Bell Digest v940702p5

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, Sat, 02 Jul 1994, part 5
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From: (Elias Kadri)
Subject: Assorted Replies
Message-ID: <9407012116.AA29503@Sun.COM>
Date: 1 Jul 94 06:12:21 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4979

 Subject:Assorted Replies
Hello Again!

   Thanks for the Dayzatar writeup!

   [Sandy and Alex disputing the effectiveness of elementals 
    against cavalry]

   Don't forget that horses are _much_ less tolerant of the unknown 
than humans are.  I would think a horse (even a cavalry-trained horse) 
confronted by a shade would be pretty likely to panic, regardless of 
the magical effects.

David Cake: 

> Basically, I think that there must be some separation between god and 
> cult, and the god must not be omnipotent. Otherwise we have no 
> heresy, no corrupt priests. Or rather we just claim that they are all
> illuminated, which is almost as limiting. I like religions to be a bit less

> reliable than CoP implies.

   I agree with this completely   but there's a big difference 
between a devout heretic fighting the cult hierarchy, and a complete 
unbeliever gaining the power of the cult by going through the motions.

Pam Carlson, asking about Warding:

   I would think that a fixed-INT creature, just out looking for a meal, 
would not trigger a Ward (at least not until the bug decided to make 
a meal of the caster!)  On the other hand, a bobcat going through the 
Ward intending to appropriate one of the sheep inside would count as 
an enemy (I don't have my rules here, does Warding detect enemies 
of all who are inside, or just the caster?).    I have seen odd-shaped 
Wardings before, but if it only protects those _within the Ward_ then 
that would tend to rule out the "electric fence" trick, since no one is 
actually in the area of effect of the spell.   In the absence of my books,
that's how I'd handle it.  As for how Warding functions: It's magic, of
course!  :-)

Captain Button:

>   Uh, boars don't _have_ horns.

   I'm not a zoologist, but my understanding is that wild boars have 
horns.  Actually, I suppose they're really tusks.  They're kind of
inconveniently placed for grabbing onto to wrestle the pig, though!

Bryan J. Maloney:

   I've played a shaman, and played with one in the group.  The general
approach has been that these are junior shamans, whose tribe is 
adequately served by their master, and they are out learning and 
improving their skills until they are needed at home.

Pam Carlson again, on women's roles:

   Obviously you _can_ imagine playing a Dendara initiate! 

   Slightly more seriously, I remember a female Issaries Rune Lord
in Griffin Mountain (forgot her name though...)  Her husband was
the better salesman, her job seemed to be managing the caravan and 
defending against attackers.  Don't know if that's liberated or not!

Graeme Lindsell, pleading for a less Christian Malkionism:

   Hear, Hear!
   I'm all in favor of drawing parallels from Earth (both ancient and
modern) but let's try not to duplicate it!

                                                       Reactively Yours,


From: (Kirsten K. Niemann)
Subject: Stranger Errors
Message-ID: <>
Date: 1 Jul 94 21:49:33 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4980

Mike Dawson here, not Kirsten Niemann.

I'm running 114 digests behind, and the following is getting
answered now only because I read today's digest out of chronological

In 7/1's digest, Jim Chapin wrote:

"And Mike Dawson, given the contradictions
between the statements on p.89 and p.96 of Strangers in Prax, can the
troll queen's assistants cast any spells at all? "

Sigh. I guess I missed something. 

OK. There are several ways to fix this--I won't BS and suggest that I
left it up to individual GMs to make up their own minds, I just
missed this contraidiction--
 Decide for yourself based on the strength of the party attacking
1) Soft pedal them by having them single-mindedly refuse to cast
spells because Aziok needs the MP. 
2) Hard pedal them by having Aziok need them alive more than
 she needs their MP.

IT seems to me that the VERY large chunks of Taskan material belong
in an individual mailing, not on the regular digest. Some people
(not me, luckily) have to pay for their online time, and some of
them are not interested in being taken to Taskan. Could the Taskan
Guy please coordinate a specific Digest mailing with Henk? And Vice

Codex 2 is back from the printers and being mailed out over the past
and next few days. Chaosium has a shipment they will be selling via
their booth at Origins and Gencon, plus Wizard's Attic. Book Stan in
Port Arthur, Texas is getting a shipment, as are several other big
distributors. The print run for the US has gone from 200 to 700! Add
Aussie printing of around 80 and UK printing of another 700, and
Codex is now getting into the hands of about 20% of the worldwide RQ

Also, subscription prices are going DOWN!. Look for details here


Gloranthophiles need to contact me at
for information about Codex Magazine.
UK Gloranthophiles write to
"Inquiries into the nature and secrets of Glorantha"   .


From: (Barron Chugg)
Subject: More paths, more vodka!!
Message-ID: <199407020121.SAA07320@popserver.Stanford.EDU>
Date: 1 Jul 94 10:23:49 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4981

Hello All.

  Still catching up on past dailies...

Alex F. (responding to Sandy):

>>       Now looky here, Alex: having men and women have different  
>> society roles does Not Necessarily deprive the women of all cultural  
>> import.
>Hence if you think the above is a role of "great import", it disposes
>neatly of the argumentum ad Greg you present that we should have female
>knights, wizards, and rulers, Left, Right, and Loskalm.

  There seems to be a difference of perspective here that I'd like to
comment on.  I can certainly postulate a culture where men's and women's
roles are seperate, but equal (note: charged language).  I can even retool
Western society to make men and women equal in "power" (not easy, but
doable).  But then the eternal question comes back, "Will it work in
game?".  IMHO, no.  No offense to traditional, women's roles, but they
aren't exactly the stuff of legend.  (Note: I asked a friend who studies
Comp. Lit. what the Woman's Heroic Path was.  "Well", she said, "at least
in European mythology, there is none.")  Yes, I think this is a cultural
problem for us.  So Sandy (and I) want women to have a wider choice of
roles so that female characters can run in any game I choose to GM (without
having everyone of them be some weird outcast).  Reasonable culturally? 
Maybe not, but it plays better, and that is my bottom line.

  I have seen (well, read descriptions of) games where all the characters
must be male (regardless of the gender of the player).  This might work in
a _very_ limited arena, but I don't think it is a good policy at all.  I'm
not flaming you, just pointing out a difference in perspective.


>Colin Watson, commenting on Barron Chugg's Runepaths:
>> There was a time when the gods walked their paths for the 
>> First Time. At that time the gods could be thought of as 
>>"independant" of their paths. But today the gods *are* the paths. 
>   I think this is too exclusive.

  One main thing to keep in mind is that I have offered this interpretation
as a way for the GM to look at runemagic (et al.).  I believe that few, if
any, people in Glorantha think about (or would even consider) Runepaths as
the basis for runemagic.  So, I guess the question of whether the god is
seperate from their paths is sorta moot.  It's up to the GM to decide how
this choice would effect their campaign (if it would at all).  I am
becoming much more at ease with the paradox of "free gods vs. bound gods"
than I was.  Everytime it bothers me now I just put myself more in the
world and remember that no one would even consider such a question (well,
no one but an evil, GL scum). 

  What I am saying is, the deep question about the gods is less important
than the myriad of other questions about how this approach would work.  But
then, it does bring out the latent philosopher in me...

>                                       I think that, as Barron suggests, 
>beliefs _do_ have power in Glorantha.  The fact that the 
>worshipers of a god believe that their deity is a person makes it
>so, even though the god may be in essence a natural force, or 

  "Makes it so..." for that person and their life and interactions.  I
believe that a person is powerful enough (in the mystical landscape of
Glorantha) to influence the world around them to make their beliefs a local
truth.  Heroes are people able to spread their belief over a wider area, in
some cases, over the entire world.

>  I find it especially hard to believe that a living hero
>is going to meekly turn into an abstract construct of rituals as
>the price of apotheosis.  

  I guess this is the main place where the question of whether the god is a
free entity comes up.  I tend to believe that as the hero becomes more and
more powerful and well known they tend to fall into more and more of a
role.  This could be the side effect of gaining their power, or it could be
a response to the many people that hold oppinions about them.  I see the
hero as often _not_ in control of their destiny (a classic literary idea). 
This plays well into the idea that they are leaving the world and entering
the realm of the gods.  Remember, it is the hieght of naivete to believe we
can fully comprehend the gods.

>> God, Cult and Path are somewhat unified.
>I agree with this, but I would place considerably more emphasis 
>on the "God" portion than you seem to.

  Then for you it will be so (see above).  That is, I think, one of the
best parts of this idea.  It gives a sensible framework and then allows the
GM to choose their particular variation on it.

>   I haven't thought too much about Illuminates, but I would 
>suspect that they have the inner balance to understand and to 
>truly "believe" in the manner required by the spell they wish 
>to learn.

  I have always looked at illuminates as being somehow dissociated from
them selves.  This seperation would allow them to believe passionately in
whatever they chose without having that belief influence their actions at
all.  That is to say, they are so fluid they can shift positions with no
friction.  There should be a good psychological way to look at this, but my
training is not in this area.  Any psych students in the audience want to
tackel it?


>Alex Ferguson, bitter foe o' the Monomyth:
>>But was it _really_ true? 

  "True"?!?  In Glorantha?!?  Isn't that oxymoronic? :-)

  I'd venture that if the GLs quested hard enough and converted enough
people to their ideas, then sure, the Monomyth was true for a lot of
people.  But it couldn't be a global truth.  I think that the more the GLs
tried to force the godplane into their nice, tidy plan, the more pressure
that built up.  Finally that pressure exploded and the GLs were wiped out. 
Let's face it, the Monomyth breaks Arkat's rule BIG TIME.  Going into every
myth with the plan of beating into your preconcieved ideas is neither
humble or respectful.

>>That it "worked" for a while, and in a  
>>limited area, merely shows that it was a useful working model, or  
>>approximation, within that domain.
>        'Twas never claimed to be more than a useful approximation.  
>For all your nitpicking, the Monomyth concept still works better than  
>any other way of trying to understand the Gloranthan universe. The  
>fact that the myth had "bugs" in no way invalidates the basic idea. 

  I'd think of the MM as the zeroth order approximation to the mythology of
Glorantha.  On large scales of distance and time it doesn't do a half bad
job.  In fact, for a starting GM/Gloranthan Scholar, it is a god send (as I
think Sandy once commented).  Once a person gets deeper into the world they
are able to create first and second order approximations that better define
more limited mythologies (cult variations and the like).  

>I wisely propound
>>> [...] the God Learner usage of creative heroquesting demonstrated  
>>>the essential unity of Gloranthan myth and made sense out of the  
>>>jungle of fairy tales and legendry
>Alex retorts:
>>Just like turn of the century earthly "scientific" mythography did  
>>the same for us? Like Lewis Spence "proving" that Ancient Eygpt must  
>>have gone through a shamanistic phase of worship?
>        Exactly. 

  The error is not so much in using the framework as confusing it with
absolute truth.  I use physics all the time that is at best a weak
approximation to what is really happening.  In fact, in many cases the
"truth" may be too complex to model at all.  But I use my 0th order
approximation to get a basic idea of what's going on and then add levels of
approximation as needed.  Does this make sense?

>>I rather like the idea having such a figure (St. Elleish), but I  
>>don't think she'd cause a riot of popularity among the hierarchies  
>>of either of the main Malkioni sects. 
>        I absolutely concur. No doubt women who've adopted Elleish as  
>a patron are considered mildly (or severely) suspect by the  
>establishment, much as followers of St. Francis were not always  
>appreciated by the Medieval Catholic organization, who responded by  
>trying to make the Franciscans as otherworldly (i.e., impotent) as  

  Sure, Malkionism is a pretty conservative religion, after all.  There are
no doubt Elleishi ( Elleishites?  How about Elleishim (that's almost
exactly Michelle backwards)? ) that are more radical and others that as
conservative.  The crucial thing, in my mind, is that they exist at all
within the Western social framework.

David C:

>I think that you have to be devoted to a god to learn their magic, or 'fool
>yourself' that you are (which only the illuminated can do). However being 
>devoted to the god and obeying the cult strictures are NOT the same thing.

  Yes, I agree.  You can imagine the cult strictures as the cultural/social
aspects of the cult.  They are no doubt related to the god's ideals, but
they have been filtered through human minds.  Devotion and belief are the
keys to runemagic, not an adherence to some mundane laws!


  Loved the notes on the campaign!!  Sounds like a lot of fun.  It's pretty
rare for players to invest their energies in a community and I think you
should take full advantage of it.  Do any of your players read the Daily? 
I told my wife about the game and she had heaps of suggestions.

(On women adventurers)

  Tee hee...  Well put.

  A little more on female, heroic archetypes: I saw a stage production of
Maxine Hong Kingston's "Woman Warrior" the other night.  (Very good, highly
recommended.  I saw it at Berkeley Rep, but it is going on tour.)  For
those who haven't seen/read it, the crux of the story is a parallel between
the author as a young, chinese girl growing up in america and her
identification with a chinese folkloric heroine (Fu Ma Lan).  I'll leave
out the details, but the point that really drove home to me was that all
through the play the girl looks at Fu Ma Lan as a symbol of freedom.  But
then, near the end, we see more of the legend.  In the final part the
heroine has become a mighty warrior, but cannot lead men unless she
disguises herself as a man.  And, it is not until she meets a man who is
her equal that she is trully happy.  This is a pretty limited view of
freedom, one filtered through the cultures predispositions and beliefs. 
I'd prefer Elleishim that are not an extension of patriarcal culture and
have an archetype all their own.


In conclusion: MonoMyth...Good.  Sexism...Bad.



From: (David Dunham)
Subject: Healer's priorities; productive adventurers; spies vs police
Message-ID: <>
Date: 2 Jul 94 01:58:55 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4982

Several people seem to think that Chalana Arroy will cast spells on
children. I'm not so sure; this seems to reflect our cultural values. If
their were Chalana Arroys in China, they'd no doubt put priority on healing
their parents. And I can see many Gloranthan cultures not treating children
as true people until they're 12 or so.

Pam Carlson's been discussing her Riskland Campaign, where we're actually
trying to play typical Orlanthi: farmers first, adventurers second. Why?
Adventuring doesn't put food on the table. Stead Leader Agharl, the wise,
generous, valorous former member of the Turoini clan of Aggar [played by
me], constantly has to remind people that chasing spiders or exploring
Dokat may be fun, but if we don't have crops in Earth Season, we're all
going to starve. Even if we somehow manage to get lots of money, it doesn't
seem likely we could buy enough food to last a year. Where would we buy it?
Sure, there are dozens of farms in Riskland, but lots of them are like us,
on the edge. Importing grain by wagon is possible, but even more expensive.
And this assumes there's even money -- luckily Riskland is under Lunar
domination and there are coins, but there are parts of Glorantha (Prax,
East Ralios) where barter is the norm; it would seem harder to barter for
sufficient food.

I've been a little troubled by the frenetic activity in some campaigns
(such as mine), where people adventure one day, heal themselves up, and go
right back and adventure some more the next day. I'm sure this sometimes
happens, but it's a bit too on-the-edge for the sort of fantasy campaign I
want to run. I've been moving towards the one interesting adventure per
year model of Pendragon (of course, I'm also using Pendragon rules).

So what happens when adventurers aren't adventuring? They're making a
living and helping support their clan, just like everyone else. I abstract
this to a single skill roll. The player chooses whether he's making a
living with Animal Lore, Bargaining, Devise, Hunting, Industry, Mineral
Lore, Plant Lore, Stewardship, and makes the skill roll. This is modified
based on the state of the land (e.g. a drought), and relevant spells (e.g.
Bless Crops). Success gives a check, 10 Status, and a surplus of 60 pennies
worth of goods (e.g. obsidian for Mineral Lore). A critical gives 25
Status, and a surplus of 120 pennies worth of goods (e.g. beef jerky for
Animal Lore). A failed roll indicates a hard winter; treat as Poor for
Pendragon's Stable and Family rolls (which means your stock and offspring
have a higher chance of dying). A fumble indicates a disastrous winter,
treat as Impoverished for Stable and Family rolls.

In one campaign, there's a character who literally has no means of support.
He has no training in any skill that has any economic utility. He's
essentially living off his wife's family.

Just because your characters aren't going out adventuring doesn't mean
adventure doesn't come to them. If you're a herder, someone probably wants
to raid your animals. If you're a farmer, you might have to worry about
someone marching over your fields, or the demonic crow from White Dwarf
magazine. Maybe the Ernalda acolyte doesn't have enough Bless Crops spells
to go round, and you have to persuade her somehow. Your Animal Lore skills
might be insufficient, and you need to replenish your herds from someone
else's. Your supply of bronze ore has been cut off, and you need to find
out why or secure new ore. And there's more stuff that can happen that
players in my campaign will find out :-)

If you're making a living, you're likely with or near your clan. This means
your characters can actually interact as members of society, instead of
being scruffy adventurers. You can come to the defense of your neighbors
(who are kinsmen), or help them with a retaliatory raid. They might need
you to testify in court on their behalf. Being engaged in mutual support is
more plausible than a steady stream of patrons who need to hire

And even as a farmer, there should be time for one outing per year.

Joerg said
>>>the Lunar Empeire, the allegedly 
>>>most liberal society on the lozenge with GeStaPo/Stasi-like controlling 
>Gimgim the Grim, Halcyon Var Enkorth and several other Lunars have 
>successfully taken the role of Nazi bad guys in Indiana Jones movies, 
>so I'd say that we have some source evidence. What we know about 
>Dafive Xaron from official sources corroborates as well. I think 
>this is a Gloranthan hard fact.

The fact that Lunars have spies like Gimgim doesn't imply a controlling
secret police. Halcyon var Enkorth is described [in Griffin Mountain] as
frequently exceeding his authority and taking covert action to weaken
border communities with unrest. He seems to me more of CIA (which has
jurisdiction outside the USA) than internal police. Gimgim too is on the
border, not maintaining control over the Heartlands.

While I'm sure the Lunars have some sort of secret police, I see no
evidence that it's pervasive and controlling.