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Sense Chaos?


Ian A. Thomson

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I imagine that this has been discussed elsewhere, but can't find that information at the moment.

What degree of association does a being need to register as Chaos? (Specifically to Stormbull's 'Sense Chaos')

I imagine a human lay-worshipper of Thanatar might not, but that an initiate would?

I'm considering house rules around game-realism, and wondering about sneaky Chaotics trying to blend into New Pavis society 

Edited by Ian A. Thomson
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Former Issaries Inc. 'Pavis Expert'

Some of my creations and co-creations: https://preview.drivethrurpg.com/en/browse?keyword=Ian Thomson 

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I assume a runic rating in the Chaos Rune would be enough to set off the Sense Chaos with a strength depending on the actual rating.  Receiving a Chaos Feature or Chaos Gift is sufficient to confer a Chaos rune rating.  I think that joining a chaotic cult would be be similar with a minimum of 20% (based on the Telmori description in the RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary).

 

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12 minutes ago, metcalph said:

I assume a runic rating in the Chaos Rune would be enough to set off the Sense Chaos with a strength depending on the actual rating.  Receiving a Chaos Feature or Chaos Gift is sufficient to confer a Chaos rune rating.  I think that joining a chaotic cult would be be similar with a minimum of 20% (based on the Telmori description in the RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary).

 

If initiating into a chaos cult sets up sense chaos, what about propitiatory initiation into Malia? Or is Malia not chaotic anymore (hard to keep track)?

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10 minutes ago, EricW said:

If initiating into a chaos cult sets up sense chaos, what about propitiatory initiation into Malia? Or is Malia not chaotic anymore (hard to keep track)?

Malia is chaotic but propitiatory worship (*not* initiation) of her is not.  

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Thanks for that

I'm wondering about things like game-world logic, and interested in gaming ideas to deal with this

If all Chaos is automatically detectable, then its going to be near-impossible to ever hide by posing as non-Chaotic

Every settlement could employ Uroxi or Stormbulls to just hang around and let the authorities know when they sense something

Even if they take it in shifts of a few days at a time because they prefer to be out hunting it in the wilds, or whatever

I can't see Chaos ever surviving in a hidden way in a civilised area. Not if people really want to get rid of it

In story/game realism terms how can that be reconciled?

Additionally, does any Adventurer party with a Stormbull in mean they can detect and try and find any hidden Chaos in a settlement, even if its only 6 people in some kind of evil cadre in a population of 300?

I use that small settlement size cos it would be easier to hide in a much larger settlement (say 30,000) as the Stormbulls won't know exactly who it is even if they sense them. But even then, if that settlement really wanted to get rid of that Chaos after it was detected, they could just pay roving parties of Stormbull to triangulate until it was found

I know Stormbulls are wild and unpredictable, but they also hate Chaos, so there would surely be some who could be persuaded to be organized at least for a few hours or days until the detected Chaotics were unmasked?

15m is a decent distance for an organised party of Stormbulls to cover a lot of ground, and see who keeps turning up whenever they get those weird feelings

The only idea I can think of is a Rune spell that hides the Chaos Taint for 20mins. Its not perfect, as any big organised search would just take longer, but if the person had a few emergency RP it'd probably get them out of trouble, so as long as the chaos group in that place isn't known of, and they keep their eyes open for Stormbulls, I can see that being a good enough story element

Edited by Ian A. Thomson

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Some of my creations and co-creations: https://preview.drivethrurpg.com/en/browse?keyword=Ian Thomson 

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Some Chaos is relatively easy to detect, even a sight impaired Stormbull on a charging Rhino would notice, and therefore probably doesn't need a roll of the dice.

Ogres often try to infiltrate society, there are Krarsht assassins and initiates who do not want detection to carry out their roles. As @Ian A. Thomson says, what is the point of trying to infiltrate to achieve their goals without a chance of success?

Should those cults have a counter ability of Stormbull? My thoughts as a house rule would be to give specific cults, like Krarsht, an ability to go undetected and make it an opposed roll with one acting against the other. 

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5 hours ago, Ian A. Thomson said:

If all Chaos is automatically detectable, then its going to be near-impossible to ever hide by posing as non-Chaotic

image.jpeg.6d9828e58827fc80fa0389d7ca4d43c7.jpeg 

Change the IMAGI to ILLUMI in the clip above. It makes the game much more better if you wish an NPC or PC to blend in without being detectible... that is unless another illuminate is around...

We didn't always view illumination as a bad/negative/chaotic thing in games of olde. If brought lots of discussion and even creative turmoil inside a player group when one-two players characters were illuminated and others were not.

Edited by Erol of Backford
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If you were to do triangulation and statistical analysis, then a 30% Sense Chaos would be pretty much as good as 90%. Just keep rolling until you get enough data to have a statistically significant result.

Now maybe some esoteric knowledge cultist would actually be able to do that, but it's certainly not going to be widespread knowledge.

A stronger objection is that you can't just reroll a failed result arbitrarily. There's actually a rule in RQ:G that you can reroll only once, and at half chance. Personally I'd disregard that, and say a roll is a roll. Fail, and you are never able to detect that chaotic, unless something significant changes. Either way, statistical analysis and triangulation aren't going to work.

That means a chaotic in a city merely needs to make sure they never meet a Storm Bull for the first time while alone or in a small group. And if someone does detect them, either kill them first, or leave town.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

We didn't always view illumination as a bed/negative/chaotic thing in games of olde. If brought lots of discussion and even creative turmoil inside a player group when one-two players characters were illuminated and others were not.

Yes, this is a good technique that I have already used a few times for Chaotics. Totally agree

But I'm thinking more broadly here. I don't want to use Illumination as a stock response in all cases. IE want to keep it for special cases

My sense is that even if it's difficult and rather risky, there must be some way that 'civilised' Chaotics can expect to go into, or even reside in, normal societies with an expectation that they won't be instantly detected if Stormbulls appear. Something that also answers my query above, around how it would be easy to detect such Chaotics using a squad of Stormbulls if any city government really wanted to.

Detect Stormbull spell maybe? (Spirit)

Coupled with Hide Chaos Taint? (Rune)

Hmm, also now thinking of a ritual that would make a small premises immune to detection - their sacred precincts which would also serve as their base and accommodation. So whenever they are there, no spells are needed as they are protected by a 'dampening field'.

They may still need to rely on secrecy and sneakiness, and also can never have large groups present in any settlement, but small groups that reside in town, or groups of individuals that together or separately operate in the same town...

Maybe it's even a special thing? Like 'Hide Chaos' is a spell only Rune Levels can learn? Making it rarer and even maybe expensive, although 1RP and stackable will still chomp up the RP if they don't want to gather attention by just up and running when Stormbulls appear

 

Edited by Ian A. Thomson
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Some of my creations and co-creations: https://preview.drivethrurpg.com/en/browse?keyword=Ian Thomson 

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2 minutes ago, radmonger said:

Either way, statistical analysis and triangulation aren't going to work.

That means a chaotic in a city merely needs to make sure they never meet a Storm Bull for the first time while alone or in a small group. And if someone does detect them, either kill them first, or leave town.

Well, what I am considering is that any town with any money and any local Stormbulls wouldn't just 'try once' and then give up

If they really want to get rid of Chaotics, there have been centuries now for some sage to think about the idea of organising and triangulating

Chaos isn't some minor annoyance. If something is really desired, organised societies tend to find a way to deal with it, at least eventually

And Chaos is the most hated thing in Glorantha

So I just can't see nobody working out how to organise enough Stormbulls to track down any organised Chaos based in a town. Its a numbers game, not a statistics game. Throw enough Stormbull at the problem often enough and you can't fail. (Unless the Chaotics have some way to hide their taint, at least temporarily.) And in my Glorantha the idea of there never being any hidden organised Chaos in any civilised settlement in Glorantha is too much of a missed game-opportunity

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Some of my creations and co-creations: https://preview.drivethrurpg.com/en/browse?keyword=Ian Thomson 

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What would work would be to take a squad of say 12 Storm Bulls, and march suspects into a room with them one by one. Anyone who 3 or more Storm Bulls flag up get sent to a second squad. Anyone who fails 3 such screenings gets taken out and axed.

An organised band of say 60 Storm Bulls working 8 hours a day.could process perhaps 100 people a day this way, Which I guess would be enough to keep a small city effectively chaos free. And maybe there is some place that does this.

However, everywhere else can hate chaos as much as they like, they just don't have the organisational capacity to deploy an extensively trained band of magical specialists to keep doing a boring task. Especially when the would hardly ever find anyone, as all non-illuminated chaotics without relevant magic would simply leave town.

Hence Sense Chaos is not a professional skill. Which in turn means even Storm Bulls who have it above 30% will be rare. 

 

 

 

 

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Detect Chaos reeks of Minimum Game Fun, but given that we have it, perhaps there are a few ways to make it a bit more bearable:

  • Chaos Window: Chaff to confuse the SBs. This might take the form of lots of very small mobile holes in reality making it hard for the SBs to find the Chaos they are looking for. What form would it take? Small things with their own Chaos taints: Chaos invertebrates (flies, worms, centipedes, and so on), Chaos pollen and weeds, Chaos bacteria and viruses, Chaos parasites living in innocent people — Chaos tapeworm or liver fluke, anyone? — and (naturally) Chaos bats. As well as constant background distraction, release a box of Chaos flies like cuttlefish ink to make a quick getaway. Does Chaos dung carry its own taint? Is it on everyone’s shoes and bar snacks?
     
  • False Positives: Make SBs — or just NPC SBs (depending on your level of cruelty) — prone to “identifying” many non-Chaotics as Chaotic. One way would be to have the standard % apply when faced with a genuine Chaotic but have another, possibly unrelated (maybe not everyone’s DC works the same way) number give their chance of identifying a non-Chaotic as Chaotic. For example: Jo has a 95% chance faced with a genuine Chaotic of identifying them as Chaotic, but unfortunately she also has a 33% chance when faced with a non-Chaotic of identifying them as Chaotic, so she catches nearly all the ogres, but in a big town with only a few ogres, a lot of Lawful bystanders are collateral damage. You only call the SBs in when you really need to catch that “passing” ogre, because innocents will get lynched. The false positive % doesn’t have to be large for it to be a problem in a large population with few genuine cases to find. 10,000 innocent people and even a 1% chance of identifying each one of them falsely as Chaotic — it doesn’t bear thinking about.
     
  • Impossible to Trust a Storm Bull: Players know that SBs can sniff out Chaos, but how can NPC populations be sure? Anyone can spot a broo, but in the case of “undercover” Chaos, how do they know the SBs have it right? They only need them for the difficult cases, but in the difficult cases, there is no way of checking the SBs’ work. They are brutal, barely human, probably wrong without knowing it, and surely inclined to say “that one’s Chaotic, I can smell it on them” just out of spite. If you want a pogrom, they will give you one, but despite all the big anti-Chaos talk, probably most Gloranthans are quite sensible and want neither the friendly neighbourhood ogre nor their Orlanth-fearing grandmother to be thrown to the mob.

Any use? Probably not!

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12 minutes ago, radmonger said:

However, everywhere else can hate chaos as much as they like, they just don't have the organisational capacity to deploy an extensively trained band of magical specialists to keep doing a boring task. Especially when the would hardly ever find anyone, as all non-illuminated chaotics without relevant magic would simply leave town.

Hence Sense Chaos is not a professional skill. Which in turn means even Storm Bulls who have it above 30% will be rare. 

I like the feel of this as the background reason why large groups of organized Chaos never set up in organised settlements - because measures could be taken. Such measures are difficult to organise, but very effective when they are, so Chaotics know that secrecy is crucial (and pretty much impossible if they have a large presence)

I still feel that magical defences of some kind would be critical to avoid casual detection anywhere that Stormbulls exist and are sometimes in town

Not that this needs to be 100% foolproof, but nonetheless available

So that there can be some kind of balance that makes their continued existence believable in places where Stormbulls (and in my campaign, followers of Bisjoe and Jalmar) exist

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Some of my creations and co-creations: https://preview.drivethrurpg.com/en/browse?keyword=Ian Thomson 

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12 minutes ago, mfbrandi said:

What form would it take? Small things with their own Chaos taints: Chaos invertebrates (flies, worms, centipedes, and so on),

Everyone knows you avoid should avoid eating the calamari in certain taverns when the Storm Bulls are in town.  I mean, you could ask them nicely to wait 3 days until you have digested and expelled whatever you ate. But good luck with that...

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46 minutes ago, radmonger said:

What would work would be to take a squad of say 12 Storm Bulls, and march suspects into a room with them one by one. Anyone who 3 or more Storm Bulls flag up get sent to a second squad. Anyone who fails 3 such screenings gets taken out and axed.

This sounds like a sensible way to cut down false positives — if false positives really are random. What if they are not? What if the test subject’s having had garlic for breakfast makes pretty much every SB’s Spideysense misfire in the same way? (Like soap residue testing as an explosive back in the day — IIRC.) Repeating tests may give false reassurance. We use dice to represent everything — even when what they are representing might not be random and independent — and that may mislead us (about our nonsensical made-up world).

I am also thinking that the SBs will probably respond badly to being treated as only slightly trustworthy test equipment and take against the data nerds trying to organise them. Also maybe fighting among the SBs — “I say they are Chaotic.” “Well, I say they are not!” “Well, your mum …”

Edited by mfbrandi

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Yes, Rules as written it is  a flat roll. But what pretty much always works better in game is an opposed roll of some kind. So the ones being detected are those with some residual low chaos rune, not statistically random. Those with a Telmori grandmother, who once owned a slave, or just had lustful thoughts about a married woman.

Quick rules hack is to say that the Chaos rune is opposed to all elemental runes, so say Chaos + Storm cannot exceed 100%. Then you oppose a Detect Chaos ability with your highest elemental rune.

This has the useful effect that the ones being found out by someone else, before the PCs get there are the less powerful ones, the marginal members of the community. The default role of a party containing a PC Storm Bull will be to prove their innocence, and find the real culprit.

If you use my rule racks for opposed rolls and status effects, it all works pretty cleanly. As a minimum, a real chaos cultist will be getting an an inspiration bonus from Devotion: Thanatar or whoever. And anyone doing the same thing for several hours a day, or just strolling in the market, will not be so inspired.

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4 minutes ago, radmonger said:

Quick rules hack is to say that the Chaos rune is opposed to all elemental runes, so say Chaos + Storm cannot exceed 100%. Then you oppose a Detect Chaos ability with your highest elemental rune.

Is this why some Infidels claim that :20-element-moon: is not an element? If necessarily :20-element-moon:+:20-form-chaos: ≤ 100%, then the world really has gone mad.

Is your hack that the SB’s DC ability goes up against the highest elemental rune of an actually Chaotic entity in an opposed roll? If so, what is the hack for modelling use of an SB’s DC against someone with :20-form-chaos: = 0%? How is the possibility of a false positive modelled?

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Hmm. Could you just say that chaotic monsters are subject to detect chaos so storm bulls can quite rightly go kill them. But regular human carpenters who happen to worship chaos are not "tainted?" Not even chaos cult leaders? Humans just aren't made of chaos like monsters are. That's how I'd do it.

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1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

False Positives: Make SBs — or just NPC SBs (depending on your level of cruelty) — prone to “identifying” many non-Chaotics as Chaotic. One way would be to have the standard % apply when faced with a genuine Chaotic but have another, possibly unrelated (maybe not everyone’s DC works the same way) number give their chance of identifying a non-Chaotic as Chaotic. For example: Jo has a 95% chance faced with a genuine Chaotic of identifying them as Chaotic, but unfortunately she also has a 33% chance when faced with a non-Chaotic of identifying them as Chaotic, so she catches nearly all the ogres, but in a big town with only a few ogres, a lot of Lawful bystanders are collateral damage. You only call the SBs in when you really need to catch that “passing” ogre, because innocents will get lynched. The false positive % doesn’t have to be large for it to be a problem in a large population with few genuine cases to find. 10,000 innocent people and even a 1% chance of identifying each one of them falsely as Chaotic — it doesn’t bear thinking about.

This is exactly the result of a fumble with Sense Chaos, and with a score of 30%, your fumble chance is 97 to 100, so 4% of fumble. In your 10000 inhabitant city, that means 400 false positive.

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1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

Is this why some Infidels claim that :20-element-moon: is not an element? If necessarily :20-element-moon:+:20-form-chaos: ≤ 100%, then the world really has gone mad.

I'd say that is an active matter of controversy, as almost everyone with a very high moon rune is illuminated in a way that means they are not subject to that limitation.

 

 

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3 hours ago, radmonger said:

If you were to do triangulation and statistical analysis, then a 30% Sense Chaos would be pretty much as good as 90%. Just keep rolling until you get enough data to have a statistically significant result.

But do the PC's actually know if their Sense Chaos actually worked? If the GM rolls for this sort of thing the players don't know if they fail or there wasn't chaos... "you don't sense any chaos" of course that makes triangulation a bit more difficult?

3 hours ago, Ian A. Thomson said:

My sense is that even if it's difficult and rather risky, there must be some way that 'civilised' Chaotics can expect to go into, or even reside in, normal societies with an expectation that they won't be instantly detected if Stormbulls appear.

How many Storm Bulls are there in any one area? Do they walk around sensing chaos? If so maybe it should cost a magic point or something? Do PC's always sleep in there armor? Isn't there some sort of concentration Storm Bull thing they need to do which might be known by intelligent chaos who would move out of said range if the knew it was happening? Think on it I know I'll be killed if I am detected... do I walk around willy nilly or do I have triggers that are like "hey that guy looks like a Stor m Bull, I should go the  other way" or something like that.

2 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

Impossible to Trust a Storm Bull

Exactly, there was a great little cameo To Kill a Monster which had a terribly disfigured girl, IIRC, and a Storm Bull wants to kill her... 1999 by Peter Maranci

Spoiler

An ogre is in town and the Bully detected him but saw the disfigured girl, from a fire or something and so he thinks she is chaos...

2 hours ago, Ian A. Thomson said:

I like the feel of this as the background reason why large groups of organized Chaos never set up in organised settlements

They have them but most PC's don't drop in for casual conversation and a frosty mug? The Foot Print, Snake Pipe Hollow and lets not forget  Dorastor.

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

Everyone knows you avoid should avoid eating the calamari in certain taverns when the Storm Bulls are in town.  I mean, you could ask them nicely to wait 3 days until you have digested and expelled whatever you ate. But good luck with that...

I was reading somewhere that the Dorastor broo are fed a small portion of a walktapus and it doesn't leave their system... so it doesn't get expelled, I don't recall where I read that. Oh as a bonus for the broo's army, if they die a few days later a walktapus grows from the broo corps, what a bonus!

2 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

This sounds like a sensible way to cut down false positives — if false positives really are random.

I imagine only a fumble would generate a false positive? Unless a GM give a "you aren't sure" when just failing or almost fumbling?

2 hours ago, Baron said:

But regular human carpenters who happen to worship chaos are not "tainted?" Not even chaos cult leaders?

Obviously if they had a chaos gift they'd register on a successful roll. There was some discussion that people eating babies and such might develpo a chaos taint but that'd make the Cannibal Cult members chaos and they were not IIRC? Ogres, werewolves are tainted... thinking werebears are not tainted?

 

I always liked the Storm Bull Broadside in Dorastor Land of Doom p.18:

image.png.21610f9d1def0df221ab4275498883ec.png

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Any Chaos is all Chaos as far as Storm Bull goes. And they are the only ones with the skill. So if someone tainted by Chaos goes near a Storm Bull initiate or rune lord, they are running the risk of being sensed. Period.

BUT Storm Bull is a pretty small cult. In Prax and the Genert Wastes, the cult is largely occupied with guarding the Block and hunting down and killing Chaos. There's a lot of Chaos in the Wastes after all. In Dragon Pass, the cult is a lot smaller. Many cult members are guarding the Block or raiding places like Snakepipe Hollow. In Esrolia, the cult forms much of the war retinues of the Esrolian queens. In all of those places, Storm Bull is well-loved but not allowed to be in charge outside of actually fighting Chaos.

So in those areas, folk tainted by Chaos will stay away from places where there are likely to be Storm Bulls.

Now in areas ruled by the Lunar Empire, the Storm Bull cult is usually pushed to the outliers. The cult hates the Red Emperor and the Red Goddess and the cult often holds that they are Chaotic even if they sense nothing. And given the Lunar Ways official tolerance of Chaos, that means that where the Lunars rule, the Lords of Terror may operate. They need to avoid upsetting the powerful - or at least being noticed - but it is certainly safer to be an ogre, a vampire, or a Krarsht cultist in Furthest than in Boldhome!

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I also feel that any self-respecting chaos cult hiding in a city would work hard to influence the members of the city council to have some nice civic ordinance to keep those rowdy storm bulls contained to the rougher part of town. No bothering upstanding citizens or merchants. Everyone knows chaos is broos hiding in the forest, or maybe the weird-looking poor people. Let the storm bulls have a drink and show them the door, and make sure they never go wandering around the respectable neighborhoods.

 

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While Storm Bull may be a "small cult", there are supposedly 60 Storm Bull initiates within Pavis and thousands amongst the tribes of Prax. 7% of the Bison tribe, 10% of the Rhino tribe worship Storm Bull. yes they are a "small cult", but there will be initiates present nearly everywhere and as Ian points out this causes issues. Many may be "largely occupied", but that still leaves enough to thwart anyone with the slightest trace of chaos doing anything ever nearly anywhere without being sensed.

If any Storm Bull initiate can sense any chaos lots of possible plots cannot work, this skill is the ultimate "spoiler". This includes in official Glorantha products over the years.

 

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Sense chaos skill starts out at a low% [20% according to the Lightbringers book - plus perception bonus] and as I understand it is only improved by experience.   {Page 183 of RQG).

It is also short ranged, only 10 meters if I recall correctly.  (I was wrong, it is 15 meters.)

So at low % you get a lot of false negatives.  And what about fumbles, are they false positives? (page 182 does not define this.)   I can see a witch hunt coming.

Combine these things and the mere presence of a storm bull in town does not provide automatic detection.

 

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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