Bell Digest v940530p1

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 30 May 1994, part 1
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X-RQ-ID: Intro

This is the RuneQuest Daily Bulletin, a mailing list on
the subjects of Avalon Hill's RPG and Greg Stafford's 
world of Glorantha.  It is sent out once per day in digest

More details on the RuneQuest Daily and Digest can be found
after the last message in this digest.


From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Yinkin the Shepherd
Message-ID: <940528115212_100270.337_BHL43-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 28 May 94 11:52:12 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4233

Matt Thale wrote:

> And about those sheep, who says an alynx would have any more problems
> bringing them in than a dog? Just because earth cats are too independent
> and free willed  to go out and do a boring job like herding sheep
> doesn't mean that Gloranthan cats can't do it.

I had a chat off-line with Martin Crim about this: he agreed with you to 
start with, and I'm not sure how convincing my version was.

But I don't for one moment believe the Orlanthi herd with cats. (Perhaps a 
clan or tribe may do, somewhere, but they're an aberration). That's what 
they keep dogs for: the menial work. If you turn cats into dogs, there's no 

real point to using them as an Orlanthi symbol. It's not a 'plausibility' 
question; just that "we all know" there are differences between Cat people 
and Dog people, and even worse than Dog people would be turn-Cat-into-Dog 
people. (I speak as a Cat person).

So, with big thanks and acknowledgements to Martin for the seed of this:


It was Booning Day, when Orlanth listens to the pleas of his dependents.
His half-brother Yinkin slunk in, his ears and tail drooping, and spoke:

"Oh brother Orlanth, brother Dog has been laughing at me again. He says he 
does more useful work, and that I just lie around all day. Well, someone's 
got to guard the granary and keep the evil birds off the fields, I say. But 
he still scoffs, and says that he could do that job, but I could never do 
his work and help the boy Voriof herd your cloud-sheep around the hill- 
pastures. Oh, Orlanth my brother, let me go with Voriof your son and lead 
the sheep up to their grazing today!"

Orlanth rumbled out his big laugh, and said:

"Oh brother Yinkin, you shouldn't pay too much heed to what that skulking 
brother Dog says to you. We're all different, and each of us is good at 
different things. But if you want to try brother Dog's work for a day, good 
luck to you! Take my cloud-sheep and go with the boy Voriof up to the hill- 
pastures. Ward them well, and bring them safely home."

So Yinkin and Voriof set out for the hillside with the herd of sheep. And 
Yinkin thought to himself, "Why are they walking so slowly? They can go 
faster than this!" So he raised his hackles and snarled out "Rrrruunnnn!", 
flashing his eyes and teeth at them, and the sheep picked up their heels 
and fled for the hilltops.

"Why did you do that?" asked Voriof, so Yinkin explained. "Well, I suppose 
so," said Voriof, "but brother Dog never does it that way." "Ah well," said 
Yinkin, "maybe he likes the slow, lazy walk up..." And he cat-smiled, half- 
closing his eyes.

They arrived at the hilltop pastures, where the cloud-sheep had all flocked 
together and were grazing in the same corner of the same field. And Yinkin 
the Cat thought to himself, "Why are they huddled together, all eating the 
same grass? They'd be happier each with a patch of his own!" So he chased 
the sheep around the fields, until each of them stood shaking and shivering 
in a place of its own.

"What did you do that for?" asked Voriof, so Yinkin explained. "I suppose 
you're right," said Voriof, "but brother Dog never does it that way." "Ah," 
said Yinkin, "it must be an easier job for him when they're all in the same 
place..." And he purred with satisfaction, to be doing so much better than 
his rival.

Well, nothing seemed to be happening, so Yinkin took a little nap while the 
boy Voriof looked after the flock. "Wake me if anything happens," he said; 
"I fight better when I'm well rested." "Brother Dog usually runs around the 
field all day keeping an eye on the sheep," said Voriof. "It's a poor work- 
man who always needs to be checking his work," Yinkin replied. "I *know* 
those sheep are in good, safe places." "Well..." said Voriof, but the Cat 
was already napping.

And then, after he'd slept most of the day, he woke up. Everything seemed 
to be all right when he looked around, so he went off across the hills 
hunting for food, for himself and for the boy. He found a rabbit, and 
brought it back to Voriof, who was looking worried. It was getting late.

"You didn't have to worry about me: I can take care of myself," said the 
Cat. "Anyway, look what I've found!" The boy Voriof said, "It's not you I 
was worried about. Anyway, look what I've lost! It's getting dark now, and 
the sheep are scattered all over the hills. It's going to be hard work for 
us getting them all back down to the stead."

"Oh, that'll be easy," said Yinkin. With his keen cat's eyes he could see 
where every sheep was standing. He sneaked around behind them, and growled 
and yowled so they all ran downhill, Yinkin nipping at their flanks, and 
they gathered together again at the bottom of the hills.

"That was simple!" said Yinkin. "But the sheep look a bit tired, now," said 
Voriof. "What's that?" asked the Cat. "I thought we were supposed to give 
them some exercise today! They'll all get fat and lazy if they don't run 
around once in a while." "I suppose so," said the boy Voriof, puzzled. 
Brother Dog had never pointed this out to him, and he couldn't quite see 
what was wrong with the argument, but...

The next day, chief Orlanth came to the sheep-pen to look at his flock.
They had burrs all through their cloud-white fleeces; they looked nervous 
and lean from all the running around; they shied away from Yinkin when he 
came close.

"How did it go, Yinkin?" asked Orlanth.

"Very easy, my brother," Yinkin replied. "Too easy, in fact. Brother Dog 
obviously has a cosy enough job here, but it's not really demanding enough 
to keep my interest. So, if you want, I'll help him out from time to time, 
but I don't think we need to throw him out of your stead just yet -- idle 
scrounger though he is."

Orlanth laughed, and scratched his half-brother behind the ears. "You're 
right, of course, brother Yinkin. You did this so much better than brother 
Dog, it's plain he wouldn't be able to compete. But I am generous, and I'll 
keep him on: he does this simple job well enough, in his way. If he ever 
needs help, though, I know who to ask."

But, strangely enough, from that day to this, Yinkin has never been asked 
to herd the cloud-sheep of Orlanth again!



From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Divination
Message-ID: <940528115307_100270.337_BHL43-2@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 28 May 94 11:53:07 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4234

Devin opined:

> The divinatory information from Gaumata's Vision at the very least
> tells you pretty much without uncertainty that a village somewhere in
> Sun County has been corrupted with Chaos. When I ran the scenario, this
> was deduced by the players instantly without any thought whatsoever.

Our players "deduced" that Gaumata the Strange had eaten too much seafood 
the evening before. One muttered, "And when I woke up, the sheets were all 
damp", as the recitation concluded. Since they were all Sun Dome Militia, 
under orders to check out Black Rock Village, their interpretation didn't 
matter that much. Some of the most hilariously wrong speculation that day 
came from the attempt to work out why all the women were walking around 
pregnant and healthy-looking, while the men were dull and listless -- I 
can't explain Steve's theory about "filthy sticks sticking out from their 
bellies" here, as this is a family newspaper. But for a Yelmalion, it's 
hard to imagine anything more Chaotic...

> Finally, it seems that the only Agimori met in Prax are men+1/2. Is this
> the case? Perhaps, knowing the journey from Pamaltela to Genertela would
> be dangerous, only men+1/2 were taken, and that men+1/2 always breed
> true. Any thoughts?

Think I covered this a while ago. The Agimori in Prax are hard-line old- 
timer warriors, a bit like a human culture of Humakti would be. Back in 
Pamaltela, you can see their whole society and there's only a few of these 
guys. My personal belief (unsupported by the rules and writeups) is that 
being a man-and-a-half is more a cult thing than a racial thing: we know 
from John Boyle's write-up that you can be "adopted" into the Agimori, and 
gain some of their "racial" advantages from this quasi-initiation. Which 
suggests to me that all the advantages may be Cult Benefits or the results 
of a long-term Enchantment caused by living among the men-and-a-half.


Humakti (almost) always breed true -- if there's no other cult to join. 
(And, per yesterday's post, if they can breed at all). I'd imagine the 
numbers of old-style pure Agimori men-and-a-half have been dwindling in 
Pamaltela ever since the Dawning.

> In my campaign right now, the Block is cracking and something evil is
> starting to seep back into the world.

Heh... A pity that RQA#3 didn't mention the labyrinthine Jrusteli mines 
which were tunneled out *inside* the Block. Gotta get your Truestone from 
somewhere, after all... sure, there's no risk to the environment. We can 
clean it up *after* everything goes wrong (they said). Now, we can see the 

Martin wrote:

> Hmm, maybe the Vadeli were Blue Meanies?

Yesss!!! And Vadeli women inspired the Western phrase "Scarlet Women".

East Wilds:

Jonas sent in his First Age history of this region. All good stuff! More, 
please! It's not explicit there, but do you believe (as I do) that all the 
-korion peoples of contemporary Ralios are the descendents of settlers who 
came from Dorastor through Karia? Seeing the names, I thought of England's 
kingdoms of Sussex, Wessex, Essex, Middlesex, all deriving from Saxony? It 
seemed to be compatible with your narrative, and may be a nice gloss on it. 
Though I'm not sure how it meshes with the Elephant-Men, who emerged later.

Pam wrote:

> With less rain, the D. Happans must be pretty good at irrigation - and
> they must be quite fond of their river.

Yes. All true. Oslira is probably more worshipped than any land goddess in 
Dara Happa; Dendara is primarily a marriage-goddess (something like Juno or 
Hera) rather than an agricultural deity. Look at Sun County for hydraulic 
despotism on the cheap...

If David Cheng is still selling them, the RQCon programme book included a 
list of most attendees' addresses divided up by State. Something like this 
could be the seed of your Directory.

Malkioni Virtues by Caste

In this, G>> is Gary, C> Cullen.

G>> Assuming that Malkionism changes and has changed with time, the
G>> originally divinely-inspired caste system might start backing up on
G>> the religion's philosophy itself. The idea of Virtue being different
G>> for each caste...

C> I REALLY like this idea, something like:

C> peasants = humble, obedient, loyal, etc
C> knights  = loyal, brave, honest, etc
C> lords    = loyal, wise, charming, etc
C> wizard   = loyal, powerful, modest, etc

I like it too, and your expansion of it. Looks like a good way to go. The 
Hrestoli are going to have fun with the shifts from caste to caste: "No, my 
son, when you were a farmer it was right for you to act thusly. But now you 
are a soldier, and it is no longer proper for you to flee battle, disparage 
your own martial prowess, and defer to the wishes of the village headman."

Another word for "Caste" is "Order", and this was used a lot in the Middle 
Ages to explain society. Could be it's a variant term used by one of the 
minor sects...

C> I'm assuming that Malkioni have a text... maybe they DON'T if its all
C> oral then distortion is very easy!  (Pardon my thinking outloud)

Sure. Pardoned. I think there was no single accepted text of the collected  
Prophecies of Malkion (and their associated historical/mythical documents) 
compiled through all the First Age. The God Learners wrote the Bible! Part 
of the secret of their success (no, not *that* Secret!). Speaking of which,

C> Psst... by the way, my feeling is that the GL secret is that the gods
C> didn't exist at all before the God Learners...

Well, the Invisible God didn't... 

At least, not in the scientific/logical form we now recognise. If there was 
anything, more likely He was a Big Beard in the Sky. The GLs puzzled over 
"His" powers and nature, and evolved the modern Malkioni doctrines that all 
mainstream churches (other than the Stygians, Carmanians, the Holy Country 
cluster and all others that spring to mind) have at their root.

I know Joerg differs, but I think there is no distinction between the early 
Return to Rightness Crusade and the later God Learners. The very first God 
Learners used their techniques to learn about God. Then they turned them to 
bind demons into servitude, or cast them utterly from the world. Compare to 
King Solomon binding the Jinn. But in their later years they lapsed into 
bloated heresy and decadence, worshipping graven images and having zillions 
of concubines and so on. So their Empire was overthrown by the Wrath of God 
manifesting all over the place. A good cautionary tale for Malkioni, which 
allows them to have been Good to start with, Bad at the end.

Paul informed us:

> In our campaign, it is 'unclean' to eat the 'human' part of a Walktapus. 
> Here's why: The Walktapus has a strange form of reproduction. [etc.]

Euuurrgggh! So horrible, it *has* to be True!

Ed Wallman:

> If kids grow up in that village, I would imagine they play a game
> called "Poke the Dragon with a Stick"

Also fun and True. Bloody kids: they'll be sorry when the Hero Wars start.



Subject: Stomp!
Message-ID: <>
Date: 28 May 94 18:52:26 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4236

     Loved the East Wilds history, especially the honor names of
the Orlanthi (though none reached the pinnacle of "Bull Answers
Twice," my favorite honor name of all time).  Jeez, what were the
wolverine hsunchen like?  Pretty nasty, I'd bet, at least in
     Quibble: maize was the result of Hon-Eel's heroquest in the
Third Age, so I don't think Pelorian peasants could have had it
in the First Age.

Re: closed societies
     As Joerg points out, China and Japan were officially closed
to outsiders.  Another closed society was the Muslim culture of
Arabia and adjacent parts of Africa in the nineteenth century. 
Read a bio of Sir Richard Burton for exciting tales of visiting
Mecca and a forbidden city in the horn of Africa.  Good RPG
possibilities for Fonrit.

Re: Jardine's True Dragons
     Loved the Dodge table.  I think the GM might just *tell* you
about it, rather than make you actually roll on it... if he or
she wants the game to continue.
     Ever see the (very) short film "Bambi meets Godzilla"?



From: (David Gadbois)
Subject: Re: TRUE DRAGONS?
Message-ID: <19940528190122.0.GADBOIS@CLIO.MCC.COM>
Date: 28 May 94 09:01:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4237

    From: WALLMAN@VAX2.Winona.MSUS.EDU (Close friend of Little Elvis)
    Date: 27 May 94 11:27:05 GMT
    X-RQ-ID: 4225

    On the back of the pink Gloranthan Player (?) Book is a picture of a
    village dwarfed by a dragon's head.  [...]  My question is what kind
    of village is this?  Do all kinds of people live next to dragon's
    like that?  The books all say true dragons sit around sleeping, but
    they seem to almost intentionally leave out any specific
    consequences of this.  Kind of like, "And here is where a dragon
    the size of a mountain sits.  And over here..."

Lucius Shepherd has written a bunch of novelas based around just such a
premise.  A town is located near a huge sleeping dragon, and all the
inhabitants are affected by the dragon's dreams.

One of the stories is "The Scalehunter's Beautiful Daughter."  It
originally appears in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and was
published in book form by one of the small presses, but the easiest
place to find it is in Dozois' Best Science Fiction of the Year from a
few years ago.

--David Gadbois


From: (Paul Reilly)
Subject: Re: Executions
Message-ID: <>
Date: 28 May 94 20:26:06 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4238

Nick writes:
>Orlanthi hang traitors (out of touch with the Earth, their Wind strangled 

  I agree with this, in fact I am writing a story where method of execution
has some importance.  Hanging is so obvious for Orlanthi as to not need 
further comment.

  We know the Lunars use crucifixion.  Being nailed to a Death Rune has
got to have some effects.  I have it as 'common knowledge' that the crucified
can't be Resurrected, and 'actual fact' that days on the cross count as
days dead as far as the Resurrection spell is concerned.

  Nick, where did the Lunars pick up this charming custom?  I would guess that
it comes in via the Carmanian Empire, as opposed to the Dara Happan.

  In my campaign we have detailed the Harangvats.  They too use crosses,
but for different purposes.  It used to be they hung their own dead on crosses,
in these degenerate latter days they bury the dead at the foot of the cross,
and put up a scarecrow.  (This is for male inland dead; fishermen get burial
at sea to feed the fish, women get buried under the hearth.)

  DO people want Harangvat info?

  Do Dara Happans burn criminals?  Or is fire too holy for that?  It may vary
from city to city, for example Alkoth may burn heretics and traitors while
Yuthuppans just ignore them and hope they go away...

  Do Pelandans use impalement?  Or just not have capital punishment?

  Westerners probably use execution method according to social class.

  Kralorelans: a variety of inventive methods.

  All-time champions are probably the Kingdom of Ignorance.


From: (Steven E Barnes)
Subject: So, how bout those Carmanians?
Message-ID: <>
Date: 28 May 94 06:54:22 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4239

Some time ago, people promised to post info on Carmania,
which I am still hoping to see.  I will soon have to make
some irrevocable decisions about my campaing...

People suggested their religion was like Zoarastorism.  From
what little I've read of them, their system can crudely be
summarized as:

They believe in a creator diety; they believe in an ongoing 
conflict between the forces of Darkness and Light.  
Darkness = Evil, Lies, and Destruction; Light = Good, Truth.

Regarding the Carmanians, the Creator is obviously analgous to
the Invisible God.  If we use Zoarastorism as a model, this 
suggests that they revere dieties (or "saints") of light, and
shun those of darkness.

Personally, this sounds a bit too similar to the Dara Happan
beliefs for my tastes.  Historically, it would make since if the
Carmanians conquered Dara Happan territory, and incorporated
local beliefs into their system.

I'm favoring a Lunar style philosophy of acceptance of Light 
and Darkness; however, I would appreciate some clue from the 
gurus out there what the correct model should be...



From: (Paul Reilly)
Subject: Re: Replying to Nick
Message-ID: <>
Date: 28 May 94 21:45:30 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4240

  Paul Reilly here.  Nick B. writes:

>I prefer to believe that HeroQuesting is a subjective experience in which 
>the quester usually encounters those otherworldly entities he expects to 
>meet. Traditional heroquesters work in this way, too: identifying a known 
>myth that parallels the current situation (e.g: Sheng Seleris in a Lunar 
>Hell is like Yelm in the Underworld), and taking the appropriate remedial/ 

  I mostly concur.  Some things are "Heroquests" by the nature of where
you go, like Snodal's trip to Altinela.  Others are because you put on
your "Heroquest Goggles (TM)*" or some equivalent.  You change the way you
LOOK at the world and see it in Heroquest terms.  Shifting your perception
to the non-mundane plane, rather like Don Quixote, except that the Golden
Helmet _works_ and Rosinante is _fast_.

*Available throughout the Middle Sea Empire at Jrustela's Best Magical

  In some sense Cervantes was a powerful Earth Heroquester; with _Don Quixote_
he destroyed large portions of the Earth's mythic landscape, kind of like
Argrath does for Glorantha.

"(Our Puissant Red Goddess Herself did this to Orlanth: he contested against 
Her as he had done against Yelm, not realising that She was more subtle and 
skilled by far. Praise Be! She triumphed where the Old Sun was overthrown!)"

  All Praise to Her.

>I have a Harrek-theory, too. We know he was asleep for a century or so. We 

  What do you mean "we", Englishman?  Harrek is the WHITE BEAR that does not
sleep in winter.  He could have been AWAKE.  His whole family could have been
awake (before he offs them).

  My Harrek-theory:  The Lunar climate modifications make the White Sea climate
unsuitable for Polar Bears.  The Polar Bear God is reacting against this.

  I do like Nick's paragraph and could agree with it.

>Paul wrote:

>> I view the Malkioni religions as having more kinship with the various
>> Hellenistic philosphies than with any Earthly religions per se.

>I almost agree. I think that Malkioni wizards can debate in philosophical 
>terms, construct logical arguments that prove the existence and wishes and 
>nature of their Deity (to their own satisfaction), can be divided into many 
>schools of thought.

>But I think this activity is too abstracted from mundane concerns to be of 
>any importance to the peasants, knights and lords of Malkioni society. It's 
>one for the wizard-caste to indulge in amongst themselves. Philosophies are 
>not, generally, 'popular' by their nature.

  Agree.  We need to know the core images and stories of the Malkioni religion.
What is the faith of the common people?  I am currently doping out ideas on
the Wizard's philosophies, probably I started on this tack because of HtWw1,
which I will be unable to attend.  At an ecclesiastical council most characters
will be churchmen so this kind of speculation is appropriate.

  If ANYONE knows the core myths of the Malkioni, the STORY that inspires 
people, post a summary, please.  I may be forced to make something up...

>On which subject: Western Saints have haloes. Illuminates have haloes. Is 
>there some connection?

  Yes.  I sent something to Greg about this, got a quasi-favorable response.
Can post something later.  May provoke violent disagreement.  Quick summary:
Illumination is NOT the same thing as Sainthood, but can provoke the 'crisis'
that leads to Sainthood.  Thus many Saints are Illuminated.

  Nick expresses his philosophy:
>Do it in public.

  Uleria would be proud.

  All for now,