RE: sandy's maunderings

From: Sandy Petersen (SPetersen@ensemble-studios.com)
Date: Tue 02 Sep 1997 - 21:49:40 EEST


HERD MEN

In my opinion, herd men do not differ genetically from the ordinary
Praxian humans around them. It's more fun for them to look just like
"normal" people, for many game-related reasons.
        It's unreasonable for the Morocanth breeding program to have
gone anywhere. Breeding humans for size/etc., is, quite simply.
Extremely hard. Here's why.
        1) humans are incredibly slow-breeding. Off-hand, the only
animals I can think of that breed more slowly are elephants, chambered
nautili, and coelacanths.
        2) humans pair-bond. I believe that herd men tend to do this
just as do we, though they're doubtless less "loyal" to their spouses.
This makes interbreeding harder. Not impossible, just harder. Having
herd-men pair-bond is definitely MGF. What can be cooler than having a
female herd man get a crush on a PC? I bet she won't be coy. Or, as has
happened in my campaign, have an awakened herd man pine for his lost
mate.
        3) there is a constant influx of genes from Praxians and oasis
folk.

Incidentally, Morocanth wouldn't breed for larger breasts, at least not
for the purpose of feeding children. Larger breasts don't produce more
milk, and sometimes they're harder for infants to suckle from. On the
other hand, if large breasts were tastier to morocanths ... but
morocanth are unlikely to sacrifice prime breeding stock for food. They
mainly just eat the male cubs and elderly herd folk, IMO.

Guy Hoyle's comments on herd-men psychology (based on his playing one in
my campaign) are very apropos. I recommend them strongly to anyone who
actually wants to do a lot of thinking about herd men.

Trotsky
>The problem is that if Herd Men need more nourishing food than other
herd animals, it puts the >Morokanth at too large a disadvantage v. the
other tribes
        Not at all. ALL the animals of Prax fare better on some diets
than others. Impalas do fine on dry scrub, while high llama like tree
leaves. It's not that herd men need "more nourishing" food; it's just
different food. Herd men eat insects and frogs when they catch them
(they're still herbivores - lots of herbivores eat the occasional bit of
animal matter). They also eat berries, nuts, and dig up roots. This
latter is their mainstay. Here is where herd men are better than other
types of beasts; they can peel cattail stalks, tear off the tough outer
skin of cactus leaves to get at the pulp, climb trees to get at the
nuts, dig up roots, or dig down for water. Herd men can do all these
things, plus have much better vision, so they are actually a fine herd
beast. Their main disadvantage is that they breed slowly, but on the
other hand they're smarter than other herd beasts, can be taught to
attack with clubs and throw stones, and they live a lot longer. So
they're a perfectly acceptable type of beast.

Guy
>> . . . I think that they must have at > least some meat in their diets
as well, such as rats, small >toads and > frogs, and the occasional
fish.

Carl Fink
>Why? Humans don't. Plenty of people live on purely vegetarian diets
here on Earth.
        These humans live in cultivated areas, with a reliable array of
foods. Herd men are foragers, and I don't know of any foraging culture
that is strictly vegetarian. I agree that a herd man _could_ survive on
a purely vegetarian diet, but I'm sure they eat the grubs and ant larvae
they dig up with their roots, and that they try to catch lizards and
rodents when they can. I don't think they eat lots of meat -- they're
still herbivores. But I'm sure most herd men eat some type of animal
matter almost every week. Note: I don't think they'll eat herd man meat.

Ian Thomson asks:
>How do people handle RQ combat?
        I don't have that many of them. When I do, it's a major event.

Peter Hindman
>Can anyone point me to references on the distinctions between beast-men
and hsunchen?
        Beast-men are hybrid monsters, half-animal/half-man. Hsunchen
are humans who believe that they are descended from animals, who live
amongst or nearby their animal "cousins", and worship a particular
beast-god. Lycanthropes may prosper amongst hsunchen, and so may the
appropriate beast-men, but they are not the same.
        Hsunchen are DEFINITELY human. Their god has the Beast Rune, not
the Human Rune, but this is unimportant.
        Example: on Three-Beast-Island, one of the islands boasts some
folk descended from cattle hsunchen (though they're now more civilized).
They still honor and respect minotaurs, but minotaurs are NOT the same
as the people.
        Dragonewts are not Dragon Hsunchen, because dragonewts aren't
human in the slightest. They don't even have a human hit location table.

        Newtlings aren't humanoid either. However, if there were newt
hsunchen, they'd probably worship newtlings. Or sacrifice them ritually,
or something.

Peter Metcalfe
>The Beast people dwell in two regions: Kanthor's Isles and the Beast
valley where no >Hsunchen live.
        There is also a population of beast-men on the Pamaltelan veldt.
They are relics from the blasphemous experiments of the Six-Legged
Empire, and are generally hostile monsters. They have centaurs, rascullu
(a sort of rhino-centaur), manticores, and others. No minotaurs, though,
in keeping with the fact that no cloven-hooved mammals live on the
veldt.

Tal Meta (has questions about my Sorcery)
>While it doesn't state so specifically in the description or the
example given, would it be correct >to assume that Banish works like a
kind of "anti-Intensity", and that to weaken the other guy's >Resist
Magic 6, you'd have to hit him with Resist Magic Banish x?
        it says: "For each level of Banish, 1 point of the defending
spell is cancelled. To use this Art, you actually cast the very spell
you wish to dispel (but it does not take effect)." Hence yes, you cast
Resist Magic Banish x to weaken his spell.
>Is there a Banish vs. Intensity resistance roll? (should there be?)
        Only if it is Banishing a Resist Magic spell (which can try to
resist the Banish effect). For other spells, the Banish just does a
straight subtraction from the other spell's Intensity.
* Was surprised though to see Held spells take up Presence, and am
still not quite comfortable >with Permanence costing that point of POW.
Held spells are a good thing to have. Why not make him pay in Presence
for it?
        What should Permanence cost besides POW?
>Lunar magic looks like it's still in beta; the costs seem a bit high.
        Really? Oh, I see, my mistake. You are supposed to use as much
Lunar Magic as the _highest_ of any other Art, not equal to all other
Arts. Sorry, my mistake.
Sirgio_Mascarenhas
>Why is the adaptability of ducks such a mistery?
        Their adaptability isn't a mystery - their PAST is a mystery.
Because they adapt to local cultures, and change their mythos, history,
and even genealogies, it's hard to say what they were a hundred or a
thousand years ago.

>IMGwhat you say is the typical example of human myopia when analising
duck's behaviour. >Ducks adapt and change... at the skin level. At a
deep level they are very resilient.
        In your game you can do as you please, of course. But I hold to
the opinion that traditionally in Glorantha ducks have been good
Sartarites, not just skin-deep. I also believe that there's no point in
having ducks unless their personality and nature is just as shallow as
it seems. The whole point of being a weird little cranky guy is to _be_
him, not to have some kind of epic history backing you up.

>Think about africans: they were forced to incorporate catholicism so
but they keept their >traditional beliefs in spirits, magic, etc.
        Ducks aren't humans.

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