Re: Waertagi, Ralzakark

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Fri 03 May 1996 - 06:39:23 EEST

Frank writes:
> First of all, the Waertagi cityships. Have anybody got any info
on >them? Are they really made out of dragons? Live dragons? How
large >are they?

>They're made from the bodies of sea dragons, albeit modified (cf.
>"Spirits of the Sea" in Wyrms Footprints). They are *huge*, a
>kilometer long or more, and pretty wide in the beam. I'm pretty
sure >the dragon is still conscious (maybe the figurehead can talk,
or >bite).
        The sea dragon is dead, technically, but its spirit is
bound into the hull. The figurehead may or may not be able to talk
(probably depends on the ship), but it certainly can use whatever
magic breath the dragon had.

>Argrath no more powerfull than Ralzakark? Ralzakark would probably
  >be toast. In Dragon Pass, Argrath, all by his Lonesome was the
combat >equivalent of a decent Regiment,
        Remember, this is Argrath at his peak -- his most powerful.
Argrath pre-Return is not as fearsome. Also, this is emphatically
_not_ Argrath all by his lonesome, but includes his picked followers
and swordlings, plus the top men of the three Praxian secret
societies he rules. There are probably at least 100 Rune-level men
and women with him. This is not to detract from Argrath -- _all_ the
Dragon Pass heroes represent themselves + an "einheriar". Even the
Bat includes the entire Cult of the Bat with it. The unit that comes
closest to being a single individual is Androgeus, and even she
includes a few of his more recent children.

>He could move better than any non-flying unit - ie Heroic movement,
        All heroes have heroic movement. Ralzakark would be
similar. This is more a factor of moving alone or in small groups
and being able to endure hardships and keep running fast than it is

>his magic factor was 10
        Heroes are notoriously hard to kill by ordinary magic
spells alone. This is not just because they're tough, though -- it's
also because regimental-style spell attacks are not targeted very
specifically. In other words, a Lunar magic attack vs. a defending
Sartar City Militia (average POW 10) might consist of 200 Mindblasts
aimed at random people via Project Vision and followed up by 100
summoned Lunes. The 1000 man defenders might lose some 150 men to
the Mindblasts, and another 100 or 200 to the Lunes, plus most of
their horses would go mad and flee into the woods. These losses
would be exacerbated by the effect on morale of the remaining men,
and the regiment is likely to break up or at least be worthless for
further combat, despite the fact that 600-700 of them are still
        Now, consider the exact same attack aimaed at Argrath. The
Project Vision is unlikely even to _spot_ the hero. One man -- even
a hundred-man group -- is a lot harder to find than a whole regiment
of 1000, plus another 300+ horses, wagons, flags, etc. If he _is_
found, the Mindblasts are not near as scary to him and his men as
they were to the Militia -- for one thing, the militia's POW of 10
meant that they had a 75% chance of being overcome by the Lunars'
ostensible POWs of 15. Argrath's POW of 20 means he only has a 25%
chance. Plus his team of Rune-levels can get off Divine
Interventions, put up Shields, Absorptions, etc. They can even cast
spells to Dismiss the Project Vision or cast spells back through it
at the Project Vision caster. This latter possibility will make the
latter very very cautious about looking for Argrath, and decidedly
non-aggressive about pushing his magic eye forward for a close look.
When the Lunes come to follow up the attack ... let's face it, 100
Rune levels are at least as able to take out a bunch of Lunes as are
1000 typical joes. More to the point, after the Lunes and
Mindblasts are done, fewer of the Rune levels are KOed, and more are
able to heal up quicker from the harm. AND, even if the Rune levels
lose more men, proportionally, than the Militia, they are unlikely
to lose their esprit de corps or break ranks, but would maintain
their unit sturdily. If all the horses of the Militia are killed,
they are stuck. If all the horses of Argrath's guard are killed,
they steal 100 more and keep going.
        SO -- the Heroes are tougher than regular units because (a)
it's harder to target them, (b) they're more resistant to the
effects, and (c) they almost totally ignore the effects of partial
losses on morale or unit structure. So don't read too much into
Argrath's great magic resistance. Your own party of PCs probably has
a magical resistance of 1-3 all by itself, small as it is.

>He caries a couple or three regimental equivalents in his pocket
in >the form of the dragon tooth runners, and Giants go out of their
way >to help him. Not to mention heroic escapes.
        This _is_ due to Argrath's personal coolness. Ralzakark can
do some of this too, though -- like heroic escapes, the Sky Terror,
Slimestone, immunity to Chaos magic for him and all units stacked
with him. etc.,

        NONETHELESS, I believe that a one-and-one clash between
Argrath and Ralzakark, while epic and frightening, would probably
end in Argrath's favor. I think that in hand-to-hand combat,
Ralzakark would be able to beat Argrath. But IMO most combats of
heroes are not D&Dish face-to-face bashes. Instead, a "fight"
between heroes includes such things as escaping through the planes,
assassinations from ambush, doing rituals to "draw in" their
opponent, capturing loved ones for psychological effect, sending
poisoned or cursed "gifts" to each other, etc., etc.,
        Think of Morgan le Fay vs. King Arthur. Never did they meet
on field of battle, his sword vs. her magic. A typical "battle",
for instance, was when Morgan ensorcelled Lancelot, masked his
memory, and made him live with her as lover. During his captivity,
he painted his "dreams" (actually, old memories thrusting through
his subconscious) on the wall of his prison, sketching out the
entirety of his love affair with Guenevere. After Lancelot escaped,
Arthur happened to stop by Morgan's castle, and she took him to her
basement and showed him Lancelot's mural. Arthur was shook, but was
able to explain it all away as a trick of Morgan. If Morgan's ploy
had succeeded, or she had been able to keep Lancelot longer --
confronted Arthur with Lancelot in the act of painting the mural,
say -- Arthur's reign would have ended much quicker. THAT's a
potential Gloranthan hero's conflict -- at least for many such
heroes. Magic dances, words dripping with venom, love and romance --
all are grist for the conquest. The greatest danger Harrek faced in
Jar-Eel was that he'd fall in love with her, become Harmonious, and
then become one with her in purpose. NOT that she'd kill him. As it
was, she won a partial victory. Ever wonder why no one's ever heard
of Harrek after the Hero Wars. He is kaput, no longer a figure of
note after his final dance with Jar-Eel. Jar Eel died, but the place
and time of Harrek's death is in obscurity.

Sandy P.


End of Glorantha Digest V2 #532

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