Bell Digest v940415p2

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Fri, 15 Apr 1994, part 2
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From: (Jonas Schiott)
Subject: The Trickster(s)
Message-ID: <>
Date: 14 Apr 94 23:04:44 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3639

In the daily for Wed, April 12, Alex Ferguson brings up the problem of
Trickster aspects:

>> Bolongo: the local trickster sect. He only provides a very few  
>> spells, and his worshipers are pitied, but not necessarily tolerated.

>Does this follow the same pattern as `generic' (GoG) pattern of Trickster
>worship?  Anyone have good guesses as to which aspects are associated with
>Bolongo?  (Or come to that, with Eurmal, or with Rakenveg.  I hereby bet
>my house Firebringer is (most usually) a Eurmal aspect, and Borotory should
>be compulsory for all Tricksters. )

I'm not sure, off the top of my head, what source Alex is quoting from, but
both it and he seem to be mixing up pragmatic and mythical issues.

GoG states unequivocally that any Trickster worshipper can get spells from
any shrine. This is the pragmatic side of things, and to me, it looks like
strong evidence that Trickster is One. Of course, there is also the
confusing statement about different "Trickster-type deities" combining
different aspects. I interpret this as a comment on the differing
mythologies of various pantheons, e.g. Bolongo is normally associated with
certain acts in the Pamaltelan myths and so will be seen as personifying a
limited range of aspects. But a Bolongo worshipper visiting a Eurmal shrine
can still learn the spell. I don't know what justification they have for
this - perhaps worshippers of the Trickster have fewer illusions about His
(Its?) limitations than the 'squares' do. It will certainly never be a
problem for a Eurmalite; the Eurmal myths seem to encompass just about
every aspect (except maybe Murderer), and an orlanthi trickster travelling
abroad would probably just think "Hmm, they seem to have a different name
for Eurmal around here".

Of course, there is one practical effect of the aspect thing: it would seem
to affect the geographic distribution of shrines, i.e. in an
orlanthi-dominated region there would probably not be any shrines dedicated
to non-Eurmal aspects (though it's unclear which they would be - in this
respect Alex' question is very relevant).

Please excuse me for rambling on so - I have a soft spot for Tricksters.
But enough trickery for now.



From: (Andre de Oliveira Fernandes)
Subject: Bad Boys running wild!
Message-ID: <>
Date: 14 Apr 94 14:57:03 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3640

Pual Reilly:
>lately?  I have friends in prison, and intra-group rape DOES seem to
>be a way to express dominance among human males (...)
Sandy P. :
>	I have had friends in prison myself, and I disagree with this  
>statement. I think that rape among humans expresses hostility, not 

	Huh, I should have heard the priest at the TV and stayed away from
RPGs. You guys are pretty bad company. Amem.


Subject: Spirit Magic Casting Chance
Message-ID: <9404141536.AA03420@Sun.COM>
Date: 14 Apr 94 15:32:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3641

Ref: X-RQ-ID: 3604 (Devin Cutler)

Devin points out that RQ supplements need better proof reading (non argument).
However he then goes on to state that the RQ3 chance of casting Spirit Magic 
is POW*5 + Magic Bonus - ENC.  This is not the way I play it (no Magic Bonus) 
but since I keep quite a few bits of RQ2 in my play to cover up the obvious 
holes in RQ3 I did not comment immediately.  

Finally I got round to looking in the RQ3 magic book and sure enough the 
casting chance for spirit magic is POW*5 - ENC; the magic bonus is not 
mentioned and the text implies that this is the complete formula.  I think 
that this was on page 16 or thereabouts.  Also divine magic is 100 - ENC.  
Only in sorcery and ritual magic is the magic bonus included (as it would 
have to be with the casting chance for spells starting at d6% - ENC.  

Note the reason why sorcerors must have at least +10% magic bonus is to 
allow apprentices to be able to cast one 1 pt. spell per day!  Remember 
that a typical set of clothes is about 3 ENC and this is subtracted from 
a d6 roll!  Thus any sorceror starting to learn a new spell is down to 
his magic bonus (or less) as a casting chance.  Thus he can cast a number 
of 1 point spells per day equal to his POW.  (Actually it does not effect 
things that much if he tries to cast higher versions of the spell, unless 
he fumbles).  I rather like the idea of apprentice wizards having to strip 
off their robes in order to cast spells, especially in the stuffier churches 
such as the Rokari.  



From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: The theist scam?
Date: 14 Apr 94 15:43:34 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3642

Guy Robinson in X-RQ-ID: 3624

> Due to the social and non-magical ecologicial forces at work I am
> not convinced that in a more violent world the war Cults would
> soak up most of the initiates.  A society can only support so many
> warriors.  Reducing the number of Bless Crops available could
> mean a disaster and famine, paving the way for a terrible famine
> after a military victory. 

Just like "Nobody will throw the bomb, as they think of the 
consequences"? Famine after an extended period of war seems to be 
the rule.

>> 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.

I think this example is scoring a point against the "Rune Power" system. 
David Cheng, what do you say?

> I think the there are softer options than trying to convert from
> Zorak Zoran to Flamal, although this is a very impressive extreme
> I must admit.  I would suggest that people would more tend to
> subscribe to Orlanth in times of war with a mind to convert to
> member of his pantheon when the conflict is over.

Looking at the admirable collection of Orlanth's spirits of retribution, 
I doubt anyone will even think about converting. They'd rather join a 
second (third, etc) friendly cult.

> Joining Orlanth on the other hand would be a sign of loyalty to
> the Orlanthi life-style, and conversion to other associated
> cults could almost be a common feature of peace-time celebrations.

The examples in published material rarely mention voluntary departure 
from a cult. The king of the Bilini in CoT ended up in so many cults that 
his income must have gone to the cults almost fully.

> The same applies to the Cults.  I think the mix and relative importance
> of any cults would, over time, reflect the required degrees of
> specialization needed.  More worship would go to the Gods whose
> services where needed and the power of that Cult would grow.

There are examples of cults which allow both fertility and death functions 
(mainly Orlanth and Lodril), and such which demand a permanent change, 
like Gorgorma. Both Lodril and Gorgorma are feared by Dara Happan 
nobility for the effects they may produce in a revolt, but Lodril seconds 
as the worker god, so is tolerated. After all, when the Lodril rebels get 
what they asked for, they become tranquil again; Dendara worshippers 
changing to Gorgorma are lost forever, and may only be sold as slaves to 
unsuspecting customers. Yet Gorgorma becomes popular in times of trouble. 
Few people let themselves be abhorred by a a strange old man's liver 
diseases when enjoying their drinks.

> Individuals would be affected by social pressure.  Even though the
> Orlanthi are Hill Barbarians it does not means that their
> culture is unsubtle.  In fact I could argue that society bound
> together by social interactions can be far more flexible than one
> which allots people their role through a distant, or inflexible,
> authority.

Such as a feudal system? Then look at the Hrestoli, and go find me a more 
flexible society than theirs.

> Now in the voice I have been arguing in previously this is clearly a
> Malkioni smoke screen based on the genesis of their own God.  After
> all where is Jogrampur now?  (This is a rhetorical question :-)

Which I'll answer nonetheless. I think he's still worshipped in 
coastal Vralos, on Pamaltela, although the Silence wars did destroy 
a lot of that civilisation.

> As a RuneQuest referee I know that as Cult can grow in power
> from an the inauspicious start of an alledged encounter with a 
> powerfull spirit by a soltairy shaman (RQ2, Black Fang 
> Brotherhood) therefore it also follows that a cult can also
> be fabricated.  The point that the God Learners choose cults
> shows that this approach must have advantages over sorcery.

The God Learners were hypocrites who first invented the different 
magical approaches, only to use all of them.

But there are a lot of cults starting out as scams, pardon, results of 
creative heroquesting.

> In discussing Sorcery Joerg also provides some meat to put
> on the bones of my Invisible God is Scam suggestion: 

>> 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.

> This the very thing I am trying to draw attention to.  If the Cult 
> strengthens the God it is focused on then I suspect that the 
> Malikoni religion strengthens only the magical activities of the
> Sorcerer.

Not any more than the priest who gets personal POW gains for leading a 
service on a high holy day. The sorcerer won't get these.

> Exactly.  The Cults specialise but their specialization is enforced
> by spirits of reprisal and other methods like excommunication.  Priests
> are commonly invested only after a rigourous, magic-assisted grooming
> process while in some Western cultures you can be born a Wizard.

Such as in certain Orlanthi cultures you can be born a king. A King is 
on many occasions the High Priest of his nation, e.g. in the Sacred 
Marriage which renews the bond of the people to the Earth, and ensures 
the low level fertility rites will succeed.

And while you are born into the wizard caste in Rokari society, there 
is nothing to insure you will reach your apprenticehood, or finish it 
alive. Being born into the wizard caste makes you eligible as a wizard, 
but does not make you a sorcerer.

> A specialised society of Wizards could be as defensive as the
> Maginot (sp?) line was for the French when the Germans came from
> another direction.  After some retraining a rebel core of Wizards
> could attempt to destabilise a Sorcerous society, murdering the 
> Combat specialists in an unexpected manner and replacing them as
> the main wielders of sorcerous combat spells.

The Carmanians had a problem the other way round when they settled 
in Peloria: Syranthir's warhost had brought mostly military wizards, so 
fertility magic was extremely hard to get. Yet they managed, and built 
one of the greatest empires in Gloranthan history.

A rebel core of wizards has a much better tool than murder. The 
wizards are clerically invested, so all they need to do is call for 
a synod, and declare all who disagree as heretics. Provided they 
aren't receiving an anathema first...

> Unless the inventor of the name is proficient with linguistic 
> principles there is no way by which I can recognise whether a 
> specific name is from the West of Genertalia or from Dragon 
> Pass in Central Genertalia.

Writing Genertela the way you do (disregarding one of the few linguistic 
features found in Gloranthan languages, the "-ela" suffix for a country), 
I doubt you'd see the principle if there was one ;-)
--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: (Brian Dickinson)
Subject: Tricksters and Eurmal
Message-ID: <9404141550.AA12044@server_a.YP.stevadoma>
Date: 14 Apr 94 15:50:26 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3643 writes:
>     Chaosium has an unpublished Eurmal/Trickster write-up that
>gives the distributions of the various aspects.  When they said
>"well-travelled" in GoG, they meant _really_well_travelled_. 
>Some of the aspects are only worshiped in two regions of
>Glorantha.  I don't want to get into trouble by saying more, but
>maybe Someone In Charge will publish this in some magazine ...
>Codex, maybe?

Yes please!! I've been trying to get information on Eurmal for some
time, without any success. Does anyone know of any other sources of
Eurmal info??

I'm also confused by the use of the name "trickster" for both
Eurmal cultists and Nysalor Illuminates. Does this imply that
Eurmal initiates are commonly thought of as illuminated!
One of the lightbringers chaotic? surely not! - unless this is 
one of Eurmals more spectacular jokes!

Also what is Eurmals relationship to illusions. A recent TOTRM
(not to hand unfortunately) had a Eurmal/trickster (again trickster?)
hero with illusion magics. I had the feeling that illusions were from
some other source - I first remember seeing them in Questworld (Lord
Skydds(?) Manor).

Can someone enlighten (illuminate?) me?




From: (Paul Reilly)
Subject: Re: Rape, Murder
Message-ID: <>
Date: 14 Apr 94 16:26:31 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3644

 Sandy writes:

>statement. I think that rape among humans expresses hostility, not  
>dominance. Among animals that perform dominance "rape" (at least  

  Good point, but I think it represents a mix of dominance and hostility.
Especially when you look at date rape & seduction (in the Latinate sense
of the word).  Certainly the idea of 'scoring' seems to be based on

>The lower-ranked animal sometimes even invites the  
>superior to mount, to demonstrate friendliness and subservience. This  
>is NOT the case among humans. 

  Hmm.  Perhaps not the case among Americans.  How about ancient Persia?
Human culture is surprisingly elastic, and while I do think humans have
instincts, a given instinctive behavior may be suppressed in one culture
and encouraged in another.

  Sandy wrote:

>>Most faiths on Earth proclaim similar acts as "good", from Muslim to  

  I replied:

>Like when Yahweh orders the Jews to kill all the Canaanites in a  
>town, sparing neither the women and children nor the domestic  
>Or when the Moslems exploded across the world, killing any (apart, 

>theoretically, from Peoples of the Book) who would not convert?

  Sandy replied

>Let's not start a pro/anti-religion thread in the Daily, huh?
>	In any case, your examples are pitifully bad. When's the last  
>time the Jews killed all the population of a town? And though lots of  

  During the Iron Age, the period supposedly most like Glorantha.  I find
my 'pitifully bad' examples drawn from Iron Age and 7th-8th century AD
religions more pertinent than your apparent desire to model Gloranthan
religion on 'nice' 20th century religions.  In any case you say "Most
religions"  exhort the same kind of 'good' behavior.  I think many, many,
religions exhorted behaviors that other religions would NOT recognize
as 'good'.  Compare Jainism and Aztec religion for an extreme example.
Or modern Christianity's view of the Crusades or the Inquisition - and
modern Christianity is a lineal descendant of those.

  Since my examples are pitifully bad, let me give some more:
  Xipe Totec worship
  Iroquois False Face Society
  The religion of the Mae Enga, prescribing warfare and revenge
  Early Christianity -renounce all violence
  The Sikhs - all must go armed
  The religion of the Yanomamo.

  OK, Sandy, what are the acts recognized as good by the majority of the
above religions? Or pick any ten relatively unrelated religions and
boil down their ethics to a set of 'good' behavior.  I am ready to be
>	I consider this thread closed unless you can find me an  
>example of a large-scale religion that thinks it's good to rob and  
>kill on an everyday basis, w/o special permission from God. 

  Does it have to be a modern religion?  And are people outside the
in-group considered human?  If not, consider:

  The Roman National religion - killing people or taking them as slaves and
stealing their stuff was considered virtuous - you got a Triumph for it,
and the more booty you brought (including slaves) the more honored you would

  The Aztec religions - examples unnecessary, I hope.  Millions of
people followed this religion.

  10th century BC Judaism - towards non-Jews

  I could go on, but I won't for now.  However if Sandy wants to restrict
humanity to the in-group (extended tribe) of whatever the religion in
question is, I could agree with him.

  - Paul

guys were killed by the Moslems, they did not kill everyone who  
failed to convert, though non-Moslems had to pay extra taxes. 


From: (Colin Watson)
Subject: In defence of Lunar sorcerers
Message-ID: <9404141636.AA03824@condor>
Date: 14 Apr 94 16:36:47 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3645

>[...] Lunar sorcerers, whom I believe are mostly Bad Guys (this  
>despite the fact that I am, in general, a Lunar simp). First off, the  
>basic culture of Peloria is a theistic one. Hence, someone who  
>becomes a sorcerer and thus abandons his Solar roots is almost  
>certainly doing so for selfish, power-gaining reasons,

I don't buy this. Ok, so a freethinking individual chooses not to tow the
cultural line - does that make them a Bad Person? I don't think so. (Certainly
not in the real world; tho there might be some argument for this in
Glorantha's non-evolutionary, mythic setting: Conform or suffer the fate of
the GodLearners?)
Besides, sorcery is hard work. If you want to further selfish, power-gaining
ends then the easy way is to join an established Lunar/Solar cult and get
upwardly mobile. I think corrupt cultists are much more common than evil
Someone choosing sorcery *against* the cultural norm is likely to need
stronger motivations that personal worldly gain IMHO.

>Second, the exceptions to this, wizards from the sorcery-using culture of the  
>Carmanians, are Bad Guys anyway, because the Carmanians in general  
>are not very nice people.

I'm curious, is this a Relative judgement or absolute statement? ;-)
Could any culture survive if every member was No Good? I'm reluctant to tar
all Carmanians with the same black brush.

>Third, Lunar sorcerers tend to be dabblers in Chaos.

Ok, *some* experiment with Chaos; and maybe a few of those are unprofessional
enough to be influenced by it to their detriment. Such cases are likely to
be publicised 'cos it makes for a good story. But in general I think Chaos-
tainted sorcerers would be in the minority. They're smart enough to know the

>The end result: the stereotypic  
>Lunar sorcerer is a friendless, cold-blooded, sociopath using  
>unnatural chaos powers. I suspect most Lunars dislike these guys, let  
>alone Theyalans.

This may be true, but I don't believe the stereotype you depict would be
as common as you imply.



Subject: Jewish Massacres; Hyena-Broos
Message-ID: <>
Date: 15 Apr 94 02:24:14 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3647

Sandy asks:
>When's the last time the Jews killed all the population of a
     Answer: 1948.  During the Israeli war of independence,
Jewish terrorists (including former prime minister Menachem
Begin) massacred the inhabitants of two Arab towns.  Even pro-
Israeli histories of the war admit this.  
     Next question?

Jeff Johnson makes a pertinent point about broos and hyenas. 
Left unsaid was another bit of trivia even more pertinent: for
centuries, everyone thought that all hyenas were male.



Subject: Rape
Message-ID: <>
Date: 16 Apr 94 00:51:10 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3648

Paul Reilly sez: 
>I hate to take issue with Sandy, but:  Have you checked out a prison
>lately?  I have friends in prison, and intra-group rape DOES seem to
>be a way to express dominance among human males

Sandy replies:
>       I have had friends in prison myself, and I disagree with this  
>statement. I think that rape among humans expresses hostility, not  

According to what I have read and heard on the subject, rape among humans is
often an expression of BOTH hostility and dominance.  

>Among animals that perform dominance "rape" (at least  
>mounting), the animals are able to maintain a friendly relationship  
>with one another. The lower-ranked animal sometimes even invites the  
>superior to mount, to demonstrate friendliness and subservience. This  
>is NOT the case among humans.

But "she was asking for it" is often a defense in rape trials...


From: (David Dunham)
Subject: names & thanes
Message-ID: <>
Date: 15 Apr 94 05:25:11 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3649

Guy Robinson said
>Unless the inventor of the name is proficient with linguistic 
>principles there is no way by which I can recognise whether a 
>specific name is from the West of Genertalia or from Dragon 
>Pass in Central Genertalia.

Genertela. "-ela" is a Gloranthan suffix for "land of." This unfortunately
is one of the few linguistic rules you can derive -- Greg is NOT a
linguist. I think that's your real complaint, not that they're fantasy
names, but that they all sound good to Greg but don't have any linguistic
consistency. He's gotten a little better in King of Sartar, at least.

Another linguistic problem: the word "thane." In Pagan Shore, thane is
essentially a clan chieftain. In the Orlanth writeup in Heroes I.4, anyone
in the Orlanth Rex subcult (which includes tribal council members on
council business) is called thane. But in King of Sartar, the rank is
broadly defined to any sort of leadership role: heads of household, godi,
leading merchants, and members of the clan council  [243] (does this mean
the Trickster member is automatically a thane?). And it's listed as an
occupation [246].

And of course there's Elmal the Loyal Thane, obviously this third meaning.
So Greg not only Gregged Yelmalio, he Gregged Orlanth Rex.

Has anyone dealt with this in their Orlanthi campaigns?