Stayin alive with the BGs

From: David Cake (
Date: Tue 04 Nov 1997 - 00:26:17 EET

Mr Tines delurks and offers us some comments about Babeester Gor
>> From time to time people will complain that, say, the cult of
>> Babeester Gor gets magic that is way too useful.
>Every so often people make this claim, and I never
>can believe it. Let's look at those spells

>Great Parry - an entirely futile spell, if your Dodge%
>exceeds your Shield Parry% : and a sucessful dodge also
>means you're not affected by knockback.

        As people by the thousand will no doubt point out, to dodge a
special you need a special, to dodge a critical you need a critical. While

a normal Great Parry will stop a critical. You are probably using the dodge
rules incorrectly.
        The only real problem with Great Parry is that, unlike Shield, it
can't be usefully combined with Berserk (which Babs also has).

>Slash - for 3 points of POW, you can emulate Fireblade,
>a 4 point battlemagic spell, with the following
>benefits i) duration ii) doesn't come off your magic
>resistance iii) flexibility of increment.

        Actually, for 3 point of POW you can do a great deal better than
Fireblade, as the damage from Slash is added to the existing weapon damage,
whereas Fireblade is not. So a 1 point of Slash is roughly the equivalent
of Fireblade (takes a 1d8+2 battleaxe to an average damage of 6.5+3.5=10
compared Fireblades 10.5), and you can then keep adding points on top of
that with no stacking limit, which is a BIG advantage.

        Add to these two spells that they also get the most useful combat
spells that are widely available, like Berserk, Shield, and Command Gnome
(gnomes are really really tough), plus the very great potential available
from Axe Trance (much better than comparable spells like Arrow Trance, if
you have a few MPs to spare - and even just an average Allied spirit can
easily provide enough to get you +100% or more), then the Babeestor Gor
warriors are very very tough. And whats more they get all this from
standard Priestess status, which is generally easier to attain than the
'Rune Lord Priest' type status of a Sword or a Storm Khan or similar (who 5
skills at 90%). The BGs kick ass.
        Of course, again, who wants to be one. The BGs don't get to
'adventure' like the other fighting cults - they get vengeance missions.
They have strict rules, including ritual scarification. Everyone thinks
they are crazy. The GM can allow one if he wants, or not, very easily. But
it is quite definately true that they are an exceptionally powerful
fighting cult, with probably the most combat effective set of spells in the
game. Even more dangerous than Gorakiki-Beetle! (I've always thought that
the real secret to troll fighting prowess was not ZZ, but Gorakiki-Beetle.
Give 'em 6 points of divine magic, and they have 3 attacks, 2 parries, and
more armour than you can shake a stick at.)

Sandys comparison of the BG cult with the Storm
Khans has some gaping flaws as well
>Take a warrior with 5 points of Rune Magic:
>Babeester Gor: Slash 2, Great Parry
>Storm Khan: Berserk, Shield 4

        If that combination of magic is better, then the BG warrior will
choose than instead, if she felt that was a better combination, options not
open to the Storm Khan. And if you already have Berserk and Shield 4, Slash
and Axe Trance (Slash especially) make an excellent complementary set. Its
not just the specialist spells of BG that make them tough, its the range of
options. Just to rub in the superiourity of BG to Storm Bull - the Storm
Bull is completely incapacited after his Berserk finishes, at -100 fatigue,
but the BG priestess has access to Invigorate, which restores all fatigue
instantly. Neat, hey?
        Add to that that it is an awful lot easier to become a priestess of
BG than it is to become a Storm Khan, and its obvious that the BGs have
better combat magic. In battle type situations, they are only slightly
worse off than cults like Storm Bull in terms of useful magic, and that is
probably counteracted by the fact that they have more of it (BG Acolytes
and Priests are both easier to become that Storm Khans by a large margon)
per worshipper. Humakt is better in battle situations, but thats what
Humakti do.
        And lets face it, most RPGs are more concerned with the individual
hero than the large battle, making the BGs alleged disadvantage actually an
advantage to virtually all players.
        Axe Trance, by the way, is a particularly useful spell to the BGs
in their role as the fighting representatives of many Earth cults
relatively weak in fighting magic - a few Mind Links, and suddenly the
single BG has access to large numbers of MPs to power her Axe Trance. This
is very much in genre and so on - but I'm sure it scares some GMs!
        What do with the obscenely high attack %ages that you could get
from such means? Split your attack against multiple attackers. Add to that
that even if you aren't used to wielding an off hand axe, Axe Trance can
boost that to very high levels (which Berserk can't) and you can easily get
two nasty attacks in against each opponent you face. If you end up facing a
single nasty opponent, the increased critical chance (say, 15%, for skill
100%, x2 for Berserk, +100 for Axe Trance) will give you a big edge against
many rune level opponents, with a crit chance of a mere 6% or so.

        I noticed that George Harris had already written most of these
things just after I wrote this, but it was already written so I'll send it
anyway in case this makes anything clearer.

        Anyway, the point is pretty clear. Babeester Gor IS a really really
tough combat cult, far more so than most other combat cults. The only way

to stop this becoming an issue in a campaign that includes players who want
to play them is to use lots of roleplaying based restrictions. Live with
it, everybody. But don't try and pretend that they aren't really tough. I'm
particularly surprised that Sandy would say they aren't that tough - in a
previous discussion, specifically about Axe Trance, on the rules list Sandy
eventually chimed in that he deliberately made the Axe Trance spell
overpowered compared to similar spell.




End of The Glorantha Digest V5 #204

To unsubscribe from the Glorantha Digest, send an "unsubscribe"
command to Glorantha is a
Trademark of Chaosium Inc. With the exception of previously
copyrighted material, unless specified otherwise all text in this
digest is copyright by the author or authors, with rights granted to
copy for personal use, to excerpt in reviews and replies, and to
archive unchanged for electronic retrieval.

WWW at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 21:37:41 EEST