Bell Digest v940826p3

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Fri, 26 Aug 1994, part 3
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From: (Joerg Baumgartner)
Subject: Dragon Passing, again
Date: 25 Aug 94 13:27:03 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5867

John Medway in X-RQ-ID: 5862

> re: (T.J.Minas) in X-RQ-ID: 5789
> [position on DP magic deleted for brevity]

> Intrinsic Magic:

> Almost all regiments or other large "units" have some kind of magical
> abilities. There are enough spirit magic dabblers [...]
> and rune lord/priest/muckitymucks in any
> decent unit that there may very well be some Sun Spears, Lightning Bolts,
> etc., cast in battle.

These would be included in the Combat Factors of the units, I suppose. 
Which gives a reason why the Sartarite magical cavalry has the best 
fighters in the field - all those Rune Lords.

> These include at least all of the DP units with a '0' for the RF, which can
> use "DSM", and should be found among almost all of the lists. I'd argue
> this  should include quite a number more.

Technically all with a MF of 3 or greater. Even the ordinary militiaman 
has one or two combat-related spirit spells to use.

> Sidenote #1: Anybody got a better name to use instead of "Intrinsic"?

What for? This magic is sub-game level, IMO.

> Physical Magic and Physical Agents:

> These are either sorcerors from the Moon, Carmania or other icky places, or
> are as Tim suggested a whole big gob of elemental summoning and
> controlling spells from divine magic users.

In spite of my later suggestion, I don't feel that all physical magic 
would be restricted to sorcery. And there should be more of it - a 
whole page of rules for three units from DP and one or two from NG 
seems a bit overdone, and I feel it would ask for interesting tactical 

> Divine magic users get screwed in a campaign, as can happen to the Storm
> Walkers, because of the problem regenerating the Rune
> Spells/RunePower/whatever.

I imagine that any magical unit and most regular units would carry 
along their own shrine(s), where each evening on the march worship 
ceremonies (and spell regaining) are held.

> Sorcerors, such as the Crater Makers are probably restricted to one use of
> the meteor swarm per game for one or more of:
> 1) play balance
> 2) need a ceremony to recharge a whole helluva lot of MP matrices

I don't see the Crater Makers as sorcerers (not at all, except in the 
Sartarite meaning for evil magicians). Their hail of moon rocks is 
somewhat like an elemental horde's attack.

The big rain (the exotic effect) probably is reduced in utability 
by getting a sufficient mass of rocks together and let it drop.

> The effects are much the same: a physical attack for which neither
> Intrinsic Magic, nor a Wyter, provides an effective, wide-spread  defense.

Very much like the Cannon Cult. In NG for a (hypothetical) cradle scenario 
the Harpoon could act like a physical magician with Range zero for its 
particular river hex.

> Wyters

> These are the communal spirits which I remember Joerg first mentioning.

The name and concept comes from KoS; I might have been the first to 
connect them to regimental spirits, at most.

> Essentially the entire unit sacrifices power into this mega-fetch-thing,
> and it acts as at least an equivalent of the Intrinsic Magic listed above
> (these are the RF=0 units from DP).

I think it takes very well-trained wyters to be able to attack other 
wyters even in defense - most Lunar phalanxes have normal (but high) 
magic factors only, and in their case we know of the existance of a 
wyter-like regimental spirit for certain.

The units with zero range factor are few, and special:

In the Free Army, there are the three secret society of Argrath's from 
Prax (Twin Spears, Bullocks, Swordbrothers), and Argrath themselves (sic) 
and the Dragontooth runners have DSM. Plus all disrupted magicians...

Among the Lunars, only the absolute elite units have DSM: the Steel 
Sword Legion, the Blood Spillers and the Household Foot, and the 
Full Moon Corps. And disrupted magicians.

Among the neutrals, only the Golden Bow warriors from the Grazelands 
have DSM. They are known to be strong magicians...

In Nomad Gods (counters for DP rules, I think the version which made 
it into the French rules) the Protectresses, shamans, baboons and some 
very exotic counters have zero range factors.

Does anybody out there have the French Nomad Gods (Dieux Nomads?) game?

> The real value is only understood when it is a wyter from a magician unit.
> This implies training and coordination, so that the wyter becomes a strike
> weapon, not just an umbrella. The wyter attacks the other units spirit or
> spirits, and if victorious starts munching on the troops with spirit spells
> and spirit attacks.

A good literary description for this (IMO) is the Temple of the Thirty 
in David Gemmel's Drenai novels.

> These are essentially the only way for *large-scale* coordinated spirit
> magic at any range. The collection of familiars flying/crawling/slithering
> along could fairly easily be shot to pieces, as they are independant, and
> independantly defended, targets.

One problem with allied spirits is that most aren't that mobile - 
picture the Alynx fyrds accompanying the Sartarite army. I could 
disrupt this "spirit" with a number of herding dogs...

> Also, that's a helluva big mindlink spell.

The Mindlink isn't that big - each member casts one to his file leader, 
who casts one to the ring of coordinators, who may be fully connected. 
You'll end up with one Mindlink each, plus very few extra.

> Wyters are something RQ cannot even attempt to describe in any real way.

I disagree - the temple rules do a fair basic job for describing wyters.

In reply to me:

> Agreed. These are not properly handled by the low-level magic rules in RQ.
> Just as other cooperative rituals, such as Bless Crops, don't seem to work
> quit right.

I think it would be easy to write up a set of rules for such spells. 
The Worship Ceremony in which everybody spends MP, but only the ceremony 
leaders have to roll, is a basic example for a communal spell. The real 
problem is that once the rules are there, all published counts need to 
be rewritten or at least updated. I think it'd be worth the effort, 

jb>> Argrath's spirit magician regiments are working the same way
jb>> as do the Exile, Dragonewt or Lunar units (apart from the cyclical
jb>> effects). Ipso facto only spells equally available to all these cultures
jb>> would be usable - which would reduce the choice to common divine magic.

> That doesn't seem like a good assumption. At the abstract scale of DP, or
> even closer in, in a miniatures game, the differences between the effects
> of Shimmer v. Protection v. Dullblade on you opponent just don't show up.
> There's no reason to suggest that the spells must be common. Without the
> special effects, how much difference is there between a Lightning Bolt
> barrage, or a Sun spear barrage.

The real difference is that the Lunars have Fear, Mindblast and Madness, 
the Sartarites have only Demoralize and Befuddle (the Lunars have that, 
too). The spells with immediate combat effect don't really worry me, they 
are either exotic or physical magic (if massed) or count for combat or 
missile factors. I am worried about the special divine magics which are 
unique to one side or the other. With the Seven Mothers duplicating some 
of the Orlanthi magics, the pool of common spells is considerably enlarged, 
and includes Sever Spirit, Resurrect and other powerful special spells.

jb>> The alternative would be a different system. Since we know aobout
jb>> regimental spirits, I think this would be the way to go. If this is
jb>> true, maybe the Malkioni would use physical magic instead, not being
jb>> big in the spirit department.

> That makes perfect sense, though I hadn't even thought about how the West
> fights their battles. They may also simply boost their knights, as it may
> be more cost-effective.

Quasi-spirit counters similar to Tada's Cudgel (e.g. CF +2)? Might 
work as well. If you want a conflict between Western knights and theist 
warriors, I point you to Heortland 1617 (Richard's Rokari vs. other 
contenders) and 1620 (Richard's troops vs. the Lunars and/or the God 
Forgot troops). I posted a map last November, maybe I'll throw out 
an army list and setup soon.

> Pennel Ford? Tell me more!

Composite History of Dragon Pass, from KoS, p.151. Happened in 1624, 
shortly before the battle of Zarn Kados/Milran in Heortland (p.22). 
Quite graphic and detailed description...

Actually, these might have been of a manageable scale for a minis 

> There should be more to the LCM, just as there was more to the standard
> mix. Not necessarily in the same proportion, though. (Crater-makers are
> *not* all that useful in a police action, not unless you want another
> Beirut, that is.)

Also count in the heavy losses suffered at the 1625 dragon-raising. 
Tatius certainly had lots of his Solar cronies with him previous to 
1625, so the Lunar College of Magic in Sartar will have had rather 
different special units in addition to recular classes.

> Though your calculations showed the Esrolians & Co. to be even more massive
> than the Lunars, we should not expect to find any real magic units there.
> Except the guys who focused the Pharoah's energies on building The Wall.

Lots of exotic magicians, and lots of useless militia, as far as Esrolia 
is concerned. Esrolia has suffered heavily from the 1616 desaster against 
the Ditali, too, but will have recovered somewhat by 1624 (Pennel). 
Apart from that, think of the Holy Country as being similar in make-up to 
the Praxians -  a few standard magicians as parallel to the shamans, and 
exotics like the Sartarite or Exile exotics for the major regions.

One real problem with the Holy Country compared to Dragon Pass is the 
population density - Heortland has as much inhabitants as Lunar Tarsh and 
Sartar thrown together, and Esrolia has thrice that number. Cities in 
Esrolia and Heortland are just a few hexes apart. Stockades or open towns 
would make up a lot of space in between. To make MoLaD compatible in 
army size to DP and NG, the mapboard (a lot of which is sea) would have 
to swarm with counters, which would render the game almost unplayable.

> Sidenote #2: What additional physical magics and/or exotic effects would
> be reasonable to assume existed in the Empire or the West? (I am assuming
> that the DP counter mix is essentially all there is for the Sartarites.)

Physical magics: Lots more. RQ-gnomes for the earth cults of hilland 
Peloria, more Storm-related effects (Thunderbolt?) for the fringe 
Orlanthi (e.g. the Oxhead Wind Lords counter), dwarf musketeers or 
engineers from Greatway (parallel to Cannon Cult), Lunar siege engines, 
or Carmanian or western sorcery. (I wouldn't specify how the sorcerous 
physical magicians work. The current state of the sorcery rules and 
their development is a negative incentive.)

An alternative for western sorcery would be quasi-spirit counters 
for maintained spells  on units giving plusses on combat and/or 
magic factors, as suggested above.

Exotic effects are somewhat documented - Four Arrows of Light indicate 
an exotic magic attack on the Carmanians, minor versions of the Moonburn, 
the Skyburn (serves me right for not checking Alex's misleading use of 
Sunburn and be reprimanded), or the things of the Night of Horrors are 
easily taken from historical information. The Lunar cults can be 
analyzed for their exotic abilities, Yara Aranis against horses or 
Hwarin Dalthippa against Orlanthi are springing to mind. Likewise the 
Solar cults described by Plentonius, and hopefully soon some Pelandan 
stuff from Greg's current work. Carmania would have anti-dragon magics, 
which could be countered by some more dragon magic like the Dragontooth 
runners or the EWF banner.

Other nations: The Pentans are quite similar to the Praxians wrt 
strength and numbers, although their magic should include some exotic 
Solar and Storm effects, in addition to Grazer-like make-up. Maybe 
as tribal spirits, maybe as semi-random allies like in NG. Herds are 
important for them, so they should be in the game.

A game inside the Lunar Empire could be called Dart Competition, 
and provide new counters - more detailed assassins, arena fighters, 
moonboats, wyvern riders, imported monsters of Cwim calibre. And 
possibly new game mechanics.

The same mapboards could be used for conquest style games, like the Sheng 
Seleris wars or Argrath's conquests.

The coasts invite to do a naval version of DP - sunk Slontos is 
virtually crying for the war between the Waertagi and the Dormal 
nations, and Harrek's trip around the world gives us a campaign game 
with a couple of different mapboards and opponents, lots of exotic 
units, and a lot of regions of Glorantha in hexmap scale.

The Seshnela hero wars beginning with the combined (Arolanit) Brithini 
and Nolos attack on Tanisor makes another great setup. Any ideas how this 
conflict relates to the events of HtWW1 (in private mail, please, to 
keep our US RQ-Con participants sufficiently ignorant)? The UMPF vs 
Kingdom of War is another potential DP-game. With the Council in 
attendance, a parallel card-game to provide troops...

Elf reforestations are a bit harder to design, but might be fun - the 
Game of Ecological Warfare, how's that for a subtitle?

Hmm, with all these ideas above, I'd better add a copyright disclaimer: 
All the ideas above copyrighted by me August 94, and the sources of my 

--  Joerg Baumgartner


From: (Sandy Petersen)
Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Thu, 25 Aug 1994
Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 Aug 94 07:01:16 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 5872

Colin Watson:
>I don't think these covert spells [i.e., Concealment, Vision] have  
>all the scenario-knackering >potential that some folks credit them  

	As a gamemaster for 21 years, I disagree. 

Lipscomb makes an interesting Platonic suggestion about Gloranthan  
>Basically, elements ... seek out their natural position in the  
>cosmos, so if you drop a stone, it will fall to the ground because  
>it is seeking Earth. Bubbles rise in water because Air lies above  
>Water and the bubbles are attempting to reach Air
	However, he admits to some contradiction (like, why do stones  
sink in water). He has inspired me to make a surmise about Gloranthan  
physics of my own. 

	In Glorantha, elements do not seek each other. Instead, they  
flee their "enemies". As we all know Darkness > Earth > Air > Water >  
Fire > Darkness. 

	Air bubbles rise through water because the water is "fleeing"  
its natural enemy, the air -- in essence, the water's contraction  
from around the bubbles force them upward. This also explains water's  
surface tension as it pulls into itself to avoid the air. Darkness  
comes to earth each night because it is fleeing the light, and simply  
goes around and around. 

Rich Staats:
> Why would you be loathe to put in a major Duck group? 

	I like Ducks. I have 'em in all my RQ campaigns. I have Duck  
bandits, Duck merchants, Duck adventurers, Duck towns, and Duck  
shipping lines.  I love ducks. I am in the Pro-Duck League. 

>Moose and Elk are quite different in appearance. What was the  
>original thread that prompted this question?
	The obstinacy of certain effete Europeans who refuse to  
recognize the greater vigor of the elegant American language. I.e.,  
in England, the word "elk" is misused to refer to the noble moose. 

Tim Minas:
> I propose that I am the holder of the Benign "Tim" rune, and the  
>Tim Leask holds the Malign "Tim" rune! 

	Hmm. Votes anyone? 

>Elk to Europeans is the swamp-dwelling thing; cervus elaphus 

>is non-European and unexpected in Europeanish context.
	But Cervus elaphus DOES exist in Europe, and in more numerous  
quantities than the moose. 

>The swamps needn't be that cold
	By "cold" I meant "swamps that freeze over in winter". Sorry  
if I was unclear -- in the U.S. our stereotype of swampland or  
marshes is usually something like the Everglades or Okefenokee. I  
realize that Europe doesn't really have ANY warm swamps. But the U.S.  
has plenty of cold marshes, too, and moose aren't considered an  
arctic beast here anymore than they are in Europe. Maine and Wyoming,  
while not tropical, aren't considered uninhabitable. 

>Does this definition cover the (presumed extinct) plains elk of the 

>Praxian history?
	Moose require more than just wet boggy ground to survive.  
Willows, for one thing. I don't think the plains elk of Prax was a  
moose variety. It might have been a version of the now-extinct Great  
Elk (usually miscalled the Irish Elk in the U.S.A.), which we know to  
have existed in Ralios before the Dawn. 

> Fact is that while there might be more native speakers of Tradetalk  
>in the US, there are far more users of Tradetalk over here n Europe.
	That's because you are *sob* handicapped by the fact that  
most European English-speakers are forced to learn the obscure  
dialect of an isolated island off your northwest coast. I can only  
point out that the enormous hordes of Latin American Tradetalk  
speakers, who outnumber youse guys (ah, the wonders of American  
English) use the word "moose", if they know it. 

Joerg then goes on to attempt to argue with me about the First Age  
organization of the Issaries cult. He claims that Garzeen was in  
Seshnela, Harst and Issaries both in Dragon Pass (as separate cults).  
He dunno where Goldentongue is from. 

	He goes on to surmise that the God Learners orgmonized the  
cult by gathering together these fragments and blending them all into  

	I think Joerg is half-right. I don't think the God Learners  
did it, though. I think it was done by the original Theyalans in the  
First Age -- when the Dawn Council went about waking up the world,  
they "discovered" that there was a trade god Garzeen in Seshnela.  
Clearly one of Issaries children. Ditto for Goldentongue. Harst may  
have already been a subcult of Issaries at the dawn or he might have  
been unified in the same way. Etyries was probably a Pelorian  
barbarian deity -- the solar influence is clear in the subservient  
nature of this goddess.  

	I believe that the God Learners took an already-unified  
Issaries cult, and then further modified it in such a way as to give  
all the various subcults organization and meaning. They may even have  
invented Goldentongue to fill a needed slot. 

>Should this be true, I deny to use any Pralori in my piece about 

>Ygg's Isles. I want sinister elk people, who can make a shield of 

>the antler by cutting off the toothy bits, who can swim between the 

>islands, etc. 

	Apparently you know little about Cervus elaphus. They are  
HUGE and shaggy, with needle-sharp horns, excellent swimmers, and  
they can be mean. Bull elk (they're not called "bucks") make a sound  
during the rut that can only be described as a roar. 

	Let me tell you a little elk story that happened to a friend  
of mine from Utah. 

	He was at home on his farm, when his dad got him to quick get  
a rifle and come outside because an elk was attacking their cows.  
They raced out, to see an elk wandering through their fields. The elk  
had apparently been wounded during hunting season by some imbecile  
who hadn't finished it off -- one of the elk's hind legs dangled as  
if broken, and the elk was clearly in great pain.
	My friend had a dog, a large German shepherd, who charged the  
elk, barking and snapping at its legs. The elk couldn't maneuver  
properly or chase the dog, so it just watched it warily. Then, the  
dog ventured too close -- it was by one of the hind legs, towards the  
elk's rear. The elk whipped its head around towards the back (my  
friend said he'd never see anything move so fast) and drove its  
antlers clear through the dog's body, killing it instantly. 

	Amazed and frightened, my friend and his dad decided they had  
to kill the elk. It was clearly a danger (it had killed a couple of  
cows in addition to the dog), and it was in such pain that the  
oxymoronic term "mercy killing" seemed to apply. 

	The elk at this point began "charging" my friend -- with  
three legs, it wasn't moving all that fast, though. He took his deer  
rifle and fired, hitting it right in the head (which pretty much  
kills a deer instantly -- my friend was an experienced mule deer  
hunter, though he'd never shot at an elk before). The force of the  
shot actually tore loose the elk's lower jaw, so that it dangled on a  
thread beneath the creature's head. It didn't fall down. It didn't  
stop its advance. It just kept coming. My friend and his father  
pumped shots into it till it went down (only a couple more shots were  
needed -- these are .30-06's we're talking about). Years later, my  
friend was still in awe of the creature as he told the story. 

	I've seen elk in the wild at reasonably close distances  
(30-50 yards) and I've never seen any other wild creature that so  
closely matches the term "majestic".