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Julian Lord

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About Julian Lord

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    Senior Member


  • RPG Biography
    De Immod
  • Current games
    too much out of the loop really for anything except DDO
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    I'm one of those pesky Camino "True Pilgrims" -- it's a real life HeroQuest experience done right, and for my sins, I did

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  1. No, there were some parts of Europe where paganism persisted a little longer than elsewhere, but it's not to do with rural v. urban (though that might be true of Britain specifically), but rather by proximity to the network of Roman travel & trade routes v. isolated & out of the way. So yes, in Britain that does mean a good deal of Scotland just for starters. It did persist a bit longer in Germany and Scandinavia, and a lot longer in the Baltic. OTOH the German tribes that sacked Rome were Christians who originally set out on that expedition to demand integration into the Empire. But paganism was dying in the 6th Century, and basically dead by the 7th Century in the majority of Western Europe. The closer you get to the Mediterranean, the fewer pagans you'd find, so there was also a North/South difference. The Germanic tribes that invaded Gaul and Iberia were Christians, unlike the Saxons who had invaded England. The depiction in The Last Kingdom of the Christian Latin/British and the pagan Anglo-Saxons is roughly true for England, but the latter had already started converting in the 6th Century, and had basically all converted by the 7th. The British Isles were provincial and out of the way, and had been so even in Imperial times, but even so I think they were still majority Christian in the 6th Century. The "historic" Artus would have been a Christian from his Roman and British/Welsh origins.
  2. I cannot recall a single example in the literature of Merlin using a spear one-handed.
  3. That is an outright violation of all of the mediaeval source material.
  4. That is, I'm sorry, a rather inaccurate assessment, despite the promotion of such ideas since the latter half of the 19th Century. 6th Century Western Europe was basically Christian, including both Britain and Germany. Putting pagan stuff into this period isn't a complete anachronism, as paganism wouldn't die out completely for another couple hundred years, but Christianity was the common Religion of 6th Century Europe. And FWIW I think you're also a bit off as regards "a Christian myth" -- most of the Knights in the Arthurian cycle are depicted as being bad Christians, sinners, lost, and as having pagan tendencies. (it's what makes them interesting, they are the exact opposite of hagiographic perfection, Sir Gawain particularly, including from all of his Welsh/Mabinogion origins) Nobody really knows who wrote the original Arthurian works, though it's rather unlikely that Chr├ętien de Troyes was a cleric, but it's pure & unsubstantiated 19th Century theorycraft that the writers were mainly priests and monks. To the contrary, the major success of the Arthurian genre compared to the chansons de geste and earlier epic poetry was that it provided realistically feminine characters, a feminine perspective, and an aesthetic that girls and women could relate to instead of being bored by. OK, La Queste del Saint Graal is a lot more overtly Christian including at a mythic level, and that book in particular may indeed have been written by monks. But that's simply more evidence that dechristianised "Arthurian" stuff is betraying its source material.
  5. But the original French romances depicted Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion, the Roman Empire, and the time of Arthur's Kingdom as if they were just like 10th & 11th Century Western Europe, and the later Arthurian Romances depicted the stories as if they were set roughly 11th to 13th Centuries, even though they were supposed to be set in a "time of miracles" in some vague "past". And even in those original French & Anglo-Norman stories, it was all heavily romanticised. True, the Welsh/British/Breton source material and historical elements that Chr├ętien de Troyes used in his poems can be dated to about 6th Century, but what remains in the Mabinogion is really just a fragment, and even what we have now of the latter has been influenced in return by the Arthurian Romances. The chansons de geste epic poems however present a "grittier" and more "historic" depiction of 8th to 10th Century Europe not so much romanticised, and so more useful IMO as a source of inspiration for the Gloranthan West. The epic poetry of that literary genre is also more consonant with the types and sources of inspiration that Greg used in his creation of Glorantha. --- As for the Clive Owens film, I found it to be rather ghastly, sorry. I find that these "modern" versions trying to be "Arthurian" but without any of the (Catholic) Christianity fail from their fundamental betrayal of a core element of the source material. Imagine a film adaptation of King of Sartar that completely jettisoned everything about the Orlanthi religion.
  6. Mid to Late Mediaeval is not thematically appropriate to Third Age Glorantha.
  7. The main advantage of the high-backed saddle is that it made it very difficult to dismount you.
  8. By cataphracts -- which is ironically the new term for Western heavy cavalry after it was decided that "knight" was too mediaeval, even though in the germanic languages the word originally just meant soldier, and in the Latin/Romance Imperial/Late Antiquity/Early Mediaeval period "mounted soldier (of the upper classes)". Although in Glorantha, "cataphracts" are "heavily armed noble cavalry" (i.e. Latin "equites" i.e. knights) ; whereas IRW cataphracts were standard heavy cavalry units with no necessary link to the upper classes, as they tended to be financed by the Government (in Europe, only the Eastern and Western Roman Empires ever had units of cataphracts). Cataphracts were arguably more effective at cavalry charges than knights, because they were trained to always keep the line as a cohesive army unit ; the advantage of the knight was that the class combined cavalry charging with individual mounted fighting (where the stirrup did help), and heavy infantry capability both in a unit and individually. (In the very unlikely supposition that I ever rebooted a Seshnelan campaign, I'd probably play it so that "knights" first emerge out of the Western cataphracts as an innovation of the Hero Wars (which would parallel RW military history) ; and I'd base them on 1st-7th Century ones, not 8th-14th, certainly not Arthurian ... )
  9. Long spears were much longer than quarterstaves, around 8 to 15 feet long. Very long staves did exist, but they were "longstaves" used principally against mounted opponents, to dismount them for instance, then whack them from a distance ; not quarterstaves, which were used in more close quarter fighting. I suppose an 8' long quarterstaff is as long as a shorter long spear ; but then a quarterstaff that long and heavy would be hard to use one-handed too, and it's at the extreme of how long a quarterstaff can be (5 to 8 feet). But the bigger you were, the easier it would be, hence the SIZ proposal.
  10. I'd rule a certain minimum SIZ as well as just STR and DEX alone. For comparison, a quarterstaff can just about be used one-handed, but you really do need to be very long-limbed to even try. A longspear is even longer.
  11. The Matrix is flawed philosophically from the Sci-Fi VR conceit of its narrative premise. But such solipsistic notions lead to a rather short dead-end street.
  12. It's frankly the diametric opposite of Mysticism as such. It is an entirely materialistic approach to Magic, appropriate to Western and Mostali Sorcery certainly, including some types of God Learners and Outer Atomic Explorers etc, and there can be no manner of Mysticism as such that is purely materialist in form nor ideology. Mysticism seeks the transcendental, which is not defined by matter nor by logic.
  13. RQ3 fatigue was great on paper, basically unusable around the table. A RuneQuest game isn't an aptitude test for chartered accountancy ...
  14. You're right -- and having number crunched the heck out of this for my mass combat house rules, I worked out that BASIC's system of skill progression versus d100 dice rolling of both skill use and opposition follows a log scale ; which surprisingly enough turned out to be mathematically coherent with classic wargame rules, except that these rules assume 100% skill efficiency whereas roleplaying games assume 50%. In that RPG model, 80% is less than 1.5 times better than 40% ; 90% is 1.5 times better than 40, it goes in 50s, although in a wargame-based system 80% v 40% would indeed be double. You can actually check this for yourself ; but against a basic 50% opposition roll, a skill at 80% will be successful roughly one and a third times as often as a 40% skill, off the top of my head and IIRC (results do wobble a bit with very low skill % numbers, and with % numbers in the low 100s) The reason why subtracting the difference between the lowest skill and 50 from both or all opposing skill numbers works is that it preserves that log progression a lot more closely than the official RQG system does -- by never allowing a skill to fall lower than the basic "passive" 50% opposition that the core game system expects. But I still found in my own game that allowing a Heroic success chance of 1% for each full 100% skill, equal to a crit success but with an immediate second skill attempt at the same % ; and then otherwise just use the basic % numbers worked perfectly well to get rid of the lengthy dice rolling sequences.
  15. The biggest mistake I can see is that in relation to "the" magical worlds (spirit world, theistic, etc) (itself a doubtful artefact of the Hero Wars game era), the Underworld is either a part of the Material realm ; or it is something that has been called the "sub-underworld" which is in relationship with Creation and Chaos and the Gods War, and is a genuinely terrifying place even for Darkness creatures and other inhabitants of the "normal" Underworld. (it is made of shattered and broken pieces of the rest of Glorantha, and it is the cosmic rubble left over from the destructions of Chaos and the Gods War and the Greater Darkness) But this depiction of the Material realm as being separate from the Underworld is generally incorrect -- even though most gateways to the Hero Planes do seem to lead through manifestations of the Underworld. Though I don't know if Greg ever made any maps of the "Inner Underworld", i.e. the material Underworld as it exists in material Glorantha. The second biggest mistake is that Chaos is not even represented. There is also direct contact between the Inner World, the Underworld, and Creation (and, shush, Chaos) and the transcendental, instead of only via the Other Side.
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