Re: Time and Distance

Date: Mon 26 Feb 1996 - 20:07:06 EET

In Glorantha Digest V2 #408, Kevin Rose writes:

>My opinion is that, like curving light, this is unnecessarily complex and
>will cause more problems than it fixes. I it is easier to assume that it
>works 42 weeks on Glorantha=42 weeks on earth (multiply ages by 4/5) than
>it is to try to rethink all the things that take a given time. For
>example, menstral cycle on earth is roughly 28 days. How long is it on

>Glorantha? How far can a man march in a day, as obviously the day is 20%
>longer? Or are Glorantha Humans "Startrek" aliens? (They look exactly like

>humans in cheap makeup, but really, they are different. . .)

I'd like to know how long the mestrual cycle is in Glorantha, but I see no
reason to get worked up if it's not (on average) 28 days. How far a man can
march in a day is obviously not comparable to the same question on Earth,
because we have no way to compare measurements. Is a Sartarite mile equal to
an English one? These are not empirical questions. (Besides which, as I
pointed out in an earlier post, the scales keep changing.) Nor, to my mind,
are these very interesting questions. Glorantha is not Star Trek unless we
make it such by insisting on trivialities. I, for one, am more interested in
the differences than the similarities. One of those differences is an
absence of scientific measurement, with a couple exceptions (like astronomy).

But for those of you mired in wargaming mode, I offer the following
Gloranthan measurements:

One Day's Journey = the distance an 11 stone man can walk, on the Daughter's
Road in clear cool weather with no headwind, from first light till he
stumbles in the dark and breaks his neck, while carrying a 3.14159 stone

One Lifetime = the amount of time between a person's birth and death (thus
conclusively proving that all people live the same amount of time)

One Acre = the amount of land a man can plow in one day (this one is really

One Kingstride = the distance the King of Imther can cover in one normal
stride (left, then right)

That should be enough for now. But to make this post at least marginally
useful, I will now tell you one of the two Anglo-American definitions of a
"fixture" (I am not making this up):

An item of personal property affixed to real estate such that a 200 pound man
wielding a five pound hammer cannot move it, with a single blow, more than
three inches.

Kinda rough on your porcelain toilets, but long live ambiguity!

Later, Kevin writes:
>This is all hand waving anyway, why not keep it simple except where it
>really matters? Throwing in weird physics and funny day lengths "just
>because" is pointless complexity.

Some people say that RPG's are pointless, too. If it's fun, why not do it?
 Partly, the weirdness of Glorantha emphasizes that it is a world whose theme
is spirit, as opposed to most RPG worlds whose theme is materialism. Even
Te'kume'l, where interaction with the gods is as important as in Glorantha,
is an explicitly science fiction world with magical science.

>The thing I like about Greg Stafford's statements on Glorantha is the >same
thing that I like about ISO/ANSI/IEEE/IETF standards. There is >almost one
that allows you to claim that you are in compliance with Greg.

If this means that you can pick a standard you like, I see some truth to it.
 My experience with engineering standards is limited, but I do find that they
always have more ambiguity than engineers are comfortable with. "Which
pigeon hole do you stick something in" is always the hard question.

- --Martin Crim


End of Glorantha Digest V2 #409

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