Bell Digest v931109p2

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, Tue, 09 Nov 1993, part 2
Precedence: junk


From: (johnjmedway)
Subject: Languages
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Nov 93 17:59:16 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2236

Loren, muchas gracias for the repost of the AOL discussions. Glad I don't 
have access to that, though. I'd have no time left for the rest of my life!

>>  From: (Paul Reilly)
>>  X-RQ-ID: 2191
>>    Darktongue is agglutinative, intuitive, and has many onomatopaeic words - 
>>  these latter can be based on the characteristic echo produced by an object
>>  ...
>>    Repetition indicates emphasis. Thus 'uzuz' - Mistress Race Troll, or
>>  Hombombobom the Great Drummer.  In our campaign 'ju' indicates mana and

Pretty close to what I'd thought up. Yours is a more extensive write-up
though. I'd tried to describe it to players as sounding "like a mixture of
Bushman, Humpback Whale, Korean and the bands Yello and Laibach".

Some of my examples to the players:

        be, is, are
    bowng                                     chigah
        of me, mine                               no take
    bowng-bowngk                              chiga-chigaah
        of me and my allies, ours                 not take, no hurt, no eat
    bowng-ga-bownk                            ung-ahhh
        of them and not me, theirs                hinder
        you ( sonar ping at "you", often omitted )
So you get:

    nk ung-ahhh bowng
        [Allies and posessions] of mine will not hinder you.
        ( Offer of cheerful, willing assistance. )

        This is mine.  You may take it.
        ( When presenting food or gifts. )

    bowng-bowngk, chiga-chigaah
        This is of me and of my allies. Do not take/hurt/eat it.
        ( Please be so kind as to ... ARGH! stomp! pound-pound-pound * )
    * at this point the mindlink with the Lhankor Mhy researcher abruptly

Of course, most of the more subtle expressions of Darktongue are too low in 
pitch and cannot be made or understood by humans. 

>>    New Pelorian - in our campaign there is both an alphabet and a syllabary of
>>  about 600 important syllables (plus many little-used characters).  THe 
>>  written language looks a bit like Hindi.  (We use many Indian models for the
>>  central Theistic zone of Genertela.)  The alphabet is considered easy to
>>  learn but inelegant and the upper classes communicate in beatifully 
>>  calligraphed letters using the more compact syllabic script.  Provincials 
>>  often learn only the alphabet.  The script is cursive (as 'Gray' speculates..)

Is the alphabetic script, or the syllabic script cursive?
Is it Dara Happan which uses the old script, or New Peolrian?

>>  From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
>>  X-RQ-ID: 2192
>>  think British = Civilized, run him as British. In the great Hollywood 
>>  tradition of Evil Empires, I've always assumed those Lunar officers were 
>>  played by British character actors. Ethilrist looks (and acts?) like Alan 

Of course!

And the common pelorians and soldiers speak with a cockney accent, too.

|  |  Landmark Graphics Corp  |  512.292.2325  |


From: (Sandy Petersen)
Subject: re: RQ daily
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Nov 93 06:28:10 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2237

David Cheng asks:

> Did the Sables line up with the Praxians, then turn on them, or did  
they join the Lunar 

> lines before the battle commenced?

The current story amongst the anti-Lunar Praxians is that the Sables  
lined up with the other animal nomads, then turned on them. Of  
course, it's in their interest to make the Sables look bad. It's  
clear that the Sables fighting on the Lunar side was a big surprise  
to the other nomads, but it's still possible that the Sables came to  
the battle, summoned by the council of Khans, but when they arrived  
went immediately over to the Lunars. 

The Sables don't bother to deny that they joined the Lunars, and it's  
no big deal to them whether they switched before or after the battle  
commenced. They gloat over the fact that they were on the winning  
side, and sneer at the idiots they tricked. Of course, inter-tribe  
"loyalty" has never been too important in Prax anyway. 

Loren Miller sez:

> In hot, dry climates you want some real covering, though not 

> necessarily heavy robes.

Is this really true? Does anyone have any facts to back this up? I  
know that the Dinka in southern Sudan, the Bushmen in the Kalahari,  
and the Australian Aborigines don't seem to wear many clothes. The  
Amerinds of the U.S. Southwest weren't overdressed, but they didn't  
go as bare as tropical Indians. Certainly they'd go without shirts  

Maybe the much worse climate of the Sahara forces the Arabs to wear  
those robes. Prax isn't as hot as the Sahara, nor as dry. It is, in  
fact, fairly cold in the winter. 

> Other than the major tribes, and Unicorn, Zebra & Bolo Lizard, what 

> else is out there?

There's the Ostrich and Rhino riders, which are about as minor as  
they come. Nose-horn and Plains Elk are supposedly extinct. Long-nose  
is practically extinct, but a friend of mine ran a great scenario in  
which the last few members of the Long-Nose tribe were trying to herd  
their only surviving elephant through Prax to the salt swamps along  
the coast. Lunar assassins were chasing them and trying to capture or  
kill the elephant for some arcane reason. Everyone loved the scenario  
and the idea of a tribe with a "herd" of one. After this scenario,  
I've never been willing to claim that the Long Nose are completely  

Some folks claim that there are few "kangaroo" riders in the High  
Wastes. Supposedly, the animals ridden aren't really kangaroos, but a  
leaping Pamaltelan animal that can teleport. I'm not sure whether  
there really is a tiny group of lost Pamaltelans in Prax, or whether  
some elderly nomad heard about the teleporting animals (they're real  
enough in Pamaltela) and started telling tall tales. I guess I won't  
have to decide for real until I need them for some Wastes scenario  
I'm writing. 

Incidentally, the troll Mantis Riders that were remarked on a while  
back aren't really a tribe. Some of the insect-breeding trolls in  
Dagori Inkarth have giant mantises, and have learned to ride them.  
They are kind of a secret, and the trolls aren't particularly  
interested in having the human foes of Sartar know that they have a  
unit of Mantis Riders, getting ready for the big troll attack,  
whenever that is. Still, word leaks out. 

> But the ... [Prax & Wastes nomads] ... trade-off, both on a 

> seasonal cycle, and whenever the [tribal alliances] shift.

This is true to a great extent. One of the ancient historical facts  
about Prax is that whatever tribes are currently the most powerful  
get to live primarily in Prax, while the others are shunted to  
less-desirable areas. The result is that the poor losing tribes go  
off to the Wastes, where they grow lean, mean, and hungry. Then they  
come back and oust the former winners (grown fat and lazy through  
their years of plenty) and the cycle begins all over again. Right  
now, the Bison and Impala folk are out there getting leaner by the  

Geoff Gunner (in a private message) sez: 

> where did the inspiration for Jack o'bears come from?  American 

> mythos ?  Just having got one waiting in the wings for my poor 

> innocents, I got to wondering who was responsible for the 

> monstrosity. As the book says, 'an exotic talent not to be sneered 

> at.'  It could be last orders soon for the party.

> Ducks I presume to be re: Donald.

Jack O'Bears come from Hungry Jack, the dread monster of WBRM. Most  
of the original monsters of RQ came from WBRM Exotics. The idea was  
the Hungry Jack had spawned these creatures. 

Ducks descend from the earliest days of WBRM. When Greg was trying to  
name all the cities on the map, he gave a friend the privilege of  
naming one of the towns. The friend said, "Duckberg." Greg winced and  
said, "How about Duck Point?" The friend said, "Okay, but it's gotta  
have ducks in it." And that was that. The Ducks probably owe more to  
Howard the Duck than to Donald, but I suppose Howard wouldn't have  
existed without Donald anyway. 

Geoff Gunner also sez: 

> A creature *that* cynical, *that* depressed, *that* obnoxious is
> a boon to every fun-loving referee the world over. 'A duck a day 

> makes the party go grey.'

Concur. I never fully understood the folks who hate ducks. My parties  
generally fear and hate ducks. Not because they're tough to defeat  
(hah!), but because if you DO get beaten by the damn things your  
friends never let you live it down. Maybe the duck secret is that  
refs (in general) love 'em, while players (in general) love to hate  

Graeme Lindsell sez:

> most cultures that have lots of slaves practice agricultural 

> slavery, since in premodern cultures this is what occupies most of 

> the workers. China was notable for giving its peasants a fairly 

> high social status, as compared with Europe through most of it's 

> history. If Kralorela is the same then it is practically a free 

> society. Do you know how women are treated in Kralorela?

This is basically an accurate appraisal, though the peasants still  
don't have any money, just "status". I think that women in Kralorela  
are basically subservient. The Emperors are pretty much male, and the  
Exarchs mostly males. The important deities are either sexless or  
male. However, the oppression of women decreases as you go down the  
social scale. A peasant woman is the equal of any man, owning her own  
goods and living her own life, if she so chooses. A rich man's woman  
is carried around on a palanquin, grows long fingernails, etc., and  
otherwise kept from getting into trouble. A noblewoman lives her  
whole life in a palace, has every whim attended to by a host of human  
and nonhuman servants, and may never see the sky for weeks on end.  
Any upper class woman who tries to burst these confines can do so,  
but obviously suffers social, religious, and possibly economic  
opprobium by so doing. In effect, she "lowers" her status, but gains  

> In TOTRM No8 (The Chaos Feature) the various gods are grouped by 

> type. I think Ompalam is typed as Seductive, with Gbaji and 

> Sessiene (sp?) the chaos god of submission

Nonetheless, I do not consider Ompalam to be a chaotic god, any more  
than Malia. He certainly has no strong objection to chaotic entities,  
and they can join his cult. I think that once you take the first step  
and start worshiping a cult that most people agree is evil (like  
Malia), it becomes much easier for your society to accept other evil  
cults (like Krarsht, Seseine, etc.) which are outrightly chaotic.  
Just Say No! 

Seseine is the chaos goddess in charge of incubi and succubi, for  
some reason more plentiful in Pamaltela than Genertela.

Ompalam does indeed make chaos palatable. Wouldn't any of YOUR less  
ethical PCs like to have magic that could force other people to do  
their bidding? Ompalam does try to foster the "slave mentality", but  
I think it does so more by encouraging fatalism than by giving the  
slaves drugs. 

Gark the Calm is the chaos god of zombies, but usually shows up under  
a different name. His priests tell the mass of oppressed people that  
they alone can give them freedom and peace. Then they lead them off  
to a secret place. Presto, all his converts now have freedom and  
peace. You'd have to be in great despair to join him knowingly, I  
agree. Basically, you need to prefer oblivion to continued existence.

Nick Brooke sez: 

> and their [the Brithini] descendents are the Malkioni peoples of 

> the West.No? That's how I'm coming to see Malkion's prophetic 

> mission in the Great Darkness: he taught the Brithini an 

> alternative way of living, that involved having children and 

> accepting death.

And the (other) Malkioni claim likewise. The other Malkioni didn't  
appear until after the Dawn. Just about that time (A.D. 1), the  
prophet Hrestol had a vision of Malkion, who taught him the New Way.  
This appealed to a lot of former Brithini, and led to the great  
secession movement. The Brithini say that Hrestol got it wrong, and  
if he didn't get it wrong and really got word from Malkion, it  
doesn't matter, because Malkion must have got it wrong this second  
time round. All that matters is that the Brithini Way works. You  
change, you die. The other Malkioni sneer at this because it's  
obvious that the Brithini are stagnating, while they, their  
descendents, grow, live, love, and learn. 

re: Vormain

The description of Valzain in GoG was written by Greg. HE might have  
been thinking of Melnibone. 

The Brithini can have children. But they don't, unless ordered.


From: (Geoff Gunner)
Subject: Bits and pieces ...
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Nov 93 19:22:20 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2238

Geoff (Gunner) here, for a few comments and an extended whinge.

Sandy talks about Pairing Stone being popular for weddings, thus must have some
subtle effect.  Well, why not that people just love the pomp and circumstance,
and the chance to make a special occasion *really* special ?
Why have everything explainable by magic ?  Okay, magic's fun, but so is 'real'
life.  And you can get far more kilometerage from a single person than a single
magical effect.  (Puts bucket that contained cold water down again ...)

re: Nick Brooke's comments on Celtic Bards getting the best grub -
but what if you weren't any good ?  High expectations lead to bad punishments if
you fail to come up with the goods !  ('Guards - off with his tongue !')

re: James King's comments about prices of RQ stuff over here (UK) -
How true .  (:-( sigh, agreeing vemhently with said statements).  I *used* to
be a RQ packrat, buying all the (reasonably-priced) RQ2 stuff.  Including Foes.
Happy munchkin days.  Now, at 10 quid for the booklets and 20 for bigger stuff
seems a mite extravagent.  And after buying Elder Secrets (Pictures! Blarrgghh!)
I've developed a nasty phobia about any more Avalon Hill / Chaosium stuff.
And lots of it seems to be second time around - Trollpack was the biz.
(chokes back tears of nostalgia).  And it never seems to help me run my
campaign anyway - all I want is some nice juicy detail on Dragon Pass so I can
run a halfway-decent campaign.  But NO!  I'm whisked off first to Pavis and
Prax (barren desert full of smelly nomads), then to Doraster ('You *seriously*
want me to go down _THERE_ ?');  the Lady alone knows where next.  Or Greg
'read my lips' Stafford is bringing out multiple conflicting versions of the
Truth.  Fine, okay, I can handle that.  Now could I have something definitive ?

Okay - so I *CAN* write my own adventures.  I prefer to - I can use my talents
to their best (taoist RQ, no less).  So what I want is stuff like Trollpack -
details things that can be used Anywhere and give me the backup I need.
Or Gods Own Truth about Dragon Pass.  `It's not much to ask for` ?, he whinges.

And if anyone says I should write it myself - -THWUMP-.  _How_ many hours should
I devote to RQ a week ?  It's getting so that preparation time is nearly
equalling playing time.  Sigh.  I miss the carefree days of youth with RQ
sessions that went on all weekend, down to the Kentucky for takeaway, cans of
beer ... I go now, in a haze of tears for lost youth.    Geoff.


From: (johnjmedway)
Subject: Cults and Magic
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Nov 93 21:38:09 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2239

>>  Sam Phillips cleverly disguised as
>>  X-RQ-ID: 2166
>>    Personally I see nothing wrong with two power sacrifices. For each one
>>    you get cult skills, cult spells *and* faith, freinds & family. Power
>>    sacrifice is just to represent devotion, a magical emotional tie. I

I have to agree with this. POW gains have not been very cheap in the past
few games I've played, and they're not going to be cheap in the game I'm
running  now. Nevertheless, a point of POW sacrificed to initiate into a
pantheon seems reasonable. Another point to establish a more specific
relationship with a god/ sect seems like a fairly minor deal.

>>  From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
>>  X-RQ-ID: 2180
>>  Chatting with Steve Thomas, and we thought maybe the simple solution was 
>>  that initiation into the god of your culture, people and religion (opposed 
>>  to Cult) was free on reaching maturity. This gives an advantage to people 

This work in much the same way ( though cheaper! ). In that more initiates
into the oddball cults  (as opposed to the pantheon or its leader) will be
the oddballs who have higher than normal POW. I'd say that it makes some
sense for them, as they start off different level of connection to the
world, and would be more likely to chart  a different course.

>>  From: (Graeme A Lindsell)
>>  X-RQ-ID: 2179
>>   Re appropriate DI's: if we were to limit people to those DI's
>>  that are within the power of their god, then should PCs be
>>  able to DI to associate gods in their pantheon? This might

This or similar sounds like a good one. There should be a difference, though,
between calling on the rest of the gang. I'd say it should be possible, but
either made more difficult, or of lesser effect. We need to keep some spiritual
gain from initiation into a specific cult within a pantheon.

>>  From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
>>  X-RQ-ID: 2180
>>  Maybe part of the answer is that POW lost to gain Divine Intervention is 
>>  set aside by your God for your use in the afterlife, but isn't of any use 
>>  to you in mortal existence (i.e. Ever). This way, someone who'd DI'd 
>>  several times in life, and attracted his deity's attention a lot, would be 
>>  looking forward to a really nice time after death. Saves this biz about 
>>  "Those whom the Gods love, die young with shrivelled up souls and no real 
>>  prospects".

Nice rationalization. It did always seem odd that you expended the good-will
of your deity when serving his causes.

>>  From: (Paul Reilly)
>>  X-RQ-ID: 2188
>>  The other PC's were amazed to see the horrible transformation of the Voria 
>>  priestess into a shrieking axe-wielding (All the Earth temples have a sacred
>>  axe over the entrance, even Voria) maniac.  Even the dice cooperated - as
>>  she ran around attacking the outlaws (w/ Axe Trance and Slash) we always
>>  seemed to roll location 9, (lower abdomen), appropriate for a BG avenger.

But when the dust and body parts settled, was she again a Voria priestess?

>>  From: (David Cheng)
>>  X-RQ-ID: 2187
>>  Disclaimer: I am very willing to be a heavyhanded GM when it comes to
>>  rules rape like this.  "Orlanth asks you why you want that 5th point
>>  of Extension, when you have only one point of Divination, and no Cloud
>>  Call at all."

Of course!

>>  Of course, with RunePower, you don't sacrifice for specific spells...

Hmm, using RunePower, how is a characters *use* of 5 points in an extension
questioned/kept in check if they'll not have enough left over for SunRipen
or some other culturally useful spells.

|  |  Landmark Graphics Corp  |  512.292.2325  |