Bell Digest v940718p3

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To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 18 Jul 1994, part 3
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From: (Barron Chugg)
Subject: Gooooooooooaaaallll!!!
Message-ID: <199407161934.MAA06249@leland.Stanford.EDU>
Date: 16 Jul 94 03:53:34 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5194

Hello All.

  First off, CODEX #2.

  Very nice work!  Trust me, if you like the daily, you will love Codex. 
(Subscribe, subscribe, conform, conform.)  Anyway, I loved all the articles
and the overall braphic presentation was very nice.  So, in the spirit of
fanzines past, here are some comments for specific authors.


  Loved the Ban stories.  It reminded me that the "God of the Silver Feet"
story is just that, a story.  Since the Loskalmi vastly out number everyone
else, their idea has become the prevailing one, but not the only one.  I'd
also like to put in a plug for the "N sides to every story" bit.  This is
one of the best things that Glorantha/RQ has done, and adds a strong thread
of realism.

  The Malkioni History is a nice piece of work.  The only problem I have
with it is not in any way of your making.  We know waaaaay too little about
the mythological under pinnings of Malkionism.  What little we do know
makes it much more of a social control mechanism than a religion (in the
Gloranthan sense).  The basic teachings seem to be: 

        * There are only four things to do in the world.
        * Do them (all or one) well and you go to a good place after death.

  And that's about it.  (Yes, I am simplifying grossly to make my point.) 
So what Martin has written is more of a political history of the Malkioni
than a spiritual one.  Then, if one assumes the IG is just a big scam, it's
a spiritual history as well.  Anyway, it is very nice work and gives a good
picture of the physical side of the church.

Mike D.:

  The Galastar write up was very good.  It gave me a new perspective of the
Western/Pagan interface.  And, for the first time, made me interested in
running games in the West (no small thing, considering how I ussually rag
on the West).

Alex (quoting me):

>>                                                     I can even retool
>> Western society to make men and women equal in "power" (not easy, but
>> doable).
>But this is quite evidently not the case for the Gloranthan West, where the
>question isn't whether the genders are equal, but how unequal, and how
>separate they are.

  Yep, I agree.  The West _is_ unequal.  What I was referring to was the
impression I got from Mark's post, i.e. that people were making a mistake
thinking that the only way the sexes could be equal was to have their roles
interchangable.  I find that, being educated in earth history, I tend to
have an internal alarm which says, "Wait!  Women as equals?  This is not
historically reasonable!".  When this happens I usually splash cold water
on my face and remind myself that, "This ain't Earth."  The problem is that
I (and I think many others) have is that we are conditioned based on our
various studies of history in many areas.  So we go in with preconcieved
ideas as to what is accurate.

>> [...]  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 don't think Gameability should be the a priori overriding consideration
>in deciding questions of background.
>  [Write up on how Alex approaches Glorantha.]

  Yeah, you and I come at this from different directions.  I may view
playability as the bottom line, but it's also a very broad term.  In fact,
I think the West _is_ sexist, I would just prefer not to let a large
portion of the world be repugnant to my (and my players') sensibilities. 
So I want to give the West some redeeming features in this area so that
they don't become "those sexist jerks from far away."  I'm not in any way
suggesting total, unrepentant equality.  All I want is enough to make it
playable (there's that word again...).

  Anyway, you and I just have different perspectives.  I'm certain that we
both come up with fun games/stories, we just get there from different

>As an encouraging model, look at Pendragon; it's explicitly sexist, in
>both game mechanics and background, more out of regard for "literary"
>realism than the historical sort.  But if anything, it's (relatively)
>oversubscribed with female players, according to anecdotal evidence.

  I think that Pendragon is appealing (to both sexes) because it has a
strong literary basis and is focused on roleplaying and character
interaction.  In my experience, female players, in particular, are more
interested in character interaction than in mechanics and combat.  I'll
wager that they are over subscribed in Vampire and Amber as well.  Then
again, my sample may be a bit skewed since _I_ am more interested in role
playing than mechanics.

>>   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.
>Please note that I'm not, as you seem to have inferred, trying to denigrate
>"traditional" female roles.

  Huh?  This came outta left field at me (insert appropriate cricket idiom
here at your liesure :-)).  I am not accusing you of denigrating
traditional female roles, either explicitly or implicitly.  As I have said
before, I am just saying that the earth-tradtional roles for women are not
very exciting for gaming.  Although I did make an attempt to do so
elsewhere in the post you are following up (I think...).  So, don't worry,
I'm casting no aspersions.

>  I'm just pointing out that Sandy is on the one
>hand advocating that Loskalmi women be admitted in the "male" castes, and
>hence do "male" things in society, telling us this follows from Loskalm's
>egalitarianism; while on the other, telling us that the sharp gender
>distinctions of G:G don't contradict the Greggly maxim that women have
>"important" roles in all Gloranthan societies.

  When I first read G:CotHW I was quite suprised by the blatant inequality
of the West.  I think it was more of a rewriting of earth history than a
write up of a new area in Glorantha (nothing personal Sandy (in case you
wrote it), it was just what I thought).  The other write ups seemed much
more balanced and respectful (although I think Glorantha is _sorely_ in
need of a set of "What My Mother Told Me..." sections!).

  I'll go even further here : 

        I think that the idea "that women have "important" roles in all
        Gloranthan societies" has never really been realized.

    I'm writing this is painfully plain language (I'm really a much more
politic guy, really!) to distill the thought into it's basest form. 
Comments?  Politly worded vicious personal attacks?

>>   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.
>Absolutely.  See the "WILL" business in the old HQ quasi-rules. 

  All I have seen are the Steve Maurer ones, but I assume they parallel the
Chaosium version at some level.

>                                                                 As you
>become a more and more important hero, your free will is progessively
>eroded, your actions curtailed.  Eventually your "apotheosis" comes about
>whether you intend it or not: you simply get "stuck" on the her/godplane,
>whether you want it or not.

  I love this image!  It is soooo eerie.  The fact that it parallels my
thinking to the letter is just a coincidence...:-).  


>>   I'd think of the MM as the zeroth order approximation to the mythology of
>> Glorantha.
>To inject a note of domain-theoretical nerdishness (or is that geekery? I'm
>never quite sure), I'd say a 1st approx., the 0th one being a blank sheet
>of paper.  But it's not as if it's a very good one, and certainly not a
>"safe" one, in any obvious sense.

  I must defend my 0th order term.  This is, by definition, the
approximation of a function by a constant.   I think the MM is a mythical
equivalent of a constant.  The 1st approximation would be the long cult
write ups.  2nd order would be the variations by region and culture.  3rd
would be to actually go to Glorantha and experience the culture first hand.

>>   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.
>But at least in such cases, the physics would at least be correct (one hopes)
>for an "idealised" situation.  For the Monomyth, it's not clear that the
>"ideal" it describes is anything other than a cobbled-together ad hockery.

  I take "correct" to mean, "works" or at least, "gives useful
information".  I think the MM fits both these criteria.  I'd add, though,
that it is NEVER preferable to the full write up of how the cult explains
their mythology.  It's like have cliff notes by someone who only read a
review of a book.  There may be some useful information, but first hand
knowlege is infinitely better.


  In conclusion, Codex...Good, Hooliganism...Bad.



Subject: Broo Bugs and Tin Gods
Message-ID: <>
Date: 17 Jul 94 05:05:49 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5195

Barron Chugg in X-RQ-ID: 5180

B>   Yes, yes, yes!!  This is a neat idea.  How about this as a
B> complication, mosquito-broos are too big to fly.  So they just find

Broos = all male.

Bloodsucking little @#%&$ mosquitoes = only the females.
The males don't need to suck blood, they don't lay the eggs.

Of course the rare FEMALE broo mosquito would be nasty disease-wise, but
if its small it can be swatted, and otherwise it would be easily seen.
Devin in X-RQ-ID: 5172
D> Orlanth is aware of almost everything that happens in the open air.
D> Yelm is aware of almost everything that happens in sunlight. Xentha
D> for things happening at night, etc. Otherwise, might as well toss
D> Divination, as the answer most likely to be gotten is "I don't know,
D> I was looking elsewhere at that moment"

Why do you expect such a thing after having read (and quoted) the
article in WF 12?  The second to last paragraph (on p. 19) makes it
quite clear:

    He may be able to tell your character that an army is
    approaching but not necessarily whose army, how big it is, or
    how fast it is moving.

                          - Divination and Divine intervention
                           By Greg Stafford p 19. (c) 1981 Chaosium.

D> Thus, while Orlanth may not be able to know fine details about a
D> thing, he can pretty much sense things anywhere within his realm
D> (i.e. air). This implies not omniscience, but at least a widespread
D> and even scattered consciousness. In any case, I did postulate that
D> during HHD, Orlanth might also send spirits, servants, the Air
D> equivalent of angels, Windfists, Flintslingers, et al to enter the
D> souls of Initiates and check for devotedness.

Why does this imply widespread consciousness?  He can't have a look
around the area before answering?  He is aware of GENERAL TRENDS, not
specifics.  If he had a constant awareness of the army he could tell you
at what rate they were moving.  If he understood humanity he could tell
you who they are, and how big it is.  The fact that he can't do these
things indicates that the gods don't constantly sense and don't
comprehend what is happening in the world.

This is most likely due to their unchanging nature.  I don't think they
understand time except as a kind of abstract idea which they haven't

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

What about Fethul (Yelmalio acolyte) in the Gaumata's vision scenario?
He feels guilty and fearful and is sure he is damned, yet he still leads
the worship services to Yelamlio.  Why is it that Yelmalio hasn't
'investigated' his feeling "fearful of blame for his guilt and
complicity" (all this information is on p. 9 of SiP)?

This isn't even a mere initiate... this is an acolyte.  So Yelamlio
sends a vision which shows the "view from above" after he happens to
notice the problem.  Some years after the problem started...

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

Not as regards initiates:

     Initiates are accepted into the fold of their god's power but
  are not significant enough to be able to transmit specific information
  to the god.  When they die their individuality, knowledge, experience,
  and reality dies with them, absorbed into  whatever  world  of death
  the god guarantees, but without passing the data onward.

                           - Divination and Divine intervention
                           By Greg Stafford p 19. (c) 1981 Chaosium.

J>> Devin seems to think that the worshippers would call upon the deity
J>> to read their minds. A strange thing to do, IMO.

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

I can find no support for your supposition that the god can look at all
his worshippers, even in a cursory fashion, during the few days a year
that are holy to the god.  There is support for the Rune Levels having
the relationship you posit more or less.  But you are ignoring the fact
that the gods don't understand their worshippers.

          The motivations of individuals are almost always a mystery
       to the gods.  A Priest of Yelm may have slain someone, but the
       best that the god can tell anyone is that fact.  If pressed for a
       reason they would be most likely to say, "For the good of the
       God."  They are simply incapable of figuring much else out.

                           - Divination and Divine intervention
                           By Greg Stafford p 19. (c) 1981 Chaosium.



From: (Jesper Wahrner)
Subject: Nasty elementaltactics
Message-ID: <>
Date: 16 Jul 94 16:54:17 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5196

 Robert McArthur:

 > My favourite idea for a shade (or any elemental for that matter) is to
 > cast some nice magic on them - strength, mobility and 4 points of
 > protection (RQ2 of course!) would make them rather harder to remove!
 > If you really want the shade to stay around, throw some shield on them!
 > They are pretty terrible in the damage they can cause - localised for
 > some, widespread as Sandy shows for others - but this makes them *much*
 > worse.
 > Sadly I haven't had a chance to see how it works...yet.
 > Robert

 Yes, elementals with Shield are a real pain. The most devastating use
 of a single elemental in my campaign was a huge sylph with
 lots of shield on it used against a fortification. It virtually cleared
 the walls taking hardly no damage itself. The attackers got all
 the way to the inner fortress with hardly any losses.



From: (Harries K A)
Subject: Disease Rules
Message-ID: <>
Date: 17 Jul 94 17:24:05 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5197

  I noticed some discussion over changing the disease rules in the digest
recently and have attached a crude copy of some simple changes I am thinking of
introducing into my campaign.
  My suggestions below attempt to address some of the things I find annoying in
the current rules, to wit that (1) being ill has no apparent affect on the
abilities of the character (in my understanding when you get a serious dose of
malaria you wouldn't be able to get up and wave a sword about if your life
depended on it), (2) you can go from being seriously ill to being instantly
recovered by one lucky dice roll.
  If I am correct when recovering from any illness the fastest recovery is
possible when you are most ill as is the fastest deterioration (thus the shorter
recovery periods), but you clearly don't get suddenly better without going
through the longer but less dangerous period of recovery associated with a less
serious form of the illness. If during this period you do not get proper rest
you will be risking a relapse.

  I would appreciate any comments/criticism of my suggestions before I unleash
them on my poor unsuspecting players...


  To Contract a Disease:

  Use the usual method of rolling vs CON*5 (or *4, *2, *6 or whatever) on
contact with a disease to determine if it is contracted.
  Adjustments to the multiplier should depend on how contagious the disease
is, how close the contact was, the duration of contact, etc..
  Keep rolling until roll is made to see how seriously the disease is
contracted. Each successive roll however should be made one multiple easier
(unless you wish to annihilate the character that is...).

  Effects of Disease:

  During the period of contamination certain effects specific to the disease
will be felt by the character, the severity of which will depend upon the level
at which it is contracted. These can be abstracted in game terms as temporary
loss of characteristics (though GMs are of course encouraged to graphically
emphasise the actual affects felt by the character).
  Here is one possible table for characteristic loss:

		Absolute		Relative
		--------		--------
Mild		3pts			1/4
Acute		6pts			1/2
Serious		9pts			3/4
Terminal	12pts			All

  Effects will become apparent after a period equal to the recovery roll time
for the next most serious form of the disease, i.e. 1 day for mild, 1 hour for
acute, 1 minute for serious, and 1 round for terminal.

  Recuperation, Relapse and Loss of Characteristics:

  At the end of each recovery period for the disease the character must roll vs
CON*5 (*4, *2, *1, *6 etc.). The multiplier should be modified up or down as is
usual depending upon what activities/treatments have been performed.
  A success indicates that he has survived unravaged so far, but has not managed
to thor off the disease.
  Failure indicates a 1pt permanent loss from the appropriate characteristic.
  A fumble indicates a relapse - lose 1pt of characteristic as above, and the
disease moves one step worse up the table.
  A special indicates recovery - the disease becomes one step less serious. If
it is already mild the character has recovered.
  A critical is like a special except 2 steps are moved.

  When the severity changes the recovery multiplier may also change up or down.

Have fun...

Kim A. Harries.


From: (Barron Chugg)
Subject: New Gods, Old Rules
Message-ID: <199407180112.SAA02582@popserver.Stanford.EDU>
Date: 17 Jul 94 10:14:16 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5198

Hello All.

  A quick thought on the Red Goddess (and, I guess, Nysalor/Gbaji) based
loosely on Bryan's "What makes a god a god." post.

Bryan states:

>Okay, from what I've heard, there are actually two different kinds of beings
>that get called "gods" in Glorantha.  The first are just big spirits, like
>Sog, or Sartar, or Arkat.  They get their religion entirely from worship.
>Their worshippers, or lack thereof, determine their existence as divine beings.
>Then there are entities like Uleria and Humakt, who have a "secret power".
>This permits them to exist regardless of worship.  Basically, wherever there
>is anything, there will be sex and death, at least in Glorantha.

  The real seperation is between before Time and since Time gods.  The post
Time gods are considered powerful spirits, while the pre Time gods are
"something special".  But then there are those pesky, special since Time
deities, Gbaji and the RG.  They seem much more than just big spirits, they
are much closer to the "old gods", but they are much more able to effect
the real world.  Maybe this is pretty obvious, but I had never considered
it before.  So this is what makes these beings esspecially onerous to the
Compromise, they attained godhood, but managed to side step the
restrictions that all others are forced to undertake.  'Course, they are
both Chaotic and Illuminated.

  One wonders if Arkat could also side step the restrictions, being
illuminated and, at least one fifth, Chaotic.  Heck, maybe he did, and that
is how he manages to reappear for the Hero Wars.

>HOWEVER, from what I understand, the worshippers can greatly influence the
>specific form of the god.

  Yep, but I bet it goes both ways.  Those that follow the god will pick up
some of the god's characteristics just as the god absorbs theirs.  Who
knows, maybe the next age will see a rise in the worship of Orlanth
Sissified (maybe the Lunars have already started this cult in the hopes
that it will weaken the storm god...).

Low Priest of Orlanth Whimsical