Law Offices of


        Stephen R. Marsh


        Attorney and Counselor at Law



                                                     1401 Holliday Street

                                                     Suite 316 Union Square

                                                     Wichita Falls, Texas  76301

                                                     (817) 322-8012



        February 17, 1992


        Steve Martin

        Post Office Box 272914

        Concord, CA  94527-2914


        Philip P. Davis

        6802 Garden Court

        Gilroy, CA  95020

        (408) 848-1163


        Greg Stafford

        950A 56th Street

        Oakland, CA  94608

        (510) 547-7681


        David Dunham

        532 North 71st Street

        Seattle, Washington  98103-5127

        (206) 783-7701


        Dear Steve:


             Thank you for your letter.  I really appreciated it.  I am taking the liberty of forwarding 

        copies of your letter & essays, along with this letter, to the above.


        Responding to your letter:


             a.   It has always been my contention that heroquesting and runes are general design 

        principles of which Glorantha and the Norse are special cases or examples of execution.   Odin 

        was  a  rune  master  and a heroquester.  Glorantha's seminal concepts  owe  somewhat  to  the 



             b.   One of the best updates, at least in the time of Anders Swenson, was to beg  and 

        bribe  Greg into letting you read his heroquest notes & correspondence file.  Many of  us  long 

        for a copy of what Anders was able to read.


             c.   my skill system can be used transparently with RQIII.  A GM need only use  the 

        system  (using  the  same character sheets and dice) when the GM  needs  or  wants  additional 

        levels of detail.


             d.   I like your comments about treating Rune possession as a skill rather than as  an 

        attribute or characteristic.  I'll be thinking about it seriously.


             e.   EWF in working out the contrary/dragonnewt mythlines got itself mixed into the 

        counsel's mythlines.


             d.   In a way, Arkat was the penultimate god-learner.


             e.   1.   Glory need not be separated by runes, but, should slaying lots of enemies 

        give you any added benefit with the life or harmony runes?  Should fleeing from your  enemies 

        or lying to them aid you with death or truth?


             f.   The  pay-off/disads, etc. in getting a rune based transmundane power should  be 

        an integral part of the power and the originating quest.  I was talking balance and design there.


             g.   As  I  understand  it,  and  I could be wrong,  Arachne  Solara  is  the  Celestial 

        Court's  goddess reborn as the spinner of time.  She is, in a way, the father of the true  (white) 

        moon that is to come to bring peace.  


             Note  that  the  red and blue moons are sisters, both trapped in  their  mother(s)  by  the 

        creation of time.  Your speculation looks pretty good to me.  Ask yourself about the sources of 

        the  land  masses  where  the red and blue moons are found, why lunar  and  air  exclude  each 

        other, and who was passing through hell when.


             I  would  not  discard  the Celestial Court so easily.   Its  members  all  transformed  or 

        endured, more or less successfully, and all of them escaped primal chaos.


             h.   In  many ways, Orlanth is an extremely capable and admirable character.   Kind 

        of an oath-keeping and faithful version of Odin.  In each of his four avatars he was  successful, 

        innovative and direct.  Best of all he was able to fight himself (in the Gbaji wars) and win.  He 

        may be the only one to escape illumination and the god learners.


             i.   Enclosed  with  the letter find some more notes.  (Copies not sent to  the  others 

        receiving your notes and this letter).  Hope you enjoy them.


        Responding to your essay:


             a.   yes, yes, YES, the pairs, etc. are simplistic.  However, they do reflect (I  think) 

        the  underlying structure of Glorantha's runes prior to the alteration due to actions on  the  god 

        level  in  unique myths and history (I could well be wrong) -- including  obscuring  lies  spread 

        after the destruction of the god learners.


             b.   luck  and  fate form an important group along with mastery.  Fate is  the  Lunar 

        way,  Mastery fits Prax, Luck the Holy Country.  Mastery fits men who rely on skills  (includ-

        ing  runemasters), Fate those who rely upon gods (including runepriests), Luck those who  step 

        outside skills and deities.


             c.   Your  essays  add  a  level  of complexity by  pointing  out  additional  levels  of 

        complications in rune interactions.  Well done.


             d.   One  interesting  thing about Chaos is that it can be used to alter  which  sets  of 

        runes  oppose each other.  Thus with chaos intervention, Air might oppose Form Runes  rather 

        than the other elemental runes.


             However, generally, chaos (unilluminated at least) does not alter the chaos /  opposition 



             e.   Lunar/Chaos regulates several inclusive sets as does chaos itself.  Martin misses 

        the impact this has in setting up oppositions.  (For comparison, Light does not oppose Cold  or 

        Heat oppose Dark -- Zorak Zoran's great secret).


             f.   Earth includes stone, soil, and dust.  The relationship is more complex than  the 

        perceived  relationship  of earth and malign earth.  Treating it as an exclusive set  is  tempting, 

        but  a mistake (encouraged by Earth, naturally).  The exclusive parts are the runes the  various 

        aspects are linked to, not the actual Earth part of those aspects.


             A  good example is that Magma and Steam are exclusive.  Not because of the heat  they 

        share, but because of the stone/water they do not share.


             g.   nice discussion on severed runes.


             h.   broken  rune sets are re-aligned by the intervention of chaos.  Krarsht  has  Mo-

        bility/Chaos/Stasis,  with  her Mobility and Stasis opposing other things because of  the  Chaos 



             Delecti  has Life/Chaos/Death.  His life is opposed by the elements (including  air,  not 

        including  lunar  --  important  for lunar vampire legions).  Note the  trouble  he  has  with  all 

        elements.   His life is also dependent on his death (though his death is opposed by a rune  other 

        than  life).   Note  that  with chaos separation also comes some  warping.   An  unwarped  split 

        would be harder to accomplish -- and even less natural.


             Breaking part of a larger set is easier than breaking it all.


             In  addition, breaking a set only as to some aspects is easier than breaking as to the  full 

        runes.   E.g. Zorak Zoran who has Shade (his part of darkness) and Heat (from Yelmalio)  and 

        has neither in opposition.  Caladra and Aurelion are another good example of partial breaks.


             Breaking Runes // keeping balance or not.


             >   by godtime actions combined with a trade-off.

                  the godtime makes it possible, the trade-off keeps balance.

                  e.g. Zorak Zoran who took Heat from Yelmalio.


             >   by chaos intrusions interposing chaos to sever or break

                  a rune set.  generally the new opposition is a group for

                  each rune rather than a single rune.  Balance kept

                  e.g. Delecti.


             >   God-learner interaction.

                  ?  with proper off-set and reductions, keeping eventual

                  balance.  e.g. Caladra and Aurelion.  Note the great natural

                  violence and problems associated with such sets.

                  ?  without off-sets, placing oneself in the severance.  This

                  is the traditional god learner method.  The act of severing or

                  breaking places the quester and his group(s) into the dynamics.

                  In the short run it allows greater power.  In the long run,

                  tensions fueled by the nature and depth of reality build.


             One  can appreciate how the practice of inopportune breaking (without accepting a  cost 

        or keeping balance) lead to later problems for the god-learners.  While endemic to their society 

        and methods, it eventually created great reserves of force (like a building earthquake or a light-

        ing charge waiting to be discharged).  The force eventually evened out, erasing all those tied to 

        it or near those tied to it (or tied to them).


             The defining point of a "true" god-learner (i.e. those destroyed no matter how or where 

        they fled) is inappropriate rune breaking without balance or off-sets.


             i.   Dragonnewt  consumes  chaos...  I would not hazard the attempt  to  break  that 

        pair.   Either the utility of Dragonnewt's ability to consume chaos (of which trait fueled  magic 

        are a lesser aspect) or the power of chaos would be lost.  


             j.   Issaries  "rune"  is  a use or facet of his rune(s) rather than  a  unique  rune  un-

        shown.   He is a good example of how killing a god can cut of the area where the god  is  dead 

        from the god's runes.  (Yelm is, of course, the great example of this).



             I'm glad you enjoyed the essays (and, I hope, Reaching Moon #7).


             I'd  advise dropping over to Gilroy and catching Phil Davis.   Pick up the  intermediate 

        drafts  I  sent David Hall.  Beg, borrow or steal a copy of the  Heroquest  correspondence  and 

        notes file.  Talk to Greg Stafford.  Write me back with the inside scoop.  (The last most of all.  

        I'd love to hear the latest).






        Steve Marsh