Bell Digest v931106p1

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, Sat, 06 Nov 1993, part 1
Precedence: junk

X-RQ-ID: Intro

This is the RuneQuest Daily Bulletin, a mailing list on
the subjects of Avalon Hill's RPG and Greg Stafford's 
world of Glorantha.  It is sent out once per day in digest

More details on the RuneQuest Daily and Digest can be found
after the last message in this digest.


From: (Coyt D Watters)
Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Fri, 05 Nov 1993, part 4
Message-ID: <>
Date: 5 Nov 93 04:39:57 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2209

Could you please use the "references:" header in your posting of the daily?
This would associate all the parts of your digest into one topic group
(for those of us using good newsreaders like trn) and make it possible to 
select/deselect with one keystroke.

Just set the References: headerline to the message id of the first part.




From: (Colin Watson)
Subject: Inventing new sorcery spells
Message-ID: <9311051515.AA25744@condor>
Date: 5 Nov 93 15:15:52 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2210

This is an addendum to my last post about "Rune Sorcery".

It should be apparent that the basis of the Rune Sorcery idea can be used
as a guide to developing new sorcery spells. Basically, if you start with
an existing spell, then change one of the runes, this alters the area of
influence of the spell. Add some common-sense modifications for the
purposes of game balance and you and up with new spells.

Shadow (Ranged, Temporal, Passive)  [Rune:Darkness]
 Based on the Glow spell, but focuses on Darkness rather than Light. It
 creates a globe of darkness with radius equal to the intensity of the
 spell. Underground, indoors or at night the shadow produced creates a
 -75% darkness effect. On a cloudy day or in the presence of magical light
 it creates -50% darkness. In direct sunlight or in the glare of a Lightwall
 it creates -25% darkness.
 Popular with Troll & Dwarven sorcerers. ;-)

Earthwalk (Ranged, Temporal, Active)  [Runes:Movement, Earth]
 Based on Fly, but in the medium of Earth rather than Air. Objects and
 creatures affected by this spell can freely pass through earth. The base
 intensity  moves 1 SIZ at 1m per melee round. Each level of intensity
 can encompass 1 greater SIZ, or can increase speed by 1m/round. Creatures
 passing through earth will begin to suffocate as per the normal rules
 unless they are protected (eg. by a Skin of Life spell).
 [Maybe this spell could allow movement through rock, but I'm not too
  sure: depends whether you think stone=Earth or stone=Stasis.
  Stonewalk might be another variant.]

Obviously some discretion has to be used: If you simply replaced Light
with Fire in the glow spell you end up with a Fireball spell which is way
too powerful for RQ. In this instance the common-sense option is to make the
Fire fairly cool (at least at low intensities); maybe make the spell
instantaneous rather than temporal; and possibly reduce the area of effect.
Call it something unimaginative like "Burn" and you're onto a winner.

I think sorcery needs more creation-type spells. At the moment the only
spell of this type is Glow (ie. create light). If you can create light,
you should, IMHO, be able to use magic to create other substances. Yes?


From: (Sandy Petersen)
Subject: re: RQ Daily
Message-ID: <>
Date: 5 Nov 93 05:20:06 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2211

Sandy Petersen is here.

Nick Brooke sez:

> When you have a densely populated agricultural region that runs 

> things the Old Way and is ruled by someone they call Pharoah ... 

> why should we make trouble for ourselves explaining Aztec Pharoahs?

Okay, I'm sold. 

re: Chaos Wastes

Even Vulture's Country isn't outright dunes. You don't get  
Sahara-type stuff until the Copper Sands, which is completely  
unlivable. Vulture's Country is desert, but not just endless wastes  
of sand. Once past the Copper Sands you get into stuff much like  
Texas or the Great Basin -- perfectly livable, if bleak. Of course,  
it looks horrible to someone from Sartar, which is fertile and green  
like England or Germany. I was raised in Utah, and I know how easy it  
is for a non-native to be stunned by a few simple things like the  
lack of trees or year-round flowing water, and think that this must  
be a howling desert. 

David Dunham sez: 

> is there written Tradetalk?

The long association of Lhankor Mhy and Issaries leads me firmly to  
one of two possible conclusions. ONE: absolutely, since Issaries  
priests saw the utility of written contracts. TWO: absolutely not,  
since Issaries priests saw the danger of written contracts. 

Colin Watson sez: 

> Sure, Kyger Litor could transmute a Man into Darkness, say, to 

> facilitate his escape from a cell (his runes are Man & Darkness 

> after all); but if the Man has a lung full of sea-water at 15 

> fathoms then he'd have to be rather inventive when calling on KL. 

> And when Hewie the Troll dies I don't think he'll spring back to 

> life just because Kyger Litor turns the lights off and on.

Hmm. Apparently Colin saw through my attempted scam in arguing that  
any god could do almost anything. Okay, how's this? Since Water is  
the spawn of Darkness, Kyger Litor can fix up the poor sap at 15  
fathoms. When Hewie the troll dies, Kyger Litor can bring him back to  
life in her role as a goddess of the Under world, no?

An inventive GM can think up some excuse for almost any god to do  
almost anything. If the GM isn't inventive, and he wants a DI to  
succeed, I feel he should be permitted to do so. In any case, when my  
characters DI, they rarely are too specific as to what they want. If  
one of them was drowning at 15 fathoms, he wouldn't ask to be able to  
breathe, or to swim, or to be teleported away, he'd just say, "Kyger  
Litor, save me!" And leave it up to the Goddess as to the technique  
used. Presumably the GM could think up whatever he needed at that  
point. Of course, if the player's god is someone unreliable like  
Eurmal, he's hosed.  

> Some gods are more appropriate than others for particular DI 

> effects

Hard to argue with. I agree wholeheartedly with your theory that the  
ability to DI to associate cults is a good incentive for lay  

Geoff Gunner sez: 

> The person will choose, if they have the luxury of choice, the 

> deity that fits their mental attitude.  If (he) is pacifist 

> Orlanthi then that will be Chalana Arroy, completely irrespective 

> of how powerful the spells that can be gained are. 

Excellent summary. Seconded. 

Greg Fried sez: 

> Does this mean that Ompalam is an aspect of Wakboth, Chaos as moral 

> evil?  In the sense that Thed is the Chaos god of ... rape?  Is 

> slavery in Glorantha a NATURAL moral evil in the way that, say, 

> incest is -- one that Wakboth preys upon in order to break in upon 

> the world?

I have always felt that there are certain Gloranthan gods that are  
evil, yet not chaotic. Ikadz, god of torture; Malia, mother of  
disease; and Ompalam, god of slavery are all clearly evil, yet not  
Chaotic (incidentally, Malia's non-chaoticness is another argument  
for the ability of someone to purge themselves from chaos, though  
technically she did it before Chaos had entered the world). 

Thed is the goddess of rape, Krarsht the goddess of secret  
combinations, and Krjalk the god of treason. They are all chaotic,  
yet this does not mean that someone committing one of these acts is  
automatically tainted by chaos. I suspect Thed would be goddess of  
rape, even were she not chaotic. 

I do think that doing Bad Things (rape, murder, torture) disrupts the  
world's order, and makes it easier for Chaos to break in. Let's not  
forget that Zorak Zoran and Storm Bull were major causes of the  
Lesser Darkness, and hence are partially responsible for the ultimate  
entry of Chaos into the world. 

I like your dogmatic Yelmian comment. It would have Orlanthi seething  
with fury. Just right. I must have someone say that in MY campaign.

re: Vormain

As one of the responsible parties behind Vormain, I now state that I  
had no thought of Melnibone when we were discussing it. Japan, yes.  
There's nothing wrong with using Melnibone there, of course. 

re: Beast Valley

The Beasts are supposed to be relics of EWF. The surviving Beast Men  
in Pamaltela are relics of the Six-Legged Empire, and it's not  
impossible that the Six-Leggers learned how to do it from the EWF. 

> Yelm is killed by Orlanth at "mid-day" above Dara Happa. Go West 

> from there, and you'll find nary a native solar deity.

Wow! What a great insight! It can't be coincidence. Greg must hear  
about this. 

Paul Reilly asks what the Brithini believe about other humans. 

Your theory about the animal/human connection is too good to discard,  
especially in light of the fact that Hsunchen were the main type of  
humans they dealt with, yet from what I know about the Brithini, it's  
logical that they would blame the existence of other humans on the  
actions of sorcerers. I think that from now on I'm going to adhere to  
the belief that the Brithini believe that other humans were either  
formed of mud, or mutated from base animals by evil sorcerers. I like  
the idea of the Brithini treating party members differently if they  
came from (in the Brithini opinion) different backgrounds. 

>  (Aldryami are vicious) Look at the Gloranthan future for Fronela - 

> the Aldryami plan a mass genocide of humans.

What other kind of genocide is there? :)

There's also the dire jungle wars in Pamaltela, when the forest  
threatened to overgrow the plains. There are still wars in Onlaks  
between human and elf. 

Graeme A. Lindsell asks about slavery in Genertela, and wonders about  
slaves in Loskalm and Kralorela. 

I'd forgotten about Loskalm. Not sure whether they permit slaves or  
not, but I bet it's frowned on, and the slaveowners thought of as Big  
Jerks. The Kingdom of War, with its diabolic serf-based culture would  
serve as a fine example to Loskalm to NOT have slaves. Kralorela  
might not have many slaves, but I'm sure there are a few, and I bet  
the culture's not opposed to it. 

"The Orlanthi have let the Thrall status fall out of practice in  
Dragon Pass." Even if this statement is a lie, it's clear that, if  
they still have Thralls, they're embarrassed about it. So they're  
opposed to slavery. The Ralios Orlanthi don't have lots of thralls,  
but the status exists. It's considered an especially noble deed to  
have no slaves, if you're rich. So noble that most clan leaders and  
rich folks keep their slaves.

re: Ompalam

Ompalam is not seen as a separate natural force in Genertela. The  
fact that he is PERSONALIZED in Pamaltela indicates the fact that he  
is not accepted. 

Ompalam is a major deity in Fonrit, but not elsewhere in Pamaltela as  
most people regard him as evil. Even in Fonrit, some people admit his  
evil, though most say he is a necessary evil, just as American  
slaveowners thought owning slaves was good, but looked down on the  
guys who actually traveled to Africa and brought 'em back alive. 

Ompalam's worshipers consist of slaveowners and slaves. The slaves  
are involuntarily brought into the cult, of course. Ompalam does not  
make slavery tolerable, he makes it effective. He provides magic and  
skills that keep slaves firmly under control. The "addictive" god of  
Fonrit, who is sought after by slaves who "want to make their lives  
less horrible" is Gark the Calm. 

I don't think slavery is necessary in Genertela for anyone to  
survive. A free man can plow ground just as easily as a slave. I  
think that slavery in Genertela, as on Earth, is the result of wicked  
men seeking dominance over other men. The only advantage slavery  
offers in agriculture is that you can pay your workers very little.  
But you can do that anyway if you have serfs. 

re: Auld Wyrmish

In conversations with Greg, he has opined that the dragonewts use  
sight, sound, touch, and Empathy in their conversations with one  
another. Full empathy being rare among humans, it's hard to learn the  

Colin Watson sez:

> I like the idea that sorcerers should specialize to some extent, 

> but the RQIII sorcery rules don't give much motivation for 

> specialisation

I have had many sorcerers in my campaigns, and I've got to admit that  
most of them specialized. One commented to me that the RQ III rules  
forced him to do so. We found that a sorcerer who specialized and  
disciplined himself to only learn a certain set of related spells was  
much more powerful than one that just picked up the "good" spells. 

Thom Baguley mentions the advantages of an electromagnetic sense for  

What a fine idea! Much more logical than infravision.

Thom also sez: 

> It would seem natural to me that certain holy sites should be able 

> to furnish powerful magic even if only a few dedicated initiates 

> were present

Another famed advantage of holy sites is that it is easier (or only  
possible) to summon certain spirits there. There might be other,  
subtler magics, too. The fact that people prefer to marry at the  
Pairing Stone has always implied to me that there is some kind of  
harmonious effect which tends to make the marriage happier/less  
likely to divorce. 

The Paps not only has enough worshipers for a great temple, but it  
has at least shrines for all sorts of tiny little gods, and even  
minor temples for some. There are gods who are ONLY worshiped in  
their one single temple at the Paps, 


From: (Colin Watson)
Subject: hoary old chestnut
Message-ID: <9311051637.AA00111@condor>
Date: 5 Nov 93 16:37:06 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2212

David Dunham says:

>A good scenario must be one I can not only admire, but use.
[ several sensible points about making scenarios as general as possible.]

I agree 100%. Background is all very nice, but it belongs in a sourcebook.
Scenarios should have the bare minimum background required to run them, and
otherwise should concentrate on plot and characters. The setting should be
flexible (dare I say generic?). All my Humble Opinion, of course.

But the Daily has been down this path before, hasn't it?...
..a couple of months ago?
Some people (allegedly) only buy scenarios for the Gloranthan background stuff.
Oh well.

Combined scenario/sourcebooks seem to be the trend. Are they cheaper to
produce? Are they what the punters want to buy? There must be some reason,
I guess. For me they make hassle: I have to re-work chunks of the scenarios
to fit my campaign (or re-work chunks of my campaign); and when I *do* want
to find some tidbit of background info it's a pain to have to thumb through
scenarios. Organised, indexed, sourcebooks would be so much more useful.
And one or two context-free scenarios wouldn't go amiss either.

All we can do is voice our opinions and hope that someone upstairs takes note.



From: (Thom Baguley)
Subject: Cults and so forth ...
Message-ID: <9311051728.AB24968@Sun.COM>
Date: 5 Nov 93 17:07:20 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2213

Lots more interesting things to respond to:


Your ideas on warding against disease upset one of my ideas for Chalana Arroy
ritual magic enchantments (sacrificing POW for wards against disease and poison
as per Humakti false CON). In the light of your comments this would be in the
realm of Deezola. Giving warding to Deezola has the virtue of preventing that
cult from being merely a CA copy. Does Deezola have Cult skill Prevent Disease
(characters get roll against the skill before being exposed to a disease)?
Presumably the Deezola ressurect involves a reenactment of the creation of the
Red Goddess ... maybe it has slightly different consequences on success or
failure (see below).

Thanks also for the information on Yanafal Tarnils - any information on Lunar
religion is greatly appreciated ...


I've never actually had a ressurection in one of my games (the only healer with
ressurrect habitually adventures with Humakti ...). The daily has spawned a
great deal of thought on this issue. I guess I would keep the spell more or
less as in the current rules but roleplay the ritual aspect more seriously. I
would require a representative of each lightbringer cult (preferably an acolyte
or rune level in most cases - though Ginna Jar and Flesh Man might be
substituted for fairly easily). Flesh man would probably be a relative of the
deceased (or should that be existentially challenged). Each participant would
have to take part in the ritual by performing a symbolic act (typically but not
necessarily casting cult rune magic). The CA healer would of course perform
some or all the healing and cast Ressurect. Ressurrection would thus be a
little trickier. For instance ressurecting Olaf Seventongue might be difficult
because a) the Trickster initiate was run out of town last week b) the local
Storm Voice is from a hostile clan and so on. The more substitutions and
lacklustre ritual performances the less likely the spell will work.

	As someone pointed out (provided ressurection is time-consuming and otherwise
difficult) CA healers are likely to focus more effort on mundane and spirit
magic healing (it saves many more lives). Ressurection would be saved for
special cases (usually children) for whom the healer is willing to go to extra
effort. Powerful people are likely to be ressurected only if they have
lightbringer friends willing to take part in the ritual (and hence spare the
healer a great deal of effort).

	Organizing a ressurection for a PC (or even NPC) could well be an adventure in
itself ...


The common feeling seems to be that most Gloranthan theists are worshippers of
a pantheon. My personal feeling is that most PCs are `fanatics' of one cult or
another. Originally I was against pantheonic initiation but after the
discussion here I'm not so sure. Initiates of a pantheon are likely to be the
equivalent of lay members of all the cults in that pantheon. Pantheons should
vary from region to region (probably clan to clan) e.g. it sounds like the
Lismelder clan include Humakt (and/or Indrogar Greydog) in their pantheon, but
I'm not sure that all Sartarites would. Similiarly, sophisticated city
Sartarites might just include the Lightbringers (plus Sartar and a city god) in
their local pantheon. These initiates get to DI to all members of the pantheon,
access to spirit magic at associate rates and one-use divine magic (I probably
wouldn't give them access to associate magic outside the pantheon).

This leaves the problem ... why become initiated to a single god. My answer:
another good argument for reusable divine magic (regained on the high holy
day). In return the full/high initiate has to give 10% of his or her rime and
money to the cult.


I don't think associate membership and lay membership are identical. I think
they are subtly different. Associate cults are very strongly reflected in cult
worship in most cases (why else would persecuted Orlanthi turn up to Ernalda
ceremonies). Associate cult members actively take part in ritual worship
(unlike lay members). On the other hand worship of an associate cult always has
a different perspective. I think that an Ernalda priestess would be more likely
to take notice of an Orlanth initiate than an Ernalda lay member (all other
things being equal). Of course this means that the Ernalda priestess is also
more likely to ask Orlanth initiates to go on a dangerous mission than her own
lay members (or even initiates or acolytes).

.... on the subject of lay membership hardly anyone mentioned mundane benefits.
e.g. it is the duty of all those other Barntar lay members to help out in your
Barnraising. A farmer who wasn't at least a Barntar lay member would be looked
on very oddly in Orlanthi society. An outsider who joined the cult as a lay
member might just about be tolerated.


One of the things I like about the Humakt cult is that Humakt is not just
another warrior god. Recent debate (like the old debate on Humakti character
traits) over the number of Humakti, the severing of Humakti family ties and so
on has just made the cult more interesting. I suspect that while a significant
number of Humakti sever family ties (or had no family to start with) it is not
a strict cult requirement. For worshippers of Indrogar Greydog it is probably a
sensible thing though ... stalking through marshland seeking out and slaying
undead is probably not conducive to good family life. In all my games Humakt is
quite a common cult; many persecuted Orlanthi have turned to the more neutral
(but not necissarily any less anti-Lunar) Humakt, many foreign mercenary bands
are in Dragon Pass and Humakt is a relatively popular in local cities. Of
course this is purely my reading of the available Gloranthan lore and I
wouldn't contemplate twisting Glorantha to my world view simply because I'm
fond of the cult ...

 Sorry I've rambled on a bit more than I intended,



From: nrobinso@sirius.UVic.CA (Neil Robinson)
Subject: Dwarven senses
Message-ID: <>
Date: 5 Nov 93 19:20:01 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2214

Sandy Peterson writes about the foolishness of having dwarves rely
solely on infravision.  I agree wholeheartedly.

I have considered giving the dwarves a 'pressure' sense that is somehow
linked to small disturbances in the air.  Dwarves would rarely get lost
in a cavern complex, as they could find the way out based on even minute
air flow.  Now how does this link with the dwarves being related to the
static rune?  Well perhaps prior to the birth of Umath, air did not move.
The dwarves are able to sense the 'impure air' and use it to see.  I'm
trying to separate it from the Troll's darksense.

The dwarves keep their sense a secret, as sylphs can wreak havoc on it (
a sign of the conflict of mobility and stasis).  They are not bothered
by darkness, but can get confused by the large amount of signals above
the ground.  I have limited their outdoor range because of this.  Maybe
I should remove their eyes entirely, but like the idea of having them as
an 'add on'.  Oh, I don't run in Glorantha.

The party is currently 'guesting' in a dwarven city, on the run from a
determined group of slavers.  It will be challenging to impress on them
the 'alienness' of the dwarves.  In the D&D games, all the dwarves seem
to be stocky humans, or complete stereotypes from Tolkien.
Neil Robinson              | "Never underestimate the power of human    |  stupidity." - L. Long
2996 Dysart Rd. Victoria B.C. V9A 2K2     (604) 385-1642