Compass Work further problems.

From: Lorne D. Booker (
Date: Fri 09 May 1997 - 05:22:52 EEST

Hi all,

Sorry folks. I sent this out the other day (or so I thought) but, it
didn't take. I thought I'd repeat it now for what it is worth.

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

I just have a few supporting comments to make.

> There is one more thing to complicate your example. Your example
> presumes that you know an absolute direction. The problem is that you
> have nothing to tell you any absolute direction.


> All that two compases, each pointing in different directions, tells you
> the angle between the directions they are pointing in. That's it. They
> give no other information.

If I understand the authors correctly (and I hope that they will tell me if
I don't) they are (essentially) both pointing out some of the difficulties
of obtaining a bearing.

In order to obtain a bearing you need two things. First,you need a method
of quantifying a bearing. That is you need some conceptual construct that
allows you to measure bearings. You have to be able to say that object A
is 29, Trolpecs for example, from whatever direction the needle is
pointing. Second, you need a means of measuring direction in those units.
 Rocks aren't liable to be specific.


Bearings themselves aren't all that useful unless you have an accurate map
(as someone else mentioned) in the last digest. Accurate maps are
difficult to make unless you have a means of measuring distance. The

ability to measure distance is insufficient unless you have mathematical
methods of extrapolate unknown information from known information.
 Presumably trigonometry doesn't exist in Glorantha.

Someone could come up with a magical way of making maps and could throw
these objections out the window.

It is more likely that our PCs would have rough maps that would give them
the general lay out of an area. That's okay though, I don't think that
we'll be asking them to call in artillery by grid reference.


In all fairness, nobody said that they wanted a really detailed idea of
where they were. If your map is only a rough representation of the area
you are in, and if your rocks only give you a rough idea of the direction
to the object you want, then you'll only have a general idea of where you
are. That is all you probably want.

Adventure is all about deprivation - of various sorts - after all. Danger
is exciting and getting lost is dangerous.


Knowing precisely where you are, where everything else is, having access to
cheap maps, having defined the world, changes the world as you know it and,
your place within it. This kind of knowledge changed the our perception of
the Earth. It would change the Glorantha for our adventurers.



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