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Babeester Gor and celibacy


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I've had the RQG books almost since release, but an opportunity to actually play hasn't really cropped up until recently, so I'm currently making some sample characters and toying around with the rules in anticipation of actually introducing some friends to the game. It came up while making a Babeester Gor worshipper that the only listed requirement for initiating to her in the RQG rules is to be a woman, and there are no additional requirements (aside from the usual relevant cult skills) to advance to Rune Lord status. I'm not exactly a longtime fan of Glorantha, but in my few years keeping apprised of the lore, I'd gotten the definite impression that Babeester initiates (or at least certainly priestesses) are celibate and probably have some extra ritual requirements or taboos regarding relationships with men, childbearing, or the lack thereof, for example. Maran worshippers have to be unmarried and celibate to advance beyond initiate level, but no such thing for Babeester, unless I'm missing something.

I'm aware that the cult writeups in the core book are fairly minimal and probably also meant to avoid burdening a new player with all the possible variations and complexities of Gloranthan cults, and I'm sure GaGoG is going to contain plenty of more detailed info, but I'm wondering what everyone else's take is regarding this?

Since I anticipate Babeester is a likely cult pick for a warrior character, I'm thinking of basically houseruling it into requiring at least non-marriage, if not celibacy, although of course a player is free to have a backstory and/or Passions that invite conflict with that requirement. At the same time, not having a celibacy requirement is interesting, as I imagine any man in a relationship with a Babeester Gori must have a peculiar reputation with both men and women. And of course, permitting physical and romantic relationships for Babeester Gori does raise the subject of relationships between women (including people ritually considered as such).

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Here's what will be appearing in the Cults Book: REQUIREMENTS TO BELONG Initiates of Babeester Gor have all normal requirements and restrictions and receive all the usual benefits. Initiates

And here's her Prosopaedia entry: BABEESTER GOR EARTH DEATH (BAH-bees-ter GORE) Elf and Orlanth pantheons – ­the avenging daughter and sacred guardian  When the Gods War perverted

There are too many good points to quote. For me, Babeester Gor represents the difference between a normal worshipper and a fanatic. Most Babeester Gor cultists are happy to work as Temple Gu

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FWIW* my take on it is that because RQG RAW explicitly mentions celibacy for Maran Gor but not for Babeester Gor that there's no such requirement for Babeester Gor. 

I read Babeester Gor as being more of the Earth Goddess concerned with the maintenance of the proper order of society. Hence her role protecting Earth Temples as the centre of that order, as well as hunting down kinslayers and oathbreakers that break that order. 

Similarly children, and expanding/protecting kin groups generally, is part of that proper order (see also: Love (Family) & Loyalty (Clan)) so that is a natural fit for Babeester Gor initiates and rune lords. 

I'm also not sure that Babeester Gor has priestesses. I've generally interpreted the cults sections as listing the Rune Master types that are applicable to each cult, and not all of them have the full set.

* Not much. 😂

Edited by Arcadiagt5
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33 minutes ago, Arcadiagt5 said:

I'm also not sure that Babeester Gor has priestesses. I've generally interpreted the cults sections as listing the Rune Master types that are applicable to each cult, and not all of them have the full set.

That's true. Referring to "priestesses" is a plain old mistake on my part.

As for different interpretations of Babeester Gor, Your Glorantha Will Vary and all that, but I guess my knowledge of Babeester Gor is more influenced by write-ups like this one, and Babeester Gor's appearance in some of the heroquests in King of Dragon Pass, where the emphasis is pretty strongly on the bloodthirsty (or at least very openly violent) aspects of the goddess.

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In Storm Tribe, p 203 :

Quote

Membership Requirements: Must be a woman. Worshippers must become initiates for a one-year trial period, during which aptitudes and attitudes are tested. Afterwards, the worshipper must become a devotee or leave the cult. Initiates must never love, make love, have sex, become pregnant, or even fake affection with anything but their goddess. Devotees avoid all physical contact with other living entities.

Disadvantages: The singular dedication of worshippers cuts them off from society. They do not even take part in many of the otherwise obligatory ceremonies, especially any whose objective is pleasure,light, fertility, or similar blessings.

OK, Storm Tribe is a HeroWars book, but then it's still Glorantha and one of Greg Stafford's essential books (IMHO). And Rykemasters' link is an extract from Storm Tribe. ☺️

Edited by Loïc
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11 minutes ago, Loïc said:

In Storm Tribe, p 203 :

OK, Storm Tribe is a HeroWars book, but then it's still Glorantha and one of Greg Stafford's essential books (IMHO). And Rykemasters' link is an extract from Storm Tribe. ☺️

That’s a fair point but one bone of contention in my current campaign, and one that I've been trying to avoid since, is reliance on lore that isn’t obviously available to all players. Where possible I'll rely on RAW for that reason. YGWV for me now needs to include “all players have equal access to the underlying lore”, which is why I responded based solely on the RQG text which doesn’t mention those aspects. 

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22 minutes ago, Loïc said:

In Storm Tribe, p 203 :

OK, Storm Tribe is a HeroWars book, but then it's still Glorantha and one of Greg Stafford's essential books (IMHO). And Rykemasters' link is an extract from Storm Tribe. ☺️

However, none of the HW or HQ1 stuff is considered canon, so I'd take that link with a grain of salt until we see the cult in the GaGoG

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Here's what will be appearing in the Cults Book:

REQUIREMENTS TO BELONG

Initiates of Babeester Gor have all normal requirements and restrictions and receive all the usual benefits. Initiates are sworn to slay despoilers of the earth whenever met, and aid Axe Maidens in whatever is required. Initiates may not marry and must give any offspring to their local Earth Temple.

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So there's a lot of cults that restrict or prohibit "marriage".  How common is it then, and how is it viewed by Heortling society, to just shack up long term, without formal vows?

E.g. Snarlnash the Storm Khan can't find an Earth Priestess, but just lives happily with the lovely local Minlister brewer.  Barbash the Babs Gor shares a house with Darbon the dashing Donandar and they live happily ever after?

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
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53 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Here's what will be appearing in the Cults Book:

REQUIREMENTS TO BELONG

Initiates of Babeester Gor have all normal requirements and restrictions and receive all the usual benefits. Initiates are sworn to slay despoilers of the earth whenever met, and aid Axe Maidens in whatever is required. Initiates may not marry and must give any offspring to their local Earth Temple.

That's interesting. No marriage and no child-rearing, but no explicit celibacy requirement. I assume relationships involving Babs initiates must be fairly unusual, but obviously not incredibly so, given that rule about handing offspring over to the Earth Temple.

Pretty close to what I would have house-ruled I think, and it leaves a lot of space for interesting role-playing if someone wants to go there. Really looking forward to that book. Thanks a lot for the reveal!

That said, Jeff, I'm a bit curious to know if the discrepancy between the RQG requirements and those in the upcoming book is just an oversight, or what the reason for that is? It's fully expected that the new book will introduce more details (and by extension, more detailed restrictions, among other things), but the change from just "must be a woman" to those restrictions seems pretty significant, not the end of the world certainly, but potentially a sizeable difference between people making their characters with just the core book and those with a more complete library.

Edited by rykemasters
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26 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Here's what will be appearing in the Cults Book:

REQUIREMENTS TO BELONG

Initiates of Babeester Gor have all normal requirements and restrictions and receive all the usual benefits. Initiates are sworn to slay despoilers of the earth whenever met, and aid Axe Maidens in whatever is required. Initiates may not marry and must give any offspring to their local Earth Temple.

Good to know, thanks. The interesting thing here is that the Cults book will change what’s in RQG RAW. This is something I've kind of being expecting but I may wind up having to make local exceptions of the YGWV variety if I've already made a call that the book later contradicts. 

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47 minutes ago, Arcadiagt5 said:

... but I may wind up having to make local exceptions of the YGWV variety if I've already made a call that the book later contradicts. 

Another option is to make it a regional variation... or even a personal quirk of a particular priest/ess who's in charge of a temple...

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16 minutes ago, g33k said:

Another option is to make it a regional variation... or even a personal quirk of a particular priest/ess who's in charge of a temple...

I've already had to do that so no big deal. RAW allows Humakt initiates to pick “Other Weapon (pick type) + 10%”, and a character in one game used that for Composite Bow but then picked up a “no non-cult weapons” geas. Since she learned it as part of Initiation I ruled that Composite Bow is a cult weapon for her home Humakt Temple in Alone. It probably isn’t recognised as such anywhere else, but it is there. YGWV indeed. 😀

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1 hour ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

So there's a lot of cults that restrict or prohibit "marriage".  How common is it then, and how is it viewed by Heortling society, to just shack up long term, without formal vows?

E.g. Snarlnash the Storm Khan can't find an Earth Priestess, but just lives happily with the lovely local Minlister brewer.  Barbash the Babs Gor shares a house with Darbon the dashing Donandar and they live happily ever after?

My impression from various tidbits is that "just shacking up" is common and not in itself frowned upon as long as it's not taboo (incest, breaking an oath) or highly problematic for some other reason (inciting a feud, for example). However, never marrying, without some ritual reason, might be seen as immature (the old Orlanthi proverb "Sex is easy, marriage is hard") or inviting trouble (jealousy, cheating, heartbreak and so on).

Specifically long-term unmarried relationships where people live together, I think I've seen some mention of that in Jonstown Compendium stuff (Dregs of Clearwine?). I don't think there's any real "canonical" info on that, but I don't think it would be a definite problem, it might simply be considered strange or mildly frowned upon. It might also cause some problem because, with no definite contract or oath involved at all, the official status of their relationship, property and offspring could easily become contentious (privately if not to the clan).

That said, my impression is that if a cult restricts marriage, then it probably involves obligations that tend to get in the way of unmarried dalliances too. For "shacking up", I imagine that might be impossible or a serious problem if a cult member is required to live on temple lands (or even in a temple building) with other initiates, which may be the case in a cult like Babeester's. Then again, problems are part of why it's interesting. The drama!

Edited by rykemasters
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2 hours ago, Arcadiagt5 said:

That’s a fair point but one bone of contention in my current campaign, and one that I've been trying to avoid since, is reliance on lore that isn’t obviously available to all players. Where possible I'll rely on RAW for that reason. YGWV for me now needs to include “all players have equal access to the underlying lore”, which is why I responded based solely on the RQG text which doesn’t mention those aspects. 

Of course, it's up to each GM to get to grips with any universe, including Glorantha. Then Storm Tribe remains a good inspirational ressource for many things, but in no way (as any book) it may be constraining. Just quoted this as "optional" information. ☺️

1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

However, none of the HW or HQ1 stuff is considered canon, so I'd take that link with a grain of salt until we see the cult in the GaGoG

Sorry, I won't follow you there... In RPG as in many (every?) things, nothing should be considered canon. Canon is restrictive. Canon kills liberty, imagination and critical mind. There is always another way...😉

OK, maybe it's because I'm french: here "canon" also means "cannon". I prefer axes and javelins... 😁

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33 minutes ago, Monty Lovering said:

The ones in Storm Tribe would be unhealthy, to say the very least.

I believe that was the point - it’s not something healthy, well-adjusted people would get themselves into.

BG in HW/HQ was extreme and scary.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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40 minutes ago, Monty Lovering said:

It's good in the upcoming cults book the requirement is simply no marriage. The ones in Storm Tribe would be unhealthy, to say the very least.

 

Agreed, and certainly not something that meshes well with (as per RQG RAW) all Earth Temples having a contingent of Babeester Gor guards, and a shrine to Babeester Gor within them. That speaks of a cult much more integrated into Gloranthan society generally. 

Hence my take on them as the defenders of the social order represented by the Earth Temples. Primarily that’s the defence of the temples themselves, secondarily it’s enforcing oaths and respecting your kin. 

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4 hours ago, rykemasters said:

That's interesting. No marriage and no child-rearing, but no explicit celibacy requirement. I assume relationships involving Babs initiates must be fairly unusual, but obviously not incredibly so, given that rule about handing offspring over to the Earth Temple.

Pretty close to what I would have house-ruled I think, and it leaves a lot of space for interesting role-playing if someone wants to go there. Really looking forward to that book. Thanks a lot for the reveal!

That said, Jeff, I'm a bit curious to know if the discrepancy between the RQG requirements and those in the upcoming book is just an oversight, or what the reason for that is? It's fully expected that the new book will introduce more details (and by extension, more detailed restrictions, among other things), but the change from just "must be a woman" to those restrictions seems pretty significant, not the end of the world certainly, but potentially a sizeable difference between people making their characters with just the core book and those with a more complete library.

The Cults Book will provide additional details on all of the cults. You can say a lot more when you have 1500 to 10,000 words to describe a cult than when you have 750.

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with the cults book not yet available if you want to check back through older editions of write-ups, have a look at the Prosopaedia. I've been slowly adding the references to previous versions of write-ups in date order. While not always RQG compatible, it should help in finding the most recent write-up. It's not finished yet and if anyone want's to help out, please message me.

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-documents/prosopaedia/deities/b/babeester-gor/

A-Z

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-documents/prosopaedia/deities/

 

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And here's her Prosopaedia entry:

BABEESTER GOR

EARTH DEATH

(BAH-bees-ter GORE) Elf and Orlanth pantheons – ­the avenging daughter and sacred guardian 

When the Gods War perverted the world, Earnalda brought forth her own grim defender. Babeester Gor was born from Ernalda's corpse, axes in hand, body ritually scarred to carry deadly magic. She destroyed all kin-slayers, all oath-breakers who swore by her mother, and everything which desecrated the sacred places of the earth.

She was merciless and cruel. Once she slew so many defenseless residents of Healing Valley that she waded breast-deep in the gore, drinking the blood of victory and slaughter. Eurmal saved some of the healers when he turned the blood to beer, which Babeester Gor drank to blissful oblivion.

Every important temple to the Earth deities is guarded by Babeester Gor's initiates and includes a shrine to her.

Babeester Gor is depicted as a ferocious woman whose eyes are red with intoxication and rage. Her hair is disheveled and her blood-red tongue lolls drunkenly. Her skin is black, but her hands and feet are painted red with blood. She is naked except for her garlands of grisly trophies – scalps, hands, and male genitals. She carries a double-headed copper axe that is also decorated with her grisly trophies.

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4 hours ago, rykemasters said:

That said, my impression is that if a cult restricts marriage, then it probably involves obligations that tend to get in the way of unmarried dalliances too

In my glorantha, if a cult has a mariage restriction in RAW, I consider that any attempt to create a sustainable "love/sex/..." relationship (even non exclusive, in some way) is a cheating (of the character, not the player)

So there are consequences when discovered (by the cult if I consider it is a cult restriction, by the god if I consider this obligation is decided by the god itself)

consequences may be weak (-10 penalty for any worship roll until the pc changes, -10 in devotion when the pc understant he/she is wrong but decide to continue the relationship , ....), or strong (ban, reprisal, ...)

 

Focusing on Babs,

A )  it seems to me the worshipper is like humakti, so imbued (*) by the death rune, the severing rune, that it is really difficult to have a "love individual" passion.

   => a "love individual" passion test every death rune increase, if failure, the passion get -10

 

B ) rare are people who are able to love for a long time someone wearing more and more bones, skulls, morbid scarifications and want to kill anyone who is not enough good for the Earth.

   => a passion test every year for both lovers, if one fails, both lose 10 to their passion

C) remember the "baby gift" to the earth : what ?! you gave my boy to maran gor ? but what will he become ? (I let you imagine... )

   => if the lover has no reason to accept it with joy, -20, no test

 

 

Of course, it is my view of religion in glorantha : When you follow some strong god, you have to assume the consequences. The price of weapon trance is not only a rune point and magic points.You have big social / fealings issues (but normaly, you don't care, because Humakt / Babs don't care)

 

 

imbued * not sure the word

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25 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

In my glorantha, if a cult has a mariage restriction in RAW, I consider that any attempt to create a sustainable "love/sex/..." relationship (even non exclusive, in some way) is a cheating (of the character, not the player)

Not in mine. As sex is, or at least seems to be, completely disjointed from marriage, we always played prohibition on marriage strictly this. Same thing for marriage restrictions (for Aeolian sorcerors, or LM, for instance).

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6 hours ago, rykemasters said:

For "shacking up", I imagine that might be impossible or a serious problem if a cult member is required to live on temple lands (or even in a temple building) with other initiates, which may be the case in a cult like Babeester's. Then again, problems are part of why it's interesting. The drama!

Sneaking in to see the significant other becomes a REAL commitment.

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

She was merciless and cruel. Once she slew so many defenseless residents of Healing Valley that she waded breast-deep in the gore, drinking the blood of victory and slaughter. Eurmal saved some of the healers when he turned the blood to beer, which Babeester Gor drank to blissful oblivion.

I always find it weird when RQ copies RW myths outright, like this one about Sekhmet.

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2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I always find it weird when RQ copies RW myths outright, like this one about Sekhmet.

It's just one detail of Sekhmet's myths, though.  Glorantha has LOTS of those sort of details, from LOTS of myths, scattered round-about.

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