Bell Digest v940322p1

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 22 Mar 1994, part 1
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X-RQ-ID: Intro

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

More details on the RuneQuest Daily and Digest can be found
after the last message in this digest.


Subject: Mainly yet more initiation.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 21 Mar 94 09:59:03 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3357

Martin Crim:
> Somewhat vaguely opposed to the Vingkotlings, or maybe the
> Vingkotlings are a subgroup, or maybe the Heortlings are a
> subgroup.

This last, sorta: Heort was a descendant of Vingkot (or at least he started
off as a Vingkotling).  Whether there any modern Vingkotlings as such,
who don't follow Heort's Laws, I'm not sure about.  (In Wenelia or Ralios,

> Anyway, the settlers of
> Sartar may not have purged all the Malkionism from their religion
> as much as they thought.  Maybe the Aldachuri have a more pure
> Orlanthi cultus...?

I doubt it: this area is in the vanguard of the whole Elmal -> Yelmalio
-> Yelm heterodoxy and stuff.

> And you guys discussing ToRM #11--CUT IT OUT!

You surely jest.  This _is_ the list that discusses things that have been
out of print for ten years, items whose availability outside the US is
positively vanishing, and unpublished draft rules, isn't it?

Paul Reilly:
>   On Divine Intervention:
>   Let's go back to actual mythology for  a minute.  I think the Greek 
> myths are familiar to the most people, so I will use them as an example.
> First, check out the Illiad and the Odyssey: lots of DI, people snatched
> from battle, etc. - seems to support the RQ 2 DI, useful for escaping,
> etc.
>   The point is: Gods can send other gods on missions of Divine Intervention,
> and it can take strange forms.  Glorantha may be different due to the
> Great Compromise.

Very much so.  Sending another god (to actually manifest hirself in some
way) is obviously very unlikely in Glorantha, and the actions of each god,
magical or otherwise, are necessarily limited by the compromise.  There's
nothing analogous to the GC amongst the Hellenes, so be wary of direct

>   Alex writes:
> > Worship ceremonies are a bit of a mystery to anyone but Greg at
>				      ^^^^^^^

>   Is this a conscious play on words?

Not guilty.  Or reduced responsibility, at any rate.

>   I like to use India as a model for central Genertela, and this is one
> reason why: Indian ceremonies are much like this, with temple dramas, and
> with festivals where people have religious/traditional parts to act out.
> We are lucky to have a Hindu temple in Pittsburgh that is very kind about
> letting outsiders attend.

I think of India as being somewhat analagous to Peloria, certainly

>   The principle of Identification is very important in Glorantha; I will
> probably post something about this from Finula (which I sent to a magazine
> and am waiting for a reply on).

> Rune Lords take this to the extreme, they _become_ their god.

Not how I'd put it.  Anyone on a (theistic) HQ (or in a worship ceremony)
becomes their god, to some extent.  RLs more so than initiates, clearly.
But I don't think this is significantly true in day-to-day life as a rune

> More primitive
> cults will have Rune Lords only in many cases, or rune lords and Shaman
> priests who mediate between people and the spirits, including Gods. )

What do you mean by `primitive', exactly?  The Official View seems to be that
religions of `Primitive Cultures' tend towards shamanism, and rune-lords only
crop up in the better-organised (and often militarily-inclined) cults of
Barbarian or Civilised cultures.  Maybe Dawn Age (or before?) Theistic
cults were more as you describe.

> >a cultist could easily be a member (or even priestess)
> >of three or four earth cults in her lifetime, which is somewhat extravagent
> >on the POW side under the RQ3 rules. 

>   I have played for many years under the assumption that Vorias turn
> into Ernaldans (or switch to Voria's other Side, Babeester Gor) who
> become Asrelians (or switch to Maran Gor).  Asrelians may switch to
> Ty Kora Tek.  Babeesteri may mature into Maran Gori, thence to Ty Kora Teki.

This much is clear.  But do they make these changes of affiliation by
the `standard' rules (possible spirit of reprisal, rune-magic becomes
one-use (or is lost), sacrifice another point of POW, start from scratch
in new cult), or are there `transitional arrangements' of some kind?  I tend
to suspect the latter, but I'm hazy on the details.

> Don't know if anyone ever switch back from Chthonic to Earth; it's rare.

I think some Malign Earth cults (Gorgorma?) require `the forswearing
of all future Benevolent Earth worship'.

> The switch to the 'dark' side is often induced by trauma.

Or local (or national) emergency.

> Rune magic
> already bought may mature or switch; if no equivalent it may become
> 1-use or remain as an Associate spell if that is part of the local cult
> structure.  Flowers, for example, can mature into Bless Crops; this can change
> into Blast Earth.

I rather like this, but I wonder if it works as neatly for the other
maturing/shifting sideways transitions.

> Voriof the Youth bears the same relation to Orlanth 
> that Voria the Youth bears to Ernalda.

I feel this may be stretching it.  And _puh-leaze_ don't call the cult
`Voriof the Youth': the analogy to the Yelm cult structure is somewhat

> Voriof also offers Call Sheep, a
> rune magic exactly analogous to Call Followers

Doesn't sound very useful: very few Voriof worshippers will ever get reusable
rune magic, and few would use this as a one-use thing.

> One thing we know is that adult Orlanthi can 'switch' to his cult

Why do you say switch?  They might join Barntar in the first place, surely?

David Dunham:
> Alex said
> >"Individuals among the Orlanthi are defined by their age, [...], initiatory
> >status [...]."
> >This suggests that 'age' (non-adult, adult, etc) are not necesssarily
> >coincident with 'initiatory status' (non-initiate, initiate, etc).
> >Thus it would be possible to have an adult non-initiate.  (Or a non-adult
> >Initiate??)

> I don't think so. "Initiatory status" means intiate, godi, priest, etc.

`Non-initiate' is an initiatory status too.  Clearly the other age/IS
categories aren't in lock-step, why should these ones (necessarily) be?

I agree the latter possibility sounds less likely, but noplace do I see an
explicitly-stated link between 'Age' and 'Initiatory Status'.  And they
_are_ listed separately, while in troll, elf, or even Pent communities,
they would be seen as being indistinguishable, at all levels.  Note that
Argrath is initiated at the age of twelve: is this tribal (adulthood)
initiation, cultic (or other religious, if you must) initiation, or both?

I don't see religious/cultic initiation is being an absolute requisite for
adulthood, though.  After all, someone can go off and become an initiate
of some obscure and off-the-wall initiate, instead of one of the Big
.  Does this exclude them from becoming adults members of the
tribe?  (It may exclude them from a particular bloodline (or even clan?) if
_Tales..._ #11 is to be believed.  (Sorry, USAns.)  But that's another tale.)

Basically I see this as an instance of the comparative freedom of Orlanthi
culture, allowing for a certain amount of religious variation and backsliding
within the structure of a tribe.

This link between religion and culture is likely to be even looser in the
Lunar Empire, perhaps necessarily since it embraces several different
cultural structures, over which it places a single religious heirarchy, so
the two can't be linked quite so closely.  But I also think it's symptomatic
of the Empire's 'modern' attitude of regarding the two as being separable.

> I'm currently playing a character who's not an initiate of a religion. He's
> hoping to become initiated soon, so he can be considered an adult (and get
> girls).

I have to maintain my opposition to the suggestion that non-initiates
_necessarily_ are non-adults.  Notice that the `tribal initiation' of
Apple Lane(3) doesn't (apparently) involve a religious initiation.

> This is probably a bit loose, for gaming purposes (he'd probably
> have to go back to his clan along with a priest of whatever religion he
> picks to truly be initiated)

I take it means you think initiation into tribe and religion is done as a
_single_ ritual, then, not merely that both are required for Adulthood?

> but I think you can't be an Orlanthi adult
> without being a religous initiate (or similarly pledged to a Kolating).

So a Voriof Initiate of ten could become an adult, but not a Lhankor Mhy
apprentice of twenty?  I think the Initiation mandatory thing tends to break
down when you have a culture which worships many, rather disparate gods.

> To me this implies that
> all initiates are initiated to a particular deity (or multi-deity cult like
> 7 Mothers), not to a pantheon. There are no generic initiates.

Sign up another one to the Good Guys. ;-)  I wouldn't want to try to
claim there aren't people who worship some amorphous chunk of the pantheon,
but I'm deeply suspicious of the idea of people being "initiated" into
such worship.  A different term would help, at the very least.

> >(PS, is Pendragon4 worth the #16 for the 40 new pages, of magic rules?)

> Those are about the only changes from the combination of Pendragon3 and
> Knights Adventerous

Information reaches me that it also contains the missing bits of the
Battle rules.  

> It seems that much of Orlanthi
> culture is derived from the Irish Celts (with many differences, I hasten to
> add).

So in lieu of Sartarpack, we buy a copy of Vikings, and of Pagan Shores,
and run them together at high speed.  Rather emphasises the irony of Sartar
being landlocked, though.



From: (Kirsten K. Niemann)
Subject: Race, species, elves, kudos
Message-ID: <>
Date: 21 Mar 94 04:58:48 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3358

Mike Dawson here, not Kirsten Niemann (I tried to change the name--it
don't work!) (Gerald Bosch) wrote yesterday of the
nature of race and such like in Glorantha, and wondered about the
biological definitions.

First off, I beleive the big semantic difference here is between
races and species(es) (Speci?)

There may be many races in a species, but if they can interbreed and
produce fertile offspring, they are the same species. Note that this
is earth terminology, which immediately falls flat in
Glorantha--there are many reports of trolls and humans interbreeding,
and no, I do not think that makes them the same species.

Gerald brought up the variations of culture and behavior between
races and species, and in doing so has brought me to comment on a
point I think is very important--various races of humanity may be
acculturated VERY differently from each other, but these differences
are as NOTHING compared to the differences between humans and other

I think it must be an example of the power of magic and the
communication rune that the various sentient species can even
communicate, much less get along every now and then.

I think it is a great disservice to think of all species as the same
underneath, with different cultures making them differ.
(I know I cringe when I think of that spoiled little Klingon son of
Worf on Star Trek--here is a Klingon who will be spoiled for life. 
How can a Klingon grow strong and fierce without plenty of childhood
beatings? Where is the praise for killing a classmate???)

Trolls, as Gerald said, have more info on them than any other alien
species, so it is easy to talk about them. I for one, feel it is very
clear that one of the most important, esteemed, praised cultural
traits of Troll society is CRUELTY. Cruelty is GOOD to a troll.
Cruelty makes your friends strong, Cruelty makes jokes funny, it
feeds the family, it preseves order. Mercy is a LIE, a false promise.

Sure, there are plenty of stern, mean spirited cultures in humanity's
past--but I don't believe there is a one that managed to be as MEAN
and CRUEL as an ordinary troll is.

Adult, normal, acculturated trolls think it is pleasant to eat their
own children.
They think it is even more fun to eat the helpless children of other
species. Any PC trolls eaten a human baby recently? If not, you're 
missing out on important role-playing considerations! I think even a
Xiola Umbar High Priestess would eat babies, unless she had something
better to gain from not doing so. Live newborn humans? I bet they
sell well in Adari--probably Morokanth who specialize in that market.

I'm sure every other species in Glorantha has its own special brand of
what is rightly called inhumanity.

How about dwarfs whose vision of heaven is a place of total machine
servitude? Hellcrack, staid dwarfs consider VERBS to be a
manifestation of the devil!

Elf physiology----- (Lahtinen Antti Jussi) wrote:

      As iron is poisonous to elves, they do not eat meat,
         or anything that contains iron-based blood.

I don't believe this for a second. Not the conclusion, which would
hold water, but the starting "fact." Human physiology in Glorantha is
not the same as human physiology on earth. I can't believe that human
blood has iron (the secret, INVENTED weapon of the dwarfs) in it. 

If this was true, then how could trolls stand to eat meat?

Praise for Codex------

Hal Mangold said an awful lot of nice things about my magazine. Thank
you very much, Hal. If you want to send comments directly to Martin
Crim (who wrote much of #1, including the Masks of Pavis article)
you can reach him at

A week or so ago, I moaned about how slow americans are to put their
money in the mail. I said how sad it was that the UK response to
Codex, and its new distributor, Colin Phillps
( was sixfold better than the combined
american and Canadian response.

Well I was wrong, and I apologize. After looking more carefully at my
records, the UK response is TEN TIMES the american one.

Several of my thrice blessed current subscribers have sent me panicky
notes about the fate of American Codex. Have no fear, your
subscriptions will be honored, even if I have to get issues from
Colin to fill them.

My fellow Glorantho-americans, if you want it, please put a stamp and envelope
together for Codex.

Beatrice Kamber, I sent you the subscription info. Did you get it?


Gloranthophiles need to contact me at for
information about Codex Magazine.
"Inquiries into the nature and secrets of Glorantha"   .


Subject: Calendar
Message-ID: <9403211228.AA23056@Sun.COM>
Date: 21 Mar 94 10:54:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3359

Hi All
		Today I am going to ask a question that has been bugging me for a while, but never so much to cause me to remember to bring the info to 
work so that I can email the question.  BTW I think that only Sandy will 
be able to answer this one.  

	From the Glorantha book in the boxed set we learn about regional 
variations in time of the day and also the calendar.  For Kralorela we 
are given their rather exotic mystical calendar, but for Pamaltela we 
are merely told that it is made up of 4 season of 12 six-day weeks and a 
6 day holyweek at the end of the year which is analogous to Sacred Time.  

1) What are the days of the week called?
2) What are the week names?
3) Are the seasons spring, summer, autumn, winter or something else?

OK that was the mundane part of the message, now for the killer...

In Genertela (esp. Dragon Pass) the High Holy days of the Gods fall 
on runically appropriate days.  Many of these gods are also worshipped 
in Pamaltela (courtesy of the GLs and others).  Are the gods worshipped 
on the same Holy Days, or on different days with special significance.  
After all since the calendar is completely different there would appear 
to be NO regularity in the holydays if they were the same, thus I would 
assume regional variations.  Perhaps these would be more obvious if we 
knew more about the Doraddi calendar.  

I find the discrepancies less worrying for Kralorela as they generally 
worship different gods and those wierdos who insist on worshipping 
foreign gods could be expected to use barbarian calendars from across 
the mountains.