Bell Digest v931012p2

From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RQ Digest Maintainer)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 12 Oct 1993, part 2
Reply-To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RuneQuest Daily)
Sender: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM
Precedence: junk

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
Subject: line from the default Re: RuneQuest Daily...  on replying.

Selected articles may also appear in a regular Digest.  If you 
want to submit articles to the Digest only,  contact the editor at

Send enquiries and Subscription Requests to the editor:

RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Henk Langeveld)


From: (Colin Watson)
Subject: Spirit instincts; spirit battles
Message-ID: <9310111049.AA24223@condor>
Date: 11 Oct 93 10:49:15 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1966

Steven E Barnes said:
>>[BTW I think bunny spirits would be as non-aggressive as corporeal bunnies:-)]
>Unless you are a grass spirit...

This made me wonder: do animal spirits (fixed INT creatures) have instincts
about how to deal with the spirit plane? Mundane bunnies instinctively eat
grass; mundane foxes instinctively eat bunnies etc. But would their spirits
know how to deal with the process of survival on the spirit plane? Obviously
the mechanics of hunting/foraging are very different on the SP (although
we're not quite sure how they work yet:). Do you think animals would have
appropriate instincts for indulging in spirit combat?

For that matter, do Gloranthan animals *have* instincts? Or are they just
divinely inspired to do their thang by the appropriate deity?

Joerg Baumgartner:
>CW>I'm not sure of the mechanics
>CW>for multiple spirit combats. Anyone got any ideas?
>Spirit combat as it is now (in RQ3) consists of two opponents casting 
>automatic MP-Disruptions at each other for no MP-cost. A bit dull, but 
>there are people who don't think that skill is involved in anything 
>magical. If you take this example, there are several people in each 
>party casting disruptions at members of the opponent's party. Resolve 
>the spirit combat like you would this magical conflict.

Yeah, I thought about massed spirit combat some more. I see three main
ways it could work:
1) You can attack one opponent but defend against many (all).
   (This is basically how you describe it above, simulating spell combat.
    It's certainly the obvious way of resolving multiple spirits combats).
   Using this method a big spirit is *always* going to win against an army
   of small spirits.
2) You can attack one opponent and only defend against one.
   Extra opponents get free attacks. (More like physical combat).
   This gives multiple attackers a huge advantage.
3) You can somehow split your defence (and possibly your attack) between
   several opponents. (Like highly skilled physical combat).
   Multiple attackers have an advantage, but a powerful entity can stand alone
   against several less powerful entities. I think I like this best.
   Using the current (boring) spirit combat rules I would simulate this
   by saying a person can split their POW in defence (and in attack, why not?)
   between several opponents.
   Shaman (POW 19) and Assistant (POW 14) tag-team against a big ghost (POW 35).
   The ghost must decide how to split its POW between opponents. Say it decides
   to defend with 20 vs the shaman, and 15 vs the assistant and elects to go
   all-out in attack (30) vs the puny assistant in the hope of taking him out
   Obviously this makes the number of creatures more significant than the
   power of individuals. Unfortunately it means that multiple ghosts would
   tend to massacre most PC parties (assuming they gang up on one target).
   But I think it would make the political structure of the SP more interesting
   because there would be great motivation for banding together. Maybe
   that's not a good enough reason...
   (I suppose you could make an arbitrary rule which states that combat
   between corporeal creatures and disembodied spirits must be one-on-one.
   I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to come up with a spiritualogical excuse
   for this, and it would be fairer on the PCs:-).
4) (For the sake of completeness).
   You can attack all opponents and defend against all opponents.
   This would mean gross spirits reign supreme.


From: (Mikael Andersson)
Subject: HELP
Message-ID: <>
Date: 11 Oct 93 14:06:30 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1967

Where to find back issues?


Subject: Spirit plane stuff
Message-ID: <>
Date: 11 Oct 93 15:31:24 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1968

Although the discussions on the nature of the spirit plane, it's relationship
to the mundane and hero planes, etc have been quite interesting, there have
also been some very large chunks of irrelevant musings on stuff which is
realy just pointless to contemplate.

The spirit combat and POW gain rules are onlt there to adequately simulate
such things from a PC perspective. As such they are perfectly reasonable
and fair. The only problem occurs when one of the players is a shaman, then the
loose ends of the system start showing up and a bit more detail could be used.

What the spirit combat and POW gain rules were NOT designed to do, is provide
and accurate and extensible, robust simulation of the daily goings on
in the spirit plane. Is it surprising that there are anomalies when we try to
use it for this purpose?  No! ..... Do I care?  No!

When my players start regularly interfering in the affairs of 1000 POW spirits,
then I will start worrying about it. Untill then the detailed mechanics of
such a spirit's virtual metabolism are utterly irrelevant. RQ does not have
game mechanics for the effects of eating crunchy nut cornflakes with added
vitamins and minerals every breakfast on my character's fatigue, so why should
it have long term detailed rules on the metabolisms of spirits.

BTW. About spirit combats between high-POW spirits (or any high stats).
Who ever said the characteristic sacale in RQ is linear? Look at the SIZ
chart. The difference between SIZ 5 and SIZ 6 is much less than the difference
between SIZ 50 and SIZ 51.  A spirit with POW 1000 might actualy be twice as
big as a spirit with POW 990.

RQ is only a very rough simulation of the real Gloranthan world. Many things
which are perfectly feasible in Glorantha are utterly impossible to simulate
using the RQ rules directly. Many things possible in RQ are at best unlikely
or difficult in Glorantha. I use the rules to adjudicate situations where
the PCs are directly affected. If I have a duel going on between two foreign
sorcerers, in which the PCs are not directly participating, anything goes.
I will describe what happens as a bystander in Glorantha would see it. I
would never even mention POW, MPs, even specific spells. After all, people
will not talk about MPs and POW any more than we talk about HPs and fatigue
points in the real world. ie POW and MPs are not absolutes, they are
probably abstractions of a number of related factors. We don't use fractional
MPs because it would be inconvenient, but POW and MPs are no more quantised
than other nebulous concepts such as STR, DEX and APP. (Oh look, that girl
is exactly 10% prettier with that makeup on! (APP rises from 10 to 11)).

Please, people, I think you are all taking the rules a little too seriously.

I am fully in favour of good ideas about what the spirit plane is like,
and some good material has come from this discussion thread. But try
thinking about what you want the spirit plane to be like, then propose
rules for it. Extrapolating solely from the current rules is futile.

My own view is that the spirit plane and mundane plane are quite distinct.
When a spirit casts visibility it 'phases out' of the spirit plane and can't
be got at from it, the same goes for bound spirits. Otherwise we would
all get frequent spirit plane encounters coming at us from nowhere.
These are distinct planes, any other interpretation means that vast numbers
of spirits are immediately all arround us, but are just invisible. Second
Sight must threfore just give more informaion about visible spirits, perhaps
allowing us to see spirits 'through' walls and such as well.

I realy liked Colin Watson's real time / god time chart. That is a neat
way of modeling the relationship.

Simon Hibbs.


From: (Clay Luther)
Subject: Storm Bull Anecdote Number 1
Message-ID: <>
Date: 11 Oct 93 09:14:55 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1969

"Fatty Rustypike needs your help, eh?  A little trickery he cannot stomach?"  
Carver chuckled inwardly.

The initiate, who lay flat on the temple floor before his kahn, dared to look
up. "I wanted to ask my kahn how the Great Urox looked upon such...trickery."

Carver Seven-Faces-Severed sat down on the temple floor.  "Sit up and listen."

"Trickery is a dangerous thing and many gods fear it.  He-Who-Wields-Death hates
Trickery because Trickery stole his Sword from him.  He has foresworn Trickery
since.  Great Urox has been tricked many times, though he always beats up the 
Trickster in the end.  But Great Urox does not foreswear Trickery like his
Once-Brother.  Great Urox has himself Tricked many times.  He is a good learner.I will tell you of Urox's First Trick.  Listen and learn.

"Urox and Eiritha once lived on the edges of Genert's Garden in a wonderful
cottage.  They had many herds and plenty of water.  Urox guarded the edge of
the Garden from enemies.  

"One day Trickster, who had just been kicked out of Genert's House for 
stitching Genert's nostrils together while He slept, decided to go see his 
cousin Urox and his beautiful wife, mostly because he was hungry and needed a 
place to sleep, but also because he liked to play with the children and teach 
them nasty Tricks to play on their parents.  On the way to the cottage he 
spied a wasp nest dripping with honey.  Though he dearly wanted the honey, he
feared to climb the tree to get the nest since the wasps would surely sting him.
But he devised a Trick to get it, remembered where the nest was, and went on
to Urox's cottage.

"Urox smelled Trickster coming and charged over the hill to meet him.  'Go 
away!' he bellowed at his cousin, 'Do not come near my house!'

"'But sweet 'cuz,' pleaded Trickster, 'I only want to say hello to the Bravest
Warrior in my family and his beautiful wife, and to play with his children,
who I miss greatly.  Let me say hello to you all and see that you live in
good health so that when I arrive at Orlanth's camp I can tell him only good
news about you.'

"But Urox still said no.  'You only want to steal my wife's butter or teach my
children Bad Tricks, most likely.  Go away and leave us alone.'

"Eiritha had come out after Urox.  She said to him  'Oh husband, remember your
Brother's Words of Hospitality.  Don't treat little Eurmal so badly.  Bring him
to the house with kindness and I will give him some milk.  Then you may send
him on his way.'

"'Very well, then.' said Urox. 'You may come to the house for milk, but then
you must be on your way.'  They walked back to the cottage and Eiritha poured
them all some fresh milk.

"'Your milk is very fine, mistress.' said Trickster, 'Did you know that Lord
Genert drinks his milk with a spoonful of honey?  I tried it last time I was
there and it is very good.  Would you have some honey, mistress, so that I
could drink this fine milk after the manner of your Lord?'

"Eiritha checked the cupboard, but could not find any honey.  'Oh dear,' she
said, 'I appear to be out of honey.  I am very sorry.'

"But the Trickster only smiled hugely, for his Trick might work.  'Oh, that is
completely understandable.  Honey is very hard to come by.  It takes a very
brave man to steal it from the wasps.  I completely understand.'

"'She would have honey if I could find some, cousin!  Mere wasps could not keep
me from their honey!' shouted Urox.

"'Of course, cousin, of course!' replied Trickster, 'I knew that was the case 
here.  Well, my milk is done, for it was tasty and I always eat quickly, so I 
must be going.  Urox, my brave cousin, would you walk me to the edge of your 

"After kissing Eiritha on the hand and patting all the children (who were all
very sad to see their Uncle leave so soon) on the head, Trickster left with 
Urox.  While they walked to the edge of Urox's land, Trickster said 'Cousin, I 
know where you can get some honey for your wife.  I saw a huge nest, dripping 
with honey, nearby the stream that flows between those hills.  Go and get your 
wife some honey, with my thanks.'  Then he hugged his cousin and left.

"Urox thought about Trickster's suggestion and decided it was a good idea.  He
followed Trickster's directions and soon found the nest.  What Urox didn't know
was that Trickster had followed him and hid in the bushes.  Urox climbed the
tree and yelled at the wasps.

"'Hey there, wasps!  It is Urox, come for your honey.  Do not sting me or I
will get angry and smash you!" 

"The wasps had heard of Urox and were so frightened that they hid inside
the nest and didn't come out to sting him.  Urox plucked the nest from the
tree and put it in his honey pot.  But as he climbed down the tree, he
smelled the Trickster waiting for him.  He stopped on a high branch to think.
He looked into the pot and said 'Hey now, you wasps in there, come out of your
nest or I'll burn you out.'  The wasps, who were still very frightened, came
out of the nest and gathered in the pot.  Urox then took the nest out, still
filled with honey, and hung it on the tree again.  He climbed down to the 
bottom and said very loudly 'Oh my!  I am so tired from all this climbing.  I 
will take a nap and set this pot of honey next to me while I sleep so no one 
will dare steal it!'

"Urox lay down and went to sleep, with the pot next to him.  Trickster, who had
been hiding all this time, crept out of the bushes, stole the pot, and ran away
dancing and singing to himself 'I Tricked my stupid bull-headed cousin again!  
I Tricked him again!'

"When Trickster was far away from Urox, he opened the pot, saying 'I'm going 
to eat all this honey in one gulp!'  Without looking at all, he poured the 
wasps into his mouth and swallowed them all in one gulp.  The wasps didn't 
like Trickster's hospitality and stung him inside.  'Och! Och! I've been 
Tricked!'  he screamed as he ran around looking for something to get the wasps 
out.  He tried sticking a twig down his throat, but that only made the wasps 
more angry.  He tried eating a frog, but the wasps stung the frog and it jumped
out of his mouth.  He tried swallowing smoke, but the wasps climbed down to his
feet and the smoke only turned his hair grey. He couldn't find anything to rid
himself of the wasps so he gave up.  Eventually the wasps settled down and 
built a nest in there and started making honey.  Trickster has had all the 
honey he could want, and more some.  Trickster doesn't like honey anymore.

"Urox brought home the nest full of honey and made his wife very happy.  Waha 
was made that night.

"And whenever Urox meets Trickster now, he gives his cousin a tight hug and a
hard slap on the back."

Clay Luther                    
Macintosh Software Engineer              Kodak Health Imaging Systems
Yelo's gift was a necklace of clam shells from the Ouel Stream strung on gut
string with a delicate knot of reeds which performed the role of pendant.


From: (Nils Hammer)
Subject: Spirit Plane ++
Date: 11 Oct 93 13:35:02 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1970

I like people's ideas about the spirit plane, but It should certainly
have a more complex terrain than a surface map of Gorantha. I think of
it as a "hypertext". 

In addition to the choice of moving away from your farm towards the
woods, you could move along the path of "cowness" towards the
spirit-source of all cows. Or through the hearth fire towards the
spirit-center of the fire rune, from there you then come out at some
other fire. This lets you take huge shortcuts around glorantha if you
can see the connections and know how to follow them. The innocent who
does not know what they are doing will probably follow one of these
paths by mistake and get horribly lost.

I also think that the terrain does not have the same shape as glorantha.
I was inspired many years ago by a National Geographic article that had
distorted maps of the world according to national oil production and oil
consumption. I envision an ancient forest in the mundane plane as being
many times larger on the spirit plane. Likewise the "dead place" where
magic does not work is probably one small unpleasant spot on the spirit

When traveling on the spirit plane consider the runic affiliations (if
any) of the travelers. and the mundane skills they have. Movement should
be easier within a place you can claim affiliation with, and more
difficult if you have a runic opposition. 

ex: Seeing that the spirit-plane adventure party is surrounded by broo,
the orlanthi initiate says "follow me" and climbs up on a rock. Reciting
orlanthi stories he feels around for a wind. Finding one he walks onto
the air, holds hands with his comrades and says  Run!

Mundane skills, even ones not written on the character sheet, could be
used to base your spirit-plane navigation. Hunters may be familiar with
the woods, and if they are decent, they will not be on bad terms with
prey animals. 

ex: Clio the whip lady, a sorceress and party girl, has been dumped in
the center of spirit-plain Beast-ness by a jealous trickster during a
dream. Confused by the environment, she asks the GM to let her roll
against her INT (18)x3 to recognize anything costing 1 MP per try.
Eventually she recognizes cows. Aha! she grew up on a farm. She does
things cows like, reciting her good memories of cows. This lets her
follow them to the center of cow-ness. Here she bargains for help,
expending MPs while doing whatever constitutes cow-care. Her new
cow-spirit guide hears from her about the cows she thinks are closest to
her mundane plane body. Once in the neighborhood, she can say goodby to
the cows and find her way to her own body by straight navigation. Waking
up from a bad dream, she finds that she has been dressed in a cow
costume and can't find the fasteners.

Now, I understand that my blatherings here are not a system. I just want
to emphasize that the spirit-plane should be different from the mundane

Nils K. Hammer


From: (Paul Reilly)
Subject: Short Takes
Message-ID: <>
Date: 11 Oct 93 21:45:39 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1971

  Paul Reilly here.

  I will have to write about the Spirit Plane later, it is too extensive
for me to deal with right now.  Suffice to say that I think people should 
go look up "Shamanism" in the library and check out some books which describe
what shamans say about the spirit plane; it is not much like most of the
descriptions I have seen either officially or on the list.  (But there
have been some very good ideas batted around on the list...)

  I do tend to think that a fibre bundle is a fairly good model for the
Gloranthan universe.  The geometry of the bundle is complicated, but one
slice through it is the mundane plane.  Now find every fire on the mundane
plane and mark the fibres at those points.  Follow those fibres up to the
'God Plane' and you will find that they all run into Aether, the Source of
Fire.  MOre on this is there is interest...

  Some comments on other things:

  Clay luther writes:
>Maybe next week the Storm Bull player will throw away his axe and start
>wrestling everything he meets, subsequently pounding them with rocks and his
>bare hands???

  This happened in our campaign, it was the origin of the Chaos Killing Rock,
a mighty weapon of Bruce the Storm Bull.  Ordinary weapons were too fragile
to contain his Rage...

   Actually this was a very special rock, it was a fragment of an iron-bearing
rock which fell from the Sky World.  It had a certain amount of 'heroic'
potential which was channeled into Chaos killing by the way Bruce used it.

   Respone to Mike Dawson (or is it Kirsten?)
  Protective Circle:  This is a Sorcery spell that actually seems to have some
connection to real-world medieval magic.  Triangles were also popular.
If you want to encourage circles make the circumference/perimeter of the
figure protected depend on the Intensity, that way the maximum area that
can be protected by a given Intensity is achieved if the figure is a circle.
Interesting how parallel developments on different worlds might be motivated
differently: on Earth we went from square to round towers because it was
relatively easy to damage the corners of square towers with siege weapons and
early cannon.  On Glorantha it would be to make best use of defensive magic.


  About physics on Glorantha:  Obviously the underlying physics is quite
different.  I maintain that Glorantha's underlying reality is more on what
we call the God Plane and that the surface appearance is derived.

  I also think of GLorantha as a sort of self-maintaining dreamworld, as
opposed to say Earth's Dreamlands which are constantly maintained from our
Universe.  Obviously Glorantha had a strong connection with Earth's Dreamlands
at some point.  Evidence for this includes the remarkable correspondence of
flora, fauna, culture, geography, etc.  Compare the myth of Aether and Umath
with the Sumerian myth of Enlil and An.  ( I should write a paper about this

  Myths about dragons probably ran the other way - dragons live in the Void
but use worlds such as Glorantha as nest sites to incubate their young.  
Worlds like ours are too rigid - Glorantha is a good nest site because it
is far enough out in the Void to serve as a training ground for Void navigation.
Young dragons learn to manipulate Gloranthan 'reality' at deeper and deeper
levels, starting with the 'dragon magic' of dragonnewts and proceeding through
the phenomena such as Dream Dragons.  Even the full dragons of Glorantha
are fledglings by true Dragon standards - compare the abilities of the 
dragons we see to those shown in the Dragonkill War.  Once a dragon is able
to project a 'dream' dragon equal to itself, it is ready to go off into the

  Humans can also manipulate the dream-fabric of Glorantha, either through
massed will or individual striving.  Thus cults and magic.

  Sorcery depends on learning to 'leverage' your power by drawing on the 
greater powers of the Universe.  These have predictable patterns oof response,
forming the natural laws of Glorantha.