Bell Digest v940718p1

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 18 Jul 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: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: Devoutness - I'll try to cut it short...
Date: 16 Jul 94 15:04:06 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5185

Devin Cutler in X-RQ-ID: 5172

> 'Tis only the beginning, dear Joerg :-)

What do you other readers of the digest feel? May I take up this 
challenge here? I write LONG articles when so challenged, so tell me 
if this offends, and I'll be back on private communication with Devin.

This one will go out regardless...


Devin's concept of this spell reminds me of 

telnet Orlanth@Middle.Air.Glo

with an interactive database on the other end.

> when someone casts Divination and asks Orlanth "Orlanth, what took place just
> south of Pairing Stone three days ago?" I would expect that he usually gets a
> correct answer.

I'd expect the answer "What interest is this for you, puny mortal? Go, 
find out yourself, don't bother me!" and a healthy dose of Impests.

Divinations like this are abusive, and not covered by the spell. I quote: 
"The air god will know IN A GENERAL FASHION about events occurring in the 
air" (Magic Book p.24, emphasis mine)

> Otherwise, might as well toss Divination, as the
> answer most lkely to be gotten is "I don't know, I was looking elsewhere at
> that moment"

Exactly the right attitude. Mundane events aren't the interest of deities, 
so why the Hellcrack should they concern themselves with such?

Divine Mind Police:

> No, no,no,no reading minds UNBIDDEN is the province of a very few Truth
> Deities.

Reading minds in general. All the other things are _communication_, i.e. 
the provider of the info actively offers these, not the requester dumping 

> "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."

> Betrayal is often an emotional process.

Outright betrayal, yes. Cunning manipulation, not at all, and cunning 
manipulation is the province of the bad guys in the cult. These bad 
guys obey the deities formulated will to the letter, and in communication 
with the deity give their ample proof of these actions, while they 
abuse cult mechanics to further their own goals in the name of the 

Faltikus the Good needn't be an illuminate. He can boast to his deity 
that he leads one of the very few Orlanth temples officially open in 
defiance of Lunar laws, and prove that he is the last bastion of 
Orlanth worship in a world where the Lunars suppress everything that 
is good.

> I think the deity quickly checks anyone for suspicious emotions,
> then investigates further those who don't pass muster.

This would violate the compromise, and is beyond the powers of most 
deities. Those deities who have the power to do so (notably Lhankor 
Mhy) seem to rely on the assumption that since the worshippers know 
they can do these things, they won't dare. How else do you explain all 
the famous Lhankor Mhy traitors?

> I agree that worshippers DO give something to their god, and I agree that
> these things are the two things you mention. However, I do not believe that
> that it is an even exchange.

Neither do I. The gods are on the receiving end.

> I believe that what the gods give to their
> worshippers, by direct means (like DI or Divine Magic) and by indirect means
> (e.g. Yelm gives sunlight) far outweighs what the gods get in return.

This is where we differ radically. You say Yelm gives the sunlight to 
Glorantha, I say Yelm profits from the sun shedding light on Glorantha. 
And he isn't the only one - other sun gods and sky gods profit from this 
fact as well, although to a lesser degree. Yelm, Yu-Kargzant, Ehilm, Sun 
Dragon, Somash and Elmal profit quite directly from this elemental power, 
and Yelm as the owner of the Secret Power of Fire (aka Rune) does so most. 
Yes, I propose there are several Sun gods attached to the One Sun of 
Glorantha. They are different entities, with varying powers, some (the 
Solar powers) overlapping, others being special to one of them (like the 
Rebirth myth to Yelm; the other sun gods have different reasons to let 
night happen).

The deities need the mundane world to survive; when the mundane world 
fails to support them, they wither away.

The mundane world on the other hand only needs the Secret Powers some 
deities hold; if these powers could be had without involving the deities 
the world would be as well off. Argrath's ritual of the net proves this, 
and the Westerners as well as the Easterners have recognized this.

As I said before, the deities can exist in a very limited way without 
any worship. In this form they are reduced to the power which distinguishes 
them from other Godplane inhabitants, limited spirits like Firshala, 
Lightning Boy or many other Praxian spirits. They can gain additional 
powers by ganging up and sharing their powers with other deities - the 
pantheon effect, with lots of associate magic, the can gain subservient 
Godplane entities who provide them with their powers in return for shelter 
and participation in their flow of powers - this is generally restricted 
to the greater deities, who hold Secret Powers (not limited to owning 
one Rune - Kyger Litor and Aldrya have Secret Powers which stem from 
crucial combinations of Runes), or they can gain the support of mundane 
entities and by their MP feed gain access to the basic powers of the 
world, take a share in the Public Domain of Secret Powers available to 
all deities which can concentrate enough energy sources to fuel a Great 
or Major Temple. (This manifests in their ability to gain access to and 
to deal out Common Divine magic.)

> Therefore, the difference in this equation is filled by devotion. The gods
> give out their powers and demand not only MP but devotion as well.

What is devotion to a god, other than the will to give more than to take?

> It seems a bit as if the system you are arguing for places gods more in the
> need of mortals than vice versa. I just do not see the gods as emasculated
> and beholden to mortals in that way.

If they wantto continue to bask in energy, they are. If they are complacent 
with the attention they get from the natural forces that feed them, fine 
for them. IMO this is the difference between Kolat, who relies solely 
on the natural forces of the winds, and Orlanth, who relies heavily on 
the support of his culture. The difference makes Orlanth great, but also 
vulnerable to the Red Goddess.

J> The worshipper would have to provide this information willingly.

> That is what I have postulated all along.

Not to my reading. In your variant, willingness is compulsory. So much for 
free will...

> If he does not, the god will make the initiate inactive. I don't see the
> deities as so beggered for MP that they must plead with their worshippers to
> get it. Maybe a new deity like Firshala must be less picky, but Orlanth can
> certainly afford to make inactive initiates who won't open themselves to him.

No, he cannot. Every initiate he makes inactive further weakens him in his 
fight against the Red Goddess, who threatens to rob him off his Secret 
Power, the control and possession of the Middle Airs.

The example of Orlanth and the Red Goddess is the most obvious, but 
competition for the Secret Powers or at least partial use of them is 
fierce among Godplane denizens and mundane competitors like dragons, 
wizards and (super)heroes. Ever since Time replaced Creation From the 
Void, there is is only so much power to be manipulated, and has to be 
shared among all competitors. The deities, lacking free will, can only 
hold on the powers they have brought into Time, or which have been given 
to them within Time.

> I have trouble with this sort of "fire sale" type situation, where the
> deities need to scrape up every last MP from worshippers. The gods, IMO, can
> afford to be choosy.

Not at all, IMO. They might need to be choosy in order not to lose their 
grip on their powers, their identity, but this is assured by the rituals 
which their priests enforce.

> If the gods were that desparate for MP, why aren't they competing to give
> their worshippers tons of powers and goodies, which not only increases the
> power of" your worshippers, but gets you a whole bunch of new ones? Why make
> it so hard to become an initiate (i.e. those without parents in the cult must
> pass 3 of 5 skill tests)? Why not welcome in anyone who wants to join the
> cult?

Because the danger of an infection with wrong traits. Your Nazi mind police 
deities could take anyone in, and let their priesthood kill off anyone 
who doesn't fit their picture, for a better Glorantha. (Look at the Red 
Goddess, look at Gbaji.)

> Yes, deities recognize mortal fallibility. And a deity won't care about a
> minor transgresison, other than sending a minor reprisal ro simply informing
> the priest of such minor transgression (if that). It is major stuff, like
> Cacodemons in the Yelmalio service that bother me.

I don't see why. As long as the ogre does obey all cult strictures ("Eat no 
meat at all" and "Eat no meat but birds" won't work for ogres, obviously) 
and furthers the cause of Yelmalio, I see no problems with ogre 
Yelmalians. As long as they eat their victims not on Fireday or in 
Fire-season, if they have that geas, they could be exemplary Templars 
and highly regarded fighters against the Zorak Zoran cult, for instance. 
Their actions could further the cause of Yelmalio much more than taint it.

I think in the Dara Happan Sun Dome cult in the Lunar Empire tame ogres 
will have their chance. They're bound to botch it sooner or later, but in 
the meantime they can work for the good of their cult.

> Letting traitors gain cult powers is not a mundane concern. It is a highly
> significant concern and likely to get cult relics stolen, altars desecrated,
> and priests assassinated. These are bad for that selfsame community.

Now you get over the top. What if the cult relics are simply used against 
a designated foe of the cult, by a cultist who happens to belong to another 

Asassination of priests and desecration of altars is against the interest 
of the multiply initiated - why destroy one's own power base, and commit 
so blatant sacrilege that all powers painfully earned are made void?

Let's get away from the chaos example, and take a combination not entirely 
out of possibilities: an initiate of both Orlanth and Yelmalio. (Such 
as a clan elder of the Vantaros tribe, initiate to both Yelmalio as his 
cult of choice, and Orlanth Rex as his cult of office.)

This individual woud be able to use Yelmalio cult relics and magics for 
Orlanth cult purposes, and vice versa, as long as he doesn't violate any 
cult restrictions. In a raid on Snake Pipe Hollow, the Ivory Plinth or 
the Skyfall Lake trolls he'd work in the interest of both deities, and 
could get the help of both. In a conflict with co-religionists of either 
cult in a tribal or clan affair using the divine and spirit magic of the 
cult is all right with both deities.

Alternatively take a Yelmalio cum Seven Mothers cultist from the Tarsh 
Sun Dome temple (mentioned in CoP). This individual would be an effective 
fighter against Storm enemies, where both 7M and Yelmalio interests 
coincide, and would still be an able chaos fighter or darkness fighter 
even though being somewhat co-religionist.

> OK. WF Issue 12 page 19. "DIVINATION & DIVINE INTERVENTION" by Greg Stafford.

> "The god is incapable of invading a person's mind [d.c. - invading is
> different from being invited in]. The knowledge which the Rune Lords and Rune
> Priests give to the god must be volunteered by the Rune level. It is possible
> to keep private thoughts private from the god."

> So far seems to favour you...but:

> POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE. A deity will know when a Rune Master loses faith, plots
> against him, or whatever"

> Capitalizations are my emphasis.


To plot directly against the deity is one thing, to make oneself the 
centrepiece of all worship to the deity is another thing. This is what 
Lokamayadon did _before_ he helped create Osentalka, therefore _before_ 
he became an illuminate.

Still, acting against _his_ interests was to act against the Orlanth 
cult's interest since _he_ was the key figure in Orlanth worship, therefore 
the defection of the Dragon Pass Orlanthi from the Broken Council could not 
be as complete as the trolls' or dragonewts' withdrawal. Lokamayadon 
never violated his bond to Orlanth in this project, he stressed the 
cooperation with all the word the Compromise brought, and made this aspect 
paramount in the outer face of the cult. To attack this aspect was to 
attack the cult, however, and could be sensed by Orlanth as emotion of 
betrayal. In this way, Orlanth himself reduced his worshippers who defended 
the non-official politics, which were in rhyme with his original 
intentions, to heretics and blasphemers.

This is how Glorantha works, proven by history.

I never advocated that one could go to a temple and sacrifice for divine 
magic with the intention to harm the cult. However, it is possible to 
sacrifice for divine magic at a temple and use them in a selfish way, 
and to harm people who are not foes of the cult.

Orlanthi can use Lightning in a clan war against Orlanthi. If an Orlanth 
initiate who happens to be a 7Mother initiate as well (such as Bolthor 
Hairybreeks) uses Orlanth magic to further the Lunar interests which 
happen to coincide with his own tribal (Orlanthi) interests against 
Orlanthi enemies, this doesn't make this use a sacrilege, but a legitimate 
application of the powers Orlanth gave to his followers.

Likewise a 7Mother initiate could be a renowned chaos hunter who destroyed 
malevolent chaos wherever he found it, maybe even using chaos powers 
himself to do so. Malevolent chaos is fought by the Red Goddess and her 
Mothers after all, so he is behaving perfectly well. If he regards a 
chaotic sanctioned by an Imperial official as malevolent and kills the 
chaotic, he has done so for the good and furtherance of his cult, and won't 
have to face any religious reprimands for religious reasons. If the chaotic 
was an important Lunar agent, he might suffer similar consequences like 
the poor Orlanthi character in MOB's amusing story about the Guided Teleport 
reception room. These are inflicted by the priesthood only, _not_ by the 

> It is possible that Greg only thinks RUne levels are subject to the kind of
> scrutiny I am suggesting. I believe that the gods would give a cursory look
> at all Initiates. But in any case, the argument that only Truth Cults can
> know such information is put to paid by Greg's writing.

No. Greg explicitly states that the deity cannot invade the mind of _any_ 
worshipper, not even Rune levels. _Only Rune levels_ can provide the deity 
with direct information via a single prayer; common initiates need either 
joint or continued effort to get a message through, unless they use the 
Divination spell to tell their deity. The deity can only perceive 
information the worshipper actively provides, or when the worshipper 
invokes the deity in his thoughts. A casual blaspheming like "Curse 
 " might earn the blasphemer a slightly negative taint 
in the aura, but won't be plotting against the deity. The intention to 
assassinate a priest of your deity because he's doing the work of the 
deity is sacrilegious, the intention to kill the same priest because he 
killed your brother in a raid is a honorable and perfectly all right 
plan to the deity, and while it might earn you the retribution of the 
mundane organisation of the cult, it shouldn't earn you the enmity of 
the deity - unless the priest in question has established his killing 
of the brother as necessary for the cult to the deity. The intention 
to suppress any worship to the deity is hostile to the deity and will 
earn its displeasure; this is what keeps Krogar Wolfhelm from attempting 
to close the temple officiated by Faltikus the Good.

> Greg's writing certainly implies that other non-Truth oriented gods CAN read
> the minds and emotions of Rune Levels at teh very least, which is a giant
> step beyond what you have proposed.

Greg states that the deity can read the informations directed to it, 
nothing more.

> I choose to carry that step one step
> further, which seems logical IMO.

No. By carrying this further, you violate the delicate balance Greg sought 
to maintain.

> The god is especially attuned to thoughts and emotions conerning him. These
> are the only one's the initiate is required to set forth. Greg's writing
> supports this sort of selectiveness.

The initiate is required to _formulate_ these thoughts to the deity. The 
emotions are a different matter, but they are a phenomenon tied to the 
flow of life-force. If the life force flows into the right direction, no 
other emotions will be directed at this time of contact. If the life force 
doesn't flow to the deity, the deity will have reason to complain. This 
means that if the emotions of the worshipper override his willingness to 
donate his life force to the deity.

I asked why the deity should mind-police the initiates.

> Because the Illuminate might be plotting to perform some nefarious deed.

In this case the deity is helpless anyway. Please let's keep out 
illuminates for a while, they are an exception to most of the rules.

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

> I refuse to believe the deities are hobbled THAT much. I may be swayed to say
> that the gods are nothing but big spirits, but I refuse to believe they are
> nothing but big BOUND spirits.

The gods bound themselves by the most binding oaths to the Compromise. (I 
think they swore by Styx...) These oaths are irrevocable, and limit them 
in their activities up to this extet that they are committed to accept 
whoever fits the criteria for acceptability. The exact nature of these 
criteria are defined by the priesthood, not by the deity, and may vary 
over time or distance. Lokamayadon managed to raise the criteria to 
a limit where everyone but Harmast Barefoot failed, without plotting 
against his god in a way the god could have taken offense in.

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

> If I'm a Krarsht worshipper, and I need a Flight Spell (or two) to
> assassinate someone about whom I have a contract, and all I have to do to get
> such a spell is become an Orlanth worshipper and do all of the mumbo-jumbo
> correctly, then why the heck wouldn't I turn up at worship service?

First I need to pass all the preliminary filters of the Orlanth religion, 
and I need to avoid outright sacrilege against any of my cults. If I manage 
this balance without being illuminated, I can participate in and benefit 
of both cults.

> Not so strange if the worshipper IS devoted and has nothing to hide AND wants
> somethign in return from the deity. In this case, what has the worshipper to
> lose?

His free will, and thereby his value to the deity. I regard this complete 
dumping of intentions to the deity as an act of extreme zealousness, and 
one dangerous to the cult, since all pettyness is forced upon the deity, 
all imperfection the worshipper suffers from will be forced upon the 
deity. Only deities of forgiveness can cope with this, which is why Xiola 
Umbar survived largely unchanged where Zorak Zoran was turned upside down.

--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: A more Egalitarian Loskalm than what?
Message-ID: <>
Date: 16 Jul 94 07:36:24 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5181

Michelle Ringo:
>           Wizardry, Sorcery, Priesthood would not be gender specific.

I disagree, since the use of significant magic and the holding of religious
office is substantially corrolated in the West, and in Loskalm, qualification
for either require progressing through (some at least notionally) martial
post.  Plus of course the holding of religious office is likely to be
restricted to persons of the same gender as the prophets and (majority of
the) saints, since they'd be acting "in their name", in religious services
and otherwise.

>           One of the differences in Hrestoli based worship amongst the
>           wizards (unlike the Seshnela wizards) is that they "do not
>           rail against the common pleasures, nor threaten loss of
>           Solace for feeling no guilt over love and hunger".  This
>           moves further away from a celibate priest/monk approach of
>           the Catholic church.

Note that the Rokari, at any rate, don't have celibate priest/monks (since
it's a heriditary function), so this isn't something the Loskalmi have to
"move away from", in Gloranthan terms.  There may be some posts which
require this in either sect, but clearly not the vast majority.

>           There is not dicta that women can not be members
>           of the Order of the Red Garter and the Order of the Swallow.
>           Yes, history of the Loskalmi reflect that only men have been
>           Kings and Heads of these Orders.  Analagously, the USA has
>           no prohibition against a woman president, but simply has not
>           had one elected to date.

But then the USA doesn't have a (formal) caste or class system.  For Loskalm
to "not prohibit" women becoming Kings or Grand Knights, it would have to
specifically include them in the class system.  If this were true of all
Loskalmi women, it would, I've already argued, have fairly strange results
for Loskalmi social organisation.  It also would imply that the instigators
of the class system "anticipated" progress for women (all the way) through
it, against historical expectations.

On the other hand, I'd not be opposed to the proverbially "odd" woman
joining the Hrestoli class system by special dispensation, or some such.
Probably this would involve leaving the women's "path", remaining unmarried,
and the like.  (Roughly what some of my Deluded Critics have proposed for
the Rokari, in fact, arising from their Heretical Views on caste.)

>           Nevertheless, at least one side of this
>           conflict should be fairly attractive to PCs of both genders.

I'm not sure either side is particularly attractive to either gender, myself.
Depends what one likes, to coin a phrase, though.