Bell Digest v940621p3

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, Tue, 21 Jun 1994, part 3
Sender: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM
Content-Return: Prohibited
Precedence: junk


Subject: volunteers wanted
Date: 20 Jun 94 11:04:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4679

Greetings, prospective members!

All of you have shown interest in becoming fully initiated in the activities 
of the God Learner Exculpation Movement (GoLEM). So far we have had to 
disappoint you, since obviously we have to be extremely careful as to who we 
let in on our secrets. Now, however, we will give all of you the chance to 
prove your commitment and, after you have shown your worth, the possibility of 
joining our exalted circle.

Why, you ask, this sudden opportunity. Well, frankly, we need a lot of you to 
run a very important experiment. As you all know, the primary goal of our 
movement has always been the rediscovery and subsequent use of the famed God 
Learner secret. It so happens that recent Divinations to admittedly not always 
completely reliable but certainly not totally unreliable Source Gods have 
shown that this Secret can be stated in as few as three words. This meta-
knowledge provides us with a fool-proof method of determining the Secret 

     Assume, for the first run at least, that the three words are either 
     common words from the Gods' native language or words pertaining to 
     Gloranthan lore. Collect words of both types, the first type from general 
     sources and the second type from the magical communication resource known 
     as the RQ Daily. Compile lists of all three-word combinations and send 
     them to volunteers (1). Let the volunteers meditate on their potential 
     Secrets in a generally accessible area. Unless Glorantha greatly 
     disappoints us, the volunteer meditating on the actual God Learner Secret 
     will die in an unexpected and spectacular manner. Restrict further choice 
     of combinations to the ones on the deceased volunteer's list and 
     redistribute subsets to the remaining volunteers. Repeat this until only 
     one combination remains.

     (1)  The total amount of combinations compared to the total number of 
          volunteers may necessitate a temporal distribution of lists.

All in all we ought to be able to pin down the exact Secret with the loss of 
just a few volunteers, who will, of course, be honored forever.

Unfortunately, we who have already been initiated cannot participate in the 
experiment ourselves, since we all had to learn the cult skill of "be 
undetectable to Gift Carriers" directly after initiation. And we can assure 
you that those of you surviving the experiment will be taught this skill too, 
so you can all participate in use of the rediscovered Secret.

We expect all of you to jump at this opportunity and immediately volunteer to 
participate in this grand experiment. To do so, send a carrier spirit to the 
return address given above.

NB:  those of you who do not volunteer within the next two weeks lose any 
     chance of ever joining us. Also, any attempt at betraying the impending 
     experiment to any person or institution unsympathetic to our cause will 
     result in immediate execution. You can be sure that we know who you are 
     and what you are doing.

On behalf of the GoLEM,
Hasueros the Unveiler


From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Ass U Me
Message-ID: <940620081145_100270.337_BHL29-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 20 Jun 94 08:11:46 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4680


> I find it rather bizarre that you ASSUME that I know nothing about
> ancient history.

I felt your comment on Sumerian thought didn't really admit of any other 
explanation. Besides, you have in the past protested that you're not the 
least bit interested in any of the historical, anthropological or cultural 
material on these lists (I can look up references, if you're going to pull 
a "Scholars? Moi?" again). Wilful ignorance seemed the easiest answer. 

> I think you will find a lot of people who will support my contention
> that, while yes, there are differences in the trappings of ancient vs
> modern life (of course) that the "human predicament, and the way humans
> react to their environment and condition has not changed all that much.
> After all, we study history (at least in part) in order to gain insight
> into our own lives.

I think you will find the people who support that contention are for the 
most part not historians, psychologists, or anthropologists. Though they 
may be Americans. 


> Hrm.  We get a lot of these "the Carmanians invented it, because the
> Persians did" arguments these days, I note.  Too many, I think, when one
> considers how brief a time Carmania was a distinct entity, in between
> leaving the West, then conquering/merging with Dara happa, and then
> getting squished by the Lunars.  (A few hundred years, the exact dates
> escape me.)

Foundation: 729 ST.
Squishing: 1244 ST.
Or thereabouts.

Five hundred years is a *long* time in cultural development. The Roman 
Empire only lasted that long in the West, from Caesar through to Romulus 

Besides, I think Pentans and not Carmanians introduced sabre/scimitars to 
the Moonies. Carmanians used straight-bladed cross-hilted swords, shaped 
like Death runes. But they had bigger, taller horses than those steppe 
ponies. Yanafal Tarnils "discovered" the new type of sword out East in 
Accursed Torang (like Columbus discovering America): just what he needed, a 
non-Humakti kind of sword.



Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 20 Jun 1994, part 2
Message-ID: <>
Date: 20 Jun 94 09:22:28 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4681

Devin Cutler here:

Martin writes:

" In Devin's world,
there are no false priests (though I suppose there is still some
spectrum of devotion?).  "

True enough, excepting Illumination, which is a special case IMO. I suppose
this is really a metter of personal taste regarding how much the gods regard
the devotion of their followers.

To my mind, the devotion of Gloranthans to their gods and the tensions that
follow make for a great gaming world.

Nick sides with me by saying:

"Now, I intuitively tend towards Devin's side in the current debate over 
"What Is Rune Magic?" - largely because the clunkiest and most unpleasant 
aspects of RuneQuest powergaming come from the desire to get loadsaspells: 
Issaries' God Learner Spell Trading, Vampiric and Thanatari Rune-rape, and 
of course Nysalor Illumination's less interesting multi-cult side.

I don't think the gods constantly check up on their worshippers, know each 
of them on a personal basis, and vet every request for RunePowers. Perhaps 
invoking a Rune spell is like tweaking a god's reflexes: push *that* nerve 
and he'll always react like *this*.

But I think that if a god's attention were to be drawn to an individual 
worshipper's worthiness (or lack of it), he might be able to do something 
special about it."

It also goes to figure that, if a god can be concerned and active enough to
respond to DI's (especially if you use the written Di rules and the god
responds about 13% of the time), then certainly he can be concerned and
active enough to take some interest in a worshipper's devotion.

If a god is merely a distanced, impassive, knee-jerk entity, then DI becomes
much harder to explain.

Cullen writes:

"He's been raised
on stories that are full of superstition, and the most skeptical person
in the village probably just says 'those tales are exaggerated!' (ie:
not untrue, just exaggerated.)  The priests are figures of authority who
are very respected and tell simple tales that everybody agrees with."

Superstitions back then, phobias, angst, anxiety, and nerotic behavior now.

I am certainly not saying that the overlying conditions are not different,
merely that the underlying emotions are the same. Whether fear of the unknown
manifests as medieval superstition or modern fear of flying, the underlying
causes are similar.

"If people
didn't believe fervently in religion, why were they willing to kill
other people over things like:"

Never said pre-Renaissance Terrans were not devoted or whatever. Merely
postulating that Gloranthans are even MORE devoted because of certain factors
like life after death, magic, manifesting deities, etc.

 I still find it hard to believe that in a world so different from ours (and
c'mon, admit it, the presence of actual gods and actual magic is a pretty
basic difference) that you guys seem to be arguing that there is NO effect on
the philosophies and beliefs of the inhabitants, but rather it will come out
exactly as on earth.

Alex writes:

"I'm saying that _if_ Orlanthi magic didn't work, or if it did, we'd not
know the difference from KoS.  Think of the RQ rules as a crutch in playing
their characters accurately, to aid modern, cynical players,  who couldn't
"correctly" interpret "mere chance events" and "unsubstantiated, unrepeatable
occurrences" as the Miracles and Efficacious Magic that a devout Orlanthi
certainly would."

KoS however, is more concerned with meta events (i.e. heroic actions and
large scale things. Thus, personal magics like spirit magic are unlikely to
come into mention. I refuse to believe that any Sartarite Orlanthi considers
Divine Magic to be a sham, coincidence, or miracle. 

It happens too regularly and with too much precision to be anything other
than magic.

Alex also points out that when resurrection happens so frequently, it
essentially becomes an extension of life, and that Gloranthans regard "real
death" as the point in time after resurrection occurs, and therefore
afterlife is unproveable.

1) Even so, it is one step beyond what Terrans are able to divine with
certainty, and so provides a greater comfort level that an afterlife of some
form exists. Same with bound ghosts, et al.

2) Proveable elements in Glorantha which tend to deal with death and what
lies beyond still make for a greater certainty:

a) Eternal Battle
b) Ghosts and undead
c) Ancestors
d) Trolls having come from Hell
e) Spirits (at least proving that living beings have a spirit/soul which is
capable of independent existence from the body

Robert writes:

" But I think the God knows... especially if the
candidate has been a participant in a divination."


Devin Cutler

And I cannot see anyone being accepted as a priest without a Divination being
performed first to determine if the god is pleased.


Subject: Heroquestions
Message-ID: <>
Date: 20 Jun 94 12:02:17 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4682

Hal Bowman asks:
"1. Is there a good write - up of the white moon cult?"
Not that I've seen.
"2. Is there a description about what sorts of things one does to
Watch this space for an announcement by David Cheng of the RQ Con book.  It
contains a transcript of a seminar by Greg Stafford
on Heroquesting, and it's the fullest answer available to your
question at this time.  Short answer: it's like an RQ adventure,
but everything has symbolic meaning.
"3.  Is there a description of how one goes about 'binding a
spirit'?  If so, where?"
Not that I've seen.



From: (Colin Watson)
Subject: re: corn and other food stuff
Message-ID: <>
Date: 20 Jun 94 14:12:08 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4683

>> Corn is corn.
>> *Sweet*corn is maize.
>Even an unreconstructed Old Worlder like me knows that sweetcorn is a _kind_
>of maize, not a synonym for it.

Hey, Sandy didn't ask for the Truth; he asked for what we thought.  ;-)

>>Scottish crops: my wife's granny used to grow grapes and peaches in Orkney
>I agree that some kind of sunlight/heat increasing magic would do the job

Yes, you and Dave are right about this. (But it's definitely heat rather than
light which is lacking.)

>> In prehistoric times it was apparently warm enough to grow wheat in Orkney.
>> Now it's too cold. Oats and barley only.
>Be fair, we are still only half way out the last ice age.

Hmm, when I said prehistoric, I meant only ~6000 years ago or so (give-or-take
a millenium).



From: (Dave Pearton)
Subject: Push-Button Gods
Date: 20 Jun 94 16:54:08 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4684


To add my two cents to the wind-up gods debate:
While the gods themselves might not vet every single request for devine
magic I tend to agree with the person (Devin?) who mentioned that if you
were sacrificing for runemagic you are a de facto worshiper of that god.  My
reasoning goes thus: obtaining runemagic requires the sacrifice of personal
POW, POW (at least in RQII) is an important part of one's "soul", thus when
one gives POW to a deity one is gifting it with part of one's essential
being.  The more POW one has sacrificed to the deity the more of one's soul is
in possesion of/one with the deity and the more attached to the deity one
becomes.  I play that the more runemagic the priest has - particularly
special runemagic intimately involved with the deity - the more he is
"attached" to the deity.  The sacrifice of POW is thus a two-way street, the
worshiper gains spells but at the expense (?) of an increased link to his
god.  This generally has the effect of increasing the
peity of the priest - who wants to gamble with those parts parts of his soul
that are already in the deities keeping?

This has a great deal to do with my own view of POW sacrifices.  I don't
like the idea that one can throw away parts of one's "soul" away willy-nilly
without any effect on oneself.  Thus those parts of sarcificed POW are still
in someway part of the person's soul.  This view also contributes to the
theistic distate of sorcerors - they impart parts of their soul into
inamimate things, no wonder they are cold, amoral and doomed to eternal
death.  Similarly the shaman lives with a large portion of his "soul"
inhabiting the spirit world - a fact that shapes his entire world veiw.

Thus if someone were to gain spells, even if they were initially not
worshipers or just cynical "users", their very success would bring them
closer to the god.  I am sure that the more magic they obtained from that
god the more likely they would become "worshipers" of that god due to the
strength of the link they themselves have created.  Of course illuminates
would not have this problem :)

All this is just IMHO, of course.

Someone asked if I knew any myths about the office, I am afraid that I do
not know any off-hand.  I will do more research and see what I can come up

Dave Pearton				* ....As I was saying before I
Biochemistry Dept.			* was so rudely interrupted
University of Natal			* by one of my multiple
Pietermaritzburg			* personalities....
					*		* Naked Lunch (W.S. Burroughs)


From: (Nils Weinander)
Subject: Teshnos
Message-ID: <>
Date: 20 Jun 94 17:40:39 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4685

Nils Weinander writing

I have found the description of Teshnos in the Genertela box
rather uninspiring, and very sketchy, so I made up some stuff
for myself. It probably contains a lot of contradictions of
official material, and I know that it is a bit too much
influenced by real world India. I thought I'd post it anyway,
in case someone found it interesting. I would appreciate
corrections and enhancements.
Teshnan society is divided into castes {I would like another
word here, since caste is used for the westerners}, with
different functions and cults. There are three castes, some
additional variations and one group of caste-less.

The first caste is the Vaisya {indian name which should be
replaced with something better} or Farmers, also called
Morning. They are land owning peasants. The Farmers worship
Solf (Lodril) in his fertility aspect. Solf has spent his
energies and is the epitome of laziness, but he still has
the potential for volcanic activity, representing death as
the end of life. The Farmer caste is the personfication of
the power of creation.

The second caste is the Kshatriya {another indian name to
do away with} or Warriors, also called Evening. The Warriors
worship Furalor, the Teshnan death goddess {Joerg, you are
good at finding parallells between gods from different
myths, have you found one for Furalor?}. Furalor is the
deity of destructive fire, but death prepares for rebirth.
{I might have got the name Furalor wrong. I'm writing this
at work, without access to the sources}.
The Warrior caste is the personification of the power of

The third caste is the Brahmana {etc} or Sacred ones, also
called Noon. The Sacred ones are the priestly rulers. They
worship Somash (Yelm) as the balance who preserves the
state of being against too strong dominance of creation or
destruction. The teaching is that too much creative power
will result in uncontrolled growth, called the Fiery Cancer.
Too much destructive power will end with the end of the
world in the Great Conflagration. The Sacred caste is the
personification of the power of balance and preservation.
{So there we have the indian "trinity": creation (Brahma),
destruction (Shiva) and preservation (Vishnu).}

Old Sacred ones may retire from active life as monks and
worship Zitro Argon (Dayzatar). Their goal is to achieve
the spiritual purity needed to reach this aloof god. This
is the only release from the cycle of reincarnation which
all men are subject too.

All castes worship Calyz, the firebringer, whom I see as
a deified culture hero, who brought fire to Teshnos
during the Darkness.

The final group is the Paria {here I go again} or caste-
less. They are another people than the other Teshnans,
probably the original inhabitants who have been conquered
long ago. The Teshnans are of Kralori stock, the caste-
less show more Wareran traits. They have their own language
and customs. The Teshnan castes do not allow the casteless
to worship any gods, but they secretly have shamans who
lead their ancestor worship. This harsh rule is a matter
of conflict, since many radical priests of Calyz feel
that the casteless should be allowed to worship the fire-
bringer. After all they do partake of his gifts: they
use metal tools in their work (the gift of smelting),
they eat boiled rice (the gift of cooking) and they do
procreate (the gift of sex).

Generally Teshnan culture is prone to philosophical
speculation and spiritual matters rather than worldly
conquest and military glory, probably because the Sacred
caste has the political power for the time being.
So, does this seem totally wrong?

/Nils W


From: (David Gadbois)
Subject: Not in Kansas anymore
Message-ID: <>
Date: 20 Jun 94 04:17:41 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4686

Re: The discussion about "quitting" heroquests.

Most simple heroquests (high holy day and sacred time ceremonies, ones
like the Five Stones ritual) do involve some magical and immediate
transport to the god or hero planes such that, if you click your heels
together three times, you return to where you started not much worse
for the wear and tear.

On the other hand, most of the really interesting quests (LBQ, Hill of
Gold, removing the Trollkin Curse) involve major travel through the
mundane plane to where it intersects/merges with other planes.  E.g.,
sailing down Magasta's pool, jumping into the Hell Crack, or walking
through the Gates of Dusk.  If you exit these kinds of quests, you are
still in trouble.  Granted, an overnight camping trip to the Hill of
Gold is no big deal, but I would really hate to have to deal with the
Luatha twice in one lifetime.

Furthermore, quests that involve travel through the hero plane touch
upon many of the intersections with the mundane one.  So when you
leave the quest affects where you wind up back in the real world.  You
might find yourself on a pleasant stroll though the Hidden Greens.
One the other hand, you might get dumped in Skyfall Lake only to be
caught some troll fisherman's net.  Or you might emerge from one of
the tunnels of the Block (nice idea that, Nick) to face some very
unhappy Storm Bullies.

--David Gadbois


From: (Black, Stephen Thomas)
Subject: RQers in London or Environs
Message-ID: <>
Date: 20 Jun 94 14:22:25 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4687

I am going to be in London from 9 July to 21 July are there any RQers in the Town that I might be able to get a game with. I will be teaching a class at the 
Univ. of London during the day but have evenings and such free. I'd love to play.
Stephen Black       Psychology Department
Millsaps College
Jackson, MS 39210   601-974-1381


From: (David Gadbois)
Subject: E Prime
Message-ID: <>
Date: 20 Jun 94 04:41:38 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4688

   From: (alex)
   Date: 19 Jun 94 16:46:43 GMT
   X-RQ-ID: 4668

   Paraphrasing Alex: We have reason to doubt that the concept "Chaos
   is Evil" is inexpressible in New Pelorian, seeing as this would
   be, well, a practical impossibility.  (Short of abolishing the
   necessary linguistic constructs to denote of predicative assertion.
   This is a language people actually _learn_, and _use_, after all,
   unlike Newspeak even in fiction.)

This reminds me of a fruitcake "language" called E Prime.  Aficionados
of this venture ban all use of "to be" from English and so really do
not say things like "Chaos is evil."  Their (broken) reasoning goes
something like this: Predicative assertions are equivalent to a
statement of mathematical equality.  Mathematical equality is
Liebnitzian (i.e., two things are equal if all their qualities are
equal).  Since, for everyday discourse, one can never prove this
equality, "to be" must be banned as being hopelessly imprecise.

There really are some fringers who claim to speak only E Prime.  For
them, they could only say something like "Chaos has some of the same
quailities that evil has."  This is much weaker than the original, and
I can see how it would satisfy a lot of the Lunar's propaganda goals.

I should note that, for a poststructuralist like myself, the topic of
language is a central and very sensitive one, having a lot to deal
with the politics of power and dominance.  As such, I hope that folks
recognize that all my speculation about New Pelorian Newspeak is meant
as a satire of linguistic control rather than as a vain attempt to
shore up the old logocentric demons.

--David Gadbois