Bell Digest v941103p2

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, Thu, 03 Nov 1994, part 2
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From: (David Cake)
Subject: Evils of the Doraddi
Message-ID: <>
Date: 3 Nov 94 18:35:29 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6833

>David Cake (of Doraddi bad guys):
>>         What I want is cults that take some of the part that religions like
>> Krarsht or Seseine, or even Nysalor, plays in Genertelan society [...]
>These are highly organised and sophisticated cults. Most of the realy awful
>chaos cults in Genertela are. Doraddi bad guys are likely to have more
>personal motives. eg A shaman who has become possessed, or made a pact with,
>a powerfull and wicked ancestor. Perhaps the spirit of a wicked shaman or
>disgraced chief.
        I thoroughly agree with this. Rather than organised forces of evil,
latent forces waiting for evil people to contact them. Shamans are easy -
they can talk to their evil ancestors, or the King of Below, or other
wicked spirits. But non-shamans should ahve access to evil as well. I have
some ideas, I will post them when I get around to writing them up (in my
copious free time :-)).

>Simon Hibbs

>From: (Sven *Erik Sievrin)
>Subject: Regarding spirits, sorcery, Pamaltelan evil 

>Pamaltelan baddies: Someone has mentioned incubi/succubi as being native 
>to Pamaltela. What more is, the facts we have of these chaotic fertility 
>nymphs state that if they impregnate a mortal woman, the children are 
>tainted "maybe ogres or lamias". This implies there may be ogres=very 
>manlike maneating beings in Pamaltela.....
        Yes, excellent. Given the evil we now know a single succubus can
cause, perhaps they are one of the major evils of the plains. With a little
moral lesson in there too - while in Genertela evil is mostly something
from the outside, in Pamaltela most of it has its origins in human moral

>From: (Sandy Petersen)
>Pamaltelan hunters/warriors
>        I suspect the emblem of the Doraddi warrior is the  
>triceratops or the brontothere, or similar creatures. (Note: lions DO  
>fight, as it happens, so they're not a bad choice either.)
        I had the emblem of the warriors be the assegai that they carry,
but I guess they probably should have animal totems as well (especially
those left hand path guys, if they have specialist warriors).

>Alex Ferguson:
>>Elder Races seems to think they're a Wareran thang, hence my  
>>equivocation. Though it'd be Kewl to have Pamaltelan ogres work at  
>>least somewhat differently from the "regular" variety.
>        I agree. I think they're even rarer in Pamaltela than in  
>Genertela, and I concur they should work differently. Suggestions?
        Here are some from African myth, and my own suggestions.
        Ogres may well be associated with hyenas. Hyenas in Africa have an
evil reputation (and in Pamaltela probably don't have the trickster
association that they do in Genertela). There is also one species of
African hyena that is a hunter, not a scavenger, and willing to attack lone
travellers. There are two sorts of hyena men - the West African ones, that
are like were-hyenas, and the South African ones, that have two mouths, the
handsome human one, and the large one for eating people with (hidden under
their hair, at the back?). There are also witches that ride on hyenas.
        Cannibals are supposed to have large well developed thumbnails on
the left hand, suitable for cutting meat. They can often change into
vultures to pursue those who flee. The males may marry human girls and
force them to cook human flesh for them (to eventually eat them when they
run short). The females like to eat young brides and then impersonate them
at the wedding (and eat the groom later).
        I definately do not want Agimori ogres to be Cacodemon worshippers.
I like the idea that they spring from succubi/incubi. I like the idea that
they are sexual predators as well as literal predators. Seseine may well be
a popular cult among them. 
        In line with general Pamaltelan tendencies, I think that instead of
ogre clans, you are more likely to meet single ogre individuals, but they
are often great magicians (perhaps educated by the succubi/incubi). That
said, I think that they might be encountered roughly as often as in
Genertela, though they are actually much lesser in number. 
        One idea is that some people may voluntarily (and probably
covertly) mate with ogres, because it is known that they are strong, and
make great warriors (thus bringing prestige on their parents). The parent
hopes that brought up away from the true parent, they will not develop
cannibalism, but they often do, or other bad tendencies. So it is a
cautionary tale about wanting success for your children/ family more than
is right. I bet the ogres often eat their maternal uncles (who are
responsible for their moral education).


From: (Nicholas Marcelja)
Subject: FTP site for Glorantha??
Message-ID: <>
Date: 3 Nov 94 06:44:38 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6835

Someone mentioned a ftp site with RQ/Glorantha materials

I found one. That I cannot now remembe the name of.

Is there a FAQ file for the digest??

The material posted here is truly amazing. Much more 
in depth that I would every have imagined.

Thanks for all the amazing stuff..

Nicholas Marcelja!grendal!nam               Genie : N.Marcelja          Compuserve : 76056,753


From: (Sven *Erik Sievrin)
Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Wed, 02 Nov 1994, part 1
Date: 2 Nov 94 22:17:13 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6827

Pam had some thoughts on Esrolia:
> I've been following all the Esrolia discussion with great interest.  Two 
> points come to my mind.
> 1) I picture Esrolia as clannish, because female primates on earth are very 
> concerned with kinship.  Within a kin-group, they are usually more 
> co-operative than competative.  Erik's (or Mike's?)  clan system sounds good 
>  - although different clans might compete economically, or bicker about 
> land-rights. 
The sytem was "mine" but is really just a variant of the common Orlanthi 
clan/tribe system. Note that I SAID clans DID compete economically, 
although I did not state anything about land-rights - the thought is a 
good one, though.
 Still,  Esrolia has held its own against more warlike 
> neighbors because its clans are very willing to work together against 
> outsiders.  Whereas the Lunars can pit one Sartarite clan against another, 
> and the Grazers steal each others' herds, Esrolian clans stick together like 
> earthworks.
Then , what about the Red Alliance? 
> Erik notes: - but as you say later, we can't just swap male and female 
> roles.
> That's it!  That's what's been bugging me.  I think a female dominated 
> society would be extraordinarily different - if you could even get a bunch 
> of women *interested* in dominating anything.
I assume Pam is a woman... I hope I am not wrong.... I think women may be 
perfectly well interested in dominating others, but I do not think that 
they would do it in a male way. For some strange reason, I have spent all 
my time since I started to study at university level as a member of a 
minority, being male. I have spent most of my time in classes etc where 
there are many women and very few men, and socialized with groups of 
women - and as an aside, never being in any way a partner of any of them 
or trying to become a partner, believe it or not. Why this personal 
waddle...? Well, I can assure you these women - all strong and 
self-reliant - certainly tried to "dominate" others sometimes. 
This may be all do to prejudices on my part, of course....
Which brings me to my main topic:
When "constructing" a fictional society, we tend to forget that we are 
not only trying to "logically" piece something together, but we also have 
intentions. I, for once, do not like feministic, pastoral utopias, and 
swore I would not make Esrolia into one. For some reason, I do not think 
that women are "better" than men morally, in the same way that I do not 
think men are "better" than women. I'm a deeply pessimistic individual 
who holds rather low opinions on humanity in general...... But this may 
just stem from me being self-conscious for the fact that we men have 
messed up, mostly, all of human history, and is in no way "rational" or 
"correct". Another example of this: Mike stated in one of our letters 
that he felt a pleasure in "emasculating" the pompous Yelm and the 
boasting Orlanth, and I get the idea that one of the intents with HIS 
Esrolia is to sort of let the men suffer a little, to put the 
preconceptions of the players on the head, maybe shock them into thinking 
of the male-female relationships in a different way. A noble purpose. So 
his Esrolia may be different than mine.
What I'm trying to say is that all these fcitious societies that this 
daily is about our own views of the world. You may have some sort of 
message, or you may just like one idea because it seems fun, exciting or 
whatever, and you turn things over so that that idea or message fits.

> Consider marraige:  (pump up those flame-throwers...)  Marraige performs two 
> roles in (most) societies:  it ensures males that they have sole access to 
> their wives, and that the children are their own.  It also ensures females 
> that they will have committed economic help raising their offspring.  But if 
> you eliminate male dominance and increase females' economic productivity (by 
> giving them a monopoly on land ownership and control of the energy sources - 
> male manual labor, cult magics), the need for marraige disappears.
> Esrolians might have a large, all-female family, living with their mothers 
> and sisters for their whole lives.  Men would be affiliated with their 
> households, and hold different ranks: slaves  (rare, due to Orlanthi 
> influences), indentured men, free hired men, blood family members (sons, 
> brothers, uncles), and even a few husbands.  A noble woman might marry a 
> much-trusted man to give him esteem and more legal rights, so he can handle 
> business affairs in her absence, or have some legal influence over his 
> children if she dies.  A poor woman might marry as a way of keeping a man 
> around indefinately, for free.  (And, heck, a woman might even fall for a 
> guy...)  Many women might never marry at all, preferring temporary sexual 
> partners.  (After all, Ernalda never seemed to limit her opportunities.) 
>  Women might even share men.  I'm not sure the phrase "no shortage of single 
> women" has much meaning in Esrolia.
> Multiple husbands would be rare, I think, and would be as terrible a 
> punishment as having multiple wives in Dara Happa!  She can still have only 
> one child at a time, so more husbands don't increase her number of children. 
>  (Lending her husband to her unmarried sister would, though.)  More husbands 
> would provide more labor, but so would more servants, and servants are far 
> more flexible.
> Marraige would still be important for forming political alliances, because 
> powerful women would try to marry their sons to other clans. Legally a 
> husband, her son might then have some ability to influence things for the 
> good of his mother's clan.
For the reason of what I said about preconceptions etc above, I will not 
criticise Pam's ideas in any way, just say that they A, seem perfectly 
reasonable and good but B, I do not want Esrolia to be like this. 
> Of all the ideas posted, I like Nick's the best:  men aren't really 
> oppressed, they just work hard, as do the women, and the women run most 
> business, because Esrolia is a theocracy inspired by a very female goddess. 
>  The women don't feel the need to oppress  men, because the cult ensures 
> that women already control the means of production, (and reproduction). 
>  Esrolia is actually a fairly egalitarian society, but it looks oppressive 
> to foreign men, who are used to doing only 35% of their society's work....
Your Esrolia isn't, my is, in that males are oppressed in the same way 
that not women, but CHILDREN are "oppressed" in our society: it is 
generally assumed that the parents know better than their children what 
is the best for them, and in my Esrolia men are not assumed to 
know what is best for them - legally, that is. Nothing hinders an 
Esrolian woman to let her son/brother/husband do almost whatever he 
wants. Many probably do, but most don't. The men, like the 
children of today and the women of yesterday (well, sometimes of 
today too, what the heck) are not so much oppressed as patronized 
- or should that be "matronized"? There has been thought of gods, 
societies etc as "mega-parents". Well, my Esrolia is a loving, but 
slightly neurotic mother.

> There.  Now you've all had Gloria Steinhem's View of Esrolia.  But being RQ 
> scholars, I figured y'all could handle it.

Well, I hope I handled it......
Two notes:
1, I could not help but say this: agree 100% on the rarity of multiple 
husbands. I think this is a status symbol - Ernalda herself has it, mind 
you, and to me is mostly a sytem of being a member of the Earth Queen 
subcult of the Four Corners of the Earth - which means you're noble.
2, Why not let the child be children, without the usual problems that 
follows a multiple birth?


From: (David Gadbois)
Subject: Re: The Nature of Gods, Myths and Heroquests
Message-ID: <19941102215143.8.GADBOIS@CLIO.MCC.COM>
Date: 2 Nov 94 09:51:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 6831

    From: (Michael Hitchens)
    Date: 3 Nov 94 04:53:58 GMT
    X-RQ-ID: 6822

Lots of good questions, and in a convenient true/false format, too.
Note that there are no definite answers, just a lot of opinions.  I look
forward to tallying the responses in tomorrow's Daily.  Me, I'll give my
usual post-positivist spiel.

    I know there was resentment at the bandwidth taken up recently by
    the Elmal/Yelmalio debate but.....

The Elmal/Yelmalio thing is a rather contentious issue.  My take is that
the Sun Domers were originally Sun-worshippers of some sort who
converted to Elmalism during the recolonization of their lands after the
Dragonkill War and who have only recently returned to their Sun pantheon
roots.  No Godplane surgery involved, though Monrogh obviously deserves
some kind of award for excellence in propaganda and spin control.


    Could anyone who believes [Elmal and Yelmalio are different] tell me
    if worshippers who switched from Elmal to Yelmalio were visited by
    Elmal's spirits of retribution? 

I don't think so, or at at least not en masse, since the spirits are
controlled at least partially by the priesthood, and I think the priests
were the ones leading the conversion.

    Some people try to say the question can not be answered.  To those I
    ask, why can not a Yelmalio Priest use divination to find out if the
    Elmal worshippers are worshipping the same god? [...]

Why would they ask such a thing?  The Elmali brutes obviously worship a
different god.  Divination is for important stuff, like how many Luxites
can dance on the head of a pin.

    Some people say the question should not be asked.  To them I ask
    again, if we do not understand the gods, how can we understand

We can ask them, but the Gloranthans have better things to do.   Except
for the God Learners, and look what happend to them.  Seriously, I don't
think there are complete and consistent answers to all your questions --
that's why all this stuff is still interesting.

    Conservative Dara Happans seem to be trying to deny that Yelmalio is
    the son of Yelm.  Does the fact that Yelmalio gets a sunspear from
    Yelm (as per associate cults in his description in Sun County)
    indicate that they have little chance of proving their point?

The Dara Happns don't have to prove anything -- those Sun Dome yokels
are obviously deluded.  The Sun Domers' Yelmalio is clearly a pale
shadow of the real Emperor, since they, not being Dara Happan nobility,
are not qualified to see the true Light.


    Just how useful is divination?

Quite useful, but remember that Gloranthans for the most part would not
even consider asking the kind of questions that you are asking here.  If
they inadvertantly did, they would interpret the answers in a way
consistent with their beliefs.

    Mythical truth is represented by the state of the godplane (YES/NO)

Yes, but:  Representation is on of those tricky concepts whose meaning
and implications depend a lot on philosophical underpinnings.  As far as
truth goes, I find that taking a Tarskian view on this is convenient.
(This is the kind of semantics that says "The sentence 'Snow is falling'
is true if and only if snow is falling.")  So the truth, in this sense,
of mythical statements depends on the "state" of the Godplane.  Myths
can be false (and fall more in the category of urban legend, I suppose)
if there is no correspondence between the mythic statement and the

The problem with this view (besides not knowing much about the Godplane
except through the myths), is that there is a feedback loop between myth
and the Godplane (Joe Heroquester gets taken by a myth, decides to do
something about it, changes the Godplane so that the meaning of the myth
is different, and so on.)

There is also the not inconsiderable twist that changing the Godplane
can change the mundane one, too.  For example, one could heroquest to
prevent Grandfather Mortal from getting the first taste of Death; if you
were successful, no one would die anymore.

    Glorantha's myths are continually being acted out on the Godplane.

No.  To be pedantic:  The Godplane is the events and their
interconnections that the myths talk about.  I guess you could say that
the events are being continually acted out, in the sense that they are
just there and don't change by themselves.

    These myths can be altered (via heroquesting) so what was the state
    of the GodPlane yesterday may not be true today.  (YES/NO)

No, but:  The events and their connections can be altered via
heroquesting; the myths may follow.

    For example, even if, for arguments sake, Elmal and Yelmalio were
    originally different entities, could sufficient successful
    heroquesting could "prove" that they were the same?  (YES/NO)

I think the answer to this is no, and, in any case, only a God Learner
would want to do that.  All the examples we have are of attributes being
transferred around and (in one famous case) entities being swapped
wholesale.  So there appears to be a sort of "object identity" -- there
is a core identity to each deity that cannot be altered.  The GLs tried
to find these core identities, but it didn't really work since the
attributes of the deities are generally more important than the deities

    Another example:  everyone knows that Magasta led the seas into
    jumping into the hole formed when the Spike exploded.  [...]  Could
    I [...] prove that Humakt commanded and lead the fight of the water
    spirits.  Magasta may have been the chief of the water spirits, but
    Humakt was the leader, Magasta just his lieutenant.  (YES/NO)

Yes, but it would be very hard to do.  Note there are easier ways to
acheive a similar effect:  Emphasizing a particular aspect of the event
over others (I bet this is how it is for the Humakti anyway),
acceptance of false myths, etc.  In this case, it is not entirely clear
that the Godplane does not already support your interpretation -- we
just don't know enough about the content of the events the myths talk
about except from the myths themselves.

    Could I make this mythological truth for everyone, not just Humakti?

Yes, but it would be very, very hard to do.  Not only do you have to
make it true, you also have to let everyone know that it is true and
convince them that it is worth believing this truth.  War, conquest, and
Gift Carriers seem to be the usual techniques for doing this, though
there do appear to be magical and/or mythical shortcuts like the
Minarian Mind Removal.  You can also alter the Godplane such that the
Mundane plane is affected, as in the Trollkin Curse, but that is really
big time.

    If I did that, would it then have always been that way? (ie would
    there be any perception that the previous myths were "wrong" when
    they were written but now "we" have the correct ones.)  (YES/NO)

Yes:  Remember Dunham's (one of the many false Davids) famous quote:
"Don't believe all that Dara Happan propoganda.  After all, it was
written down, and thus can't change with reality."

    Can the myths (ie the state of the godplane) be altered other than
    by heroquesting?  (YES/NO)

The myths can be altered in any number of ways, since they are stories
and not that which the stories are about.  Altering the Godplane is
heroquesting by definition.  Though I suppose the void could be let in
and gobble things up, and also the Godplane seems to be heading towards
a heatdeath in the Fourth Age anyway.

    Eg, if enough normal people believe, does it change?  (it being the
    mythical "truth" as represented by the god plane). (YES/NO)

Yes:  that's part of the feedback relationship.  A form of

    As I understand it, there seem to be two vitally different forms of
    heroquesting, one where the participant simply re-enacts the actions
    of the god, thereby reinforcing the current state.  The other form
    is a conscious attempt to *change* the state of the godplane.  The
    second form is much harder.  Am I correct on these two points?

Yes.  There are also the unintentional heroquests that sadistic GMs like
to inflict upon their players.


--David Gadbois