Bell Digest v940627p3

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 27 Jun 1994, part 3
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From: (David Dunham)
Subject: Geases; cows
Message-ID: <>
Date: 26 Jun 94 18:45:01 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4832

Devin and Joe ask about my
>how could his seers identify horrible fates and wisely impose geases on
>newborn nobles?"

I've been writing about my Irish version of East Ralios for some time. In
other words, I made it up, though I think for a variety of reasons Ralios
is much like Celtic Ireland (all terrain is hilly, Orlanthi heroes have the
same abilities as Cu Chulainn, Orlanthi are much like Celts anyway).

Here's the section on Geases from my East Ralios writeup. It borrows
HEAVILY from John Carnahan's Pendragon supplement Pagan Shore.

A geas is a life-long religious taboo, or a transitory oath which is as
strong, but of a limited duration. A powerful Orlanthi carries many geases
of both types: vows which stay constant throughout his life, and short-term
geases imposed upon him by his associates and enemies.
        Breaking any of these geases brings bad luck, dishonor, and
eventual death. The geas does not alter a person's will, but it destroys
his honor and destiny if he declines to follow its terms.
        Permanent geases are laid upon someone at birth. They forbid
performing certain actions or interacting with certain persons or places
which the person is likely to die from.
        A seer from the Lhankor Mhy cult examines every child born into a
family of consequence. If the seer envisions the child drowing in the
Doskior River at the Birthing Festival, he lays upon the child a geas
"never to touch Doskior water during Sea Season." Because death may occur
near Birthing Festival, the geas includes the whole season in which it
occurs. The fatal water might be from, rather than in, the Doskior, hence
the stricture against Doskior water in general. A geas must be as
unambiguously phrased as a proviso in a contract, which, in a sense, it is.
        Transitory geases are placed upon social losers by social winners.
Having bested someone in war, in sport or professional competition, through
a superior display of courtesy, or through sexual wiles, the winner has the
right to take their life or alter it. Transitory geases require their
subject to fulfill some limited goal ("elope with me") or obey a
restriction for a fixed amount of time ("wear no armor for a year").
        The only real advantage in having geases is that you know five or
ten sure ways to kill yourself.

>How common are adventurers that live longer than two or three seasons   
>in your worlds?

All of them have. That's the advantage of running Pendragon-style yearly
adventures :-)

Barron Chugg asks
>Gods _have_
>come into being since the Compromise (Arkat, Yelmalio, the Seven Mothers,
>Dormal, Hero cults).  But when the Broken Council tried to create a god all
>heck broke loose.

A difference: the former all earned godhood, but Nysalor was born to it.
This might just be an aspect of Yelmic culture, or it may underly
Glorantha. The God Learners apparently cheated, gaining power without
really earning it, and they brought heck on themselves too.

Sandy says
>In the old RQ2 days, we at Chaosium were accused again and  
>again by American players of making the Lunars out to be bad guys

Hmm, in the old RQ2 days I played two characters who joined Seven Mothers.
Did you mostly talk to Californian players? I always found their style of
play a little different.

>I suspect the pro-Orlanthi slant of modern RQ stuff may be  
>similarly a fig newton of someone's imagination

No published scenario really allows you to play Lunars.

Paul picks on Alex's typo
>Did the shepherds with dugs try to lure the sheep on with the
>promise of breast-feeding?  (Couldn't resist)

which reminds me of a story I heard. A farmer and his wife were trying to
get some cows to move back into the barn, but they wouldn't budge --
apparently they didn't like milking machines. They pulled and yelled and
pushed, but the cows remained obstinate. So the farmer told his wife, "Take
off your shirt." "I'm not taking off my shirt!" "Come on, just take off
your shirt." Finally, she did, and the cows took off for the barn. He
explained, "They think they're two big eyes."


Subject: Correction
Message-ID: <>
Date: 26 Jun 94 19:32:01 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4833

In my comment on "qua," the correct quotation is as follows:

"Do you intend 'qua' to impart some special significance, or do you merely
mean 'qua' qua 'qua'?"

Hurt, Teetering on the Blink (1988), page 1.

Humblest apologies for the error.


From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: When gods break the Compromise
Date: 26 Jun 94 19:43:10 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4834

Barron Chugg in X-RQ-ID: 4798

>   This brings me to a question I have always wondered about.  Gods _have_
> come into being since the Compromise (Arkat, Yelmalio, the Seven Mothers,
> Dormal, Hero cults).  But when the Broken Council tried to create a god all
> heck broke loose.  Somehow that attempt was "contrary to the laws of
> nature".  Did the Council use some particulary evil method (aside from the
> Dragon's Egg and all) or is this just a great example of the winners
> writing the history books?

No. The different thing about Gbaji/Osentalka/Nysalor was that he became 
a god and did not withdraw from the mundane plane. All the other gods 
(Yelmalio excepted, he was around as an elf deity before dawn, but became 
worshipped among the hill barbarians only in the 3rd Age) were heroes who 
at some point of their careers left the mundane plane. See the casual remark 
of Ralzakark why he hasn't become a deity yet.

Some deities who regularly defy this dictum are the Praxian major spirits, 
but given their comparably weak Nomad God values, these may as well be 
minor manifestations.

The god-emperors (Godunya, Belintar, Moonson) seem to have developed yet 
another method to remain mundane.

The Red Goddess did the best trick: She regularly dies in the mundane 
plane, thereby remaining more manifest than any other deity in the time 
she's alife. But then she as well is rumoured to have existed in Godtime.

--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: (Paul Reilly)
Subject: Re: Resurrection
Message-ID: <>
Date: 26 Jun 94 20:47:06 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4835

> I do not use Chalanna Arroy
>Resurrect on the First Come First Served basis. Like you Sandy, I think they
>do evaluate the worthiness of the victim.

  Seeing as how CA's _are_ (usually) human beings, donations can bump
you up the list (IMC -in my campaign).  And if you are non-local, they
had better be big donations - locals known to the healer take precedence.

  I do play that a friend or friends makes the shamanic descent into the
underworld with the healer - and sometimes these friends are at risk.

  - Paul
ps.  more in a bit


From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: Persia and Carmania.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 26 Jun 94 22:23:51 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4837

Nick Brooke intervenes to my musing:
> > 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.

But bear in mind that for much of this time, Carmania occuppied Dara Happa,
or at least the non-EWF bit thereof.  (Frantic searching of two feet shelf
space of RQ product fails to reveal the exact date of the above (the closest
I got was "eventually" ;-/))  This suggests to me that we're should abate
the rate at which we suppose frantic Persianisation of Carmania, unless we
also suppose it for 2nd Age Dara Happa, or have reason to confine it to
the Western bit (present day Carmania).

> Five hundred years is a *long* time in cultural development.

If we use as broad a definition of Persia as some of the more enthusiastic
Carmanian analogers seem to be doing, then I suppose:

Founded: 728 BC
Squished: 640 AD

Just a tad longer.  Yes, this is a huge swathe of distinct dynasties, and
ignores minor details like Alexander's conquest, which is why I'm nervous
about the whole period being equated to Carmania's history.  Which I'm
sure Nick doesn't do, but I wonder at other people's zeal...

BTW, if anyone wants to include anything pre-Medean or post-Islam from
Persia in their version of Carmania, let me know, so that I can "improve"
on my figure of 1368 years. ;-)

> The Roman 
> Empire only lasted that long in the West, from Caesar through to Romulus 
> Augustulus.

Yeah, and this represents neither Rome's founding, nor it's squishing, in
a cultural sense.  And they certainly didn't, during this period, produce
anything like the range of cultural and technological innovations I've
seen blithely dealt with here by the old adage "the Carmanians must have
done it".  Not, admittedly, all by the same person, so I'm carping at the
general accumulated effect, rather than any individual's megalomania.

> 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.

To give the Devil Duke his due, this may have required a fair bit of
Discovering, since it seems more likely that the odd Pentan tribe used
some sort of somewhat curved (in either direction) sword, than that the
whole lot of them came ready-equipped with full-fledged scimitars.



From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: Re: The great Sharp Axe scam
Message-ID: <>
Date: 26 Jun 94 23:30:44 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4838

David Cake:
>         I think that the truth in Glorantha actually is that it is possible
> that a person who wants Axe trance can actually gain it by becoming an
> initiate of Babeestor Gor, and then carrying out the Axe trance ritual, as
> long as they actually sacrifice the Power at both points to create the
> necessary magical link. I do NOT think that it is necessary to obey the
> cult restrictions of the BG cult, or even particularly like them, or even
> be at all well disposed towards BG herself, or whatever.

I broadly agree, but I think we need to examine the concept of "cult
restriction" more closely.  There are about three general sorts of such,
I think, (to falsely trichotomise):

Absolute geas-level prohibitions:  a Humakti being resurrected, a Healer
killing someone, not turning up at a HHD ceremony.  Major defined
consequences, whatever the particular manner of your local worship.

Culturally influencable restrictions and you-really-shoulds: Humakt codes of
honour and dueling conventions, CA healing protection, attendance at regular
worship, display of appropriate cultic virtues.  Various secondary
consequences, such as decreased likelihood of DI, or regaining rune magic.

Local cult fripperies: Cult garb, paying the tithe, calling the high priest
Your Immense Booga-Woogawship twice per sentance.  No inherent consequences,
though said cult will get on your case about it, and may even declare you
inactive, sic a spirit of reprisal on you, or even excommunicate you.

How does one tell the difference?  Trying breaking 'em, I guess.

> Theoretically an oath breaker or despoiler of the earth could even do this.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by these categories: I'm sure that an
initiate of Babs who defiles an earth temple, or holy site is heading
swiftly for the Ex-initiate category at a rate of knots.



From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: David Gadbois isn't in Texas anymore.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 27 Jun 94 01:16:28 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4839

David de G.:
> 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.

But then again, the Short Lightbringer's pilgrimage, a version of the
LBQ, is purely stationary.

It strikes me that for some HQs, one is really only in the mundane plan
(practice quests).  For others, you in some way "discorporate", or at
least, while part of you is "somewhere on the godplane", like hell, the
rest of you is either slumped in a corner, or symbolically reenacting
it, whithout having really moved (stationary quests).  But in yet a
third kind, you effectively enter the godplane bodily, and/or exist in
both simultaneously in some unspecified sense.

I dunno if there is some distinction of kind here, or if it's just a matter
of degree, and/or circumstance, and/or the nature of the quest.  Opinions?

> 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.

Well, it depends whether you've either gone there mundanely, or if you've
entered the GP in such as way as to imply a physical journey of some sort,
or whatever.  If your body was back in the temple of Orlanth all along,
you'd be back there, I'd think.



From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: More Sandy grapeshot.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 27 Jun 94 02:58:14 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4840

> My general rule is that you  
> can only try a DI ONCE in a given situation, and never again; AND  
> that no one else can try to DI for that request -- 'tis been refused  
> by the God Hisself. In this way, I attempt to prevent the dread use  
> of "line up the initiates and have 'em each try DI until the  
> Priestess is resurrected." which prevents most assassinations. 

Here, here.  If a whole buncha people want the same result, perhaps one
should allow a "communal invokation" sort of DI, but if someone else
simply repeats, or attempts to legalistically rephrase, a refused DI,
an appropriate response to a "successful" roll would be something as close
as is compromise-consistent to "  What did
I just _say_, bonehead?  "

> 	Hear, hear! While I don't mind having a separate  
> classification for women (so long as, in the end, they can do  
> everything a man can do)

Even in, say, Arolanit?

> I have mentioned and still adhere to my belief that  
> there are female nobility, warriors, and magicians in both Loskalm  
> and Tanisor

Because they're Good Guys, natch.  Have you any actual reasoning to
back this up?  This doesn't appear to tally much with: what background
we've been told about the West; any of the suggested "analogues" for
any of the Western regions; or the reported attitudes of Westerners.

> [...] and Greg said that Earth might have had the  
> plague of chauvinism throughout its existence, but by Gum, Gloranthan  
> wasn't, and he was perfectly prepared to ensure that women had an  
> important place in every nation in Glorantha.
> 	No doubt it's possible to draw different conclusions by  
> finely sifting the data on one nation or another and interpreting it  
> just right, but Greg's goal should be public, I feel. 

Greg was clearly Seeing The Other Side Of The Question when he wrote (from
the POV of a Westerner) "Men fight, farm, hunt, and defend the land.  Women
raise children, comfort, and tend house."  Important, I suppose, but even
remotely egalitarian, I think not.

Should we take Equal Opportunity Dara Happa as an example, too?

> 	Perhaps a better comparison for the Loskalm/KoW struggle  
> would be Frederick the Great in the Seven Years War (fighting France,  
> Austria, and Russia, all together). Or Alexander the Great vs. the  
> horrendously huge Persian Empire which had a perfectly competent  
> army.

Probably, in fact, "The best army in the world", at least according to
their own publicity.



From: (Graeme Lindsell)
Subject: Magic and Curses
Message-ID: <9406270410.AA05315@Sun.COM>
Date: 27 Jun 94 19:08:29 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4841

>So maybe the magic is not dead in the fourth
>age, just inaccessible and waiting for heroes to reassemble the strands
>of the web and reintegrate the hero plane.

 What evidence is there that magic is dead in the fourth age? One of the
Zin letters (the one with Dag) seems to describe the casting of spells.
Whether they worked or not is another matter, but this comes back to the
question of whether any magic described in KoS is "real".

 Or is this something Greg has said elsewhere?

Paul Reilly writes:
>  In our campaign the Uleria cult is important, a new temple is going
>up in the main area.  Uleria priestesses are pretty inviolate: no one
>wants to risk the Curse of Uleria.

 Interesting. What other curses have people invented for cults? If curses 
are widespread enough then a mechanic should be in place (a ritual Ceremony
with a small POW cost sounds about right to stop players abusing it IMO). 
The curses have the effect of denying the blessing of a god(dess), when
respect for the cult is abused in some way ie they can't be used on enemies 
at will. 

 I wonder what curse a priest of Yelm (say) could invoke, given the way Yelm 
gives his blessing to all. Perhaps Yelm becomes too dazzling to see by.

 There are a few other spells (Blast Earth and Waste Loins for example) that 
are obvious curses. The spirits of reprisal are obvious curses, but are only
active within a cult

 I'm asking because curses are so much more fun than simple combat spells 

Graeme Lindsell a.k.a
Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University, Canberra.
"I was 17 miles from Greybridge before I was caught by the school leopard"
Ripping Yarns - Tomkinson's Schooldays.


Subject: VALGRIM R.I.P
Message-ID: <>
Date: 26 Jun 94 21:31:29 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4842

Sadly, I must announce the passing of Valgrim Bull-Answers-Twice, briefly known
as Bull-Answers-Thrice, at the hands of a marauding group of broos in Kakstan's
Art Museum, in Pavis. Double-teamed by a pair of Broos, he lost an arm and a
leg, mortally wounded until the Bull answered his plea tofinish the fight.
Heedless of the damage he took (the Bull made sure he could not be
incapacitated), he fought until there were no broos left in sight, then
collapsed and died from his injuries. I trust he feasts and fights beside the
Storm Bull until the Final Battle.
On another note, my next character in Sandy's campaign is a pet herd-man whose
INT was awakened by his former master upon the latter's deathbed.
It's a real challenge trying to get into such a unique individual's POV, but
it's a challenge I'm relishing! (Suggestions ARE welcome!) 
aka Fido Two-Big-Clubs
"Human women AIN'T like herd-women!"