Bell Digest v940715p1

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This is the RuneQuest Daily Bulletin, a mailing list on
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world of Glorantha.  It is sent out once per day in digest

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From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: Worship ceremonies
Date: 14 Jul 94 11:44:17 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5154

Devin Cutler's dexperate last stand in X-RQ-ID: 5142

> Joerg writes:

> "I like the overall description of this, but I doubt that this is what 
> happens to the worshippers as a mass"

> Why not? If Orlanth is omnipresent enough to DI several places simultaneously
> or to caretake the winds all over Glorantha, then certainly he can send a
> tiny piece of his admittedly awesome essence into ALL of the worshippers at
> the HHD ceremonies.  I imagine the contact times for each worshipper need to
> be long, perhaps it would feel merely as if a cool breeze had blown through
> the bodies of each worshipper.

Again, I love the description of what the worshipper feels, but I 
disagree with the ability (and interest) of the deity to memory-dump 
the worshippers it touches briefly. I regard this contact more as a 
spiritual handshake.

Reading minds is the province of very few deities. I regard the magics 
deities give to their worshippers as a rough description of the innate 
abilities of the deity.

And, if Orlanth is omnipresent in all air, he would carry all spoken 
information. (A nice Lunar propaganda bit: "Every spoken lie is carried 
by Orlanth!")

I doubt he will listen into all conversation. According to the compromise, 
he mustn't, carrying sound is something which happens, within his area 
of influence, but without his direct involvement.

> "Rather the willingness of the worshipper to give up some of her excess 
> life force (aka MP) to give to the deity."

> No, I meant the devoutness. If Lhankor Mhy can read minds unbidden (via his
> magicks), then certainly a god who has been invited into a worshipper's body,
> mind, and soul by that selfsame worshipper can do same, especially with
> matters that relate directly to that god.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Reading minds is the province of very few 
truth deities - to wit, Lhankor Mhy, Dayzatar, and maybe their spin-offs 
Atyar (through the treachery of Treack Markhor), Irripi Ontor (through his 
own treachery), and Ourania.

What the gods feed on, aren't intellectual processes (those mentioned above 
excepted), but the life-force ridden emotions. These are what they 
understand, and what they want.

> No, I say the worshipper must invite the god into himself and open up himself
> entirely to the god (it is almost a test of trust, since the worshipper is
> allowing himself to be possessed by the god and anything could happen to
> him). The god will not give the worshipper any benefits until this act of
> opening is completed.

However, the god won't step down to check all. Not in my Glorantha, and I 
doubt in many other people's Glorantha. The act of opening is essential, 
I agree, but in general the fact that the worshippers open themselves 
is sufficient proof for the deity. Even with priests, who are to act on 
behalf of, but not like the deity. Only Runelords with a direct link to 
their deity (1d10 DI...) who are avatars of their deity might be subject 
to greater attacks of divine invasion.

> Why not? It seems, given the lack of "official" material on this subject,
> that either viewpoint is valid.

Because your viewpoint is extreme, as the numerous reactions indicate. 
(I got as much response only when I stated that Praxians were Hsunchen 
sitting on their totem animals... )

> And this really hearkens back to that basic of all questions: Do worshippers
> create the deity? I say say yes.

You'll be surprised: I don't.

Worshippers do not create the deity IMO, but they give it the essence 
to work with. The only exceptions to this might be Jogrampur and Zistor, 
two of the most famous God Learner experiments, and both involved heavy 
action on the Hero Plane which might have promoted one or two of their 
number into godhood without their knowledge, or intention.

I view the deities as self-sufficient Godplane entities who exist there, 
possess a number of innate powers, most of these shared with other deities, 
one or two powers which give them a special purpose, and if they are
lucky a special power unique on Glorantha.

These powers are somewhat skills to them, but they may exert these powers 
only in their given place, and under their given conditions. They have 
no "free will" to change this. This is where worshippers step in.

The worshippers do two things to a hitherto unworshipped deity. The 
first is to give the deity additional power, which allows them to do 
the second step and expandthe deity's area of influence.

Take for example Firshala, the fire deity from Griffin Mountain/Island. 
Without worship, and imprisoned, her area of influence has been restricted 
to the altar of her imprisonment. As soon as she is freed, by giving the 
chip of altar stone to her liberator, she extends her area of influence to 
this character - when called upon, and only then.

Firshala is looking for worshippers. She is interested in receiving life 
force (MP, or in RQ2-terms regenerable POW) from the liberators, and given 
the advantage of having your own personal deity, she is likely to get it.

If the liberators actively spread her cult, install temples and shrines 
to her and set up a whole religion, her area of influence will spread 
with the worshippers. If the proselytizing is successful, she might become 
a local deity, the goddess of a newly founded city, and even more.

As a city goddess, Firshala might gain access to the spell City Harmony if 
some of her worshippers find the heropath to the First City, or any other 
city-founding myth. If they get in contact with Sartarites, they'll likely 
use King Sartar's method.

If the cultists form a military troop, and make Firshala their regimental 
goddess, she is likely to develop some martial spells.

If the worshippers marry Firshala into an existing pantheon, she'll 
receive associate magic, but will have to accept duties in return.

All these changes will expand her powers, but change her aspects. She 
still won't love water cults, but if some heroes create a set of 
mythical arrangements with certain water deities, these could be 
considered as allies.

Imagine the situation that a band of exiles from Sartar frees Firshala, 
and returns with her to Sartar when the Lunar yoke is thrown off. They 
might settle somewhere recently cleared by destruction of the previous 
clans, or they might join with the shatterd remains of a tribe damaged 
in the conflicts, and start anew. Firshala and the clan deities will 
be joined in a series of rituals, and a temple will be set up. The clan 
being Orlanthi, it will have worshipped the Orlanthi deities, including 
Heler and Mastakos, both from the Water tribe. Now both Heler and Mastakos 
will have arranged themselves with Elmal, a member of the fire tribe and 
resident at Orlanth's stead. To include Firshala into the clan array, she 
(or rather her representant) will have to undergo similar arrangements, 
maybe simply reenact the same arrangements while possessed by her, maybe 
altering them slightly to suit Firshala's personality.

Thus Firshala's innate dislike of Water entities could be overcome, 
through the actions of the worshippers.

The worshippers form the deity, not vice versa (not any more, that is...).

> "Life force is never pure when generated, personality always rubs off 
> with the MP. As long as the personality attached to the life force isn't 
> tainted, the life force remains acceptable."

> Then this approach depends upon one's interpretation regarding how much
> personality rubs off, and what exactly is included in personality.

Emotions. The Pendragon Pass trait system apparently is something of a 
playtest for the "next year edition" of Heroquest, so personality 
traits and emotions seem to be the essential copmonents in worship, not 
intellectual considerations.

> I would imagine that the god first picks up emotions. Yes, almost every
> worshipper will have the awe and fear you describe. But if the god senses too
> much fear, he will investigate further. Or if he senses resistance or
> defiance.

Maybe the god will investigate further, but ONLY WITHIN ITS POWERS! And no 
deity but Lhankor Mhy or Dayzatar can actively read the mind of a mundane 
creature, else all deities would have access to Mindread or Truespeak (or 
whatever this Dayzatar spell was called). The worshipper would have to 
provide this information willingly. If he does, ok, the god can act, if 
he refuses, the god may become suspicious, and might send a lesser 
retribution, but to make an initiate inactive is to deny oneself 
necessary life force, and the deity only gets so much...

> "One side effect of these rituals is to put people into the right frame 
> of mind; they are similar in nature to Demoralize or Fanaticism in that 
> they produce a state of mind not naturally attainable.

> Once in this state of mind, it is hard to be anything but devout..."

> This would seem to be a hindrance for the cult, not a useful ritual.

A hindrance to the cult? Maybe. A hindrance to the deity? Not at all. 
The deity would be provided with much more appropriate life force than 
it would otherwise, the worship would become more effective, the deity 
would become more powerful, the benefits it could return would become 

> Your
> description makes it seem that these cleansing rituals would take someone who
> is trying to betray the cult and wash them of their betraying thoughts for a
> short while (during the ritual), and then the effct would wear off (after the
> person has passed through the ritual and is now trusted by the cult).

This is the illuminated view, and you watch it from a very totalitarian 
viewpoint, with a 1984-like mind police. Maybe a few paranoid cults work 
like this; the majority doesn't. To be mortal means to be fallible, and 
this is an accepted fact among the deities. Rather than to be cut off 
their constant feed of life-force, the deities prefer their worshippers 
to cleanse their mind before sacrifice, and deliver untainted emotions. 
I'd rule that a lay worshipper in the right frame of mind is more 
effective than an initiate with troubled emotions due to lacking 
preparation for the ceremony.

> In this
> case, there is all the more reason for the cult to NOT perform the cleansing
> ritual, which seems more like a masking ritual.

This is paranoid. The intention behind the ritual is to please the deity, 
to make it more inclined to help the whole community, regardless whether 
there are worshippers distracted by other troubles (like a family member 
outlawed, and a huge weregeld to be rounded up). Mundane troubles mustn't 
damage the community's ties to the deity, lest the troubles increase, so 
a purifying ritual before the service is essential. If this enables 
slackers or even traitors to partake in the benefits the deity provides, 
that's life, but the cult is concerned with the welfare of the community, 
not with doctrine. If the latter was the case, the cult hierarchy itself 
would become guilty of betraying the deity, and would contract the wrath 
of the deity. No god is interested in detrimental over-zealousness.

Compare e.g. Yelmalio's (or whatever his name was) dim view on the 
failure of the True Golden Horde as related in Sun County, p.112.

> Or did I completely misunderstand your intentions (always a possibility with
> me ;-)? )


> Nope. By devotedness, I mean the devotedness we have discussed off line.

See my argumentation above. Is such exclusivity really in the interest of 
the deity, and won't the deity be most generous towards those who serve 
its purposes best?

Aside: the disease question.

> Except often times a party CAN encamp and rest for a while.

Yeah, sure, if the GM is willing to take the edge from a contracted 
disease. If the GM wants the characters to suffer, he will keep 
harrassing the players - a pack of hyenas attracted by the sick smell 
of the victim would do the trick to keep the disease victim straining 
itself, and keep the CON-rolls at CON*3 or less. Add in insects, 
vultures, and other threats, and prospects are bleak if the GM knows 
his trade.

If the GM wants to make disease a threat, it's up to him, if he allows 
the unmolesed rest, then he decided to let the disease pose no real 
threat. It's GM decision, really.

> Also, keep in
> mind that RQ3 has the silly effect of speeding up disease shake-off rolls as
> the disease becomes more severe.

Agreed, this is illogical. Simple fix: a succeeding roll just lessens 
severity of the disease by one level.

> Of course time lost is time wasted. But two seasons is still no big deal,
> especially if you play in a cohesive group where the other players are
> willing to wait for that character to tend his ailments. Also, no big deal in
> campaigns that span many years at a go.

Again, GM decision to let the characters go off lightly. Why do you 
complain in the first hand, if you don't want to make disease a problem?

Access to spirit magic:

> "The rules say that initiates of the cult gain cheaper access to the 
> spells. While I agree with the AiG designers that access to the powerful 
> spells is too cheap in RQ3, the possibility to buy spells from other 
> cults than one's own has been in the rules already in 1984, in the 
> "DeLuxe" edition."

> Please point this out exaclty for my reference. I have looked for it
> everywhere. RQ3 only gives rules for approaching a shaman to learn spirit
> magic. Otherwise, it says nothign about learning cult spirit magicks, and GoG
> ONLY states that one can get spirit magicks from one's cult or associated
> cults.

Ok, lets collect the relevant passages.
Magic Book p.23:
"Lay members ... do not receive special magical benefits because of 
their belief."
Magic Book p.25: Benefits for initiates
"... each initiate is entitled to learn ... spirit magic _acceptable_ 
to the religion. The spells to be learned must be available 
at the particular temple." (emphasis mine)
Magic Book p.29: Temples
"Special divine and spirit magics, limited by the worshiped entity, can be 
learned here."
Magic Book p.36f: Spellteaching spell description
The "recipient" is in no way restricted to initiates.
Gamemaster Book p.30:
"A non-initiate may have a spell cast on him by a priest ... of a friendly 
Doesn't exclude Spellteaching...
Also see "Summoning": it includes spell spirits.

The rules don't state anywhere that you can't learn spirit spells from 
temples. They don't state explicitely that you can, either. I guess that
comes from letting people who knew Glorantha playtest the rules...
No mention of initiates.

> I have rules that Control Spell Spirit can control the Spell Spirit to do
> anything, including combat and thereby teach anyone the Control caster
> desires.

Fine. To make the Control spell effective, you first have to bring the 
spirit in question to Zero MP, however. How it should initiate spirit 
combat in that condition is beyond me.

> Also, I allow the Controller to cast the spell until the Summoned
> Spirit regains its senses (by rolling POW x1% as per the Summoning RQ3
> rules).

Makes sense.

> But Spell Spirits cannot possess. I believe it says this in the Creatures
> Section under psiirts (I am at work and do not have my RQ stuff handy).

They cannot do anything with the possessed body, and are as unhappy about 
this state as is the victim. Which is why they usually don't attack in 
spirit combat...

> "The expellation of disease spirits can be done with a compliment of 
> healing spirits. Since the disease spirit is embodied, the healing 
> spirits can take turns to soften it up."

> Or just use spirit-affecting magicks.

Such as Malia's Command Disease Spirit? Subere's Attack Soul? Or what?

> Yes, there are always mitigating factors. But I like there to be a bit of
> risk AFTER the party makes it to the CA temple. I don't like the "OK, we made
> it to the CA temple, everything is automatically better" routine.

ALso in the temple the Spirit Block must be ready. It's a Common divine 
spell, so only available at major temples...

> Indeed, so about 1/2km outside of town, you tie up your cow and change in the
> bushes, and then lead your cow triumphantly into town. Better yet, one of
> your children leads the cow into town, with you walking ahead of it in your
> finery, perhaps even riding on a mule or pony.

Would be irreverent, IMO. And takes the fun out of the scenario...

> I seem to remember an old WF that stated that gods do know the minds of their
> Runelevel worshippers. I think it may have been in the same issue that spoke
> of DI and Divination.

Please look this up.

> In any case, Truespeak and Mindread certainly approach or exceed this
> ability.

Yes. Look who has them, and more important: look who has not.

And Lhankor Mhy is the cult which has the most famous traitors (Irripi 
Ontor, Treack Markhor, uncounted God Learners...).

Proof against your rabid devotedness, Devin.

> I doubt a god would listen to the whinings of his worshippers viz a viz other
> worshippers.

What he reads in the minds will hardly be different from that...

> Otherwise, we get a situation wherein a group of ambitious
> priests who want to overthrow the high priest merely think bad thoughts about
> him during HHD. I would imagine the god only reads thoughts concerning
> devotion to him by that worshipper.

How would he find these?

> In any case, what is to stop a god from punishing an Illuminate when, during
> Divination, the High Priest voices his suspicions to the god?

Why should he, as long as the person in question faithfully fulfils its 
cultic duties, and feeds the deity well?

> How do they do all of those DI's? How does Orlanth manage every wind or
> zephyr? The question is not that I think Orlanth is absolutely Omni anything,
> but that he is powerful enough to send pieces of himself (or maybe even
> helping spirits, windfists, flintslingers, etc.) to the ceremonies. After
> all, the fact that ALL worshippers can gain POW on HHD means something is
> happening on a wide scale.

Yes, they experience the magic flow between themselves and their deity. 
They sacrifice all but one MP in the process, which usually is quite a 

> Where is free will lost? Did anyone force these people to worship a deity to
> whom they could not be devout. They had a pot pourri of gods to worship and
> made a free choice. If they don't want the god mucking around in their body
> and soul, they simply become an atheist, a sorceror, a shaman, or they don't
> sac for Divine Magic. My system is merely a free exchange. The worshipper
> says "I want...."
>  the god says " I want ......".

The deity has lost the free will to reject any worshipper who obeys all the 
rules, whatever the worshippers mindset.

> Also, I would imagine that the god can only sense large betrayals and
> undevotedness. The god wouldn't sense, even less give a crud about, someone
> not lighting the proper candle on Godday night, or even not tithing his full
> 10%.

So the god only would sense if the worshipper seriously resented the 
deity? Such a worshipper wouldn't turn up at the service...

--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Alex Tries It On
Message-ID: <940714071352_100270.337_BHL46-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 14 Jul 94 07:13:52 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5151

Alex on Shanasse:

> We need some glib, amoral sophist to give a superficially convincing
> account of why anyone would confuse Trees and Angels. Hrm. Nick? 

Among my Wenelians, the culture-hero Wendel is the son of Vorlan, the local 
Storm God, and the Oak Woman, mistress of the forest. Born of rape when his 

Lightning Spear hit her tree, he was the first fire given to the children 
of Entru in the Darkness; he taught them all the arts of civilised living 
(all the arts they have in the Wenelian Forest, that is!). A burning 
oak-tree, blazing but not consumed, is his symbol. Does this confuse Trees 
and Angels enough for you?

The thought of a Christmas tree, all lit up, as the DH Shanasse image, is 
too horrible to contemplate.

That's a pint's worth of glib, amoral sophistry IMHO. See ya!

You listed the "unpublished" cults on Sandy's index:

> Invisible God, Horned God, Ancestor Worship, Hykim & Mikyh, Flamal,
> Magasta, Red Goddess, Eurmal, Uleria, Bolongo, Mastakos.

Of these, some have seen print:

	Ancestor Worship (Daka Fal, in River of Cradles)
	Magasta (Tales #11, the recent Sea Special)
	Uleria (a fairly long-gone DW, late 30's I believe)

I think we're still planning to run the I.G. in the next-but-one Tales. 
Gluttons for Malkioni punishment...



From: (David Cake)
Subject: Runes
Message-ID: <>
Date: 14 Jul 94 10:23:36 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5152

> From: (Alex Ferguson)
> X-RQ-ID: 5129
> > Hrestol [would be] able to 
> > attain Solace even though nailed to a Death Rune (in Brithini terms, an 
> > unclean & contaminating item)
> In Brithini terms, a meaningless pagan icon, shurely.  Maybe cross-as-death-
> rune makes sense for the latter-day Hrestoli, what with them being Wicked
> God Learners, but why would the runes have significance for Dawn Age
> Westerners?  Unless the gods speak Tradetalk, of course. ;-)
I tend towards the idea that the Runes actual shapes are descended from 
Western, which is probably an ideographic writing form like Kanji (several
different spoken languages share one written form, the only earth equivalent
as far as I know being Kanji).
	In this case the Runes would be well known to Brithini, though they
would certainly consider Theyalan use of them rather odd ('Now let me get
this straight, you worship the letters D and F and want to destroy all those
who worship the letter U?').