devised. It is, 
however, a world-realism problem; one that is admittedly made worse by 
reusable Rune Magic for initiates (one of my pet projects, now widely 
agreed to be a Good Thing), but one that is bad enough to require surgery 
in any case.

When you see a snapshot of a village, you don't ask how long the people 
have filled the cultic/social roles they are portrayed in. You meet a 
generous old Asrelian grandmother, a hag-like old Ty Kora Tek 
corpse-scrubber, etc. without asking what they were up to ten years ago 
when neither role was appropriate for them. But their character sheets bear 
no traces of an earlier active cultic life. Consider Grey Azdala in 
'Gaumata's Vision'. She wasn't always like that, but existing rules don't 
show us how she could change to be that way.

The 'problem' will emerge when more people adopt a Pendragon-esque sense of 
time, playing family- or clan-based campaigns out over decades and 
centuries rather than adventure-based ones over seasons and years (this, as 
some of you may not know, has been one of Greg's pet projects). It would be 
nice to have put some thought towards a solution...

Lewis's 'Heresy'

Nice try, Lewis, but the God of the Silver Feet was assassinated in the 
middle Third Age, long after the God Learners had shuffled off this mortal 
coil and joined the choir invisible. Of course, Snodal's cabal *could* have 
benefitted from existing Jrusteli grimoires instructing them how to summon 
the God of Communication -- and, as Graeme pointed out recently, a lot of 
what happens in Loskalm looks deeply God Learnerish (and therefore 

Colin Watson said:

> If a starting sorcerer wants to blow all his MP on an Intensity 15 
> Damage Boosting, why not let him try? After all, the PCs are supposed
> to win *most* of the time. Aren't they? Well *aren't* they??

And how will they win, then, against NPC sorcerers with Intensity 15 Damage 
Boosting? Sorcery is still a problem: the Max. Manipulation = skill%/10 
rule is a good 'quick fix' to the mechanics, but getting some Gloranthan 
colour into the rules would still be welcome. But I DO NOT want to inflame 
this debate again. Please, everybody forget you read this... (The God 
Learners could do it, why can't you?).

=== Nick invokes a MINARIAN MEMORY REMOVAL on the last paragraph ===

Your thoughts on the Spirit Plane are intriguing; your colourful 
description is entertaining and probably correct (IMHO). Having the Spirit 
World bear a direct correspondence with real world terrain is probably the 
best way of presenting it -- far more interesting than the traditional 
"featureless grey blur" (which may be how characters without Spirit 
Perception skills have perceived it in the past). Though you must consider 
the special position of Prax as a "land of ghosts": there are *very* 
powerful spirits in Prax dating back to the Godtime; whether they only stay 
so because of the desperate worship afforded them by Praxians eking out an 
existence on the barren plains is another question. (If nobody worshipped 
Frog Woman for a year, would she dissipate back into the background magic 
of the Spirit Plane?).

> Apologies if the above reads as incoherent gibberish.
> I had to get it all down before I lost the thought.
> Didn't realise there was so much to say.

No worries! I enjoyed reading it, and it *very* neatly tied together the 
'leaching' of characteristic points after death to the 'fuzziness' we see 
when we journey onto the Spirit Plane. Nice one!

Mike Strong said:

> In my opinion a genuine HeroQuest, by its very nature, ought 
> to be the stuff of myth and legend.

This is the old "Super RuneQuest" argument, which active HeroQuest players 
seem to love, but which has put off many others (myself included). The 
evidence from "King of Sartar" is that Kallyr Starbrow, a famous hero- 
quester, was correct in thinking that the stationary Short Lightbringers' 
Pilgrimage was a difficult and dangerous quest.

The trouble is, a game where your character single-handedly saves Sartar 
from Lunar oppression doesn't contain much exportable material for other 
campaigns. It's a question of scale (one thing which is an implicit part of 
HeroQuesting is that opposition scales itself to the questers' own 
ability). I can see the (powergamer) attractions of going this way in 
RuneQuest, but for my part I am glad that the nearest my character has come 
to divinity is milking Our Ruthie, the sacred cow of Greydog Village.

The Orlanthi Greetings are surely HeroQuests: you meet someone as Orlanth 
met a god, speak to them in the same words, and deal with them in the same 
way as your God himself did before Time began. Saying "that's not powerful 
enough" does not invalidate the theory. For a devout cultist, 'everyday 
life' takes on mythic resonances: you don't *need* to go to the Hero Plane 
to live as your god's representative in the world.

Ken said:

> You may be sure that EVERYTHING I say is wrong, citizen.

That's a Nysalor riddle, if ever I heard one!



From: (Newton Hughes)
Subject: kanji addenda
Message-ID: <9309251940.AA09730@Sun.COM>
Date: 25 Sep 93 19:39:21 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1828

One footnote to Chris Pearce's language article:  kanji characters are
Chinese characters borrowed by the Japanese; they work the same way as
Chinese characters, generally, except that the Japanese intermix them
with hiragana and katakana in the same sentence. (Hiragana and katakana,
not kanji, are the syllabaries.)  For instance, most verbs begin with
a kanji representing the stem of the verb, followed by the rest of it
in kana.  The syllabaries have only been invented relatively recently;
Vormainian would have the same written form as Mandarin Kralorelan,
but would use Vormainian pronounciations which are related to what-
ever the Kralorelan pronounciation was at the time the particular
character was borrowed.  Since different characters are borrowed at
different times from different sources, this gets confusing fast.

From reading Ken Rolston's comments on Gloranthan religion the other
day, it seems to me he's associating religion with morality too much.
As far as I understand it most Gloranthan religious practice seems
utterly amoral, and concerned only with ritual.  A Wind Lord is no
paladin; he is obligated to save the Ernalda Priestess from the chaos
monster not becuase he's a good guy, or because it's the right thing
to do, but because it re-enacts his god's actions.

Incidentally, didn't depictions of the devil in old Byzantinian
manuscripts show him colored blue, the color of air?  Orlanth, as the
king of the mundane world, closely resembles some peoples' idea of
the devil.  His enemies would interpret his Runes (Storm, Change,
and Mastery) as Violence, Treachery, and Cunning.

Do we ever get to hear any more from Mannimark & the Kingdom of Lead?



From: (charles gregory fried)
Subject: Spirit Plane
Date: 26 Sep 93 00:08:15 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1829

Greg Fried here.

Don't have much time these days, but I just want to voice my loud YesYes! for
Geoff and Colin's ideas about the spirit plane.  The idea that the realm of
the spirits is one were the dead slowly lose their nature is one very close
to the Greek conception of the Homeric era (and therefore a good bet for
Glorantha!).  Take a look at Book XI of the Odyssey, when Odysseus communes
with the dead in Hades....   I definitely think the two of you are right on
this one, and something along these lines has been my assumption for some
time now.  Spirits can maintain their 'coherence' after death only by being
worshiped (as in Daka Fal), or by being taken up into the retinue of a
powerful god, or by preying on other spirits, or by serving a mortal being
(usually a shaman) as a bound or allied spirit.  As I have said here before,
I try to translate ALL game-mechanic spirits into spirits of one-living
beings, and so give them at least SOME role-playing substance!

GF out.


From: (Marko Nieminen)
Subject: List?
Message-ID: <>
Date: 26 Sep 93 11:41:04 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1830

-- - SysOp of Citadel of Doom


From: (Mr Robert McArthur)
Subject: Rules query: elemental's effects
Message-ID: <>
Date: 27 Sep 93 15:27:04 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1831

To bring some specific rules queries to discussion (for a while), here's one
about the effects of elementals.  If a shade attacks a group of people, and
it is big enough to run over say 4 people in a round (10-12 secs), does it
get to fearshock each person with it's total power?  Reason: sylphs get to
throw their victim(s) in the air (amongst other things) but have to divide
up their strength based on the number of victims.  Should the fearshock
attack be the same?  Likewise lune vs gnome - gnome has an attack on (usually)
the legs of the victim(s).  Their strength is split vs the number of victims.
The lune madness attack is based on power and dosen't seems to be split.
Now, a large lune/shade has a very good chance of running over more than
one person in 10-12 seconds, especially given their speed (even more so
when mobilised).  Comments?

Now, also, it would seem logical (a dangerous start to a sentence) that a
shade is more powerful at night, a sylph outside in strong wind, a salamander
under the sun (fire not light) and an undine in the water.  Lunes we know are
more powerful at full moon (1 size larger) and have the restriction that they
can't be summoned unless the phase is correct for the specific size of lune.
So, how about:

		sunlight		Night
Shade		1 size smaller		normal

		still air/sealed area	moving air/outside
Sylph		1 size smaller		normal

		not in water		in water/rain/snow
Undine		1 size smaller		normal

		twilight		Bright sunlight
Salamander	1 size smaller		normal

		rock/moist area		earth
Gnome		1 size smaller		normal

Now, obviously if you want a sylph when immersed in water you must have *some*
air.  The idea is that you will get a smaller effect that if in a light breeze
on the moors.
Otherwise, the first column could be changed to 'normal' instead of '1 size
smaller' and the second to 'one size larger' to keep up with the lunes.
'nuf said.  Small thought at the start of the day.
We now return you to the normal mythology discussions.



From: (Mr Robert McArthur)
Subject: Ettyries & Genert
Message-ID: <>
Date: 27 Sep 93 15:38:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1832

I seem to remember reading that Corflu has no longer a permanent Ettyries(sp?)
priest because the old feller went into the wastes.  Now, the reason that
Issaries priests go anywhere near that untenable area is they have a piece of
jackal skin that must, to keep a member of the cult, be returned to Genert
in the wastes.  The person doing so, and living, becomes a Desert Tracker
(my memory isn't too hot on this...)  Now, given the mythology of Ettyries,
why would such a priest *have* to go on this quest?  It would be normal and
necessary for an Issaries priest of course.

I think it's because Ettyries, to gain the spells and benefits of Issaries,
had to go on a hero/god-quest and followed in Issaries footsteps for everything
Issaries did.  Except that Ettyries was Illuminated while doing so.  Thus,
every stricture except for those relating to chaos that Issaries has, Ettyries
has.  Of course, Ettyries merchants may not like chaos for the disruption it
has on trade and spreading the lunar way (sometimes) but lacks the inbuilt
hatred of Issaries.

Comments anyone?


From: (Mr Robert McArthur)
Subject: Nomad Gods: The Horned God
Message-ID: <>
Date: 27 Sep 93 21:06:52 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1833

In NG The Horned God has the stats 0-=!-8-*.  It can only attack magically.
What is its magical size?  The = needs explaining...  In Dragon Pass, it
meant the total of the CF of the units stacked with it.  I haven't had a
chance to check RB&WM and see what it says there.  Any ideas anyone?