Bell Digest v940630p1

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Thu, 30 Jun 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: (Bernard Langham)
Subject: The epiphany of St Paul the Toe-cutter(tm)
Date: 29 Jun 94 17:55:18 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4910

Bernard Langham here.

In his recent Presence sorcery post, Paul Reilly said:
>if I am wrong let me down gently, this had the "force of revelation" for

Me too. After reading Paul's _frankly extraordinary_ "Toe-Cutting" post
in the daily, I had to sit down and recover with a nice cup of tea.
I hadn't felt such revelatory shock since my realisation (it came with
a sense of mingled horror and awe) that the Red Goddess's _real_ name is
Teelo Norri, and that Gunn Orta is (in all probability) Genert's ghost. The
fact that Paul will probably be "Gregged" is neither here nor there. Glorantha
is not the property of any one person, and for me, another layer of the onion
has been stripped away.

Reilly/Holliday sorcery system has been doing the rounds of the RQ4 playtest
list for some time, and I've meaning to post the following raving endorsement
of it for yonks. Better late than never.

-----8<-------raving endorsement of Presence system follows---8<---------

Paul Reilly and Mike Holliday's inspirational "presence" aka twin/vessel
sorcery system met with a very enthusiastic response when first posted in
June last year. Sadly, it never made it into RQ:AiG. 

This is disappointing, for a number of reasons:

1. Like all great ideas, the Reilly/Holliday system is simple. It cuts
   down on bookkeeping and encourages roleplaying:

>Unstead of
>tracking the duration of dozens of spells you know the size of your 
>Presence and apportion it accordingly.   For Active
>spells you maintain a spell as long as you need it, feeding
>it extra magic points as necessary.  
>Melee rounds never get counted, you just look at whether or not a spell
>is being maintained.  The main (IMO) important variable of how many
>spells you can keep running concurrently is transparent in our system.
>This was a (very important) hidden variable in the RQ III system.
>	-Paul R, June 1993

2. It results in sorcerors who "feel like sorcerors" (YM, of course, MV):
   on one hand, Paul's mysterious, powerful ascetic sorceror, driven by
   mighty Oaths and tortured by his/her cruelly repressed humanity (Catholic
   guilt, anyone?); on the other, RQIII's sorceror, a wimp with a bucket
   of Holy Handgrenades and a menagerie of scuttling familiars.

>  In our system sorcerors have time for ecclesiastical duties, politics 
>and plotting, research and training, etc.   Power in our system goes into
>the personal development of the sorceror, not into making a bunch of
>gadgets. (Or one-use spells)  I feel that Glorantha really seems 
>to be a world where excellence lies more within individual than in
>the collection of gadgets that an institution can come up with.  In
>the current system the best thing for sorcerors to do with Power is to enchant
>a big matrix, which should get handed on to their descendants, potentially
>a balance problems against the other two systems (where Power goes into
>Rune Magic or Fetches rather than all into Enchantments.)  I think
>that it is better to have magic based on the person rather than a tool,
>in the latter case we are getting back to the situation in our world.
>	-Paul R, June 1993

3. It makes me *actually want to play a sorceror* (something I would
   certainly never say of RQ3, RQ4b2 or RQ:AiG).

>  A magician has a strategic decision to make.  His best spells
>will be those cast first.  If he is maintaining spells his magical
>strength goes down.  This aspect of the system was a lot of fun in playtest.
> Sorcerors get to make a strategic
>decision as to whether they should let their magic be 'out' in running 
>spells or kept in a reserve.  An example would be afforded by Sauron vs.
>Gandalf in _The Lord of the Rings_.  Sauron has most of his magic 'out'
>in running spells while Gandalf has few running spells but instead keeps
>a strategic reserve.
>	- Paul R, June 1993

4. It integrates sorcery with (in fact it explains sorcery in terms of)
   the other two major magic systems... almost as if they all existed in the
   same universe (surely not!). In so doing it creates a fabulously flexible
   meta-narrative for Gloranthan magic which could be the subtext (dare I
   say *hidden truth*) behind any number of competing culturally-constructed
   beliefs about magic.

5. It's a robust enough metaphor to spawn reverse-engineering of other magic
   systems (attempts have been made w/ Godunya, Mostali, Brithini and
   God-Forgot magics).

6. *Most* importantly, it provides game mechanic justification for
   Gloranthan cultural norms. Amongst other things, it explains (often for
   the first time) such wilfully disparate phenomena as:

   (a) Greg's reported comments that sorcerors are somehow "soulless".
       Turning to GoG's "What the Priests say" we find:
       KRALORELANS: "[Sorcerors] witness the infinite truths of the
       Children of Heaven, but truncate these truths--cutting themselves
       off from divine sources"
       WIZARDS: "Priests and shamans are slaves to their magic, even as we
       are masters of ours"
       ORLANTHI: "[Sorcerors are] Barren-souled truthseekers..."
       PAMALTELAN: "Soulless sorcerors..."
       SHAMAN: "[Sorcerors] are fools and are without souls."

>  Sorcerors are men who might have been shamans had they been born in
>a natural society instead of among the Termite people who live in
>dead cities of stone.  Without the guidance of nature spirits they
>live in an unnatural way and when their fetch awakens to help them 
>they poison it instead of listening and leave it a crippled and 
>blinded slave.  By doing so they have killed the best part of themselves
>and are doomed to a fruitless and grey existence.  Instead of treating
>spirits with respect they condemn them to heartless slavery and are
>deaf and blind to the suffering they inflict.  Having killed the feeling
>part of themselves they are callous to the feelings of all beings,
>whether man, spirit, animal, plant, or stone.
>  A sorceror at some point awakens his fetch.  As all know, those who would
>walk the spirit worlds must prove their worth by facing the Guardian 
>(= Bad Man) but instead of doing so and thus gaining the freedom of the
>spirit world the cowardly sorceror avoids this confrontation by willingly
>crippling his fetch.  This evil deed scars the wizard for life, and perhaps
>  Shamans are unfortunates born into primitive societies who have not
>learned to control their own impulses.  When their magic awakens, usually
>around the age of adulthood but sometimes earlier or later, they have not
>the training to control it with their conscious minds.  Instead the
>subconscious impulses of the shaman have free rein and the shaman, unable
>to control his magic, attributes it to an external being, the "fetch".
>This is often visualized as an animal because it represents the untamed
>brute impulses of the shaman.
>  In the Trial, we master our magic rather than being mastered by it.
>	- Paul R, June 1993

   (b) why Rokari sorcerors (amongst others) are dried-up prunes with
       shrill voices (they've undergone the ceremony of fetch-subdual
       -- "the Trial" -- which entails sublimation of the libido and
       the taking of might Oaths/Vows);

   (c) why breaking Vows leads to loss of sorcerous power ("Presence"
       diminishes as the sorceror looses those inner demons. Provides
       mechanism for apostate Brithini losing immortality, as well as many
       interesting opportunities for role-playing);

   (d) why shaman hate/pity sorcerors and vice versa (much more interesting
       than, "Oh, they use a different magic system");

   (e) why sorceror's apprentices have to mop floors/draw water/tend
       alembics/indulge in senseless idiot work for their masters:

>  During their early apprenticeship they must learn to kill
>their base animal impulses or these will surface during the Trial, which
>can drive the would-be Wizard into various forms of insanity.
>	- Paul R, June 1993

   (f) who the Bad Man is (monster from the id) and why divine and sorcerous
       magicians don't encounter him (shaman face and overcome the Bad
       Man; priests are protected from the Bad Man by their God; sorcerors
       sidestep the confrontation. For reasons of symmetry, should there be
       a culture somewhere whose members submit to and/or embody the Bad Man?
       Perhaps the Kingdom of War?);

   (f) why spirits of retribution appear when cult links are severed
       (they're the the Bad Man/monster from the id/collective unconscious
       that the God was protecting their otherworldly presence from);

   (g) what Initiation into a cult actually entails (donating your
       metaphysical second self to a God);

   (h) why Dwarves are _not like us_ (they're physically embodied presences
       with INT. Indeed, one might even suspect they are neither more
       nor less that _familiars_ of the World Machine);

>for example don't have a Power object (I think), they ARE their own power
>object.  Sorcery is natural to them and their magic fits in with their
>jobs.  They don't have a distinct point at which they learn to harness or
>control or suppress their feminine, _shakti_ nature -- because they have
>no such nature.
>	- Paul R, July 1993

       Thanks to Curtis Shenton, who reveals that the Mostali refer to their
       Presence as their SubEtheric Self Charging Essence Accumulator. :-)

   (i) why sorcerors have staffs/Ruling Rings and don't like to lose them
       (Saruman, on losing his staff, and Sauron, on losing his Ring, lost
       their presence and much of their sorcerous power);

   (j) why sorcerors have discrete %ile skills for each spell (because
       they follow a "cookbook" or "recipe" for each spell, by rote. 
       They're blind to the Other Side, because they've sewn their third eye
       shut); and as if that's not enough,

   (j) what Saints are (for me, this was the clincher).

> It
>explains why Illumination led to such trouble in the West (but not in the
>East).  Also fits in with "immunity to spirits of reprisal".
>Also fits in with the Red Goddess and her special Magic and her paths.
>Also fits in with Arkat _the_Liberator_ and what he does.

Given that most "sorcery rewrite" people have restricted themselves to
juggling the numbers or inventing a new kind of fireball, how did Paul & Mike
come up with this revolutionary concept? I quote:

> Our method has been to first look at how we want magicians
>to function in the society and then to reverse engineer from there.
>We also like the idea that there are laws of nature in Glorantha and 
>that the different magic systems (Divine, Spirit, Sorcery) have some
>underlying similarities that reflect these laws.
>	- Paul R, June 1993

Unheard of!

Various people have complained that Paul & Mike's system makes sorcerors
"shaman by another name". This is like saying "An aeroplane is a kind of ocean
liner, because they both use internal combustion to drive a propeller." The
vessel system makes sorcerors _almost exactly unlike_ shaman. 

In short, I commend Paul Reilly and Mike Holliday's "presence/vessel/twin"
sorcery system to you all! (Can we decide on a name for it now?)


Bernard Langham . . Perth, Western Australia


From: 100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Hrestol Martyr
Message-ID: <940629074435_100270.337_BHL63-2@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 29 Jun 94 07:44:36 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4907


> I've no idea whether Hrestol ever became king, but that's no argument
> against the king being seen as his embodiment.  (This would imply a
> glorious/sacrificial/martyr's death for Hrsetol, though.)

But nobody's ever suggested anything so obviously useful as that on the 
RQDaily, have they? 

> I tend to take the view that POW sacrificed to your god isn't "gone", but
> rather, it's off to be with your god, been transferred to the Godplane,
> or whatever.

I agree with this interpretation. Gods annihilating worshippers they like 
always seems so wrong. Claiming, yes; destroying utterly, no.


> I'd like to think there are some other philosophical insights in
> Glorantha apart from Illumination: just cause it's the ony one we've
> seen doesn't mean it's the only one there is.

I agree, fervently.

(on healers)

> Add a Teelo Norri Priestess in Pavis to take care of Lunars...

Even in this benighted country, there's a difference between hospitals and 
soup kitchens. Deezola or Erissa might be more appropriate.


> What I am trying to say is that the mundane actions are part of the
> ritual of the cults.

Certainly! Well spoken, that man!


I enjoyed Joerg's expansion of Paul's toe chopping theory. It may well be 
significant (in this "humanist" religion) that apprentices are bonded to 
their human masters, rather than to any gods.

Especially nice were the Hrestoli vigils.

> What makes you think that a Saint operates outside of his culture 
> restrictions? Both Gerlant and Paslac became saints for strict
> adherance to their cultural virtues.

No: for the determined reassertion of them in a time of Doubt. They were 
not typical of their culture; they revitalised it.


From: (Clay Luther)
Subject: Orlanthi Anecdotes:  The Boar Hunt
Date: 28 Jun 94 22:02:35 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4908

In my last game, I sent my two players, both Bachad-Orlanthi of the Two-Fist
clan, on a Boar Hunt.  The Boar Hunt was meant as a mini-heroquest of the
Orlanth-Urox Boar Hunt Myth.

In the myth, Orlanth and Urox are asked by the tribe leaders to kill the 
Boar in the forest; the Chieftain is coming to dinner and the elders want to
present him with a great feast.  They give Orlanth the Ten-Hands Spear to kill
the Boar.  Sometimes Elmal goes along and carries the spear for Orlanth.  After
marking themselves with red and black paint, they enter the forest in search of
the Boar.  Night falls and they sleep.  While they sleep, Trickster, who has
followed them, steals the Ten-Hands Spear and replaces it with a cat-tail (or
sometimes a blade of grass).  He then finds the Boar in the forest and tells
him where Orlanth and Urox (and Elmal) are sleeping.  The Boar charges into
their camp and awakens them.  Orlanth/Elmal grabs the faux spear and
faces the Boar, but the cat-tail (blade of grass) is no match for the Boar
and Orlanth/Elmal is fatally gored.  Urox, weaponless, leaps on the Boar's
back and grabs it by the horns.  The Boar carries Urox into the forest.  Urox
finally overcomes the Boar and breaks its neck.  He takes the Boar back to
Orlanth (and Elmal) and uses the Boar's flesh and blood to repair his wounded
and dying comrade.  Together, they carry the Boar back to the camp and the
feast is held.

Trickster later returns with the Ten-Hands Spear, claiming he found it in
the forest.  Urox nails Trickster's fingers to his toes for lying.


In the game, the two young Orlanthi hunters are asked by the elders to hunt
a boar.  They are the oldest young men in the village (their older brothers
have gone off to fight the Invaders).  The chief of a neighboring clan is
coming on the upcoming Windsday/Movement, so they need a special

It is at this point that one player, the lead hunter, begins to wonder aloud
about taking swords, armor and shields to "fight" the Boar.  His elders
rebuke him and try to remind him that such armaments are useless against the
Boar - only a proper Boar-Spear will work.

But the player retorts: "But I am no good with a spear!  If I miss the Boar,
it'll kill me!"

To which the Elders say: "That's the whole reason for the hunt!  It wouldn't
be any fun otherwise!"

But the player/hunter persists:  "Perhaps I could still carry a shield?"

And the Elders say:  "Nonsense.  First, you must hold the spear with both
hands.  Second, the shield would be useless against the charging boar.  Say,
you're not a coward, are you?"

And the player/hunter says:  "No!  No!  I just don't think I'm very good with
a spear.  I think I should take a shield for some protection."

And the Elders say:  "Do the Bull Runners of Alone wear armor?  Do they say
'I think I must find a shield before the bulls come in case one catches up to
me!'  Nonsense!  They wear nothing but breeches, otherwise they could not
outrun the stampede.  And if they don't, they die.  That's the whole point,
the whole fun of it."

And the player/hunter drops his head and accepts his fate.

True story.

Clay Luther                 
Systems Administrator       
Monsta, Inc.                          (214) 407-0029


Subject: Convulsion
Message-ID: <9406290933.AA26612@Sun.COM>
Date: 29 Jun 94 09:35:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4909

Hi All
	I know this is not strictly RQ but at least half of you will be 

	Convulsion PR3 is now on its way to you.  I got the masters yesterday 
	morning, photocopied like mad at work and spent the evening stuffing 
	envelopes and did not finish till this morning.  So if you think that 
	was heroic you can buy me a drink at the Con.  

	With PR3 you will receive an extra sheet if you have been luck enough 
	(an quick enough) to get into How the West was One our Free Form Game.  	Reserves will also get a sheet indicating that they are such.  There 
	is no ordering of the reserves as we want to be able to choose people 
	who fit the part.  Obviously, it is not a good idea to fit a 5 foot 6 
	raven haired girl to a role requiring a six foot plus blond hair blue 
	eyed man (now which faction would that be?).  

	Finally, you were asked to return your accommodation forms by 1st July.
	Many of you have not done so yet!  We are under severe presure from the 	Venue to finalize accommodation lists.  We are having a committee 
	meeting this Sunday and if we have not RECEIVED your accommodation 
	requirements by then you stand a very good chance of losing your room.  	We have a waiting list so we would rather give the room (and the place 
	at the Con) to someone we KNOW is coming (and will pay us) than to a 
	person who may have decided not to come who has not told us...

	If you are worried that your letter will not reach David Hall in time 
	for Sunday email or phone him TOO.  Email
	phone (0753) 523169.  Go on do it NOW! 




Subject: Weapons and warfare
Message-ID: <9406291109.AA05792@Sun.COM>
Date: 29 Jun 94 11:11:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4911

Ref: Joerg & Sandy & a bit from me

	IMHO the real reason why Glorantha allows individuals to be more 
effective over coordinated massed units than on our earth is:

	Magic allows individuals to deal out much greater DAMAGE.  

	I know this is close to what has already been said, but the others 
have concentrated far more on skills which Glorantha allows to be taken very 
high and also improved by magic.  While this is true I am unconvinced that 
Gloranthans (apart from heroes) can become any more skillful than Terrans.  
Take a look at history for the skills of individuals (Miamoto Mushi for 
example must be at least 200%).  However, no matter how skillful you are 
you are going to have problems when faced by a shield wall which your blows 
just bounce off.  
	The real Gloranthan advantage is that the Rune Lord can load his 
weapon up with so much extra damage that it slices through shields and armour 
like butter (greatsword with truesword and bladesharp 10 for and average of 
28 points plus d6 damage bonus!).  So while Terran heroes can be as skillful 
they rarely have an average damage above 12, which just bounces of shields.  
Also on Glorantha there are Trolls which are bigger and stronger than humans 
so they can make quite an impression (troll maul shaped) on normal close 
order troops.  
	For other examples think where the Orlanthi would be without protection and bladesharp.  They wouldn't stand a chance against Lunar hoplites, the magic allows them to even things up a little although they are still outclassed.  
	Fianlly think about what speedart (or multimissile) does to a volley of arrows.  13 average damage rather than 10 and +3% extra impales!  Remember 
troops in plate get a light wound from 10pts, but are disabled by 13!  Obviouslyif they have ALL cast protection 3 beforehand they will be OK, but what if the 
opposition is a small harrying force which refuses to close, they may fire a 
couple of volleys then scoot for half an hour!  Thus skillful individuals have 
more advantages over organised masses in Glorantha than on Earth.  



From: henkl@aft-ms (Henk Langeveld - Sun Nederland)
Subject: Re: Hrestol Martyr
Message-ID: <9406291137.AA24369@yelm.Holland.Sun.COM>
Date: 29 Jun 94 12:37:22 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4912

100270.337@CompuServe.COM (Nick Brooke):

>> I tend to take the view that POW sacrificed to your god isn't "gone", but
>> rather, it's off to be with your god, been transferred to the Godplane,
>> or whatever.

>I agree with this interpretation. Gods annihilating worshippers they like 
>always seems so wrong. Claiming, yes; destroying utterly, no.

In this view Divine Intervention is getting closer with the god,
and it gives me a new guideline for proper DI:  the initiate 
does not ask for the god to interfere, but rather attempts
to perform an Heroic action "as the god would do in the situation".
The POW spend allows/enables, ah, emPOWers the initiate
to actually perform the miracle.

The question whether the god or the initiate is acting here is 
moot as for that instant they're one...
Henk	|	Henk.Langeveld@Sun.COM - Disclaimer: I don't speak for Sun.
oK[]	|	Single Point of Change, Multiple Points of Reference