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Lunar's preventing the worship of Orlanth


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This popped into my head so I thought I would ask it here.  

Why don't the Lunar Empire just send a group of soldiers to each clan during the high holy days of Orlanth and Ernalda?  They then could prevent the worship of these gods.  This is probably easier said than done.  I'm sure I'm missing something.  

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31 minutes ago, mikuel said:

This popped into my head so I thought I would ask it here.  

Why don't the Lunar Empire just send a group of soldiers to each clan during the high holy days of Orlanth and Ernalda?  They then could prevent the worship of these gods.  This is probably easier said than done.  I'm sure I'm missing something.  

For one, I think there's something like 200+ clans in Sartar; doing that would leave the Lunars spread way too thin, especially when Tatius is having the bulk of his forces protect the construction of the temple. And the worst time you want your occupying force to be spread way too thin is when they're all simultaneously doing something that's going to piss off the locals mightily.

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29 minutes ago, mikuel said:

This popped into my head so I thought I would ask it here.  

Why don't the Lunar Empire just send a group of soldiers to each clan during the high holy days of Orlanth and Ernalda?  They then could prevent the worship of these gods.  This is probably easier said than done.  I'm sure I'm missing something.  

To start with, there's aren't enough Lunar soldiers. At the height of the Lunar Occupation, right before the invasion of the Holy Country, there were about 20,000 soldiers in Dragon Pass, plus the Crimson Bat. There's about 200 clans in Sartar, so you are talking about sending 100 soldiers to every clan simultaneously, which means spreading things incredibly thin. The Volsaxi might even be able to march on Boldhome. And the presence of the Bat might well encourage a full-fledge Praxian Rebellion. You'd definitely have a rebellion even among the friendly tribes, and maybe even in Tarsh, Holay, and Aggar.

Also, these religious ceremonies are dangerous to intrude on. Spirits, guardian deities, and more - at their strongest. Who knows what other powers might be brought into the world? An succession of small defeats, combined with a foreign attack, might easily result in the collapse of the Lunar Provincial system.

And for what? Something a new Temple of the Reaching Moon will take care on its own?

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46 minutes ago, mikuel said:

Why don't the Lunar Empire just send a group of soldiers to each clan during the high holy days of Orlanth and Ernalda?  They then could prevent the worship of these gods.  This is probably easier said than done.  I'm sure I'm missing something.  

Attacking Orlanthi tribes during their time of worship, when they're gathered, pumped up on magic, might not be the best strategic choice. Instead, it's better to just destroy temples and shrines to Orlanth during the other normal days of the year. That's actually more or less what the Lunars did during their occupation, where they banned the worship of Orlanth across Sartar. Of course, most people then drew a metaphorical moustache on all their effigies and votive pictures, declaring that this wasn't Orlanth at all, it's Barntar or whoever else was still OK to worship. And between this, the Lunar's eventual sacking of Whitewall (including the Orlanthi temples there), and the building of a Lunar temple, they actually managed to kill the worship of Orlanth across Sartar, resulting in the Windstop, where none of Orlanth's magic (or Ernalda's for that matter) worked at all for about a year or so. So, yeah, they succeeded, at least for a while (give or take YGMV).

41 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

As for Orlanth, of course they do. What do you think "Summon Evil" does?

To be honest, the "Summons of Evil" is, along with many aspects of heroquesting, some of the things I have the most problems grasping in Gloranthan gaming. It feels too much like it's trying to force-fit narrative synchronicity into a simulation framework... like... this kind of stuff looks great in a written myth or a novel or a movie, but I'm really worried about the kind of questions and problems it can create in a game... it's like trying to run a time-travel story: sure you can do it (for a given type of time-travel mechanic) but it's not easy, and prone to failure.

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7 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Attacking Orlanthi tribes during their time of worship, when they're gathered, pumped up on magic, might not be the best strategic choice.

It's a shame that, mechanically, this isn't really well reflected. Typically (from my experience) everyone blows all their magic points in the Worship ceremony, so in fact it would be an ideal time to attack them. I realise that what the PCs do and what "really happens" aren't necessarily the same thing, but still.

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1 hour ago, GAZZA said:

It's a shame that, mechanically, this isn't really well reflected. Typically (from my experience) everyone blows all their magic points in the Worship ceremony, so in fact it would be an ideal time to attack them. I realise that what the PCs do and what "really happens" aren't necessarily the same thing, but still.

The people being attacked would probably get a warning from their god before they blew all their magic points, and set a nasty trap, with everyone all pumped up with magic, vengeance and fury. High holy days direct communication with the deity is easier.

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2 hours ago, GAZZA said:

It's a shame that, mechanically, this isn't really well reflected. Typically (from my experience) everyone blows all their magic points in the Worship ceremony, so in fact it would be an ideal time to attack them. I realise that what the PCs do and what "really happens" aren't necessarily the same thing, but still.

Blowing all that magic creates a huge magical advantage, adding to the temporal advantage. That can translate into a disadvantage for anyone attacking the rites.

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In this matter, I see the Lunar Empire much similar to the Roman Early Empire, when it was still paganist: it is better to agregate / absorb peacefully conquered people. As long as the Orlanthi do not oppose the Empire; they can worship anygod they want. Massive religious conversion needs more time, the Lunars are certainly aware of that - and it's the business pf the missionaries, not the garrison !

For Orlanth's cult, its a bit different. As a source of trouble, a call to revolt, it is forbidden (as was Christianity by the Romans at first). Shrines and temples are destroyed. But the Lunars are too good politics: they do know there must be an "exhaust valve", or the whole thing can explode to their face. So they turn a blind eye to little worshipping, as long as it is discreet and not causing massive meetings and troubles.

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1 hour ago, EricW said:

The people being attacked would probably get a warning from their god before they blew all their magic points, and set a nasty trap, with everyone all pumped up with magic, vengeance and fury. High holy days direct communication with the deity is easier.

"Before"? Doesn't that concept require Time, which is something the gods don't understand? Serious question - I didn't think it was possible for prophets to exist in Glorantha for that reason. Although that would make most Divination pretty pointless - "who is in Snakepipe Hollow" implicitly means "now", not "two hundred years ago", for example. I guess this whole "before Time" thing is more metaphorical than actual.

But yes, of course the general concept you (and @Joerg) suggest are certainly fine - that's what I was referring to when I said 'I realise that what the PCs do and what "really happens" aren't necessarily the same thing'. It would nice, however, if this were reflected mechanically - if PCs that had just participated in a Worship ceremony really did have some sort of supercharged magical abilities, knowledge of impending attacks, or whatever - mechanically, all they get is their Rune Points back. Which is hardly without value, of course, but presumably that happens at the end of the Worship ceremony, after they've already blown all-but-one magic point to boost their chance of success... and so, mechanically, an enemy religion that attacked during the ceremony would face a group of worshippers that are:

  • Likely low on Rune Points. (Use 'em or lose 'em, especially for a High Holy Day, so most rational individuals would use any remaining Rune Points just prior to the Worship ceremony).
  • Likely low on magic points.
  • Quite possibly distracted by the confusion of the Hero and Mundane planes that is presumably invoked during the ceremony.
  • For many participants - perhaps not Rune Lords or heroic (small h) types - they are quite possibly dressed in their "Sunday best" rather than fully armed and armoured.

The last two points are certainly debatable (I'd assume that Humakt worship ceremonies probably specify battle-readiness as appropriate temple attire) but the first two not so much. I'm not saying this breaks the game, just that it looks like what TV Tropes would call "Gameplay and Story Segregation" - where the intended "story effect" (a bunch of pumped up worshippers glowing with the power of their god) doesn't match the "gameplay effect" (basically at the lowest ebb of their magical abilities) - and that's a little unfortunate. Clearly it can't really work this way or else enemy cults would always time their attacks in such a fashion - but mechanically it looks like it happens that way, which could be problematic if your PCs ever decided that, based on the gameplay mechanics, the best time to pick on a Yanafil Tarnils Rune Lord was on the High Holy Day for YT.

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2 hours ago, GAZZA said:

"Before"? Doesn't that concept require Time, which is something the gods don't understand? Serious question - I didn't think it was possible for prophets to exist in Glorantha for that reason. Although that would make most Divination pretty pointless - "who is in Snakepipe Hollow" implicitly means "now", not "two hundred years ago", for example. I guess this whole "before Time" thing is more metaphorical than actual.

But yes, of course the general concept you (and @Joerg) suggest are certainly fine - that's what I was referring to when I said 'I realise that what the PCs do and what "really happens" aren't necessarily the same thing'. It would nice, however, if this were reflected mechanically - if PCs that had just participated in a Worship ceremony really did have some sort of supercharged magical abilities, knowledge of impending attacks, or whatever - mechanically, all they get is their Rune Points back. Which is hardly without value, of course, but presumably that happens at the end of the Worship ceremony, after they've already blown all-but-one magic point to boost their chance of success... and so, mechanically, an enemy religion that attacked during the ceremony would face a group of worshippers that are:

  • Likely low on Rune Points. (Use 'em or lose 'em, especially for a High Holy Day, so most rational individuals would use any remaining Rune Points just prior to the Worship ceremony).
  • Likely low on magic points.
  • Quite possibly distracted by the confusion of the Hero and Mundane planes that is presumably invoked during the ceremony.
  • For many participants - perhaps not Rune Lords or heroic (small h) types - they are quite possibly dressed in their "Sunday best" rather than fully armed and armoured.

The last two points are certainly debatable (I'd assume that Humakt worship ceremonies probably specify battle-readiness as appropriate temple attire) but the first two not so much. I'm not saying this breaks the game, just that it looks like what TV Tropes would call "Gameplay and Story Segregation" - where the intended "story effect" (a bunch of pumped up worshippers glowing with the power of their god) doesn't match the "gameplay effect" (basically at the lowest ebb of their magical abilities) - and that's a little unfortunate. Clearly it can't really work this way or else enemy cults would always time their attacks in such a fashion - but mechanically it looks like it happens that way, which could be problematic if your PCs ever decided that, based on the gameplay mechanics, the best time to pick on a Yanafil Tarnils Rune Lord was on the High Holy Day for YT.

You don't need a time machine to figure out what is happening if groups of Lunars are creeping towards all the villages.

I think your assumption that the "confusing of the Hero and Mundane Planes" would be a disadvantage is a little dubious. High Holy Day is an opportunity to see Grandpa again, who spends most of his time in Orlanth's Hall, but on high holy day can visit the grandkids. There are demi-gods and powerful spirits hanging around, all of whom could potentially act to help the clan, when the magic is strong. 

Magic points - plenty of cases when people find themselves recharged, in magically significant circumstances. 

Unarmed participants - high holy day is a show of strength. Divine feats are re-enacted, there are contests, tournaments, all sorts of events - likely every warrior has brought their finest weapons.

I think it would be suicidal to attack an Orlanthi clan on high holy day, unless you bring some serious magic.

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3 hours ago, GAZZA said:

@Joergall they get is their Rune Points back. Which is hardly without value, of course, but presumably that happens at the end of the Worship ceremony, after they've already blown all-but-one magic point to boost their chance of success... and so, mechanically, an enemy religion that attacked during the ceremony would face a group of worshippers that are:

 

  • Likely low on Rune Points. (Use 'em or lose 'em, especially for a High Holy Day, so most rational individuals would use any remaining Rune Points just prior to the Worship ceremony).

That's only for the initiates of the specific deity. Their friends belonging to different cults are spending cult service time guarding and assisting the rite, having spent 2 MP as lay members.

 

3 hours ago, GAZZA said:
  • Quite possibly distracted by the confusion of the Hero and Mundane planes that is presumably invoked during the ceremony.

Actually, that is their advantage - they are surrounded by the magic, the attackers need to penetrate that. Theist magic is about identification, and the worshipers are high on that.

 

3 hours ago, GAZZA said:
  • For many participants - perhaps not Rune Lords or heroic (small h) types - they are quite possibly dressed in their "Sunday best" rather than fully armed and armoured.

Ceremonial gear becomes divine gear under the circumstances. Skin paint gets the property of enchanted woad, etc. As long as they identify as their deity, that deity will be present, whether in each of the worshipers individually or manifest as a spirit like in the Magical Battalion way of warfare (described in Vasana's Saga).

 

3 hours ago, GAZZA said:

The last two points are certainly debatable (I'd assume that Humakt worship ceremonies probably specify battle-readiness as appropriate temple attire) but the first two not so much. I'm not saying this breaks the game, just that it looks like what TV Tropes would call "Gameplay and Story Segregation" - where the intended "story effect" (a bunch of pumped up worshippers glowing with the power of their god) doesn't match the "gameplay effect" (basically at the lowest ebb of their magical abilities) - and that's a little unfortunate.

It is not (yet) written as such in the RQG rules, although those already go for the time bonus and circumstance bonus.

 

3 hours ago, GAZZA said:

Clearly it can't really work this way or else enemy cults would always time their attacks in such a fashion - but mechanically it looks like it happens that way, which could be problematic if your PCs ever decided that, based on the gameplay mechanics, the best time to pick on a Yanafil Tarnils Rune Lord was on the High Holy Day for YT.

If you are a nice GM, you'll have their rivals pre-empt that attack on them. If you are nasty, let them experience the problem.

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

If you are a nice GM, you'll have their rivals pre-empt that attack on them. If you are nasty, let them experience the problem.

Nice or nasty, nice or nasty, nice or nasty, which type of GM should I be? Hur, hur, hur ...

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It was an attempt to deconsecrate an altar of Orlanth Victorious that led to Starbrow's Rebellion.

I'd imagine the Lunar leaders didn't want to be responsible for anything like that happening again.

Ofc with hindsight the course they took didn't turn out too well either.

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It's easy to stop the worship of Orlanth. Lokamayadon did in in the First Age, the Empire of the Wyrms Friends did it in the Second Age and the Lunar Empire are doing it in the Third Age. What's the worst that could happen?

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20 minutes ago, soltakss said:

It's easy to stop the worship of Orlanth. Lokamayadon did in in the First Age, the Empire of the Wyrms Friends did it in the Second Age and the Lunar Empire are doing it in the Third Age. What's the worst that could happen?

To be fair, Lokamayadon supplanted the cult or diverted it to himself, the EWF enveloped it in a new way. Only the Lunar Empire is trying to supress the cult and kill the god. But yes, I get your point. 🙂

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2 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

What about New Pavis? Do many Orlanthi attend Faltikus' ceremonies? Does he call the god Doburdun or Entekos openly in front of everybody? Hmm...

According to 'Strangers in Prax' the temple is far from empty, even if the congregation is described as 'shrinking'.

Edited by Kloster
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13 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

To be fair, Lokamayadon supplanted the cult or diverted it to himself, the EWF enveloped it in a new way. 

Lokamayadon stopped adults initiating into Orlanth, that's a good way of killing the cult.

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...just to carry on with my previous reply...

I said I saw the Lunars pretty much like the Early Roman Empire, when it was still paganist. We could keep up by saying that when the Roman Empire adopted Christianism as official religion, it became much less tolerant towards pagan cults of its provinces (these cults were all forbidden, while even with the previous imperial cult, all cults were allowed as long as they didn't disrupt the Empire's peace and order). In practice, we do know (texts, archaeological discoveries) it depended on the local authorities. In Sartar, we could easily imagine a Lunar clergy and some of the military command (Tatius the Bright) totally fanatical and hostile towards Orlanth's worshipping. In the other hand, we could meet Lunar officers more indifferent to religious matters, as long as the peace of the Empire is respected/preserved. Of course, these "tolerant" Lunars would be more present among less in-sight officers and sub-officers... and they wouldn't openly disobey their command anyway!!!

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There are interesting tensions you can play with between Provincial troops (like Fazzur's Tarshite army) and the regular regiments posted to Dragon Pass from the Heartlands.

On the one hand, Provincial troops surely know and understand the Sartarite and Old Tarshite tribes and clans better, since that's where they came from themselves (NB: while they'll see them as human, they'll also know how best to hurt them). They'll also arguably be less disciplined: although this might make them more 'honourable' by barbarian standards, it's not necessarily entirely good news. They might want to build "neighbourly" relations with conquered tribes and cities, seeing them as components of their Greater Tarshite Kingdom.

On the other hand, Heartland Corps regulars may feel lost in the highlands, are more likely to show xenophobic bigotry and cultural snobbery towards barbaric savages, and although they're more disciplined, it's also easier to see them "only obeying orders" to perpetrate atrocities or persecute local religious leaders and practices in the Empire's name. After all, they don't plan to retire and set down roots in Dragon Pass: when this rotation is over, they'll be heading home to the Heartlands or redeploying to another frontier.

This is the (then) Fazzur vs. Tatius / (now) Fazzurites vs. Pharandrites clash in a nutshell.

Consider also the phenomenon of 'the zeal of the convert,' where new recruits are way more fervent in their beliefs than old-timers, or the way some 'expats' become a parody / throwback version of their homeland's culture. Lots of fun characterful stuff you can play with, here.

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51 minutes ago, Loïc said:

...just to carry on with my previous reply...

I said I saw the Lunars pretty much like the Early Roman Empire, when it was still paganist. We could keep up by saying that when the Roman Empire adopted Christianism as official religion, it became much less tolerant towards pagan cults of its provinces (these cults were all forbidden, while even with the previous imperial cult, all cults were allowed as long as they didn't disrupt the Empire's peace and order). In practice, we do know (texts, archaeological discoveries) it depended on the local authorities. In Sartar, we could easily imagine a Lunar clergy and some of the military command (Tatius the Bright) totally fanatical and hostile towards Orlanth's worshipping. In the other hand, we could meet Lunar officers more indifferent to religious matters, as long as the peace of the Empire is respected/preserved. Of course, these "tolerant" Lunars would be more present among less in-sight officers and sub-officers... and they wouldn't openly disobey their command anyway!!!

there is a big difference between chistian roman empire and lunar empire:

Christian roman authority know/believe that there is only one god and others don't exist. Then they manage pagans with their own sensibility (convert them or kill them) vs (let them live their pagan life, peace/economy is more important). there are not "divine opponents"

Lunar authority knows Orlanth and Red Moon both exist. And they know they are part of a fight between them. The winner will dominate the middle air. so a lunar authority will try to destroy orlanth cult (some by violence, some by conversion, some by time) They must do (or prepare) the end of the existing opponent. And after, their is sensibility / loyalty. But at the end of the day/wane Orlanth must die.

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Agree with you about the difference between the Lunar and Roman empires. This said, whether you want to destroy your opponents' gods to make yours one and only (at least in the Middle Air), or you believe yours is still the one and only, the difference is just a matter of time: the Christian god IS the one and only / the Red Goddess WILL BE the one and only.

And this is even more simple for worshippers: kill Orlanth's unconvertible whorshippers, whether it weakens their god or they are foolish beyond redemption... Anyway, just frag 'em all!!!

(Sorry, I love this kind of academic discussion... 😊 )

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It may be sufficient to prove Orlanth = Doburdun, "pale and timorous god of storm" on the Gods' Wall I-18. (from Guide to Glorantha vol 2). Then the Red Goddess can righteously bully him whenever the mood takes her.

See also

 

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5 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

 (NB: while they'll see them as human, they'll also know how best to hurt them)

And by extension, since they are locals, they are also the ones with the most stake in the conflict. Makes me think of how the Spanish subverted local Nahua politics in order to get a coalition of other city-states to do the brunt of the fighting against the Aztecs. The Spaniards wanted the Aztecs gone, because they were the dominant power bloc in the area and thus their largest potential future rival, whereas the locals wanted the Aztec gone because they had decades, if not centuries of personal, and at times intense enmity with them, and they believed (initially at least) that they had everything to gain if they won, and once the fighting started, everything to lose if they lost.

Not a perfect comparison, but it gets the point across.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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