Bell Digest v940609p2

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, 09 Jun 1994, part 2
Sender: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM
Content-Return: Prohibited
Precedence: junk


Subject: Moonbroth
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Jun 94 22:28:10 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4452

I've been running my campaign for a while now in the Zola Fel Valley,
but lately I've been longing to head out and explore the rest of Prax.
Unfortunately, the region beyond the valley is not detailed very well.
So I've been busy researching and creating. Below you will find my
ideas on the oasis of Moonbroth. I've based this write up on four main
sources (1) Cults of Prax (Biturian's Stop at Moonbroth), (2) Compton's
Multimedia Encyclopedia "Oasis", (3) River of Cradles, and (4)
Compton's Multimedia Encyclopedia "Geyser".

My reasons for posting this here are two-fold. First, I hope someone
out there will be able to make use of it. Second, I would like to hear
comments about it. What did you like? What did you hate? How is it
different from your Moonbroth? What would you change? What doesn't
sound Gloranthan? What does? Did I miss any published or unpublished
facts about Moonbroth? Please let me know what you think.


The oasis of Moonbroth lies near the edge of the region of Prax known
as The Good Place. The oasis is a relatively large fertile area, which
covers approximately 2 square kilometers. It is bounded on the northeast
by a low crescent shaped hill, and in the southwest by a large rocky
outcropping. The majority of the dwellings are situated on the rough
terraces of the northern hillside, while a new Lunar fortification
stands on the southern prominence. Placing the structures in this way
allows for cultivation of the entire arable basin.

The buildings in the oasis are all made from wood frames and adobe
walls. The one and two story structures are built touching one another,
often sharing a common wall. Most streets run north to south along the
contour of the hillside with only a few small alleys ascending the hill
west to east.

The Lunar fort straddles the barren southern hillock. It is surrounded
by an earthen wall topped by a wooden stockade. The wall runs in a
roughly straight line along the highest point on the hill for 25
meters. It turns sharply to the east and descends the hill to its base,
then turns more to the north and covers a small portion fertile ground
of the oasis before proceeding back up the hill to the top. At this
corner a high stone tower serves as a look out and the main headquarters
of the Lunar garrison. A long low adobe barracks runs down the length
of the hill along the southern wall. A deep well in the area of the
fortress that covers the oasis floor provides water in case of a siege.

A unique feature of Moonbroth is the presence of a hot spring, and an
accompanying system of geysers. At the northern edge of the rocky
southern outcropping, just beyond the Lunar fort, lies a steaming
pool of mineral water. Within the pool are seven stalactite-like rock
formations. These geyser pipes each drive a column of steam and water
high into the air each Wildday.

The primary vegetation of Moonbroth consists of date palms,
pomegranate, olive, and apricot trees. In addition to these trees,
grains, melons, and other crops are grown. The large date palms form a
canopy under which the smaller, less hardy trees and crops can thrive.

The majority of the inhabitants of Moonbroth are people of Oasis Folk
stock. These gentle people have lived here since the God Time. They
tend the crops in the fields, and raise their families as best they can
under the heel of one oppressor or another. The animal nomads and the
Lunars both treat these people as slaves.

A contingent of Lunar troops are garrisoned here in the newly completed
Lunar fort. Two platoons of Silver Shield Peltasts, a single platoon of
hoplites from the Marble Phalanx, as well as one platoon of the famed
Antelope Lancers make up the garrison here. The peltasts are medium
infantry mostly from the Lunar provinces such as Holay, and Tarsh,
though they are thoroughly Lunarized in nature. The members of the
Marble Phalanx are mostly natives of satrapies of the Lunar Empire
proper, while the Antelope Lancers are all Sable people from the Hungry

At least one clan of Sable riders are in residence at the oasis at all
times. They pitch their tents along the southeastern margins of the
oasis, and graze their herds among the scrub that grows there.

The commander of the Lunar garrison stationed at the Moonbroth fort,
Morrol Ranem, functions as the governor of the oasis, and is responsible
keeping order in the surrounding area. The actual running of day to day
affairs in the oasis are left in the competent hands of the chief priest
of the Etyries temple, Vetanis Vania.

Commander Ranem has appointed a resident of the oasis, Varton Mamigon,
as headman of the Oasis Folk. He rules over their internal disputes,
and makes sure that things are going smoothly in the fields. Any
disputes between Oasis Folk and others are ruled on by the Lunar

Most of the Oasis Folk of Moonbroth worship the spirit cult of the
underground water source that gives life to the oasis. They call the
spirit of the hidden water source SECRET MOTHER. She gives her
worshippers the spirit spell CALL MOTHER, which will send drinking water
for one person up to the surface within 50k of Moonbroth.

Due to the long presence of the Pol Joni as the overlords of this oasis
a number of the Oasis Folk here also worship some members of the
Orlanthi pantheon. Popular cults are Ernalda and Barnatar.

The presence of the geysers at this oasis have always marked this place
as a mysterious and magically powerful locale. When the Lunars arrived
in Prax they realized that this place must be sacred to the Red Goddess
and the Seven Mothers. A shrine was established at the site of the
geysers, and many Lunars in Prax make yearly pilgrimages to visit the
holy site. Devout worshippers of the Seven Mothers have come from as
far away as the Lunar Heartland to worship at this shrine.

MORROL RANEM, Lunar Commander and Acolyte of the Seven Mothers
This older, grey bearded Tarshite is the Commander of the Moonbroth
Lunar garrison. He is getting on in years and is looking forward to
retirement with a small patch of land back home. He misses the hills
and mountains of Tarsh a great deal. He attempts to keep everything
on an even keel in Moonbroth, so that nothing will intrude on his
retirement plans.

YANINYA CATIA, Rune Priestess of the Seven Mothers
This short, slightly chubby, dark-haired, young woman attends to the
Seven Mothers shrine, and ministers to the spiritual needs of the
garrison. She also is an active missionary and has been making steady
progress in her efforts to convert the local Oasis Folk to the Lunar

Yaninya has begun a secret love affair with Varton Mamigon, an Oasis
Folk farmer. She fears that she will be disgraced for being intimate
with a man of such low standing, but she loves their endless debates on
religion, and his companionship so she is willing to take the risk.

PHARAZON THE SILENT, Priestess of the Red Goddess and Illuminate
When the Lunar army took possession of Moonbroth, this priest immersed
himself in the waters of the geyser pool. Since that day, he has not
spoken except as an oracle of the Red Goddess. He has not moved from
before the geysers. Yaninya brings him food each day, and feeds him. A
small shelter has been built around him to protect him from the
elements. Questions of great import to the Lunar Occupation of Prax are
asked of him. If the Red Goddess so moves him, he answers.

VETANIS VANIA, Eytries Priest
Vetanis is the chief priest of the market in Moonbroth. This native of
the Lunar Heartlands is slim, with blond hair and blue eyes. He seems
to be able to do a hundred things at once. He keeps track of all the
caravans that pass through Moonbroth, always knows what's new in the
market, what's selling and what's not, and just exactly which market
location he assigned to whom, and the reason why.

During work hours Vetanis is all business, but when the trading is done
for the day he can be found in the barracks with the troops gambling.
Or he may be around the camp fires of the Sable riders throwing bones
for Lunars.

NOSHEN APKAR, Headman of the Oasis Folk
Within the Oasis Folk community Noshen is feared as powerful man with a
viscous temper. He rules the Oasis Folk with a firm hand. He brooks no
question of his authority.

When interacting with Lunars, or Sables riders, or anyone not born of
the oasis he is meek and fawning. He bends over backwards to please
outsiders, and always will take their side against an inhabitant of the
oasis. He has become an initiate of the Seven Mothers.

URRATU BULLROARER, Khan of the Sable Green Clan
The bullroarer is an initiate of both Waha and the Seven Mothers. His
clan of Sable Riders are the ones most often present at the oasis. He
is well known for his loud boasts, and equally loud threats. Both of
which he hardly ever follows up on. He is quite friendly with Vetanis,
and often games with him. Urratu has used this friendship to his
advantage and he has made a fair amount of money trading in the market.

When the Lunar Provincial Army made their first foray into Prax, they
assemble at this oasis, and drove the Pol Joni, who were at that time
the dominant tribe in the area, out. They met the defending Praxian
forces just outside the oasis and utterly defeated them, before moving
on to take the city of Pavis.

Realizing that the oasis was both a living shrine to the Seven Mothers,
and a strategic location, the Lunars began the construction of a
fortress here shortly after their victory. After close to four years of
work the fortress was finally completed in 1614.

Since the Lunar occupation the oasis has grown from a stopping point
for infrequent peddlers, to a bustling center of caravan trade. A large
amount of traffic also comes to Moonbroth as followers of the Lunar Way
make pilgrimages to see that wondrous shrine of the Seven Mothers.

The Market
Near the northern end of the oasis town a large open space that spans
two terraces forms the Market of Moonbroth. Here traders from all over
the Genertela can be met buying and selling both magical and mundane

Eytries Temple
A small temple to the Lunar god of trade, Eytries, stands at the
eastern edge of the Market. This temple also serves as the office and
residence of Vetanis Vania.

Geyser View
This rather well appointed Inn and Tavern is owned and operated by
a Lunar woman of uncommon beauty and wit known only as Zavartia. Her
Inn caters to Lunar pilgrims, and wealthy travellers. All the rooms
have magnificent views of the geysers.

Trader's Rest
This rather ordinary establishment is the only other inn at the oasis.
It is large, poorly run, and serves mediocre food. Billum Weysil, the
owner, is a native of Pavis, who lucked into a goodly some of money
and decided to open an inn with no prior experience.

The Caravan Campground
Just to the north of the oasis proper is the traditional campsite for
caravans. Most every day the tents and animals of at least one trader
and his retinue are arraigned here.

Seven Mothers' Shrine
The highly unusual Seven Mothers' Shrine is a truly amazing sight. On
most days steam can be seen rising off the pool, and an acrid odor is
often in the air. Swirls of different colors can be seen shimmering in
the water. Once a week on Wildday, a loud rumbling noise is heard and
then each in their turn one of the seven geysers spew forth great gouts
of water. After only a short silence the rumbling begins again, much
louder this time, and all seven of the geysers erupt at once.

Lunar Fort
This relatively new Lunar fort was completed in 1614. Its earthen and
wood walls house approximately 100 men. Built on the highest spot for
many kilometers it offers an excellent overview of the surrounding
plains. It also provides protection to one of the few water sources in
the region.

On the week of the high holy day of the Seven Mothers a great market
and festival is being held at the oasis. People are coming from all
over to join in the festivities and honor the Seven Mothers. The PCs
could be recruited by some Orlanthi big wigs (i.e. Garrath, or Krogar)
and asked to try and sabotage the Holy day by somehow plugging up one
or more of the geysers. (At least that's what my PCs are going to be
doing in Moonbroth!)



Subject: Time for a spot of travel?
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Jun 94 07:48:53 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4434

Nick Brooke doubleplusgoodduckspeaks:

> Gary Newton expostulated:

> > "Hey! You can't do that! Everyone knows time travel in Glorantha is
> > impossible! It breaks the Compromise!"

> Yeah. But does it happen despite that?...

Humans are allowed to break the Compromise.  This is a rule.  Pretty
routinely, in fact.  Time seems to be a rather more strictly enforced
rule (though a consequence/part of the Compromise, of course), since the
Gods can't break it under (supposedly) _any_ circumstances, while they can
ignore the rest of the Compromise, if they really want to.

> While I dislike bringing what I feel are non-Gloranthan concepts (like time 
> travel, parallel dimensions, genetics, etc.) into my world-view, if there's 
> a good story to be told which uses them, I'd say "Go ahead: tell it!" We've 
> probably "travelled through time" on HeroQuests before now without noticing 
> it, and I'm sure other instances of the Great Compromise "breaking" spring 
> to mind (both Waha and Cacodemon seem to have a loose grasp of its terms).

I think the interesting case is this: we can HQ back to any "point" before
the beggining of Time, and pretty much merrily change it however we like.
(Put that Gift Carrier down, Sending Gods.)  But to ten seconds after
the beginning of Time?  Tricky.  Greg has certainly at times stated or
implied you (or at least battalions of Lunar heroes) could do this, but it
seems a potentially messy business to me.  Ditto the whole "My Oppositional
HQer was a 2nd Age Zorak Zorani" scandal.

On the other hand, was 0ST the "Real" start of Time?  The Westerners don't
seem to think so.  The Dara Happans of only a few years after the supposed
event don't seem to think so.  So what's the deal?  If Time suddenly
starting, fundamentally changing the nature of the Universe, why didn't
these blockheads notice?  Does Time for the DHans start a few thousand
years earlier?

Of course, the above oversimplifies this somewhat: HQing back to the Dawn Age,
even if it were possible, wouldn't put you in the "mundane" First Age world
(at least in the first instance), but rather, in the Invisible World of
the First Age; the Heroplane, even.  This might simply have the effect of
changing the modern world accordingly, as with a "classic" HQ, to the Godtime,
rather than starting a whole causotemporal sequence of events back from the
time HQed to, through to the present, as with "real" time travel.

> Alex: Carolyn Cherryh's haggis'n'kilts fantasy novel "Faerie in Shadow" 
> translated "Geas" as "Necessity", which seemed to work well enough. A fun 
> book, too, if you can stand cod Scots (better than the real thing...).

Cod Scots and cod Gaelic, too, by the sounds of it.  I must ask a passing
Irish person about this, for a second q-Celtic opinion.

More of a haddock man,


Subject: Trickster, Glorantha, earth.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Jun 94 08:14:54 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4435

Paul Reilly, quoting me, quoting John Hughes quoting Chaosium:
> >> "THE FIREBRINGER: many people agree that Trickster, in one form or another,
> >> stole fire from the darkness. [...]
> >While contrariwise, the Dara Happans certainly don't.

>   I think that the DH might agree that Rakenveg, the carrot-headed Trickster,
> snuck in and stole Fire during the Darkness - FROM THEM.

They might: a FirePincher is an amusing varient that hadn't occurred to me.

>   Eurmal is definitely a Murderer.  No question.  Who unleashed Death?

Was Oppenheimer, then?

If Eurmal was a Murderer, there should be a myth of him killing someone/thing.
I don't doubt there is, I just want to know what it is.  Frankly, if he
had hold of it all that non-time, he'd have been having a very off non-day
if he hadn't _used_ it himself.

Devin Cutler:
> Alex writes (forcing me to keep this debate public):

Oooo, imagine, the deadly sin of Not Giving Someone the Last Word.

> 1) The gods on Glorantha are more active and manifest more often, more
> overtly (i.e. provably), and more repeatedly than any Earthly deities. When I
> say this last sentence, I do not mean "than any Earthly deities ever did in
> Terran mythology", I am saying "than any Earthly deities ever REALLY did in
> any sort of verifiable sense". Now, I suppose we are heading into dangerous
> territory (i.e. do Terran gods (or God) really exist), and this is a subject
> that I would like to avoid. 

I doubt we are.  What I maintain is merely that people have a fairly
impressive record of believing that they do, and acting accordingly.
For my money, one parting of the Red Sea is worth quite a few "wasn't that
a lucky escape from apparently certain death"s.

> 2) That assuming a person knows for a fact that a god exists and has direct
> effect on their lives/souls, that they would worship and revere such a god to
> a great extent.

But the issue isn't just "great extent", it's "an extent so much greater
than with earthly religions that it ceases to become even comparable, so
we should bin everything we know about earthly religions, and start from
scratch".  I find it more credible to believe that there's a range of faith
on both Glorantha and historical earth, which at the very least overlaps
substantially between the two.  Earth has thrown up quite enough religious
maniacs that to suppose Glorantha has many, many times more of them is a
rather off-putting idea.

> Therefore, I suppose Gloranthan worshippers can demand more of their gods
> than earthly worshippers can of their one Supreme Being, because if a
> Gloranthan doesn't like one god, he/she can simply worship another.

Is this particularly different from the situation of the ancient Hellenes, or
the pre-Christian Celts?

> In a
> Judeo/Christian mythos, you have no choice, it is worship THE GOD or burn in
> Hell.

Not unlike the Malkioni, no?

> Also, while in Glorantha the relationship between god and worshipper is a
> two-way street (i.e. the god gains something from the worshippers and vice
> versa), Terran monotheistic religions are more of a one-way street. Id est,
> worship of God is less a trade (of POW for benefits) and more of a parental
> type situation (i.e. love is a major factor).

Malkioni get no magical or material benefits from their worship, either.
If they were all unaligned sorcerors, they'd get _more_ magic per worshipper,
in fact.  (Neglecting Saint Cults for the moment.)  This seems to make
Malkionism in the same ballpark of provability to mediaeval earthly religions,
against a background where pagan deities are manifesting all over the place.
Isn't this an argument in favour of them becoming thoroughgoing backsliders,
if not apostates to a man, by your logic?

> 1) Every Gloranthan knows that there is an afterlife. They know it for
> certain. How? They can regularly talk to their ancestors, they SEE spirits,
> etc. While many on Earth claim to believe in an afterlife, few can really
> claim to believe it with the kind of non-faith intellectual proof that
> Gloranthans have.

I don't believe Gloranthan afterlives are "provable" in any meaningful sense.
I fact, I'm inclined to believe many of the claimed afterlives in cult
writeups are downright false.  At any rate, determining whether any particular
person has gone to any given afterlife, and whether they're having a great
time there, is at the very least exceedingly difficult.  (Beyond afterlife
claims like "you become a spirit", which is somewhat provable, but not
relevant to most of the afterlives marketed by the various cults.)

> I don't care how gullible and faith-full someone might be, hearing about a
> miracle second hand is not as effective as witnessing it firsthand or, better
> yet, performing it oneself.

How many people believe they've seen a Real Miracle at Lourdes (sp?) say?
Now, perhaps you think their standards of proof are shoddy, or that they're
plain ol' gullible, but it seems improbable to me that they display whole
order of magnitudes less faith than the "Glorantha's different" school of
thought appears to maintain.

>  "After all, Gloranthans know that
> people worshipping Bad Gods, and even no god at all, get magic, too."

> Why does the fact that Bad Gods give magic mitigate the devoutness of
> Gloranthans?

Because it means you don't have to be Good to get magic.  You don't have
to believe any particular thing to get magic, or indeed anything at all.
Indeed, you can be be fairly lax and cynical and get at least some magic
from your god.  Magic is fairly "routine" stuff in Glorantha, compared to
earth, so the mere fact that gods can evidence and grant it isn't likely
to make them quite the objects of universal and unquestioned awe you seem
to envisage, and as they might if they manifested in the middle of Piccadily
Circus tomorrow, and started lambasting the hapless residents with
unaccoustomedly irreproducable, but painful, results.

> Yes, Sorcerors get magic, but it is regarded as unholy and soul destroying.
> In any case, just because magic exists in a non-Divine form doesn't suddenly
> convince Gloranthans that their deities are impotent.

Clearly not, but that wasn't my point, was it?  Rather I argue, just because
you don't think religious people should have believed in their gods, due to
their inablility to produce magic on a regular basis, they weren't convinced
that their deities were impotent.

> "Spirit
> magic certainly isn't "evidence" of divinity of any sort, much less one
> who believes and promulgates his own GoG writeup chapter and verse.  More
> like a kind of cultic Predecessor Worship."

> Yes, but spirit magic does prove that the spirit world exists, that an
> afterlife exists, etc.

It does?  Most afterlives aren't even (claimed to be) _in_ the spirit

> Furthermore, Cult Spirits would tend to be a
> manifestation fo a god's powers.

Or of spirit magic which one's predecessors in the cult just happened to
know.  That it resembles the putative powers of the god in question is hardly

> But in any case, so what? Divine Magic in
> and of itself is enough to prove the Gloranthan deities' manifestations.

Doubtless why the aforementioned Malkioni deny it.  (Deny the divinity, that
is, rather than the manifestation).  What precisely does Divine Magic prove,
other than that worshipping at the altar of Orlanth Adventurous is a
precondition to casting a Shield spell?  Its very reliability could lead one
to the alternative conclusion that it was just some form of sorcerous
manipulation of the requisite elements, backed up with some POW sacrifice,
rather than the conscious intervention of some entity.

I'm half-tempted to bring up Illuminates.