Bell Digest v941010p1

From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RQ Digest Maintainer)
To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Daily automated RQ-Digest)
Reply-To: RuneQuest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (RuneQuest Daily)
Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Mon, 10 Oct 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.

X-RQ-ID: index

6541: MOBTOTRM =
 - Sun Dome Cowboys Go Peloria
6542: bmason = (Bruce Mason)
 - Oh no: Sorcery!
6543: T.J.Minas = (T.J.Minas)
 - Humakti Geases (Should have been in yesterdays!)
6544: pheasant = (Nick Eden)
 - Aoelin castes
6545: 100270.337 = (Nick Brooke)
 - Dragonfriend
6546: erisie = (Sven *Erik Sievrin)
 - Re: RuneQuest Daily, Sun, 09 Oct 1994, part 1
6547: raphael = (Andrew Raphael)
 - Re: Swamp Thing


Subject: Sun Dome Cowboys Go Peloria
Message-ID: <>
Date: 10 Oct 94 09:26:08 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6541

G'day Everyone,

I have just got back from Necronomicon in Sydney where I ran Mike
Dawson's Embarassment of Riches. Simple plot: Rokari peasants in Jonatela 
find a treasure too big to spend)  It went down really well, so well in 
fact, two guys who played in one of the sessions asked me if they could 
come and play it *again*, so they did!

As Necro attracts mainly the "free-form" end of the gamer scene, EoR's format
was ideally suited to such a theme as it was pretty much diceless and the 
character sheets were blank peices of paper!  "Here's your character sheets, 
go to it!"  Each PC then had to write down 5 things I'm better at than the
average peasant, 5 things I'm worse, etc.  Although Mike had it that they 
should be young males 18-25, I let them be *any* age or sex, and had 
characters ranging from a 78 year old toothless crone (one-handed; local 
priest discovered her Earth Mother gold charm) to a 12 year old kid 
(played, incidently, by a 12 year old kid) to the village crazy girl 
(played by, yes, a crazy girl).  Because everyone knew each 
other and were probably related, the players told everyone else all 
about their characters, eg. if one of the locals is an inveterate liar, 
everyone in village probably knows this as they've grown up with him.

At Necro next year (September 29th - October 2nd) I am hoping to run the 
huge 70 player Gloranthan freeform Home of the Bold.

Vega, Queen of the Desert

After my initial post on the subject, I have enjoyed the various
speculations and rumours about what's really under Light Lady Vega 
Goldbreath's hauberk.  For the record, in my vision of Glorantha, Vega *is* 
definitely a woman, though she is subject to all the smirks and purile 
speculation, particularly after Invictus invoked the "Oh damn, I've just got
that "Love Only Earth Cultists' geas" to conveniently divorce her.  (Among
the upper echelons of Sun Dome society, this could be a very common pretext 
to get a divorce, unless of course your wife is an Ernalda cultist).

Temple of Black Arkat

I am sold by Bernard Langham's concept that the Temple of Black Arkat
is actually not a place, but an excessively trollophile secret society of 
human Sorcerors dedicated to the extirpation of Chaos through wholesale 
adoption of the Way of Darkness as revealed to humanity by Arkat Kingtroll.

This idea is *amazingly* similar to one John Medway came up with for one 
of the NPCs in my scenario "Beyond the Building Wall", which will 
appear in issue #13 of TotRM.  so amazingly similar, it's gotta be 


Nick Eden in X-RQ-ID: 6506

> Having spent some time as an Aeolian heretic I would dispute the idea 
> that we have a western mindset. Now it could just be that Nick Brooke's 
> version for How the West Was One (I'll try not to give anything important 
> away) diverges from the standard, but the standard doesn't seem to exist 
> in Greg's published writings anyway.

Dave Hall actually wrote the HtWwO Aolian Church write-up, with Nick offering 
the occasional helpful hint.




From: (T.J.Minas)
Subject: Humakti Geases (Should have been in yesterdays!)
Message-ID: <>
Date: 9 Oct 94 15:53:01 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6543

This is a section that should have made it into yesterdays message
from me, but time pressure (called a Lunar guard wandering around,
shutting down the system!) forced it out. So, here it is.


     My reasoning for not wearing armour, not accepting non-
cult magic etc, would be that Humakt didn't wear any, or need the
healing. (But note that, in CoP, Arroin is stated as the Humakt
cults source of First Aid, presumbably implying that Humakt was
aided by Arroin at some time. I feel that in RQ3, Humakti cultists
should probably be able to learn Treat Poison, too.)

     Incidentally, on the subject of Geases for Humakti, remember
all those chaotic guys who worship Humakt? Bet the use no poison
and never take part in an ambush are real bummers for them!


     Somebody said (in Friday's Daily, I think) that they prefered
to have their Shamans resurrect people via the Shamanic technique,
not the Divine one. I have a few quibbles with this.
a) Most Shamans aren't powerful enough (IMO) to be able to
resurrect people via the Shamanic route. But its pretty easy for
them to join Daka Fal, and gain the spells that way.
b) Even if players do look at the ritual occuring, how in Hell
are they going to be able to tell the difference between a Shamanic
resurrection and a Daka Fal ceremony (possibly involving Ancestral
summonings anyway)??? Unless one of them is a shaman themselves,
or maybe casts Mystic Vision/Second Sight etc and keeps it up for
the entire (several hour long!) ceremony. It's just a long
stonkingly complex and very magical ceremony to them!
c) Also, if we are to relate to a point someone else made about
Greg's view of Glorantha having about 1/10 the Healing magic we
see in RQ, then I expect the Shamanic option to be even harder!
d) And the standard shamanic technique is probably to intercede
with some stonky Healing spirit anyway, as the alternative (as
has been discussed) is very hard, and liable to major problems.

     Remember, Glorantha is different, the Gods are real, everyday
occurrences, and probably 90%+ of the intelligent beings on
Glorantha worship a deity, and receive the benefits thereof.
Therefore, the Divine option is (IMO) the most likely way to
Resurrect your dead friend (either via DI or some spell). Most
Shamans worship gods, even if they treat with them merely as huge
spirits, and that will be the way they will go about gaining a
considerable number of their abilities.

A few other things sprang to mind:-


     These are the places that I view as the nearest parallel to
the Italian medieval city states, with their commercial rivalry,
and even potential internecine warfare. I'm not sure whether any
of them would be Venetian in flavour (ie Older, possibly more
powerful, and ?more corrupt/decadent) but I'm sure that someone
could do something with this area. In fact, I think it would be
a very good area for an adventure type pack, or series of books
(each detailing a different city say). Lots of easy opportunities
for adventures that aren't just Dungeon bashes, but are spying
missions, trading, diplomacy, kidnap, insurrection, recovery of
missing people/property, etc. Read Shakespeare's Italian plays
for much of the flavour, also some books by Elizabeth Eyre,
featuring an ex-mercenary hero by the name of Sigismondo (Curtains
for the Cardinal, Poison for a Prince and Death of a Duchess are
the titles that I can recall). Also, a tale which amused me when
I read it, Siena has a few massive walls from a huge uncompleted
?C13-C14 cathedral just sitting in the middle of the city. It was
planned to be the largest in the world (outdoing one of its
neighbouring rivals who had just built a cathedral larger than
Siena's current one), with the existing (and now still extant)
cathedral as the nave! However, before more than a few walls could
be built, the Black death struck, and they abandoned the scheme,
lacking money, people and energy for such schemes. But it would
make a great sort of background story for players, this intense
rivalry between the cities. 

     That's about it for now


From: (Nick Eden)
Subject: Aoelin castes
Date: 9 Oct 94 18:06:28 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6544

In-Reply-To: <9410090815.AA06915@glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM>
Jeorg Writes about me writing
> > The Aeolians are not Westerners. They have an Orlanthi view of the
> caste > systems,
> Yes, although not that close to KoS p.246f as you presented it in the 
> caste committee, IMO.

Well I'd never heard of them before and was going entirely on what Nick 
Brooke had written. I'd forgotten you were in that committee as well...


From: (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Dragonfriend
Message-ID: <941009193855_100270.337_BHL78-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 9 Oct 94 19:38:55 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6545

Peter M includes:

> Orlanth Dragonfriend:  An EWF Cult.  Probably defunct.

Also, almost certainly reconstituted by Argrath.

> Orlanth New Wind:  A cult set up by Lokaymadon during the Empire of
> Light. It is dead now but one wonders why the Lunar Empire hasn't tried
> to resurrect this cult to integrate Orlanthi belief better into the
> Empire?

Because they don't want to integrate Orlanthi belief into the Empire. The 
Lunars are contesting with the Orlanthi over possession of the Middle Air. 
At the present stage, the two rival elements are *alternatives*: you can't 
synthesise them. Not many Orlanthi are out integrating Lunar belief into 
their tribal religion, are they? (Except, of course, the afore-mentioned 
Argrath). Maybe he, and other White Moonies, would see this as a viable way 
forward; but to the current Lunar administration it'd look (appropriately 
enough) like lunacy. Why compromise when we're ahead?

Nick Eden on Geases:

> He will forever emulate Yelmalio in one specific way. The way may be 
> rather trivial - never eat the flesh of bird, or quite important - total 
> celibacy, though there's nothing in there as major as Humakt's 'never 
> accept healing of any kind'.

Ahem. I think "total celibacy" is a more significant geas for roleplaying 
purposes than "never accept healing of any kind". Maybe it's just that I 
live in a clan-based campaign, and aspire to a Pendragon chronology...

Erik on Humakti

> Humakti kill, but they do not _murder_ per se - at least not the Manirian 

> Humakti we all know and love.

Ask Prince Temertain about Sarostip Cold-Eye and his Humakti assassins one 
of these days... Oh, you say that wasn't murder "per se"? One man's freedom 

Quibbling apart, I agree that Humakti Tricksters are about as reasonable as 
Humakti Vampires or female Sun Lords.



From: (Sven *Erik Sievrin)
Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Sun, 09 Oct 1994, part 1
Date: 10 Oct 94 01:08:10 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6546

Really a non-Glorantha question, but anyway:
Is there anyone who knows if there exists something similar to this 
digest for White Wolf's games, or for Empire of the Petal Throne?

Glad for any help in that regard!
And thanks for more C/Karse info!



From: (Andrew Raphael)
Subject: Re: Swamp Thing
Message-ID: <>
Date: 10 Oct 94 22:37:53 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6547 (Sandy Petersen) writes:

>There are plenty of people who live in swamps and love it.  There are 
>swamp Arabs along the coast of the Red Sea, who have reed boats and   
>hunt marsh boars. There are the bayou folk of Louisiana.  There are   
>the Seminole swamp indians of the Everglades. 

Don't forget Pogo & Albert. :-) They'd make great characters to filch for
wyter personalities.

Really, I think the dislike of swamps & the insistence on draining them is
a side-effect of civilisation.  You can't build a city in a swamp unless
you drain the swamp first.  Cultures that aren't interested in building can
use a swamp without destroying it.
Andrew Raphael 
    "She's probably not what she seems, though she tries"


From: (Bruce Mason)
Subject: Oh no: Sorcery!
Date: 9 Oct 94 08:15:11 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6542

Hi Folks, first time I've been back online for 3 years.  Last time I was 
here this was the RQDigest and *everyone* talked about rules.  Things 
have certainly changed.  Anyhow, rather than stumble into the midst of 
ongoing decisions I'ld like to start a new track on an ongoing project of 
mine --- the subject says it all.  I'll send it in 3 batches so as not to 
take up too much space and and to allow easy skipping for those so 

This is of course yet another attempt at Gloranthan sorcery.  I'll append 
meta-comments at the end of the final chunk but the basic ground rules 
are these:

1) A playable system.
2) One that does not totally invalidate all those sorcery supplements...
3) One that draws on the various Gloranthan principles we all love.
4) One that maintains the concept of sorcery as a spiritual/intellectual 

Some of this comes from a late-night conversation with Sandy Petersen at 
Convulsion, particularly the concept of the ``vessel'' which I've fitted 
into my Gloranthan paradigm.

The Concept
           There is as much of a difference between a sorceror and a 
sorcery user as there is between a Shaman and a person who knows ``Uncle 
Igran's lucky sword spell'' (Bladesharp 2), or a priest and an initiate.  
In RQ3 and RAG (RQ Adventures in Gloranthan) this was done by forbidding 
certain manipulation skills to commoners.  Instead I use the concept of 
the ``Vessel.''  This is a Theyalan  term for to them a sorceror is a 
meldek or ``Empty Vessel.''  It possible comes from one of the aphorisms 
 of Malkion who stated that ``for the grace of God to fill your cup you 
must first empty it.''  This is mundanely taken to refer to the casting 
away or forgetting of pagan magics.

So what is the Vessel.  In a sense it is the spiritual or ``hidden'' self 
of the wizard.  This is a concept usually applied to shamans or mystery 
cults (I'm talking real world as well as Glorantha here) in which an 
iniatory ritual can awaken a spiritual entity associated with that 
person.  In a sense we can draw a threefold relationship between a type 
of magician and her relation to her hidden self.

      The Shaman: awakens her hidden self --- the fetch.  Partnership.
      The Priest: sacrifices her hidden self to her God.  Sacrifice.
      The Wizard: controls her hidden self.  Enslavement.

My concept then is that for a person to become a sorceror they undertake 
a lengthy course of study and enlightenment in order for them to prepare 
for a great ritual known as ``The Emptying of the Vessel.''  Once the 
sorceror has successfully completed this she is set apart from others 
spiritually and socially, for the vessel is what allows her to control 
the secrets of sorcery.

Building a Base.
                There are certain game systems I've modified over the 
last 10 years which have become inextricably linked to my concept of 
sorcery so I'll summarize them here.  Some of these have surfaced in 
recent Chaosium publications &/or RAG, which is not unsurprising for we 
are all working from the same base.

1) Always round up.

2) Specials.  No longer exist.  Criticals only.

3) Criticals.  A critical result is 1/10th of the skill success chance.  
(cf The Nephilim.)  Criticals are generally downgraded.  For example in 
combat the standard critical result is ``roll weapon damage twice.''  

3a) Critical expansion. For skills in 100-199% range critical is 2/10ths 
skill%.  Eg climb 143% = critical 30%.  (143/10 = 14.3 = 15 * 2 = 30%).
For skill in 200-299% range critical is 3/10ths etc.[1]

4) The resistance table no longer exists.  All stats are compared using 
``opposed rolls.''[2]

5) Opposed rolls are introduced.  I expect most people are familiar with 
this concept from Pendragon or its partial introduction in RAG.  Quite 
simply opposed rolls are a unified method for comparing skills and 
abilities in a contest situation.  Basically all parties roll percentile 
dice and the best result wins.  So how do you define the best result?

     Critical beats everything;
     Normal beats failure or fumble;
     fail loses unless opponent fumbles in which case you win by default;
     fumbles always lose.

It can be seen then that there are 3 possible outcomes:
     both parties lose --- in which case nothing changes.
     one wins and one loses --- obvious really.
     both parties make roll --- a tie.  In this case the *highest* roll 
wins.  If both parties roll the same then treat it as both parties lose 
and try again.[3]

5a) Stats contests are resolved using opposed rolls.  Simply you 
multiply the stat by 5 and then pit the stats against each other.  It is 
a good idea to actually have these written on the character sheet.[4]

6) The concordance relationship:

      1 stat point = 5% = 1 MP = 1 HP.

End of Part 1
             This is  long enough already.  The basic method to casting 
sorcery is an opposed roll of sorceror's skill% vs. the MPs in the spell 
(see concordance rule 6 --- skill% vs MPs*5%).  I'll explain the nuts and 
bolts of this next and finally explain the role of the vessel.  As I say 
this has been played over 10 years and evolved considerably as it went 
along, a very early version even appeared in Heroes under a pseudonym 
where it was so badly edited that even I couldn't figure it out!

I've just left my gaming group in the UK behind and have got no one to 
play with out here :-( so this seemed like a good time to put it out for 
comments.  If you're not interested in rules please ignore this rather 
than flaming me.


[1] There are several reasons behind this change.  First it simplifies 
the opposed roll system.  Secondly it is easier to run with new players 
who won't have skills over 100%.  Thirdly it allows a redefinition of 
skill mastery (over 100%).  Finally there is upwards compatibility with a 
high-level HeroQuest game in which you can compare types of critical.
[2]  This looks controversial I know, but junking the resistance table 
was popular at the RQrules panel at Convulsion.  Basically why have two 
systems when one will do?  Interestingly Nephilim goes the other way and 
uses the resistance table to compare skills/5.  Both options have their 

[3] This is the one change that tends to throw long-term RQ players.  The 
justification is statistics, game gets very quirky if lowest number 
rolled wins.  RAG came up with the rule ``person who made their skill 
roll by the most wins.''  This is very handy for skills over 100 but it 
takes so much longer to work out (I know I've tried GMing it) that I 
don't think it's worth the extra hassle. Also my players prefer the high 
roll wins rule over all others I've tried.

[4] I try to avoid stat*X rolls where X is some random number deriving 
from how difficult the roll should be.  This is purely for maths sake, 
generally the multiplications there are in a game, the worse.  But that's 
just personal preference.  I would rather be able to say ``make a 
strength roll at -20%'' than to have to say ``make a STR*3 roll'' then 
wait whilst everyone tries to figure out what 14*3 comes to and was 47 a