Re: Disease questions

From: Greg Stafford <glorantha1_at_J6HV6x_HVOYAgINrNF4uaImkHSyXTcGkRSZc4rAuwiJ5TwBu232u8itKTwfc21gjx>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 09:36:59 -0800

YGWV On Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 8:13 AM, bryan_thx <> wrote:

> A few questions about disease in Glorantha.

I'll weigh in with some opinion here.

I do know of the RQ era disease spirits, most with cool and magical
> sounding names.

Very game-oriented maladies.

> But do Gloranthans also get diseases that we would
> recognize? Do kids get chicken pox, do people die of tumors, and do
> colds get passed around in packed long houses during Dark season? Are
> there wealthy merchants with gout, lunar explorers of the north
> getting scurvy, and Teshnans languorous from malaria? Or are the
> diseases mostly more magical and exotic?

Yes and no.
No because they are not those diseases, *per se*. They have different names and are not caused by germs or bacteria. But children come down with a pox, people die from things growing inside them, improper diet opens the way for alien entities to invade a person, both rich and poor have particular ailments they are suseptible to, and certain creatures (like mosquitoes) are known to sometimes carry a curse that they can deliver to the unwary.

> Also, while I'm sure Gloranthans attribute almost all maladies to
> magic of some sort or other, in game terms are all sicknesses because
> of some spirit, essence, or daimone? Or are some of them more
> `mixed-world' in nature?

Each of the Otherworlds has its own diseases entities, but they also mixed together during the Darkness and produced a whole vast clas of mixed entitie which are, collectively among the demons that inhabit the Underworld.

Clearly the powerful healing cults can heal almost any malady with
> magic, but not everyone has access to the most powerful healing magic.

In fact, in MY Glorantha not every powerful healing cult can cure any malady.
Different cultures have diseases that they are unable to cure. Chalana Arroy, the Ultimate in healing and curing, can theoretically cure any disease (heck, he can cure the ultimate disease--death!)

 For those who have to make due with lesser healing,

i.e.- almost everyone.

> I imagine that
> who you need might depend on the nature of the illness. A shaman
> could probably force a disease spirit to reveal itself, and then fight
> it (a practitioner, I think, would have trouble getting it to come out
> and fight?).

Probably so.

But a shaman would presumably have a much harder time
> with an essential or daimonic illness.

Yes, the Alien World modifier would apply here.

> If there are mixed world
> illnesses, are any of the more advanced magic, short of the Challana
> Arroy level of healing, of much use?

They COULD be of use, depending of course on the entity. There are many variables that might apply, and I don't think that any Gloranthan has diagnostic tools sufficient to pinpoint the exact cause. In game terms, the entity EVEN FOR THE SAME DISEASE might vary from person to person, and from occasion to occasion. Heck, it could conceivably vary from healer to healer if they had personal experience with the disease-causing entity.

Or would it require some
> combination of common magic and mundane treatments?

I think this is a false dichotomy. I don't know of any Glorantha diseases that respond ONLY to mundane treatment, unless you count coldness as a disease, or weariness as one.
Every mundane healing method would have an accompanying magical aspect. Arroin is said to be the keeper of the mundane healing, which means that he "knows" the plants and minerals and movements and songs that will facilitate healing, and that his healing will not work without out those things. But when pouring honey on an open wound there will e a chant to facilitate it, or awaken its healing powers. If someone needs to drink a certain potion to be cured, then you can be sure there was chanting to make it, or it had to be done at a certain time of year or day (or both) or under the influence of certain planets, or have special ingredients, or likely, all the above. Theoretically, the Chalana Arroy priestess does not need the Arroin components (i.e. materials from the Everything World) to facilitate a cure. However, in practice, the prestess uses such components for all her healing. If nothing else, these will reinforce the process and make it easier.

> Or would the
> usual solution just be to try and magically bolster the person's
> health so that they can more easily recover on their own?

At this moment, the term "bolster the person's health" as a combat against disease rang as a concept that doesn't exist in Glorantha. I will cogitate upon that.

Finally, not all disease entities are disease entities. That is, it's like our own world in some says, in that entities exists and have an effect that is a disease for humans, but the entity is not always "designed" or "created" to cause humans to be ill. Some of these entities ae just trying to go their own merry way, and humans are hosts to them in their passage.

> Thanks in advance for any thoughts on these.

I look forward to the thoughts of others.

Greg Stafford
Game Designer

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Powered by hypermail