Bell Digest v941027p1

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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Thu, 27 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

 - Lewis on Spirits and Stats
6736: yfcw29 =
 - Lots of comments.
6737: lipscomb =
 - More Spirit Stuff
6738: sandyp = (Sandy Petersen)
 - Re: whatever
6739: Argrath =
 - Moon Size; Pamaltelan witches
6740: PMichaels =
 - Southern Trickster(s)
6741: 100270.337 = (Nick Brooke)
 - Moon measures, and Astronomy
6742: davidc = (David Cake)
 - Many things- trolls, Pamaltelans
6743: davidc = (David Cake)
 - Pamaltelan baddies
6744: joe = (Joerg Baumgartner)
 - Elf armies in Glorantha
6745: geoff = (Geoff Revill)
 - RQ2 Sorcerers
6746: CHEN190 = (Peter Metcalfe, CAPE Canty)
 - RCMP in Ignorance, huh?
6747: joe = (Joerg Baumgartner)
 - Re: Temple rituals
 - trip to RQCon2
6749: T.J.Minas = (T.J.Minas)
 - Spirit bindings
6750: T.J.Minas = (T.J.Minas)
 - Allied spirits, awakened beasts etc
6751: RobMH =
 - Real Enemies in Rituals
6752: erisie = (Sven *Erik Sievrin)
 - Re: RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 25 Oct 1994, part 3


Subject: Lewis on Spirits and Stats
Message-ID: <9410251414.AA13977@Sun.COM>
Date: 25 Oct 94 13:44:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6735

Ref: Colin W
	OK Colin you are talking me round to the idea of spirits with 

	Now a cautionary tale:

	Richard the Tigerhearted?!?!

1) Was he a man who was called this because of his ferocity in battle?

2) Was he an awakened tiger bound into a human body (thus instincts of tiger 
plus very high STR & DEX!)  

3) Was he a man who learned how to place the heart of a tiger in his own body 
(thus gaining its STR and ferocity).  He possibly also subsumed other bits to 
gain their powers.  

The lunars obviously thought (3) was right which is why they went to a lot of 
trouble to capture him.  

	This brings me onto the subject of different stats (and emotions) 
being associated with different organs.  Perhaps someone can help to define 
the list below as I am thinking of using it in a campaign.  

STR -- heart and lungs (chest)
CON -- stomach and guts (abdomen)
INT -- brain? liver?
POW -- heart? kidneys?
DEX -- sinews (limbs)

	These ideas tally with the trollish customs of eatting things in order 
to partake of their powers.  

Comments welcome


Subject: Lots of comments.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 Oct 94 14:42:43 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6736 (Alex Ferguson) writes :

>>         I think that your average troll would find your non-distinction
>> between tribe and cult to show a lot of ignorance!

>I'll hold out a photocopy of section three of the KL writeup, mutter "eat
>this instead of me" in Darktongue, and retire hastily.

As I understand it, the Kyger Litor cult is ancestor worship(*). KL is the
mother of the troll race after all. Therefore shared ancestry is what the
cult is all about. Coincidentaly enough, that is what Clan membership is
all about too! Of course, the two are one and the same. I would imagine
that when a 'foreign' troll visits a clan, determination of their precise
lineage and blood relationship to the clan would be vital before the
stranger would be allowed any access to the clan shrines or temple.

(*) Of course, most religions are realy ancestor worship. (Alex Ferguson) also writes :

>Each Illuminoid's "philosophical" belief about _itself_ is almost certain
>to be either "I'm a Light-sider, of course!" or "The distinction is
>bollocks", whatever anyone else would say about 'em.

True, you can't just replace one arbitrary distinction (good/bad, law/chaos)
with another (light side/dark side). You end up exactly where you started,
all the philosophizing inbetween is rendered completely pointless. (Gary James) writes :

>Cults who use animal allies should have an appropriate divine spell to
>awaken the INT of an animal.  Yelmalio should have Awaken Vrok Hawk,
>for example, and Orlanth should have Awaken Alynx.

>I'm attracted to this idea because I have never liked the concept of
>binding a spirit into a living animal.  I don't see it as being the
>same as binding a spirit into an enchantment.
I see what you mean, it seems somewhat suspect that an Orlanthi would
impose a posessing spirit on a poor, luckless Alynx. After all, they
use Alynxes because they have a special respect for the creature (them
being blood relatives of Orlanth via Yinkin). In the end, though, it
is just a matter of terminology.

>Another rulesish thing I have never been happy with is the idea
>elementals have hit points.  Like binding spirits into animals, its
>seems a hold over from RQ2.  Elementals have SIZ, but not CON.  To me,
>this means they should have armour points, but not hit points.

I play that elementals can only be physicaly hurt by magical damage,
that realy gets them some respect from the PCs. Otherwise, they are
easy meat. You can't even put armouring enchantments on them (nowhere
for the rune). (Paul Snow) Says :

>The problem 
>seems to me that if it is knowledge that is communicated from spirit to man 
>when a spirit magic spell is learnt then why can this knowledge not then 
>be communicated from man-to-man?  

>Q. What is the secret that only spirits can tell?

You are assuming that 'knowledge' of a spirit spell is the same kind of
knowledge as, say, knowing someone's address or telephone number. Just
facts and figures. I don't think of it as knowledge in that sense at all.
I think of the spirit as containing some essence of power, a particular
resonance with the natural world. By defeating the spirit you are exposed
to and subsume that power. It is not so much like stealing information
as like stealing a psychic tool or weapon. (Colin Watson) Says :

>I have similar feelings. It's often risky (fruitless/thankless/pointless) to
>try to derive too much Truth from the rules.

Well said.

Simon Hibbs


Subject: More Spirit Stuff
Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 Oct 94 17:06:09 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6737

Some further comments regarding spirits:

Paul Snow:
>I am left with the question of where are the spirits in spirit
>magic.  It may be that this is just not a meaningful inquiry
>about the mechanics of Glorantha.  But. The problem seems to me
>that if it is knowledge that is communicated from spirit to man 
>when a spirit magic spell is learnt then why can this knowledge
>not then be communicated from man-to-man?  

>Q. What is the secret that only spirits can tell?

The way I see Spell Spirits is as the disembodied knowledge of
the spell. These entities are about as self aware as amoebae and
the INT they possess is purely in terms of "storage space" for
the spell they carry (or in some respects _are_).

The process of aquiring a spell from a Spell Spirit is analogous
to copying a program from disk (the spirit) to hard drive (your
mind/vessel or whatever). The spirit combat needed to acquire the
spell is analogous to inserting the disk into the drive and
typing "copy", but as the spirit is a pseudo-living thing it
resists this process (it is copy protected). 

Note that I use the term copy, as IMO the spirit continues to
exist after it has been plundered, and so it must still retain
its spell. 

I doubt wether Gloranthans would see the process in such
mechanical terms (aside from the fact that they wouldn't know
what a computer was), but might view the spirit combat as
bargaining with the spirit or besting it in a metting contest or
something. Note that as the Spell Spirit isn't freely intelligent
this will not be real bargaining:

Ignite Spirit: "Help help, let me go"
Shaman: "No until you've taught me how to light fires with my

but some more abstracted, metaphysical type of contest.

Because of this "psychic transferral" process of acquiring the
spell, it cannot be performed from one person to another wothout
the aid of magic (such as Etyries Spell Trading, or maybe some
Thanatari stealing method).

Nick Brooke (quoting me):
>> I don't like the idea of the Command Cult Spirit Spell as it
>> is too all-encompassing. I think what should happen is that 
>> Command spells taught by the cult only function with spirits
>> of the specified type that are allied to the cult.

>IMHO, it does. I think this is what the rules intended. Perhaps
>the spell should have been called "Command  Spirit"; and 

Well, yeah, thats kind of what I was trying to say, but it wasn't
the fuzziness of the cult I was worried about, it was more the
fact that, for example, a Disease Master of Malia could use the
same Command Malia Spirit spell to command a Sneeze Spell Spirit
or a Shakes Spirit or a Wasting Disease Spirit  or whatever when
shamans have to use seperate spells for each. What I propose is
that, to continue the above example, there would be Command Malia
Spell Spirit, Command Malia Disease Spirit, Command Malia
Intellect Spirit and so on, rather than one big grouping of
different types. (NB. Is Command Malia Disease Spirit a

>there are no Yelmalion Fireblade Spell Spirits any more.

Yes, I know that. The point I was trying to make is that if
Command Cult Spirit were split up into more specific categories,
it would need to be made plain that these still only applied to
those spirits associated with the cult. Thus a Yelmalion knowing
Command Yelmalion Spell Spirit would not be able to command fire
based spirits, for example. 

Gary James:
>Cults who use animal allies should have an appropriate divine
>spell to awaken the INT of an animal.....I'm attracted to this
>idea because I have never liked the concept of binding a spirit
>into a living animal.  I don't see it as being the same as
>binding a spirit into an enchantment.  What happens to the
>spirit of the animal?  The animal could be possessed by the
>allied spirit, but this seems a cruel thing for Yelmalions to
>do to their vrok hawks or Orlanthi to do to their alynxes.  It
>seems more appropriate to me if, instead of binding or
>possessing their favourite animals, they awaken the animal's

Yes, I like this. This does mean that allied animals are no
longer embodied spirits, but it does solve the problem of what
happens to their souls. I feel that chaotic allies, such as
Thanatari guardians and Thed goats would still be possessed or
displaced however.

Simon Lipscomb


Subject: Moon Size; Pamaltelan witches
Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 Oct 94 18:40:25 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6739

Alex proposes some neat ideas about the appearance of the moon. 
I'm not qualified to check his math, but I do want to respond to
one thing he said:
>Recall that the terran moon subtends 0.5^o, and the moon tends 
>to appear smaller nearer the horizon, for purely visual reasons.

You meant "larger," of course.  We knew that.

On the map in Genertela: Crucible of the Hero Wars, The Crater is
about 6 mm. wide, with the scale being one of those impossible
Chaosium scales which seems about 1.4 mm : 100 km.  This would
make The Crater about 43 km. in diameter.  Call it 40.  If The
Moon is the same width as the gap it left behind when it rose out
of the earth, then it is also 40 km. wide.  Could we trouble you
to do the math again, Alex?

Re: bad magic in Pamaltela
     To use a non-African analogue, among the Navaho the
witchcraft beliefs are explicitly tied to moral lessons.  That
is, witches do everything that is considered bad among the
Navaho, and witch fears reinforce the ethical code.  For
Pamaltela, it could be that the witches are people who for one
reason or another become diametrically opposed to the prevailing
morality.  Instead of being generous, they are selfish, etc. 
They might do this out of hope for magical benefit.  Others would
fear these witches, and that fear itself can be useful.  
     Sandy has witches as the cult of Sikasso.  This works with
the above, in a couple of possible ways.  One is that Sikasso
witches invert the normal ethical rules.  Another is that they
don't, but everyone believes they do.  A third possibility is
that the Sikasso "witches" are magicians for hire, neither
particularly good or bad, and that the cultural stereotype of
witches is directed at another group (perhaps imaginary)
altogether.  Take a look at the Nuer people of Sudan, who had
both (real) sorcerers and (imaginary) witches.
     Having an imaginary foe (or a highly-distorted view of a
real group) is a good way to maintain cohesion, as the Republican
party of the U.S. shows.  

Alex also writes about "Illimination."  Is that part of the
secret teachings of the Church of Diuretics?  [Anybody else seen
"Repo Man"?]



Subject: Southern Trickster(s)
Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 Oct 94 20:39:32 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6740

Great Pamaltelan info, as always.

You've tantalized me with your description of
>BOLONGO: the hollow mask, the major Doraddi trickster sect. 
>His worshipers, while pitied, are not necessarily tolerated. He is 
>sometimes seen as a villain, and is not considered to be as 
>"mischievous" as is Eurmal, for instance. 

Did the God Learners see Bolongo at the Trickster level (and thus "Eurmal")
or at the Aspect level (as the Mask)?  What sort of magic do Bolongo shrines



From: (Nick Brooke)
Subject: Moon measures, and Astronomy
Message-ID: <941026073835_100270.337_BHL41-1@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 26 Oct 94 07:38:35 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6741

Alex proposes:

> In the absence of any concrete proposals for the height and size of the
> moon, here's mine: the moon is about 30km in diameter, and 1000km high.

Hang on: you can jump from the highest mountain in the world onto the Red 
Moon. I'd have thought that fixed the moon's "mythic/mystical" height at 
about twelve and a half miles, marking the dividing line between Middle Air 
and Upper Air; the Sky Dome would "for mystical purposes" be 50 miles high, 
as from the top of the Great Pyramid of Raibanth you can see 50 miles in 
every direction. That is, the mystical "size" of the Sky Dome is a 50-mile- 
diameter sphere, wherever you happen to be. Remember the discussion we had 
about how large the mountains "really" are, earlier this year? Chris Gidlow 
and I lobbied Greg with this on the last morning of his English visit, with 
Codex #2 map in hand, but I can't honestly say he was convinced.

The thing is, the Sky Dome's height works on two scales, "real" and 
"magical", just like other dimensions of the world. They're bound to 
conflict at times. Assuming the Red Moon is half-way to the Sky Dome but 
still close to Earth, a double standard has to exist. Real-world physics 
fall by the wayside.

BTW, I really appreciate the calculations you've done re: angles subtended 
and elevated, etc. Saves me the work.

Chaosium Figures:

For reference, I raided a page from Chaosium's files showing "comparative 
sizes of heavenly bodies": each is drawn as a circle, with diameters of:

	Yelm		22 mm
	Red Moon	19 mm
	Tolat		 5 mm
	Wagon		1 1/2 mm
	Other Planets	 1 mm
	Bright Star	1/2 mm

Caveat: obviously, listing a single apparent size for the Red Moon would be 
unsatisfactory to most of us. The circles in the diagram are meant to be 
relative, I am sure.

Other Celestial Info:

I've been teaching myself to programme in Visual Basic in order to write a 
Gloranthan Ephemeris (or whatever the technical term would be) for Greg's 
new astronomical works. (Useful Trigonometry revision, too). Some things 
that have come out of my work to date:

Yelm's High Holy Day (Fireday, Harmony Week, Fire Season) is the Summer 
Solstice. The other key dates (Equinoxes & Winter Solstice) fall into place 
at equal quarter-dates around it:

	Spring Equinox		First day of Second Week in Sacred 
	Summer Solstice		Fireday of Harmony Week in Fire 
	Autumn Equinox		Freezeday of Stasis Week in Earth 
	Winter Solstice		Fireday of Illusion Week in Dark 

I'm assuming the lengths of days and nights are the same everywhere in 
Glorantha: my working assumption is an 8-hour shortest day and a 16-hour 
longest day, with those in between pro-rating as appropriate. Of course, 
these figures may change later: anyone got a convincing argument?

Apparently, Pole Star is only at the dead centre of the Sky at Midsummer; 
the Dome is tilted some way south in Spring and Autumn, and dips really low 
in Midwinter. The Dome rocks upon a fixed east-west axis (between the East 
and West Gates), but "dips higher in the north in the winter than when it 
dips south in the summer".

Guesstimated measurements from Greg included that a "fair mythic distance" 
for the edge of the sky to be from the centre might be about 20,000 km / 
12,500 miles.

If anyone can offer any useful help on this project, please email me!



From: (David Cake)
Subject: Pamaltelan baddies
Message-ID: <>
Date: 27 Oct 94 01:55:02 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6743

>David Cake:
>> I would like there to be
>> ways for evil people to cast evil magic. Most of the figures of evil in
>> Doraddi myth currently are external, like Sikkanos or Vovisibor.
>Sandy's myths seem to imply that Sikkanos isn't external, as such, but at
>least notionally part of Pamalt's tribe.  
        I meant external not in the sense of without the Pamalt religion,
but evil that infiltrates rather than confronts. Sikkanos is a sort of
loyal pantheon member - but they live apart and raid. Their degree of
tribal loyalty just makes them even more of an external threat, as you get
raided by the outcasts of a different tribe, rather than the outcasts of
your own.
        What I want is cults that take some of the part that religions like
Krarsht or Seseine, or even Nysalor, plays in Genertelan society, though
less extreme - the evil religion used by people who appear as good members
of society but who really have wickedness in their hearts. Sandy has just
mentioned Sikasso, which is similar to what I want, in that it is a cult
that is alleged to use black magic and is a good source of villains.

>> Crocodiles - crocodiles make good powerful and dangerous water spirits.
>I'd imagine that a tribe living near such a waterhole would most likely
>have a largely positive view of the crocodiles, and their shamans may
>regard them as "friendly" spirits (and vice versa).

        I think that there is always an element of fear and respect towards
the crocodile, so a crocodile is at best something to be placated so that
he stays your friend. At worst he is never your friend. I don't think that
they are necessarily friendly spirits, more often neutral (though perhaps
friendly if recently sacrificed to). Crocodiles still eat people, so they
would never be seen as completely good. THey are also probably warriors,
which is to the DOraddi often implies a degree of irresponsibility and
        One idea that I had is that the crocodile chief is often seen as
the husband of the Nymph of the stream, and that the nymph are seen as very
friendly spirits, with one of their functions being to keep their husband
in a good mood or under control (depending on which is seen as the older of
the two). The crocodile is worshipped to stave of his anger and his hunger,
and occasionally asked to help the tribe.

>What (if any) form does Doraddi animal worship take?  I'm sure there isn't
>much Hsunchenism, and I don't know about tomtemisation, either.  Something
>under the general naturalist/shamanic heading, but what?
        I imagine that it is shamanistic, but usually not as concerned with
the transformation of Hsunchen cults (though some may well be). Most
worship the chiefs of the animals in order to get Speak To and Command
spells for those animals, and maybe some other magic. 

>As to the degree to which Doraddi tribes may be "enemies"; I don't think
>Doraddi tribes have the same sorts of long-term emnities that Orlanthi
>tribes and clans do, with standing blood feuds, and the like, but let's
>face it, not everyone can be pals with everyone else, all the time.  I
>think these hostilities rarely result in significant organised or
>premeditated violence, but may manifest itself in ways such as not being
>able to marry into the deprecated tribe, lack of a formal penalty or
>punishment if you happen to kill such a tribesman, and they may be ritual,
>or not-so-ritual, opponents in ceremonies or quests.

        I think that many inter tribal enmities take the form of feuds -
the tribes may not be at war, as neither chief wants a war (the powerful
old women of the tribe almost never want war), but the warriors of the
tribe tend to lose their tempers with each other, and attack or duel or
raid, probably without authorisation, but without much censure either. In
such a case the outward proprieties are observed, but things can still get
vicious. Eventually either a fairly short war erupts, and the warriors of
one tribe are humiliated or killed (the warriors are usually the ones that
maintain such feuds) or the shamans and chiefs step in and force a peace.
Perhaps usually the latter, but not always.