Bell Digest v940131p1

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 31 Jan 1994, part 1
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This is the RuneQuest Daily Bulletin, a mailing list on
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From: (Sandy Petersen)
Subject: re: RQ Daily
Message-ID: <>
Date: 29 Jan 94 06:54:08 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2936

In answer to some questions by Devin Cutler:

>1) Can illumination be reversed?

I play no. I also play that a being tainted by chaos cannot be  
"cured", the "Pure One" from the puny Zola Fel cult notwithstanding. 

>2) Do people know that they have been asked a riddle right away or  
>do they feel funny at Sacred Time? 

Once more, I play "No" to this one. However, they may get a funny  
feeling if they answer the riddle correctly. This doesn't mean they  
know they've been "riddled" -- most of my players' characters don't  
even know of the existence of the state of illumination. 

>3) If illumination cannot be reversed, and if it is the goal of  
>riddlers to "infect" other with their riddles, then won't it be true
>that soon all of glorantha will become illuminated? ... If you know  
>anything about breeding systems (like bacteria) then you realize  
>that even a few riddlers working in concert would eventually
>infect the rest of glorantha 

I happen to know a great deal about breeding systems, like bacteria.  
Do you suffer from pneumonic plague (the black death)? No? Why not?  
It's spread quite readily -- a single sneeze from an infected  
individual and you catch it and rapidly become quite infective  
yourself! The bacteria breed like crazy. Since it has a 98% death  
rate, why aren't we all dead? 

Illumination isn't universal because other forces act to slow down  
illumination. In CoT, remember that it takes a sacrificed point of  
POW to be able to say a certain Riddle. How many Riddles do you  
suppose the average Illuminate knows? Ten? Twenty? If he asked every  
one of them to a target, the target would only stand a 10-20% chance  
of being Illuminated that sacred time, IF he answered all the riddles  
correctly. This is a very slow-breeding process. Hence, even in the  
Lunar Empire, where Illumination is carefully fostered, the vast bulk  
of the inhabitants are not Illuminated (though they are obviously  
influenced by Illuminated philosophies). 

Let's not forget the existence of numerous effective organizations  
devoted to rooting out and destroying Illuminates ...

But we should remember that the ultimate goal of the Lunar Empire is  
to illuminate everybody -- and illumination is capable of doing so,  
despite the hindrances. 

>4) COT states that Arkat was illuminated by the elves of Brithos.  
>However, doesn't it seem odd that Arkat would be illuminated by a  
>group of elves dwelling in a land that, supposedly, Nysalor's  
>influence never reached?

Where does it say that Nysalor's influence never reached Brithos? I  
would say that the written documentation is quite the reverse. We  
know that his influence made it to Kralorela. Though Brithos was not  
part of the Bright Empire, Nysalor obviously had Riddlers there  
(presumably elves). It is possible to be an Illuminate without being  
part of Nysalor's temporal empire, just as it is possible to be a  
follower of the Lunar Way without being part of the Lunar Empire (the  
Char-Un, the Blue Moon Plateau, and the Arrolians all being examples  
of this). 


Some people persist in spelling the dominant Genertelan racial type  
"Wareran". Despite possible misprints of which I am not aware, the  
name is "Wereran". I am in hopes that this misspelling can be  
corrected before it reaches the level of "Pharoah/Pharaoh", "Lhankor  
Mhy/Lankhor Mhy", or "Kahn/Khan". 

The Vadeli are considered racially Wereran, as are the Brithini. The  
skin color does not reclassify them any more than the near-black skin  
of the Dravidian Hindus makes them a non-Caucasian group. Other  
features, such as characteristic facies, hair texture, etc. clearly  
show that the Vadeli are "true", if aberrant, Wererans. 

Joerg Baumgartner sez:

[I said that the only native Genertelan earth culture was the  
>You forget the Tarshite and Saird native earth cults.

I don't view these as "real" cultures, but as aberrations from the  
norm. There's no doubt such earth-oriented groups all over Peloria  
and Kralorela, but I think all of them stem from from an original  
Storm or Sun culture. Of course, I know that the Storm and Sun cults  
themselves are Godtime "conquerors" of a pre-existing Earth culture,  
but I still maintain that the Praxian culture is the only earth  
culture in Genertela that stems right from the Godtime without having  
been "conquered" by some other dominant way for generations of time. 

Waha is manifestly an Earth God, and Storm Bull, far from being a  
kingly leader, is in a more-or-less subservient role -- much much  
less important and valuable than his mate Eiritha. 

You are right that the Golden Age Praxian beast-riders were not the  
guys that ran the big civilization in what is now the Chaos Wastes.  
At least one thing I read leads me to believe that the Golden Age  
folk called in the beast-riders as allies to help them fight chaos.  
Apparently the beast riders were old allies of the Golden Age folk  
(this does not necessarily negate your belief that they were "pets"),  
but I have no idea where the beast riders came from before that. 

There is a rumor in Kralorela that they descend from Dragon Hsunchen.  
It may even be true.  Kralorela has lots of beliefs, though, and they  
frequently conflict with one another. Kralorela is far from being a  
monolithic society. Rather, it has internalized and formalized its  
conflicts, trying to make them into strengths. Certainly the Path of  
Immanent Mastery folk wish they were still Dragon Hsunchen. 

Brief Notes on Gloranthan Races:
By the way, the Waertagi are considered by most natural philosophers  
of Glorantha to be a separate race from the Wereran. But they are too  
minor to be included in most lists of Gloranthan racial types  
(especially in the Third Age). 

The Brithini are sometimes claimed to be the only "pure" humans, and  
philosophers that buy this theory sometimes put them apart and  
categorize them as a different race. The Malkioni of Jrustela and  
western Genertela are clearly just Wererans, and were not dissimilar  
to the barbarian inhabitants of Ralios at the Dawn. No doubt they'd  
interbred with the locals, which might be one reason they were so  
willing to rebel with Hrestol against the oppressive Brithini faith. 

>How come there are apparently Agimori Hsunchen? (seeing as they were  
made by Lodril and Trickster)

Reason One -- cynical) because all the tales of human origin in  
Gloranthan mythology are false false false. 

Reason Two -- Doraddi) because the beast-mothers that wanted to spawn  
humans naturally emulated the local variety (i.e., Agimori). 

Reason Three -- God-Learner) because the Hsunchen folk of Pamaltela  
have interbred with the Agimori over the years. 

Someone (no name given) says:
>Sandy: Your description of the full story of the Hill of Gold looks  
>rather bleak, with virtually no chance for Yelmalio to survive it.  
>Yet Yelmalio was present at the dawn, and alive.

Precisely Yelmalio's triumph -- this is why Yelmalio cannot be  
expunged from the universe, unlike other weaker gods (like Genert and  
Nysalor). He has taken the worst the universe can dish out, and still  
stands. He is there at the dawn despite all that happens. That is his  
triumph and glory. It may seem "bleak" to a simplistic  
storm-worshipper, used to seeing things in a rather Hollywood style,  
in which the Good Guys always win, but to the more brooding and  
introverted Solar cultists, it's thought as tremendously meaningful.

The Giant Cradle:
> It seems that the 1621 cradle holds the child of Boshbisil the  
>Trader and Sa Mita, both described in Griffin Mountain. Yet Sa Mita  
>(and Hen Cik) are said to be young giants, merely 80 years or so.

The baby is Gonn Orta's child. I don't think this is a secret, just  
not well-known. 

>How were they raised, or respectively: why weren't they put into a  
>cradle? Do the giants of Rockwood Mountains have a two class system  
>similar to Uzuz and Uzko, and only the Uzuz equivalent is sent on  
>its childhood heroquest? 

There are a number of different species of giants. Not every immense  
humanoid is the same type, though ignorant humans classify them as  
such. The Jolanti, Gray Giants, man-eaters, and magic giants are all  
different types (not that any Gloranthan human fully realizes this).  
The man-eating giants described in the rules are one type of giant,  
tied to Disorder, and clearly a spawn of Hell. 

The magic "good" giants, like Gonn Orta and Thog who raised the walls  
of Pavis, are a different species, and they are the guys who send out  
the giant cradles. They are almost extinct, now, or turned into  
mountains or hills. (remember the Nine Good Giant Mountains?) The  
disappearance of the Gold Wheel Dancers in the First Age pretty much  
put paid to their breeding opportunities, though they were able to  
keep up some breeding into the Second Age. 

I'm not sure whether Sa Mita or Hen Cik are "tame" "bad" giants, or  
young "good" giants. In the latter case, despite the claims of  
Griffin Mountain, they are obviously much much older than 80 years,  
and must be at least 700 years old. Or more. 

>Does Thog still roam the Rockwoods?

I don't know. I guess I always figured he was killed in battle. 

>How could the giants send another cradle down the river?

It's like this -- remember Pinchining? "He" is a Gold Wheel Dancer.  
Anyone that knows about Urrgh the Ugly knows the rest of the story. 

>BTW: I didn't get around to look this up yet. Is 6 metres the size  
>for a 72 year-old giant following normal RQ rules, and what age  
>would Boshbisils 12 metres indicate?

RQ I rules indicated a growth rate of 1 SIZ per year. I'm not sure  
this is necessarily so, since a blue whale can grow to 30 meters long  
in 10-20 years, or less. Boshbisil is probably not a man-eater giant  
type, and so his size may have nothing to do with normal giant growth  

Alex Ferguson sez: 

>Is it the case that the Seven Mothers are more worshipped in the  
>peripheral regions, or is this truer of YA?

The Seven Mothers are most common in the Lunar Periphery, and are  
rare or even unknown deep within the empire. They are a  
specially-designed Border Cult. I've always thought of Yara Aranis as  
an internal Lunar cult -- it's not really that suitable for new  
converts to join, so probably only old-time Lunars worship her,  
whereas Seven Mothers members are largely converts or children or  
grandchildren of converts. 

Evidently I've driven Alex Ferguson to madness by not giving him what  
info he needs on the Lunar military cults. 

POLE STAR: this is an officer's cult. In my view, this cult has only  
rune lords, no priests or initiates. It does, however, have lay  
members, and a Pole-star worshiping officer would normally require at  
least his non-coms to worship this cult. He has a spell that allows  
him to choreograph the actions and movements of all of his lay  
members at once (much as Pole Star choreographs the star dance). I'm  
sure his cult teaches some sort of Tactics skill. 

GOLDEN BOW: This cult has initiates and rune lords (who do not get a  
1d10 Divine Intervention). He teaches Pureshot, Sureshot, and similar  
spells (Firearrow, etc.). In Peloria, his worshipers are organized  
into regiments, and are full-time soldiers. In Pent, the cult is a  
little more loose.

YANAFAL TARNILS: almost exactly the same as Humakt, with initiates,  
Scimitars of Yanaral Tarnils, the same spells, similar Runes (Death,  
Truth, and Moon), and even gifts/geases. The gifts/geases are like  
Humakt's, but do not include a "distrust other species" geas, and in  
general the gifts tend to be a little punier and the geases a little  
milder. Other differences: Yanafal Tarnils does not provide a  
reusable Sever Spirit, and he has associate cults giving him  
additional spells. 

>Well of course.  The point I was pondering was: is it nececcary (or  
>indeed even _possible_) to have a `reincarnation step' between being  
>a Yelm guy, and being a D. guy?

I'm not sure what you mean by this. The initiation into the Dayzatar  
cult includes a symbolic "death" to your former cult. 

>I'd envisaged some sort of entirely abitrary qualification to  
>determine sufficient Holiness.  Scouring the land for the Holy Child 

I'm sure Dayzatar does this sort of thing. Looking for the Holy Child  
of Ourania doesn't mean that most Dayzatar members aren't retired  

>Having Dayzatar as a catch-all retirees cult seems dubious to me.   
>Yelm already has Yelm the Elder, and are other Solar cults Ellevated  
>enough to supply the D. cult with members?

Most retirees from Solar cults don't join Dayzatar. It's a very rare  
cult. Yes, other solar cults are elevated enough to supply Dayzatar  
with members. Yelm is acceptable, Yelmalio too (as published in  
several works -- including those elderly Yelmalio monks who stare at  
the sun till they go blind and live in towers -- obviously Dayzatar  
worshipers), Ourania is acceptable. Other acceptable cults are:  
Lokarnos, Dendara, Chalana Arroy, certain City gods (obviously, Solar  
ones -- Pavis won't do), Yelorna, Golden Bow, Hyalor Horsebreaker,  
Lorian, etc. etc. 

>And the _only_ route to D. membership is this, retirement from a  
>Solar cult?

Except for divine revelation or finding the Holy Child or something,  
yeah. I'm sure there's all sorts of obscure exceptions. 

Oliver Jovanovic & Mike: I have not been able to read your latest  
reply to me, because my hard disk saw fit to destroy all my  
communications over the last few months. I saw that you had sent me  
something, but it now dwells with Genert and Yamsur. *sigh*



From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Gods of the Moon
Message-ID: <940129122625_100270.337_BHB35-3@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 29 Jan 94 12:26:26 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 2934

Devin Cutler:

> 1) Can illumination be reversed?

You can try to ignore its effects. But you may fail to convince yourself. 
Illumination brings profound psychological problems in its wake, which is 
why so many Illuminates go mad.

> 2) Do people know that they have been asked a riddle right away or do
> they feel funny at Sacred Time? If the former, then I find it hard to
> believe that any Riddlers could get away with riddling people without
> instant retribution.

Sacred Time has nothing to do with it. Looks like you're relying on the old 
Cults of Terror write-up, rather than the revised and improved version in 
Dorastor. This also solves your third problem:

> 3) If illumination cannot be reversed, and if it is the goal of riddlers
> to "infect" other with their riddles, then won't it be true that soon all
> of Glorantha will become illuminated? After all, it will take, on the
> average, about 3 or 4 successful riddles to illuminate someone eventually.

-- as under the new rules, the roll to become illuminated is made each time 
a riddle is answered. So telling someone 3 or 4 riddles stands a very small 
chance of illuminating them at the time. Mind you, there are a heck of a lot 
of Illuminates in Silver Shadow...

Do your players lash out every time someone says something they don't know, 
that makes them think? Take them to an Elmal/Yelmalio temple, or a Lhankor 
Mhy law moot, or something, and see how they get on. Illumination is a way 
of making people think differently. So is communication. I do not think 
alarm bells ring in the head of anyone who has just answered a Nysalor 
riddle, unless they're the kind of reactionary xenophobic unthinking types 
who'd attack *anyone* who questioned their belief systems and world view.

Not like those RQ2-hangover players in any way, I'm sure! 

Alex Ferguson:

Danfive Xaron seems to be the most obvious Lunar God of Justice ("or what 
passes for Justice in their stinking Empire"). He is the god of the secret 
police, etc. Show trials are probably arranged by the Etyries cult, with 
their gift for propaganda.

I'd assign Danfive Xaron's cult the Law / Stasis rune, rather than the Truth 
rune he's been given in RQ:Adventures in Glorantha. He gives these concepts 
a prison-house gloom inside the Empire, associating them with punishment and 
restriction, which is all good stuff for Lunar philosophers (i.e: Law is a 
form of confinement and constriction, while Chaos is unfettered, boundless 
freedom. The sensible, Balanced person opts for a path betwixt and between).

Also, in Blessed Torang his Lunar phase, the Dying Moon, comes on Godsday, 
which I'd associate with the Law rune, which is after all the rune of the 
Great Compromise (cf. RQ Dailies last summer and "Codex #1" for my thoughts 
on variable Lunar phases).

> Is it the case that the Seven Mothers are more worshipped in the
> peripheral regions, or is this truer of YA?

It's true of both. About "the Seven Mothers", though: I think the seven 
individual cults are found in the Heartlands, the combined "Seven Mothers 
Cult" on the frontier.

> Yanafal Tarnils:  what _is_ the structure of this cult?

Use Humakt. Rune Lords are called "Scimitars".

> Does the structure of the cult as worshipped as one of the Mothers
> differ from the cult as a separate entity?

Yes: as a 7M initiate you don't need (and can't take) gifts and geases, 
which are compulsory, as in Humakt, for YT initiates. (Isn't it nice that 
this god's runes match his initials). Seven Mothers is *like* an associate 
cult of all the individual Mothers' cults. Its structure etc. are different 
to theirs.

CREDO Errata:

> Q: I am holding a duplicate of my own Article, which is Refuted
> by a Church Father. Can I then replace my lost Article with the
> one in my hand?

> A: No. See page 6, col 2, para 5. 
> I thought that you might be able to replace it anyway, perhaps by
> using your own Church Father. However, the designer and developer
> were quite adamant on this point.

Because it's no fun otherwise. You refute a guy's belief, and he refuses to 
give it up? Next thing they'll stop lying down when you say "Bang, you're 
dead!". The very roots of our gaming ethos are at stake, here. If a belief 
has been refuted, you don't believe it any more.

Boris Mikey:

Wotcher, Boris, me old mate! How's it hanging?

> In the ongoing "Praxian are/are not Hsunchen" discussion, there have
> been several references to "Hrelar Amali".  Could some better educated
> Gloranthan scholar please tell me where this is discussed, please?

Try the RuneQuest Companion p.9 (Jonstown Compendium entry 1473), and also 
the Seshnela chapter of the Genertela Book. If you don't have these, I'll 
copy them out for you next time around.

Bryan J. Maloney:

> In Dorastor, Humakt took a different aspect.  There he is DEATH first
> and foremost, death with honor but DEATH, nonetheless.  He is the
> inescapable and terrible TRUTH of DEATH that haunts all beings and
> claims all things. I am of the opinion that this aspect is not just
> Dorastor's but is the more commonly known aspect of Humakt throughout
> Carmania (Dara Happa) ... a terrible, grim being, devoid of mercy,
> devoid of pity

There is a lot of truth in this. There was a phase of Carmanian "chivalry" 
when "knights" for a time revered what (in mechanical terms) you could call 
the Bright Aspect of Humakt, as opposed to the brutality and atrocities of 
their Dark Aspect (similar to Zorak Zoran, and remniscient of Assyrian 
warfare). But in the century before the rise of the Red Moon, the Carmanian 
Empire was run by barbarian warlords and conquerors, a bunch of complete 
bastards who gave the whole Empire a bad name in the history books. Really, 
they were much nicer in (say) the tenth and eleventh centuries.

> The result:  Duke Sor-Eel is attempting to recruit Humakti, not
> necessarily to Yanafal Tarnils, but to the Lunar cause.

So which Humakti had their tongues cut out to favour the Goddess? (From the 
old Pavis Pack).

News, Views and Reviews:

As many of you know, I enjoyed RQ-Con immensely. It was a real treat to meet 
so many fellow-contributors to this Daily, and spend time in such pleasant 
company. Come to Convulsion, everyone, and I'll be off to Oakland in '95...

Highlight of the Con: being Prince Temertain again, in the revised and 
improved "Home of the Bold": this time with a busy social calendar, doting 
Estal, friendly Provost and *loyal* Lunar bodyguard. I'll start work on the 
character write-up soon, while it's still fresh.

Plugs, etc:

Mike Dawson's "Codex" is a damn' fine zine. Buy it if you can! (My article 
is the weakest thing in it, IMHO). The first issue has loads of good stuff 
on the Old Pavic noble houses from Mike Dawson and Martin Crim, together 
with an excellent Riskland scenario. It's almost enough to make me want to 
return to Pavis. Most of the content is new; some will be familiar to 
readers of this Daily, but it's nice to have it in permanent form anyway... 
Art is beautiful and well chosen; layout etc. are hunky-dory, though this 
DTP'd zine lacks the gritty *character* of Tales or Wyrms Footnotes #1.

Oliver Jovanovic and Mike McGloin gave me a copy of their latest draft for 
RQ4: "RuneQuest: Adventures in Glorantha". It looks good, and positively 
oozes with Gloranthan sensibilities. Most of my criticisms of the earlier 
drafts seem to have been taken into account, and there are several new and 
wonderful things in it. Also, a lot of rules seem to have slipped out during 
the editing process, which can only be a good thing. I am enthusiastic about 
this product.

In California I picked up some copies of "Other Hands", a newish fanzine for 
role-players who play in Tolkien's Middle-Earth (using any rules systems: 
this is not an ICE house-mag). The most recent issues have RQ stats for wood 
woses (#3) and a RuneQuest scenario in Dunland (#4). Production values and 
art are good, with occasionally slipshod proofreading; the content has that 
obsessively nit-picking attention to detail so typical of Tolkien fans (and 
so far removed from we Gloranthan Sages). Worth a look, if you like that 
kind of thing. Subscription info probably available from the editor: Chris 
Seeman ( Tell him Nick sent you.