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Jape_Vicho

Darkness shaman cult

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I've got a player whose trollkin adventurer joined the Sunset Society of Prax (although he was originally initiated into it by a local troll in Nochet and may have eaten a fellow trollkin's soul in the process, and kept that one's brother as a pet... but I digress). We've been heavily winging it as we go. For RQG rules, I've basically arranged it that his society is all one Rune point pool, and that as he joins different associated spirit cults, he gains access to different Darkness Rune spells. The different spirit cults are very loosely based on the troll spirits writeup in RQ3 Troll Gods, in large part because he loved the Worm writeup.

I think I started him with Dehore, and spells of Command Cult Spirit, Summon Darkness Elemental (small, medium), and Spirit Block. It's worth noting he started this during play, not as a new adventurer, because he wanted something less geographically restrictive than river worship considering our campaign has been wandering kind of all over Dragon Pass. I'd probably start a new player with comparable spell selection to other default cults.

He also kept the skull of the trollkin he ate, which is now a dehori binding enchantment.

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

I'm reluctant to add Spirit Cult Taboos as don't exist in the official RQG cult write-ups

Huh, really? I always liked how minor but still relevant many were, like "always use Peaceful Cut on frogs" for Frog Woman. That adds a ton of flavor! 

EDIT: Damnit, Nick Brooke beat me to it!

Edited by Akhôrahil
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Wow, thanks a huge lot for all the responses, this forums are of immense help for gloranthan newbies.

The character in question, albeit human, comes from a family which are all troll-descendents, as one of the original members of the clan founder's ring was a troll. As such I think I will go with Kyger Litor maybe mixed with some flavour of Daka Fal, I'll study it with the player to create a good fit, and then introduce some of the spirit cults you have mentioned.

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1 hour ago, Jape_Vicho said:

The character in question, albeit human, comes from a family which are all troll-descendents, as one of the original members of the clan founder's ring was a troll.

Definitely check up things people have written about the Kitori, then. You'll find all sorts of ideas you can poach, even if this family aren't Kitori themselves.

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3 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

The character in question, albeit human, comes from a family which are all troll-descendents...

How does this even work?  I thought trolls were cursed to birth trollkin, not humans. 🙂

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8 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

How does this even work?  I thought trolls were cursed to birth trollkin, not humans. 🙂

The trollkin curse started during the Gbaji wars if I'm not mistaken, and the clan where the characters are from dates back to the Great Darkness, so it precedes the curse. In any case, the thing about the stead is more centered in the mythological side, like having an Uz as the stead's head ancestor and having close affinity with the darkness rune than to the biological "Uz mates with human and has human baby", it's weird, but doesn't strike me as impossible.

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45 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

How does this even work?  I thought trolls were cursed to birth trollkin, not humans. 🙂

The Nightcult subcult of Argan Argar worship allows humans to take on troll form, and vice versa.  In places where the Kingdom of Night was strong and people took Only Old One up on his offer to teach the inner secrets of Darkness, it's not unheard-of for human and troll genealogies to intersect.

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17 hours ago, jajagappa said:

You have forgotten Jakaboom, Dancer in the Shadows.  He goes all the way back to RQ2 Trollpak p.5 (and RQ3 Troll Gods).

JAKABOOM, Dancer in the Shadows, was also the first troll shaman, and taught the trolls their dances which protect them from malevolent spirits and help them to fight Chaos.

He is one of the Seven Sacred Ancestors and serves the same role in troll society that the Horned Man does in human society.  (Kyger Litor serves as the Ancestral Mother, similar to Daka Fal, with that shamanic tradition)

 

Jakaboom was the spirit cult of Jakaleel's Before Dark tradition!

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On 7/17/2020 at 11:35 AM, David Scott said:

I covered some Sartarite darkness spirit cults here:

I think the easiest Darkness spirit for Sartarites would be: Xentha, Goddess of Night  and I'd give the spirit cult Summon (Darkness elemental), but a local one.

The nature of shamans in RQG is that you are a member of multiple spirit cults and perhaps a major cult as well.

Your adventurer could be a member of Daka Fal, Xentha, The Darkness stone, Darkvale Sisters and the Sky Gloom.

Likewise, if you don't have a suitable spirit cult, make up a local one. There are hundreds of local spirits waiting to assist your shaman. Remember they generally give only one spirit or rune spell, some will teach skills,

The Darkness stone

This brooding black monolith in the eastern woods claims to have been a troll from Wonderhome, transfigured to rock by unknown magics.

Darksense

(Darkness)

Self, Temporal, Stackable

This Rune spell gives the caster Troll Dark sense with a range of 10m for its duration, each extra point increases the range by 10m.

 

Darkvale Sisters

These patches of black petaled flowers appears in Dark season. The spirit of each patch appears as dark outlined woman. Joining the spirit cult means that you have married one of the sisters. Their roots from a whole patch can be used to make a single magical healing salve of 1D6+1 POT, acting just like Heal spirit magic. To do this you must effectively sacrifice your spirit wife, turn her into a healing salve and then reseed her.

Reseed Darkvale Wife

(Darkness, Plant)

Ritual, Stackable.

This ritual of reseeding allows a new patch of flowers to grow. Each point stacked with it adds another patch.

 

Sky Gloom

The Sky Gloom loves flying around on cloudy days and spreading the word that the sun will never fully return. The sky gloom teaches a 1 point version of Demoralize that rather than affecting fighting prowess, gives them the impression that the sun won't come back or the rain will ever end. Victims often spend days in bed or under a blanket, before realising what has happened.

These are good. Has anyone written a book that is nothing but spirit writeups? That would be nice.

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2 hours ago, Borygon said:

These are good. Has anyone written a book that is nothing but spirit writeups? That would be nice.

It's pretty easy to write spirit cults. In the upcoming Gods book, there are at 30 that you can use as a basis to make your own up.

1. Think local, look at, a map.

2. Think what sort of rune the spirit is tied to.

3. Write a few lines of description AT MOST. 

4. Decide what it gives: Rune spell, spirit spell, or teaches a skill.

5. Decide what aspect of the spirit what it gives is.

6. Choose an already available rune or spirit spell or MAKE ONE UP.

7. Done.

So looking at the Apple Lane map.

Forgotten Trade.

This spirit roams the ruins of what was Gringle's Pawnshop and is effectively the spirit of the building. When occupied, it thrived on the thrill of bargaining, the rattle of coins and the joy of mercantile action. It misses all of that and longs for the old days. It can teach bargaining up to 25% and a special version of Create Market.

Create Market Stall

(harmony)

1 points

Ritual, temporal, stackable.

Must be cast on a table of goods and acts as a Detect Thieves spell for 1m around the stall. Additional points allow more tables (up to 4).

Edited by David Scott
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4 hours ago, David Scott said:

It's pretty easy to write spirit cults.

Nice! Now can we convince Jason to add something like this to either the GM Guide book or the Cults book (if it even has a "GM advice for making new cults" section in it?)  :D 

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I'd love to play a shaman just because spirit cults exist. People talk about how Issaries are the closest to broad D&D wizards, but a well-traveled shaman can get all sorts of goodies by visiting other's shrines.

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On 7/17/2020 at 4:23 AM, Kloster said:

but for RQ3, no. shamanhood comes directly from KL, as an ancestor worship, as all trolls are supposed to be her grand grand children

Shamanhood comes straight from KL, but game mechanic wise, in RQ3 priestess shamans who wanted Ancestor Worship spells needed to initiate into that as a separate tradition. This was usually conceptualised as troll ancestor worship being through Kygor Litors daughter Korasting, rather than directly through KL or through Daka Fal. 

This is more or less how it is in RQG too - KL gets one Ancestor Worship spell as an Associated Cult (Summon Specific Ancestor) but must initiate separately to get the other good stuff. 

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7 minutes ago, davecake said:

Shamanhood comes straight from KL, but game mechanic wise, in RQ3 priestess shamans who wanted Ancestor Worship spells needed to initiate into that as a separate tradition. This was usually conceptualised as troll ancestor worship being through Kygor Litors daughter Korasting, rather than directly through KL or through Daka Fal. 

Although Daka Fal used to be an associated cult of Kyger Litor's (and at a guess, will be again), so supposedly it's available to trolls as well?

Edited by Akhôrahil

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13 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Although Daka Fal used to be an associated cult of Kyger Litor's, so supposedly it's available to trolls as well?

Yes, but I figure that whether you conceptualise your Ancestor Worship as being worship of Daka Fal or some other ancestral deity, the effects are pretty much the same in practical and/or game terms - you can summon your ancestors, not anyone elses. And you aren't particularly compelled to cooperate, trust, even care about other ancestor worshippers you are not related to. This is much the same whether they are part of your species or not - but they are much less likely to be related if they aren't the same species! 

In Prax, Daka Fal shamans among the Praxians may tend to cooperate, as they often have some ancestral link been families. But between species, they don't care . And they tend to think of themselves as revering their own ancestors, not Daka Fal the god, except indirectly.  (thought of course, ancestor worshippers tend to understand each other better - but as what they understand is that they owe each other nothing, that doesn't always help)

Edited by davecake

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2 minutes ago, davecake said:

Yes, but I figure that whether you conceptualise your Ancestor Worship as being worship of Daka Fal or some other ancestral deity, the effects are pretty much the same in practical and/or game terms - you can summon your ancestors, not anyone elses. And you aren't particularly compelled to cooperate, trust, even care about other ancestor worshippers you are not related to.

Agree - "Daka Fal" is basically just a label to put on "Ancestor Worship".

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5 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Agree - "Daka Fal" is basically just a label to put on "Ancestor Worship".

Any if you look at the Major pantheons chapter of the Guide, any cult with the same Runes is basically a variant of Ancestor Worship. All revering Grandfather Mortal to some extent, but under different names.

So Daka Fal among the Praxians

Old Man and Old Woman among the Hsunchen

Iste in the East Isles

Ebe the wild man in Kralorela

Darhudan among the Orlanthi

and others elsewhere. 

There are regional variations, but they mostly amount to local 'and in our culture, we usually worship <X> as well'. The Kralorelans usually also revere Aptanace the son of Ebe, and one of his hundreds of children who are all founders of crafts or professions, and so their lineages tend to be associated with hereditary crafts. The Hsunchen are also descended from animals and animal gods, who are worshipped as well. etc. In First Age Seshnela (and almost certainly many other places), they mixed sorcerous Malkioni worship with Ancestor Worship, which was very effective magic if your ancestors were powerful sorcerers you get advice and assistance from. But it's all functionally the one tradition, going back to the first Death, coexisting with some extra stuff. There are probably many variants with various families who mix ancestor worship with their own family traditions - sometimes effectively, sometimes less so (it helps a lot if the extra gods you worship are also your ancestors so worshipped as part of the same ritual)

And there are non-Humans - trolls, baboons, etc. Sometimes their runes are a bit different. Sometimes their magic interacts a bit different. Still basically the same. 

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On 7/19/2020 at 1:00 PM, davecake said:

Any if you look at the Major pantheons chapter of the Guide, any cult with the same Runes is basically a variant of Ancestor Worship. All revering Grandfather Mortal to some extent, but under different names.

So Daka Fal among the Praxians

Old Man and Old Woman among the Hsunchen

Iste in the East Isles

Ebe the wild man in Kralorela

Darhudan among the Orlanthi

and others elsewhere. 

There are regional variations, but they mostly amount to local 'and in our culture, we usually worship <X> as well'. The Kralorelans usually also revere Aptanace the son of Ebe, and one of his hundreds of children who are all founders of crafts or professions, and so their lineages tend to be associated with hereditary crafts. The Hsunchen are also descended from animals and animal gods, who are worshipped as well. etc. In First Age Seshnela (and almost certainly many other places), they mixed sorcerous Malkioni worship with Ancestor Worship, which was very effective magic if your ancestors were powerful sorcerers you get advice and assistance from. But it's all functionally the one tradition, going back to the first Death, coexisting with some extra stuff. There are probably many variants with various families who mix ancestor worship with their own family traditions - sometimes effectively, sometimes less so (it helps a lot if the extra gods you worship are also your ancestors so worshipped as part of the same ritual)

And there are non-Humans - trolls, baboons, etc. Sometimes their runes are a bit different. Sometimes their magic interacts a bit different. Still basically the same. 

I guess there's a lot of "our oldest known ancestor is basically a stand-in for Daka Fal" as well? A bit like how Sartar is a stand-in for Orlanth Rex in the Sartarite political leadership cult - admittedly not a direct parallel, but hopefully you catch my drift.

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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

"our oldest known ancestor is basically a stand-in for Daka Fal" as well?

Your oldest known ancestor is ... Grandfather Mortal (aka Daka Fal)!!! So, yes, any ancestor along the thread can serve to stand-in for him.  It really just depends on which ancestor will best serve your current needs.

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On 7/17/2020 at 9:02 PM, Akhôrahil said:

Huh, really? I always liked how minor but still relevant many were, like "always use Peaceful Cut on frogs" for Frog Woman. That adds a ton of flavor! 

It is true that butchery methods can actually affect the taste of the meat.

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On 7/21/2020 at 4:39 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

I guess there's a lot of "our oldest known ancestor is basically a stand-in for Daka Fal" as well?

Makes sense. And in most cults, the god besides being the source of magic is also a major culture hero that demonstrates the correct way to behave inclduing morality. Daka Fal doesn't do that much at all - some of his cognates even less (you absolutely do not get guidance in how to behave from Ebe in Kralorela, as he is the wild man before civilisation). So the oldest known ancestor can fill part of that role - 'in this family, we do things this way', with additional stories about how to behave from stories about ancestors along the way, which can range from major (and that is why we never take thralls, and hate all slavers) to quite prosaic ('and your great-great uncle Albert learnt the secret soup recipe, and that is why we always offer complimentary soup to any travellers from Teshnos'). 

I really love that Ancestor Worship really can have the same magic and rules more or less everywhere, but vary so hugely by cultural context. It's become a favourite cult for background and setting building, because it can vary as much as families do. 

 

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Late to the party, but my first thought was Zolan Zubar, the patron spirit of Varzor Kitor, and the Darkness friend of Kolat. Mentioned in heterodox writings on Gloranthan darkness, and in the description of a Kolating in the Stafford Library book on Heortling Mythology.

As to being descended from trolls - last time I asked Greg about this (when the World of Glorantha yahoogroup stil lwas active), the answer was that while Kitori can take the shape of trolls or humans or dehori, they are neither, and they can mate with either of these species and give birth to another Kitori with the potential (but not outright ability from the outset) to take these shapes. So your ancestor may have had a troll shape, but strictly speaking he or she was a different kind of darkness being.

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3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

As to being descended from trolls - last time I asked Greg about this (when the World of Glorantha yahoogroup stil lwas active), the answer was that while Kitori can take the shape of trolls or humans or dehori, they are neither, and they can mate with either of these species and give birth to another Kitori with the potential (but not outright ability from the outset) to take these shapes. So your ancestor may have had a troll shape, but strictly speaking he or she was a different kind of darkness being.

This, especially considering the way the Sun Domer [redacted] treat their Kitori slaves, suggests it should be treated as an ability that must be heroquested - the SDers prevent the Kitori, who they simply call "slave" using an archaic Dara Happan word, from worshipping any Darkness deity. Propitiation and expansion of the Darkness rune and HQ around their patron god would likely be the source of this powerful ability.

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