Jeff Richard is one of the regular posters in the RuneQuest Facebook Group. here’s some of his recent RuneQuest posts, only Jeff’s replies are included where relevant. Facebook membership is required to access the originals.
As an aside, I often post notes or things that I am working on that I think people will find interesting or useful. But I am posting this material without edits or revisions – they are all notes or works in progress. If people really expect me to edit or revise such ephemera before I post it, I am probably not going to post such things.Jeff Richard, 2021
Some more awesome previews of the art in the Cults Book from Loic Muzy. I present you THE STORM BULL!!!!!
In RuneQuest Storm Bull has Air, Death, and Beast.
Cults Book WIP Art
A little work in progress from the Cults Book. From the amazing Agathe Pitié
it is a human picture. Part of a series from the City of Wonders, if I recall.
The current edition of RuneQuest has now been out since 2018. I’m going to just start calling it RQ from now on and not RQG. I think it has earned that.
Light in the Sky
Pretty much every Gloranthan spiritual tradition says that the bright and hot Sun was killed by the Storm God, ending the Golden Age. The Orlanthi particularly emphasise this myth, as it was Orlanth who used Death on Yelm. Yelm died, and went to Hell, which the trolls still curse.
And yet there was still Light in the Sky. Light brighter than the stars that maintained Truth and refused to be polluted by lies and foul corruption. This Light dimmed in the Greater Darkness, but never was entirely extinguished. Called Kargzant, Yelmalio, or Elmal, this Light defended mortals when other gods had died or left the world. It kept Light in the sky until Yelm returned with the Dawn. Many consider Yelm to be little more than the Sun Disk, and that Little Yelm is more likely to aid mortals than the Sun Disk (unless you are a Dara Happan or Pure Horse People directly descended from Imperial Yelm) and thus far more useful.
Pretty much everyone knows this story, especially after the Orlanthi and the Dara Happans got to check each others’ notes in the later First Age. You can call your frontier Sun God what you want, but keep in mind that
- 1. the core myth is the story,
- 2. you can worship at the Little Yelm’s temple regardless of what you call him, and
- 3. most people use Yelmalio as the title for this entity.
KoS. It is pretty explicit that the Orlanthi recognise Yelm is the Sun God. Like this bit:”The Theyalans recognized that Yelm, the Dara Happan Great God, was the manifestation of their own Emperor, an enemy of Orlanth. The Orlanthi also realized that Yelm was also the Sun God.”
Different names and stories, but the worshipers of Elmal would recognize Kargzant and vice versa.
They are the same entity in the way that Lodril and Veskarthan are. Or for that matter Orlanth Thunderous and Orlanth Adventurous are.
This series of images from Loïc Muzy is particularly wonderful because it shows how he put that amazing Ernalda piece together (with a little input from me). (this version is slightly edited for social media purposes).
The Mountain Peaks
From each Mountain Peak, a heroquester can leap from one mountain to the next or the previous. From any mountain, one can also leap to Kero Fin. From specific mountains it is also to leap elsewhere in the Hero Plane.
- 1. Doktados Mountain. Highest of the Skyreach Mountains. From here one can leap to Ernaldela.
- 2. Arrowmound Mountain. In the Skyreach Mountains, overlooking the Green Dragon Vale. From here one can go to the Great Barrier.
- 3. Soren Mountain. In the Western Rockwoods overlooking Aggar. From here one can go to the Great Barrier and to the Top of the World.
- 4. Bear Mountain. In the Autumn mountains between Aggar and Sylila. From here one can go to the Great Forest and to Thunder Peak and the gates of Dorastor.
- 5. Lyran Mountain. In the Hydra Mountains overlooking Tarsh and Holay. From here one can leap to the Blue Dragon River and the Endless Sea.
- 6. Stormwalk Peak. In the Storm Mountains. From here one can go to Ragnaglar’s Ruin, to Ernaldela, and to Tada’s Land.
- 7. Quivin Mountain. In the heart of Sartar. From here one can leap to the Engizi River and to Skyfall and to Stormwalk Mountain.
- 8. Kero Fin – from here one can enter the Home of the Gods or leap to the Solar City. One can also leap to any of the magical mountains.
Dragon Pass and its nearby regions are crossed by several magic “roads” that enable a quester to quickly travel to specific holy places along paths that skip in and out of the mundane planes, covering the distance in far less time than travel wholly on the mundane plane. Deities and spirits, or their avatars, are presented here, summoned by the magic of traveling on the road; ritual enemies are often summoned by the same magic.
The magic roads are often used in combination with an in-world heroquest. Travel along these magic roads is dangerous. There can be enemies along each path; although their type is often known, the strength of the foes may vary widely. They are also used for rapid movement, though there are occasionally side- benefits that can or must be gained to use the road.
- Hill of Orlanth Victorious to Kero Fin
- Dragon’s Eye to Kero Fin
- Kero Fin to Smoking Ruins to Arrowmound Mountain
- Sun Dome Temple to Hill of Gold
- Kero Fin to Cave of the Mother to Umath’s Point (this is going up the mountain)
- Arrowmound to Halikiv to Balance Split to Wonderwood
- City of Wonders to Durengard to Stormwalk
- Starfire Ridge to Honor Rock to Whitewall to Larnste’s Footprint to Stormwalk Mountain to the Block
These “roads” link places that co-exist in the Gods World and Mundane World.
This mountain leaping is only via heroquesting or also by rune magic? What’s the difference?
So on a magic road, those on the road (who need to enter it as part of a magical ritual – usually a vertical heroquest) skip between the mundane world and the Hero Plane, resulting in potentially much faster travel.
either the Lunars nor the Orlanthi are the good guys. Or the bad guys. They are just mortals.
Of course the Lunars know some of the same Magic Roads.
Here are some of my notes on Kallyr Starbrow for the Homeland Book:Dark Season 1625, Kallyr is acclaimed Prince. In some areas she has a lot of support, in others, not much at all. She didn’t liberate the Colymar, Lismelder, Locaem, or Balmyr tribes. She’s got no backing among the Pol-joni or other Praxians. but she has deep support among the Kheldon, Culbrea, Aranwyth, Sambari, and I think the Cinsina. That’s where she draws her companions from.When she is acclaimed, she needs a Ring who she trusts and who can work with her to do what she thinks needs to be done. And so she draws on companions and kin, as well as some friendly clans and tribes.Randella and Insterid Fire Eyes are kin from her own clan, the Black Rock. A few thoughts on them – the Black Rock are a leading clan of the Kheldon, for as we know Ernaldinni Wolfkiller was on the Kheldon Ring when Sartar came to the land. They are largely matrilineal, and have lands around Sacred Top and Lambnet Fort. They of course also have homes inside Boldhome – the Kheldon are probably the most urbanised of all the tribes. They are a small tribe of four clans, surrounded by sacred hills and wealthy off Boldhome. Think of them like the Phocians of Ancient Greece.
Insterid is a Yelmalio cultist who is a maternal cousin of Kallyr. She’s been the loyal bodyguard of Kallyr since the Batlle of Boldhome. Rendella is also a kinswoman – a trained scribe who joined the spirit society of Oakfed, and is drawn into Kallyr’s Sky focus early on – probably as early as 1605, when Kallyr first quested for her star, back when she was 21 (a starting RQG character!). So you basically have three kinswomen – Kallyr, Insterid, and Rendella. This makes them a nice inverse of the wandering male kinsmen so common in stories.Which btw brings us to an interesting point – Kallyr’s Sky fascination. She’s figured out the maxim As Above, So Below. In many ways, she would have made a good 2nd Age Dara Happan. Her quests are all based on a sky map that has been put together by herself, Randella, and Insterid over the decades. Of course Kallyr has Celestial Lore at 85%+ – but her Orlanth Cult Lore is much lower. That by the way is why she doesn’t use the LBQ Ring. Umath was a Sky entity and that is what she is more comfortable with.
Orngerin is from the Greenhaft clan of the Cinsina (but were Culbrea until after Starbrow’s Rebellion). He showed up with warriors to support Kallyr in the Rebellion and has been her chief lieutenant since then. He’s a Wind Lord, and got his nickname from his ability to “hold fast” onto an enemy in battle, giving Kallyr time to hit them with everything she has in reserve. If I were Ivartha Wolfskinner, I’d be watching this guy. Especially once Kallyr puts him in charge of Jonstown.
Ernaldesta is an Earth Priestess of the Culbrea. She’s not part of the Chan Dynasty that rules the Clearwine Earth Temple – Beneva Chan was down-right hostile towards Kallyr Starbrow. The Chans view Starbrow as an ambitious interloper. Ernaldesta has supported Starbrow since the beginning, and now gets to reap the reward of that support.Elmalandti is a Storm Voice of the Culbrea Tribe. He’s the lover of a river nymph, and is now installed as the high priest of the Boldhome Air temple.As for friendly tribal kings, Kallyr enjoys the strong support of the Cinsina, Culbrea, Telmori, Aranwyth, and Sambari leaders. So that is Ivartha Skinner, Ranulf of the Culbrea, and whoever are the leaders of the Telmori, Aranwyth, and Sambari. Jonat Trollbane is probably the Aranyth leader. And the Ducks support her.Opponents include the Colymar – in particular the Chans and Leika. Leika knows Kallyr, having been in exile with her. Both were lieutenants of King Broyan, but Leika stayed and fought at Pennel Ford, while Kallyr was involved in her Sky World Boat Quest. Leika was there when Broyan was killed by Lunar sorcery, while Kallyr was involved in the Dragonrise plot (which horrified both Leika and Kallyr). Leika shares her family’s hostility towards Kallyr, and views her as an overly-ambitious rival. As the leader of the largest and most powerful tribe in Sartar, Leika views Kallyr as a peer with fewer resources than herself.The Chans (Erenava and Erannina, as well as the Ernaldori clan) dislike Kallyr for a variety of reasons, all going back to 1613. They blame Kallyr for the rebellion that resulted in their exile.The Pol-Joni are largely hostile to Kallyr’s claims, as they already have thrown their support behind Argrath White Bull. The Malani are deeply suspicious as well, fearing the Lunar reprisal (remember Larnste’s Table is in their lands after all).Kallyr is a divisive figure among the Volsaxi. Some want her to claim King Broyan’s mantle and take the Sword and Helm, while others blame her for not being present when Broyan was assassinated.But in the end, Kallyr’s biggest enemy is herself. She is proud, haughty, and volatile, and early goes into fits of shouting and accusations. Her loyalty to the nation of Sartar is unquestionable, but she will not allow it to ruined by fools and cowards. Although many of her outbursts are for dramatic effect, her haughty and unapproachable personality makes it difficult for her to work with strangers – people must earn her trust. As a result, she draws on those she knows and trusts – an increasingly narrow circle.
And so much of this comes right out of the Sartar High Council.
I said these are MY notes. I know who the Phocians are very well. Even wrote about them back in university.And also those rock features in “local” American national parks are no doubt far better known to a wider audience than many of the historical comparisons you and I enjoy!
Another thought is that Kallyr represents a more parochial and tribal aspect of Orlanth – and actually comes out of the Orlanth Thunderous cult. Her approach is Sky-oriented, and surprisingly conservative in its approach (with the exception of her Pole Star connection, which is both unsettling and cosmologically harmonious).Argrath comes out of the Orlanth Adventurous tradition and is anything but conservative or parochial. His life in many ways mirrors Orlanth’s myths. This may help to explain why he succeeded in the LBQ and Kallyr did not. Or it may not.
after Starbrow’s death: what happens to the “Star”? It returns to the heavens. The Starbrow is a minor star manifest as a bright light on Kallyr’s forehead. Her allied spirit is also her Hero Soul, which powers her Heroquest Gifts. The star can lead her (or her soul) to the Pole Star at any time.When she dies, it returns to the Celestial Realm.
Chief Priest is subordinate to a High Priest. Elmandti is high priest of the Boldhome Orlanth temple. But Kallyr, as Prince of Sartar, is the head of the Orlanth Rex cult.
How do Greenstone Temple think of Kallyr? Probably has more to do with their relationship with the Clearwine Earth Temple (which dislikes Kallyr intensely). I suspect that even though Greenstone has something of a rival with Clearwine, it follows their lead here.
Hate Lunar Empire
It is worth contemplating that Hate Lunar Empire is not one of Orlanth’s Passions. But Honor is valued over all other passions by Orlanth – even Devotion, Love, and Loyalty.
Most Orlanthi do hate the Lunar Empire. But that’s because of their experience with the Empire, and not because their god demands it. Their god demands Honor.
You Hate the Lunar Empire. Whatever that is. It is definitely the Red Emperor and his court. Probably the symbols of empire, its officials, etc. But really it the Empire as a spiritual thing, that oppressive crimson glow that crushes all before it. But Mavorena the Cornbread Woman? No way – I mean we LOVE cornbread and tamales.
The bigger point is that Orlanth is a God of Honor. Hating the Lunar Empire is a hobby.
Honor is his key passion. I find pretty much every Wind Lord considers that 90% Honor a freebie towards their five abilities.
And as an aside, Humakt holds that War Has Rules. And even Orlanth generally follows them. And you would too, if that means you get access to warriors with Sword Trance, True Sword, and Shield. Not to mention Morale. But you have to follow the rules or they won’t fight for you. Honor is Honor. Humakt strongly holds to there being rules to combat and warfare that apply in all cases. The Humakti kill according to the rules. That’s why they get cool spells like Sword Trance while Orlanth and Yanafal Tarnils do not.
As an aside, Humakt demands that Death be wielded with honor and his cult upholds the code of honor in combat and war. This code is strictly adhered to by Humakti, but also generally followed by other honorable war gods such as Orlanth, Polaris, Yanafal Tarnils, Yelm, Yelmalio, and Yelorna.Honorable combat is not fought for gain or selfish reasons. Although Humakti often serve as mercenaries for pay, that payment is not supposed to be dependent on the outcome of the battle.In battle, two warriors may duel or engage in prolonged personal combat. Both combatants must be armed and may use Rune or spirit magic, allied and other spirits, elementals, etc. Groups of warriors may fight approximately equal numbers of foes. However, multiple warriors or magicians must not gang up on a single warrior.A warrior who surrenders becomes a prisoner of his capture and is under their protection. At the same time, a surrendered warrior must not flee his captor until ransomed or released.Honor also dictates how warriors were to deal with noncombatants. No one should attack an enemy who has temporarily lost or dropped their weapon. The lives of noncombatants, prisoners of war, and farmers are also sacred. Pillaging the land is forbidden.
Failure to follow the rules of honor can trigger a test of a combatant’s Honor Passion or even result in immediate reduction to that Passion (as per RUNEQUEST, page 234). Failure to act honorably may also result in a visit from the Spirit of Retribution of the offender’s cult.Despite all of the above, Glorantha songs and stories are filled with examples of where a hero chose to act less than honorably where some other Passion (Loyalty, Love, Hate, etc.) dictates behavior instead of honor. Such conflicts are at the root of many a tragic hero.
Honour being what it is, if they offered surrender or terms and he refused, then killing him like an animal is not dishonourable.
But the Humakti in that group should still find that very distasteful at the least. Humakt is not pragmatic. He is inevitable.
And always remember, the gods don’t care about THIS fight. They uphold the Compromise, and are the way they eternally are. Humakt doesn’t care that this fight decides the fate of your kin. He cares that you follow Honor and your geases.
“But Jeff! What if I pretend to believe all Pelorians are tainted by Chaos so the rules of war don’t apply to them any more?” Humakt doesn’t care. But Storm Bull would buy that reasoning. But that means having an army of Storm Bull cultists. And if there isn’t Chaos to fight, they might get mighty pissed at you. “You had us come from Prax to fight Chaos. We came at great cost. But now we are here and there are only men, not Chaos to fight. The Bull does not lie to us. Bladger my axe does not lie to you.”
Hate is a common passion. Athenians hate Sparta and vice versa. That means interactions will be typically be difficult and fraught with problems, although they can be overcome if there is a more pressing issue.What I am pushing strong back against is the idea that Hate equals desire for genocide of the hate. Maybe in our sad age that is the case, but that’s not the case here. Vasana has a 90% Hate Lunar Empire. Still doesn’t mean she wants to murder every Lunar she sees.
And you might Hate the Lunar Empire and still willingly work with individual Lunars you find honourable. That’s what Vasana and Vostor illustrate.
The Humakti was angry, but was too ashamed by his failure to protect Argrath (and his hazia intoxication) to press matters. But in the future he got WAY more rigid about not participating in ambushes.
I’m moving this example of RQG combat up from within another thread because I enjoy it too much:In the duel between Achilles and Hector in the Iliad, Achilles throws his spear… and misses. Hector throws his spear … and misses. Achilles realises he threw away his best weapon and succeeds with Divine Intervention and Athena brings him back his spear. Now inspired by his Hate Hector passion, Achilles then charges at Hector with his spear, and rolls… a 01. Critical hit to the head. Doing impaling damage. For location he rolls at 19 – the head (technically the neck). Hector either fails his parry or the 12 points he blocks with his sword is insufficient. Achillles drives his spear through Hector’s neck and gloats over his dying foe. A kindly GM lets Hector make a final Death Speech, reminding Achilles that he is fated to die in the war as well.
I hate attritional combat systems. Now two amazing, perfectly matched warriors are going to match attack and parry, attack and parry, for a long time. Like any of the great duels in the Mahabharata. Maybe they will decide that their stalemate endangers their friends. Maybe they will decide to quit and fight again in more advantageous (re: more Rune Points) situations. Or maybe they will have one heck of a duel that ultimately gets resolved when one character crits, or another fumbles.
taking honor and geas seriously. You should watch Richard August squirm about whether his fellow players’ plan is honorable.
We’ve seen repeatedly in our game the limitations of Sword Trance. It does mean that it in a straight duel, the Humakti wins. And it means the Humakti can cleave through lesser foes. But it has LOTS of limitations. Not least being it is a pretty weak spell to Dismiss.
as Greg’s Brekun story makes clear, anyone who fights a close combat with a Humakti who has prepared themselves for the duel on the Humakt’s terms is an idiot. But there are so damn many ways to deal with that, that once again, I consider this to be a non-issue. You can certainly ask Richard August how well this actually works in practice.
Combat in my game seems to always start with a long prep time. Accompanied by Ennio Morricone of course.
Ok, now I cast Bladesharp. Is he moving to attack? No? Then now I cast Protection. Hey, is that the Trio you are playing?”
“Hey I better start the fight, because I just blew most of my spirit magic and it only lasts two minutes!”
“I roll Divine Intervention for Hector.” “You get it, what do you ask the gods to do?” “I wanna give a real mean speech to Achilles and let him know he is DOOMED.”
Passions and Runes really were the most important change for RQG. Rune Points and Augments are nice and fun, but those two make the characters sing and breath.
A few glimpses of the Quivin mountains aka Bohinj in Slovenia. I am pretty sure I can see Hereva Mountain here!
Most of the pictures were taken at 1700 meters and the tall mountain is 2900 meters.
Cults Book art previews
Some previews and snippets from Loïc Muzy as he charges through the Cults book!
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