I think this design philosophy has developed since HQ was published. Role playing games have traditionally tried to mechanically balance the various options a player has. They have usually failed. Some gamers have now concluded that balance doesn't matter if it makes a good story.
>I take it from this that we can expect cultures which rely on
>misapplied worship to be obliterated fairly early on as the hero wars
Why? They'll probably remain as they are, minor groups on the fringes of more powerful ones. If they gamble their culture against a more mainstream one then they'll lose badly and probably disappear.
>Would a group of Western colonists or imperialists end up as poorly,
>or would they tend to end up like Sir Ethilrist and be fearsome, but
There is a western colony just to the south of Dragon Pass. Set up by Rickard the Tigerhearted. It's survived but I'm not sure how well. That's more to do with the level of resources being sent to the colony than an intrinsic advantage or disadvantage between theism and wizardry. Sir Ethilrist is atypical, he has obtained great magic by consorting with demons and survives by being useful to the nearby great powers. If he picks the wrong side at some stage in the Hero Wars he's very likely to be crushed completly.
-- Donald Oddy http://www.grove.demon.co.uk/
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