Re: sandy's maunderings

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Tue 28 Feb 1995 - 22:22:07 EET


>I've heard that when elves get to the Underworld, they swim across
>the Styx, forgetting everything in the course of the crossing

        Naw. I don't think the elves themselves care at all about the afterlife, and if they _do_ think of it, they don't believe they go to the underworld. Rather, they just become part of the forest.

        "Say, elf-dude, what do you think happens to you when you die?"

	"See that leaf there, attached to that tree?"
	"What happens to it, when it dies, and falls from the tree?"
	"Um. Er."
	"I am just like that leaf."

Dave Dunhams
>which leads me to wonder, what do people think about graves and the
>plundering thereof?

        I suspect that Earth-based cultures (i.e., most of the world) are opposed to such activities. Thus, Pelorians (earth-based with a solar veneer) and Orlanthi (earth-based with a storm veneer) and Kralori (earth-based with a mystic veneer) and Doraddi (earth-based with an earth "veneer") all would agree that grave-robbing is impious. Spirit-based cultures (Hsunchen, Praxians, ancestor worshipers) would probably disapprove of this on the basis that waking up the dead causes trouble for everyone. For instance, I once had a scenario in which the players heroically plundered a Gods-Age tomb, killing the foul vampire in residence, and walking off with all sorts of valuable loot. When they came by again, about a year later, all the various tomb-wraiths and other riffraff had left the tomb (no compulsion to stay, now), and completely destroyed the neighboring oasis, which was now inhabited by zombies and skeletons. In seconds, the PCs (who'd expected a happy welcome from the grateful villagers) realized that they'd been horrendous villains, not saviors.

>Centuries of domesticisity has bred them to be slow, dull and
>placid. The rare wild gazzam would be considered very a serious
>menace though.

        But let's not forget the spring rut, when the gazzam gather together in herds, bulls roaring and fighting over females, who in their part do their best to inspire such fights. No wonder the damn things are no good in wartime -- they take a sex break every spring.

>Sandy said dinosaurs were hard to exterminate: I really don't think
>so. All you need is to make dinosaur omelette en vogue, and the
>beasts will have all but disappeared within a generation or two.

        All the dinosaurs need to survive is two (2) eggs per mamma dinosaur, per dinosaur generation (which presumably lasts 200 years or more), and the things can survive with population intact. If we assume (why not?) that a mamma dinosaur lays one batch of eggs every year, with 100 or more eggs in a batch (again, why not? The eggs aren't much bigger than ostrich eggs, so a lot can be laid), it doesn't seem unreasonable for such a survival rate.

>Remember the problems the Bolo folk of Prax has to keep their beasts

        They have the additional problem that their damn beasts are completely unsuited for the climate. Imagine trying to rear alligators in Germany.

>Let's not forget that Pelorian village stalwart, the water buffalo.

        Now Nick, let's not get silly. See here, it's way too cold in Peloria for water buffalo. IMO, the only animal that would be suitable for rice paddies, and yet could survive the winter would be something that could eke out the cold days in the warm river water, then emerge in the spring to plow and draw carts. Yes, that's right - -- I am proposing Hippopotami for the basic Oslir River Beast.

        This is my second attempt to move hippos into the big time. Once a long time ago (pre-Digest) I tried to squeeze a Hippo-rider tribe into Prax, but was roundly shouted down. Wish me luck.

>>unwanted kids are almost certainly sold into slavery
>or put in a Teelo Norri orphanage, I'd expect

        Argh. Forgotten about Teelo. Of course that's what good Lunars do. But bad Lunars (or good Solars) might still stick to the ol' sell 'em into slavery bit. Note that Teelo Norri priestesses may make periodic excursions amongst the populace to find likely kids and "rescue" them to the orphanage, thus raising them in peace, harmony, and extreme gratitude to the State. Kind of like the Mamelukes or Janissaries and no, I am not for a moment suggesting that the Teelo Norri kids all go into the army.

        But I bet the Most Loyal Officers and Priests were raised in such orphanages, from whence they are seeded into other areas. Who could shake a missionary's fervor who remembers the soft touch and gentle voice of his beloved 'Norri Mom?

        I also bet that one of the main slanders against the Lunars is that they steal children for their orphanages.

Klaus Ole Kristiansen

        The best depiction of the Vegetarianism belief I've ever
seen. More -- the best depiction of _any_ Mostali belief. You got any more?

Truls Parsson
>what I'm trying to point out was that in SOME places you couldn't
>be a vegetarian in the middle ages or earlier.

        Yes, we know. What me and Camo are trying to point out is that you are utterly and completely wrong for temperate regions (even Camo admits that it's hard, in the arctic). You CAN and you COULD be a vegetarian in the middle ages, and even earlier. Soon I will post an article about the foodstuffs available in northern Europe (and, presumably, Fronela, which is similar in climate).

>Try to be a vegetarian on Greenland during the viking era!

        This is an extreme place. You can be one in Sweden or Irkutsk. Admittedly you can't really be one in north Canada or the tip of South America.

>I think a vegetarian could survive in Prax if he knew where to look

        In Prax, I believe that you can probably not survive as a vegetarian except maybe if you stick to oases or river bottoms. I don't think the plant life is edible enough for humans. Of course, a greater objection is that if you are a vegetarian, then you are by definition not taking part of Eiritha's bounty, and you are avoiding being part of the Way of Waha, so you're probably on the hate list of the locals. If you're a CA healer, they probably won't try to kill you, but they may enslave you or otherwise abuse your rights.

>1. What was the Devil like, "Personality"-wise? I.e. what kind of
>chaos was he?

        If the Devil you are referring to is "Wakboth", then he is the god of Moral Evil. If the Devil you are referring to is "Kajabor", then he is the god of raw Entropy, the Void.

>2. Who were his followers? Like any god of great might he must have
>had mortal worshippers?

        Huh? You mean like those other major gods Arachne Solara, Gata, Umath, Mastakos, Horned Man, and Kero Fin? Just joking. But you can be pretty damn important and have no worshipers. The devil didn't have worshipers so much as followers, and his followers were initially all folks who came through from Chaos with him.

        "Worship" wasn't really practiced in the Godtime. I don't think there was any particular breed of villain that followed Wakboth.

>3. If so, are there any of these still around?

        Sure. All chaos philosophers know about Wakboth and his import. If there _was_ anyone who was just dedicated to Wakboth totally, they probably switched to another god later. For what it's worth, Tien and Cacodemon are both considered children of Wakboth, and Ragnaglar was the same type of evil as Wakboth, and was in his army. Hope that helps.

>Duocanth (Sandy's kralorelan monster):
>Is it chaotic or does it just have the bad luck too look like it?

        I had not thought of it as being chaotic, any more than an octopus.

NOTE on food

        Northern Europeans during the middle ages invented true crop rotation, in which each field would spend one year in grain, one year in beans, and one year fallow. The Romans had not yet developed this technique, and simply grew grain one year, and left it fallow the next year. The later technique had the advantage that this meant that their fields were only fallow one year in three, instead of half the time. This might have been the new amazing secret technique that Hon-Eel brought to invigorate maize culture? Or some other Lunar fertility goddess (to be acclaimed by the voice of the Digest?).

Andrew Joelson:
>In my copy of Borderlands (the old Chaosium boxed set). Duke Raus
>of Rhone is not a victim of a Dart Competition. Two families took
>to armed strife. Moonson sent in the imperial troops on the side of
>the familiy he favored, and the losing family suffered a large
>number of suicides and executuions. Duke Raus wasn't involved in
>the struggle at all, but he still suffered the Imperial Displeasure.
>His lands were exchanged for land in the River of Cradles.

        What did you think a Dart Competition _was_? This is a picture-perfect case of such a thing. Why did Moonson only punish _one_ family? How did they get up to armed strife? Looks like the losing clan (even unto distant cousins) lost _all_ their land, which is pretty stern displeasure.

        Seems to me there's a teensy-weensy chance that perhaps Raus was framed? That Moonson's investigatory agents were suborned (you don't think the emperor showed up _personally_, do you)? This is an ideal case. Get the other side to be "made an example of" by Imperial Lunar bureaucrats, and your own guys are off the hook, plus get to administer the confiscated lands.

        I've often wondered whether the "armed strife" between the two families was real or whether the Villainous Winning Family stage-managed the whole affair, with agents tricking Raus's relatives into thinking open conflict was okay with the Emperor or that the villains of the piece had already started to attack, so the Emperor would side with Raus's folk, or what.

>To get back to the subject of dart competitions, is this just a
>euphemism for political infighting?

        Yes, exactly so. Technically, Fazzur Wideread is the victim of a Dart Competition, when Tatius the Bright supplants him as commander of Dragon Pass and Fazzur is forced to retire to Tarsh.

>Triceratopses were supposed to have been Lusty. Now, should this not
>reflect in their descendants

        Whoa. This is a line of reasoning I _really_ like, and adds even more force to my "spring Rut" theory than before. These guys are becoming more interesting (and more useless for warfare) by the second.

>Breeding: Can you breed various dinosaurs with each other?

        Of course. Where did all the various types come from otherwise?

        I gotta keep in mind that dinos are rare in Peloria, somewhat less rare in Dragon Pass, and reasonably common only in Pamaltela. But what the hell, here's my theory on dinos:

        FRONELA: dinosaurless. Sorry.

        RALIOS: plenty of dinosaurs. At least as common as in Dragon Pass (remember the Trachodon Marsh!).

        PELORIA: not real common, but a fine old tradition of domestic gazzam.

        MANIRIA: only plentiful in Dragon Pass (where they're still not an everyday occurrence), elsewhere they're as rare as Peloria.

        THE WASTES & PENT: the only dinos here are probably Bolo Lizards, except in the river valleys of Prax itself.

        KRALORELA: dinosaurs are reasonably common here. Especially in Teshnos and Trowjang.

	EAST ISLES: sea monsters only
	UMATHELA: not many dinos. 

	FONRIT: not many dinos
	ONLAKS & ELAMLE: forest monsters include a few dinos. 

	DORADDI SAVANNA: heaps of dinos in Tarien, progressively  
fewer (but still numerous) as you go further east.

        SLON: We all know about Slon.

Jens Haeusser
>Does anyone have any suggestions on how to present an AS priestess?
>Has anyone ever done a full cult writeup, or have any suggestions on
>Divine spells or whatnot?

        There are lots of attempts at cult writeups for her, but these have all wrecked upon the rocky shoals of the longstanding opinion that she is not really accessible to mortals. The only widely-known priestess of Arachne Solara is the (immortal) witch Cragspider whose less-than-human properties are notorious.

        The Beasts of Beast Valley worship her in huge rituals, one of which I shall now describe:

        "My guide led me to a hidden rocky valley, filled with plinths in a seemingly random pattern. Something huge moved near the middle of the plinths, but I could not make it out in the darkness. Soon my guide shushed me, as a number of centaurs galloped over the ridge and down among the plinths. They began galloping at top speed through them in huge irregular counterclockwise circles, shouting, and waving flagons of liquor. Their skill was incredible. Despite their speed and numbers, I did not see a misstep. Then goat-men [1], bull-men [2], and mantychores began joining in the mad helerrade [3]. Soon, less-describable beast-things were seen amidst the cavorting deformed masses.

        "As they ran, their labors became more and more violent, drunken, and inchoate. I began to see centaurs rushing past with huge cuts and bruises on their bodies. Then I saw the beasts smashing into the plinths, apparently by accident. Some were killed, especially the more diminutive creatures, who were often trampled by the others. Occasionally the rampage broke into actual fights, and I saw terrible sights; mantychores pulled down by seething mobs of ducks, bull-men galumphing past waving a wind child's bloody torn-off wing as if it were a trophy.

        "My guide elbowed me and gestured. The darkness in the center of the valley had clarified somewhat, and I could now see that the moving Thing in the middle of the valley was an enormous wolf, as big as a house! It was chained between a group of plinths, and snapped at the dancers as they whirled past. I saw it catch a centaur in its jaws, shake it, and throw it out among the others.

        "Suddenly a pattern of dark shadows began to make its appearance among the pillars -- like dark lines on the ground. As I watched, the lines took on more and more the appearance of a great web, made up only of shadow. The wolf began writhing, as if in fear.

        "The dance seemed to go on interminably, but the festivities gradually changed from outright combat to more lascivious activities. The beasts tried to continue their widdershins movement, but it was more difficult, since they were all trying to mate and move at the same time. The centaurs had the best of it, as they could creep along while their ravishers simply plunged into them from behind. Nor was any of this sex selective. I only observed a few cases where the mating was between two members of the same species.

        "While all this was going on, a huge cloud seemed to pass over head. I looked up but saw no cloud. But there, on the ground, was the shadow. I looked more and more closely at the shadow, and it began to clamber up through the shadow-web like a gigantic spider. As it neared the wolf, the hapless creature began to whine piteously, if thunderously. The shadow darkened over the wolf, till I saw it no more. The beastmen no longer continued their dance, but all lay writhing in a vast degenerate orgy. That is all I saw."

        I don't think Arachne Solara gives out Rune spells. I think she's a mighty dangerous entity to worship. But I also think that your campaign should absolutely permit that player to worship this dire force of nature. If you wish game rules for the priestess, here is what I suggest:

COMMON SPELLS: Worship Arachne Solara

SPECIAL SPELLS: Ceremony, Intervention

CEREMONY 1 point
ritual Ceremony, one-use, stackable

        When used along with a ceremonial spell of any type, whether cast by the priestess or another person, this draws the attention of Arachne Solara to the particular ceremony, for better or worse. More points of Ceremony increase the effect of her attention.

Special spell, one-use, stackable

        This spell can be used to boost divine intervention. Using Intervention adds +10 percentiles per point to the roll being attempted. If the roll fails, the Intervention points are NOT used up, but remain for a later try. Note that Arachne Solara divine intervention is likely to be quite different from the ordinary variety, and is completely up to the gamemaster. It may well harm the recipient.

        Example: Jensa, a priestess with a POW of 15, uses three points of Intervention for divine intervention. She has a 45% chance of success. If she does succeed, the 3 points go away. If she fails, they do not, and she can try again (but not for the exact same boon, in keeping with the normal rules).

End of Glorantha Digest V1 #185

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