re: RQ Daily

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Tue 25 Jan 1994 - 07:10:26 EET

re: Gloranthan names

Unlike many world-makers (M.A.R. Barker, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc.), Greg's interest has never been in linguistics, and he has no lengthy tedious dictionaries of Aldryami, or Darktongue. Basically, he comes up with names as he sees fit, in a fairly disorganized fashion. I've noticed a tendency for chaos names to be clumsy and hard to pronounce, and troll names tend to be alliterative, but I think Greg's "technique" is to see if a name sounds "right" to him. When working on the all-Gloranthan box (which magically transformed itself into the all-Genertela box, leaving the Seas and Pamaltela for later -- I hope), I tried to organize as many names as possible into like groups. But 'twas impossible for most of Genertela, for which I blame the God-Learner influence.

someone (ngl?) writes:

>Only problem with ignite without special backup is that you get shot
>twice before these guys come into range. More often if they just
>stay outside standard magic and thrown missile range...

Remember that practitioners of Lunar Magic get an enhanced range on their spirit magic -- don't think they don't use it.

>No Fantasy or pre-firearms warrior would ever have thought of
>covering an advance or retreat with small missile fire (bows,

Looky here -- I can't speak for Fantasy warriors -- they have little reference to the real world. A D&D warrior easily takes on ten times his number of less-skilled opponents and falls 30 meters without crippling injury. Didn't we turn to RQ to avoid this kind of unrealistic crapola? Pre-firearms warriors used missiles to cover advances and retreats all the time -- they just did it in a different manner. The Romans always flung their pila before charging -- the defenders were thus broken up and confused for just a second, then the Romans hit 'em. In the same way, the Vikings used thrown axes before charging, and the Mongols used missile fire to make opponents spread out, thinning their ranks before the lancers charged.

The Crimean War example was perhaps not the best, because it was mostly a siege -- at which missile expenditure/hit-bad-guys ratios skyrocket. (During the Civil War, it didn't take any 5000 shots to hit your target -- more like 100).

>the desired result is not the kill, but the temporary crippling of

>the opponent, to use as slaves or sacrifices or to hold for ransom


A "temporarily crippled" opponent generally died in an ancient battle. The killed/wounded ratio was the reverse of the modern one, except when fighting purely bow-armed foes. (The U.S. Cavalry in the Indian Wars found that 1 in 14 men wounded by arrows died, as I recall. Also, most fatalities were guys hit by multiple arrows.)

But the majority of ancient battles were fought to kill the enemy, NOT to take slaves. The war might have been to gain slaves or conquests -- but the battles are still designed to beat the foe in the best manner known. Think of the wars of the Assyrians, the Byzantines, the Punic Wars, Tamerlane's dreadful invasion of Delhi -- they weren't half-assed attempts to cripple guys, but all-out destruction on a scale rarely reached even in modern war. The Athens-Sparta wars weren't fought for prisoners, but for complex political reasons. I feel that the Aztec Flower Wars are quite an exceptional development in the history of warfare.

>Most actual killing occurred when the battle was decided.

It is true that most killing occurred when the battle was already decided, but the purposeful killing -- the killing that mattered to the battle's outcome -- occurred when it was being fought. Once the important killing was won or lost, the huge bag of guys you got to kill in the retreat was a bonus -- your reward for winning the battle.

>I like to think of them as similar to Scythian or Persian knights,
>quite heavily armored and equipped with sabres, lances ... as well.

I think of them as Mongols, Huns, or Scythians. Not so much Persians. While I'm sure there's plenty of lancers amongst the Pentans, they aren't jacks of all trades. Though an archer might have a spear or sword as back-up, he's still mainly an archer.

>[re: the Market spell] There is no damage mentioned,

The rules say, "identical to a Warding 1 in most respects". If you read the Travels of Biturian Varosh it's clear that the Market spell can hurt or kill you, if lots are stacked together with Create Great Market. I know that I and Greg have always played that it does damage, but obviously every campaign is privileged to make its own decisions about spell interpretation.

>I like to think that 100 part time worshippers produce as much mana
>as the sacrifice of one point of permanent POW, if rules values are

I'm sold. Until my players try to abuse this rule.

>The only way the horse retained anything of fire is its temperament,

>even according to the Hippoi myth.

I, on the other hand, think that the horse is still the Beast of Fire, just as the Bull is the Beast of Air, and the Pig the Beast of Earth. So there. Nyah.

>>I have read a text (I think in Troll Pak) which stated that the 1st

>>Age Theyalans overthrew the horse nomads of Peloria with the help
>>of... Ralian non-Sun-worshipping horse riders. These latter can
>>only be the Galanini.

>There can be plenty of horse-riding non-Sun worshipers. Tarsh exiles

>ride horses. Malkioni ride horses.

>>I was inaccurate again: I meant horse nomads.

Yes, but did the Trollpak text refer to nomads or just riders? There's as yet no evidence that the Galanini are non-Sun-Worshipping. In my own campaign, they honor and respect the Sun and related cults, but most of them worship Galan, Hyalor, or Hunter.

Okay. Here's my reasons for believing that the Praxians are not descendents of Hsunchen.

  1. No Hsunchen eat their cult animals. They are kin, not prey.
  2. Hsunchen magic turns you into your animal. No Praxian magic even remotely resembles this.
  3. Ancestor Worship is NOT the same as Hsunchen worship, and in fact is quite different in both form and beliefs.
  4. Hsunchen believe that they are descendents of their animals. The Praxians very clearly are not. They do provide worship to an Ancestress of their Herds, but it is to ensure the herds' safety and prosperity -- propitiatory worship.
  5. Hsunchen is a religion, not a racial type. IF (and only IF) the Praxians were once Hsunchen way back before the Gods War, they are certainly no longer such in any degree. No Hsunchen would recognize them as co-religionists.
  6. I deny the force of some of your examples. The Hsunchen venerate local forces of nature, as do the Praxians. But so does everyone else, from the Theyalans to the Oslir River people.

        The Praxians have the Paps. The Basmoli have Hrelar Amali. The trolls have a Castle of Lead. Are they Hsunchen?

So, how'd I do? Did I penetrate the flame-proof suit, or were my arguments too specious?

>I really have problems with the reasons why Eiritha would not allow
>horses in Prax.

Well, obviously it's not really Eiritha who's failing to allow horses in Prax, since the Pent nomads worship Eiritha, and they ride horses. However, Eiritha is used by the Pentans only to benefit their cattle herds, not their horses.

>The Pamaltelan urban societies are either coastal, i.e. God Learner
>tainted, or extinct, stemming from the Artmali Empire. (Fonrit
>actually qualifies for both.) These pre-darkness Lunars had a
>culture little is published about. The Doraddi have only recently
>developed city-like structures, the wagon cities of the Kresh.

This is true, but may be a tiny bit misleading for those who are not as versed in Pamaltelan history. Pamaltelan cities stem from several sources. The cities of Umathela and Fonrit were founded in the God Time, but were taken over by God Learners in the Second Age. The cities along the coasts of Elamle and Onlaks mostly come from the Second or Third Age, but were originally not God Learner (though they traded with them). A whole lot of cities were founded in the interior of the Doraddi lands during the Second Age -- this was the time of the Six-Legged Empire.

Note that the Doraddi do NOT regard themselves as not-yet-urban primitives. They point out that in the Godtime, the Artmali Empire ruled their land. In the Second Age, the Six-Legged Empire ruled their land. They claim that civilization is the original state of mankind but is bad for the soul. They have chosen to go on to the next stage of development -- the happy nomad (i.e., Noble Red Man type stuff). They point out that in the Golden Age, everything was static and dull -- and civilized. Basically, they look at the development of mankind backwards from the common Genertelan view. Those few Pamaltelans that know a little about Genertela also point out that the same cultural development works there -- look at the Prax nomads, advanced now far "beyond" the civilized Golden Folk.

The "wagon cities" of the Kresh are temporary constructs that dissolve after a season or so, to reform in a new place.

re: Malkioni and Mostali

I'd like to request that everyone using the word "Malkioni" when they really mean "Brithini" shape up! The Malkioni aren't opposed to reproduction, only the Brithini. The Malkioni aren't soulless, only the Brithini. The Malkioni aren't big jerks, only the Brithini.

Sandy Petersen

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 10 Oct 2003 - 01:32:52 EEST