Bell Digest v931115p2

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, Mon, 15 Nov 1993, part 2
Precedence: junk


From: (Colin Watson)
Subject: sorcery runes
Message-ID: <9311121703.AA18831@condor>
Date: 12 Nov 93 17:03:48 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2300

Lewis replied about Rune Sorcery:
>Overall this is an ambitious plan but I think it needs a complete Rune Related
>Character sheet so that we can tie runes and skills (I think Nick has been 
>working on one)?

Sounds intriguing. It crossed my mind that the principle could be applied to
all skills, but as you say this is an ambitious undertaking. I'd be interested
to hear if something comes of this. The main problem as I see it is getting a
consensus about what each rune means and where it can be applied.

>I've annotated my ideas:

Thanks for these. A couple of points:
(My additional comments tagged with "#")

SORCERY_SPELL____________   ASSOCIATED_RUNE(S)_______________________________
Cast Back                   Magic + Disorder? --> Fate or Luck?
                             # Ok, which one? Are we deterministic and say that
                             # the result is destined (therefore Fate) or do we
                             # say "there's a dice roll involved" and plump for
                             # Luck? FYI: I suggested Disorder because of the
                             # reversal effect of the spell.

Damage Boosting             Mastery? + Death --> Disorder
                             # Not sure about this...

Damage Resistance           Law? + Stasis? --> Stasis + Luck
                             # I see. Luck from the point of view that "there's
                             # a dice roll involved". I opted for Law as a
                             # symbol of "resistance and protection", but this
                             # could be bollocks. :-)

Diminish (XXX)		    Definitely NOT Mastery (Hunger? Disorder?)
                             # Good, I wasn't too happy about using Mastery.
                             # What does the Hunger rune look like?
			    STR --> Darkness? 
                             # I always thought of Strength as a Fertility spell
			    CON --> Fertility? Stasis? Water? 
			    SIZ --> Disorder (giants)?
                             # Novel. :-)
			    DEX --> Movement
			    APP --> Illusion
                             # Fair enough.
Drain                       Mastery? + Fertility --> Disorder (Close to Chaos 
							and therefore Tap!
                             # Ok, I'm convinced.

Neutralise Magic            Magic + ?  (Mastery again??) --> Luck?
                             # Another dice roll...

Palsy                       Stasis --> + DISORDER
                             # I'm not so sure that Disorder is necessary here.
                             # If Palsy has Disorder, then Hinder would too
                             # (and Hinder shouldn't IMHO :)

Phantom (Sense)             Illusion + Sense (see below)
(Sense) Projection          Truth + Stasis --> Replace Stasis with Rune for 
				Sense (Air = Hear, Light/Fire = See, Beast = 
				Smell etc.)
                             # Associating Air with Hearing is a bit advanced
                             # for Glorantha. What would the Grey Sages say?

Regenerate                  Fertility + Harmony? 
				(restore the harmony of the whole)
                             # CA runes. Fair enough.

Smother                     Death + Air --> (or could be WATER)
                             # The smother effect is fairly gentle (compared
                             # to drowning), hence I opted for Air.

Stupefaction                Disorder? (for confusion?)
                                     (maybe AND Harmony for Harmonization?)
					    ^^^ IMHO
                             # OK.

Tap (Characteristic)        Chaos & See above for stats.  
			    INT --> Truth   #
			    POW --> Spirit  # OK.

Venom                       Death + Luck?   # Dicing with Death.

In general I'm not sure about attributing Luck to spells just because the
game mechanics require dice rolls for them. I would have thought a Luck
based spell would be one which modified the chance of something occuring
(like the spirit magic Silence etc).



From: (Colin Watson)
Subject: shields; battles
Message-ID: <9311121821.AA21622@condor>
Date: 12 Nov 93 18:21:43 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2301

Clay Luther wrote:
>during the archaic Greek period,
>body armor gave way to the large circular shield and linen shirts.  It seems
>the shield actually offered more protection than the body armor (presumably
>because it was more mobile).  The spear become longer and they stopped using 
>it for throwing.  [I've never been able to convince my players that a shield
>offers more protection than body armor...a weakness of game systems

It's true, RQ gives heavy emphasis to armour. A shield is only as good as
your parry skill and it only fends off one blow (normally). Armour doesn't
require any skill to use and defends against all attacks. It might be
better if larger shields were easier to use (higher base %) and could
defend against more than one attack. This would be instead of having higher AP.
(Anyway, were hoplite shields really *that* much thicker than heater shields?)

I'm sure ancient soldiers would have chosen shield&no-armour because they
felt more agile, but this isn't really reflected in the rules. (Ok, they're
better at dodging; but this isn't a great help when their main defence is
shield parry.)

Maybe ENC should be subtracted from parry chances. This way there is some
advantage to running around with a big shield and no armour. Make base parry %
higher to compensate for the loss; so people in armour have about the same
chance as always to parry, but lightly armoured chaps get a better parry
Sandy sez:
>I really hate random factors in wargames, myself, and would vote  
>against this random factor business.

Seconded. The outcome should depend on troop strength & strategy, not luck.

I haven't played Dragon Pass but we did hack together a set of mass-combat
rules of our own for RQ. It was smaller scale than DP: it worked for tabletop
battles with armies of less than ~1000 men. The troop stats were derived
directly from RQ (stats/weapons/armour/skills mapped almost exactly). There
were no dice rolls involved except for a Battle Lore skill which determined the
order of statement/action for each round.
One day I might type these rules up if there's interest...

>Incidentally, the Empire's PR is  
>that they can control chaos, 

A friend of mine had some insight into this. He drew an analogy between
the Chaos rune of Glorantha and the Radiation rune of the real world...



From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Lunar Balance
Message-ID: <931112212822_100270.337_BHB45-3@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 12 Nov 93 21:28:22 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2302

A disjointed rambling post, this time. Sorry, Henk!

Sandy suggested:

> Perhaps the Empire should have, to make up for its shortcomings in
> diplomacy, a bunch of points they can spend to "buy" units from their
> exotic pile, (the Vampire Legion, Moon Boats, Arrolians).

Or perhaps the Lunars should choose whether to outrage public opinion by 
"spending" Diplomacy Points to bring on their Chaos atrocity units, or play 
down the vileness of chaos (i.e. not committing such units) by using DPs 
for their designated purpose. You get the idea: it could cost DPs to bring 
the Bat into the game, which wouldn't be available to get allies from in 
that case. Long run, if the Lunars get all *their* strengths onto the 
board, the Sartarites will have everyone else in the Pass allied against 
them... The Diplomacy Points and Lunar Special Points are from the same 

> Rightarm Island -- probably no magicians. Maybe provide the exotic  
> magic ability for the Pharaoh to control the tides or something. 

That's a Blue Moon speciality, and incidentally one that would be *really* 
dangerous against flat, low-lying Esrolia -- perhaps launching a flood as a 
prelude to invasion, or to cover up after a disaster? (Scenario idea for 
free). I'd give any such power to the Lunars; the Rightarm special is the 
navy, which is going to be better than those cruddy Corflu triremes. (Think 
of the Lunar navy as like the Romans' in the Punic Wars: they may have the 
plans to build ships, but lack the skill and practice they'd need to sail 
them well).

> Traditionally Hrestol's revelation occurred in A.D. 1.
> Whatever that means.

Well... it suggests that dating by "Solar Time" is a Jrusteli invention: 
the Jrusteli might connect Hrestol's "Restoring the Light of Faith" with 
other cultures' mythical reappearance of the Sun after the Great Darkness, 
and conflate the two for convenience. "Solara Tempora" Dating is, of 
course, suspect, as an apparently worldwide phenomenon... thus likely to be 
a God Learner Construct. Easier and saner by far to date events as "X years 
since King Grozz defenestrated Harl Half-Ear".

The Lunar Conquest of Sartar I put almost wholly down to the desire for 
Greed and Glory on the part of Lunar officials on the spot. Compare with 
Caesar's unnecessary campaigns in Gaul. And (bringing back an earlier 
thread), we should remember that tax collection in the Lunar Empire is 
likely to be privatised to some extent -- else why have Tax Demons?

Though there will of course be an ideological driving force as well.

Nice to see the Doraddi oasis-dwellers shifting between cults as they get 
older, as mooted and discussed here a couple of weeks ago.

> For my next magical trick, should I give some more Pamaltela data, or  
> some of my information on the Wastes?

Although I'm a Genertelan myself, it looks like Pamaltela is Flavour of the 
Month (what with Tales #11 due out "soon"), so I'd prefer to see some more 
of that for now (so I can read it all at the same time, and ponder). We can 
shift back to the eternal verities of Dragon Pass and Prax once this 
present faddish craze blows over... 

Graeme Lindsell:

>> Should the Lunar Empire have been expanding in the Seventh Wane?

> I'm not sure it was. I think it was Tarsh that was expanding.

A very good point; with Fazzur Wideread the driving force behind the late 
stages of the advance. I like this view of history immensely, and will see 
if I can put it to use somewhere.

But what about Pavis and Corflu?

> Do I get the feeling you don't like the Empire much?

I *love* the Lunar Empire! Honest, guys, I really do! It's done *so much* 
for me, really opened my eyes to the meaning of everything in the world...

Sarcasm apart, I like the Lunars (Pelorians, Dara Happans and Carmanians 
alike), just as much as I like the Sartarites. But the Lunars have Aims and 
Missions, so naturally I think about them in terms of Master Plans and 
Secret Agendas: which isn't so easy to do for the Barbarians. Sorry if the 
Sinister Overtones are unwanted: but writing in a frothingly idealistic 
style makes it less easy to get the ideas across...

The Empire's aim would be explicitly self-defeating. if my belief is true. 
The question is, how many people running the Lunar Empire realise that they 
should be trying to abolish their own jobs?

Paul Reilly wrote:

> ... It is pretty obvious that the Pentans (and thus the Char-Un) are
> based on Mongols.

I see the east Pentans as Mongols, the west Pentans as closer to Turkic 
tribes, and the Char-un as Cossacks. But that's just me... Get hold of the 
Osprey Elites book, "Attila and the Nomad Hordes", if you want a look at a 
Pentan champion in all his glory.

Klaus ?? asked about Pharaoh/Pharoah. In my case, it's a careless typo. 
Unforgivable in a proofreader, I know -- I get confused by "Pharaonic". 
There may be a Qabalistic significance to others' usage, but who knows?

While I'm grovelling, can I apologise for the "Skeletal Shark" in TotRM#10, 
p.14? We tried to get it changed to "Cartilaginous" for greater accuracy, 
but it slipped through at the last minute... Tsk tsk, Steve!

Clay Luther (no relative of Lex) writes:

> I've been reading a bit lately about bronze-age warfare.

Anyone wanting to know *everything* about Hoplite warfare, go for Victor 
Davis Hanson's "The Western Way of War". That, plus the follow-up 
collection of articles he edited, will bring you bang up to date on current 
theory. And a very good book it is, too...

David Cheng:

I believe infantry units used to have 2 MP in WB&RM, and were then speeded 
up for Dragon Pass as the game dragged too much... John's suggestion (+1 MP 
to move into a ZOC) looks sensible and playable. Speaking of whom:

John Medway:

> Who better, but an accountant?

Fuck you. I'm a historian. I just work as an accountant... 

BTW, Peltasts largely for (a) the historical correctness of having them 
with Hoplites; (b) the *perfect* shape of their shields, for the Lunar 

> A creature *that* annoying, *that* grating, *that* whining...
> No wonder the Lunars put a bounty on their beaks!

I have a sneaking (unfounded) suspicion that this was Greg's attempt to 
create a Final Solution for the "Duck Problem". Imagine the outcry if 
Tolkien had committed genocide against his hobbits, just 'cos they were a 
bit of fun that got in the way of the Silmarillion...

> Misfits and losers are some of the most fun characters you can have.

Make that "misfits, losers, and cretins", and I'll agree. Most of my 
favourite characters (Ungor the Unwashed, Big Hralf, various others) have 
been numbskulled illiterate barbarians. But you can have just as much fun 
being *really* parochial and going around with a closed mind. Oh, and 
another fine thing is to ham up the extraordinary nature of adventuring: 
make it plain that you'd rather be at home with the wife & kids...

Yeah, I'm a little bit prejudiced against ergonomically efficient player 
character parties! Some might even say "awkward"...



From: (David Dunham  , via RadioMail)
Subject: armor/ENC; scenarios; slavery
Message-ID: <>
Date: 12 Nov 93 21:54:04 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2303

>From: (Clay Luther)
>On armor: the Minoan-Myceneaen culture started producing heavy bronze "tubes"
>that the soldier wore as armor.  However, during the archaic Greek period,
>body armor gave way to the large circular shield and linen shirts.  It seems
>the shield actually offered more protection than the body armor (presumably
>because it was more mobile).  ...
>[I've never been able to convince my players that a shield
>offers more protection than body armor...a weakness of game systems, I guess,

It's probably because we don't really have a good game mechanic for dealing
with the heat of wearing armor. (My simple proposal for ENC is that the
only time it matters is right before a fight -- most melees simply don't
last long enough. Simply make a roll for all ENC carried -- doubling the
ENC of armor worn. At the very least, you can improve your odds by not
wearing a helmet full time, which seems realistic. Coincidentally, this may
also favor shields. The idea being, if you've been tromping around Prax
wearing heavy armor, you're not in good condition to fight.)

I too have always been bothered about the Greek shift from what looks like
bronze to linen: "In the middle of the 6th century [BC], the bell cuirass
[this is far less crude looking than the Mycenean "tube"] was abandoned in
favor of the linen cuirass." [Peter Connolly, _The Greek Armies_]

>From: (Colin Watson)
>Ok, but I think one or two context-free scenarios would be nice amongst the
>heavy Gloranthan stuff. These scenarios could still have a Gloranthan flavour,

Context-free doesn't have to mean non-Gloranthan. Any group of people could
wander in on a dispute between two Orlanthi clans, and be asked to help one
side or the other. You could show a lot about the Sartar clan structures,
but not require Orlanthi or even Lightbringer PCs.

>>A scenario written to fit a specific part of the world is at least going to 
>>be instantly usable in that location.

Actually not so Nick, since the River of Cradles scenario requires a Zola
Fel initiate. None of our PCs worship said cult.

BTW, Sandy Petersen once ran a nice travelogue-sort of game at a
convention. I remember my Babeester Gor initiate being boggled at Teshnos.

>From: (Graeme A Lindsell)
> One of the Theyalan's major complaints about the Dara Happans is
>the practice of slavery.

Oh? From Cults of Prax, p. 109:
"The Sartarite tribes of Dragon Pass had a system whereby captives were
slaves, and specialists occasionally were purchased as well. Captives
commonly were put to work as field or herd workers and allowed to worship
most of their own deities except for Orlanth or any sky deities.

"The Holy Country included Sartar-like customs among most of their
populace. A cult of freedom was there which opposed the practice, but did
not try to force freedom upon unfeeling owners. The cult was popular among
many of the Holy Country elite*, and several large landholders did not
practice ownership of humans."

* In other words, the elite could afford this luxury. Owning slaves is
presumably an economic plus, even if perhaps expensive, like owning a


From: henkl@yelm (Henk Langeveld - Sun Nederland)
Subject: Re: Harmast's retirement, Pamaltela
Message-ID: <9311122217.AA02155@yelm.Holland.Sun.COM>
Date: 13 Nov 93 00:17:03 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2304 wrote:
>SP: suddenly Harmast balked. "I've got to go back!" he cried, "I can't
>SP: leave my people without a leader." and the player promptly retired
>SP: Harmast from active play. This was a difficult decision on his part,

>This sounds like one of the better experiences you can have in a game.

Jeff Okamoto played in this campaign, and kept a log, of which I've
read parts.  I think that a copy of it was auctioned at Convulsion
last year.  What about it Jeff, should we start a serial "Harmast in
Pamaltela"  in the Daily/Digest?

Henk	|	Henk.Langeveld@Sun.COM - Disclaimer: I don't speak for Sun.
oK[]	|	My first law of computing: "NEVER make assumptions"


From: (Newton Hughes)
Subject: sorcery skills and runes
Message-ID: <9311122221.AB06655@Sun.COM>
Date: 12 Nov 93 21:07:48 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2305

This is in response to Lewis' article X-RQ-ID 2201, giving runes
corresponding to sorcery spells and skills.

I don't know the technical vocabulary for these things, lacking
RQ2 as I do (sigh), but if you take the runes for the weeks of the
season (the 8-week season, sorry Greg), pair up opposites, and match
the pairs to 4 unopposed runes, then those runes in turn corresp. to
the four sorcery skills, like so:

rune pairs           encompassing rune      sorcery skill
----------           -----------------      -------------
Disorder, Harmony    Mastery                Multispell
Truth, Illusion      Magic                  Range
Fertility, Death     Law                    Intensity
Statis, Movement     Infinity               Duration

The explanations:
Mastery consists of combining things, knowing when to break and
when to join
The magic rune governs communication, which occurs over a distance,
and the difference between truth and illusion depends on your point
of view, how far away you are
Both fertility and death are inexorable, occur in differing intensity
Statis and movement are measured over time

on other subjects:

Clay Luther's point about large shields & linen corselets:  ought to
take the wind out of the rq4 people who were trying to cut the armor
points in large shields.

Sandy Petersen - Prax or Pamaltela?  Do we have to choose?



From: (Steven E Barnes)
Subject: Sorcery and Runes
Message-ID: <>
Date: 12 Nov 93 06:54:57 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2306

>Subject: Sorcery & Dwarves
>Overall this is an abitious plan but I think it needs a complete Rune Related
>Character sheet so that we can tie runes and skills (I think Nick has been 
>working on one)?

Actually, I think you are taking the wrong approach to the
task.  If you want Sorcery to be based on runes, it might help
if you start with the runes, and derive spells from them, rather
than the reverse.  Also, being a RQ2 person, I find the old style 
runic groupings to be usefull concepts.  For the RQ2 impaired,
here they are:

Elements (obvious)
Forms (Plant, Beast, Man, Dragonewt, Spirit, Chaos)
Conditions (Mastery, Magic, Infinity)
Powers (Harmony, Disorder, Fertility, Death, Stasis, Movement,
    Truth, Illusion, Luck, Fate)

Thus the typical spell would be based on a Power or Element, and
possibly modified by a Form; Conditions should only be found in 
powerful spells.  (By the way, RQ3 Sorcery spells have a conspicuous 
lack of elemental magic.  This would seem deliberate).

It is also useful to think of a spell as either enhancing a
Rune, or supressing one.  In the case of Power runes, they are 
grouped into opposing pairs, however this framework doesn't
always work when thinking about spells.

For example, I would consider Enhance to be based on Life (Fertility);
the inverse, Diminish would logically be based on Death, although 
this seems to contradict Gloranthan theology.  Supression of
Fertility, or use of the Undeath rune would seem more appropriate.

The big problem I see is that the runes are a framework for
describing mythology, rather than magical effects.  In particular,
I think it is wrong to associate Spell Manipulation skills
(intensity, etc) with runes.

I recommend taking a look at Steve Maurer's Sorcery rules, which
are probably available on some ftp site.  They are a bit complex,
but it does have some good ideas.