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Darius West

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Darius West last won the day on November 25 2016

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About Darius West

  • Rank
    Scimitar Trainer at the Pavis Moon Barracks (D-3)
  • Birthday 09/25/1968


  • RPG Biography
    I have been playing RPGs since the late 1970s. I mainly GM. Most of my Campaigns have run for over a year RT.
  • Current games
    Currently playing Call of C'thulhu (3 year Campaign), where the emphasis has been on the setting of the early 1920s, and roleplaying rather than wiping out parties.
  • Location
    Melbourne, Australia
  • Blurb
    Chat with me and find out.

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  1. Actually, this raises the issue of what the women of Genertela use as their primary method of birth control. The real world example we have from records of the Roman Empire was a now-extinct variant of the genus Silphium https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silphium. In Glorantha, I have read in fan material that the henna equivalent used by Vingans acts as a contraceptive (and not just because it makes them look like gingers (jk)). It is also quite possible to use a spirit with a disruption spell to target a fetus by its spirit in utero thus procuring an abortion (this is about the only way of safely removing a broo baby btw). Now in the ancient world, trade in the silphium healing herb (it had uses beyond contraception) was big business, and there is no reason why it wouldn't be an important trade commodity in Glorantha as well, especially if it grows better in some specified climates (such as mountainous regions). Has anyone else read of variant methods of contraception in Glorantha? Certainly it is hard to have a female population who aren't utterly under the thumb without some measure of birth control, and hence it would be especially important in Esrolia I figure.
  2. Mussolini reinstated similar policies. Here is a link to an article for those who can be bothered: https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1556-5823.2010.00002.x
  3. Darius West

    Whatever Happened to the Cradle Baby?

    I have a thought on the matter. Why would you send a baby into Hell? Well, it is more of a matter of sending the baby into the underworld where she can potentially grow into a new mountain. She is also the first baby who will be given the full Green Age initiation of Giantkind. If you look at most of the giants wandering the world in the 3rd Age, some are chaos tainted, while others are just wild and ferocious man eaters. This is because they haven't had a proper initiation, and the Giant tribe has fallen on hard times. The youngsters don't listen to Gonn Orta and their kin, and have grown up savage and stupid. The new Cradle Baby will be the first girl in literal ages of the world, and will also be the first to be properly initiated in the Earth mysteries in a very long time. In many ways she is the hope of Giantkind. I would also point out that Labrygon of the EWF was on the side of the Giants. Consider that Puzzle Canal opens onto the River Styx every Sacred Time. This was used by Pavis as a means of supplying his people with food during sieges, but it would also mean that the fraught issue of sending the Cradle down Zola Fel, across the sea and into Magasta's Whirlpool, and thence to the River Styx (with all the attendant dangers) could have been circumvented. Remember that the EWF had a vested interest in turning the mountains of Genertela into their cosmic super duper mega dragon, and that wasn't going to happen without the Giants being involved, seeing as how they are the mountains. One wonders how much the Giants know about EWF mysteries, given that they would have been integral to that plan. That then leads us to ask, were the Dragonewts involved in the planning and thus Giant allies too? Or not?
  4. Darius West

    Forgotten Secrets of Glorantha

    Did I suggest that silver wasn't used in currency prior to the Spanish going to the New World? No. What I wrote was that silver had a higher value than gold across Europe prior to the Spanish. Please read my posts more closely before replying. In fact the Chinese Empires have valued silver over gold for a very long time indeed. Their coins for the most part have been made of copper or iron however, as the lower denominations. Now it is true that the late Roman Empire fell into a balance of trade deficit with China, as China would only accept silver as payment for its goods. To say Rome hemorrhaged gold is not quite true therefore; they bled their silver east. Did this deplete the silver reserves of Europe? No. Only the ones the Romans knew about and could get at. I am not talking about the Iberian peninsula when it was ruled by Carthage. That wasn't Spain. Spain didn't exist yet. As for Hannibal using mining techniques to get elephants through the Alps, that would make sense, but I have never read any archaeology or contemporary histories that would support that, so I would love to see your sources. I was talking about the after the end of the Reconquista when the conquistadors went to the New World and were able to capture Cerro Potosi in Bolivia. Here are a couple of articles to fill you in: A brief summary of Cerro Potosi: https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/bolivia/articles/a-brief-history-of-potosi-and-cerro-rico/ The Wiki Entry for the Silver trade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_silver_trade_from_the_16th_to_18th_centuries The Price Revolution (How Spain inflated Europe's currency) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_revolution
  5. Darius West

    Cult of Gorgorma

    I think I speak for all good Sun Worshippers when I say that all this talk about Gorgorma needs to be nipped in the bud.
  6. Darius West

    Forgotten Secrets of Glorantha

    It surprised me too. The commonality of silver in Northern Europe is entirely due to the effect of Spanish Silver on the European economy. It is not that Northern Europe was without silver mines, as often silver and lead are found in the same ore bodies, but they are nothing compared to the sheer volume of silver pulled out of Mt Potosi in what is now Bolivia, but was then part of the Spanish Empire. This single mountain pretty much funded the Spanish Empire.
  7. Darius West

    Greg Stafford Condolence Thread

    Just saw this pop on my Whatsapp. I am so sad to hear that Greg is gone. His work has thrilled, enthralled and helped educate me and hordes of others for years now. A real titan of the gaming world is gone to his rest, and we are all the poorer for it. Condolences to Greg's family in this sad time.
  8. Damn possessive Acheronians. They're not even canon. I bet they want Lorenzo Cabot from Fallout 4's hat back too? It looks like a matching part of the set.
  9. Darius West

    Dorastor, Post-Ralzakark

    Quote from Oddi the Keen's shade in the Underworld: "If you've killed one Ralzakark you've killed them all, but only if you use Ironbreaker. I should know; I had to do it twice." It is worth noting that Ralzakark became the Red Emperor during the Monster Empire phase.
  10. Darius West

    Forgotten Secrets of Glorantha

    Introducing a lot of gold wouldn't necessarily crash the economy, it would merely create inflation, and a market correction. It is a little known fact that prior to the Spanish discovery of the Silver Mines in Peru, that Silver was more valuable than gold, as it was rarer in Europe. After the Spanish flooded the European market with silver, suddenly gold rose in value. Much the same would happen in this example. It is generally not known that Chiang Kai Shek in China, ran a scam where he would trade gold from the people for an equal weight of silver, which was considered more valuable in China in the early 20th Century and before. Now the sting is that technically, silver IS statistically rarer than gold worldwide, and yet sells for tens of dollars while an equal weight of gold sells for hundreds. Ultimately, all the loose gold would be traded for services and wind up in temple, clan, and noble coffers and safely out of circulation. The only real losers would the the Yelmalios of Sun Valley who ritualistically rely on gold, and would find their sacred metal devalued. On the other hand, this would be an opportunity for them to buy up big, once they get over the shock, and if they are still "liquid" subsequently. Really, it isn't the money that is valuable, but what you can trade for it. Now if you show up and offer to pay 500 wheels (10,000L) for training in a spell or skill that normally costs 2500L, then you will get priority, and initially may even realize the whole value of the money. A clever person who finds themselves in possession of a huge sum of money does well to hide the fact for as long as possible, and gently uses it to lever themselves into a better lifestyle without raising suspicions that could lead to robbery or a tax audit. Trollkin with a hoard of gold are not long for this world though, as they are not generally especially liked or intelligent.
  11. Darius West

    Gloranthan Martial Arts

    Good question Metcalph. The fact is that nothing very definitive about these things exists in the current literature, except the treatment of some Lunar cults for HQ in "Under the Red Moon". Lunar martial arts include the mystic twin scimitar (and dodge reliant) school of Nathic Combat, as well as the pankration style fighting of the Gladiatorial Grevlar cult, and we catch a glimpse of an Falcon style in the worship of Undrendum the Red Falcon's leaping feats. In many ways we know more about Lunar martial arts than we do about Kralori ones, which seems somehow "wrong" to me. We know from history that martial arts of the unarmed variety primarily develop due to people of lower social status being denied access to weapons, due to fear from above that they will rebel. Thus many martial arts have a subversive element to them. A martial artist doesn't need to carry a weapon, they are the weapon, and so they are good freedom fighters and assassins. Of course there is also the ascetic/mystic element to martial arts that ties them to monasteries of essentially peaceful faiths that still need to defend themselves. Whatever the case, all martial arts exist for a specific cultural reason, albeit one that is often lost to history, and has evolved to be something quite different from its origins. I notice that Vormain has been missed from the list, but I am certain they have a martial arts legacy too, and I will be stunned if Vithela doesn't have dozens of martial arts fighting styles of their own. In fact I am sure than most Hsunchen tribes have an "animal style" of fighting that emphasizes their totemic animal, but because they aren't paid much attention to, we forget about them. For example, while the Kralori have 2 named styles of martial arts, being Dragon and Centipede, I am sure there are many others that go unmentioned, among the peasantry, and these two named styles are merely the state sanctioned styles. I would assume that there is also Bear style, Tiger style, Crane style, Mantis style etc, all taught by people's secret Hsunchen affiliation. Now Loskalm, given its class mobility apparently based on merit, seems notably free of the usual class based conflicts that normally produce martial arts. Now either we take the success of their meritocracy at face value, and assume that their martial arts are primarily a way of ensuring that their peasants are kept physically fit, and skilled enough in fighting that they can fill the ranks of the army if necessary. I would assume that the Loskalmi martial arts would involve plenty of wrestling with an emphasis on limb locks and dodging, as that is a useful foundation that will stay valid even when you are wearing heavy armor. I would assume that Loskalmi would want their people to know the use of the spear, and the bow, for militia purposes, and quite possibly some back woods skills, and stick fighting with shields that doubles as sword and mace training. I have always viewed the Loskalmi as a bunch of boy scouts, and I would make their martial arts training a bit like a scout camp militia training. On the other hand, every society has criminals, even the Loskalmi, and it is quite possible that Loskalmi martial arts are a development of dirty fighting techniques used by heretics, criminal gangs, and dissidents, so that they can hold their own against the law. Such a style would favor ambush and stealth, as well as no holds barred fighting like pankration. As for Seshnela, well, I would love to see a quasi-bandit Robin Hood style of martial art with quarterstaffs, and bows, as well as perhaps a versatile athletic fighting style that hides its moves in folk dancing as a means of secret training. As Seshnela has an association with snakes, there is a good chance that brewing and curing poisons would be included. Of course there would also be the upper class versions of the style. Now, as we have moved from knights to cataphracts in our way of thinking about the Malkioni, then why not draw inspiration from Iranian martial arts such as koshti (wrestling style), varzesh-e bastani (mixed style involving maces, primarily for physical fitness), furusiyya (equestrian martial arts), and razmafzar (sword and buckler), many of which date to the time of the Parthians and Sassanids who pioneered cataphract combat. I would imagine this could be quite widespread in the western cataphract cultures, and even travel as far as Carmania and the Marcher Barons. Going by the cultural stereotypes, we might assume that Vithelan martial arts follow the Malay/Philipino culture and are styles akin to escrima and the various silats, no doubt incorporating a good deal of ancestral kris sword worship, but not as any Humakti would understand it. It is worth noting that some silat styles incorporate training in the sea and on beaches, as well as on pitching ship decks, to build a more practical fighting style that can deal with adverse stance and mobility conditions. As for Teshnos, well, we might assume that the Amazons of Trowjang have a fighting style that specializes in capturing male prisoners. Drawing on Indian martial references, the number of bizarre weapons used in Indian martial arts is phenomenal, and often bizarre. The whip-swords known as urumi are amongst the most sane. We have chakram (Xena warrior princess throwing rings), katar (punch daggers), pata (gauntlet sword), the corded lance or mardhani khel but also included short range all-steel bows that shot darts very hard at short range, and oddly decorated staff-bows, and even war adzes. You get a bit of a glimpse of this in Herodotus when he describes the Persian army and its regional recruits, who all turned up with their cultural weapons, and often not so far away from India, either geographically or culturally. Of course how much of this would apply to Teshnos, who is to say? As for Vormain, well, I assume that the most logical style would be the precursor of all Japanese martial arts, namely Atemi Waza, which is an armored grappling style with an emphasis on delivering a coup de grace with a dagger known as a Yoroi-doshi or Hachiwara. This was similar to the European use of the stiletto, to kill heavily armored but prone enemies during the late middle ages (a technique that would not be out of place in Malkioni styles). Drawing on past RQ Japan supplements, the notion of iaijutsu and other mentioned variant rules wouldn't be out of place, but might be a bit overpowered. In many ways Humakti with their two swords (daisho) and death worship make good samurai, just saying. I have a bit of a criticism of the handling of martial arts in Glorantha, and in the game systems that surround them. In many ways they should be treated as cults in their own rights, as they are fighting societies with their own etiquette, beliefs, internal hierarchy, and secrets. We saw an interesting variant on the idea with the Mythras rules on cultural fighting styles, but that system had its own problems. In the main, there should be rules governing specific techniques that particular schools train members to perform, and a skill progression that allows their adoption. Now some of these could be spells, but most will just be physical techniques that are outgrowths of skills like dodge, or jump. The notion of using the Faction system from Mongoose Publishing's RuneQuest 2 Empires as a basis isn't unthinkable as a starting position for creating martial arts schools.
  12. Darius West

    Old Pavis - Ogre Island [spoilers]

    Interestingly, Heligoland also has intact bunkers. They are now a museum you can take a tour through. https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g198646-d8131769-r311543226-Museum_Helgoland-Helgoland_Schleswig_Holstein.html. See where I'm going with that? I am not arguing in any way that the giants couldn't or didn't destroy Robcradle. They did. What they didn't do is destroy what was under Robcradle, as the Heligoland bunkers demonstrate. There were long breaks between cradles. Years in fact. Plenty of time for sorcery, which takes days to do what otherwise might take years. We know tunnels exist under Ogre Island in the Big Rubble supplement, and that means a decent amount of bedrock if you want to avoid being flooded out. Any spells that may have been used to avert flooding would long since have failed, but Form/Set Stone keeps on giving. Srsly? Tolkien in Glorantha? That's heresy! Glorantha exists as a fantasy refuge FROM Tolkienism and "the generic fantasy" setting. We shouldn't even have an idea of "generic fantasy", but the mainstreaming of Tolkien and D&D has given us a stock standard series of tropes that now mean fantasy. Wakboth is not a Balrog, mostali are not the race of Durin, and tired tropes are to be avoided, especially when the alternative to a bunch of dwarves is inbred ogres from an extinct sorcerous civilization that was wiped out elsewhere and now exists only in this mutated enclave and a few other ruins. Lets aim more for Weird Fiction https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_fiction than "generic fantasy", please. The Basher is an interesting piece of evidence. We both agree that the Jrusteli built it. Now are you seriously going to suggest it wasn't built using stone sorcery? Now I am happy to accept the notion that it was knocked down by Paragua, because it was then rebuilt by Pavis and Flintnail. Now why would they do that? There is only one feasible reason. Pavis and Flintnail intended to desecrate the Giant Cradles for cash and prizes. Otherwise they would have let the Basher lie, or quarried it for building materials. This sort of destroys the image of Pavis as the harmless city building peacenik you suggest, and turns him into another rapacious predator with an agenda. Chaos is all about eating and getting eaten. What better way of communing with Cacodemon than getting closer to him by cannibalizing part of the Devil? Sounds like a chaos hero quest to me. The more creepy and taboo breaking the better. The only extant sorcery rules outside HQ are in RQ3. As for MPs, well, that is what bound spirits and power storage crystals are for. Any sorcerer who is worth his salt will have 100+ points of stored MP after a half dozen adventures and some downtime. Now as for Jrusteli commercial sorcerers, I would imagine that would be even more excessive. We must assume that Robcradle was properly provisioned to withstand a siege, given that it was a citadel built to withstand nomad and EWF attack. And where better to store those provisions than in watertight underground bunkers? That is the time honored place to store provision after all. As for shamans scouting the crushed rubble, well, first they need to get onto the island, and even if they know there is something bad there, that isn't the same as finding a working way down. Storm Bulls aren't big on week-long excavations after all. One whiff of chaos elsewhere and they're off chasing it. Having run a chaos campaign, the preferred method for dealing with Stormbulls is to use their sense chaos ability against them, to lure them into traps and ambushes whenever possible. This reply was in response to my comment that they might have been able to obtain fish, meat and some agricultural supplies. I didn't suggest that this was done while the giants were hanging around. The giants didn't in fact hang around all that long, and nor did the nomads. During the period in question, the Jrusteli would rely on rationing their siege provisions, still hoping against hope that Jrustela would send a rescue mission a la the Khartoum Relief Expedition. They would have little or no contact with the outside world for a long time, and may well have been buried alive, trying desperately to dig their way out. Perhaps their dismal fate is a reason why the Shamans didn't see much point in going after them? It was a hard dig to kill a group of armed survivors who would inevitably starve to death if left to their own devices. The Praxians may well even have thought that the Jrusteli would suffocate eventually, not knowing that a low intensity long duration Skin of Life spell would solve that problem. Or perhaps the 3 meter rule applied, as apparently no spell or spirit can see deeper than 3m of rock. You are taking a surprisingly short term view of the problem. The giants left eventually. At a certain point there are no giants paying any attention to Robcradle, and only rarely will there be any Stormbulls in the area. For the most part it becomes another abandoned ruin, like Monkey Ruin or the Copper Caves. There are certainly better places to water your beasts than that stretch of the Zola Fel too. Given the marshiness of the area, it would probably even be avoided as a ford, as bogged animals are hard to extricate, despite the shallowness. Stormbulls and Praxians in general may have seen some benefit in camping at Paragua's walls, but only until the grazing thinned out and they had to move on for reasons of supply. Any agriculture discovered would no doubt be attributed to previous camps, not to the Ogres, as it is often the case with nomads in areas worth camping to leave a small gardened area that will grow back for next time you come. No, the fertile soil of the surface of Ogre Island on the Zola Fel river, a year after the obvious threat of the giants and nomads have left. Though potentially the Jrusteli might have eaten some random glowing fungus that grew near their cesspit, then had weird dreams about being watched by Wakboth. The real question is, how many of the Jrusteli survived down there, and how many were cannibalized? It is all so gleefully awful. While Elkoi, Trilus and Dykene were all giant built, only Dykene was damaged by the giants, and it was still subsequently habitable, if reduced in scale. The giants wandered off and the humans came back. It doesn't really support your argument. A very good question. The answer is that while individual Jrusteli God Learner hero types were pretty well unkillable, and they could build fortifications out of raised bedrock and stone outcroppings, they couldn't survive on "nothing" as you put it. As with everyone else, they need food and water, and sorcery wasn't able to solve every problem. In fact there is a notable absence of good food producing spells in Sorcery. No doubt there is probably some agricultural Saint or other, but mostly Zzaburi don't bother themselves with peasant problems. Now, just because you can build a fort anywhere, doesn't mean that it doesn't take time, and that it will have a reliable water supply. In the case of Ogre Island, I would imagine that areas of the ruins became flooded by the Zola Fel after the Giants did their thing, thus providing some access to fresh water. Now in terms of the Six-Legged Empire, it was built on the use of cavalry, however horses require plenty of water and decent grazing, and in a time of even mild drought in Pamaltela that might become a problem. Now if you have to range your horses out to find food, the foraging parties become vulnerable to all sorts of guerilla tactics. So the choice becomes whether to send them into the field to become food for the Pamaltelans or keep them in stables and eat the horses yourself before you and they starve. Add to this the late adoption of phalanx tactics by the Pamaltelans in rare fixed battles, and the answer is that it would fail due to lack of supply. The tactical problem with forts is that they become prisons when besieged, and without long term food and water supplies they become uninhabitable. That is how the Six-Legged Empire fails. On the other hand, the Jrusteli on Ogre Island don't have much choice. They run out of food and fall to cannibalism and Chaos worship. Only those with invaluable skills or notable strength survive. They turn to eating even lichen from the walls, worms from the mud of their water supply, and bits of Wakboth while trying to dig their way out. I am assuming that the valuable form/set stone sorcerer departed for the next job after completing the Robcradle complex btw, and was not a survivor in the Ogre Island rubble, otherwise they would have made the place far more inhabitable and provided them with a convenient exit when necessary. That didn't happen. I also doubt there would have been more than perhaps 1 or 2 actual God Learners present at most. They aren't necessary for the story to work.
  13. Darius West

    Who were the God Learners' Heroes?

    Hmmm... In Glorantha it isn't that odd to see people flying with the aid of a sylph or a spell, or breathing water, or ships sailing through the air due to red crystals, or talking humanoid lizards, etc. Now while Gloranthan magic does go to some lengths to explain some more mundane things, there is a lot of visible magic, it's just most people's access to it is a bit limited. Speculate for all you're worth. It is a healthy pastime. I have certainly used comparatively mundane real world secrets as "divinely inspired magic" in game religious systems. Given that magic means "what 'magi' do" where 'magi' are Zoroastrian wise men, there is every reason to suppose that a good deal of the actual "magic" may have been science with a dash of religious stage magic panache. It might also be argued that science is a process of applying mathematical and logical models to natural systems for the purpose of performing more accurate divinations i.e. predicting outcomes. I think Greg categorically said that there is no time travel in Glorantha, and that the gift of prophecy is a rare and powerful gift as a result, as few people in Glorantha are called upon to worship Time and gain even a glimpse its powers. Consider that Time is actually merely a form of Kajaboor, the entropic death of the world, transformed into a slow motion form. But what is moving in slow motion? Kajaboor or the World? Glorantha now exists with a relativistic entropic death of itself. As to the God Learners retconning the universe, well, they sort of did. The thing is, hero quests affect the myths that underpin Glorantha's magical reality, and every time you perform those hero quests, they are altered a little. For example, there might be a trend of Yelmalios doing much better at the Hill of Gold over many hero quests, and thus gradually Zorak Zoran loses his fire powers and Yelmalio gets them back (and can sleep under a red blanket again). The God Learners simply used statistical analysis to understand a distribution of what the outcomes would look like based on certain actions. Now when the God Learners understood that there was a monomyth, or a "meta-myth", i.e. an overarching and underpinning structure to the sequences of the myths that made events appear to happen in a timeless environment, they were able to change the world. The reason for this is that if you change the start conditions, you change the end conditions accordingly with any process (provided you understand the detail of the process you are tweaking to enough decimal places).
  14. Darius West

    Who were the God Learners' Heroes?

    The loss of the names of the heroes has more to do with the sinking of Jrustela, the Syndics Ban and the Closing of the Oceans I suspect. As for Arkat worship, that is almost exclusively a trollish affair these days. I strongly suspect that Arkat was off the board preparing for his next incarnation as Argrath in the 3rd Age.
  15. Darius West

    Hobbits of Malkion

    30cm shorter and 20kg lighter? Clearly Malkion is actually a linguistic drift misspelling of "malnutrition". IRL Feudal Europe, the nobles were always the tall ones, because they had a decent and regular diet, unlike everyone else. Clearly Talar are not Taller.