Speculations on Truestone (wrt game mechanics)

From: Robert J. McArthur (Robert.J.McArthur@vulcan.anu.edu.au)
Date: Thu 21 Nov 1991 - 09:56:33 EET

Reading some of the backcopies of the digest, I came upon one that states that a typical truestone can hold around 3 spells (points of spell?), a very good one about 6 points, and a phenomenal one 9 points. IMHO this doesn't gel with the writeup of truestone in Elder Secrets (I think). In there, it says that blank truestones can be filled by (ritual ignored) at least one rune-spell knowing person putting their hand(s) on the truestone and filling it. This filling is typically every rune spell the person knows. Now, it is possible to have more than one person help fill the truestone.

OK, most blank truestone is going to be found at the base of the block by the Storm Bull patrols who regularly check for truestone and chaos. These will be led by a lord, priest or very high level initiate (we are talking about going close to the marsh and heavy chaos, not a job for a wimpy group led by a simple initiate. This job is likely to be a very important ritual post, as are the members of the patrol. My contention is that, in general, the truestones found will be taken back to the temple and filled there - the leader will characteristically be one of the "strong-willed" people who can resist filling it one the spot.

Now, back in the temple, we have a *lot* of rune magic. Priests (and lord's and priest's allied spirits) vary enormously in the amount of rune magic they have. Given it takes (in game mechanics terms) 15 points of reusable rune magic to become a high priest, we could assume in general a hypothetically average rune priest will have 3-6 points, a lord's allied spirit 2-3. From this perspective, a 9 point truestone is not phenomenal, only taking perhaps two priest's repertoire. Of course, the size of the truestone is going to limit the number of people who can fill it: even so, in the tales of Biturian Varosh (sp?) he was talking about a "thumb-sized piece" - a *lot of people can touch that, even using two hands.

Also in evidence, I would present Biturian's tale of his wanderings. He was a priest of Issaries and had access to shield, dismiss elemental, path watch and every other spell of Issaries (and even perhaps of the associated cults). These are all mentioned in the text. He put what he felt was useful into the truestone of the Chalana Arroy priest(ess?). Now, either the stone was blank and he filled it; or Issaries spells were cast into it when it was originally filled allowing him to cast them in again (normally only those spells cast when filling the stone can be stored again - it is "set" for those spells only); or some *powerful* ritual allowed him to put them in. Forgetting how for this second, there are still a lot of spells that he could have put in the crystal to help the priest(ess).

Given all this, I would like to contribute the following:

small truestone (1-2cm sliver): 60%

15%	1-3 pt   : an initiate found it and filled it immediately
40%	2-8 pt   : a priest found it a filled it immediately
45%	6-12 pt  : taken to temple and filled by chief/high priest

medium truestone (finger sized shard): 30%
15%	1-3 pt	 : as before
35%	2-8 pt	 : as before
50%	8-20 pt  : taken to temple and filled by chief/high + 2-4 others

large truestone (fist sized rock and higher): 10%
15%	1-3 pt	 : as before
10%	2-8 pt	 : as before
35%	4-15 pt  : found and filled immediately by priest(s) and initiates
40%	20-70+ pt: taken to temple and filled by 9+ priests in huge ceremony

Naturally, the last is a temple treasure and should be treated as such. Also, most truestone will be found filled with generally available rune spells and Storm Bull/associated cult special spells. There are *very* few that have special spells from any other cults.

The percentage figures are for around the block, other areas would have vastly different percentages corresponding to the relative chance that truestone is found at all and that the stone found is un-set, as well as who found it and whether they are "strong-willed". I would suggest that the chance of a large un-set stone anywhere but the block or other large concentration of truestone would be 1% or less.

Note that all this leads to the conclusion that the storage size is determined at the time of setting, not by the intrinsic size/nature of the stone. The larger the stone, though, the higher the force on the finder to fill it immediately. Again, around the block initiates with rune spells are not selected to search for the stones, only to fill them if necessary. Thus, found stones act on their finder to fill them but usually fail as they don't have rune spells. The finder reports the find to the leader (priest &/or lord) who must then resist. If they fail, they and any others around knowing rune magic will fill the stone and set it (the number here is dependent on the size of the stone). However, even at the block, some stones are found by members other than those on patrol. And some, gasp, by non-Storm Bull scum.

What spells are in them?
Typically as I said above, they will be standard rune spells for the most part, or some stormbull or associated cult specials. Note that it is not rare to end up with a piece consisting of, for example:

        6 points Shield, 1 point Spell Teaching, 1 Summon small sylph The larger pieces may have 20+ points of Shield! I would put the chance of another cult's special magic being in a randomly selected stone at 5% or less - and this I feel is optimistic! There are other places for truestone in Glorantha but none quite as easy to get pieces from on a continuous basis.

Who gets all of these pieces?
Well, obviously Storm Bull, Eiretha (sp?), Waha, Zorak Zoran and Chalana Arroy do. Chalana Arroy would, I feel, get more than the others simply for the services that must continually be performed! A number are traded, as suggested in the Biturian text, to Issaries and Llankhor Mhy, both of whom visit the Block in great numbers in the sacred time (I think the prices mentioned in the text for truestone at the block may be a bit low though, even for Issaries merchants vs dumb (in a market sense) nomads).

Most of the pieces are kept as temple items and lent, or sometimes given, to cult members for services performed, or to be performed. A dim view is taken by authorities when such pieces are lost.

The finding and filling of a large truestone has marked the beginning of more than one temple in S.T. and has often formed the principle physical preparation for a hero quest. The problem with the latter is that the hero often forgets to give it back... :-)

Storm Khan (initiate since 1984, only 2.9 years of game-time, newly made Khan!)

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