Bell Digest v940406p1

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Wed, 06 Apr 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.


From: (John P Hughes)
Subject: Tales #11 Commentary
Message-ID: <>
Date: 6 Apr 94 17:41:53 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3524

A Commentary on Tales #11, The Pamaltela Special

Howdy folks, John Hughes here.

I've just spend Easter pursuing my other great love at Australia's 
National Folk Festival in Canberra. It was a wonderful experience, with 
singing, dancing, concerts, storytelling, spontaneous drama, costume 
and maskwork. Pippin and I picked up a lot of roleplaying ideas along 
the way, including inspiration in the festival's closing fire-fertility 
ceremony for the Gloranthan ceremony Greg and I are planning for RQ-
Con Down Under next year. I've also added a bodhran (hollow celtic 
drum) to my gamesmaster's kit, arranged both a storytelling and 
dancing workshop for the Phenomenon roleplaying con in June, and 
had a new insight into Doraddi shamanic practices after attending a 
drumming workshop. Experiential roleplaying!

Now to business. The following commentary on Tales #11 relates 
mainly to my own stories and articles. There's little in the way of 
spoilers for our US friends, just expansionary notes and comments to 
clarify some of the more difficult issues raised.


Dan Barker has done it again! The cover illustrates the story "Aranjara 
Dreaming", and depicts Surinda (fingers raised) talking to Kirinuu. Dan 
has captured beautifully the difference in appearance between Left & 
Right Hand Doraddi.


Page 7

In both diagrams, a slash indicates the person is deceased. This is a 
standard convention, ommited from Figure 1 by our judicious editor. 
(Space, the final frontier...).

Look again at figure 3, bearing in mind my comment that, to the 
Doraddi, the brother and sister bond is much more important than that 
of husband and wife. The diagram makes it clearer than my discussion 
in the text. 

Notice how Moonwatcher's continuing skin (clan) identity in the next 
generation comes about through his sister's children (ZC), Farwatcher 
and Pure Voice, rather than his biological children (C), who belong to 
the skin of his wife. His sister's children share his clan identity, and it 
will pass to a 3rd generation through Pure Voice's children. Therefore, 
Moonwatcher will be Guidefather to his sister's children, and pay more 
attention to their well-being and education than to his own biological 
children. To his biological children he is merely 'father' or more 
tellingly, 'mother's husband', a somewhat distant figure.

Page 8.

Figure 4 is given from the perspective of the Sweet Clover skin, a fact 
mentioned in the text but not on the diagram itself. It makes sense only 
from this perspective, as Alex ( has pointed out in 
a previous posting.

To understand the system, let's do it from the perspective of the Blood 
Bean skin. The Vol Ini are 'managers' to Blood Bean ceremonies, and 
so are ritual partners. They are also rivals for both the Vol Ini and 
Blood Bean are in the position of 'Husband Takers' to the Instamiru 
and Squaa skins, and SO compete for the best marriages.

The function of a MANAGER can be clarified by saying that the term is 
often translated as 'policeman' in Koori dialects on earth. On initiation, 
each owner will be matched with one particular manager in the correct 
skin relationship. The manager will be older, and will guide a young 
owner in the correct way to plan and perform the ceremonies of the 
Dreaming that he owns. The manager passes on ritual knowledge as 
appropriate. He or she will function as a stern and somewhat distant 
Guidefather, being in turn teacher, policeman and ceremonial resource. 
The manager also ensures that ceremonies and songs are not misused 
by a particular skin.

Note that the SPATIAL ORDERING of the clans in the diagram is 
actually used in daily life: it is played out and repeated in hearth 
location, clan movement, dance, ceremony, etc.

My citing of bride and father-in-law as being an example of an 
avoidance relationship is INCORRECT. It should be groom and 
mother-in law (WM) or bride and Guidefather-in-Law (HMB). Lets 
think it through for a standard 4 skin system. The groom is from skin 
A, and his intended (much younger) bride is from skin B. This means 
the bride's mother is also of skin B, and often the same age as the 
groom - a tempting (and otherwise permissible) sexual relationship.

Now try and work out why bride/father-in-law is not such a problem. 
Answer follows.

The Bride is of skin A, while her intended groom is of skin B. 
Therefore the groom's biological father is from skin A or one of it's 
fellow 'Husband Taker' skins. The bride therefore has had incest 
taboos against the groom's father since birth, and is used to dealing 
with him in a distant and formal way. However the groom's 

Alex's posting also noted the confusion over the labels 'Husband 
Giver' and 'Husband Taker'. Basically, the terms serve only to divide a 
clan or tribe into 'Us' & 'Them' (or the Evergreens and the Thorns, 
White Rose and Red Rose, City and United, Crips and Bloods or 
whatever). In fact it is usually less confusing to use these local terms 
instead. From the perspective of any person x, 'Them' (the Husband 
Givers) are those skins than might supply husbands, while 'Us' (the 
Husband Takers) are my own skin and any other skin that doesn't 
supply husbands. 'Us are always better than 'Them' and 'Us' have to 
stick together against 'Them'. (Although of course, in this system, if 
you want a spouse you have to be nice to 'Them'!). Therefore Alex, no 
skin can ever be both Husband Taker and Husband Giver to you at the 
same time.
This system is part of the 'Chinese Box' paradox of kinship, allowing a 
community to have its violence/confrontation/rivalry cake and eat it too. 
Husband Taker will defend Husband Taker against Husband Giver, 
while both categories will join together as a clan against other clans or 
tribes. Tribes will join together as a nation or Federation against other 
cultures or nations, and differernt human cultures will join together as 
'civilised beings' against other intelligent species or chaos. 
 The Doraddi are realistic: they accept that 'violence is pleasurable', and 
therefore devote tribal energies to containing rather than surpressing 
anger and violence. Therefore, ancestral custom states that you must 
never publically disagree with someone in your own skin (accept in a 
hearth meeting) for there is always a junior/senior relationship in place. 
You may argue but must peacefully defer to someone from a fellow 
Husband Taker skin. You may fight with clubs but must never kill 
someone from a Husband Giver skin (an unwise move though - they 
control your potential marriage partners). You may use spears against 
armed warriors of other Dorradi clans or tribes and steal their herds and 
goods -though you must not hurt non-combatants or children and must 
accept blood-responsibility if a death occurs and you are identified. Its 
basically genocide tactics against non-Doraddi and non-humans - they 
are 'beyond skin' - beyond kinship and therefore not True People. Note 
that in present day Jolar at least, such violence is VERY RARE.


I mention the "!" sound as being a clicking sound make against the roof 
of the mouth, and used only in proper names. This 'click language' is 
modelled on that of the !Kung and other bushmen of the South African 
savanna. (These are the people portrayed in the propaganda 'comedy' 
**The Gods Must Be Crazy**. However the irony is that, rather than 
the carefree traditional nomadic life of the film, all of the !Kung are 
actually imprisoned in South African government concentration camps. 
They were also made famous in a book by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas 
entitled "The Harmless People". The !Kung are known by this epithet 
even though their homicide rate is higher than Chicago! (though 
probably not Washington.)

If you're interested in adding some real spice to Doraddi names in your 
game, here are the most common types of click and their written 
conventions. WARNING: overuse of these click consonants is not only 
liable to leave you tongue-tied, but also to reduce your players to tears 
of helpless laughter.

1. The dental click (/), sometimes written in English as tsk-tsk, the 
sound you make when calling a horse. Pull your tongue backwards 
from between your teeth. Sur/in/da, /ai/ai.

2. The alveopalatal click (!), as in !Kung or !Faranjara. As described in 
the article, a sharp clicking noise made by the tongue against the roof of 
the mouth.

3. The lateral click (//), as in //Jolar, made with a swift sideways motion 
of the tongue, a more hollow sound than (2).

Combining the clicks is where the fun really starts. And guess which 
god uses all three clicks in his name...

!Bol//ongo/ the Trickster. Try and say that quickly...

Page 14: THE KRESH.

This is a query. I'm doing a further module on meeting the Kresh, and 
just cannot get my mind around the idea of these gigantic ponderous 
multi-tonne wagons, up to 40 metres long, being pulled BY HAND 
across the type of country that passes for 'flatland' (ha!) in a savanna 
environment. And after Elmal/Yelmalio I thought I could handle 
anything. OK, so there's magic involved, perhaps some bound gnomes 
to flatten the ground in front, and maybe some old road beds from the 
Six-Legged Empire. Its a wonderful image, but it still doesn't click. 
Why are they doing it, especially since there are much more practical 
ways to propel even large wagons (domesticated dinosaurs or 

This seems to me one of those compelling mythological images that 
impress themselves upon your consciousness, and then have to be 
justified my all sorts of cumbersome after-the-fact left brain 
rationalisation. Obviously there are deep mysteries here, and I'm 
wondering if anyone has ideas or suggestions.


GodLearner type cult writeups are a necessary evil, but I've always felt 
they obscure as much as they reveal by sacrificing local colour and the 
effects of personal experience. (BTW, the Pamalt Cult was put together 
from original notes by Greg and Sandy, only minor finishing was 
necessary.) In SOTT... I've tried to convey the view of actual worship 
and belief **on the ground**, in a situation that is so far removed from 
the tidy GodLearner reductionism of the cult write-up that sometimes 
you have to stop and say, 'Hey, this IS the same god and cult'. As 
recent Digest discussions have noted, there is similar variation even 
amongst familiar gods like Old WindBag or the Snotty Loner with the 

Page 21

I believe the illustration is not of Kerasan/Kirinnu (Left Hand) but 
rather of Surinda of the Twisted Lance (Right Hand). Another absolute 
gem from Dan Barker.


Did she or didn't she? it's for you to decide...

Due to a slight oversight, Kirinuu is called Kerasan in the second 
epigram. (She was called this in the first draft, but I later changed it to 
avoid confusion with Keraun). Post hoc, I guess I'll just claim that 
Kerasan is Kininuu's skin name. We're all Vol Ini here, aren't we? 

Pages 24 to 26

Can anyone identify the fauna? I think the one on page 26 is a snake 
who has swallowed the rear half of a horse :-). 

Seriously, I personally prefer NOT to too closely identify Jolar with 
Australian flora and fauna. I've tried to keep the flora Gondwanaland - 
a time when Africa and Australia were joined - though I've added 
flowering plants and lots of clover. 

The food plants I name on page 43 are all actual Koori dishes, with 
several exceptions. Obviously, there are several native Glorathan 
plants, and one other that MOB has forbidden me to mention lest we 
both get forced to bulk ingest the stuff.

As for fauna, I posit a curious mixture of African plains, Cretaceous 
Gondwanaland dinosaurs, and a scattering of late Pleistocene Australian 
megafauna -  diprotodons, giant kangaroo-like marsupials (macropus 
titan), enormous wombats (Phasolonus) plus some carnivores such as 
the marsupial 'lion' (Thylaceo) and the only-recently extinct Tasmanian 
tiger or marsupial wolf (Thylacinidae). Go figure. I leave the exact 
reckoning of this curious (and wondrous!) food chain to minds more 
skilled than mine.


I notice a new city has appeared on Jrustela. I suppose it must be the 
birthplace of the (now deceased) gentleman whose journal is recorded 
on page 23.

Page 31 - VELDT TREK by Paul Reilly.

Hey Paul, nice job! Do you have any comments to add to this?


TWDD is an example of an introductory module that's very useful in 
ANY campaign - that is, strangers who know nothing come along and 
try to learn the local culture and integrate themselves within it. Kinship 
provides a wonderful way of injecting questers into local politics, and 
the 'unknown stranger' motif means that players need to know little 
background before play begins. Try it for Lunar settlers in Sartar, 
Sartar refugees on the plains of Prax etc.

Page 39. The SEASONS are: Hot Dry, Thunder Before Monsoon, 
Monsoon, [Sacred Time], Season of Flowers and Fruit, Good Dry. 
The seasons are irregular in length, and obviously, only so named in 
areas under the special providence of Keraun, the Monsoon Wind.

I believe that Sandy's Jolar weekdays (given in a recent posting) are a 
remnant of the Six Legged Empire and used only in large cities. 
Certainly, on Earth, such regular calendars are a feature of the city/state 
or the missionary. Plains people have little use for such an artificial 
construction, and it certainly suggests a very strange notion of the 
nature of time. Plains Time is measured by the rains and winds, by the 
constant cycle of holy days and ceremonies (Vangono's day, the eighth 
Day since Keraun etc.), and by the very subtle but omnipresent 
humming/beating of the earth (Grandmother's heartbeat) which varies 
according to a fixed 28 day pattern.

Page 45

Here's an example of the GUIDED IMAGERY EXERCISE during the 
initiation ceremony.

The PC Touch Earth Rip Wind was an apprentice Batasii (shaman) of 
the Right hand before being caught up by Jmijie's Wanderlust. She 
constantly dreams of a great lake far to the north, violent and salty, so 
vast you cannot see the far side. She does not believe it of course, but is 
driven to find out if it really exists.

Turn down the lights and keep other players silent. Some atmospheric 
music would be in order ( I used **On Hearing Solar Winds**). This 
is an exercise in trust. There is no script, anything can happen 
dependent on the involvement and imagination of the PC. The Master of 
Luck and Death (MLD) must accept whatever the PC tells her, and draw 
out the interesting images as explained in the text. It is a co-creation - 
both player and MLD are equal. 

MLD: the darkness choking down on you, your body cold and dark and 
distant, your lungs still burning with the memory of that precious, final 
breath. What do you feel?
TERW: Am I dead? (fishing)
MLD: What do you feel? (keeping PC on track)
TERW: I'm scared, its so dark, so very strange. My body is so very 
different. I feel... free. Am I dead?
MLD: The darkness swirls around you. Strange half shapes, fleeting 
impressions and sounds and sensations flash across your 
consciousness. What do you see?
TERW: I'll make a Scan roll.
MLD: (gently) No. I want you to close your eyes and let your 
imagination guide you. Tell me what TERW sees.
TERW: (Player understanding now what is required). I... I'm on a vast 
and empty plain, like my guidefather told me the world was like in the 
beginning. The shapes... I think the shapes are spirits. A cold wind is 
blowing. I can't see my body.
MLD: (encouraging player to build on imagination). Is there anything 
on the plain, anything at all? 
TERW: No. Nothing. it's terrifying. Am I in hell?
MLD: (patient) Wait until you see or hear something. Then tell me what 
it is...
TERW: (after some time). I can hear something... soft and distant. It's 
a sound like water, water crashing on rocks. I'm going to walk towards 
the sound.
MLD: Walk forward, and tell me what you see.

TERW: It's unbelievable. The water is crashing in great lines of foam, 
very wild. There's something metallic above the water, like copper, 
circling down.
MLD: Look closely. What is circling?
TERW: it's a bird, small, with brilliant bright green flashes. A hawk of 
some kind. It's seen me, it's coming closer.

The MLD marks down the hawk as a first sighting of a possible totem 
animal. She will encourage TERW to interact with it. If the bird talks to 
her this will be a sure sign that the hawk is a totem. ETC.

Sorry about the length. Hope this is helpful!


Beware: MOB of broo is recursive, and possibly a Nysalor Riddle. The
descriptive 'Mob' is also an acronym for the entire phrase - Mob Of Broo 
(MOB). Something very sinister here...


From: (Carlson, Pam)
Subject: RE: Broo names; Smelch
Message-ID: <>
Date: 1 Apr 94 21:04:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3513

Joe asked for suggestions for names for a group of broos.

Lions come in prides, crows come in murders, geese come in gaggles, whales 
come in pods...
I think that broos would merit their own special (and unpleasant) word.

often used, but simple:  horde, mob, gang

Suggestions from MS Word and amused lab-mates:

misery (kinda catchy)
spoil (very descriptive)

I also liked  "terror".  How about "horror"?

Maybe the really frightening boogey-broos in Prax have single toes, like 
those evil horses.


Does anyone out there have any information on Smelch, other than what's in 
the single paragraph in the Glorantha/Genertela books?



From: (Lahtinen Antti Jussi)
Subject: Dragonewt weapons
Message-ID: <>
Date: 5 Apr 94 16:22:39 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3514

	Dragonewt Weapons, Samarin and Chokin

	Does anyone have any information about Samarin and Chokin?

	The only data I could found was in RQ Monsters, and I do not
	even know how these weapons look like. According to RQ Monsters...

	Name	Rate	Damage	Type	AP
	Samarin	1/MR	1d4+1	Impale	2
	Chokin	1/MR	1d6	Impale	2

	What I am missing is the rest of the weapon data (STR/DEX, Base %,
	ENC, Range, Price).

	(from my private musings...)

	According to their damage values, Samarin could be a large Shaken,
	or possibly an Injiuchi Tsubute, and Chokin could be a Mongwanga.
	However, a mongwanga would have 6-8 AP.

	Shaken: a star-shaped throwing weapon, with 3-8 points. Both
	shuriken (needle-knife) and shaken (vehicle-knife) are used in
	Japanese shuriken-jutsu. Many films and books have made shaken
	quite famous, but the same books often call a 'shaken' as
	'shuriken'. In RQ3, throwing star is called 'shuriken'. Sigh...

	Injiuchi Tsubute: a palm-sized hexagonal throwing disk, with each
	side sharpened into a blade. Sometimes called as 'metal throwing
	stone', it is thicker and heavier than shaken.

	Mongwanga: a swastika-shaped multi-blade throwing weapon, which has
	a short handle and 3 front-swept (kukri-like) blades. A mongwanga is
	little heavier and larger than a throwing axe, but is less affected
	by range because it does not matter which side of mongwanga hits the
	In the cover of Genertela box, the broo (Ralzakark ?) is wielding
	a mongwanga in his left hand...

	(just thinking...)

        Antti Lahtinen    :     Justice is Only a Whish of a Weak :


Subject: Too Many Supplements Spoil the Broth
Message-ID: <__5-Apr-94_11:29:18_+1_.*>
Date: 5 Apr 94 10:29:18 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3515

Putting aside the commericial and politicial issues of Greg's
mysterious action against RQ:AiG I'd like to bring up the issue
of too many supplements.

Too many supplements cast too long a shadow over any purchasing
consideration for people considering whether to buy a game associated
with that background.

While casting around for other playtesters I discovered that one of 
my friends had bought of supplements over the year for RuneQuest but
who never ran a game.

Why?  The supplements intimidated him as they proscribed what 
Glorantha was rather than encouraged him to think Glorantha and
invent new Gloranthan material with every breath.

If anything Glorantha needs books that consider the principles 
of Glorantha rather than the details.  Then the GM can build up
his view of the big picture without seeking to be spoon-feed.

Not all supplements are negative.  I bought TrollPak recently and
I found it both an excellent read and very stimulating in the way
it encourage people to think about trolls in a new light.  I was
not suprised as this product became a legend in the UK.


	-- Guy Robinson --
All you need to run a roleplaying game, after all, is imagination and
players.  Everything else is game aid. 


Subject: Yelmalio and Dendera
Message-ID: <>
Date: 5 Apr 94 15:50:43 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3516

In old Egypt, worship of the various gods of the sun was often
held on the roof of the temple. Hathor was the (or a) godess of
the sky and the sun. In her great temple in the city of Dendera,
the ascend to the roof was an important ceremony.

Are the Yelmalions modelled on the Egyptians?

Klaus O K