Bell Digest v940601p2

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Wed, 01 Jun 1994, part 2
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From: (Sandy Petersen)
Subject: stuff
Message-ID: <>
Date: 31 May 94 05:24:23 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4274

Joerg asks:
>what visible and audible effects does magic have in your campaign?
	I always play that different spells have different sensory  
effects. I haven't bothered to figure out exactly what effects are  
visible for each spell. (Disrupt is a long thin beam, healing is a  
greenish glow, for the most obvious.)

>Germany may have smaller distances [than the USA], but we actually  
>meet only if some of us chance to visit another's home city, or at  
>the annual convention. The US with its great, "everyone's there"  
>conventions would be as good a breeding ground for such a society as  
>Germany where next to noone really leaves his city of birth.
	You don't understand. Because our country is so enormous, and  
comparatively thinly-peopled, a given city tends to have fewer actual  
RuneQuesters available, except for the largest metropolitan areas.  
Because of this, there's usually not enough locals playing RQ in an  
area to actually form a group, though I agree it would be wonderful  
if they would.

>Nor do we profit much from being a "youth organization".
	Really? When I was in Germany last November, I was told that  
the government actually provided funds for the gaming conventions and  
local RPG groups there. 

>the geology minor in me still wants to know how long the ice age  
>held Glorantha in sway before the Dawning.
	If I answer, I'll get picked on by all the "there is no time  
in Godtime" fanatics. ;)

>I think there's nothing wrong in forbidding access to some areas.
	I agree. Yet I think that Greg's forbidden access to too  
many, and too large, areas. I mentioned my non-adherence only because  
I felt it was possible that someone else might be chafing under the  
restrictions, and egoistically felt that saying that I, Sandy P.,  
ignored 'em, would make them feel like they had "permission" to  
violate said rules, too, IF they wanted. Obviously, anyone that LIKES  
the restrictions should absolutely ignore me. 

It has been proposed that, at least for the Rokari, the different  
castes may have different Virtues. So, I propose the Four Sacred  
Virtues of the Rokari -- so long as you maintain your Four Virtues,  
you'll be able to make Solace when you pass on. 

PEASANT: Obedient, Patient, Thrifty, Hard-working
KNIGHT: Lusty, Valiant, Worldly, Vigorous
WIZARD: Chaste, Cautious, Holy, Studious
LORD: Obedient, Patient, Thrifty, Hard-working 

	My intent should be fairly obvious. But part of the intent is  
that, though the Peasant and Lord virtues are identical, the way in  
which they are practiced is, of course, completely different. The  
Peasant is intended to be Obedient to his Lord. The Lord is intended  
to be Obedient to Malkion's Law. The Peasant is Patient under  
misfortune. The Lord is Patient, letting plans mature. The Peasant is  
Thrifty in his personal life. The Lord is thrifty with the produce of  
his peasants, the lives of his knights, and the mana of his wizards.

Cullen O'Neill says:
>In WF4 Greg says that	Prax and Sartar have different climates due  
>to different magical ecologies (or words to that effect), is this  
>what he meant?
	Kinda. There's more to it than just Cloud Call, though.  
There's also myth reality. See below. 

> since cloud call is to the horizon shouldn't the >areas on the east  
>of Sartar also become lush (as they are), making >them desirable as  
>farmland? This might >help to explain the Pol Joni??  But they're  
>not farmers...  so why is it that they aren't? 

	Praxian soil and climate is somewhat different from Sartar's.  
For instance, all the ground has been pounded down hard by the  
battling of Storm Bull and the Devil. Hence, if you did a Cloud Call  
over the surface of Prax, instead of a nice fertile area, you end up  
with rain puddling on the hardpan, maybe a temporary bog, and then a  
few days later ... nothing. Just like in the Great Basin. Ever been  
there after a rainfall? Lots of huge, almost lake-sized pools of  
water. Yet the land's not fertile. 

	The Pol Joni land is helped by the rain, but not to the point  
that it becomes good farmland -- only to the point that it is good  
range-land for horses and cattle. 

	If a band of Orlanthi moved to Fethlon and attempted to use  
Cloud Call to farm, they'd soon regret it -- lack of rain isn't any  
problem there. Magic Ecology is the combination of magic &  myth. 

	The Praxians have "chosen" to follow Eiritha, rather than  
Ernalda. In the long run, they have doubtless made the best choice  
for their type of terrain. Note that the non-Eiritha worshipping  
tribes of Prax would probably not be able to survive there if it  
weren't for the other tribes' magic, which keeps a sufficient number  
of beasts, domestic, feral, and wild, on the Wastes for these  
"parasitic" tribes to survive on. 

Okay, once more into the breach dear friends.
Devin Cutler asks:
>But do the men-and-a-half still exist (they did as of RoC)? 

	YES. They live in Prax, and they are the ONLY Agimori in  
Prax. There are also tribes of men-and-a-half in Pamaltela. 

>If so, how common are they?
	Prax: they are one of the Ten Independents. 

	Pamaltela: not particularly common. They're just a few tribes  
among hundreds. 

>what determines if an Agimori baby will become a Man+1/2 or not? 

	If it's mommy and daddy were men-and-a-half, he'll be one,  
too. If it's a half-breed, then it'll be a mixed-breed. 

>How does the distinction between >"regular Agimori" and men+1/2  
>relate to the supposedly immortal Agimori who have never tasted  
	The men-and-a-half claim that they are more closely related  
to the original Agimori. Whatever that means. 

>Finally, it seems that the only Agimori met in Prax are men+1/2.
	Correct. However, Pithdaros (over in Seshnela) has a  
collection of Agimori, half-breeds, octaroons, etc. Like Brazil. 

>Perhaps, knowing the journey from Pamaltela to Genertela would be
>dangerous, only men+1/2 were taken, and that men+1/2 always breed  

	The Agimori of Prax came there BEFORE the great darkness.  
They walked across the land, because the island of the Spike formed a  
land bridge during the Golden/Green Age. This means, of course, that  
the Agimori predate the Animal Nomads (but not the oasis folk)
	I suggest one of the following three scenarios: ONE) it just  
happened that only men-and-a-half managed to walk to Genertela before  
the big disasters. TWO) various varieties of Agimori lived in Prax  
before the disasters, but only the sturdy men-and-a-half managed to  
survive 'em. THREE) this was in the old times way back when -- ALL  
the Agimori were men-and-a-half back in those days!

Nick Brooke remarks:
>When Kwaratch Kang tried to cause trouble, Arkat apparently broke  
>himself into separate individuals to overcome him.
	Remember, when Arkat heroquested, he ran into a number of  
paradoxes on the Godplane. His Incurable Wound, for instance, was  
suffered when, while on one quest, he ran into Himself as his own  
opponent to that quest. 

	Domestic shadow cats I believe are used as hunting beasts (at  
which they excell), watchbeasts (at which they are even better than  
dogs, with their keen senses and nocturnal habits), and simple pets  
(to play with the kiddies, etc.). 

	I think that dogs in Sartar are pretty much only working dogs  
(herding and maybe some types of hunting) and pets. There's no need  
for watchdogs with alynxes around, that's for sure. The main types of  
working dogs you'd want would be sheepdogs, terriers (for hunting  
small mammals), and probably hounds for tracking long distances. Some  
professional hunters may pair the Sartarite hound-equivalent with  
alynxes for hunting -- the dog trees the raccoon, then the alynx  
climbs up and gets it. 

Matt sez:
>I find it hard to accept the idea of hunting cats
	There's folks on Earth who do it, so my conclusion is that it  
must be possible. 

Dave Dunham asks:
>I'm actually from lush, rainy New York state, but I never have been  
>to Utah. Does Utah irrigate?
	Yes. I'm told that it was the first place in the United  
States to do so (presumably not counting amerinds). 

Joerg asks:
>I know it is official GoG policy to make Goddesses of the Land and  
>Grain Goddesses identical, but I stick more with the impression I  
>got from KoS's mention of Esra (goddess of barley) and Pela (goddess  
>of wheat) as grain goddesses in the land of Kero Fin (no grain  
>associated). What do people think about this? Sandy (after all it 

>was you who had a hand in this)?
	I'm sticking to my theory that the Land Goddesses and Grain  
Goddesses are One. This doesn't mean that there aren't farming  
goddesses associated with a particular grain. For instance, Krala is  
the Land Goddess of Kralorela, and her special grain is Rice. Yet  
there is also a Rice Mother. For that matter, I can imagine someone  
living in Peloria and wanting to worship Esrola because she is the  
Barley goddess. Even though she's not native to my homeland. 

>Glorantha is remarkably earth-like in its fauna, if you leave out  
>chaos, legendary beasties from known earth mythologies (Griffins,  
>Hippogriffs, etc), gigantism, and anachronisms (dinosaurs,  
>titanotheres). The only unique animal I can think of out of my head  
>is the Rubble Runner 

	Don't Ducks, Wind Children, Dragonewts, Maidstone Archers,  
Jolanti, Jelmre, and so forth get to count? Or do only unintelligent  

Peter W. remarks:
>Has anyone every wrankled at the neat little packages that Strike  
>Ranks are grouped into?  By this I mean Melee rounds.  In my group  
>we tend to make/bend the mechanics to fit the gameplay but I  
>wondered whether there was any percentage ('scuse the pun) in  
>adopting the continuous flow of SR used in the Ringworld RPG
	Yeah, I've tried it. I didn't like it. After a few rounds, I  
completely lost track of who was doing what and when anything was  
happening, especially considering I had to do all the NPCs myself. I  
find the little break you get at the end of each round in RQ quite  
handy to keep track of things, artificial though it may be. 

	The system worked (kinda) in Ringworld because combats were  
exceedingly short -- once you were hit by the laser, the fight ended. 


From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: Pantheon Initiation
Message-ID: <>
Date: 31 May 94 19:45:19 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4275

>   In X-RQ-ID: 4101, Alex Ferguson types:

> >What I claim is that people don't worship (in a committed way, as opposed
> >to in a "lay membership" fashion), all of a pantheon, or anything much
> >like all.  Rather, I think most people worship one god, or in some cases,
> >a "tight group" of local significance.  This is why I think the existing
> >model of initiation is preferable to Joerg's.

>   This, I think, is my basic problem with your argument.  It seems to me
>   that, from a cosmological viewpoint, there is less difference between
>   initiation to three gods (or seven) and initiation to twenty (or even 1000)
>   than there is between initiation to only one god and initiation to three.

Philosophically this is partly true, but cults are not wholly philosophical
contructs.  All six (sic) of the Seven Mothers are connected by a single,
key mythic event, which is not true for whole pantheons.  The Orlanth
pantheon is a pretty fuzzy affair anyway, only really being defined in
terms of gods one _might_ worship, not a collection one _must_, even in
the loosest sense.

>   If you can connect to more than one god with a single initiation, then
>   the exact number more than one is a minor point.  And it has been shown
>   on Glorantha that you *can* connect to more than one deity with a single
>   initiation.

How could you apply the Seven Mothers model to Joerg's "Orlanth's Stead"?
(Big house -- personally I think "the Storm Tribe" would be closer, if
you really want to avoid the P-word).  One temple with 250 shrines, each
offering a single spell to every member of the clan?  The Seven Mothers is
not a "pantheon" type cult (a la Joerg), by any stretch of the imagination:
its cult does not subsume its members', structurally or magically, nor does
it supplant them as institutions.

>  So, q.e.d. pantheon initiation (given my stated assumption)
>   is possible in a Gloranthan millieu.

This is taking a liberty or several with mathematical induction, not to
say use of "QED".

>   In the current rules, there are *only* two states of initiation, lay and
>   initiate (lumping all the acolytes/priests/lords in with initiates for this
>   discussion).  This begs the question, what is the iniatory status *relative
>   to Ernalda* of all of the Orlanthi, Uroxi, etc. taking part in an Ernaldan
>   High Holy Day service.  They are not initiated to Ernalda, neither are they
>   just lay members, as they participate much more fully.  Yes, they are
>   associates, but unless we call "associate" a third initiatory state, this
>   is just handwaving.

Hardly.  They are necessarily initiates, otherwise they'd not be "associates".
You suggest that they must have some special initiatory status in the cult
of Ernalda, or some such concept, and then generalise this in such a way
to defeat your own original point, about associate worship: what role
do "Low Initiates" take in the rituals?  Initiates of associate cults have
a clearly defined role to play (if any), so I don't accept this comparison.

>   And if we *do* make associate another state of
>   initiation, well then fine, I'll also call this a low initiate and I am
>   satisfied.  And if Alex (or anyone) asks me to what are they initiated
>   that is associated with all the rest, well, I have shown above that one
>   may initiate to many deities with a single initiation; one initiates to the
>   "gods of my ancestors", i.e. the clan's gods.

This is two arguments in one: that one could initiate to a cult associated
with every other, and/or that one could do so into a cult which is itself
a composite of all the other gods of the clan.  Depending on the structure
envisaged for the second, or the nature of the association in the first,
this might turn out to be much the same thing.  However, I don't think you
can construct an argument that this is possible in a general way, without
considering who the gods are, and their relationship.  I don't believe that
because there is someone in the clan who worships Humakt, someone else
Chalana Arroy, and a third person Babeester Gor, that there is necessarily,
or even likelily, to be a cult associated to all of them, or a cult
incorporating elements of the worship of all three.

>   And if that is still
>   unsatisfactory, they I suppose the clan wyter will do.  It would be
>   associated to all of the other deities worshipped by the clan, n'est pas?

I doubt it: the clan spirit is effectively a subcult of the founder's cult,
to wit Orlanth, who isn't associated with every deity in his pantheon.
However, ignoring the sophistry-ridden "proof", I find this suggestion, in
concrete terms, preferable to Joerg's essentially open-ended approach to
pantheon initiation.  (Please fight over the copyright on the term quietly
in the corner. )  If a person is a member of a particular cult, albeit a
non-standard, composite one, we can at least posit an appropriate cult
structure, and consider which cults it _should_ be associated to in a
particular clan, without having to dispose of cultic initiation, as such.

>   Now, to bring this, so to speak, back to earth, and the real reason *why* I
>   want to do this, is that it enables me to GM better.  I have the refugee
>   survivors of a clan that has just arrived in the Rubble from Sartar; there
>   are a number of different gods that this clan worships, but with over half
>   the clan dead (that's why they're refugees), they are too few to provide
>   any magic to my PCs unless most of the clan members take part in most of
>   the worship services.

This is not inherently implausible: this is the kind of "fudged" cult I
proposed earlier.  I think there's a limit to how ad hoc these groupings
can get, without seriously compromising any magical effectiveness they have.
After all, you can't hold a worship ceremony to suit any arbitary combination
of half a dozen gods from the Orlanth pantheon: there aren't enough myths
for all the permutations.

>   Thinking about this, it makes sense for most clans,
>   and so that's why I speculated on the general case.

It only makes sense for most clans, from a pragmatic point of view, if you
deliberately set up the rules (or if you prefer, "envisage the magical
ecology") in such a way that they benefit from it.  I don't see any reason
to suppose that having a clan full of flexi-worshippers gets better results
than each being initiated to their own god; in fact, quite the reverse.

More importantly, I don't think it makes more sense from the point of view
of how worshippers take part in rituals, as I've said before.

>   And now, we (i.e. my
>   players and myself) can have fun roleplaying the different PCs & NPCs
>   taking part in each other's worship, which opens up many, many roleplaying
>   possibilities.

Which you have anyway, in a way that makes more conceptual sense to me,
with associate (in its present meaning) worship.



Subject: The problem with scholars, is...
Message-ID: <>
Date: 31 May 94 19:46:55 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4276

> Devin Cutler here:
> Does anyone have any secret info on True Dragons (like Stats)?

gamesystem:  __true_dragon_#stats (not expressible in RQ3); core dumped.

> No one is saying the Scholarly stuff should go. The attitude that game-stuff
> is worthless is what should go!

Who has said that?  I see no hostility to "game stuff", myself.  The best
I can think of is that perhaps someone has posted something as "hardware",
and been taken aback by having it dissected as "scholarship", and being put
off by this (not that I recall any instances of this).  Not what I'd consider
to be hostility, as such.

> Alex writes:
> "The trouble with a One True Glorantha is that many people may not like it.
> If there is inconsistency, it may annoy some people, but if Glorantha
> was a rigid orthodoxy, then anyone who happened to dislike it would be
> considerably more disadvantaged.  "

> When did I espouse rigid orthodoxy? I am saying that there should be a
> balance....not the current trend towards rampant inconsistency.

You appear to be critisising every example of of an "inconsistency" you can
lay your hands on, including at least one which I wouldn't perceive as such.

> I am asking "why does everything have to be inconsistent?"

I don't think this is an accurate description of the current state of
Gloranthan affairs.  That there are now three gods of the winter sun
hardly means that "everything is inconsistent".  That Nick and Joerg think
there are four or more merely proves there was excessive toking going on
at DeutcheRQcon. ;-)  Elmal and Yelmalio even have broadly similar cults,
I'm told, and Antirius is a completely "new" god; no reference to worship
of Yelmalio that I'm aware of is "really" a reference to Antirius.

> " And if such did exist, determining which
> Age it was built in would require rather a lot of archeological expertise
> on the part of the characters, I think."

> Really? I have very little archaelogical expertise, and I can tell the
> difference between the ruins of a 16th century castle and a 4th century
> fortress.

Doubtless.  You have a basis for comparison.  On an incidental note, though,
it is challenging to tell the difference between the ruins of a 4th century
fortress, and an undiffentiated ditch and mound or two, in my experience.

Since this particular point appears to be doubly hypothetical, let's
consider the issue in general: could there exist physical evidence to
indicate either that an entity was, or was not, created or modified by the
God Learners?  Theoretically, yes.  So if you actually _want_ there to be,
feel free.  But bear in mind that pre-GLers artifacts are about a millenium
plus old; could have been eliminated or faked by the GLers themselves; could
have been altered by the "backwash" of a GL HeroQuest on the mundane plane;
could have been obliterated by the God Learners' Dire Fate; or could have
had one of any number of things happen to them since the second age.

> In any event, as we delve deeper into Heroquest rationalizations, I start to
> wonder why I should have to go through such mental and logical gyrations
> anyways.

I agree that it's not desirable to frantically explain away every rule or
background change, or good old fashioned error, by the magic phrase "It got
HQ'd that way."  But in the case of our two running examples, the creation
of Yelmalio by the Elmali, and the alleged creation of Kolat by the GLers,
this was done _by_ HeroQuest, so explaining the change in such terms is
wholly reasonable.  (One could debate how much of the material is resolvable
by such means, and which should be excised as fundementally incompatible.)

> It seems that, in general, no one is willing to admit that there is even a
> PERCEIVED problem out there on this issue, despite the fact that others agree
> with me, so it seems the status quo shall reign.

If this helps, I'll assert that there _would_ be a problem, if someone were
to go through all the published myths, and decide which of them were "true"
or not on a mass basis.  Whatever that means, anyway.  That their truth is
allowed to remain open to interpretation should spare us most worries on
this front.  It would seem to me not to be desirable to seek an en masse
guarantee that the heroplane and people's myths are, in the third age,
exactly as they were at the  Dawn: they weren't.  Hence if you assume this,
don't be surprised if other people, officially or not, suggest otherwise.



Subject: Nick Brooke and his Unusually Small campaign.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 31 May 94 19:48:03 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4277

> The 
> most recent game I ran was last summer: Mike Dawson's wonderful "Gaumata's 
> Vision", with an all-Yelmalion party making up a half-file of Sun Dome 
> militia.

Good gravy.  How did you all fit round the same table?  Or was this a
freeform, or some Herisarchary such as Multiple Characters Per Player?

> So I guess you're right: the name "Microcosm Man" fits me like a glove!

Nick's once-a-month rate of play is wild extravagance from my current
sad perspective, but I tend towards the microcosmic, too.  Partly through
being naturally inclined to have a familiar "base" at least, from where to
explore; partly from having that pseudo-seismic feeling in many parts of
Glorantha ("Uh-oh -- Greg might be about to write this area we're standing
on."); and partly because of the three-legged pig syndrome: you don't eat
something that good all at once.

> the incestuous nature of Orlanthi clan and 
> tribal politics has me in fits of cackling glee

Please!  If it's not exogamous, you're doing it wrong. ;-)

> [...] a low-water mark for my faith in the glowing future of the 
> Lunar Way...

Glow, as in, "Moonburned until they", I trust.