Bell Digest v931013p2

From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RQ Digest Maintainer)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Wed, 13 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.

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


From: (Paul Reilly)
Subject: Responses
Message-ID: <>
Date: 12 Oct 93 21:43:49 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1977

  Paul Reilly here.

  Stuff about natural laws:

>>You ask whether gods' physical manifestation, such as Yelm as the Sun,
>>violates the Compromise, since they still obtrude upon the world.  It seems
>>to me that the Compromise guaranteed each diety's dominion over his or her
>>domain, and that for many gods, this domain is a very real thing (Sun, Earth,
>>Storm, Winter, etc).  So, Yelm killing you with Sunstroke is legal under the

>Seems like a short step between this and Yelm SunSpearing folk who he
>doesn't like. *That's* within his domain too. :-)

  I have to go with Greg here.  In the Celestial Court theory of the
universe, the actions of the Celestial Court determined the basic natural
laws.  Aether chose to live atop the sky, thus Fire and Light are drawn 
upward.  Ge (Gata?) had a fixed shape, so Earthy things have a fixed shape,
etc.  This principle continues on down the line, thus how plows behave
is determined by Barntar.

  Once Time is started, the mythic acts that determine the laws are 'frozen
in'.  Fire now always rises, etc. - to alter these basics violates the
Compromise.  But Fire is still a manifestation of Aether's primal power, it
is just that it always behaves the same way.  In some sense _every_ mating
draws on Uleria's power, _every_ killing uses the power of the First Sword,
etc.  So when A kills B with a sword it is through Humakt's power that
the killing is made possible, much as Yelm kills someone through sunstroke
as above.  But as long as they are following the _fixed_ pattern agreed to
in the Compromise, everything's OK.  Mortals retain free will and can
invoke the Primal powers through Rune magic, without violating the Compromise,
but must sacrifice part of themselves to access these special powers.

>>Any ideas for fixes that get at the proportional values of STATS?  I have

  If we believe the resistance table then the stats must be logarithmic.
This is fine with me, as long as people realize it.  Something should be
done about Magic Points in this case, rather than POW.  And the stats of
big monsters should be fixed - they should be in the tens to low hundreds
range, only major Gods should be in the thousands (if even them).  


  Nils' comments on the spirit plane are very good.  This sort of 
junping around fits in well with tales related by Siberian shamans, for
example.  His ideas on following trails of 'cowness', etc. are what I
was describing as following a Fibre which leads to the Platonic reality
on the God-plane.  Thus all fires are connected to The Fire (Aether), all
bears are connected to The Bear (Rathor), all lovers are connected to
The Lover (Uleria), etc.  There is also a lot of 'geography' on the way
between the Mundane plane and these Absolutes.

  Nils also coments:
> I envision an ancient forest in the mundane plane as being
>many times larger on the spirit plane.
  This fits in well with the description given by various shamans in
'The Way of the Shaman'.  Things are _bigger_, _livelier_, etc., rather
than grey and featureless.  

 - paul

  More on the spirit plane another time...


From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Subcults, etc.
Message-ID: <931012212548_100270.337_BHB39-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 12 Oct 93 21:25:49 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1978

I'm busy this month, but will try to make some time...

Simon Hibbs said:

> 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.

I half-agree. I think we need a rules model that "explains" the spiritual 
ecology about as much as we need one for the Praxian ecology (how many 
rabbits support a hyena / how many skullbushes support a high llama?) or 
the human digestive system. Which is to say, not at all: it feels like 
Mostali World-Machine-building, and not role-playing, to me. But some of 
the questions these discussions raise can be interesting, tho' admittedly a 
lot of it looks like either Super-RQing (POW 1000 spirits, player character 
shamans with big fetches, ludicrously frequent POW gain rolls) or God 
Learning (all those global theories about the Spirit Plane, God Plane, and 
points between).

Simon is right: rules that make no sense are less helpful than sensible 
ideas for which the rules haven't (yet) been written.

Nils Hammer wrote about the "distortions" of the Spirit Plane. I liked his 
discussion, which rings true. The "Mythic Places" and "Faerie" supplements 
for 'Ars Magica' (a game I half-admire, but imagine would be unplayable) 
had some nice-looking ideas and none-too-clunky mechanics for this kind of 
manipulation of the environment. In their Faerie, if you want to find the 
house of Death, travel West. Doesn't matter where you start from, because 
Death always lives in the West... This reminds me (happily) of some of 
James Branch Cabell's stories, always good source material for 

As Nils' discussion makes plain, this kind of model requires *very* heavy 
role-playing and use of subjectivity in deciding what goes on: after all, 
*we* know that Death lives in the North...

Paul Reilly talks sense as usual. If we want to know what the Spirit Plane 
would look like, we should read up on what people who have been there say, 
or talk to them, or go there for ourselves. As usual, research is a great 
step forward for anyone's Gloranthan Lore (and it's easier for most to get 
to a local library than to the Spirit Plane). These various "grey fog" and 
"crystalline forest" descriptions leave me bothered and bewildered.

A problem with the "All Spirits = Dead Spirits" suggestion mooted earlier 
(esp. re: vegetation) is that I am *certain* that if you went to Big Elm 
Valley on the Spirit Plane you would see the spiritual form of the Big Elm 
(whatever *that* looks like), which is still very much alive and well. The 
question of rabbit spirits v. embodied rabbits is perhaps a chicken-and-egg 
one. To a rabbit, the spirit plane ecology feels as if it works the same 
way that the mundane ecology does, I feel sure.

The question of whether or not animals use magic was mooted indecisively 
back in WF#14 or so. I'd imagine that the old Greek myth (found in Plato's 
"Protagoras", I believe, tho' my brother's nicked my copy) about Man being 
given some special "equalising" power (in that case, political virtue) to 
make up for his lack of special abilities (claws, teeth, fur, fins, etc.) 
could be applied to Gloranthan use of magic -- though not by the Hsunchen, 
of course. Lions don't cast Keenclaw or Ironhand spells because they don't 
*need* to, any more than rhinos need Protection or wolves Mobility. Now we 
could do with good rules for morale and natural attempts to Demoralise...

David Dunham asks:

> So how exactly do subcults work? Can you sacrifice for Strongblade
> (Hiia Swordsman subcult) simply by going to a Humakt temple in the
> Grazelands? Or do you have to sacrifice POW to join Hiia's subcult?
> Can you belong to multiple subcults of the same religion?

I'd say that if you go to a Humakt "temple" in the Grazelands and impress
the local priests with your Hiia-like behaviour by defending the Feathered
Horse Queen or her mundane representatives (horses, or the Grazeland royal 
prerogatives in general), you might be invited, as a special favour, to 
sacrifice for Hiia's special Rune spell. You'd also be taught the special 
war-cry, and would hear a lot about the deeds of this Hero in a Half-Shell. 
But the priests of Hiia (or any other sub-cult) wouldn't just hand their 
Rune-spell out freely to passing Humakti tourists who quite like the idea.

You don't need to sacrifice a point of POW to access hero-cult Rune magic 
if you're already an initiate of the main cult. You could conceivably join 
the hero-cult "on its own" (i.e. Grazelander Humakti who *only* sacrifice 
for the Hiia special spell), but I can't see many people going for that...

Joining multiple sub-cults of the same religion would usually be easy for a 
well-travelled or pious individual, as long as they didn't have conflicting 
restrictions. Imagine two Humakti sub-cults, one of which kills Healers 
while the other defends them. Obviously they'd be found far apart; just as 
obviously, they'd be impossible to combine and remain sane.

If you play with the *wonderful* RunePower system (D.Cheng, prop.), I'd 
advise treating both sub-cult and associate cult Rune spells as exceptions 
to the general rule: they have to be sacrificed for individually, by name. 
Makes your magic assortment more personal.

Reusability -- presumably you can only renew a sub-cult's Rune spell at the 
shrine to that sub-cult. What this means for initiates' annually-reusable 
Rune magic is anyone's guess: do you have to live at the shrine, or regain 
the spell by performing major (Holy Day?) worship there, or what?

I'm intrigued by the notion of developing separate "Acolyte" status within 
a subcult -- an Orlanth initiate from a stead near where the shrine is 
located might be an Acolyte of Orlanth's Lightning Spear, gaining that 
spell *only* with seasonal reusability.

This subject overlaps extensively with Trickster Rune Magic, which some 
funny folk out there use a lot. If anyone has played the Trickster shrine- 
hopping game long enough to work out the problems and solutions inherent in 
it, it'd be nice to hear about them. Though Trickster reusability would 
make much of the experience irrelevant, I suppose...

I'm very much in favour of having loads of scattered or local sub-cults to 
give regionally distinctive flavour to Gloranthan religions. As "sub-cults" 
of a major religion, the requirement for numbers of initiates is presumably 
met by the body of the mainstream cult -- or do you imagine you need 100 
Orlanth Rex cultists in one place to gain any O.Rex Rune spells? This would 
be the factor distinguishing sub-cults from spirit-cults, which lack the 
support of a parent-cult.

Graeme Lindsell came up with a neat variant on Humakti Berserk. I'd done 
something similar myself a few years ago to avoid the same problems, and 
arrived at much the same result, so by applying the normal rule of 
synchronicity this now feels like a problem identified and solved.

Make Sever Spirit a sword-enhancing spell? Yeah, that sounds almost right. 
But it should certainly be a one-off (i.e. reusable spell that only kills 
one person each time), perhaps triggered when you strike a blow. Hard to 
work out how to do it, though: if a Humakti Sword hits his opponent, he's 
*probably* dead already... It's a good question; looking at the workings of 
Death Swords and Ironbreaker might give us a few leads as to how it works.

I've seen a letter from Greg Stafford in which he says that Hrestoli women 
aren't able fully to participate in the upwardly-mobile caste system. And, 
if we're going to puzzle over Western nuns, why not deal with monks at the 
same time? The subjects overlap, and are equally interesting.

re: this Zebra/Urox business:

Could some stalwart defender of Strike Ranks (which actually sent me to 
sleep during a particularly tedious battle last weekend) please write a 
defence of the existing rules? I would be amused to see it...



From: (Graeme A Lindsell)
Subject: Resurrect in Glorantha
Message-ID: <>
Date: 13 Oct 93 14:15:51 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1979

 Resurrect and Glorantha

 Given Greg's comments about how there is 90% less healing
in Glorantha than in RQ I've been wondering about Resurrect.
As a 3 point one-use spell I don't have too many problems
but the re-usable Chalana Arroy version seems to be way too
effective IMO. In a city with 3 High Healers with 2
Resurrects each there are going to be a lot of powerful
people (ie Rune Levels) with access to easy resurrection.

 Has anyone got any ideas for reducing CA's Resurrect but still 
giving them an advantage over the other cults? I have a couple 

 i) Make it a 1 or 2 point one-use spell for CA.

 ii) Change the Resurrect spell so it is a ritual Enchant
as well as a ritual Summon, and include a POW cost for 
casting the Enchant part. If the POW cost was (say) 2 POW
per successful Resurrection the CA's would be less likely to
want to cast the spell (and the cost for a Yelm priest to
resurrect would be 5: 3 for the one-use spell and 2 for the
actual casting)


 I'm also wondering about the various Restore Health spells.
There is a Queen mentioned in Dorastor who is crippled from
an early age by Creeping Chills. In RQ she would just pop down
to the nearest CA temple, make a suitably large donation and 
be healed. Any ideas?

 Graeme Lindsell a.k.a


Subject: Fantasy Hero RQ
Message-ID: <>
Date: 13 Oct 93 01:43:03 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1980

I've worked on RQ spells in a Fantasy Hero form.  I may even get to
run a FH game soon, probably basing it in Pavis.  E-mail me if you want to
exchange RQ->FH conversion material.  Maybe we can do an Adventurer's Club
article together.