Bell Digest v940505p3

From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RQ Digest Maintainer)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Reply-To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RuneQuest Daily)
Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Thu, 05 May 1994, part 3
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Subject: Various stuff
Message-ID: <>
Date: 5 May 94 04:10:42 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3912

Hi folks!
Sorry I've been gone so long.  Had LOTS of various family stuff to do.  
So, I apologize if the first part of this post goes back a bit to an old 
topic that I just want to finish up.
Let me also apologize to all the folks who have had problems reading my 
postings.  I did not realize tha
t they were such a problem, and will from 
now on follow Bryan J. Maloney's advice to make them easier for all to 
deal with.  Bryan, thank you for pointing the problem out, and (most 
importantly) for being able to suggest a solution!  :-)

way back when Bryan also stated (on my ideas regarding Glorantha and
>I find what Peter has posted to be interesting, and worthy of further 
>investigation if not acceptance on the face of it (nothing is acceptable on 
>the face of it, by the way).

The only thing I accept at face value is my own beard, even that I shave 
off every once in a while.  ;

I'm glad you find it interesting and worthy of further investigation.  
That's a
ll I was really hoping for by bringing up the subject.  

I'd like to hear other people's stories about the Heroplane and how they 
make sense of it in relation to Glorantha.  My story currently is that it is
stage upon which the stories that socially construct  Glorantha are played 
out.  But this 
is just one story, one way to think about the Heroplane.  
Another story, such as Colin's, is just fine too.  I think that in a place as

obviously constructivist (to me, anyway) as Glorantha, ALL these stories 
could be the way a GM might concieve of the Heroplane at different 
times.  It would all depend on what the GM wanted to do with the 
Heroplane at the time.  Colin uses the metaphore of Arachne
web of his Heroplane.  To me, it's ALL a metaphore, it's all a story.  Al
l of  
the Heroplane is just stories!  BUT, (and here's the important piece) these 
stories, these metaphores, these myths, are what create the experienced 
reality of the people living in Glorantha.

  Personally, I think it's that way here too.  At least as far as people are 
concerned.  I'm
 not so nuts that I'd say that the only reason I can 
communicate with you is because enough people in the world all agree 
that this thing on my desk we all decide to call a computer is a tool for 
nication and not a tool for brewing beer.  I'm not a radical 
constructivist.  Nor do I believe t
hat events are "just stories."  Charles 
Gregory Fried mentioned that some folks feel the Holoca
ust was "just a 
story."   I am not one of them.  My mother and her family were in 
Shanghai when it was occupied by the Japanese.  My grandfather was 
picked up and taken to the Hongkew internment camp with prominent UK 
and USA officials.  He was tortured for two days before the Japanese 
admitted that he was Belgian, and he was sent to join my grandmother, 
mother, and uncle in the Lungh Wa camp.  When my grandfather was 
picked up, the Japanese had a story that he was American.  Everything 
he said or did was interpreted as an American being disrespectful, 
uncooperative, and trying to make fools of them.  My grandparents had a 
story of themselves as survivors, not victims, as did many of those who 
had lived through the greater horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. 
What happens to people is real.  Events are real.  It is the story we make 
up about those events that is socially constructed.  Believing is s
NOT seeing is believing.  It is the meanings people draw from events, the 
"what re
ally happened and what it all means," that are created by the 
individual through language, and language is formed in the context of 
social communication.  The language we use both internally and 
externally, the stories we tell about ourselves and others, creates the 
meaning of what we experience.  This is of import in Glorantha when, for 
example, people try to make sense of the stories they are told of their 
peoples and their gods.  What does it mean that Orlanth killed Yelm?  
The Orlanthi interpret this 
as meaning something like: "Yelm was killed 
for not acknowledging the might and right of Or
lanth."  The Solar people 
interpret this as meaning something like: "Yelm's son Muharzam wa
killed by a rebelious upstart who would not stay in his place in the 
universe."  The impact of these meanings on the respective cultures is 
enormous.  But, what if the Orlanthi were to reinterpret their part of the 
myth differently?  Maybe as something about Orlanth being called upon 
to kill Yelm in order to aid him in learning about death and dying?  
Orlanth as teacher, instead of Orlanth as bully?  If the whole of Orlanthi 
society really believe this, and practiced this belief, and changed their 
rituals to reflect this changed belief, then I think the reality of Glorantha

would be changed.  (NOT that I think this has a chance of happening.  
The mythic struggle between the two is just too great at the moment, and 
neither of them have a different manifestation of their mythic/(runic?) 
opposite to form a different struggle with.)  Anyway, this is what I mean 
when I say that I think Glorantha is a constructivist place.

On to other things.

More recently, Paul Reilly mentions:
> Primal Darkness mating is pretty indistinguishable from eating: they 
> bite hunks off of each other. 

I agree!  I think trolls experience pleasure in biting.  In fact, I think
part of 
the trollish sexual response, part of their arousal, includes getting hungry.
In addition, I think female trolls have a biting reflex on reaching orgasm. 
see this response being almost uncontrollable in Mistress race trolls, 
somewhat controllable in Dark trolls, and almost non-existant in trollkin.

This would mean that food also plays an important part in Uz seduction 
and sex.  Male trolls would always bring food for their mates, perhaps in 
the belief (hope) it would lessen the biting response to the point that they 
will not accidently be bitten to death
.  Any males who do die are probably 
just eaten.  Remember, they weren't killed for food, i
t was "a crime of 
passion."  Maybe the trolls create enchanted lead biting sticks for females 
with a particularly powerful bite response.  Male trolls are probably proud 
of their "love-bite"
 scars on their face, neck, and shoulders.  

Makes me wonder if the (admittedly rare) troll Uleria worshipper would 
draw the more masochistic type of client, becoming the S&M specialist in 
the templ
e.  Gleaming black leather, lead chains....   She : "Kiss the whip, 
you human!"  He : "O
h please!  Please just bite me again!"  Gives a whole 
new meaning to the words "Mistress"

Sandy says:
>   It is my firm belief that ducks and keets lay eggs, which they must 
>incubate in a nest until they hatch. My reasons for so believing are 
>solely based on the comic possibilities of such an arrangement 
>("Please, sir, could you hold the egg for me while I go shopping.")  

I don
't know.  There's something about the RQ 2 interpretation of ducks 
not knowing their origins that I really like.  Were they originally human 
and became feathered and web-footed, or originally ducks cursed with 
flightlessness and intelligence?  If the ONLY human characteristics they 
have are i
ntelligence (something a small percentage of ALL creatures (I'll 
avoid the dangerous "s
pecies" word) have anyway) and flightlessness 
due to having arms and hands, I think you lost a lot of the duckish 
mystery.  I think this mystery is at the heart of the duckish race.  It
their psy
chology, makes them neurotic, is something they obsess about.  
It's the source of their racial insecurity.  Think about it.  They are a
people who taste good to all other carnivores and so are often prey to 
both intelligent and animal hunters.  They do not posess any great magic, 
strength, intelligence, or cunning and so sometimes feel inferior to 
anything larger than themselves (or even to many things smaller).  Some 
ducks probably attempt to feel superior at the expense of other creatures, 
including other ducks, which leads to them being mean, petty, self-
centered, bullying punks.  Other ducks try to gain sympathy from others 
by whining and complaining, and they are expert at nagging and 
pestering others.  Still others use the fact that other races find them 
amusing, and seek acceptance by trying to be funny and make others 
laugh.  Much as the Uz seek the goal of healing Korasting, I think the 
duck goal is to regain whatever it was that was lost by their curse, 
whether it was the ability to fly or their humanity.  It is the desire to
to their true, most ancient way of life.  For those that seek the ability to
there is a longing for the lost freedom of the sky.  For those that seek
humanity and not to be hunted, there is the longing for the lost 
brotherhood of Man.  I also think that some ducks seek either of these 
goals just because they hate the idea that something that once belonged 
to them was taken away, and they want it back out of pure selfishness. 

Personally, I think the Duck race are at LEAST a creation of Trickster, 
more probably a case of multiple incarnations of his 
"tragically comic" 
role.  They obviously exist to be made fun of.  (And, some would add
, to 
be eaten.  It's a mythic nitch thing.  Dwarves are Makers, Elves are 
Growers, Trolls are E
aters, Ducks are the Eaten.)  In a letter in TOTRM#2, 
Greg Stafford writes, "Ducks are intended to 
be comic.  I usually ridicule 
them, both as a GM and as a NPC."  And Sandy notes, "After all
, if your 
ducks aren't funny, why have them at all?"

>This is also why Greg and I concur that duck
s have teeth (so they can 

In John Castellucci's RQAF#2, S.P. Martin says it's so that the
y can hold 
their cigars! ;-)

Well, enough of this for now.  Until next time,
Peace,     Peter


From: (David Dunham)
Subject: Chaos Swamps; Chaotic Argrath?; transvestites
Message-ID: <>
Date: 5 May 94 04:11:17 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3913

Sandy said
>both Loskalm  
>and Tanisor have a great big chaos sump right in the middle of their  
>nations (Dilis Swamp and the Sodal Marshes, respectively).

While it's natural to link "chaos" and "swamp," Genertela Book says the
Sodal Marsh is "now one of the richest regions of the region."  (Yes, it
does say "region" twice.) And Lake Bakeel (or Bakan, depending on whether
you go by the map or the text) is a "crystal clear lake" believed "to have
healing powers." True, there are rumors of monsters, but this doesn't sound
like a chaos sump.

Paul Reilly answered me
>> And what did Argrath do?
>  Fed all the gods to Wakboth, cut him up, and gave his pieces to his
>followers to use to rule over others, for starters.

OK, he used Wakboth as a tool (though apparently this was inadvertent). But
giving away pieces could as easily be interpreted as a way to disperse the
body so it could never be reformed -- King of Sartar makes no mention of
the use of the pieces.

>  Ever wonder about the Argrath - Eye of Wakboth connection?

Not until I finish playing in the "Troubled Waters" scenario...

John Hughes asked
>Are transvestites automatically tricksters?

We know that's not the case; Genertelan Player's Book [p. 8] talks about
gender reversals of hsunchen shamans.


From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: Game reality levels
Date: 5 May 94 06:03:24 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3914

John Hughes in X-RQ-ID: 3899


> Looking back over the last few months, I've noticed a familiar 
> pattern emerging in Digest discussion. In exploring aspects of the 
> old lozenge, we often slip back and forth between different levels of 
> 'Gloranthan' reality, acting according to the level we're most 
> familiar with, or perhaps in the faith that all the levels somehow 
> mesh. The most familiar shifting occurs when to trying to reconcile 
> RQ rules with what we know of Gloranthan society from other 
> sources. There are others.

> Now perhaps I'm a cynic and of little faith, but I like to draw 
> distinctions as to what 'level' I'm discussing. I see at least four 
> fairly distinct and (IMHO) ultimately unreconcilable levels of 
> Gloranthan 'reality'. If each is a 'map', let me list them in terms of 
> smaller and smaller 'scales'.





> __________

> The difficulty in reconciling these levels may explain why there 
> have been so few published scenarios in the past fifteen years, why 
> they seem to concentrate on combat, and why so few have that 
> uniquely Gloranthan 'feel'.

I hesitated to GM in Glorantha several years for some of these 
reasons. While I don't subscribe to the school that magic by its 
nature has no rules, gaming conventions (like standard casting 
time or duration, or worst of all magic points and POW points as 
measure of Life Force) tend to simplify the more complex realities.

I disagree about your fourth level - if a world background is not 
as fully functional as I can imagine it, I cannot really GM on it, 
and as a player (too rarely...) I tend to stumble into the pits of 
unconsidered consequences, to the detriment of my incolvement.

> My main reason in bringing this up is to make the comment that RQ 
> rules will break down at lower/higher levels of detail, as will any 
> 'map' or simulation. The cult and magic rules are especially fragile. 

This is "hinting" at Alex' and my discussion on initiation, isn't it? 
Well, if a simulation fails to describe the details, in thermodynamics 
I have learned to apply modifications to the original function/rule to 
bend it to apply. The RQ rules are a fair basic tool for Gloranthan 
experiences, but as soon as you want to leave the immanent abstraction 
of the rules (e.g. for combat, but also for magic) you conflict with 
reality and playability.

> (Of course, cult writeups are GodLearner documents, and so should 
> be treated with a healthy contempt). I especially think it is 
> unprofitable to vacillate in discussion between different levels. 
> Choose the one most profitable for your purposes and go for it. 
> Don't worry or complain if it breaks down at other levels, and 

Here we disagree. I want to reduce the difference between the realities 
you postulate as far as possible. The simulation mechanics must not 
hamper the simulation, so they need fine tuning.

> And 
> make clear in your posts which level you are operating on.

I regard Glorantha as a fully functioning world that happens to 
be the playground of my admittedly faulty simulation, which allow 
myself and other players to feel involvement. Game rules are there 
to resolve part of the problems.

I want this to work on all levels as good as possible.

I won't distinguish between rules, literature or even scientific 
models as tools to describe the reality of the Glorantha (or other
fantasy) experience, to me they all sum up and contribute to my 
personal One True World. Since I share this experience with others, 
it helps if their experience isn't too different from mine.

> Comments? Flames? Contact numbers for a good therapist?

Yes. On all levels. 
--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: (charles gregory fried)
Subject: Oh, what a fun lozenge!
Date: 5 May 94 06:22:21 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 3915

Greg Fried here.

John Hughes: I enjoyed your article on the various levels of involvement in
Glorantha/RQ. Found it pretty accurate to my experience.

However, I think you came down a bit too hard on RQ as combat simulation. 
Now, I'm no fan of rules-mongering and power-gaming, but I think that turning
Glorantha into JUST a venue for quasi-academic discourse (not that this can't
be fun, too!) or, as you say, into a kind of bizarro second home (hey, I do
this, too!) is going too far. 

I'm not saying I want to see more scenario modules like Duck Pond!  But I
think a few more like Snakepipe Hollow wouldn't hurt. Like Peter said, let's
not choke the fun out of the lozenge!  Even a well done hack-and-slash
adventure can lure more into the lozenge's fold! And RQ could use the
attention -- and AH could use the income.