Joerg

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About Joerg

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    Gloranthan studies
  • Birthday 01/03/1965

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    www.sartar.de

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  • RPG Biography
    Former president of Deutsche RuneQuest-Gesellschaft aka Chaos Society, Glorantha know-it-all (almost), some mentions in Glorantha publications
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    Occasional HQG, RQ and Cthulhu
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    Kiel
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    Into rpgs since1984, into world building since the 70ies, into RQ since 1989, active on RQ-Daily and successors since 1993
  1. This is... unexpected. Indeed. How did Mularik arrive at that skin coloration? A consequence of Arkati heroquesting? We have at least one heroquester changing his skin color, Belintar (starting with blue, later wearing bronze).
  2. Tablet 5 I'll let that monstrum stand for itself. Most of the Copper Tablets consists of very small changes in a static cosmos. Tablet 5 introduces the surface map of Murharzarm's Dara Happa. Cities are symbolized by Ziggurats. Each city on the outer circle has one of the planetary sons of Yelm as the orb hovering above the tower, bathing the city below with their light and magic. Possibly with their wisdom, too, as far as that goes. Two towers on the inner circle don't have a Planetary Son. One can be assumed to be Raibanth, situated beneath Yuthubars, participating in Yelm's direct glory, and elsewhere mentioned to be protected/blessed by Raiba(mus). The other ziggurat is absent from Glorious ReAscent (for Murharzarm's period), but might be located at Yuthuppa. (In which case Herustana's Hill could have been a water-worn former ziggurat.) Derdurnus hovers above an inverted tower/ziggurat/step pyramid. I know only one such edifice from Pelandan mythology, the descending pyramid of Dezarpovo. However, Spol is located in the northwest of Raibanth, not the southwest. Derdurnus as master of Brilliance should hover above Suvaria, and the Tablet sort of agrees. It is possible that the position of the descending pyramid is an error in the pictures, or we are missing some sinister myth from Suvaria. Opinions?
  3. A HeroQuest scenario is a Cameo for about any other system. You need to decide which characters you want to stat out, and how detailed, and which rolls you are likely to use to solve a conflict.
  4. So, basically a series of examples of play in different genres to illustrate the rules. For the (extremely small print run) German edition the HQ2 rules were translated, and a book of HeroQuest scenarios for all kinds of genres is about to be published. If these had samples of play, we would be there, I guess. I don't really see a need to produce a new version of HQG, except maybe with a different cultural focus (something else but the Theyalan area). HQ2 mainly needs better samples of play, and I think providing these along with scenarios might be a way to go.
  5. It doesn't take atomic theory to discern the inherent shape of certain materials. Crystallography has a lot to do with naturally found shapes of minerals (like D8 for diamonds or hexagonal columns for quartz, amethyst etc.) and how these shapes can be cut, etched and split - all within the craft of gem cutters and jewellers. Because of this, I opt for "indelible shapes" inherent in such material. All that could be subsumed in the Stasis Rune, of course, but the Stasis Rune only tells us that the shape gets preserved, not which shape. Hence my impression that Stasis is a force within the crystals, not an observable shape. There is also transmutation, e.g. of ores into metals, of liquid sea-metal into solid, of flesh into dust, smoke and ashes. The power of the Change Rune, able to affect the nature of things. Let's assume we get access to an atomic observer. (Atomic is a Gloranthan concept, after all we learn about the Outer Atomic Observers of the Imperial Age.) A drop of Water might consist of numerous Sea Runes. If it is salt water, do we get to see Mineral, Earth, or Dark Earth admixed to Water? What about wet clay, dried clay, fired clay? Glass or glazing? Ashes, salt?
  6. I haven't done a thorough read-through yet, but yesterday the Crimson Bat episode took my fancy. On p.70, last paragraph, there is a bracket to look up "Captured" on a total defeat fleeing from the pursuers. I tried to look that up, and used text search, but couldn't any section like this except p.36, which is part of the Giant's Cow heroquest and not quite applicable to the situation with the Bat. I checked whether this is a reference to "The Crimson Bat Comes To Sartar" in Sartar Companion - it isn't.
  7. The Copper Tablets in the Mythos and History section are almost a chapter of their own. First off kudos to the artwork - evocative, instructive, and a nice summary of the stellar pre-history up to the Darkness. The perspectives of the tablets are interesting: Tablets 1-4 - Side view of the Cosmos. Tablets 5-10 - View from outside, above the south. The ground remains constant - a very winding Oslir river/tamed Nestentos, a holy mountain with a tower on top in the center, two towers at its base, eight towers (the southwestern one inverted) in a circle around the mountain. For a sky disk (like e.g. the Nebra disk) I would have expected a record of the view from below, or at least between the ground and the sky. Instead, the creator of these tablets shows an extremely detached and objective view from above. This is the perspective from the Spike, and viewing only the northern quarter of the world. The known world, from a Dara Happan perspective which puts Yuthubars above Raibanth in the center of the world. Most of the time, at least. I am not certain which is the case. Tablet 1 shows the axis of the world as a pole, or stick. The three brothers sit at equal height in the sky, only the firestick is shown. Tablet 2 shows the inner world - Darkness below the earth cube (which is a wide rectangle rather than the square I would have expected), sea around it, most of the upper world is empty sky, except for the three light brothers. The Earth cube is shown barely elevated out of the water, pretty much like a floating iceberg. I would have expected higher freeboard for this and the following tablet. But then I would have expected a square rather than a rectangle for the side view of the earth, and Sea rather than Darkness at the bottom of the Earth. Those details wouldn't have mattered to a Dara Happan, though. Tablet 3 is the first tablet to show the Cosmic Mountain from the side. Possibly from the north? Or we rather see the Footstool of Raibanth, reaching up only into the Middle Sky. The three brothers switch from a side-by-side arrangement to the vertical fire-stick position. Lodril merges with the deep earth, while Dayzatar moves upward into the Upper Sky, into or even beyond the Sky Dome. Tablet 4 shows the consequences of the Birth of Umath (at least in my opinion) - the Earth Cube is pushed down enough that Nestentos, the Blue Serpent, can invade the land. Yelm hovers above the peak of the mountain/ziggurat. Entekos/Dendara enters the sky (another indication for the birth of Air/Storm). Tablet 5 shows something not exactly like Murharzarm's Decapolis, from above from the south. This might be the view from the Celestial Court. We see an outer ring of seven towers and one inverted tower (a hole in the ground, below Derdurnus). For some reason, there is an extra tower in the center - possibly a premature presence of Yuthuppa to the left of the Footstool, and Raibanth on its southern edge? The Decapolis has two rings, with only the cardinal directions occupied. The copper tablets have a single ring plus two towers at the foot of the central mountain below Yuthubars. We are presented the eight planetary sons, Gods Wall 1.3 to 1.10. Tablet 6 shows two or three new celestial bodies (depending on whether you count the Pit or not), Umath and Zayteneras. From the first row of the Gods Wall, I would have expected Ghelotralas, too, but no such luck. For some weird reason, Zayteneras sits lower than the eight planetary sons, and further east. There is no tower of Senthoros below it, though. Yelm in the center has eight rays spreading out to the planets. The Eight Planetary Sons correspond to Gods Wall 3-10. However, Plentonius identifies Zator as Buserian. Plantonius also assigns the Planetary sons numbers in his Gods Wall interpretation. - Stars 7 to 15, skipping the 12. Strange, that - counting the celestial bodies on the Copper Tablets, I arrive at 3 for the three brothers, 1 for Entekos/Dendara yielding 4. Stars 5 and 6 are missing. Okay, let's consult Plentonius other great opus, the Perfect Sky. Glorious ReAscent of Yelm, p.47. Nope, nothing to do with the planetary sons - instead I see drivel about the Virtue Stars making up the celestial body of Buburstus, the (headless) Celestial Dragon for the stars 7-15, and stars 1-6 are the ones introduced on Tablet 8 (at least that's what I'd assume). Ok, let's compare the lists of the eight planetary sons (plus Zayteneras). Tablet 5 in the Guide names them (starting in the east, going clockwise): Zator, Reladivus, Shargash, Derdurnus, Deumalos, Falsoretus, Verithurus, and Ghevengus They aren't named again in the Guide. Tablet 7 sees several planets evade or disappear, anonymously. Yelm in the center loses one of his eight rays for each planetary son gone missing, he is down to four in tablet 7. GRoY p.73 gives a slightly different list, in a different order (the order of their reactions to the arrival of Umath). Brought into the same sequence, we get: Zator, Reladivus (or Kargzant), Shargash, Derdurnus, Deumalos, Kargzant (or Reladivus), Verithurus, and Makestina GRoY details the fates of the planetary sons in the order of their being affected by Umath intruding, as per GRoY's Tablet 6 (Tablet 7 in the Guide): Heortling Mythology has almost the same story, giving no alternative name for Therados, naming Shargash Jagrekriand, and telling a different story about Makestina being devoured by an enraged Yelm. Tablet 8 is devoid of any of the Planetary Sons, only Zayteneras remains low in the east. Umath apparently rises again from the crater at the North Pillar. Shargash is mentioned, but not shown. All planets except for Zayteneras have gone to the Underworld. Shargash is said to move inside of Umath, protecting the City. Which City? Yuthubars? There is no Celestial City in the sky, other than Yuthubars, sitting fairly low in the Middle Sky. Tablet 9: Umath crashes into the northern pillar, again, and doesn't rise any more. Stars emerge out of the Pit (aka Stormgate), filling the sky. Tablet 10 shows the Doom Conjunction. Orlanth moves into Yelm's place, Shargash stands by slightly to the southeast. Yelm disintegrates into his six parts - Ghevengus/Vrimak reappears in his original position, Antirius (circle with four rays), Kazkurtum (according to Gods Wall, although I doubt that), Enverinus and a fire rune with three rays to the left, upper and lower left remain in the sky, while Bijiif presumably has gone down into the Underworld. Entekos, Shargash and Dayzatar are in the sky. Shargash and Ghevengus are the only planetary sons runes remaining. GRoY has Uleria appearing, a couple of settings possibly shown on Guide tablet 6, but presented as post-disintegration of Yelm. In short, lots of contradictory things going on in the sky. Tablet 10 might be read differently, with the conspirators against Yelm assembled in the sky - Shargash is there, Ghevengus/Makestina might be the Bat, or a stand-in for Sedenya. Enverinus might really be the stellar dragon.
  8. I would like to see the art direction for this. Looking at the 16 deities holding the net, I think they are dressed in styles known in the Theyalan culture, so Kethaela or Saird might be where this comes from. Given the mer-king in position 16, I think a coastal culture is more likely. 1 King Griffin? While we definitely see a sky creature, it has all the wrong features for a griffin - hind legs of a bird (rather than a lion), forearms of a humanoid or a predator, and a horned demon head rather than a beaked bird's head. Only the wings and the little bird's tail are anywhere in the right position. 2 A bearded guy with high head-dress and pointy, upcurved boots - at a guess a Zzaburi costume from God Forgot, indicating Zzabur. 3 A guy with curly beard and hair in a short tunic, leaving one shoulder free - at a guess a strongman's guise. Lodril? Barntar? 4 A haggard female in a robe with extremely wide sleeves and a crown-like hood with a beehive headdress or hairdo. A crone from Esrolia - Asrelia? 5 A rather small, beardless figure in a long, sleeve.less tunic with a cloak attached and apparently long pants. The hairdo looks like rather short rat-tails. Eurmal? 6 A wide-hipped female in a knee-length dress or skirt, with a shoulder-cover, and a wreath of flowers in the hairdo. 7 A Dara Happan male, recognizable from the curled beard, with the double crown - the Emperor, Yelm. 8 A bare-chested, tattooed (looks like Orlanthi clan tats) female in a knee-length skirt, probably Esrolian style, wearing an elaborate necklace, with an open hairdo. Esrolian Ernalda? 9 A six-breasted troll female in a ground-length skirt - Kyger Litor. 10 A full-bearded, bare-chested male with a sword on his belt and an arm-ring showing an air rune. Orlanth. 11 A rather stout full bearde male with a wild mane, wearing a knee-length tunic and leather armbands on the lower arms. The hair style is reminiscent of fire. Lodril/Vestkarthan? 12 A tattooed, barefoot malein a speedo and a very short, short-sleeved shirt, wearing a huge necklace. Bald, but with a beard on the lower jaw. The tattoos indicate waves. A sailor. Dormal?? 13 A female in a frilly, knee-length skirt and little else, tattooed with vines, wearing a flower wreath over her open hair. Aldrya? 14 A beardless male in pants and a richly decorated short tunic, with chains dangling from his belt. The tunic shows a circle below his right shoulder, and a smaller, not quite circular shape below his left, possibly a light rune and something similar (earth? another light?). 15 A female in a bottom-lenght feature-less (white?) dress held to her neck on a choker. Open hair with a diadem, arm rings or tattoos. 16 A crowned triton. Magasta. I wonder whether the deities are shown, or whether this is a representation of the regional questers required to perform the Sacred Time rites. There is no obvious Mostali.
  9. On the other hand, if you do play a border ranger looking out for intruders, what you would do is to contact the various genii loci, especially those with a "personal issue" towards a certain type of invader. Local spirits or deities can be a good source of gossip or intelligence, if you know how to frame your questions. In Heroquest, you may announce that you attempt to pick a lock to open a door or gate the normal way. If that fails, characters of mine are somewhat notorious for re-framing that contest by looking to ways to remove the hinges, or the door frame. If my cattle mastery as an expert cattle raider or breeder fails when dealing with mythical bull folk (or heroquesters identifying with those), I can still take off my weaponry and armor in exchange for a lariat and a stick and try to subdue them that way. Either way the real heroquesting challenge is to impose your variant of the myth, your magical context, on your opposition. This can be done with brute force approaches (a method apparently favored by the God Learners of Umathela), or it can be done with heroquesting judo, using your oppostion's identification as your lever. Finding the right kind of challenge is a big part of HeroQuest, especially when heroquesting. Arkat was adept at metagaming, a good heroquester should be, too.
  10. While the Westerners are familiar with the concept of transforming energy into matter and extracting energy from the Material World, I think they would be extremely uncomfortable with the wave(energy)/particle dichotomy of quantum mechanics. Notions of prima materia, energy and intellect are well-accepted to exist beyond the runes, so there would be no conceptional problem with transrunic metaphysics other than lacking a frame of reference. Runes are a bit like the immaterial particles (like muons and gluons) of particle physics - only a few like the elements exist in directly observable material form, most of the others are the invisible forces that hold the world together. I do think that there are techniques for measuring the Three Worlds association index of any object or magic - essence, godworld, spirit world, with any extras or missing bits either mystical realms or underworld. There exist advanced tapping protocols like those of the Boristi which pay attention to such things (possibly a bit too much, as they might overlook the transfer of a Chaos taint while tampering with these protocols during tapping). A lot of sorcery is the alchemy of energies. Runes are a useful description of these things on the sorcerous level of understanding, i.e. the adept plane of sorcery spells. This fairly abstract realm of thought is way beyond the understanding of ordinary magic users, even those dabbling in sorcery or alchemy who use it by rote rather than through deeper understanding. Runes are conduits to the Ultimate, the unreal anchor for reality that all those mystics get so meditative about.
  11. Having played a character with a Pelaskite background (and a distant Waertagi ancestor), I beg to differ. All coastal populations with Ludoch in their waters are friendly with these merfolk - those who didn't either retreated far inland, or starved miserably. All coastal folk unlucky enough to have Malasp before their coasts pay tribute, or fight a constant war as bad as the people of Onlaks fight with the yellow elves of their hinterland. Both Ludoch and Zabdamar females would be regarded as following the mermaid stereotype. Ludoch are likely follow the Wareran racial type of humans even in the East Isles or Maslo populations, given their close kinship with Warera (although it might have been argued that the Wartain mertribe of Triolini are ancestors of the Ouori). Cetoi are mammalian in nature, so boobs or teats are fair play. Zabdamar are the result of a Storm God undergoing Stillness meditation with Nenduren in order to woo the link between Sea Gods and Vithelan High Gods, Harantara, who is worshiped by the Kralori as the Dragon of the Deep. Zabdamar females epitomize the eastern ideal of womanhood in their human upper bodies. Sailor cultures often are polyamorous. While pregnancy and child-raising usually is done on land, I think that most sailor cultures are surprisingly open to including female crew, so there may be a lot less of the sex-starved male crew stereotype going on than in the ports of our history of sailing ships, and thereby less projection of female bodies on unsuspecting shapeless manatee or dugongs. Still, the Ludoch aren't called the Dolphin people for nothing - dolphins are about as bad as bonobos or our own species when it comes to using sex in social interactions, and their respect for species boundaries might be rather low when it comes to having a fun time. Those ludoch-human lifetime friendship might well include some inter-species private time, regardless of gender. I couldn't say whether sex/gender is a life-long property of merfolk or rather a property of their current phase of life, either - there are few sea deities with well-defined sexual roles. All Triolini (all named merfolk except the Zabdamar) are descended from the demigod niiads, the lesser children of the Tritons, who make up the mertribes of the middle deep. Niiads (including Warera) are a lot less human in appearance than even Malasps or Ludoch. Still, their appearance (or perhaps the appearance they chose to show) enticed the Vadrudi (who were a boob-starved, all male biker gang to take "wives". As such, taking a one-dive-stand from some air breathers has something of a mythical precedence for all Triolini merfolk in a female role/body. Nope. This re-appears in the Fronela section, p.232, with proper credit to the darkmen, but no mention of merfolk participation or reaction.
  12. What surprised me about the population numbers are the high numbers for northern Genertela and the minuscule ones for the three colonies around Dragon Pass. Halikiv is the size of Dagori Inkarth and Shadow Plateau combined, and Guhan is bigger than the Dragon Pass region. Almost half the trolls in the world inhabit the Kingdom of Ignorance and Koromandol. Troll presence outside of Genertela is about 1/5th of the total population, with Tarmo the second largest troll civilization anywhere, followed by the Elder Wilds. Blue Moon Plateau, and Guhan are runners up. Here's a re-organized population table: Troll Populations Dragon Pass................................ 70,000 (Dagori Inkarth 60,000, Cliffhome 10,000, no numbers for Sazdorf or Boldhome) Elder Wilds............................... 430,000 Fronela (Valind’s Glacier)............ 30,000 Holy Country............................... 41,000 (Shadow Plateau 41,000, no numbers for the Troll Woods or the Sea Trolls) Kingdom of Ignorance........... 1,500,000 (500,000 Ignorance trollkin, 1,000,000 other trolls) (100,000 Eristiland, 100,000 trollkin western Ignorance, 150,000 trollkin central Ignorance, ) Lunar Empire............................ 460,000 (Blue Moon Plateau 380,000, Yolp 80,000) Maniria......................................... 5,000 (Ice Peak, Troll Mountain) Pent............................................ 46,000 (36,000 dark, 10,000 snow) Ralios........................................ 370,000 (Guhan 250,000, Halikiv 120,000) White Sea (Keniryan Sea)........... 30,000 Jrusteli Islands............................ 72,000 Errinoru Jungle......................... 140,000 (Jungle Trolls 140,000, no numbers for Palarkri) Tarmo Mountains..................... 500,000 Total:................................... 3,694,000 It is also strange to find Dagori Inkarth listed under Dragon Pass but many of the Dagori Inkarth landmarks though none of the population (not even the Big Rubble ones) listed under the Wastes. Borklak and the Uzhim of the Glacier and the White Sea Coast together are smaller than Dagori Inkarth or Yolp, although the Glacier number may be an unknown in the Outer World. Uz Lore from Troll Pak used to be my primary source for the world history when I started to dig into Glorantha. Cults of Terror and Glorantha Book from Genertela Box provided supplementary information, but given troll involvement in so many facets of Gloranthan history, that text ruled. The trolls aren't everywhere, though, so there are a lot of things happening without direct troll participation. Other places have other Underworld denizens taking up a life in the surface world - some like the Shadzorings from Alkoth or human-shaped Kitori undistinguishable from humans, others like the Gorgers from Kimos or the Andinni in the East Isles similar in some aspects (e.g. anthropophagy) and totally different in others. Uz females are highly social creatures. Uz males are subservient while staying there, ready to jump when a female - even a polluted one with a recent trollkin birth - is telling them to do something. The post as bodyguards of the Esrolian Queen is a cushy job with lots of personal freedom compared to life under direct influence of a Hell Mother. Troll hunters make up a big part of troll encounters, and many troll hunters hunt solitarily (if you discount their trollkin entourage), which might give this impression. Troll raiders rarely come by as individuals, and troll trade caravans are enterprises with several dark trolls and lots of trollkin. Trollkin are rarely encountered alone, they usually look for comfort in a group (as it lessens the chance to be picked for whichever unpleasant task is up). Encountering a female troll is quite rare outside of troll strongholds. If you do, you can expect the troll to be a magician or heroquester with an agenda way above your pay grade. There are two schools of troll head illustrations - the rather smooth ones, and the pointy lipped, almost beaked ones from e.g. the Trollball illustration in Troll Pak. Snout length can vary considerably. The smooth head shape dominates in the Guide. An ape- or even baboon-like impression of the head cannot be avoided, that's what you get when you elongate a human face into a snout above fearsome dentistry with tusks. Even when those tusks are somewhat porkine in nature, as with the Tusk Riders. Apart from totally unfit weaponry, I would be inclined to use my old Warhammer fantasy square-jawed orcs as rank and file troll minis. The page count on trolls in Gloranthan publications in total probably is the third largest for any cultural group, trailing only the Orlanthi and maybe the Praxians. A publication on Gloranthan religions isn't complete without a cult description of Kyger Litor - RQ3 had three of them (Troll Pak, Troll Gods, Elder Secrets), not counting the short one in Gods of Glorantha, RQ2 had a short one in the rules and the long one in Cults of Prax and Troll Pak. Hero Wars had Uz, the Trolls of Glorantha. Heroquest is still working on its big version.
  13. A great start for the Deep discussions... There is no reason not to have them as a group of apostates. They are clearly disfunctional even if they reduce these activities to their down-time.
  14. Sort of. Most mostali you are going to encounter nowadays are clay mostali (of the 8 original castes) or iron mostali. True Mostali don't appear to participate in the replication duties. However, there is Flintnail, a highly unusual entity. From his professed speciality (masonry and architecture), you would expect him to be a rock mostali, but apparently he found a way to use a mostly human unit as incubation unit for the proto-dwarf-modules that populated the structure beneath Old Pavis. Flintnail was rumored to be offspring (or product) of the Dwarf of Dwarf Mine, possibly purpose-made for the Pavis project. But then that was a continuation of the species-defying experiment that was Pavis. I am not sure whether the minions would look out of place in an underground city. Possibly a batch of clay mostali gone bad through contamination with banana? We didn't get to see the heavily prosthetic versions of dwarfs operating in high risk environments. While I don't know whether voluntary body modification ("punk") could be one of the hobbies mentioned for dwarves to do in their downtime, a dwarf having lost a few appendages can still continue to function with fine, tin-dwarf-made prosthetics. Anything is better than going to the replication pits. Speaking of which, I wonder how the dwarfs overseeing the replication process of clay mostali are going to be affected in their orthodoxy. Raising proto-dwarf modules to be fit for their duty appears to require a very mixed task force - gold dwarves for programming, silver mostali for magic endowment, quicksilver for metabolic processes of all kind, and caste instructors for copying the basic skill set and preparation for the future task. Tin mostali for instilling discipline? Maybe this could be a playable mostali game: a ship gets sent way off course carrying a batch of improved reproduction units to the Capstan workers and crew crashed on an uninhabited but promising island, and their individualist gold boss declares this a good spot for a critical repair project that lagged somewhat behind schedule because of lack of a good base of operation. The game sessions consist of staff meetings discussing the progress since last meeting. Some retroactive dice rolling involved...
  15. I am always a bit puzzled how the merfolk earn the moniker "Elder Race". Ok, their niiadic ancestors have been around for longer than the Earth Cube, but the bastard children of the Vadrudi aren't older than the westerners directly descended from Warera, and younger than e.g. Murharzarm's Dara Happans. I also find it a bit hypocritical that the Vadrudi host did a "wife-taking" and did not perform a rape (or in the case of the Gnydron storm ancestor turned ancestress, suffer one). It's almost as if the chaos stems from Thed actually invoking Orlanthi justice and making that fail was worse than the act of forcing a sexual act itself. The illustrations from RQ3 Gloranthan Bestiary were great in their original size. The merfolk are still an unexplored territory as player characters, as far as I know. Apart from use as naval encounters, little has been done with them. I wonder whether "Piscoi" is a good moniker. While these merfok have vertical flukes, the Malasp and Ysabbau at least are more like Ichtyosaurians with their need to breathe. I would expect their bones to be as calciferous as Ichtyosaurians, too. For those traveling to Eternal Convention via Frankfurt am Main, I encourage you to make a 2 hours stop at the Senkenberg museum for some relevant fossils, before the convention. (They are closed on the bank holiday monday.)