Bell Digest v940216p2

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, Wed, 16 Feb 1994, part 2
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From: (Sandy Petersen)
Subject: re: RQ Daily
Message-ID: <>
Date: 15 Feb 94 05:32:13 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3109

Alex Ferguson points out:
>Coming up with a systematic classification of the Gloranthan human  
>subraces seems somewhat problematic, given the number of wholely  
>contradictory origin myths, not to say the whole of pre-Dawn  
>`history' being a shakey proposition at best.  Are these races each  
>of a common `real' origin, or are they classified according to their
>appearance only?

I leave questions of "real" origin to clever God Learners and other  
philosophers. The classification is basically appearance only. The  
existence of obvious sub-types such as pygmies (Impala riders, frex)  
also muddles the situation. 

	I don't think that Glorantha follows a cladistic model of  
relationships. That is, just because two groups have completely  
different origins doesn't mean they aren't related now. For one  
thing, they may well have intermixed during the Great Darkness or  
Dawn Ages. For another, I see Gloranthan life evolving  
bidirectionally -- not only (as on Earth) along increasingly separate  
paths, but also the unique principle of two separate forms becoming  
more and more similar, until they are the same species.

>> [[Sandy] said that the only native Genertelan earth culture was 

>> the Praxian] Waha is manifestly an Earth God
>Only in the same sense Pamalt is.  Or was that the point?  This  
>doesn't seem very clear-cut to me, after all, Earth isn't a major  
>runic association of either. 

Pamalt's Rune implies mastery of the beneficent elements making up  
his land. Waha is an Earth God despite his lack of any elemental  
Rune. He is a close associate of the earth goddess Eiritha (if his  
elemental tendencies were strong enough, he would be considered  
Malign Earth, even as she would be Benign). He does the bloody work  
necessary to keep men alive in the plains, commands Gnomes, and is  
associated with general Earth principles. 

	Issaries has no Storm Rune, but I think everyone that knows  
of him considers him a sort of Storm god kin. Waha's kinship with the  
earth is stronger than that. Look at Lokarnos -- true, he has the  
Light Rune, but I think that's more a courtesy than anything -- he  
doesn't even have Command Salamander of his own self. Yet he's a Fire  
God (of sorts). 

>I reckon Yelmalio (and this myth in particular [Hill of Gold]) is  
>pretty atypical of Psolar Psychology. 

But not of Yelmalio psychology as influenced (strongly) by the Solar  
philosophies. It's time for me to go on a tirade in defense of the  
Solar worshipers (not necessarily directed at you, Alex). 

	I don't think of the Dara Happan solar worshipers as  
"stereotyped Uptight Stifflipped Dara Happan Fuddy-Duddies". Rather,  
I think of them as noble Romans or Greek city-staters (who had quite  
a bit of depth in their poetry and plays). Perhaps I see them this  
way because I don't think that clear moral strictures make one a  
worse human being. The Puritanical mode of thought at its worst is  
anti-pleasure and oppressive, but at its best, it is encouragement  
for every man to be his best and to help one's neighbor -- I think  
both types of thought can be found among the Solar cultists. 

	Remember that Yelm is a highly benign god -- much more so  
than the unreliable Orlanth. The good Solar king is just as generous  
to his followers as the good barbarian king, and he is a hell of lot  
more fair-minded.

>If anyone has any data or wild surmise about Pole Star or Dayzatar,
>though, that would be somewhat handy too.

I think I published the Dayzatar cult once, did I not? Parts of it  
were even in this here digest. 

>What is the thinking behind which cults give `Rune Lord DI', and  
>which don't?

In GoG, 'twas pure arbitrariness on the part of Greg and myself, as  
to whether a particular cult "deserved" such an honor. Cults too puny  
or obscure didn't get d10 DI, because we decided that their rune  
lords or priests were just special initiates. If you like, it could  
be that the difference was our gut sense as to whether or not a  
particular deity possessed a Secret Power. 

>Is there a published (or even just posted) writeup for this spell?

Yes. A Pureshot is a 1-point Rune spell cast on an arrow. When the  
arrow is fired, if it hits, it ignores armor. A missile that does  
more than 1 die of damage upon hitting may require multiple points of  
Pureshot. Often stacked with Sureshot and Firearrow. 

>A regiment is an _awful_ big unit to be missile-specialists.  Anyone  
>know of any this size historically? 

Well, I'm sure John Medway could name a bunch. I don't think that the  
Greeks organized their forces into "regiments", but Cretan slingers  
and peltasts participated in large organized units. Genoese  
crossbowmen came in units of almost every size. Musketeers came in  
regiments, even back when they were faced by pikemen, crossbowmen,  
and heavy armored cavalry. A regiment of Dara Happan archers may not  
actually participate as a single big unit on the battlefield -- I  
think it likely that it is split up into 50-100 man groups and  
sprinkled around the field to be used as skirmishers.

>Humakt "Distrust Other Species" geas
He still has these, though they were dropped from GoG's listing. 

>> Most retirees from Solar cults don't join Dayzatar. It's a very  
>>rare cult.
>By why is it rare, if it's so `easy' to join?  Granted it appears to  
>be a remarkably masochistic and pointless thing to do, but if it's a  
>surefire passport to Solar Heaven, why aren't the punters joining up  
>in droves? Or is it not this guarantee for the Lesser Lights?

Gee, I don't know. Why didn't everyone in Medieval Europe become a  
monk once they were over 50 years of age? No doubt because they had  
family, friends, connections, and cult power. Why give all that up  
for a (possibly) better chance at heaven. And no one ever said it was  

>My understanding (for which I blame on a brief conversion with one  
>N. Brooke at Convulsion) was that the Yelmalion practise was  
>_modelled_ on the Dayzatar one, but wasn't actually _it_.  How did  
>they come up with this trick in Prax say, isolated from all other  
>Solar types?

My own belief was that they were real Dayzatar guys. They came up  
with this trick in Prax because they're NOT isolated from all other  
solar types. If jade buddhas can be found in Viking burial sites, and  
Mayan ornaments in Ohio Mound Builder settlements, certainly  
travelers can pass along the Kings' Road to Sartar and Tarsh and  
transfer cultural influences back and forth. I think there's been a  
heck of a lot more contact between Gloranthan cultures than they are  
usually given credit for. The Praxians  & Pent nomads regularly trade  
with the Kralori, frex, and Kralori goods no doubt make their way  
into Sartar, though their source may be unknown. 

>Is it at least _harder_ for the lowlier cults to supply retirees? 


>The compromise is hardly Pure Law.  Surely it, and Time, are  
>precisely a _fusion_ of law and chaos?

Watch out, Alex -- don't confuse law and chaos as opposites ;) I  
certainly don't think they're opposites in Glorantha -- "order" and  
chaos might be, but "law" is not the same as order. Law can even be  
used to protect and spread disorder. Look at the laws of Entropy. 

Paul Anderson semi-quotes me, then asks:
>>"Wise Giants haven't been able to breed since the Golden Wheel  
>>Dancers died out. Anyone who remembers Urggh the Ugly will  
>>understand what I mean."
>I don't. Can you explain the explanation?

To keep a long story long, the Gold Wheel Dancers were a non-human  
race that existed in the First Age. They even had a seat on the First  
Council. But they died out, and are now gone. Wheels were made in  
commemoration of them. 

	Urrgh the Ugly was a PC in the early RQ campaign. He and his  
horse Torgsbane took part in the first Sazdorf adventures. Urrgh was  
thought by all to be a half-troll, he was so ugly and dumb. Back in  
the days of RQ I, when INT was rolled on 3d6 and a warhorse had an  
INT of 2d3, he was noted for being dumber than his horse. 

	Urrgh noted that other people had gods and worshiped them. He  
wanted to worship something, too, and decided to worship his gold,  
which he collected and hardly ever spent. By the time he died, he'd  
accumulated 40,000 Wheels (I think), and traveled with a mule train  
wherever he went. In imitation of his friends, he'd kneel down before  
his treasure chest, pray to it, do little rituals for it, etc. His  
friends, of course, all mocked him for his idiocy, and urged him to  
join a real cult. Then one day, while he was "worshiping" his mound  
of gold, suddenly one of his Wheels sprang to life -- it was a fossil  
Gold Wheel Dancer, mystically reactivated by his simple faith and  
prayers. It whirled round him, then took off. Urrgh was astounded, of  
course, but never again did his faith waver, and he devoutly  
worshiped his gold till the day he died. 

	Several years after Urrgh's activation of the Gold Wheel  
Dancer, the Giant Cradle appeared. Whirling around the circumference  
of the cradle was Pinchining -- a large golden hoop-shaped device  
which kept the cradle on course, communicated through ringing sounds,  
and was clearly integral to the concept. Pinchining, of course, was  
Urrgh's Dancer, the first to be encountered in many centuries.  
Pinchining's resurrection permitted the Giants to produce (at least)  
one last cradle. 

	Urrgh was played by Ken Kaufer. 


From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Lunar Law
Message-ID: <940215213112_100270.337_BHB32-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 15 Feb 94 21:31:13 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3110

I said to Alex:

>> I'd assign Danfive Xaron's cult the Law / Stasis rune

> I'm not convinced about the alleged equivalence here. Not that it
> isn't confused enough...

It is confused, I think very easily in central Genertela. In the West they 
know the difference. Any theories on why Mostal has Stasis not Law? Because 
the World Machine is a broken system, perhaps?

>> Also, in Blessed Torang his Lunar phase, the Dying Moon,
>> comes on Godsday, which I'd associate with the Law rune

> By contrast to Wildday : Chaos, I presume ... The Compromise is hardly
> Pure Law, surely a _fusion_ of law and chaos?

Yes. Elemental/evolutionary sequence. Five elements plus law and chaos to 
make up Time. Law as the first (Creation) and last (Compromise) steps in 
the mythological development of Glorantha. The Cosmic Compromise sets up a 
set of rigid parameters within which the gods can exert their influence. If 
you hold to the Sorcery = Science argument, Science is only possible within 
Time, once Nature is fettered within the bounds of the Compromise. One of 
the best supporting arguments for my theories of the late development of 
what we now call Malkionism...

> Yeesh.  I just had a nasty vision of meeting a Scimitar of YT/Acolyte of
> 7M in a well-Moonlit alley.

Keep seeing it: she's probably there waiting... This is the really scary 
thing about Yanafal Tarnils as compared to Humakt: Yanafal has friends, and 
associates! (And armies!)

> Life could get very confusing if there is a subcult of the Seven Mothers
> `specialising' in YT stuff, distinct from, and organised differently
> from, the `real' YT cult.  Yes, I know, life already is...

This isn't just confusing, it's absurd. Even the Lunars aren't that 
convoluted. Let's have two kinds of YT: the Cult of Yanafal Tarnils,
and the Cult of the Seven Mothers. No more. Whether they are mutually 
associated, or Mobius sub-cults of one another, is terminology and not 

Boris Mikey talks sense about Cultural Initiations. Let's try hard to poke 
holes in his suggestions, as they sound like they should be the new rules.



From: (Marc Willner)
Subject: The Handran League
Message-ID: <>
Date: 15 Feb 94 12:40:06 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3111

I stand corrected about Dormal and piracy. Just goes to show what can happen
when one doesn't check one's sources. If the ritual is so wide spread, and,
as a Sorcery ritual, available to non priests, then piracy could develop.
And obviously has.

SInce Joerg asked. The Handran "Guilds" are open only to citizens, and
all citizens belong to a "guild". (Note, the term guild is highly 
inaccurate, as they don't resemble the Terran variety in any way except
they tend to revolve around a single type of work or product.) It is
not likely that a Trader Prince from the surrounding area would be a
member. They would be likely to have embassies or agents in the city, as 
do a lot of other groups (the Ralian citys, Ramailia, the Lunars, the 
Sartarites, the former Holy Country, to name a few). After all Handran 
ships stole a considerable portion of the overland trade that used to go 
between Ralios and Nochet. Travel by ship is faster and cheaper, and it is
easier to get goods down the Noshain River than overland to Bastis.

While we are on the subject of trade, what is being traded? I know what 
Handra trades in, selling cloth, both a local linen equivalent and 
imported wool, metal goods, rope and 'naval stores', and dyed goods, using
dyes found no where else in Glorantha. (It worked for the Phoenicians.)
They are importing raw wool, grain, and raw metal. What are other places