Bell Digest v940212p3

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, 12 Feb 1994, part 3
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From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Brown Elves
Message-ID: <940211225345_100270.337_BHB37-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 11 Feb 94 22:53:46 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3085

Uncle Ken was asking about brown elves.

I had a theory once. Excuse me while I rabbit on a bit...

It happened while I was at University, and was about to run a RQ-Glorantha 
game with a bunch of non-Gloranthans. Worse than that: Tolkien fans. OK, I 
was partly to blame (having helped them found the OU Tolkien Soc), but I 
was really worried about how the girls would react to meeting Aldryami. So 
I got to thinking about elves' personalities, and came up with this:

In modern Fantasy fiction, there are several diverse portrayals of "elves". 
There are naff "flower-fairy" types, all frivolous and comical (Jack Vance 
and Neil Gaiman handle these well). There are the honourable, chivalrous, 
Silmarillion warrior types (with shining eyes, noble purpose, etc.). There 
are the wise, old, smugly complacent ones (most in LotR fit this category). 
And there are the doomed, Celtic-twilight, fringe-of-the-world types ("last 
survivors of a dying race" etc.).

Why not take these for *seasonally variable* Aldryami personalities?

A mature brown elf is frivolous and whimsical in Sea Season (when the 
pollinating fertility "dances" happen). This is a time for practical jokes 
and merriment. It is hard for the elves to concentrate on anything 
seriously for long, and dangerous for outsiders to meet them. They hide and 

The elves develop a fixed purpose and intent in Fire Season, and work hard 
to achieve it. This could be something warlike (elf armies march in this 
season), or a more passive project (reforestation, or cleaning up spoiled 
woodland, etc.). Collective effort and dedication to the task are the keys.

Win or lose, come Earth Season the brown elves are calmer and more sedate: 
their labours have (as it were) borne fruit, and they can rest on their 
laurels. This is a good time to deal with them: they are often peaceable, 
and strangers are safe from the random pranks of Sea Season.

Then as Dark Season arrives, their enemies grow stronger and their siblings 
drop into the Long Sleep of Winter, until the last brown elves left awake 
naturally slip into that desperate survivor mentality, hiding in the bleak 
wintry forest and hoarding whatever can help them against their foes.

Trick here is: that's how it works for "mature" elves. A player character 
elf is by definition immature: he/she is not yet at one with the cycles of 
the forest and its season. So players can pick any of the "stereotypical" 
elf personalities briefly described above and run with that alone. Mature 
elves will shift bizarrely between seasons, effectively passing from youth 
to old age every year (as a human would perceive it). They won't "look down 
on" immature elves, any more than we look down on childrens' personalities. 
The people of the forest take on a different character to match each season 
of the woodlands.

Well, it worked for me: their Esrolite party met Arstolan brown elves in 
Springtime and were deeply pissed off by their mindless frivolity. I had 
hours of fun giggling and behaving strangely at them, while they tried to 
talk sense and gather information from a wholly non-cooperative audience. 
Especially as some of the characters were told as part of their background 
that they had met the elves before (in the Autumn), and I'd told them how 
wise and generous etc. they always appeared...



From: (Carl Fink)
Subject: piracy, priests, partridges...
Message-ID: <>
Date: 11 Feb 94 17:03:54 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3086 (David Cake) writes:

 >        A player has just qualified as a Wind Lord, and he is also Champion
 >of Garhound. I told him that it was inappropriate for him to become a Wind
 >Lord just yet, as he has responsibilities (as Champion of Garhound) that
 >prevent him from giving 90% of his time to the cult.
 >        Does anyone agree or disagree? I have some doubtsmyself now, as I can
 >see that being Champion of Garhound (acting out the role of husband-protector
 >of Ernalda) could be seen as a sacred duty that is acceptanle rune-lord

  Up to the local Storm Voice.  If they designate being Champion as a WL
activity, then it is.  Otherwise, it ain't.  Orlanth is not exactly the
religion of written, reliable rules. (Marc Willner) writes:

R>It is my understanding that Dormal didn't break the Curse that closed the
 >seas, he merely developed a ritual that allowed a ship to circumvent
 >it. That means every ship needs a Priest of Dormal to sail. Therefore a
 >pirate shop must have a priest to attack another ship, also carrying a
 >priest. This seems somewhat silly, especially since it has been less than
 >40 years (assuming a current date of 1621) since the ritual has been
 >widespread. Has there been a schism in Dormal worship in so short a time?

R>Another point is where did the pirates learn the ritual? Did Dormal broadcast
 >it to everyone?

  I don't recall that one must be a Priest of Dormal to Open the Seas --
you just have to know a particular sorcery spell.  It does seem to be
available to plenty of places where Dormal is not worshipped (i.e.
Vormain) so he may well have broadcast it.

  Also, priests of the same god fight each other constantly.

  Historically, pirates used to spare "sea artists" from the crew of
taken ships, forcing them to join the outlaw nation.  Perhaps the Wolf
Pirates capture Dormal priests and force them to Open the Seas for
captured ships?