Re: Herbs and runes

From: Jane Williams (
Date: Tue 21 Oct 1997 - 00:36:17 EEST

Luc Lavergne said:

> You suggested that using the full set of runes could be a better
> system. Let's give it a try

And he did.... ye gods, I was right. Do we really want something that
complicated? Would anyone use it? (Nice job, BTW. I just wish I thought
it was playable).

Meanwhile in a private email Steve Martin pointed out that I should be
looking at how runes really relate.
> these are Plants (Plant Rune), which can be divided by type (Power
> Rune), each of which has some associations with certain Element Runes.
That might make more sense. I need more runes than the five elements, but
not too many.

To remind anyone who hasn't read the RQ2 rules recently (is this stuff
anywhere else?), runes are divided into groups.
Elements: darkness, water, earth, air, fire, [moon]
Forms: plant, beast, man, dragonnewt, spirit, chaos
Conditions: mastery, magic, infinity
Powers (opposing pairs): harmony/disorder, fertility/death,
stasis/movement, truth/illusion, luck/fate

I don't see the Condition runes are being useful in this context, but
the Power ones do distinguish between plant types. Do we need all of
them? Borrowing Steve's ideas and some of Luc's, and trying to cover just
"what the plant does":

Harmony: healing
Disorder: ? makes you mildy ill? senna pods?
Fertility: all food plants, plus those which give aphrodisiacs
Death: poisons (though we get into trouble here: a healing drug can
poison in the wrong dose)
Stasis: um... plants whose root systems hold the soil together?
Movement: plants that cure paralysis? That improve reflexes? Caffeine?
Truth: interrogation drugs?
Illusion: yes! hallucinogenics!
Luck: four-leaf clovers and so on. Improves the chances of another herb
working (especially if it shouldn't)
Fate: makes sure the cure works as intended: no unexpected results either
good or ill.

This is starting to look very strained, especially towards the end. But,
it seems obvious to me that some herbs do have runic associations.

To give an example, there's a plant which, if you drop the juice of the
berries in your eyes, improves your night vision. Associated with Light,
possibly hostile to Darkess, right? However if you drink the juice, even
a drop, it's lethal, attacking the respiratory system (so I'm told).
Death rune, and hostile to Air, obviously. Too complicated? That's a RW
herb: deadly nightshade, in fact. I picked it because it was so simple
and easy to put into game terms compared with a lot of the stuff in the

Jane Williams


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