Bell Digest v940526p4

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, 26 May 1994, part 4
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Subject: Glorantha and earth.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 May 94 19:52:54 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4172

Devin Cutler:
> Ancient times aside, in modern times, I have never seen someone able to call
> on God to save them from, say a robbery or death in a war and have it happen
> in a direct and provable manner. In Glorantha, gods answer close to 10% of
> all calls for Direct Intervention! Somehow, I don't think that same rate
> applied to, say, Allah's intervention on behalf of his worshippers in Desert
> Storm.

When making earth/Glorantha comparisons, it's not very helpful to consider
whether RQ rules and Glorantha type cults would be compatible with a modern-
day combat simulation.   Whether Gloranthans view their world in a
fundamentally different way from the peoples of earth from comparable
historical situations is a more apt question, I feel.  And most pre-Renaisance
cultures believed that their gods were indeed active, interventionist, and
absolutist, none of which stopped them being at each others' throats,
disagreeing on fundamental questions of belief, and all the other fun stuff
I think also happens in Glorantha.

> And, while Divination
> can sometimes be murky, in every published Gloranthan scenario where it has
> been mentioned, it seems to be fairly informative, even in an allegorical way
> (e.g. Gaumata's Vision).

More like "faintly informative": the information turns out be be true, but
one could hardly deduce the exact facts on the ground from the granted
divination.  This isn't the kind of "just the facts, ma'am" information
which would be likely to enforce fine details of religious practice on a
squabbling populace.



From: 100102.3001@CompuServe.COM (Peter J. Whitelaw)
Subject: Campaign Notes. Part I
Message-ID: <940525203041_100102.3001_BHJ69-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 25 May 94 20:30:42 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4173

These notes are being published in the form in which I have received them with
no editing or addition by myself.

Some matters will not be clear to readers due to their unfamiliarity with the
campaign environment.  I am familiar, having played their for 13 odd years and
will endeavour to clarify unclear issues by private e-mail (I don't want to clog
up the Daily) so long as I don't get swamped.  

It is hoped that the posting of these notes will lead to debate on game/campaign
related issues and pet ideas that we all have but have never quite been able to
fit into a Gloranthan campaign.

Many thanks to those of you who replied privately and publicly to my offer to
post this material.



Sharranket is a very small but very wealthy nation famous for its position as
the hub of many of the world's most important trade routes, and for being the
only nation to have an economy almost exclusively based on trade.

The territory consists of two off-shore islands and a small stretch of mainland
bordered on one side by the Korazoon Desert and on the other by the sea. Each of
the islands has a city, one the capital of Chumrir, the other a smaller city
named Ronispur.

The Sharranketans were originally a nation of fishermen, who ventured far afield
in vessels owned collectively by extended family groups (kulwar).  Over time, as
they ventured further and further from their homeland and had occasion to visit
foreign shores, they became carriers of goods from one coastal settlement to
another in order to supplement their ocean harvests.  Some kulwar specialised in
these activities more than others, and it became their primary source of income.
The deposition of the Sultan of Sharranket in a popular revolt left the most
successful of these families, now grown rich, to fill the vacuum of power.

The ruling families of Sharranket operate concessions with foreign rulers to
extract, process and/or ship commodities on their behalf providing them with
goods otherwise unavailable to them in return.  In this way the Sharranketans
near monopolise trade in Albir gold, Tsengir horses, tobacco, exotic wood,
cotton and many other valuable materials.  

Sharranket nonetheless has a very closed culture, and dealings with foreigners
are always conducted through appointed representatives and their minions.
Sharrenketans have a system of nomenclature by which they refer to family,
co-nationals and foreigners, which defines the degree of trust and intimacy they
consider appropriate.

The Sharranketans found small merchant enclaves alongside the client community,
from which they manage their business interests in the region.  These
communities are sponsored and managed by an individual house, with the exception
of that at Athelster which is a joint Mirdaza-Jalpur undertaking.

Society and Government

Sharranket is ruled by a plutocratic council made up of representatives from
five important kulwar.  The council meets in the former palace of a dynasty of
sultans deposed 80 years ago with popular support.  Seats in the council, of
which there are 12, are purchased by auction, hence a single family, the Zamada,
hold four at present, while the less wealthy Mirdaza family has only one.  Each
time an appointed member (Peshmurga) dies his seat is reauctioned.

Any appointment must be ratified by the people, although this is something of a
formality, and involves substantial donatives to the urban population of
Chumrir.  It is customary for the people to express their will by open
demonstration before the palace.  The priests of Shara Peshwan, patron Goddess
of the nation, are then admitted to the council chamber to speak more formally
on their behalf.  

The majority of the population is directly employed by one of the 5 ruling
families.  In particular the various merchant fleets provide a valuable source
of employment to the poorest classes. Others live as tenants, renting the
necessary land, premises or tools that they require for their livelihood from
them.  A lucky few have private holdings of their own.  Sometimes such things
are given in recognition of long and faithful service to one of the ruling

The principal occupations of the common folk are fishing, herding, farming, and
processing the raw materials imported by the merchants into finished goods.

Many Sharranketans follow the Djesmiri Religion as originally promulgated a
little over a century ago by the prophet Sanek of Djesmir.  In addition, most
people are initiates of Shara Peshwan's Cult, whose priests are called Voices as
they speak the will of the people.  The popular cult among the ruling families
and their chief minions is that of Temnit, God of wealth.  Shrines to other
eastern gods such as Haliset, Tolat and Thesh may also be found in the urban


Sharranket is famous for its navy, which although small is made up of huge
merchant galleys said to be the largest seaworthy vessels in the world.  These
vessels, all privately owned, are designed for the safe transportation of bulk
commodities across long distances.  Each carries a contingent of well armed
professional soldiers in addition to its sailors and rowers.  It is generally
agreed that a Sharranketan merchantman would present more than a match for most
warships fielded by other nations.

Sharranket's soldiery, again employed by the various families rather than by the
state, are also used to guard overland caravans, garrison trading colonies and
the maintenance of public order.  Should any serious threat of war occur, the
Sharranketans use their wealth to hire mercenaries to shore up a weak home


Sharrenketans speak a dialect of Djesmiri, which differs by an average of 10%
from other forms of the language.  A great many of them speak a second or even
third language.

Character Generation

Sharranketans use the character generation table for civilised cultures.  Any
percentiles in ride should be allocated to boat or shiphandling as appropriate.
Any roll of farmer on the character background table may be substituted for
sailor if the player so desires.

Cultural Weapons
Falchion 25%
Halberd 20%
Dagger 25%
Target Shield or Buckler 25%
Main gauche 15%
Crossbow 25%




Valos was settled by several different peoples over the centuries.  For a while
it was home to a Korantine colony founded from Nasturi,  but this was destroyed
by Guyuntar raiders shortly after the destruction of Korantis.  Marangians
settled there some time later and in concert with the Guyuntars who had built
permanent settlements on the island made it the base of operations for wide
ranging acts of piracy and plunder.  When Chiliarchos Longbrow of Agissene
finally conquered the island in order to put a stop to the inhabitants predatory
ways, Valos was named a free territory and new settlements  were founded with
colonists drawn from right across the Korantine world.  One of these is to be
the capital of the Korantine League inaugurated under the Emperor's auspices in


Valos is about 40 miles long and 20 wide, with a chain of steep mountains that
drop abruptly to the sea to the north but shelter a broad plain to the south.
The Korantine settlements are all to be found in its Southwest corner, but the
Eastern parts are still inhabited by the descendants of the earlier Guyuntars
and Marangians, and there a composite language known as Valot is spoken. 

The most important town on the island is currently Thermain, which is the
administrative capital of the territory granted to the Lanists after the
conquest.  Nesterin and its associated harbour at Bosippa are still very much
under construction, and unlikely to be finished before the end of 1332.  Even
then the town of Nesterin will be largely religious in function, a cult centre
and symbolic civic centre of the Korantine League.  Nearby Pothelin is a
mixed-population settlement  which survived the recent war intact by coming over
to the side of the Korantines, and is now a free community under the patronage
of Chiliarchos Longbrow.  It is the largest population centre on the island,
with 4500 inhabitants. 

At the Northeast end of the island are the remaining settlements of the
Corsairs, now pacified and robbed of their charismatic leader, Korsaddin The
Reaver.  These communities were much impoverished by the war and many of their
menfolk were killed or enslaved.  The three towns, Nystrom, Halisfain and
Garnfor together have 7000 inhabitants, from a pre-war total of 11000.  It is
said that Korsaddin's son Korsaris escaped the siege of Mt Nester with some
followers and fled to Marangia - certainly the more optimistic of the Valots
predict a victorious return at the head of a liberating army.

Society and Government

The most powerful resident on the island is Gamnates, steward of the Lanist
holdings around Thermain on behalf of the Emperor.  The territory maintains a
body of 25 Templars and their retainers, and the total Lanist garrison numbers
120 men.  The lands are farmed and the Templars  attended by the subject native
population, reduced to a state of helotage following their defeat at the hands
of the Korantines.  The Valots in other parts of the island retain an
independent existence, and live according to their ancient traditions, although
they are policed by Gamnates' men.  

By contrast the town of Pothelin has absorbed a large number of new settlers,
and has taken on the characteristics of a Korantine city with the inauguration
of civic institutions.  Chiliarchos himself makes the occasional visit, although
now as a private citizen. When he does so he receives warm public welcome in
Pothelin, a town which he spared from plunder and around which he settled many
of his veterans after the war.  



From: (Joe Lannom)
Subject: Bargaining and more (whatta deal!)
Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 May 94 20:43:57 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4174

Hi folks.  Just remember, I may not know exactly what I'm talking about, but I  
love to talk about RQ and Glorantha, so... 

Mike Dickison ( brings up a different kettle of fish  

|> The RQ rules dwell quite some length on combat, but hardly touch other
|> activities involved in a game. In particular, one of my players is a
|> ordinary wandering Issaries peddler, who is a useless fighter and would
|> much rather spend his time trading. Of course he knows his languages, and
|> acts as ambassador and negotiator for the party, but I can tell he's
|> itching to go into the nearest city, buy a cart, and start making some
|> cash.

Hurray!  Flesh out those non fighters.  I've got two of 'em in my game, 

although the Issaries is getting to be a marksman with a crossbow and 

passing good with a shovel. (long story)

|> 4)      A bargaining mechanic that uses both buyer and seller skills, and
|> in which the rolled skill-vs-skill difference translates neatly into a
|> (modest) price differential. Most importantly, there should be bonuses and
|> penalties for good and bad roleplaying, and some opportunity for players to
|> use strategy and wit, so they feel they and not the dice are doing the
|> work.

If you don't want to haggle it out, or can't find a motivation or relative level  
for a merchants stinginess, here's a suggestion for bargaining using the already  
defined rules for spirit combat (money IS power ).  It may seem complicated  
at first glance, but its really very simple.

1:  Determine the percentage of the price that will fluctuate each 'round' 

    of bargaining that takes place +/-.   (Using the base price, for big 

    things its hundreds of lunars, smaller things less... )

2:  Set an absolute minimum/maximum that the NPC will deal to.  No one is 

    completely stupid (well...) and usually won't drop past what it cost 

    them to get the goods in the first place, unless a player criticals 

    their bargaining roll.  Set the original asking price for both.  This 

    will determine the range that the price can fluctuate within.

3:  Then, use their bargaining skills to roll and see who affects the price.  

    Anyone who uses their skill that round rolls percentiles again and, like 

    power loss in spirit combat, gets a result of 1, 2 or 3.  These are the 

    multipliers for the price modifier.  Anyone who has glamour up, gets an 

    additional 5% to their bargaining roll per point of spell.  

4:  A successful skill roll will determine how much the other's bound has
    changed.  Subtract from the highest bound, add to the lowest bound.  A 

    fumbled bargain roll will alter your own bound.

5:  When the two bounds meet, a deal has been reached which may be accepted
    or rejected by either of the two participants.  At all times, the bounds
    are treated as the original bid, once you've gotten someone to bring their
    price down to your bargain price, you cannot convince them to drop lower
    than what you're already offering unless you critical your bargain skill 


Be sure to role play this a bit and roll the dice unobtrusively, neither  
character should really know what the other's bargaining skill is.  This will  
allow you to fudge it to make it a little more enjoyable for the player.  

Make them use reputation and previous experience against someone to determine  
whether or not they lose their shirt.  Good roleplaying should give the player  
bonuses on their bargain rolls, or for the multiplier, GM's choice.



Sibluch, the used llama salesman is approached by Hertluuf, the Issaries trader  
who is looking for a mount to carry him across the long dry from the paps.

Sibluch proclaims that he cannot part with this fine piece of llama meat (from a  
good lineage) for less that 700L.  Hertluuf, having heard of slimy deals that  
Sibluch has made before, declares that his children will starve if he has to pay  
more than 400L.  The boundaries are set.

Sibluch has a bargain skill of 34%, while Hertluuf has been traveling for a  
while and has a skill of 55%.  The magnitude of bargaining is declared as 1/10th  
the difference between asking prices, rounded upwards to the nearest 10.  (30  

Sibluch makes his roll, and then rolls a 67 to determine that Herluuf will  
relent and use 430L as his price.  Hertluuf also makes his roll, but rolls a 21,  
convincing Sibluch to drop his price by 60L to 640.  (S: 640, H: 430,  
modifications are now 640-530 = 210 / 10 = 21, rounded down to 20's, )

Sibluch makes his roll the second round of bargaining and rolls an 05 for his  
modification!  Hertluuf has been convinced that the llama is indeed free of  
parasites, and so moves his price to 490.  Herluuf makes his bargaining roll and  
rolls a 65, he makes no headway this round.  (S: 640, H: 490, modifications are  
now 640-490=150 / 10 = 15 rounded up to 20L's).

Sibluch fails his roll this round and does not convince Herluuf that llamas are
good pets for children.  Herluuf makes his roll with a 50, and points out one or  
two bite marks on the llama's flanks, rolling an 02 for a modifier.  Sibluch  
declares that they were not there this morning, but agrees that the llama is  
damamged and drops his price to 580.  (S: 580, H: 490, modifications are now  
580-490= 90 / 10 = 9, rounded up to 10 lunars.)

Sibluch points out that the llama is of fine color, and of good temperament, for  
a llama.  He rolls an 00 for his attempt at bargaining, a fumble, and Herluuf  
begins to suspect something about the llama, as color is usually not an issue.   
The modifier is in Herluuf's favor as he finds the llama is dyed white with  
blue/gray spots.  Sibluch rolls his modifier and gets an 01!  Too bad, he admits  
he dyed it and offers it for 550 lunars, a steal.  Herluuf ponders a while and  
makes his roll, pointing out that one normally does not dye a llama, and that it  
must be stolen.  He rolls an 05, hitting the nail on the head and Sibluch drops  
his price to 520 lunars to get Herluuf to quit asking questions.
(S: 520, H:490, modifier of 520 - 490 = 30 / 10, 3 rounded up to 10 lunars.)

Sibluch makes his roll, pointing that he is well enough off to not have to steal  
poor mounts, but might be tempted by a mount of such fine promise as this one.   
Sibluch rolls a 39, gaining 20 lunars worth of ground (Herluuf's bound is now  
510).  Herluuf rolls a 70 and fails to find any fault with the mount, or Sibluch  
logic, really needing a mount and knowing that herd beast raiding is a common  
occurance. (S: 520, H:510, modifier of 10 L)

Sibluch again fails his roll, having hit a brick wall with Herluuf knowing that  
it is a hot llama.  Herluuf criticals his roll as he sees a very LARGE frowning  
llama rider sniffing around Sibluch's tent.  He rolls an 05, and gets a  
multiplier of 3 x 10.  If he hadn't criticalled, he would have only been able to  
talk Sibluch down to 510, Herluuf's current bargaining price, but he points the  
llama rider out to Sibluch who agrees that 490L is a very fine price indeed and  
leaves Herluuf the llama as he slinks off for cover....

After 6 rounds of bargaining, Herluuf with his bargaining skill of 55% has  
managed to talk a less experienced haggler down 210L off his asking price, and  
only had to pay 90 more than what he offered, which he knew was a low bid.   
Smiling, he points out the direction that Sibluch has gone to the llama rider  
and leads his new mount away...


Now, in response to Devin Cutler's informal poll:

> "How many people who write, or post, about Glorantha aren't also players (or 

> refs) of the game?"
> I wonder that myself sometimes, given the level of unconsideration to gaming
> issues on this Daily. Perhaps an informal poll is in order?

I was an infrequent player of RuneQuest up until this last Fall.  Played maybe 

a dozen sessions with large chunks of time between them.  They were enough to  
grab my interest and make me want to learn more about the game.  

I was able to grab some RQ2 materials for a song and started designing a  
campaign.  I've now been GMing RQ for about 9 months, but I've been pouring so  
much information into my brain that I sometimes have trouble assimilating it.
(Thanks for the soda.berkeley site, Shannon!!)

Thats ok, though, because I'm gaming with a good group of people who understand  
what thats like (they've all gm'd games before) and think that Glorantha is a  
cool world (don't even think it) to develop characters in and love the game  

As for campaigns, mine is occuring in Prax and the Zola Fel river valley.  We're  
currently hybridizing Borderlands with Sun County and a nifty little original
idea of mine that encompasses the characters no matter where they are.  Subplots
within subplots within...

We're microcosmic.  The group consists of 1 Humakt inititate, 1 initiate of 

Orlanth adventurous, 1 Trickster initiate, one Issaries/Lankor Mhy/Argan Argar 

hybrid, and one wanna be Invisible God worshipper who's hobby is brewing beer 

(which the Issaries peddles).  The others tease the IG brewer ceaselessly, but 

he calmly smiles and feels secure that his god is the one true god.

I suspect that they will begin to travel once the group gets a few members 

to Rune level, but there is so much to do around the RoC, they might not see 

a need.  That is, unless the IGer wants to make a pilgrimage... then the others 

will probably go along to see what the world is like.


So take my suggestions at what they cost you (nuthin, got plenty more where  
those came from ) and remember that your dealing with a not so recent  
convert, but a recently fervent one.

And thanks to everyone that has posted both game and gloranthan lore to the  
digest.  Both are welcomed by me.  What I don't like, I'll trim away and do 

my best to run without it.

The main thing is FUN (note all the caps) when I game, and as long as we, 

the group, can maintain that we're pretty happy.

joe lannom