Bell Digest v940425p2

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 25 Apr 1994, part 2
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Subject: Missing Dgests...
Message-ID: <>
Date: 24 Apr 94 12:03:22 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3788

6 7 8

Greetings All:

I'm slowly catching up on my reading (it has been a tough time at work, but
the overtime will be glorious when it finally hits my paycheck).

I seem to have not recevied Digests for 6, 7 and 8 of April. Would somebody
out there be able to mail these to me (if they were ever generated)?

Thanks much.

Fred Kiesche


Subject: Elves; polygamy; women warriors
Message-ID: <>
Date: 24 Apr 94 16:10:35 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3789

Re: Elf Sacred/Mundane Stuff
     I tossed out the idea of aldryami not preserving this split
the way humans do as a way to accentuate their alienness.  It
makes a lot of sense to me given the way the published sources
present the aldryami.  It has a couple of consequences. 
     Obviously, for aldryami PCs, it gives the player something
to wrap his or her head around, trying to get into character. 
     For aldryami society in general, it means that there is no
need for a whole class of rituals which humans use to ritually
enter and leave sacred space and time.  I see aldryami thinking
of the sacred as a continuum, along which they move smoothly from the "small"
to the "large," or from "distant" to "central." 
Whereas humans think of the sacred as separate from the mundane,
and those transitions are dangerous.

New thread: polygamy
     One thing left out of the Doraddi kinship stuff was
polygamy.  The Left Hand Path folks wouldn't have it, because
they can't afford it.  However, some of the Right Hand Path folks
could have it--at least their Terran analogues do.  
     Men with a lot of wealth can afford more than one wife. 
Women rarely have the kind of wealth and power needed to have
more than one husband, even if society allowed it.  Then there's
the double standard in adultery, which condemns women but not men who sleep
around.  Why is there this asymmetry, and what effect does it have on
RPG'ing?  We could just say, "that's the way it is," but it's more fun to get
deeper down toward the roots.
     Current research in what you could call "comparative
adultery" sheds some light on the more open forms of polygamy. 
Individuals in all kinds of animal species (including our own)
practice monogamy for its economic benefit.  When both parents
take part in the upbringing of children, the parents have higher
reproductive success (as measured by number of children who
themselves have children) than when only the mother takes part. 
However, both partners can improve their reproductive success by
a little judicious adultery with a partner who is more desirable
than their mate.  This also increases genetic diversity in their
offspring, hedging bets while still gaining the reproductive
advantage of monogamously raising a brood.  Thus, some species of
monogamous birds "cheat."  Reproductive success strategies
explain their sneaking around.
     The flip side of adultery is jealousy.  A man is jealous of
his wife because (on some level) he doesn't want to spend his
time, money, and effort to raise another man's sons.  A woman is
jealous of her husband because (on some level) she doesn't want
him to abandon her to run off with some other woman.  Both fears
are economic, but they are not symmetrical because of the biology
     Now to polygamy: if a woman is pretty sure that her husband
won't stop supporting her economically when he takes another
wife, she won't strongly object to it.  She'll want to be Number
One Wife, of course, for the social and economic power that
brings.  But having a junior co-wife can even be an advantage to
a woman, in some societies.  For one thing, it means your husband
is a big enough man to afford two wives.  I don't think there's
any argument about the advantages for the man.  
     But the mirror-image situation rarely occurs.  A man who let
his wife take another husband, even if there were no societal
cost to doing so, would lose reproductive success.  He'd never
know if his wife's child was his or not.  In a matrilineal
society (like Esrolia), it could happen, because the man
(theoretically) doesn't care about his wife's children.  The
advantages for the woman are purely economic (extra help in the
fields), since she can't have more than one baby at a time.
     Now, I'm not a member of the Chicago school of economics,
which treats these descriptions of economic reality as part of a
prescription for maximum efficiency.  But you ignore economics
and socio-biology at your own peril.
     So, anyway.  In Fonrit, rich men take as many wives as they
can afford.  This is because the economics in Fonrit make great
disparities of wealth possible, and even encourage the collection
of wealth.  
     In Jolar, where chiefs have to be generous, a chief with two
wives might be common, but a chief with more than two might be
thought of as selfish and greedy.  A young chief might take a
young wife as second wife under his older first wife.  An older
chief might have two young wives, or wives of different ages.
     Polygamy makes it easier to ensure having a male heir, thus
avoiding the Henry VIII problem.  However, it means you have a
bunch of squabbling half-brothers.  Thus, much of the politics in
Fonrit revolves around which of the Jann's wives is in favor this
week (and therefore which son is in the ascendancy).  Regional
politics are also affected.  If the wife in favor is from Sarro,
for example, everybody at court who is from Sarro is riding high.
     In societies with open polygyny (more than one wife), you
get a large class of men with no sexual partners.  You also get
this in a society where men marry late in their twenties, when
they can afford it.  If you have both polygyny and late marriage,
you get a lot of it.  Two things happen: adultery and
prostitution.  Need I say "plot ideas"?  
     Prostitution is a form of polyandry (more than one husband)
where the "husband's" economic input is purely impersonal (money
or its equivalent), rather than in time and energy with the kids. 
(Some modern marriages are like this, too.)  
     The Uleria cult in Glorantha puts a twist on this.  I think
Ulerians have children about as often as other women in their
society, making no special effort to avoid or terminate
pregnancy.  This is because their social status is sufficient for
them to raise their children without (much) stigma.  It's still a
problem in patriarchal societies, especially for the boys,
because they really need their fathers.  However, the Ulerians
have ceremonies to let a man adopt a Ulerian's son, and to give
him entry into the men's secrets.  Or (as in our world), the
Ulerian might retire and get married the normal way.

Re: warrior women
     The Washington Post today had an article about the Silver
Bullets, the women's baseball team sponsored by Coor's Brewery. 
Like it or not, the best women athletes can't beat mediocre men's
athletes.  The Silver Bullets tied the Austrian national team
(baseball normally doesn't have ties; the game was called when
the audience left) and lost to a team of major league old timers.
      So warrior women in Glorantha are going to have to fight
using some strategies other than brute strength.  RQ doesn't make
strength everything, but it does count.  Bows are good idea;
fighting from a mount is another (think Unicorn Women). 
     But what about your average Babeester Gori temple guard?  (I
assume she is of normal woman STR and SIZ, not on the heroic
scale.)  Axes require brute force to use, and the more force, the
better.  BG Divine Magic is gross, much grosser than Humakt's or
Zorak Zoran's, and I think they need it, given biological
reality.  But Divine Magic is not going to be an option in every
     I think BG and other warrior women must use magic much more
than male warriors.  Every smart BG warrior walks next door to
the Ernalda temple for some Shimmer, or to the Asrelia shrine for
Protection.  Intimidation works well, too.  I'd give a bonus on a
BG's attempt to Demoralize a male foe if her axe is
appropriately, ah, decorated.  BG doesn't give access to any
arrow magics, however, and I think that's a major disadvantage.  



Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Sat, 23 Apr 1994, part 3
Message-ID: <>
Date: 24 Apr 94 16:45:31 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3790

  Uhh...  Martin.

  Expect to get flamed for this section:

> especially since the U.S.A. is the only country that even
>tries to adhere to the laws of civilized warfare (which is not as
>oxymoronic as it sounds).  (How many other countries have ever
>tried their own officers for war crimes?)

  There are a lot of Europeans on the Digest - including a bunch from
countries who meet your parenthesized criterion.

  Oh, what is your source for the Laws of Malkion?  I have never seen these
published, as far as I know.

 - paul reilly


Subject: Tricky Initiation.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 24 Apr 94 17:25:59 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3791

John H:

> My second point is that initiation (sometimes quite literally) 
> scares or sears a new way of thinking, a new set of symbolic 
> orientations (religious or moral ideas) into your head. Because of 
> this, religious symbols ALWAYS take their part, whether or not 
> the initiation is overtly cultic. (Our own society is one of the few 
> on either world where one can realistically separate religion and 
> community).

> Some netters have argued that you can be an adult without being initiated.

Not quite.  Rather, some of us are unconvincded that clan initiation and
religious initiation are either: the same thing; or: a job lot.

Why you describe above (rather well) is what I would call a clan
(/tribal/cultural whatever) initiation.  Everyone seems in agreement
that almost all Gloranthan socities have such a custom, and that it
is a requirement for adulthood.

What John doesn't address, and what the daggers are out concerning,
is the role of _religious_ initiation in becoming an adult.  Now, for
some cultures, frinst the Pentan (Sun) tribes, they seem to be the same.
Stages of Initiation and stages of age and rank are in one-to-one
correspondance.  But is this true of more religiously diverse social
structures, such as an Orlanthi clan?  I don't believe so.

> My second point is that initiation (sometimes quite literally) 
> scares or sears a new way of thinking, a new set of symbolic 
> orientations (religious or moral ideas) into your head. Because of 
> this, religious symbols ALWAYS take their part, whether or not 
> the initiation is overtly cultic.

This isn't to say it need be a religious initiation, per se, in the sense
of commiting someone to worship the god(s) invoked in the process.  The
proposal for pantheon initiation seemed to me to be an over-literal
interpretation of "Adulthood Initiation", involving bolting some of the
existing mechanics for (cultic) initiation onto a quick hack to finesse
qualifying for, or commiting to, a single god, simply so we can describe
full clan members as religious initiates.  Why bother?

> So... the 'non-abstracted interpreted-interaction heroquest-
> transformation low initiate pantheon initiation' faction? Am I a 
> party of one?

For flaming purposes you're hereby lumped in with Joerg, et al. }B-)

Martin C:
> Re: Discovered Tricksters
> Greg Stafford's answer appears in the booklet coming from David
> Cheng (flogged in X-RQ-ID: 3689).  It is not much like those
> proposed here.  In short, a trickster needs a powerful patron to
> keep people from lynching him.

I don't believe all Tricksters have patrons: those that don't risk
getting lynched (Greg says this in KoS, I think), but when was it ever
a sane career option?

> Wouldn't quote marks be easier?

Gah.  I hate quote marks, they get even more confusing.

> At the risk of irritating people by referring to non-published
> sources, let me point out that some expansion of the "murderer"
> aspect exists in print, and one day may be published.

There does?  What more is there to say about it?

> But, if you look at page 71 of GoG, you'll see "Strike (Murderer
> aspect)."  And on page 70, "a murderer" is listed as one of his
> "shapes."

We know.  The issue isn't: "Is Murderer an aspect of Trickster?" but
"Is Murderer an aspect of _Eurmal_."

> Re: Malkioni as analogues of Christianity or Islam
> Consider:


It's very unclear what you mean by "Ancient" Christianty here: your
answers (mostly deleted herein) don't seem consistent for any one period.

> Theology:
> Trinity (some say all    single high god     single high god
> equal, others not)

The Trinity isn't an `Early', or `Biblical concept'.  Not all latter-day
Christians believe in it either.

> church/state relations:
> separate                 unity          unity

Christianity has been a `state' religion (off and on) since its adoption
by the Roman Empire.

> I see as much similarity between Malkionism and Islam as between
> Malkionism and Christianity.  

All the "???"s in your Malkionism column speak volumes: lacking a basis
for direct comparison in many cases, there's lots of room for interpretation.



From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: Your scheduled Initiation pedantry,
Message-ID: <>
Date: 24 Apr 94 21:48:21 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3792

> Alex e.g. in X-RQ-ID: 3702

> Associate worship is ok with me if there is one overpowering deity and 
> a bunch of associates, as seems to be the case with Pamalt. It fails to 
> work when the side cuts develop a dynamic of their own, and a character 
> who rightfully would worship both aspects because of his position in 
> the world is punished rules-wise by having to spend double amount of 
> time and income.

Twice the gain, twice the pain, say I.  If two deities are worshipped
together in an area a great deal, I think you have a point.  Some local
hack would be likely to  `fix' this, I think.  But if someone is doing
this for purely personal predilictions, more fool him.

> The system breaks down in societies which demand specialisation, i.e. urban 
> societies.

Why?  I don't see this is the case at all.  More specialised roles surely
implies more specialised worship, not more general worship.

> > I'm not sure how far this is true in Glorantha, apart
> > from Gods which are effectively unreachable by worship.

> Neither is Arachne Solara directly worshipped (her only priestess I ever 
> encountered in sources was Deezola).

Arachne Solara is in the `unreachable' category, I believe.

> > My own suspicion would be that
> > they're not as heavily Malkionised as this: the Henotheistic Church
> > doubtless has something not unlike this structure.  (To wit, having
> > theistic entities as Saints.)

> They somewhat categorize their saints; Barntar is a divine saint, Harmast 
> Barefoot is a mere saint.

My own hunch about  Heortland would have the Malkion and theist aspects
of worship a bit more separate than this.  The Malkioni influence is
fairly recent, and likely to be most evident in the upper echelons.
(Cf. Norman Britain.)  Hence, I'd guess the peasntry would worship
Barntar _qua_ Barntar, Orlanth, Ernalda, with only token Western influences,
while the nobility (and social climbers) would consider them saints, or
ignore them.

> a regular Orlanth (Adventurous) initiate

Hmm.  Another candidate for the Americanisation Test, Inquisitor. }B-)

> [...] who was ministered as well by the Aeolian 
> priesthood. Even the son of the Sun Dome Templar took part, although he 
> completed his Yelmalio initiation with a pilgrimage to the Sartar Sun 
> Dome temple to receive his gift and geasa.

> All these are somehow associates of the Church.

Perhaps this is sorta more "theist-flavoured" than the "usual" henothesist
religions of Ralios.  Do you invisage this distinction, too, or do you see
Heortland and the other "Stygians" as being similar?

> You become associate initiate member of the church either by joining as 
> a youth, but not taking any patron saint/deity, with a _very_ limited choice 
> of low sorcery and special divine spells, or by being an intiate in one 
> of the theistic cults included as saints, see above.

Right.  Isn't this what we were calling Low Initiation, before?  Sounds
like it.  (Mind you, your term is not without logic.)

> Hmm. The ordinary Sartarite will come from a clan which worships one or 
> two preferred deities of the Orlanth Array directly, and the rest as 
> associates.

I think most worship more than two, and even if not, it's still a
significantly different circumstance than a henotheistic situation,
where for _everyone_ the IG is by the fundemental tenet of the religion
the prime figure.

> [...] the Vantaros and Tovtaros tribes of the 
> Alda-churi seem to have disposed of Orlanth as a positive figure in 
> their myths and have Yelmalio as their main male deity (according to my 
> impression from David Hall's article in the RQ-Con booklet).

My understanding is that this is something that the leadership (Ironfist
and cronies) is trying to impose, not necessarily the situation on the

> > I still wanna know why everyone is so convinced one can't become an adult
> > without becoming (some kind of) religious initiation.

Joerg quotes lots off stuff we've raked over before, much of which
I'd previously quoted myself, and none of which actually supports his case.
His emphasis deleted, and mine added.  (Dirty trick, I know. )

> RQ3 DeLuxe, Magic Book, p.23
> "In regions where gods are worshiped, every _responsible or respectable_
> adult will be an initiate of a religion."
> RQ3 DeLuxe, Magic Book, p.24
> "In communities practicing religions, it is a _traditional sign_ of 
> adulthood to become an initiate of the appropriate religion or cult" 
> KoS p.245
> "Initiates in any cult of the pantheon are the next level. This 
> includes _almost_ every Orlanthi adult."
> KoS p.251
> "He [the _chieftain_] must be initiated to the clan secrets of Orlanth"

> KoS p.239
> "Children become adults after a formal initiation ceremony"
> This is to the Clan Secrets, including one's ancestors, and _is_ 
> religious in nature, although not necessarily cultic.

Sez who?  What do we mean by `religious', anyway?  I think you're all
too hung up on some subconscious reflex association of the form, "Ah, it
says "Initiation" here, therefore we gotta sack a pointa POW to, err,

> > I dislike the idea of Voriof simply being
> > a `generic stage' deity: I'm sure he has a distinct cult of his own.  After
> > all, Voria does, albeit a non-standard and wimpy one.

> I agree with this. There surely are a lot of Cottar adult initiates of 
> Voriof in his shepherd aspect. There might be as well an aspect 
> "Orlanth the Youth", possibly closely linked to the Yinkin cult, but 
> that's not documented anywhere, so I chose "Voriof" to describe the 
> boys who had their communion but not their initiation.

I'm mildly confused, are we speaking of things Aeolian, or (say) Sartarite
here?  Insert, respectively, acquiescence or blustering rebuttal according
to your answer.

> >> This stage of 
> >> Low initiation is not restricted to one deity only, though, and a 
> >> crafter's proto-apprentice would be considered a "Voriof initiate" as 
> >> expression of his age group in the pantheon, even if already an advanced 
> >> lay member of Gustbran. 

> > I disagree, vehemently, vociferously, and I've-gone-over-my-reasons-for-
> > doing-so-ly.

> Why? 

Why would someone be considered a "Voriof initiate", when they don't worship
Voriof, and they're not an initiate in any previously known sense?  What
is the need for such a status, other than a (spurious, in my view) analogy
with the structure of (say) the Yelm cult?  What do we "need" Low Initiation
for anyway, other than filling the requirement (which I don't think is at
all absolute) for Adults to be Initiates, which is in any case inapplicable
here as we're speaking of non-Adults?

Surely any Orlanthi would call this person an "Apprentice [bone|red]smith",
or an "Apprentice to Gustbran", or some other such comparatively non-God
Learnerish term?

> How many sheep do you expect to be kept within a town of little over 
> 200 houses, say the size of Runegate, or Jaransbyrig (my campaign 
> setting)?

Why do you ask this?  Whadya mean?  I'm not for a moment suggesting every
teenage boy is a full-time shepherd.

> Jaransbyrig is too small to have its own city god,

Oh?  I'm inclined to think all settlements, however small, can have
a communal spirit of some kind.

> so this option as low initiation status remains out.

Perhaps our essential disagreement is that you're looking for a handy
theistic peg to hang the idea of "Low Initiation" on, while I'm trying
to stamp it out, ruthlessly. ;-/  And aren't you using the term Low
Initiation in a confusingly different way again?

> Voriof seems to be the logical solution, even if it leads to the 
> situation descrbed above.

I don't think I follow your drift.  Are you suggesting that because
Voriof "must" be worshipped, and there are too few people who'd be
full-time shepherds, adolescents would be "co-opted" to make up the

> This reminds me of a question I have concerning moons in/over 
> Glorantha: in what way are they different from planets?

Probably very little.  Perhaps mainly whether they are associated with
"Lunar" cult, which is circular-sounding logic, I confess.

> The reason I 
> ask is that I have seen a source which titles the Southpath planets 
> Tolat and Artia (or at least similar-sounding names) as moons.

Very weird.  In terran terms, they are the text-book examples of
planets, moreso than the Sunpath ones.  (ie, they "wander" from the
path of the sun.)

> Third 
> Age Glorantha offers two moons with virtually nothing in common which 
> tells them apart from planets.

Perhaps in Glorantha, "planets" are things with follow the route of the
sun, and "moons" are other objects with visible disks.  Hence, "Southpath
planets" are borderline between being planets, and `not-planets', to wit,

> While I'm stargazing: In GRoY Dendara is mentioned as a planetary 
> deity, along with the various sons of Yelm and other worthies (like 
> Lokarnos).

I'm guessing the Pelorian "Lokarnos" planet is the Theyalan "Mastakos."
Dendara left me confused too, I have to admit.

> Does Yelm draw a whole bunch of minor planets along on his path across the
> sky, obscured by his fiery presence?

Seemingly there were only three at the Dawn.  But which?  I dunno.