Bell Digest v940711p1

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 11 Jul 1994, part 1
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X-RQ-ID: Intro

	[July,11: I've combined Saturday and Monday into 
 		  one large issue... -HL]

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: (alex)
Subject: The Good, the Bad, and the Solipsistic.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Jul 94 19:04:23 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5086

Devin Cutler, and his berserk .signature:
> OK, take two. "Only if I am devout can I perform the rituals correctly."

You've yet to explain how, or why, this should be the case, though.  What
element of a ritual might be _impossible_ for the non-devout (however
defined) to perform correctly?

> In CoP, Deezola had reusable Resurrection, When was THIS changed?

Look up GoG.  At a push, the separate Deezola cult may have a reusable R.,
but I doubt it.  Yup, this is a change from RQ2.

> There is no reason under RQ3 for a Priest to keep his POW at 18. Better spent
> on Divine Magic AND better kept at around 13 so that POW gain rolls occur
> about 60% of the time.

But you're a follower of the True Religion of RQ2, Devin, aren't you? ;-)
Certainly I recall you making statements such as "priests making their DI
roll about 18% of the time".

Personally, I believe priests _do_ need a high POW, to effectively officiate
at Worship services.  I think I suggested a mechanism or two last time this
came up.  My personal Nightmare Scenario is a priest sitting in a back-room
somewhere, with a POW of 2, getting 5 POW per year just from worship

> One POW per year is way too low. Priests get a Seasonal Ceremony skill to
> gain a POW gain roll.

Not if their POW is 18, on which (stated) assumption I made the calculation.
That's counting seasonal HDs.  Note the POW gain "abstraction" for experience,
which assumes 1 POW per year.

> "I agree.  The 3% is conspicuously high."

> We don't agree (surprise, surprise), in presented material, the 3% rate is
> way too low.

It is?  Where do you deduce this from?  (The initiate/priest ratio, not the
total number of priests.)

> As the disease rules now stand, it is almost impossible to die or even lose
> much in the way of stats from disease.

The average number of points lost to a contracted stat-zapping disease is
1+100/(CON*N), where N is the "tenacity" fudge-factor.  Thus is depends
entirely on the fortitude of the character on the one hand, and the
maliciousness of the ref on the other.  A tenacity-1 disease will handily
kill off a CON 10,  10 character more often than not.

Then there's spirits of disease, which are altogether nastier...

But my point was that whatever stats you do lose needs a one-use spell to
be healed back.  And if after a few untreated exposures, you can easily
get yourself dead, and unresurrectable.

> We probably both agree (what?) that disease in RQ3 is horribly broken.

It's never kept me awake nights.  Much the same as RQ2, really.

> "Except that when we get a nice, _juicy_ source of tension like the Elmal/
> Yelmalio schism, certain parties Whine Incessantly about it.  (No names,
> no pack drill.  (What does that _mean_, anyway?))"

> In what way does the Yelmalio./Elmal schism deal with devoutness? It deals
> with incessant world tinkering.

I'm sure you must have noticed, immediately before deleting the context,
that it referred to your wish for "sources of religious tension".

> "Other than as a POW-fuelled knee-jerk, to use your own (faulty) model?"

> In what way have I claimed that DI SHOULD BE a POW-fuelled knee-jerk. I have
> been writing about DI complaining that the rules make it far too common
>  (i.e. knee-jerk) and IMO, RQ2 and RQ3 DI makes it far too uninteresting.

You certainly haven't indicated that the problem was with insufficient
GM/God fiat in deciding whether to grant a DI.  Instead you've present
some rather dubious analysis showing that the designated chance was too high
all round.  "Common" non id est "knee-jerk", "non-conscious" id est
"knee-jerk".  (And yes, that Latin did make No Sense, before three people
point this out at once.)

If God is a fully-conscious, sentient entity, sitting around watching from
a cloud (/moonbeam/Pillar of Light/heap of bodies), why don't you simply
advocate a DI mechanism such as "GM as deity RPs decision", rather than
"Initiates must roll less than POW/(fudge factor) on D100".

> I
> much prefer the sound of RQAiG DI, wherein the beneficiary gets Divine Magic
> from hsi god/goddess.

I don't see why this makes it any less (or more) knee-jerk, or come to that,

> "To the point where we should have One True Cults (or at any rate, only
> Devin-Approved Variations, a distinction I'm somewhat hazy on), robotically
> devoted worshippers, and Thought Police deities, seemingly."

> Obviously, I am not calling for "Devin-approved version"

That was Devin-Approved _Variations_, not version.  To wit, your concession
that perhaps cults might vary just a _little_ from one end of the world to
the other.

> although certainly I
> would favour any approach that more closely followed my vision of Glorantha
> (who wouldn't want things to work out their way?). 

If you're merely interested in putting your point of view, why introduce
all these tales of woe of How Greg Stafford and the Evil Scholars are
Killing Glorantha with Their Incessant Tinkering and Excessive Inconsistency?
It seems to me you're rather consistently trailing flame-bait, and then
rather disingenuously acting victimised if the least counter-criticism comes
your way.

> I see Devoted worshippers who are willing to live, fight, and die for their
> gods, who provide the essence of their existence in a magically rich
> environment. I see Gods who are conscious entities, rather than the figments
> of their worshippers' imaginations, and who take an active role in those who
> serve them and in the world and universe in which they exist.

And isn't this how ancient earthers saw _their_ gods?  I don't see the
importance in making a comparison in terms of what the "true" situation
was, but rather, in how people _believed_ the situation to be.

> I could rephrase your quote as:
> "To the point where we should have No True Cults (or at any rate, no
> established Truths unless they are Alex approved, a distinction I'm somewhat
> hazy on), completely cynical and undevoted worshippers, and imaginary,
> knee-jerk deities, seemingly."

Only if you wanted to be seen to be talking twaddle.  I've never suggested
that there be a widespread belief in Glorantha that the cults are false.
The point I've been making is that it's perfectly reasonable for cults to
vary from location to location, according to local custom and belief.  It
seems totally gratuitous to flame people en masse for suggesting variant
cults; if you liked the previous situation, where everyone from one end of
Peloria to the other of Maniria worshipped an identical Yelmalio, say,
then _fine_, _use_ it, for heavens sake's, and have the decency not to
complain too much about what _other_ people want to do in their Gloranthas.
Even the Great Satan Stafford, I should hope.

Nor have I suggest all, or even most, or even many worshippers are
"cynical and undevoted" after all, haven't I just wasted a lot of bytes
trying to illustrate that this was _also_ the case for ancient Earth,
which still managed different "versions" of the same cult, your original

> Am saying that Gloranthans have cause to be MORE devoted than the
> admittedly devoted ancient Terrans.

I repeat: "How the hell much more devoted do you _want_?"  You don't appear
to be very keen on arguing detailed differences between earthly and
religions, apart from the fact that you want to iron out these pesky little
local variations, such as Elmal and Yelmalio.

> "I wonder why about half of Gloranthan history doesn't give Devin hives:
> fancy all those Devout worshippers wanting to do such Naughty Things, and
> fancy their gods _letting_ them."

> To what "Naughty Things" do you refer?

All these breachs of cult restrictions to which you'd reflexively reply
"Must have been an illuminate."

> Trying to listen. Don't get the distinction, Try again.

Okay: on the one hand: "Magic is true"; on the other "I believe magic is
true".  Do these seem distinct yet?

> "We're talking about the reality of magic in general, aren't we?  Does the
> description seem much different from the description of magic in "historical"
> myths?"

> KoS is not the end all and be all of Glorantha, and I will not restrict my
> view of Glorantha and Gloranthan society to one book.

But let's give actual _source_ material a bit more weight than endless
extrapolation from a _generic_ set of rules.  The rules are there to tell
us how to _play the game_, not to describe the macro-culture.

> "What about the Eternal Battle?"

> It involves a proveable manifestation of the Stormbull afterlife. Does it
> prove for certain that the sould of Uroxi are contained within? Probably not,
> but it sure as hell is much more proof than Norse legends of Valhalla. How
> many Norsemen actually saw a Valkyrie?

Hard to take a System 3 poll on the question, isn't it?  Why does it seems
to you that this is a "better" argument for the "reality" of any afterlife
than anything on Earth?  Isn't it an almost "mundane" phenomenon by the
standards of Gloranatha, where every stand of trees has it's own manifest
entity, and magic but your own argument, abounds?

> And before I get once again the line that the Eternal Battle is just a big
> dust devil explainable by natural phenomenon (not from you, from someone
> else), dust devils don't throw out skeletons,  ghosts, and avatars of Chaos.

It's a big dust devil that throws out skeletons, ghosts, and avatars of Chaos.
While I concur that it sounds like just the sort of place that Uroxi will
gleely rub their hands together at, cackling gleefully about that they'll
do there when they die, this is no more evidence than sub-tropical
depressions "proving" that Orlanth exists.  It wouldn't convince, for
example, a skpetical Gloranthan Westerner, for example.

(BTW, if I seem vague on the EB, it's because I can't find any reference
to it apart from the afterlife plug in the SB writeup.  Where is the dust
devil thingy described, all?)

> Gosh, ask an ancient Terran if HE ever met someone who came from Hell. Ask
> him to point to Hell. Ask him to go over to a big hole in the ground as say,
> Hell is down there. It is not an EASILY discountable myth. It is in fact
> discountable, but much less so than Terran conceptions of Hell.

Let's be clear about this: the trolls don't even _claim_ to come from
Hell; for them, it's Wonderhome.  The only such hole that spings to mind
is Hellcrack, which the prosaically-minded Petersen has described as looking
"kind of like the Grand Canyon".  This is no proof at all, even if we do
something suspect like believe your enemies the trolls.

> "To wit, spirit-plane manifestations of dead folks.  From the point of view
> of _theists_, this is somewhere between cold comfort, and a Dire Warning."

> Fine, Dire Warnings do well to promote devoutness.

What, a Dire Warning against the thing you repeatedly cite as something that
should give them _hope_ (nay, certainty) of a (pleasant) afterlife?

> "Guess someone was Slacking when Faltikus was appointed, non?"

> Guess illuminates are different, non?

The very fact that you resort to assuming that all these dubious types are
Illuminates illustrates that far from finding it "problematic", you're all
too ready to use it as an explantory device.

What I don't see, however, is how Illumination fits into a scheme of things
where Gods are completely conscious, and interventionist.  Why do they
find themselves giving divine magic to these heels, and persistantly missing
when they try to zap them with spirits of retribution, just because they've
answered a few fake-Zen questions?



From: (Nils Weinander)
Subject: Runic ruminations etc
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Jul 94 13:43:44 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5074

Nils Weinander writing

Martin's Orlanthi national character:
>Hope you like it.  

I do. Is there more coming, e.g. the various tribes of Sartar?

Mark Foster's Megaera saga:
Great story.

A new Teshnos thought came sneaking into my mind yesterday. With the
famous lethargy, Teshnos should be a sitting duck for raiders and
invaders, so why doesn't its history speak of waves of foreign
invasions (apart from god learner rule in the second age)? My
thought was that the lethargy is contagious, somewhat like with the
Lotophagoi of the Odyssey: once you're there you're stuck. Thus
all would be invaders of have seen the fate of their predecessors
and wisely turn elsewhere for plunder. Plausible?

I re-read some old dailies yesterday and found a posting by Sandy
on the mythical history of the East Isles. I noticed a name I
missed the first time I read it:
>The fragment that  
>Theya inhabited was, of course, the biggest
>	At this point, a god of communication came from the sea, and  
>Theya wove him into a net, in semblance of Arachne Solara's web and  
>Magasta's tool

Who is Theya?

Runes, their use, mis-use and non-use. A couple of days ago I posted
to the daily and to the RQ4 mailing list a posting on runes and
their validity in the east, quoting a mail from Joerg on combined
power runes. I have given the matter some more thought, so here is
what Red Tiger says on the subject:

Excerpt from the textbook on history and myth which Red Tiger wrote
for the school master Master Two Brush:

As was explained in the last chapter, the parts of the world is
creatde from the parts of Ea Long, the Cosmic Dragon. The world thus
_is_ the Cosmic Dragon. The parts are important, because they
define the world so that we may know it. Ultimately all of
existence springs from the Void, but in order to reach spiritual
enlightenment we must strive to understand the world around us. We
can never understand the Void if we cannot interpret what we see as
knowledge is a prerequisite for insight. {Perhaps not the most
orthodox Kralorelan view. More radical mystics would probably say
that knowledge hinders insight, but Red Tiger was a pragmatic man
if nothing else.} All the parts have a name and a sign {rune}. These
you can learn, but all parts also have hidden meanings which you
find through insight.

The most easily explained parts are called the Fundaments {more
known as the elements}. The sky was formed from the Cosmic Dragon's
mind. The peoples of the west {west of Shan Shan} say that fire
is the essence of this fundament. That is part of the truth. The
earth was formed from the bones of the Cosmic Dragon. The ocean
formed from the Cosmic Dragon's blood. The air formed from the
Cosmic Dragon's breath. The underworld was formed from the Cosmic
Dragon's innards. The westerners say that darkness is the essence
of the underworld. The Fundaments are easy to grasp because they
correspond to places like the sky dome and the ocean, and to
things you see every day, like fires and shadows.

More difficult are the Moving Forces {This word is diffcult to
translate. It could also be interpreted as agents of tension. These
are the combined powers.} The Moving Forces were formed from the
emotions of the Cosmic Dragon. The first Force is Passion {fertility
and death}. The second Force is Conscience {truth and illusion}.
The third Force is Ambition {movement and stasis}. The fourth
force is Temperance {harmony and disorder}. The fifth force is Hope
{luck and fate}.

I'm not entirely happy with the names of the Forces, especially
Temperance. Any suggestion to improve these things are appreciated.

I have thoughts about the condition runes too, but they are yet
to muddy to be put in writing.

Bottomline, is this Good, Bad or just Ugly?

I'm off for vacation, so you won't have to read my drivel for the
next week.

/Nils W


From: SMITHH@A1.MGH.HARVARD.EDU (Harald Smith 617 726-2172)
Subject: hill of gold
Date: 8 Jul 94 02:49:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5075

Hi all--

- Matt Thale in x-rq-id 5071 asks about the hill of gold

While I'm sure you'll get several replies, the Hill of Gold is located 
in the rugged lands near Bikhy (home of someone's recent dart war) in 
the Kingdom of Vanch (south of Kostaddi, east of Sylila, west of Imther, 
and north of Saird/Holay).  In my personal campaign maps (based on those 
from the Dragon Pass game and the later Wyrms Footnotes), both Bikhy and 
the Hill of Gold are north of the Conquering Daughter's Road that runs 
from the city of Cafol (in Sylila and a bit southwest of Jillaro) to 
Hilltown in Imther.  I've always pictured it as a rugged, barren, and 
probably jutting outcrop of rock (a bit of gold glinting at the top?) 
amidst a rough hilly area with scattered trees and lots of scrub growth, 
but little forestation.

- Codex 2

Someone else commenting on its contents, but I'll just say that it the 
quality of the articles and materials continue to impress me.  Good job 
Mike (and Martin and Paul and Mark).



Subject: Grey Sages
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Jul 94 12:27:21 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5076

Brandon Brylawski sez

>Valera Hopsturner is a diminutive Lhankor Mhy from Nochet (!) who has been
>bitten by the archaeology bug and wants to go see the Rubble with her own
>The Sun Domers are, by and large, confused by her. However, as long as she 
>keeps covered up and doesn't talk much, she's not too offensive, just 
>supremely foreign and strange, especially with the beard.

Do female Grey Sages have to wear the beard all the time? I imagined it was
like the wigs British judges wear, only worn in the library/temple or for
formal occasions. What's the official line?
Mark Foster


Subject: Tell Avalon Hill your secrets!
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Jul 94 14:01:37 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5077

Or at least tell me.  This message is from Joseph Scott, the new guy at
Avalon Hill who will be overseeing RuneQuest.  I've been reading the daily as
best I can, but I am limited by time - I just can't get through the whole
thing every day.

However, I'm very interested in what actual RQ players think - so please
consider answering my standard questions:

- who are your favorite RQ authors?
- do you play an exclusively Gloranthan campaign?
- what sort of supplements would you like to see?

Please E-Mail your responses to me at "AH RPG@AOL.COM" - if they're posted on
the Daily, I'll almost certainly miss them.

I invite communication of all sorts - please ask me questions other than the
ones I've listed above.  

Soon (hopefully very soon) there will be new submissions guidelines for RQ
materials, which I will have to post somewhere that Daily users can get at


Joe Scott


Subject: Virgins
Message-ID: <>
Date: 8 Jul 94 17:24:35 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5078

Loved The Saga of Megaera.  As I'm sure there has already been
quibbling about one point (even though I haven't seen today's
daily yet, I just know it), I thought I'd go ahead and back you
up on the question of how Megaera can be a virgin when she was
gang-raped back in childhood.  There are several possibilities.

1)   The New Testament meaning of "virgin" theory: in Megaera's
     culture, "virgin" just means unmarried young woman. 
2)   The magical theory: at some point in Megaera's career
     (perhaps upon initiation into BG), she was transformed into
     a virgin in body and/or spirit.
3)   The psychological theory: Megaera has suppressed the memory
     of her trauma, and shouldn't have participated in the Voria
     ceremony.  She got off pretty light, if this is the case.

I'm sure that others can suggest still other theories.  I vote
for #1.

Brandon: Thanks for Andromache's tale.  Enjoyed it.

Re: Abbreviations
CoP       Cults of Prax
CoT       Cults of Terror
G:G,CHW   Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars
GoG       Gods of Glorantha
KoS       King of Sartar
RoC       River of Cradles
GRAY      Glorious ReAscent of Yelm (also, GRoY, GRAoY)
TTRM      Tales of the Reaching Moon (also, TotRM)
AIG       Adventures in Glorantha (moribund RQ 4 playtest rules;
          a/k/a AiG)
SiP       Strangers in Prax

BG        Babeester Gor
IG        Invisible God

Any others?