Bell Digest v940413p2

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From: (Sandy Petersen)
Subject: Glorantha vs. Earth
Message-ID: <>
Date: 12 Apr 94 03:38:49 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3609

Lewis propounds: 

>Perhaps for Glorantha we should call it Petersen's Curse, but in the  
>very dry regions of Pamaltela and the Praxian Wastes it would be  
>knien as Salvation Sandy...
	Dear Lewis: Bite me.

Guy Robinson sez: 

>The priest has sacrificed POW for his reusable spells and as such  
>would treat Bless Crops spells differently from those that assure  
>his defense and offensive capabilities...
>a Wizard has only the MPs that he has to hand.  As all his spells  
>use this source he might refrain from using them to allow him to  
>hoard them to aid his defense 

>The Priest however can cast his peacefull... spells and still have  
>powerfull ... Magic to hand at a moment's notice
	I think this argument is erroneous. And here is why.
	Firstly, Guy, you apparently think that all Gloranthans live  
a life in fear and trepidation, needing handy attack magic available  
at all times. I think this is true only for adventurers and for  
citizens who dwell in lands that support adventurers. I don't think  
most priestesses of Ernalda ever enter hand-to-hand combat in their  
life. Neither do most western Wizards. 

	Secondly, you must look at the magical ecology. If life is  
dangerous in the way you've described, to the point that priests and  
wizards must retain a goodly means of protection, then many priests  
are going to be worshipers of stuff like Humakt, Storm Bull, Golden  
Bow, etc. The peaceable cults of Barntar and Dendara will be  
less-around, because less-survivable. So the truly useful Rune spells  
like Bless Crops are going to be rare, because their priests are  
rare. But wizard's aren't restricted in this manner. One wizard can  
cast a protective spell as well as another, or a blessing. Hence,  
wizards are more flexible than priests. If the war's over, but  
everyone's already joined Zorak Zoran, you're stuck. None of your  
Rune levels are going to be able to quit and join Flamal now that  
crops and healing are the order of the day. But all a wizard has to  
do is learn a new spell to switch emphasis. 

	Thirdly, you speak of the priest's POW as if it were an  
infinite resource. There's only so much POW a priest is going to  
sacrifice in his entire life. If he's spending some of it on  
Absorption or Earthpower, then that POW is NOT available for Bless  
Crops. Every point spent on self-indulgent protection is one less  
Bless Crops that you don't get access to in need. But the sorcerer  
can cast his own blessing spells at any time at any place. He is not  
as limited. 

	Fourth and lastly, I think most folks greatly underrate the  
utility of specialization, which I believe to be a major factor in  
Gloranthan magic ecology. I think that in a cooperative wizard-using  
society like the Hrestoli and Rokari, there is a strong tendency for  
some wizards to be healers, some wizards to be crop specialists, some  
wizards to be combat-oriented, etc. If this is the case, your local  
farm wizard isn't going to be reluctant to enhance the growth of your  
prize pig because it will hurt his MPs for later usage. Some other  
wizard, with combat spells, will protect him against the Bad Wizards. 

MOB sez:
>we don't know much about schooling in Glorantha do we?
	I find it hard to believe that there are schools (in the  
modern sense) anywhere in Glorantha. Organizations that teach  
specific skills exist, of course. How else would we learn how to read  
and write. Or ride? Or otherwise train our skills up. But not  
generalized organizations for teaching. I think that highly-civilized  
areas like the Lunar Empire, Kralorela, and the West might have the  
same sort of scholarly learning that the Ming dynasty supported. 

	The Colleges of Magic of course, are simply the equivalent of  
a wizards' guild. Their training is perhaps more broad-based than the  
carpenters' guild (at least they probably learn more World Lore), but  
they are still not real universities, like the ones invented by the  


Devin Cutler opines:
>I am extremely worried that Glorantha is becoming anthropologized.  
>By this I mean that given regions in Glorantha become essentially  
>transplanted Terran equivalents, to the detriment of the fantasy
>feel of the game.
>Pamaltela is quite obviously an amalgem of African and Australian
	I agree with Devin a lot. 

	I can't speak for the weird Australian-oid material that has  
been coming out recently, all about "skins" and "Left-Hand path",  
etc. How closely is it based on Australian culture? 

	I have striven in my own Pamaltelan material to create a new  
culture, unlike anything I know about in either Africa or elsewhere.  
The marriage custom is loosely based on a theme sometimes practiced  
by (I think) the Cheyenne, but the oasis stuff, the lineages, the  
marriage taboos, are all my own creation, only loosely influenced by  
what I've read anthropologically. 

	Don't be misled by the black skins of the Doraddi. I've tried  
to make them Pamaltelan, not African, and not Australian. 

	I think it's okay for a culture to have a certain "odor" of a  
parallel terrestrial culture. So the Lunars smell a little like the  
Greco-Romans, or the Carmanians are a little like the Persians. Such  
similarities help players to interact with the locals, and also helps  
gamemasters figure out what some unpublished aspect of society might  
be like, when they need to know it for their games. For instance, no  
one has ever written a text describing in detail what a celebratory  
feast is like in the Lunar Empire, Kralorela, Prax, or Sartar, but I  
bet anyone in the Daily could quickly slap one together for his  
players to participate in, and make it convincing, just by following  
the cultural biases of those regions. Of course, little extra tidbits  
would be thrown in by any good gamemaster to make it Gloranthan  
(i.e., the decadent Lunar feast would probably include walktapus and  
maybe even herd-man). 

	But I feel, with Devin, that exactly adapting terrestrial  
cultures to Glorantha (as seems to have been done with the Pamaltelan  
"skins" material) is an error. Though my players know that Kralorela  
is "China", when they visit it and see it close up, they will quickly  
realize that the differences between the Dragon Empire and real-world  
China are profound.



From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: Various Cults, Kresh, Vithela
Date: 12 Apr 94 19:44:18 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3610

Guy Robinson in X-RQ-ID: 3593

> First off I would not, and did not, claim that Orlanth was a
> scam.  The religion I was accussing to be state-bearing was
> those of that focus on the Invisible God.

What is interesting: The Malkioni claim that Yelm, Orlanth and 
Humakt are scams set up by powerful sorcerers (bad guys, not 
wizards) who became trapped in their own preconceptions: Ehilm, 
Worlath, and Humct. They even added another, imaginary, one, 
Jogrampur, or so.

(BTW: Their choice of these three seems to indicate they thought 
them to be the most powerful of theistic cults. Another point against 
later development of the Cult of Humakt. If one accepts the theistic 

> I suggest this as Sorcerers construct and learn their spells
> while the Cult members receieve their spells from their more
> Visible dieties.  Pehaps the Sorcerers built their God too
> and crusaded to dominate enough people to power it.

So it's "receptionist" for divine magic?

And the God Learners demonstrated that it is possibe to build 
"visible deities", to the extent that the Umathelan False God 
Revolt had real priests of the previously unknown/non-existant 
god Jogrampur.

> However a Wizard has only one source of spells, the MPs
> that he has to hand.  As all his spells use this source
> he might refrain from using them to allow him to hoard
> them to aid his defense against the craven attacks of 
> fellow 'Good' Wizards or to root out any dissidents 
> within his supposed Utopia :-)

There are those little gimmicks called crystals or MP matrices, 
or in Gloranthan terms maybe "life vessels", which contain all the 
MP a wizard or sorcerer could spare at any time. These are the ones 
used for communal obligations first.

I have the strong suspicion that the churches of the Invisible god 
use the scattered magic emanation (not the main stream of energy)
in their worship services to fuel or load their life vessels. Guy seems 
to suspect the same, by calling it a scam.

> The Priest however can cast his peacefull, society
> strengthening spells and still have powerfull Battle
> and Divine Magic to hand at a moment's notice.

He lowers his POW twice, the same way as the wizeard lowers his MP. 
MP regenerate...

Sandy Petersen in X-RQ-ID: 3596

>> Somehow the Kresh seem to suffer from a mutated Jmijie virus. Could  
>> the end of the Six-legged Empire have been the starting point for  
>> the Kresh?
> 	I like the idea of the mutant Jmijie virus. The Kresh no  
> doubt consider themselves a useful hybrid between Jmijie (always  
> moving) and the permanency and security of the Oasis -- essentially a  
> Kresh wagon is a nomad oasis. 

> 	The Kresh of course think they have nothing to do with the  
> Six-Legged Empire, but they'd think that even if they were direct  
> descendants. More tellingly (maybe), their homeland in eastern Kothar  
> is outside the boundaries of the old Six-Leggers. I suppose fugitive  
> Six Leggers could have fled there during the destruction, but the  
> general course of destruction for the SLE was from east to west, and  
> most refugees ended up in Western Jolar for the final catastrophes.  
> Eastern Jolar/Western Kothar was the site of a large-scale struggle  
> at the same time, in which the nomads burnt back the invasions of the  
> jungle, which had been encroaching ever since Errinoru's advent. 

The Kresh are a similar 3rd Age development as the Pharaoh - 
a powerful, heroquesting individual (Ivy Kange/Belintar) benevolently (?) 
takes advantage of existing structures, adapts them to their own preferred 
mode and builds an empire.

In both cases there was a God Learner Empire close by which was destroyed 
in the tumults ending the Second Age, which might have spawned a few 
heroquesters locked in their Hero Paths until they could break free.

To spread a bit paranoia: Also the most recent heroes of doubtful origin 
might be such remaining God Learners. Most of us know the legend about one 
or the other king/emperor/hero sleeping somewhere, waiting to come out 
of his hiding place when the time has come (Arthur, Charlemagne, Friedrich 
Barbarossa, Holger Danske). Looking at Dragon Pass, there are at least two 
characters of doubtful origin: King Sartar, founder of the Kingdom, and 
Prince Argrath. If there is truth in this speculation, Argrath might be 
a truer heir of Sartar than Sartar's descendants. (But this is of course 
God Learning nonsense, isn't it?)

> Nils W. asks:
>> On the subject of Vithela I have a question: Sandy has in two
>> postings mentioned Vithela as a kind of paradise for dead people
>> from Kralorela. The Genertela book says only that the dead of  
>> Kralorela wait as spirits until the current emperor dies, and then  
>> follow him to Someplace Else. Is Vithela this Someplace Else? 

>> So, could Sandy... enlighten me?
> 	Vithela is where the spirits wait. When the Emperor Passes  
> On, the spirits go to the next stage of existence. This place is  
> unattainable and unvisitable by normal Gloranthan abilities,  
> including Heroquesting. Perhaps it is Solace in Glory?

You write that Vithela is unattainable and unvisitable. What hapens if 
a ship is approaching the place where Vithela is supposed to be? Another 
effect like the Syndics' Ban, or Brithos disappearance?

And I would think there is a couple of well known hero paths that should 
bring a person to Vithela, among these the Lightbringers' Quest and 
Hon-eel's quest into Hell, both of which reemerge at the Gates of Dawn 
which are said to be in Vithela.

>> Also, would other easterners, like the inhabitants of the East Isles
>> share this belief?

> 	The Vormain folks know about Vithela, but I don't know if  
> they think they go there. 

Maybe the more buddhistic ones (if Land of Ninja really is meant 
to describe Gloranthan Vormain to some degree) wait there to be reborn?

> Martin sez:
>> I don't think joining an Orlanthi (say) cult other than one`s  
>> parents' is really any kind of `conversion' in our modern sense.   
>> After all, the cults are non-exclusive, unlike most earthly and all  
>> monotheistic religions
> 	Surely you jest. Modern monotheism is not particularly  
> exclusive within the various groupings. The various Protestant faiths  
> are non-exclusive. Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans,  
> Anglican/Episcopalians, etc. are tolerant of one another.

Jumping at the Protestant example because it's the only one I have 
first-hand experience in:

The Cults are not exclusive at all. It's the same religion, the same 
deity. In Glorantha terms they are different forms of worship, like 
Malkioni sects, or different subcults, like Garzeen or Goldentongue 
Issaries worshippers.

In my experience it is impossible (or useless) to belong to more than 
one Protestant faith. If you're Lutheran, you are more than associated in 
Baptist faith. If you want e.g. to be married under their rites, either they 
label it Oecumenical (=associate initiate), or you have to "convert".

They _are_ exclusive even against similar faiths, like Jehova's witnesses, 
certain other sects wearing the label christian, and generally avoid contact 
with the other major christian faiths, Roman Catholics or Orthodox. The 
other world religions with partly the same tradition, Judaism and Islam, 
are excluded more.

They certainly are exclusive against other faiths with other deities, such 
as Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hinduists, Taoists, or Shintoists.

>> Another possible fudge would be to say that if one has a parent in a
>> "closely enough" (see previous hand-waving on this subject)  
>> associated cult, then this is good enough for a `free' initiation. 

> 	Or if your uncle or aunt or cousin was an initiate in the  
> proper cult, perhaps they could be your sponsor instead of your  
> parents. 

This takes me to another problem I have encountered in my campaign 
start-up. I have a Hendriki boy, son of a family of crafters, wanting 
to become a sailor. I told him to do so, he would have to go with his 
uncle who does the trading of his family's products, and via Issaries 
initiation (at home) and Dormal initiation (on board) he'd become a 
Holy Country sailor.

I still don't know what deity his parents worship. We said they were 
in the textile business, probably weaving the large amounts of excess 
wool the Hendriki produce for export. But a male Orlanthi, even if he 
is a town dweller, couldn't really be expected to worship a handmaiden 
of Ernalda (one of these would be the weaver) as primary deity.

So would his father and brother be Orlanth initiates (or Aeolian Malkioni), 
and as well initiates of this handmaiden, or what?

--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: Cults in Prax
Date: 12 Apr 94 20:01:49 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3611

Martin Crim replies to me in X-RQ-ID: 3601
>       Well, the reference you cite speaks of an army, not missionaries.  I'd
> just have to think that the missionaries had little success, given the
> statement that Praxians didn't have cult structures until after contact with
> the PHP.

It also speaks of the existence of the cult as such in Prax. If the army 
stayed there, so would have the cult, of Humakt as well as of the 
Lightbringers (who were invaders as well, and probably at the same time). 
It is stated that some outsiders among the Praxians worship Lightbringers 
or other foreign deities. If their worship spread into Prax, this time of 
active proselytizing seems most appropriate.

> As for the Paps, yes, these oasis people are useful to the
> Praxians, but that doesn't mean there's any osmosis of religious
> ideas/practices.

I don't see the Paps populace as the same nation as the Oasis people. 
To me they always had been close relatives of the beast riders, especially 
since the Waha Khans regularly marry Eiritha priestesses, both of the 
own herd, and of the Paps. Am I mistaken?

>>     The Uz from Dagori Inkarth knew cultic worship at least from the Dawn 
>> on. Another possible 1st Age influx of these practises.
>       Hum.  You gonna try to be like a troll?  

Good point. Still, the trolls had the edge in the best grazing grounds 
(the Bison Plains around Adari, and the Better Place), and to overcome 
their annoying magics, the Praxians are likely to have used whatever 
means suited them, such as using cultic magic. Especially the adaptive 
Sable people.

>       Seriously, I don't think the Praxians had any reason to think their
> religious structures needed changing until the PHP kicked their butts.  And
> if it ain't broke, don't cast Repair.

Is the example above not a good reason?

--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: (Henk Langeveld - Sun Nederland)
Subject: Re: anthropologizing
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 1994 20:56:40 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3612 (charles gregory fried) writes:

>Greg Fried here.

>Devin Cutler worries about Glorantha becoming too anthropologized.  Devin,
>you make your point clearly and it is well taken, but I simply disagree. 

>Anyway, I guess I really liked the Pamaltela issue -- I think it is one of
>the best examples of how Glroantha can inspire us to learn more about our
>world through GLorantha and NOT lose GLorantha.

>-- GF out.

I fully agree with your sentiments, Greg.

I've been an SF reader/fan foras long as I can remember
and quite early I subscribed to the school of thought that
nothing coming from the pen or typewriter of an author can
be as alien or different as anything which already exists
somewhere on this Earth.

Pretending otherwise is fooling yourself.

After having read Science Fiction for over fifteen years,
the first story (TV series/book) to actually display a really 
alien *and* credible culture was Clavell's Shogun.

Henk	|	Henk.Langeveld@Sun.COM - Disclaimer: I don't speak for Sun.
oK[]	|	My first law of computing: "NEVER make assumptions"


From: (Paul Reilly)
Subject: Re: Chariots,   Grazelanders
Message-ID: <>
Date: 12 Apr 94 21:05:19 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3613

  Paul Reilly here.

  David Dunham writes:
>Has anyone run across references to actual people (not gods) riding  

  Aren't there Chariot Races in Glamour?  In our Glamour chariots race on the
Grand Concourse, just inside the wall, and it is a very popular sport; there
are several circuses (=racetracks) as well.  I think there is some published 
reference that inspired this - can't think where.

  Later on the same thread David writes:

>There will of course be Orlanthi chariots somewhere in Ralios because I as

  The mythological references to Orlanth as chariot rider are very strong. 
Frankly I would have preferred it if they had stuck with the idea of a Bronze
Age Glorantha (I am enamoured of Earth's Bronze Age) and thus chariots would
be cutting edge military technology.  Perhaps I will have to run a campaign
in earlier Glorantha sometime.  Get rid of the medieval stuff.

>      Hunter-gatherer lifestyle has a carrying capacity of 0.1 person/km^2
  THis is OK
>    dry farming is 1-2 people/km^2
  Actually this is off by a factor of 10, if you are talking about arable 
land.  Do you mean rainfall supported farming here?  If so check population
densities for medieval Europe.
>    irrigation 6-12 people/km^2

  Uhh... no.  Ancient Egypt, for example, supported c. 7 million people on
perhaps 20,000 sq. km of arable land.  Consider rice paddies, or the Galilee
in ROman times etc.  Hundred of people per sq. km.  (Go look in an
encyclopedia for figures...)

  I still think 40,000 people is TOO MANY for a horse-riding upper class
in such a small area.  Horses eat a LOT, and there will be 4+ horses per
person of the riding class.  

  I am often tempted to change "kilometers" to "miles" on the maps, to
give a little more ROOM for things...

 - Paul
ps.  I just got to the 18,000 sq. km figure in David's post.  If this
is right, then things could work out - if the Grazelands is as lush as


From: (Paul Reilly)
Subject: Re: Krarshtkids
Message-ID: <>
Date: 12 Apr 94 21:14:54 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3614

  Paul, dropping into Gloranthan voice for a moment...

>	Clearly, krarshtkids are exceedingly clumsy on the ground,  
>Probably crawl about as effectively as june bugs on tile (scrabble,  
>scrabble). They're even  more clumsy when they try to attack. They  

  There speaks the man who hasn't fought one - those things are FAST, and
the legs are jointed so that they can reach ABOVE themselves.  They LEAP
at you, fast like a grasshopper, and spit pratzim ahead of themselves.
When they hit those legs latch onto you and drag you into the mouth.

  When they do walk it's still pretty fast - not at all clumsy.  And they
seem to 'see' in all directions.  They can sense right through a blind...

  That's just the workers, too - the Warriors can spear you with a leg and
pull you into their mouths.

  - Paul