Too much to read, too little time.

From: SimonPhipp@aol.com
Date: Sun 16 Feb 1997 - 19:08:52 EET


Finally, I have waded through 50 Digests. Having an account at home is far
more convenient than having one at work.

Some of these comments will seem out of place since I am commenting on old
issues, but do I care? Not at all, for this is my five-minutes worth. The
Digest is a wonderful thing - anyone can have a voice.

"Ignorant Questions"
=================

Don't forget that there are no stupid questions, only stupid people who ask
them :-).

James Turner (ages ago) asks:

>If G:tG ever comes out hopefully this will
>change and there will be a flood of 'ignorant' questions like, do ducks
>lay eggs? Do elves bleed sap, photosynthesise, need to breathe? Can you
>sail off the lozenge? Do Jack'o bears really have pumpkin heads? etc.

No, ducks do not lay eggs - they give birth to live young. Elves bleed sap,
photosynthesize and (in my opinion) do need to breathe. Yes, you can sail off
the lozenge. Yes, Jack o'Bears really do have pumpkin heads.

The Gloranthan Digest exists at several levels
1. questions asked by people new to Glorantha or people wanting answers to
questions about mundane/normal things;
2. postings on useful areas - Cults, background, stories, myths, histories
etc.;
3. Obscure arguments on what colour Zorak Zoran's eyes were or whether Yelm
moved forwards or side-ways during the God Time.

I would say that 1. and 2. are useful and that 3. can be interesting.
However, people just beginning in Glorantha/RuneQuest may well feel that 3.
is so daunting as to scare them away. This is a pity. Do what I do and use
the Page Down button (or, for those technologicaly advanced, the mouse and
side-bar) if things get too obscure.

Having said that, sometimes interesting ideas can spring up from the most
obscure discussions, so I would not want these discussions curtailed or even
put off-line until a definitive answer is obtained. Looking at most of the
arguments here, a definitive answer will never be obtained in any case.
Personally, I think that following other people's train of thought is often
as useful as taking into account what they are saying. I may disagree with
the content but can appreciate how they got there, allowing me to follow a
similar thought process and arriving at a different point of view.

One thing I do not like is the persistent slagging that goes on as part of
the Digest. Discuss, argue if you want but no personal attacks, please. I
don't care who thought that an idea was stolen from whom or who said what
about someone else. I get enough of that at work. Perhaps people should not
take things personally - too many prima donnas, perhaps?

Shargash as part of Yelm
=====================

Interesting to look back on a discussion which is exactly the same as the
previous discussions about Gods devolving into minor gods. There are two

schools of thought here -
1. Gods who devolve powers to lesser deities pass the powers on and this
results in two separate deities.
2. Gods who devolve powers retain the rights to the powers and the deity who
gains the devolved power is seen as a sub-cult, Aspect or part of the greater
deity.

These two schools of thought cannot be reconciled - one either folows one or
the other. "East is East and West is West and ne'er the twain shall meet".

Peter Metcalfe seems to follow the second school, I follow the first school.
One of us is wrong and I know which one (but he'd probably disagree).

Storm Khans being down-powered
============================

Joerg Baumgartner:

> Well, "rune level" isn't necessarily "rune level". Most warrior chieftains
> will be initiates of Orlanth Rex, i.e. acting priests performing the "Rex"
> subcult priestly duty, but won't necessarily have huge amounts of rune
> magic. The same goes for most Rune Lords. As per GoG, only Wind Lords and
> Humakti Swords get reusable divine spells, Light Sons and Storm Khans have
> to get by with 1D10 DI.

Orlanth Rex Initiates have resuable Rune Magic, although it has little
practical use other than to really annoy Priests when they cannot cast magic
unless you say so.
Storm Khans have reusable Rune Magic in the same way as do Swords of Humakt
and Wind Lords. Most Light Sons become acolytes and gain reusable rune magic
in that way.

Movie Talk
========

Richard Crawley:
> The Princess Bride (a Glorantha movie if ever I saw one).

Indeed, but what about Pathfinder - so low-fantasy and Gloranthan it's
incredible. I have a soft spot for Rob Roy, simply because the villain,
Cunningham, was exactly how we saw one of the characters in our campaign
(Brankist Farlow, for anyone interested).
Monty Pythons' Holy Grail is another excellent Gloranthan movie, if only for
the low-fantasy aspects, the clever use of artefacts (The Holy Hand Grenade
of Antioch) and the HeroQuest elements (The Bridge, Tim the Enchanter and the
Castle Perilous - what a temptation for a good knight). For some reason, it
does not suit my idea of Pendragon at all, which is probably a good thing.

Dialects
======

Fortunately I missed most of this being too busy to read things each day.
Catching up, I used the arrow down to skip read most of this.

A Question: Does it matter whether the Colymar tribe speaks slightly
different Sartarite than the Colybrea (probably mis-spelled)? Does anybody

care? Any GM who insists on a Speak Sartarite roll any time a character is
speaking to a member of a different clan/tribe has far too much to worry
about, in my opinion. OK, as background it may matter but on a day-to-day
basis it is irrelevent.

In a campaign where the characters need never leave Sartar it may matter, but
in that case treat each dialect as a separate language and give characters
Speak (Colymar, Colybrea, Telmori) rather than Speak Sartarite, or speak in
an obscure dialect yourself when acting out the parts of foreigners from
another clan.

Reminds me of a session where someone decided to bring along his secondary
character when everyone else brought along unusual characters who did not
normally adventure with the main character. It turned out that Shergar, my
centaur character, knew no Tradetalk and only knew Sartarite, Firespeech and
a Centaur dialect. Nobody else knew any of these languages, being mainly
trolls or Praxian Storm Bulls, expect for Derak the Dark Troll who was a
master of Firespeech but wasn't letting on. I spent the whole of the scenario
communicating by Sign Language MYSELF. Shergar spent the next season in
Tradetalk Class - thank goodness for the gift of languages.

Armour
======

The discussion on armour use in the West/Bronze vs Iron etc. comes under the
same category - does anyone really care? On second thoughts, I'll rephrase
that as obviously people do - Should anyone care?

From a rules point of view, in Glorantha most people use non-metal armour,
either leather, linen, cloth or whatever. Those people who want to use metal
armour (adventurers, professional soldiers, people who do not want to be
killed in the first round of combat) either use bronze or cult rune metals.
Rune Lords use Iron unless they are of an aldryami or uzko persuasion. This
is absolute, stated fact. Knights in the West either use bronze, if they are
poor, or Iron if they are wealthy. Whether they enchnat it or not depends on
how powerful they are and whether or not they use magic.

It is irrelevant to me what kind of armour they wear - does it matter from a
gaming point of view what armour looks like? If I was wearing bronze plate

then I do not care whether it looks like Clasical Greek, mediaeval Plate or
like the Vatican Guard (my mind has gone and I can't remember what they are
called). What matters is that it has 7 Armour Points (or whatever) and weighs
a certain amount.

Maybe I have a limited point of view, but I do not try and visualise what my
characters look like, and never have. Mainly because most of my characters
have taken arms and armour from slain enemies and hence must wear a
hotch-potch of styles.

I suppose if you are interested in making miniature figures, this would be
important, but most people are not that way inclined.

"Bronze Age" Glorantha
===================

An unfortunate phrase, I fear. What this probably meant was that Glorantha is
generally of Bronze-Age technological level, not that the Gloranthan Cultures
are based on Real World Bronze-Age cultures.

As has been pointed out, many of the cultures are Stone Age (Trolls,
Balazarings, Pentains. Praxians) or Iron Age (Orlanthi, Carmanian) in feel.
Many more cannot be categorised easily into Real World types (Mermen, Broos).

In my opinion, Glorantha works best with Stone/Bronze/Iron Age cultures -
Celtic/Saxon/Viking Orlanthi, American Indian Praxians, Mongol Pentains,
Paleolithic/Mesolithic Votanki, Bronze-Age Balazarings, Neolithic Trolls,
Hunter-Gathering Aldryami and so on. Dara Happa and the Lunar Empire are, in
my eyes, based on the Near East cultures of Mesopotamia, whether Assyrian
Carmanians, Babylonian Lunars or whatever. Kralorela is based on Chinese
society which reached Iron Age technology and never needed to advance any
further.

The only fly in the ointment are the Western Cultures. They are based on
mediaeval societies and, to tell the truth, I have never felt comfortable
with them. This is mainly because I have never rated Western History past the
Vikings - give me the early Heroic Ages any time. If I could think of any
model rather than the Mediaeval European one to use then I would do, but my
mind fails me. Maybe someone else could have a go?

In any case, the only cultures with a sophisticated level of technology are
the Mostali (which is good because we can throw tanks and grenades at PCs)
and the Westerners (which is bad, with the exception of the Brithini who
should be capable of any level of technology but dare not experiment as it
may taint their souls and cause them to break their caste taboos).The
Jrusteli advanced technology too far and look what happened to them. Give me
cultures which are less advanced technoligically but more advanced socially
any day.

What Do I Want?
=============

(Glad you asked, Mr Morden).

1. More Gloranthan Background.
2. Information on major personalities (Cragspider, Sir Ethilrist, Jar-Eel,
Harrek, Argrath etc.)
3. Scenario cameos.
4. Material on Pent, the Lunar Empire, The Hero Plane.
5. 30 miles to 1" maps of the Lunar Empire and Ralios.
6. More momomyth articles, or at least more in the style of Cult of Terror
describing events and histories clearly and without prejudice.

What Don't I want?
===============

1. Micky-Mouse low-level scenarios with no background.
2. Reprints of earlier material (it may be selfish, but I have all those and
don't need to buy another description of the Kyger Litor cult).
3. Glorantha the Game to actively compete with RuneQuest.
4. To have to learn three or four game systems in order to keep up with
Glorantha.
5. Self-contradictory publications which you have to wade through with every
other supplement to hand in order to extract useful information.
6. Hearing hundreds of people writing in and saying what they want - even
though I have done this, I would MUCH rather the question not have been
raised.

When people have asked where are the new Gloranthan supplements, or whatever
happened to RuneQuest, several people have replied to the effect of "Why
don't you get off your backsides and write some yourself?" This is something
that I passionatley disagree with. Most of the people playing RuneQuest and
using the world of Glorantha do it as a hobby, nothing more, nothing less.
Even those of us who GM and wirte things for the campaign have no wish to
take the next step and try for publication. Why should we? If I want to read
some fiction, do I have to go out and write a novel first? Of course not.
What I would like is for those people who see themselves as Game Publishers
to actually do that and start publishing games/supplements. Tales of the
Reaching Moon have done a good job in recent years (although it would
frighten me if anyone told me how long ago the first edition came out) but
Avalon Hill screwed us up completely. Chaosium have announced their new
initiative, but nothing practical has come of it as yet. Should we hold our
breath - I doubt it.

Anyway, too tired to think of much else.

Simon

(AOL does not give me a signature - unless, of course, any of the AOL gurus
could tell me how to set one up?)

------------------------------


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 16:57:23 EEST