Sog and esoteric questions

From: Curtis Shenton (
Date: Sat 17 Jun 1995 - 05:06:17 EEST

> From: (David Cake)
> Subject: Sog
> My version of Sog had outrageous, century old sewers. Probably all
> sorts of things down there (ossuaries like the Paris ones, for example). It
> included some largely underwater sea temples (long forgotten by almost
> everybody) and parts of it had been taken over by all sorts of lowlife -
> which brings me to....

Old temples, ancient cults, forgotten spirits are all things I'm working on to litter
my version of Sog with. But I've discovered a blank spot in the history of Sog, at least from what I've read about it. What was Sog like during the Middle Sea Empire of the God Learners? Seeing as how the God Learners didn't get along with the Brithini or the Waertagi I'd have thought they would have acted against Sog. Yet the Brithini seem to have kept their city of brass and we know the Waertagi dragonships were coming to Sog up to the time of the closing. Sog City's mythic landscape must have some interesting guardians on the Hero Plane.

As a big fan of Arkati cults I'm working on trying to tie in some Arkati groups to the history of Sog and the fact that the God Learners seem to have ignored Sog looks like place to start. Does anyone have any suggestions?

> [talking about the Judges]
> I had them mostly just thugs. They did have a torturer wing, thoughs
> (and they took themselves pretty seriously, a la Book of the New Sun).

Ack! Full on torturers in the New Sun mold would be very scary. I'll have to include them. Perhaps they have a tower in the University campus. God Learner and Brithini relics would make a good substitute for the gadgets in New Sun

> I had some Wizards (Brithini or God learner ones particularly, like
> the ones that are rife at the University) basically go on quests to
> basically explore the heroplane and gain power or knowledge, with no
> religious basis.

Speaking of which I seem to remember someone saying the Brithini use the University in some way to keep themselves alive. Anyone care to expand on this idea? I plan to have a few Brithini, a possible God Learner or two, and a few weirdoes like perhaps an illuminated Dragonnewt or someone from outside Glorantha as the main facilty. What goes on inside the School of Necromancy? I love the fact it's already wired for electricity. And where is sorcery/magic in general taught? The Main Hall?
> From: Nick Brooke <>
> Subject: Soggy Stuff
> 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.

I'm very much modeling my Loskalm on your postings. I didn't want to make Loskalm too nice a place for fear the PCs would be too tempted to leave Sog.
> > 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?).

I just went back and reread the Arrolian stuff and I think a Arrolian mission or two would make a great addition to Sog. I've never really thought much about the Lunar faith beyond the borders of the empire and I'm very glad you've written this up. It's given me a lot of good ideas for an a Stygian sect I've been working on that accepts the Red Goddess into their religous framework.
> > 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.

I'd already deduced the existance of Judge Drokk before this post. My own Judges are going to be a bit more of a force to be reckoned with. I'm using Elric rules instead of RQ and the players are starting with weapon skills around 70-80%. So far I figure there are the regular street Judges, journeymen Judges called Law Masters who pull the rickshaws of the Judges, and the Wizard arm of the Guild. I haven't thought of any good puns about psi-judges but as soon as I do I'll flesh out the wizards. And naturally I'll have to have the three renegade, possibly chaos worshippings Judges. The Humakti one calls himself Judge Death of course.
>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.

I have the advantage of actually living next to USC (in this case the University of South California, or University of Spoiled Children) While it's noted for being a rich kids school in some circles some of my oddest friends have gone their for free. A green haired jazz student who has figured out the frequency for both his house and his body will be making an apperance in Sog for sure.
> > 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!").

I don't know why I didn't think of this before. Actually I remember looking through Pendragon a few months ago and thinking about this. Of course this invites questions about what religions were around before Malkionism took over. Which is especially problamatic in light of the God Learners. I think Waertagi influence would have allowed a few sea based myths to find a place in Malkioni legends.
> 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.

I like the idea as well. Only I feel the Dragonnewts need more to do than just try and get access to the figurehead. I'm all for have the Dragonnewts be enigmatic and weird but I'd hate to have them just get to the wreck, do weird dances, and leave. Just what is the connection between the Waertagi and Dragons? Are the ships really made out of Dragonbone? I don't recall their being any dragon/water ties but it sure would be interesting if when the Dragonnewt caravan arrived from land their was another arriving by sea.
> ====
> Nick
> ====

As I work on my Sog campaign I've also come up with more questions about Gloranthan lore. First of all what happens if you complete the full Yelmalio version of the Hill of Gold heroquest? Does it make you immortal/indistructable?

I have an idea for an NPC who went on the full Hill of Gold heroquest, probably in the second age. He eventually got sick of life and wanted to die and came to Sog's University in the hopes he could be cured. As a result of experiments(most likely a Brithini took him to the hero plane and let him get subjected to the chaos rune) he is now partially destroyed. At dramaticall important times I'll roll a d6. On a 1 his memories/skills are gone and he acts like an animal(or perhaps it's his ties to the man rune that are gone), on a 2 his mind/INT are gone and he is a drooling idiot who can provide interesting bits of history under the influence of mind control spirits, on a 3 his POW is gone and he is essentially a sort of undead, on a 4 his body is gone and he floats around Sog as a ghostly presence, on a 5 his past is gone and no one remembers him, and on a 6 his future is gone and he ceases to exist until I feel the urge to check the dice. Needless to say he's rather unhappy with his condition. If the Hill of Gold heroquest can't do the trick to make someone immortal is there anything else that could?

Secondly I have a question about time and prophecy. Is it possible to foresee the future? Or are prophecies simply wishful thinking, or maybe magical acts to steer the future? With all the predictions for the future(the Waertagi dragon ships will come back, the White moon will rise and bring peace[and the Mostali twist that the peace is the peace of the dead]) I'm curious what the view of prophecy is. Another reason I want to know if it's possible to see into the future is I have an odd initiation/heroquest for a grup of NPC sorcerors that would let them get a few glimpses of the future.

I plan on having a coven of Arkati sorcerors in Sog who are very powerful. There are maybe 20 or so of this group in the whole world and at most 3 or 4 in Sog. When they are allowed to join the group all the members get together and work great and fearsome magics on the prospective new member and a ritual sword. The prospective member then strides off onto the heroplane and conronts his fate, he sees his entire life and goes in to the point at which he falls to Gbaji and strikes himself down with the sword. Seeing his entire life gives him a few clues to the future and a rather morbid outlook on life.

End of Glorantha Digest V1 #317

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