RE: The lump is wrong!

From: Sandy Petersen (SPetersen@ensemblestudios.com)
Date: Wed 05 Nov 1997 - 00:31:07 EET


Clay Luther:
        >I was reading the aforementioned article on Gold Wheel Dancers
(and other items) when I got a lump in the >pit of my stomach. It was
saying, "There's just too much Gloranthan information you will never
even have a >chance to learn. Don't even try." But, maybe the lump was
wrong after all...

THE LUMP IS WRONG! DON'T LISTEN TO IT! When you want a fact about
Glorantha, and you don't know where to look it up, I urge you to make it
up yourself! What can go wrong? As I see it, there are three
possibilities:
        1) You'll get the "right" answer anyway. This is pretty likely,
since Glorantha stems from a limited information base - quite often
folks independently come to the same conclusion. Pretend you needed to

write up a modern-day cult of Only Old One worshippers - I bet whatever
cult you came up with would be close enough to the "final" version (if
one was ever published) to be perfectly workable.
        2) Nothing will ever get published on that fact. This is also
pretty likely. I doubt stats for Gold Wheel Dancers will ever be

published, for instance. So go ahead and do it on your own. Maybe others
will benefit from your lore. When I first started traveling to
Pamaltela, almost nothing was known of it. As a result of my
explorations, lots was uncovered. If you need to know more about Teleos,
go there! You might end up being the best interpreter of it.
        3) You'll get Gregged. Tough. Your own inventions are likely to
be better for your campaign than Greg's, or mine, or anyone else's.
Ignore what we say, or rationalize it after the fact. I don't care for
the Elmal history myself, so I just ignore it. I advise you to do the
same.

>Jose Ramos suggested that Brithini Talars could be taken rather easily
by using mounted warriors.
        Throughout human history, good infantry has been able to defeat
good cavalry, all things being equal. The fabled knightly charges could
be stopped cold by a mass of drilled pikemen. Arab horse archers found
it very difficult to penetrate defensive screens of crossbowmen.
Napoleonic cavalry could not break a line of drilled troops.
        The Horali are exceedingly good infantry, and for the last two
ages, most of their foes have had a strong mounted arm. They know
exactly what to do vs. cavalry. It is true that the Horali cannot carry
the battle to the horsemen, but that's what the Brithini wizards are
for.

BABEESTER GOR
        > Axe Trance: if she's at 90% skill anyway, how often > does she
miss? And her axe doesn't impale.

>But can critical: all the criticisms I've seen of that spell have
involved driving the crit % to obscene levels.

OK, let's take it to the limit. With a skill of ~2000%, she'll critical
on a roll of 01-95. That costs ~200 MPs, or 20 MPs each from 10 buddies,

each of whom needs a Mindlink. Thus, in order to produce the
always-criticalling Gor-girl, you need not only Axe Trance, but 10 POW
(for the Mindlinks) and 200 MPs. For that much POW & MPs, I can have my
own troops cast 5 Fear spells, each boosted by 10 MPs. And you have 150
MPs left over, to cast a Protection 5 & Bludgeon 5 on each of 15
warriors. While there are circumstances where you'd rather have the
all-conquering Babeester Gor warrior maid, I submit that they are few.
If she's not killed by one of the Fear spells, she's wiped out shortly
by the multiple warriors, who also make short work of her 10 buddies who
have just wasted their 20 MPs.
        Magical ecology demands that you look at the whole picture, not
just the result of one single overly gross individual. There's always a
tendency to look at just one aspect of a cult and get a misshapen image.
For instance, Eiritha and Foundchild are notorious for being puny cults.
But try to survive in the Wastes as a society without using one or the
other. With the Babeester Gor cult, you end up with a very small number
of very elite warriors who have no personal lives. It's not really a

viable cult on its own, but requires a host of support mechanisms.
Furthermore, it's not a valid war cult. Babeester Gorlings don't band
together in regiments to fight their foes - they stick to their temples,
and the guards of one temple aren't necessarily buddies with those of
another. That said, there must be a regiment or two of Babs maidens
somewhere in the world. Esrolia seems like a likely source - they're
probably the only soldiers worth their salt in the whole pitiful nation.

Me
        >Great Parry: attack twice, use missile weapons, or rely on
magic and
        >you've bypassed it. For that matter any shield with AP stronger
than
        >your attack is as good as a Great Parry.

George Harris:
>Attack twice, and Babs' attack (which you can't parry) comes before
your second.
        Why are you attacking her one-on-one? Are you some kind of
idiot? Gang up on her. She can kill (at most) one of you a round, and
probably not even that many. Note that missile weapons, magic,
elementals, etc. are effective as hell even when you don't have superior
numbers.
        >Slash: is one woman with an 8d6 Axe attack as useful as 5
Truesworded
        >Humakti?

>Why one against 5? Are five women with 3d6 Axe attack as useful as five
Truesworded Humakti? How about five women with 4d6 attack as opposed to
five Humakti with Truesword & Shield? Pretty much a wash.
        In answer to your questions: Because an 8d6 axe requires 5 Slash
spells, which are equal to 5 Trueswords.
No, because the Humakti are doing 4d8 damage each and their swords are
less likely to break on a fumble (because of the Rune magic on them),
and a sword is better than an axe if damage factors are equal (because
it's likelier to damage the axe than vice versa).

        Yes, but that's exactly my point. Slash ISN'T better than
Truesword, point for point. It's just another spell.
        A single boosted Mindblast and
        >your Female Death Machine is out of action.

>Well, unless she's cast Berserk, which makes her immune to
mind-affecting magic...
        If she's Berserk, her vaunted Great Parry is no longer of
concern, and you can substitute the words "Sever Spirit", "Lightning",
"Sun Spear" etc. for "Mindblast" at your leisure.
         >The Berserk attacks twice a round since he can't parry anyway
(which
        >pretty much cancels out the Great Parry), and gets +8 armor,
which
        >cancels out the 2 points of Slash. I'd bet on him in any fair
fight.

>He can't attack the same target twice,
        Certainly he can, even if you stick to the RQ4 rules - he just
wields two separate weapons, which is normal Storm Bull fighting
technique when berserk.
>). It's just that Babs has access to virtually *all* the useful combat
magic - Slash, Axe Trance, Shield, Berserk, >Great Parry, Invigorate -
so that Babs can be the ultimate combat machine. Not that there's
anything wrong with >that, but don't pretend it's not true.
        I'm not pretending anything. Babs is NOT the ultimate combat
machine. A Babeester Gor warrior doesn't get any more POW to buy her
Runespells with than anyone else. If a Gor maiden gets 10 points of rune
magic, and <insert cult name> gets 10 points of Rune magic, the latter
will be roughly as tough as she will, though he may be less flexible.
She might cast Slash, Axe Trance, Great Parry, and Shield 5, while he
only gets Shield 10, but that's hardly a totally ineffectual result from
his point of view.

        There is no ultimate combat machine unless you count the Horali
or Kingdom of War. Babeester Gor warriors are, in fact, notoriously weak
vs. magic-, missile-, or chaos-wielding foes, a weakness not shared by
all combat cults. There are certain war cults that BG has little chance

to defeat, notably Golden Bow and Seven Mothers.
        There's reasons that the Earth is no longer the ruling pantheon
in Genertela, and one of them is that these deities tend to be feeble
in combat, all things being equal. BG is the least feeble among them -
and in fact is pretty damn tough within her limited field of view, but
there are heaps of ways to defeat her. Which is too bad, really, because
I'm a big fan of Babeester Gor myself, having invented both Slash & Axe
Trance (for instance). On the other hand, it means that when she's
hunting certain foes, she'll be obliged to take allies with her, and
that leads to MGF, because a party of all BG initiates would be grim
indeed.
        But if she has to hunt down some chaos, it's only sensible to
take Storm Bulls along. If hunting trolls, some Lodril, Yelm, Yelmalio,
or Orlanth warriors make sense. Folks are usually happy to help her. Not
because they care what BG thinks of them, but because BG's sisters will
be pleased, and most folks like them heaps.
David Cake:
>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.
        Storm Bull is an Ally of both Ernalda & Chalana Arroy, hence has
plenty of access to all the spells he needs.
>Add to that that it is an awful lot easier to become a priestess of BG
than it is to become a Storm Khan
        Giving up marriage, being forced to eat jerked penises, and
seriously scarifying your body are easy? In addition to the fact that
there are rarely any openings for a new priestess, whereas there is
almost always a need for a new Storm Khan. In the worst case, you can
qualify for Storm Khan and start up your own branch of the Bull, without
reference to any other temple. You can't do this with Babeester Gor -
for a new temple to form requires that Voria, Ernalda, Maran Gor, etc.,
found a temple for her to guard. You simply don't find BG on her own -
she's always in association with other Earth cults. And unlike most
cults, the decision as to whether or not a new priestess is needed isn't
entirely up to your own cult hierarchy - the Ernalda and Maran Gor cults
have to agree that she's needed as well. Babeester Gor priestesses are
very rare.
>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.
        Well, duh. Player-characters join cults that are better for
them, not cults that are best for the world-as-a-whole. A hell of a lot
more than 2% of all Sartarite PCs are Humakti. What's wrong with that?
I'm sure that Babeester Gor is heavily over-represented amongst PCs and
that's fine with me.
>Sandy eventually chimed in that he deliberately made the Axe Trance
spell overpowered compared to similar >spell.
        That's right. It's overpowered if you add in the extra stuff
needed to make it work right (i.e., a bunch of Mindlinks & Magic
Points). Given that, it's fine with me.
        It's possible that GMs might be distraught at the thought of
2000% Axe Trance warriors shattering their scenarios. Here's ten
solutions:
        1) Missile Weapons - obvious, I know.
        2) Attack Magic - Sunspears, Mindblast, Thunderstones, and
Shatter put the kibosh on her.
        3) Delaying tactics - run away for 15 minutes and her spells
expire.
        4) Numbers - multiple enemies are always a killer in RQ. You can
combine this with the other techniques, too.
        5) Dispel Magic - 6 MPs and Great Parry goes the way of all
flesh. Unfortunately, any reasonable Axe Trance is almost impossible to
dispel becausee of all the MPs. Ah well.
        6) Evil Spirits - Great Parry, Axe Trance, and Slash are
worthless vs. ghosts, and even elementals can be quite effective against
a BG woman. You'll need two elementals, because she'll Slash the first
one to reach her.
        7) Chaos Features - gorps don't care about Slash. Other chaos
features are fine, too - breath fire or acid, frex.
        8) Fly - she can't get at you. Use a sylph, frex.
        9) Be an ally of the Earth, yet an enemy of the PCs. The BG
warrior won't be able to fight her.
        10) Distract her with an earth enemy that she _must_ go after
but which keeps her away from the main action.

Nick Brooke writes
                >>> the actual effect [of the War of the Giants and
Dragons] on Glorantha >> today can be written on the back >of a postage
stamp.
Now nick, you know very well this isn't so. The War of the Giants and
Dragons is probably titanically important. It's just that no one today
knows anything about it.
Plate tectonics on Earth are mighty important, and have mightily
influenced human evolution, culture, and history. But no one on the
planet knew a single thing about them before the last few decades. The
parallel with the Giant/Dragon war is even better when you realize that
even though we now DO know about Plate Tectonics, our knowledge has
little utility insofar as our future evolution, culture, and history.
We'll keep being influenced by it, willy-nilly.

Joerg
>A fantasy zoo is actually located in the Rightarm Isles.
        And not only that, but there is a single lonely hobbit in it, a
lost waif from some old D&D/RQ overlap campaign.

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