Bell Digest v940719p3

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 19 Jul 1994, part 3
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From: (Jon Green)
Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Fri, 15 Jul 1994, part 2
Message-ID: <>
Date: 18 Jul 94 12:12:54 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5205

[ Regarding "RuneQuest Daily, Fri, 15 Jul 1994, part 2": ]

Joerg in X-RQ-ID: 5153:
> Devin seems to think that the worshippers would call upon the deity to read 
> their minds. A strange thing to do, IMO.
Not at all!  The consent given to the Deity to "examine my soul" is perhaps
the ultimate demonstration of faith, both in one's own devotion, and in the
god's benevolence towards one.  However, I would suggest that most members
of most cults would not be quite so stalwart.  And there's no guarantee that
the God would see things the same way as the follower, and if the follower's
POW is a bit low, the God may not even see accurately...

Devin in X-RQ-ID: 5157:
> POW and skill checks MUST be stressful. Why do so many people keep forgetting
> this? Disrupting birds gets you nothing but a bunch of dead birds and perhaps
> the emnity of Vrimak!
Absolutely.  On the subject of skill checks, I operate a slightly different
approach.  Whilst crisis induces learning, there are grades of crises.  PCs
in my campaigns get their skills checked either once or twice.  The single
check represents a normal skill usage arising from a fairly routine situation,
the kind of reason why most PCs advance in their abilities.  This gets a normal
roll to increase, and the normal benefits of success.  The double check is
rather more unusual.  It results from a particularly ingenious use of the
skill under crisis, or a successful use of the skill in a situation of
extreme tension, where its use strongly altered the outcome in the favour of
the PCs.  A double-checked skill is rolled as for a 20%-less skill level, 
although the benefits are the same as for a standard check.  

The reasoning is thus:  in a situation earning a normal check, the PC may
find by intuition some variation on the trained (or previous) use of the 
skill which could enhance the PC's future application of that ability.  Where
a double-check has been earned, it is almost certain that the skill has been
used with some special ingenuity or ability, and the 20% reduction reflects
the increased likelihood that the character will realise this and make future
use of it.  Oh, and two single checks don't equal one double check, although
a single check can be uprated to a double.  

PCs get double-checks only very rarely...

Bryan Maloney in X-RQ-ID: 5160:
> Question:  What evidence is there that Orlanth personally manages every aspect
> of his cult?  For all we know, it's a sort of autonomic function of godhood
> that a deity can intervene in if he so wishes, kind of like breathing or
> having to piss.  Can it be proven, objectively, that this is not the
> case?
The following is my opinion only! ...

Cults manage Gods.  It is the cult followers' sacrifices which maintain the
puissance of the Gods, and the "flavour" of the sacrificed POW, the massed
expectations of the believers, which shapes the manner of the God.  Orlanth
is massively powerful because Orlanth has a massive following, and His actions
in some way reflect the massed will of His people.  He cannot possibly manage
every aspect of His cult, because His actions are thus limited:  He could not
order all of His people to commit suicide, or to take any other action which 
would be antagonistic to the basic will of the majority.  I would submit that 
Orlanth can manage more aspects of His following than most Deities can do, 
because He is so much more empowered, but that He is still restricted to
actions which would _in_the_general_opinion_of_His_followers_ not contravene
His nature.  Gods can thus have hidden agendas only where those agendas are
not apparently contradictory to their normal will.  That's not to say that
they can't take contrdictory actions, but that the more "wrong" the action,
the less the amount of will (=POW) they can summon to enforce it.  (There's
still the Heroes and cult spirits, even if the mundanes want no part in it!)

Here's a controversial statement:  Gloranthans have free will.  Gods do not.

> Question:  What connection does Orlanth's ability with storm and weather, even
>    if it is pan-Gloranthan, have to do with omniscience in other areas?  Maybe
>    his ability to handle storms has to do with him being a STORM GOD!  Thus,
>    if you ask the question:  "Was there rain in Carmania yesterday?" in a 
>    Divination, I'd wager that you'll get something with the detail of a
>    US Weather Service report.  But if you ask the question "Who is devout and
>    not in this village?", you'll probably get something like "The words of
>    a man's heart are written in his hands."--i.e.  "Look at what they're doing,
>    not at what they're saying."
I doubt not both of these statements.  In the context of the previous comment,
there is a vast will amongst His followers for Orlanth to be utterly
omniscient about past weather and His future meteorological intentions, but
how many would be wanting Orlanth walking around the inside of their skulls,
much less discussing what He found with a stranger?  (Also, the second question
was rather wordy for a Divination, and could well get a vague answer.)
> Orlanth can answer weather questions 100% of the time.  This is because he
> is the big weather god.  That doesn't necessarily mean he's any damn good
> at anything else.
Agreed.  (Oy!  That singed my jerkin!)

Nils in X-RQ-ID: 5074:

> The second Force is Conscience {truth and illusion}.
How about Belief?  (Yes, I know, you can't dispel illusion by disbelief
[thank godness], but one's reaction to a statement or a situation depends 
heavily upon whether it's regarded as True or Real, respectively.)
> The third Force is Ambition {movement and stasis}.
> The fourth force is Temperance {harmony and disorder}.

Love the idea, though.

Cullen in (deleted the ID - rats!):

> Joerg in X-RQ-ID: 5120
> J> Life force is never pure when generated, personality always rubs off
> [...]
> J> Illuminates might be able to produce untainted life force. Opinions?
See comments above.
> J> And one preliminary step in important rituals will be the ritual
> J> cleansing of the participants - in Orlanthi ceremonies very minor
> J> variations of either the Baths of Nelat or the Flame of Ehilm, like
> J> having to pass through a burning doorframe erected outside the
> J> sanctified area, or to ritually wet your brow with water from some
> J> special container.
This is, of course, the cleansing of the POW of impurities of belief - and
thus we bind the Gods ever closer to our own ideals...

> J> These ceremonial preparations also clear the mind of the worshipper,
> J> they are an important magical ritual which makes it possible for the
> J> initiates to participate in the real part of the worship ceremony.
Which is (as far as the God's concerned) the donation of POW or magic points.

> I wonder if there isn't some ritual that is regarded as openings one's
> eyes to the realm of the gods (Spirit sight type of thing).  This would
> be for the ritual only and would be administered to initiates.  Thus
> they would be able to more fully participate in the ritual.
Shamans have been administering this kind of ritual to their adherents since
Time began.  Compare also spitirual ecstasy, speaking in tongues, ...  Doesn't
mean the followers actually _do_ experience the God Plane though, just that
they _think_ they do.  Perhaps a closer experience of the Divinity is limited
to the Priesthood?

> I wonder if keeping POW at 18 ought to be linked to regining spells?
>     GM: "Well, you used that spell so its gone."
>     PLAYER: "But its a reusable spell!"
>     GM: "Not if your POW is below 18."
>     PLAYER: "Ack, etc..."
Alternatively, perhaps the spell is reusable, but can only be reclaimed when
the user's over 18 (or 15) POW - a minimum necessary to gain the attention of
the patron Deity?

Devin quotes WF 12: "The god is incapable of invading a person's mind."

If this were entirely true, how could a God give a Vision to a waking or
sleeping follower?  Whilst in general Initiates are lowly enough not to
attract attention, occasionally one becomes important, or is Chosen by some
incomprehensible means to act as the agent for a God.  We must allow a limited
form of guidance by the God to *any* follower.  I would suggest these 

1.  Unless an individual invites a God to inspect their intentions (their
"soul" in ritual), the mind of any character is opaque to the God;

2.  Gods can communicate with their followers' minds, but the communication is
very weak, and subject to misinterpretation (and therefore misrepresentation)
by the subconscious mind of the follower;

3.  Communication of that nature is rare, and much less likely to happen to
non-Rune-levels, unless there is a specific and good reason for it;

4.  The "signal strength" of the message is determined directly by the 
characteristic POW of the follower;

5.  The accuracy of reception is determined directly by the INT of the 

I'd suggest GM's discretion in applying 4. and 5., and the use of common
sense, not dice, in their application.

> Colin Watson in X-RQ-ID: 5135
> C> I'd rather say that the tainted lifeforce (if such exists) would be
> C> accepted and would tend to temper the deity accordingly. I think the
> C> attitude and feelings of the worshippers modify the god.
> This is an interesting idea.  Are the gods slowly being poisoned by ogre
> worshipers?

Not necessarily; when an ogre worships, the ogre's POW is filtered of the
worshipper's ogre nature.  But I *love* the idea of _malicious_ mass worship
of an enemy God by antagonistic and powerful forces seeking to poison or
subvert the God!
> J> Can an illuminate hero, or a large enough group of illuminates,
> J> change religious practices in a geographical area?  I.e., if enough
> J> humakti decide death is shaped like a spear (or something) can they
> J> literally change the cult strictures and _get away with it_?
> Yes I would think this would be possible, although a few heroquests
> might be needed to create nes paths/spells.
This would be consistent.

		All the best,


Jon Green,         | Tel: +44 (0)379 652857 | McCoy: "Where're you gonna find
Hyphen Ltd.,       | FAX: +44 (0)379 644206 |  Spock's brain?"
Bert the Building, |                        | Kirk: "Is this a trick question, 
Vinces Rd., Diss,  |  |  Bones?"
Norfolk IP22 3HQ.  |       |
England  -><-      |                        | Opinions are a matter of opinion


Subject: Re: Joerg's request for feedback
Message-ID: <>
Date: 18 Jul 94 15:36:59 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5206

Joerg and Devin, 

I would prefer that you continued the argument on devoutness and Gloranthan
macro/micro cosmology by personal channels, I'm skipping over it the same way
I skipped over most of the initiation debate.

Rob Heinsoo


From: (Brent Krupp)
Subject: Now we know Joerg's problem...
Date: 18 Jul 94 01:46:57 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5207

On Mon, 18 Jul 1994, RQ Digest Maintainer wrote:
> From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
> Subject: GMing Disease

Aha! Now he admits it... he's got the dread gamemastering disease which 
makes its sufferers spout endless quantities of game material to any and 
every listener!     :)

Seriously though, I wish Devin and Joerg would spend more time describing 
their vision of God-cultist interaction in a *useable* form, than arguing 
about who is right. NEITHER of you is "right" anyway, as this seems like 
an area that is ideal for inter-campaign variability.

Brent Krupp (


From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: Sandy on big guns, n'stuff.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 18 Jul 94 17:04:01 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5208

> Alex wonders re: my Dayzatar cult
> >> Folk who die in the worship of Dayzatar go to dwell forever in  
> >> heaven.
> >Who ever said it was a sure thing, eh, Sandy?
> 	Well, the Dayzatar monks SAY that if they keep their  
> doctrines it's sure.

And presumably, therefore, most Solar types believe it.  Hence I repeat
my question of some months ago, then parried with mumblings on the lines
of "Who says it's a sure thing?":

If joining Dayzatar is a certain way to Solar Heaven, and all Solar priests
are eligible to join, why isn't there a mad rush to join, at by (however
close to as is practicable) deathbed conversion?

> >> Some monasteries are complete little communities and support  
> >>themselves. 

> >How, exactly?  It's not likely Monks do physical labor

> Also, nothing keeps the monks from gardening, etc.

What?  Contact with The Unclean Earth?  Have you taken leave of your
Loincloth of Morality, Sandy?  I'm sure the monks would jump clear out
of their Sandals of Protection at the very suggestion.

> >> I should think a line of flying Shades would be an excellent  
> >>technique to break up a cavalry charge [...]

> >Now work out how many close-order infantry could could have nobbled  
> >for the same cubic metrage of Shade.
> 	10% drop dead or collapse, 40% are demoralized, assuming they  
> have only average POW, and no defensive magic up. Of course, we're  
> assuming the same thing for the horses, too.

And you can catch a lot more of them in each shade if they are standing
shield-to-shield, three ranks deep, than if they're galloping down a hillside
in necessarily not-so-close formation.  (i.e., horses are bigger, and are
charging at considerable speed.)

> My understanding is that  
> a breakup of a cavalry charge is utterly disastrous, whereas a slight  
> breakup of a disciplined close-order infantry unit is merely a  
> serious setback. Breaking up the shield wall is not a Good Thing, but  
> it doesn't keep you from pushing through an assault. [...]

The advantage of keeping an intact shield wall is mainly defensive.  Once
the enemy has penetrated or outflanked it, especially with cavalry, say,
one is well on the way to being hosed.  Thus one could argue that when
_attacking_ either, you'd be relatively better off using your "artillery"
on closely-formed infantry, than on cavalry which didn't have much of a
defensive formation to start with.

> >I'm not sure CoP _does_ imply any particular reliability to
> >religions: [...]
> 	I have always assumed that the descriptions of the initiates  
> are no more than goals. [...]

Yes Sandy, I applauded loudly last time you said this: stop milking your
curtain calls. ;-)

> > In general, "artillery", or magic which affects a large area per  
> >go, or is nasty, but inaccurate, will be proportionately more  
> >effective against close-order infantry than cavalry.
> 	Hmm. Real solid-shot artillery was, in fact, HIGHLY effective  
> against cavalry.

And against close-order infantry formations, especially the infantry square,
devestating.  Obviously, infantry can be used much more flexibly and
variedly than infantry, so it's not very profitable to make blanket
statements about same without specifying its role and formation.

> But infantry was still expected to make assaults against canister. 

By no means close-order infantry, though.  Neglecting some of the insanity
of the Great War, modern use of infantry has stressed advance under covering
fire, and in very small units.  A phalanx would not be a smart move against
a maxim, much less a cluster bomb.

> 	The much better target that a cavalryman makes may make  
> little difference to a shade, but for whatever reason, cavalry has  
> traditionally been much more vulnerable to destruction than infantry. 

Clearly cavalry charging _the artillery_ units is fairly stupid; everyone
except the British generals at Balaclava presumably realises this.  That
doesn't mean, though, that they make a better target, as such, for artillery
in general.

> 	When a shade hits a horse and rider, the horse is KOed 10% of  
> the time, Since the loss of either destroys the unit, 19% of the  
> cavalry hit are eliminated by the fearshock. [...]

Again, the extra efficacy of this is due to the particular nature of the
attack, not its mode of delivery.  The same could be said of casting
Demoralise or Fear at the horses, for example.

> >>The boar's tusks simply do not grow right, but instead grow back  
> >>along the jaw, through the jowls
> >Would[n't] this make it impossible for him to open his jaw, as it'd  
> >effective bolt the lower mandible onto the skull?
> 	Not if it was one of the upper tusks.

Yeah, but it's the lower ones which get particularly elongated.  The idea
of upper tusks growing first through a u-turn, then in the way described
to produce the "horns" makes me want to consult my dentist as a matter of

> 	In Sartar, the occupying forces are primarily in the cities,  
> though patrols make sure that lunar-friendly kings and chieftains get  
> all the support they deserve. 

"We're right behind you" they tell 'em, while sharpening their gladii and



From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: Ceremony; Illumination, and stuff.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 18 Jul 94 17:44:51 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5209

David Dunham:
> Chris Johnson suggests
> >An Idea! If we use a function of the Priest's POW as a modifier to their 
> >Cermony skill, we can *encurage* the Priest to keep a higher POW.

> But it already is a modifier -- Ceremony is subject to the Magic modifier,
> which depends on POW.

Yeah, but this doesn't prevent a POW 2 priest from officiating, if his
ceremony were already decently high.  Would interfere with him raising it,
this is true.

> Joerg ponders
> >Illuminates might be able to produce untainted life force. Opinions?

> Then illumination might be easier to detect.

A slipperly slope we already need to be on: according to the Sandy One,
you merely require a Big Enough Spell, it seems.

Nick Brooke:
> Among my Wenelians, the culture-hero Wendel is the son of Vorlan, the local 
> Storm God, and the Oak Woman, mistress of the forest. [...]  A burning 
> oak-tree, blazing but not consumed, is his symbol. Does this confuse Trees 
> and Angels enough for you?

Not really, for the purposes of Generic Solar culture, anyway.  I see no
likely route connecting this from a Aldryami source to a DH destination
(or even vice versa, if one must).  Personally, I'd tend to just abolish/
downplay the DHan use of the word, I think.  Or as Joerg would say:

"Luxite, Luxite, Luxite!"

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

Obviously a Carmanian import, right?  "Merry Hrestmas!"

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

Quite possibly.  Take the matter up with Sandy for payment. ;-)  (I can
see the arguments being rehearsed now, handily extending religious
prohibitions to Aiding and Abetting. )

> You listed the "unpublished" cults on Sandy's index:
> 	Magasta (Tales #11, the recent Sea Special)

Don't know how I missed that one: it's the only one of my Taleses that
Sam _doesn't_ have. ;-)



From: (Alex Ferguson)
Subject: Western runes.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 18 Jul 94 17:54:01 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5210

> > > [...] a Death Rune (in Brithini terms, an unclean & contaminating item)

> > In Brithini terms, a meaningless pagan icon, shurely.

David Cake:
> 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).

I'm not sure if you refer to the different dialects of Chinese, or to Chinese
and Japanese using the same characters.  Note that the Japanese don't use
Kanji to mean the same word as the Chinese use the same character.  (Except
when they do, of course; sometimes the Japanese read a particular character
as having its "Chinese meaning", rather than its perfect decent, and
different meaning in Japanese.  Confused?  I certainly was.)

> 	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?').

Or crucifying them on a giant letter H, indeed.  Are you suggesting that
the Western "ideographs" have a quite different meaning in the West as in
Theyalan country, the same basic meaning, though different "significance",
or that it's actually just an alphabet or syllabary for the Westerners?