Re: sandy's maundering

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Tue 16 May 1995 - 00:34:09 EEST

>Sandy seems to be claiming that the Red Emperor is somehow a selfish
>power-hoarding type who contributes nothing to society.

        No, no, of course not! I was merely pointing out that there are two types of superpowerful individuals in Glorantha. Well. Okay, there's a lot more than two types. But two _of_ the types are the Hero who concentrates power in him- or herself, and the Hero who distributes power among others. The Red Emperor wisely concentrates the minor and rather mundane powers of wealth, magic, and worship in himself as the best possible means to be able to widely distribute the far more consequential powers of loyalty, wisdom, and obedience throughout the Empire. The primitive Orlanthi, when they give magic energy to their god, receive naught but magic energy back. When they give of their goods to their chief, they get goods redistributed back again. But the Emperor alone is able to receive one type of wealth, and transform it into another.

        Whew! That get me off the list, Nick?

Robert McArthur
>In WBRM, superheroes can only be killed through the 'five wounds
of >death'. These may only be given to them by extraordinary magics. In >Dragon Pass, anyone (with an army or three) can grundge a superdoop >- was this a change made to make the game easier/[better?]

        Correct. Remember that there was no RuneQuest in the good old days. The combat system underwent a mighty change between the old and the new, and Superheroes no longer needed a Five Wounds of Death to be tough. Now, you gotta attack them with at least 20 points in your stack, and hope to roll a good number. That's hard. In the old game, you could throw a bunch of misfits at the Soop and hope for some soak-off results. This change in the combat system does lead to some big differences in game play. For instance, in the old game, the brontosaurs' defensive magic of 10 was quite significant -- it meant a magician was pretty damn likely to get an Attacker Elim. result. Now it only means that it's hard to kill a bronto with magic -- but who would want to? They're basically useless in the modern Dragon Pass game, while in the olden days they were among the best insurance you could buy for a stack. I'm not saying the new way is better, just different. Certainly I wouldn't trade the many good features of DP for useful brontosaurs.

> obviously mastering the Infinity Rune does not give one infinite
>power; even Harrek isn't that potent. Sandy has commented that
>Superheroes have complete control over all magic in their presence,
>but wouldn't this be more of an indication of mastery of the Magic

        Magic _is_ reality in Glorantha. Superheroes don't necessarily have infinite POW -- they _are_ infinite. Truestone completely ignores all magic -- it is "infinite" in that respect. This doesn't mean it has an infinite POW or MPs. Harrek can't necessarily do _anything_ he wants with the cosmic flux in his vicinity -- he is limited by his passions, desires, abilities. I doubt that he can resurrect anyone, for instance. But no one can affect _him_ with a spell unless he wishes it.

        The Magic Rune is a sort of quantitative thing -- Zzabur has lots of it, while the High Bison Khan has less, while my PC has even less. But the Infinity Rune is qualitative. Either you have it, or you do not. It's like being pregnant.

>Cynocephali 2
>This one escapes me. Unless I'm mistaken, that's "Centerheaded":

        You're mistaken. It's "dogheaded", and refers to a mythical race of dog-headed men. They were supposedly extremely strong though primitive socially (using only rocks and fingernails in battle).

Dave Dunham
>There's an incredibly ancient Wyrm's Footnotes that had some sort of
>serpent man guardians for an earth temple.

        Misremembering. They're serpent women (only), in two flavors -- the big momma has a human torso and arms, but a serpent's tail instead of legs (the head I believe is also a serpent's). She lays eggs every century or so which hatch into the other flavor, secondary serpent "guardians", which are woman-headed serpents.

        I am one of the monomythized believers in a pre-Yelm worldwide Earth cult, though I don't claim Ernalda or any other currently-worshiped earth deity was recognizably present then. I believe that there are ancient Earth temples, all over Glorantha with weird throwbacks to ancient ways of thinking that seem abnormal to modern Gloranthan folk.

David Cake has trouble explaining Argan Argar's possession of Darkwalk, since Orlanth "stole it from the Darkness tribe". Here are two not-entirely-contradictory, explanations of this, so he can save a buck at RQ Down Under.

  1. He stole it from Kyger Litor, not AA.
  2. There are probably a number of entirely different spells in Glorantha that (for convenience in the rules) have the same effects, and possibly even the same name, but are not necessarily the same. The most obvious example is Sever Spirit, which functions in a number of different ways, depending on whether Yanafal Tarnils, Humakt, Zorak Zoran, or Than are providing the spell, but the result is the same, and the POW taken to learn the spell are the same. Probably if the designers of RQ were Real Men we'd have named all the spells confusingly and nobody would be able to keep track of any of them. So for instance, the ZZ cultists may well name their version of Sever Spirit something like "Crush Out Life", while Yanafal T. folks might call it "The Ram And Warrior's Consummation".

        I suspect that KL's Darkwalk and AA's Darkwalk were like this -- different, but the same. KL's Darkwalk probably worked by concealing oneself from the hostile outside world. AA's Darkwalk probably works by becoming One with the Shadow. But it's all the same in rules terminology.

Bryan Maloney
 >They [the Kralori] have a deity who is 100% Illuminated, in a sense >he IS Illumination, and he is noted for his general inability to >understand anything important.

        Metsyla, the Light of Enlightenment. I believe that he represents the secret of Rashoran.

Me on Rashoran
> His teachings didn't survive past his murderer -- Ragnaglar.
Though >he did manage to talk to a couple of gods and give them some sort of >mystic insight before his vanishment. (Humakt was one, and the >Emperor of the East -- Metsyla? -- was another.)

Peter Metcalfe
>Uleria was another one. I'm suprised you mentioned Metsyla as the
>Kralori myth about him mentions an Eagle Phoenix. Was Rashoran the
>Eagle Phoenix?

        Presumably. Note that the fact that Ragnaglar was Illuminated (and possibly Thed and for sure Malia as well) is Not Widely Advertised by pro-Illuminates.

End of Glorantha Digest V1 #279

RuneQuest is a trademark of Avalon Hill, and Glorantha is a trademark of Chaosium. With the exception of previously copyrighted material, unless specified otherwise all text in this digest is copyright by the author or authors, with rights granted to copy for personal use, to excerpt in reviews and replies, and to archive unchanged for electronic retrieval.

Send electronic mail to with "help" in the body of the message for subscription information on this and other mailing lists.

WWW material at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 10 Oct 2003 - 01:51:29 EEST