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SteveMND

Praxian shamanic journeys, stillborn children, and integration of souls

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Okay, so, the title's kind of all over the place, so hear me out for a moment.

We've been doing character creation for an upcoming RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha campaign, and, of course, I love the family history background charts and love developing an interesting backstory from them even more.  I wanted to play a Praxian associate shaman/wannabe-eventual-shaman, and a handful of synchronicities gave me an interesting thread to pull at here, and was wondering if any of it was viable as far as what might be a legitimate backstory as far as what we know about Praxian lore and culture.

My character -- I was thinking about a female, as I didn't see where being a shaman was gender-restricted in Praxian culture -- had her first random event in her persoanl events as 'almost died,' and the chart gave me the reason as simply 'disappeared.'  I immediately thought about how that might work for the whole shamanic journey thing, and decided that one season, she just inexplicably wandered off into the Wastes, and returned several weeks later, unharmed, but... different.

Okay, great. So far, interesting lead.  Maybe she was planning on just being a normal woman of the Bison Riders, until she got a strange "calling" and up and disappeared?  Character generation continued on fine, and everything was going well.  We got to the characteristic-rolling portion, and my first sweep of dice rolling was pretty terrible.  The GM said, yeah, that was miserable enough to just re-roll everthing, and so I did.  I got better scores for a couple stats, which was fine, but I noticed something curious: almost all of her physical stats --with the exception of SIZ -- were almost identical to the initial unremarkable rolls, but the mental ones were much better.  Okay, so we decided to say that the original stats that I rolled were what walked into the Wastes that year, and what I rolled the second time was what ultimately walked back out.

That got me to thinking, what would have caused that sort of change?  The major difference in physical stats was size, which jumped up significantly, and that got me onto a tangent.  What if she had been born with a twin, but her brother had died in childbirth?  And what if when she walked out into the Wastes, what she encountered was the sprirt of her stillborn brother, and the two somehow... 'integrated?'  Perhaps into a more androgenous being (in spirit if not in actual body)?

Would that make any sense, lore-wise?  I realized that I have no idea about what even would happen in cases of a stilborn children in Prax, or the consequences thereof, of even if their spirits would/could possibly still be around, as maybe spirits of lost potential or something?  Would that sort of weird 'walkaboiut' my character did out into the Wastes even be something she could return from, or would she be immediately ostracized on account of the strangeness of her return?  Is that sort of 'dual-natured' aspect of a body with 'two souls' even something supported by the lore, or would it not work mythologically for the Praxians?

Mainly a thought experiment, but any suggestions or ideas are greatly welcomed.  Thanks in advance!

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7 minutes ago, SteveMND said:

That got me to thinking, what would have caused that sort of change?  The major difference in physical stats was size, which jumped up significantly, and that got me onto a tangent.  What if she had been born with a twin, but her brother had died in childbirth?  And what if when she walked out into the Wastes, what she encountered was the sprirt of her stillborn brother, and the two somehow... 'integrated?'  Perhaps into a more androgenous being (in spirit if not in actual body)?

 

I see no reason why not, hell make it a physical change if you wish. It is a magic world and Prax has some of the greater oddities of many odd centric places. As a GM I would be incredibly pleased with this take.I wonder which of the odd places in Prax would be best... Plateau of Statuesm Krjalki bog and would it be possible to interact with chaos and just have something odd happen but not be tainted with chaos

13 minutes ago, SteveMND said:

Mainly a thought experiment, but any suggestions or ideas are greatly welcomed.  Thanks in advance!

No, thank you.

A quick question to the hive mind:

I have not looked into the modern shaman (RQ G) or that much of Prax of late. Is SteveMND correct in saying there are gender restrictions on shamans in Prax.

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14 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

I have not looked into the modern shaman (RQ G) or that much of Prax of late. Is SteveMND correct in saying there are gender restrictions on shamans in Prax.

Whoops, nope, I said I could not find any gender restrictions on shamans in Prax.  To be honest, I have no idea if there are any.  To me, the visual of a male shaman stuck with me from the first games I used to play, 30-plus years ago, but I have no idea if there actually are any cultural preferences or restrictions on that, like there are on some of the actual cults and their followers.

Thanks for your feedback!

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That sounds cool as hell, so go with it! I can't think of any specific precedence for it, but on the other hand I can't really think of anything that precludes it. It's a strange world - spirits go off the beaten track to the Underworld. The unusual happens! 

As for shamans - there are a few groups/ranks in Prax that are gender specific, but I'm pretty sure they are far in the minority, and mainly theistic. There was a thread about this a while ago.

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I believe that Waha  /IS/  gender restricted (M only), but not Daka Fal; I believe Earth Witch has at least a few shamans in Prax, and she's F-only.

And of course an "independent" (not Initiated to any deity) shaman might have virtually any gender-restiction, including none.  Spirits (and Bad Man!) are made up of almost pure story-hooks (lightly coated in game-mechanical bait, to lure players into biting on the hooks...) .

 

Edited by g33k
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There are also the Star Witches, the Sunset Society, the Red School of Masks and the Ghost Darters and the Serpent Dancers which would have shamans attached.  The Star Witches are female only while the Sunset Society is for males.

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3 hours ago, metcalph said:

There are also the Star Witches, the Sunset Society, the Red School of Masks and the Ghost Darters and the Serpent Dancers which would have shamans attached.  The Star Witches are female only while the Sunset Society is for males.

TYVM @metcalph !

Also, forgot to mention in my prior:  really loving the concepts going into that backstory!  Great stuff!

All sorts of anima/animus, implications for a Fetch, etc ...

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You may consider the other way : as a baby she has been possessed by an evil spirit which restricted her development (because of a curse on her familiy, because her mother did not protect her and used her true name instead of a nickname to deceive spirits, or it could be her twin's spirit who possessed her even before her birth...). This journey released her from it (found a specific shaman able to chase the 2nd soul, our found a body for it ? Or you character IS this twin soul).

IRL female shamans are common. In some cultures, shamans are even above gender codes. Why not in your Prax.

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17 hours ago, g33k said:

I believe that Waha  /IS/  gender restricted (M only), but not Daka Fal; I believe Earth Witch has at least a few shamans in Prax, and she's F-only.

I just posted this in another thread:

I would allow women as assistant shaman /shaman to join Waha. They would need to act and dress like men at all times and effectively become men. Gender switching shaman are present in some cultures that practice shamanism - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machi_(shaman) as an example. Bear in mind also that the Praxians have always had close contact with neighbouring Orlanthi and are familiar with their gender types.

Earth Witch is Helpwoman amongst the tribes, but at the Paps is identified as both (it is a Great Earth temple).

My Praxian Pantheon chart was updated to cover RQG and you might find that helpful:

 

Edited by David Scott
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great idea

you could imagine that the fetch is the brother.

As twins they were one. And when the brother's body died, the sister body was frustratred. When she "meet"  her fetch in her travel, that freed her body.

When I say meeting her fetch, I do not say she is already a full shaman. Just she has the potential to.

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On 2/9/2020 at 4:05 AM, SteveMND said:

My character -- I was thinking about a female, as I didn't see where being a shaman was gender-restricted in Praxian culture

As others have said, being a shaman is definitely not gender restricted in Prax, but some specific shaman paths are. In particular I think it is not that unusual in Prax to become a shaman directly through the Horned God, effectively outside the major shamanic traditions. It's also not that unusual for a shaman to be initiated via a particular path but get a lot of their magic from a different one (so, for example, a Waha or Daka Fal shaman who has a lot of magic from one of the elemental societies - particularly the Many Friends, in Davids chart). One of the things that makes shamanism, even in mixed shaman/divine cults like Waha, quite different from theism is there is often no impetus on them to be 'pure' in their relationships with the spirit world. 

I think the idea of a shaman who has integrated the spirit of her unborn twin as a fetch is great idea and makes for an excellent idea. 

16 hours ago, David Scott said:

I would allow women as assistant shaman /shaman to join Waha. They would need to act and dress like men at all times and effectively become men.

So there is a gender restriction, but not a sex restriction? Interesting. Not the procedure described in the cult writeup (which says you have to be an initiate of Waha and 'of npble descent' first, but flexibility should be permitted for coolness - especially when shamans are involved. Effectively an extra taboo?

I think David's chart might be wrong about Eiritha having a shamanic path in RQG. Eiritha initiates can become shamans - and shamans can become Eiritha Herd Sisters as well  - but the Eiritha cult writeup has priestesses and makes no mention of shamans, same as in RQ3. That said, Helpwoman effectively can serve the role of an Eiritha shaman path, as many Helpwoman shamans will be Eiritha initiates. I assume Help Woman is effectively very similar to Serdrodosa? But in any case, there will be female shamans who are not really connected to the Eiritha cult or Earth traditions - especially Daka Fal and the Star Witches, but you could make them of any of the other (mostly elemental) minor traditions. 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, davecake said:

So there is a gender restriction, but not a sex restriction?

It's just a suggestion. Personally I wouldn't let the rules limit what a player wanted to create. I would always want a good backstory as to why they could do it though

12 hours ago, davecake said:

I think David's chart might be wrong about Eiritha having a shamanic path in RQG. Eiritha initiates can become shamans - and shamans can become Eiritha Herd Sisters as well  - but the Eiritha cult writeup has priestesses and makes no mention of shamans, same as in RQ3.

In my mind, Eiritha Initiates and Eiritha Herd Sisters that are shaman are the same thing as Eiritha shaman.

12 hours ago, davecake said:

I assume Help Woman is effectively very similar to Serdrodosa?

Help woman is Earth Witch who is a spirit cult / minor cult depending on location. Gata is technically the Earth Witch, but as she's now effectively gone and only Earth Witch is left. She gives Rune magic to some and has many varied roles in the world (Eiritha's midwife, Foundchild's adopted grandmother, etc). Serdrodosa was an overly complicated version of a 4 rune spell spirit cult.

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

Serdrodosa was an overly complicated version of a 4 rune spell spirit cult.

I didn’t know there was ever much more than that written up. I think it’s mostly just talking to rock spirits with a minority of full shamans. 

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

In my mind, Eiritha Initiates and Eiritha Herd Sisters that are shaman are the same thing as Eiritha shaman.

Not in mine, I guess. I don’t think they have any defined role in the cult. Eiritha seems so focussed on physical world processes I guess. 

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On 2/9/2020 at 7:21 AM, Bill the barbarian said:

I have not looked into the modern shaman (RQ G) or that much of Prax of late. Is SteveMND correct in saying there are gender restrictions on shamans in Prax.

You can't be a female shaman of Waha because only male Praxians can be Waha initiates.  You can't be a male shaman of Eiritha, as only females can become initiates.  

IDK about the three feathered rivals, but they seem pretty masculine in their orientation.

As for the rest, I don't think they care much about gender. 

While you can be a male shaman of Chalana Arroy, you don't get any rune magic from her.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

While you can be a male shaman of Chalana Arroy, you don't get any rune magic from her.

Where are you getting this from? The write-up in RQ:G doesn't support that stance.

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David Scott linked to a thread where he had posted this infographic, but it's worth reposting in this thread directly at this point.

You cannot be a shaman of Chalanna Arroy, and Chalanna Arroy does not care about the sex or race of worshippers. There are broo Chalanna Arroy healers.

129554776_PraxianTraditionstructurev8aRQG.thumb.jpg.982a04165456c501c625a7f848f3f3ac.jpg.2dc7a35eea9c938fb8b53961a4d6b248.jpg

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On 2/10/2020 at 10:57 AM, David Scott said:

Gata is technically the Earth Witch, but as she's now effectively gone and only Earth Witch is left.

This is a revelatory line. 

Are the Horned Man and Bad Man sometimes women and was the first Mortal sometimes a Grandmother?

The parallels here are pregnant, as it were.

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

was the first Mortal sometimes a Grandmother?

 

I seem to recall something from the Guide or Sourcebook about the first Mortal in some cultures/contexts being female, and others male. Don't know if others can verify/falsify this

EDIT: I just remembered that I'm pretty sure Kralorela has the first mortals as a pair, Grandmother and Grandfather.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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7 hours ago, scott-martin said:

This is a revelatory line. 

Are the Horned Man and Bad Man sometimes women and was the first Mortal sometimes a Grandmother?

The parallels here are pregnant, as it were.

The Horned Man was draconic in the South...

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12 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

The Horned Man was draconic in the South...

Traces of the tantra getting historically complicated down there too. Still so much we don't know about so many of these shamanic systems. Probably someone is going widdershins around the lozenge bringing all the spirit ways into conversation while others are collecting seeds or theistic magical insights. Can't wait to meet that person or team.

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On 2/10/2020 at 5:06 PM, davecake said:

I didn’t know there was ever much more than that written up. I think it’s mostly just talking to rock spirits with a minority of full shamans. 

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/catalogue/publishers/issaries/issaries-heroquest-1-products-2003-20xx/heroquest-1-archive/heroquest-1-support-material/heroquest-1-sample-keywords/

 

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

What's the reference for this?

Amuron? It's why there's no dragons in Pamaltela

Edited by Qizilbashwoman

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Amuron

Thanks, but I don't believe the horned man is draconic in the south.

Quote

Amuron. Great Spirit, Keeper of the Spirit World. Amuron is the “Spirit of Langamul,” and came into being when Bolongo killed the Creator. He is called the Great Horned Serpent, who taught people how to summon, recognize, and command the spirits. Amuron is also the Life Force that comes to the world from the Spirit Plane. Cronisper wields it when he unites with Yanmorla, and Noruma can wield it alone. 

Langamul is Earthmaker and this is where the serpent / snake problem arises, the word is also associated with the elements (Earth, Water, fire, serpents, etc) and not always draconic. Noruma clearly makes Amuron then when the spirit world is defined, becomes the great shaman, changed by the experience.

In some of Greg's unpublished material. Amuron is summoned by Hunralki the Great, the living Horned Serpent, Supreme manifestation of Noruma. Amuron rises into into the world from waters that turn into a great burning serpent. He swims to Argrath as the Southern Dragon, but he is

Quote

the Horned Serpent Power, related as the dragons are to the East.

In my mind Amuron can clearly be conflated as Draconic, but he is actually something else, a different power, the Horned Serpent power. On the outside in this case looking Draconic to most viewers. With Amuron in the world he's a manifestation of earth, fire and water (likely the others too) the Horned Man incarnate, but not a dragon.

Edited by David Scott

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