Re: thoughts on play and gamemastering

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Fri 04 Aug 1995 - 23:57:33 EEST

> I adhere to an orthodox conception of Gloranthan myth BECAUSE
>that way I can pop surprises upon the PCs.
Alex F.
>>What would be preferable, though, would be to Benighly Indoctrinate
>>the players in the cultural assumptions that their _characters_
>>should hold (God Learner compatible or not), and spring
"surprises" >>on them on the basis of deviations from that.
        Why is this preferable? [pull out soapbox and stand atop]
It means the players get to pretend to be surprised, instead of
being surprised for real. Get with the program, Alex. My goal in
RPing is not to train my players in interactive theatre but to
entertain them and be entertained by them. [put soapbox away]

> Just because the West believes in the Invisible God doesn't mean
> they don't recognize that the world is built out of Runes.
>No it doesn't, granted, but I certainly don't think that they do,
        Well, if we're going to go purely on personal bias here
(and why not), I'll give forth my own opinions on the Runes.
        In the First Age, Runes among the Theyalan cultures were
almost unknown, at least publicly. Each deity had his own Runes, and
only the high priests and certain initiates were allowed to behold
and know of their existence as Inner Secrets. Thus, if you were an
Orlanth person, you knew of only three (3) Runes in all the world,
and probably had no idea that other cults had Runes, too. Obviously

Arkat, with his cross-cult lore, learned otherwise, and this started
the leak in the dam of knowledge.
        At this same time, Runes were in widespread use among the
sorcerers of the West, as tools of spell-using. No doubt educated
Theyalans noticed that, say, the Western symbol for Air had a
certain resemblance to the secret Storm Rune.
        When the God-Learners began to spread their knowledge
world-wide, the Runes became even better-known. Today, the Runes are
known far and wide, even used for decoration.

>So I hereby scoff at the rune-labelled Saints adorning the cover
>of the late, lamented Tales #13.
        Hah! I view well-drawn images of Glorantha as _evidence_ in
favor of one argument or another, myself. As pictures shape
Glorantha in my mind and those of my players. Because the Block is
drawn as sky-blue on the cover of the Pavis box, it has become
sky-blue in Glorantha.

Peter M.
>I'm sure there is some reason for the Trolls of Ralios to maintain
a >cult of Arkat the Illuminate, but I'm still searching for one
that >meshs in with their psychology
        I don't think that illumination is meaningful within troll
culture and philosophy. I'm sure that a heavily human-influenced
troll can achieve a mental state that a Lunar examiner would
recognize as "illumination", but identical externals are not the
same as identical internals, and "internal" is what illumination is
        If the trolls of Ralios maintain a cult of Arkat the
Illuminated, I predict they do so solely in order to maintain some
sort of advantage over the humans all around them. No doubt
illumination vitiates the most magic and powerful humans around, and
thus enhances the trolls' competition with those pesky Homo
        Actually, I'm not sure illumination is meaningful for any
of the elder races. How would an illuminated elf behave differently?
And an illuminated dwarf is ludicrous. "I just realized that
existence is pointless!"

I concur with Graydon's statement that the God Learner techniques
will no longer work -- their _approach_ to mythology might be
possible to utilize, but their actual magic and techniques are no
longer valid.

David Cake
>I can think of no evidence at all that God Learner techniques no
>longer work.
        There is, of course, the evidence copiously written down by
the God Learners themselves, when the world changed, and none of
their magic would work any more. The God Learners didn't fail to
stop the Gift Bringers because the Gift Bringers were so incredibly
tough, they failed to stop them because their own magic was no
longer viable. The laws of the cosmos are now different than in
their day.

Peter M. infers that Jakaleel is a Subere initiate because she is a
former priestess of Zorak Zoran and ...
>To be a Subere initiate, one has to be an initiate of a darkness
>cult if one is not a troll.
        My own inference is, and has always been, that Jakaleel is
not a human, but a troll. Witches are more common among trolls than
humans anyway.

Dragonewts and Elemental Magic
        Dragonewts can't use elemental magic because they use the
Left-Handed path to magic. Elemental is the Right-Handed path. For a
dragonewt to use elemental magic is like watching a male human give


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