Jeff

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Jeff last won the day on July 25

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About Jeff

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  • RPG Biography
    Creative Director, Chaosium Inc.
  • Current games
    HeroQuest, RuneQuest. Call of Cthulhu, 13th Age, Pendragon
  • Location
    Berlin
  • Blurb
    I'm an international man of mystery

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  1. We track single arrows or missile weapons or spells because their release is in and of itself the "significant action". An arrow in combat does exactly one thing - it moves forward through space and either hits the target or does not. It doesn't feint, riposte, slide, twist, or even interact with the enemy's movement. There's no choreography or dance involved. Same thing with that bolt of Thunder - it either happens or it doesn't. Missile weapons are deadly. Wear armor. Carry a big shield. Close the distance with the missile user quickly so their weapon is useless (and a bow is pretty useless for parrying).
  2. The Man Who Came From The Sea rode the Kings Highway and took a face from the gallery of mirrors, asked his future self what his past had done. He walked down a hall and came to a door and looked inside.
  3. Who is to say that Casino Town isn't a repurposed prayer wheel? Punters place bets on what the combination generated by the wheel will be. That Belintar could see the pattern and successfully make a complete prediction says far more about him.
  4. Conceptually though, the idea of a perfect language where the sign and the object have perfect correspondence goes back to Mesopotamia, where the Tablet of Destinies had a perfect correspondence between "name" and "destiny" - a concept echoed in Yelm's naming of the gods. In this view, Umath's rebellion against his naming shattered the perfect Cosmic structure and is responsible for misinterpretation, disorder, alienation, and chaos.
  5. I imagined that the Zistorites managed to combine Tibetan Prayer Wheels with the Antikythera mechanism and Heron's aeolipile. Although the latter two are definitely Iron Age, this represented the apex of God Learner technology. No human culture in the Third Age could reproduce that device, even if they were mad enough to try.
  6. In fact, I think the caballistic nature of the Zistorites is pretty explicit in they stuff I wrote in Middle Sea Empire. The Will of Malkion created the One Book, to give guidance so that humankind might restore the Law of the Creator. The visible One Book presented to the Church Witnesses is only one of the possible permutations of the runes of the eternal One Book, as the Invisible God presented it at Creation. By rearranging the runes of the One Book in solemn prayer and contemplation, we may someday arrive again at the original Law. As Umburudu the Whisperer observed, “since the Invisible God created the world by combining written Runes it must follow that these Runes were not representations of pre-existing things, but the very things by which the elements of the universe are molded.” But the important thing is not the finding, it is the seeking, it is the devotion with which one spins the wheel of prayer and scripture, discovering the truth little by little. Our error was that we lacked the patience and the dedication for that long quest – we sought short cuts that would give us the truth immediately. We sinned against the Law, against that which created and sustains the world. Now we are punished for it. The Word and the Law revealed by the One Book is not merely a work of the Invisible God, like our essences or the universe itself; it is one of the attributes of the Creator, like His eternity or His mind. Outside of the Word and Law is only Chaos - the Void and Annihilation. Deciphering and correctly interpreting the Sacred Scripture is the key to perceiving and understanding the Law of Creation. This is the science of the purification of the heart. Mystic logic, the runes on the wheels of prayer whirling in infinite change, it is the world of bliss, it is the music of thought, but one must proceed slowly, and with caution. Unfortunately for us all, the Reconstructionalists and their offspring have proven unable to walk the fine line between contemplation of the Word and the Law and manipulation of the Runes into a talisman, an instrument of dominion over nature. They took the spinning prayer wheel and turned it into a tool to master the Law. For example, the Logical Circles of the Reconstructionalists, which show every possible combination between sets of Runes, are used by every God Learner school and movement. The five elemental Runes embrace 120 combinations, the Ten Polarities have 3,628,800 possible arrangements, and the Thirty Core Runes give rise to more than 265 thousand billion billion billion combinations. To reconstruct all of the Law through such techniques would take nearly 8 billion billion billion years. A radical group of Reconstructionalists asked, if a mere circle subdivided into compartments could give rise to so many combinations, what wonders might we get from multiple concentric, revolving disks made of metal, each with ten, fifteen, twenty, or even thirty compartments? These radicals – later called the Zistorites after their “Machine God” or “Artificial Demiurge” sought to recreate the original Law by mechanical combinations of Runes and thereby reconstitute the universe. They constructed their “Divine Machine” to aid them – a myriad of automated Logical Circles and prayer wheels endlessly generated new combinations of the Word and the Law. Teams of monks venerated and schools of sorcerers studied each and every combination made by Zistor. In their mad pride, the Zistorites usurped Makan with their own construct, which they had created to rewrite the One Book! Like the Creator, Zistor’s output of combinations needed to define all of creation, which meant that an endless number of these combinatory engines must be assembled. In every city of the Empire, their noisy machines could be heard, spinning, combining, and reconstructing the Law of Creation. The Zistorites enjoyed the full support of the Emperor and the Church. Following the successful campaign of the Archduke of Slontos in Kethaela, the Zistorites were given dominion in the conquered Mirrorsea lands to provide the resources to complete Zistor. There, on flat and grassy island, the Zistorites built a great machine - a vast array of furnaces, pipes and gears that tirelessly operated mechanized engines, spun prayer wheels, and powered combinatory cylinders – to define all of creation. In the conquered lands, Zistorite workshops and slaves provided the tools and resources for the great Machine. Endlessly, the Divine Automaton worked to transmute Creation, aided by the prayers, veneration and songs of the Zistorites. During the reign of Emperor Ilotos, the process became fully automaton. Manipulating the words of the Law, the Zistorites had constructed a machine as a short cut in the process of recreating the original Law. Zistor, however, awakened as the blasphemous “artificial demiurge” – the Machine God – which rewrote the Law of Creation and paid no heed to whether the Law had too many runes or too few. Creation shall recoil against this Artificial Demiurge and our perversity exposed; the calamities that now beset us are just the beginning of our deserved end!
  7. And the Zistorites were cabbalistic rather than scientific. What do you think their rune combinatory engines were but powered (and near infinite) Llullian wheels?
  8. I am much more open to reading the Runes as semiotic characters in a perfect alphabet capable of infinite rearrangement and interpretation, and yet contain an obvious "grammar." But then again, Eco's "Search for the Perfect Language" is in my top ten favorite books.
  9. A round is about 12 seconds long, however all strike ranks do is determine the sequencing (or priority) of actions. The assumption is that there will be no one than one or two "significant" actions in the round that require rolling dice for resolution. Strike ranks determine in what order this significant action takes place. You add Strike Ranks to an attack when you cast a spell or ready a weapon because your "significant action" is going to occur later in the sequence than one already ready. Now you *could* decide to go down the rathole of rolling dice for every swing, thrust, or riposte. Except that would be absurd. And probably less "realistic" than accepting the assumption that in a 12 second period there is likely going to be one potentially decisive action. I've got an old buddy of mine who knows far more about fighting than I could ever even hope to learn has pointed out to me that many martial arts work are based on the muscle memory of constant repetition of forms and would be poorly modeled by breaking things down to discrete actions - RuneQuest's "abstraction" ends up being more "realistic" than something like GURPS.
  10. Who knows? I'm not sure Glorantha even has protons, neutrons, and electrons.
  11. HQ abilities are NOT identical to RQ spells - even if they have identical names. They are abilities used to overcome narrative obstacles, not discrete actions on a battle map with a defined duration, range, etc. Lets start by framing the obstacle. The players want to traverse the Lunar Heartland without discovery or interruption, and wish to use Detect Enemies to overcome that obstacle. The player rolls the dice, compares the result to the Difficulty Level the gamemaster has assigned and based on the results of the dice roll, the gamemaster determines the outcome. So let's say the players got a Minor Failure - if this was a simple contest the gamemaster might say that the players got discovered and now there is a new obstacle (a peasant lynch mob, a bunch of soldiers, whatever). There's no need to use the ability again because the obstacle has been resolved (in this instance unsuccessfully) and now there is a new obstacle, and likely it requires a different ability to overcome (unless the gamemaster agrees that Detect Enemies would be credible here). If this was an extended contest, then multiple uses of the ability is appropriate as we haven't yet resolved the obstacle.
  12. Glorantha is both Bronze Age in terms of Hesiod categorization and in terms of technology (with plenty of exceptions of course). Although bronze CAN be directly mined (in places where lots of Storm Gods fell, like in Dragon Pass, atop Valind's Glacier, etc.), it is more commonly created as an alloy of tin and copper (most bronze found in lowland Pelorian or Kralorelan is an alloy). In terms of social organization, Glorantha is better described as bronze age than iron age (although I've read plenty of sources to suggest that there is not as big of a difference there as people made it out to be). There's no Roman Republic (although arguably Loskalm might be a fair comparison), no Athenian democratic imperialism (although again Loskalm). Most civilized realms - Orlanthi or Pelorian - are ruled by priest-kings (be it the Red Emperor or the Prince of Sartar). Most importantly, by saying "Bronze Age" we make it clear that it is not the post-Roman Dark Ages and that Glorantha belongs to those mists before Athens or Rome. Broaden yourself beyond Classical Antiquity to Mycenae, Knossos, Troy, Ur, Hattusa, Uruk, Mohenjo-Daro, Thebes, Akhetaten, Susa, Unetice and Urnfield cultures, Sea Peoples, and more. Of course there are elements of the Classical there as well, but reach beyond and before it.
  13. Yes. This is very much the right mindset. I've been trying to give a few hints as to my thoughts about this in Prince of Sartar recently.
  14. Please take the HeroQuest/RuneQuest discussion to a separate thread. It is definitely off-topic (and if I want to be uncharitable, I'd call it thread-jacking and trolling, but I am in a charitable mood today).
  15. Also keep in mind that these are not eternal or fixed federations but ad hoc alliances. As Harald points out the Red Earth rises and falls from 1616 to 1625. By 1625 it has pretty much disappeared, as the Warm Earth and Old Earth contest for dominance and new alliances form. Likely after 1628 there is a pro-King of Dragon/Feathered Horse Queen alliance. And so on.