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This is the RuneQuest Daily Bulletin, a mailing list on
the subjects of Avalon Hill's RPG and Greg Stafford's 
world of Glorantha.  It is sent out once per day in digest

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Subject: The moon, and things.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 22 Feb 94 23:20:18 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3164

James Polk:
> The White Moon

> I would be very interested in learning if anyone else
> has documents concerning the White Moon, and, if so, what those
> documents say.

I'm working on white-moonish things, somewhat.  Not from a True World
viewpoint, or even a Gloranthocentric one, but trying to chuck together
some idea about what the movement is, does, and believes.  Currently,
I see it as a rather disparate affair, all things to all men, riddled
(ahem) with heresies and counter-heresies...

After all, what do white moon fans have in common, or to base their beliefs
on?  A vague idea that the crimson bat eating people isn't quite nice,
the Pelorian White Moon prophecy (and maybe certain others, like the Dwarf
of Dwarf Run's), and maybe the odd spot of Illumination on the side?
License to print flakes, say I.

> Given all this, I posit the worship of Pole Star includes Rune
> Lords (Star Lords) AND Rune Priests (Star Priests).  Their
> initiates are called Star Warriors and Star Dancers,
> respectively.

I take it you're effectively suggesting splitting Polaris worship into
subcults, one led by Priests, the other by Lords, then, a la Orlanth?
If so, it's not incompatible with what Sandy and/or Nick suggest.

> Although the cult is small, it is one in which a
> woman may rise on merit as an equal to any man, at least on the
> Rune Priest side. (Presumably, this practice would be seen as an
> unnatural one by some other Solarians.)

You're not kidding.  This is quite an unlikely role, IMPO, for a `son'
of Dayzatar.  Come to that, there are other cults for the `Dance' aspect,
though whether they are very open to women in Dara Happa and other solar
lands is somewhat questionable, too.

> I think that the moon's "height" is magic

Hrm.  Okay, how about a guess at some sample apparent heights, or to be
picky, angle of elevation from the horizon?  Come to that, what is the
apparent `size' of (angle subtended by) the moon, and its brightness?

> [Lunars are always Up?]

And come to that, do the Lunars necessarily all think Full Monn is the
`best' phase?  The association of Mothers with phases may be more
conventional than anything else, but there's the odd published reference
to spells or powers only working on designated (non-full) phases...
And to refer to another hoary old RQ lightbulb joke, I'll bet those
Jakaleel worshippers Like It Dark.

> [Greg on Darkness relections onto the moon from a/the dark sun.]

Greg's been holidaying in the Kingdom of Ignorance again, I reckon...
Or maybe the Blue Moon Plateau.  After all, who else has a `vested
interest' in this being true?

At any rate, this would be a strange thing for the Lunars to believe,
since it introduces a major new cosmological entity, which they'd then
have to worship, throw rocks at, or something.  And who do they think
`put' it there, and why, if the Empire thinks Full Moons are such a good
thing, would they want to cast a Shadow on it?

And talking of shadows, and I as mumbled about in connection with Gorgorma...
Is the Darkness of the Black (or other non-full) moon the ordinary Dark,
of Subere/Hel/Trollish kind, or is it distinct, in the same way as Lunar
light is different from Solar Light?  Same thing; different thing, but
covered by the same rune; or a completely different elemental aspect and rune?

Why/how else might the phases by accounted for?

 o  The moon is half red, half black, on its actual surface.

 o  The lit side of the moon glows from within, for some reason only 
    on half of its surface.

 o  The moon reflects the light of a Red Sun.  (Which is invisible, for
    some weird reason.)

 o  The moon reflects solar light.  (All done by mirrors, obviously.)

 o  It's an Illusion, stupid.

Does the moon have (any kind of) visible surface features?
If so, do they move?  If they move, do they move _with_ the phases, or
independantly?  These things are likely to have a bearing, if not on the
`true' account of the moon's phases, then at least on Gloranthans opinions
on the matter.

> I'd forgotten about the ol' Darkness Sun. I submit that the existence  
> of the Darkness Sun (which evidently rose with the Moon) helps  
> explain the mysterious ambivalence of the trolls towards the Lunars.

I don't think the trolls have a `collective' attitude towards the empire.
The Blue Moon Plateau trolls seem keen on the empire, the Dagori Inkarth
lot distinctly not.  Of course, this could just be a matter of who's
`in on' the secret.

David Dunham:
> 3) Your suggestion is weird enough it may be right. I think it'd be very
> odd to step through the Glowline and not only see the corona disappear, but
> see a different phase.

I agree: a bit _too_ weird.  It's not beyond belief that the phase of the
moon is constant throught the empire, but if so, it should be constant
_everywhere_.  Alas, this contradicts a number of published sources, and hence
would need a Greg to become True.

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

> It is confused, I think very easily in central Genertela. In the West they 
> know the difference.

Or alternatively: "Here we know about the Statis rune, in the West they've
invented a bogus `Law' rune, belonging to their unreachable god, who likely
doesn't exist anyway."

> Any theories on why Mostal has Stasis not Law? Because 
> the World Machine is a broken system, perhaps?

Because the dwarves don't much care for Law vs. Chaos, they just get very
upset about extraneous Motion.

> 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.

Don't know if I buy this... creation resulted in Darkness first, and Law,
in the form of the Spike, much later.  I'd say Chaos was the `zeroth'
`element', myself, and law was the `sixth'.  Note that the days weren't in the
right order in any case...

Sandy, on the same:
> Watch out, Alex -- don't confuse law and chaos as opposites ;)

What do you mean by `opposites'?  Not as precisely opposed as the Powers,
at any rate.  But opposed in the same way as the Elements are, I'd say.

> I certainly don't think they're opposites in Glorantha -- "order" and  
> chaos might be, but "law" is not the same as order.

-- And chaos most definitely not the same thing as disorder: though the
person doing the graphic design for _CoT_ was famously confused on this

The Law rune is such a vague, hypothetical construction that it's hard to
argue the point convincingly...  But I don't think the mere fact that
the Lunar empire claims to embrace both means they aren't `opposed', in
some sense.

> 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...

What do we mean by `late'?  When do you hypothesise it did develop?

> I for one do hold with the sorcery = science argument, but I don't think that
> Nick is correct in thinking that scorcery is only possible after Time.
> Firstly, sorcery was invented by Malkion's son Zzabur, which was before
> Time.

I think I mostly agree, but I do think statements of the form "blah happened
before Time" are ultimately meaningly, or at least unprovable.  Even
supposing anything really happened before Time in the `first' place, how
would we be able to tell if it had been changed subsequently by HeroQuest?

> Secondly,
> I don't even know what the Malkioni say about the Cosmic Compromise, which 
> doesn't really seem to effect them as it is pretty much a theistic concept
> concerning the power of the gods being limited.

I partly agree.  Of the three main human magic systems, the Sorcerors are
affected least by the compromise, I believe.  The Brithini least of all.
But if Theistic beliefs about the Godtime are correct, it makes a significant
difference to _all_ humans.  (Insert here your favourite wacky thing about
the Godtime no longer true of Time.)  But Western accounts seem too matter
of fact for this to seem plausible.

My vote for sentient race least affected by the compromise is the dragonewts.
But that's only because I'm not counting the dragons.

> I am not sure if I have read this anywhere, but a related point is that
> brown elves might grow new "hair" each Gloranthan spring

Of course elf `hair' might be not so much leaves (do they photosynthesise? ;-),
as `moss'.

> (earth or sea season ?)


> 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...

Nick again:
> 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 
> description.

I can go for this: the references to `subcults' are prolly just thinkos,
or mean something quite different: at any rate, CoP calls them `associates',
which works: more or less.  I think one has to be pretty flexible with
the rules for initiates (and even more so rune-levels) transferring between
the two: after all, surely the readiest supply of 7M priests will be
Heartlander YT/DX/IO/J/D rune-levels posted to the sticks to proselytse to
the unwashed masses.  And likewise it should be fairly painless to progress
from 7M rune level status to the individual cults (when qualified, of course).

> 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.

Wau...  There's no need to quite _that_ far, Blackadder.  Though I take
your point: 7M initiation is a little like "cultural" initiation, as Boris
describes it, though this begs the question of why there are any 7M rune

Said Boris said:
>   A while back there was some discussion about what it meant to be to be an
>   Orlanthi initiate; not so much an initiate of the cult of Orlanth, but to
>   be a member of the Theyalan culture who has just gone through initiation.

I'd agree there are indeed these two separate aspects to Initiation,
cultural and religious.  And at a push, I'd agree one could go though
the former without the later.  But why is it necessary to tinker with the
(cult) initiation rules to do this?

>   (Note: In the following I will use the term "Theyalan" when referring to
>   the culture or the pantheon, and Orlanthi when referring to just the
>   cult(s) of Orlanth, to save confusion.)

Don't you wish Chaosium did this?  

>   When a Theyalan youth or maiden comes of age and is initiated, at first
>   they become what is referred to in the RQAG draft as "Low Initiates".
>   I intend to define a Low Initiate now as follows: a Low Initiate is someone
>   who has been initiated into the basic mysteries of a pantheon.
>   This is not an initiation into any of the cults of the pantheon, just to
>   the pantheon itself.  This allows one to take part in cult worship to any
>   of the deities as an initiate.

To this point, this sounds not unlike Lay Member status, by other means:
while I disagree this should be the _normal_ course of events, I concur
it should be at least possible.  Can we wash the dread taint of G*d
L**rn*rism off this status, and rehabilitate it at least somewhat?

>   This may or may not allow one to sacrifice
>   for divine spells; at most only those spells which are offered to associate
>   cults would be accessable.

Note that this all that clearly defined a set: cults `offer' different spells
to different associates, so if one isn't in _any_ cult, the question is duly

>   Later [...] they become a full member of a particular cult.
>   However, they would not necessarily loose the benefits that they
>   had before; an Orlanthi initiate may (and might be expected to) take part
>   in Ernalda services.

This is already implied by the cults being (very closely) associated.
After all, most Theyalan women are members of Ernalda (only), but do you
really think they get to loaf around the house on Storm/Move./Wind? ;-)

>   Note that when one becomes
>   a Full Initiate one does not sacrifice any more POW; that was done at the
>   basic initiation.

Icky: the whole point of the POW sacrifice, according to my understanding
at any rate, is to bind the Initiate to his God (singular).

>   Anyway, I think this is the core of a workable system to reflect the "real
>   world" process of initiation.  A youth of 15 may have no idea that he will
>   become a great Storm Bull berserker; why would he be forced to decide yet?

Well, he doesn't _have_ to: and as the rules stand, the only 15-year-olds
who'll be at all likely to be initiated into a given cult are those with
a parent in the same cult.  And there you have sufficient motivation for
most initiates, I suggest: for the vast majority, they join the dominant
cult(s) of the pantheon, without giving it much thought.  Some will simply
be "carrying on the family tradition" of joining a `strange' cult.

>   But he is still able to participate in the community through worship.  In
>   some clans, most of the people may never go past the Low Initiate level;
>   they may view those who dedicate themselves to a single cult as "dangerous
>   fanatics", especially any cult other than Orlanth and Ernalda (and perhaps
>   the household cults such as Barntar, Mahome, etc.).

Why?  Under your own rules, an Initiate of , is at least as much use to
any given man or god as a Low Initiate.  Why isn't becoming a (full) initiate
of Orlanth or Ernalda the `expected' thing?

>   Such is best left for
>   the thanes and lords; common farmers need all the gods' favor, not just
>   one, even if that one is Orlanth.

This is why shrines crop up in temples to the `principal' gods.  (As
written only in Great Temples, though I feel they should be more common,
or at least sites of worship to the locally most important associates should
exist.)  Becoming an initiate of Orlanth by no means precludes worship of
other gods of the pantheon: indeed it should encourage it, at least for
actually associated gods, which is most of them.

I don't think we need rules such as the above, which is more like `pantheon'
than `cultural' inititation.  But it would be helpful if we had clear
rules for lay membership, or at least some form of non-initiate worship,
and perhaps also if it were possible to leave a cult to `transfer' to an
associated one without getting beaten up by the Flint Slingers at a highly
inoportune moment.  (And if this is possible, rules for it would be good.)

Peter Michaels:
> In spelling, the leap from Arhat to Arkat is not great.

Indeed not!  Much as I Deeply Repent of having inadvertantly triggered
the "what's in a name" thread, I think this one is highly inruiging.
Worth an Interrogate Greg II spell, at least.  Of course, we can warm up
on Sandy...  

> After the Cosmic Compact, the gods of law still
> havetanha  and fail to accept the gods of chaos out of fear.  It seems to me
> that the power of Nysalor is one that allows a way around the tanha
> of the Cosmic Compact, 

Well, certainly mos Gloranthans, and most of their religions, have a great
deal of fear and/or hatred of chaos.  The question is, is this a necessary,
justified reaction, or is it extraneous and counter-productive?  If you
believe the latter, then illumination is obviously a chaotic plot, and
not a revealed truth at all.

> and that the way of the Illuminated Arkati is a Gloranthized Eightfold Path.

Why do you say the Arkati, particularly?  Is this intended as a shorthand for
`illuminated good guys'?  Of the various illuminated bodies of people, the
Arkati tend to be the least accepting of Chaos, I think, so this is a confusing
reference in some ways.

> I'm not sure the degree to which I think this anymore.  I think the
> temptation to view Illumination as similar to Enlightenment is a natural one,
> especially for those of us who are neither.

It strikes me as being about as valid as most earth::Glorantha comparisons:
i.e., somewhat.  The big difference that strikes me is in the effect of the
two: a handful of people reach Enlightenment, and are promptly deified for
thir trouble.  Meanwhile, about 100,000 are illuminated, many going mad
in the process, and the remainder being rather widely feared and despised.

> I'm sure there are those in the Lunar Empire who use arguments
> similar to that above to explain the Truth of Illumination, but who really
> knows?

Indeed.  And after all, since Illumination is Officially True, who's to
say they're wrong in so explaining it?

> I'm now thinking about thinking about how Earth post-modern beliefs
> might have certain things in common with Illumination, who's to say
> they're wrong to do so?

And I think there's some truth to this, too: on a trite level, "Good and Evil
are relative, so no one will mind if I Tap this walktapus."



From: (Sandy Petersen)
Subject: re: RQ Daily
Message-ID: <>
Date: 22 Feb 94 03:23:21 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3158

Joerg Baumgartner wonders:
>I would be interested how the Veldang race and the Giants view their 

>relations to each other - after all both claim descent from Annilla.
Huh? Apparently Joerg has Criticalled his Library search roll, while  
I have failed. You've certainly turned up an obscure bit of data  
here. It is completely new to me that the giants descend from  

Paul Reilly points out that a dime weighs 2.24 grams, not 10 grams as  
I erroniously said. Oops. Mea culpa. And he asks whether a lunar is  
the size of a dime or two nickels. Hmm. This has implications beyond  
the mere size of a particular coin. 

	The "standard" assumption that I make with coinage is that a  
coin is (in general) worth twice its weight in raw metal. Since  
Silver is supposed to be worth 50L per kg (Elder Secrets), clearly  
there should be 100 lunars in a kg, which would make the lunars weigh  
10 grams. If the lunars weighed 2 grams instead, then we should up  
the value of all the metals by a multiple of 5, which might be more  
realistic anyway.