Soggy Stuff

From: Nick Brooke (100270.337@compuserve.com)
Date: Fri 16 Jun 1995 - 11:16:05 EEST




Curtis:

Glad you enjoyed the SCU Guide! I can now confirm that David Hall has copies in stock; and the map of SCA was a last-minute omission (just as the rest of the book was a last-minute inclusion, in a certain sense).

> I'm not entirely clear on the status of the Elder races in Sog.
> Are there any trolls, elves, or dwarves running about?

A few. But they're not a major component of the population, IMHO (i.e. there's about as many genuine lepers, and people treat them about the same). More likely to be "passing through" than living there permanently, though there's always the odd exception to every rule.

> For that matter do any of the sects of the Invisible God accept non
> humans? A troll Hrestoli could be amusing...

The traditional answer is that only the Arkati Stygian cults have a wide following among non-humans (the trolls); my write-up of the Loskalmi Hrestoli Idealists casts them as human racial supremacists ("the time of the Elder Races is past, and now Man is the Master Race"); Malkionism as "Humanism" (with the various spin-offs: philosophical, as "Man is the Measure of All Things"; artistic, with Leonardo's "Infinite Man" displaying our perfectly harmonious relationship to the elements; etc.

But all "traditional" answers go out the window when you have an amusing idea for a game. A troll Hrestoli from Sog City is (IMHO) about as likely as a baboon Yelmalion from Sun County, which says it all.

> Any good reasons for the city not to have sewers?

None! And countless excellent reasons for it to have them, besides. Fiat!

> What sort of chaos cults are active in or near Sog city?

As many as you want. Sog is richly decadent, and (with all those folk living in the sewers) it's easy to hide things away. Disused (or *notionally* disused) shrines to all kinds of abominations can be found in the back alleys; while as for the secluded, secure villas outside the city walls...

> Speaking of chaos, what about the lunars?

Surely a non sequitur? (Methinks Nick doth protest too much).

> I don't see the lunars as having a big presence in the city. Maybe just
> a Seven Mothers temple and a Red Goddess initiate/sorceror or two trying
> to pitch there "we worship the creator too!" story.

Yep: these would be Arrolian Moonie missionaries, and there's more of them every day; I posted some stuff to the Digest about these folk a while back, and you should be able to find it through Loren's excellent WWW index (see below). BTW, does *anyone* ever eat those red berries the Moonies hand out free on street corners (in real life, or in gaming?).

> Has anyone developed the judges more? I'm thinking about making them a
> pseudo-Guild...

Our version of them was meant as a crude caricature of 2000AD's "Judge Dredd" (soon to be a major movie, as they say): Sog City is a vast, teeming metropolis where extreme methods are needed to keep any semblance of Laura Norder. The Street Judges were rather downmarket, their heyday back in the God Learner past: their "New Grand Hall of Justice" is a converted stable, and their "uniforms" defy belief (though they all have the Law Rune name badges)! "Apprentices" (recte: Cadets) are a nice idea. Just get some of the "slang" under your belt: "Eat Judge boot, creep!" is a must. We met Chief Judge Grudd, with his assistant Judges Drokk and Stomm, in the freeform.

(For anyone shocked and horrified at this debasement of Glorantha, "Judge Dredd" is a crude caricature of Plato's Republic, so there!)

> What should it take to become a student of [SCU]?

Talent, luck, or money, IMHO. Doubtless there will be arcane (literally) selection procedures, including interviews with the weird masters you'll be studying under. Think of the worst features of any university you're familiar with, then make them even more Gormenghastian. (We have it easy in England). And read some Pratchetts, for details of Unseen University.

> Do Malkioni heroquest?

Absolutely. As much as, or more than, the rest of Gloranthans. Arkat was a heroquester, Hrestol was a heroquester, Prince Snodal was a heroquester. They will perceive things differently, of course -- think of books on the Celtic traditions behind Arthurian stories, for examples of how a War Goddess can turn into a mere enchantress, or an Enemy God into the Red Knight at the ford. (There's a good passage on this by Greg Stafford in one of the Pendragon supplements, but I can't recall which offhand).

IMHO, Malkioni heroquesters may (or may not) recognise the "deities" as archetypes, projections, symbolic testers, etc. Just because you see what looks to the Orlanthi like the God of Death, doesn't mean there's a God of Death: a Black Knight fits the bill just as well, and leads to exactly the same issues, conflicts and resolutions. ("I've had worse!" -- "Liar!").

And (apropos of your suggestion that "trying to emulate a Saint seems like the most likely candidate for heroquesting"), many Malkioni Saints were heroic knightly types. You could "emulate Saint Hrestol" by acting as a knight errant; "emulate Saint Talor" by driving out the barbarians; etc. The traditional Arthurian thing of wandering less than a day's ride from Camelot and "entering the Hero Plane" (cf. Grail Quests passim) is a model for the knightly Hrestoli interface with the Other Side.

> I think illuminates would keep an even lower profile in the west than
> they do in say Sartar.

And fair enough, too. After all, the illuminates rule Sartar, now.

> What's the difference between the Law rune and the Stasis rune?

I sometimes think of it this way: STASIS is the way things are, always have been, and always will be. LAW is the reason things are the way they are, always have been, and always will be. Stasis is a state, where Law is a power. But the two are naturally confused, by Gloranthans as well as us. ACOS, Celestial Court God of the Stasis Rune, is constantly being called God of Law, associated with the Spike, etc.; barbarian Lhankor Mhy sages worship him as god of Truth and Stasis; civilised ones as god of Truth and Law. Law is more fundamental than Stasis, less tangible and less flexible at the same time. All heady philosophical stuff, which we may be better off without.

I love your suggestion that the Dragonewts' March was heading for the Blues' shipwrecked Figurehead in Dragonbone of Sog! It's absolutely wonderful to see this utterly plausible connection made.



Nick


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