Jump to content

Lunar conversion and spirits of reprisal


Jape_Vicho

Recommended Posts

The lunar conquest of southern Peloria brought tens of thousands of olranthi into the folds of the Empire, a people whom one of their two major cults was forbidden. I get that the orlanth ban can't be a 100% effective, and that in the Provinces there must be thousands who secretly still worship him, but as it is stated in the Guide, most people have dropped his cult and now follow the one of Barntar, or other earth-based deities.

Also, even if lightbringer worship isn't forbidden altogether, the Seven Mothers cult offers almost identical (some would dare say plagiarized) deities whose worship definetly would make your life easier now (Issaries - Etyries, Humakt - Yanafal Tarnils, Lankor Mhy - Irrippi Ontor, and so on), as that would make that hateful dara happan tax collector friendlier to you, and probably be the only way you can climb in the social rank. 

How do you think the spirits of reprisal act in those scenarios? Also, what is the human side of the mass conversions issued by the lunar empire?

:50-power-truth::50-sub-light:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many of the conversions would be lay members - no spirits of reprisal. As for initiates or even priests or rune lords, I wouldn't be surprised if Lunars offered "assistance" with dealing with spirits of reprisal, at least for influential, valued influencers who converted willingly. As for the rest, who knows what horror the Lunars would inflict, to make an example of them.

If despite seeing their family marched in front of them with scimitars to their throats, important conversion targets still refused to convert, any sadism is conceivable; forcible ingestion of chaos ooze on Lunar temple grounds or while wearing a slave collar, to prevent divine intervention, to sever their relationship with their god, affliction with horrible diseases then being locked in a cell with their loved ones until they convert, family members slowly being tortured to death in front of the recalcitrant, the Lunars have no problem with the end justifies the means.

Edited by EricW
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

Also, what is the human side of the mass conversions issued by the lunar empire?

In RW history, historical conversions have usually happened on a group-by-group basis, as far as I know. When your extended family is the basis if your survival, it's extremely difficult to convert alone. There are obviously exceptions, but that's the general norm. So conversions to Lunarism might occur on a clan-by-clan basis (where such groups are applicable), although given some examples of rifts in clans internally, the writers of Glorantha might've taken a more individualistic approach (which might potentially fit with the Orlanthi's penchance for individual semi-henotheism (personal devotion to one particular god/cult)). As you mention, such conversions are likely to be due to practical concerns, such as fearing reprisals, avoiding punishment, political or military ambition, etc. Clans may convert top-down in order to get an advantage over a rival, non-converted clan, for example. Conversions might happen after a raid, with Lunars tearing down disagreeable idols, taking relics, etc., and the clan putting up new, Lunar idols and shrines either out of fear or as part of some bargain. Needless to say, that's not likely to be popular, but then on the other hand, the lack of protections and evident success of Lunars might also serve as proof to the group of converts that the new gods are simply superior.

Based on some examples of conversion we have, such as the White Shirt Day in Talastar, the Lunar conversion can be sheet-thin, with most mainly paying lip-service to Lunar Ways, and in general going about their traditions. What this exactly entails in practice probably varies, from just lying to Lunars and maybe putting Storm shrines in secret areas, to banning Orlanth Rex practices (sacred storm kingship) but keeping other Orlanth subcults (Adventurous, Thunderous), to outright banning the entire Storm-half of the Pantheon, to introducing Lunar religious specialists but generally not converting beyond that, to generally converting, but keeping a few Storm religious specialists around, etc.

I suspect the results are quite varied. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

How do you think the spirits of reprisal act in those scenarios?

They would spring into action for Initiates and higher.

Humakti who join Yanafal Tarnils cannot use swords, as their swords shatter. Fortunately, scimitars are not swords and are fine (for those die-hards who still have scimitars in their games).

Issaries merchants are probably OK to join Etyries, as Etyries is accepted as a subcult of Issaries. I think that Issaries worshippers are likely to remain in their cult and be associate members of Etyries.

Lhankor Mhy worshippers would be affected by the spirits of reprisal, I think.

Chalana Arroy cultists might be able to join Queen Deezola without penalty, I am not sure. They would definitely lose their Rune magic and Rune Pool.

10 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

Also, what is the human side of the mass conversions issued by the lunar empire?

People paying lip-service, worshipping the old ways in secret. Some people would embrace the Lunar ways wholeheartedly, rooting out the secret worshippers of Orlanth.

Temples would be closed, but not destroyed, as it takes a lot of effort to destroy a temple. People might sneak in to a temple to carry out illicit worship.

Children would still go through the Initiation ceremonies, as nobody wants to emulate Lokamayadon and ban them. Even if they were banned, people can follow Harmast's path and still be initiated. Most coming of age ceremonies will result in children joining Barntar instead of Orlanth, but with a nod and a wink.

  • Like 1

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's stated in the Guide that most people in the Provinces abandoned Orlanth for Barntar, but it's also been stated by Jeff Richard that Aggar sees a massive Orlanth-worshiper revolt in the immediate future. 

So perhaps one way to look at it is that the oppression of Sartar is a specifically contingent thing, with the desire to suppress this gadfly kingdom from the people up in Glamour coinciding with Tarshite fanatical devotion to the Seven Mothers, Red Goddess, and Hon-eel... and rivalry with Sartar, and then further coinciding with a grand magical identification of Rebellus Terminus with Sartar and Hendrikiland by Tatius the Bright and his brilliant plans to build an extra-special Temple of the Reaching Moon and fully crush Orlanthi rebelliousness in one fell swoop. 

And in the rest of the Provinces, official attitudes are much more relaxed towards Orlanth worship, and the process has been to push for appropriately submissive manifestations like Sky Bear and Barntar for official rites/state worship while leaving local/personal worship alone, producing a population that can credibly rise in the name of Orlanth following the death of Argenteus and lack of a new Mask. 

 

More broadly, I do think that this second half is what's common in the Lunar Empire. Personal worship is not especially cared about, but state rituals are altered, shifted, Lunarized. This is what would have been within the capacity of a historical state, this is consistent with how most of the Provinces were brought into the fold (Hwarin Dalthippa and Hon-eel providing entry points into local practice as state-critical heroine cults that provided a syncretizing influence and opened things up for the Lunar Provincial Church to win converts) and it also explains why most people don't care enough to do more than protest or complain or go bandit but then rebellions rock the Provinces after the loss of legitimate Lunar authority- the religious practice is Lunarized local religion, not a homogeneous Lunar religion, and without the Red Emperor to serve as a neutral arbiter, the attitude towards rule by lowlander Dara Happans becomes much more hostile. 

(One wonders where Jar-eel and Great Sister end up in these power struggles, and whether breakaway Provincial states still proclaim their loyalty to Moonson while tarring and feathering tax collectors...)

What does this Lunarized religion look like? 

Based on the prototype model (Tarsh) and what hints we get, I would assume that the process goes as follows: 

1. A hero-figure provides some great revelation about a locally important mythological figure, contextualizing their relationship to the Red Goddess. 

2. The hero-figure is incorporated into the rituals of that mythological figure. 

3. The rituals begin to shift as the Lunar Provincial Church teaches Lunar doctrines that allow the local people to have an understanding of what these revelations mean for how they should worship.

4. The rituals then develop outside of this guidance and become their own syncretic expansion of the Lunar Way.

5. The syncretic rituals around the hero-figure are imported back into the Heartlands. 

 

Fortunately or unfortunately, Jar-eel is pulled in too many directions to perform this process with Belintar or Sartar (or reveal that Heort was a sable antelope stag rather than a white-tailed or red-tailed deer). 

 

Overall, I don't think that spirits of reprisal are going to hit anyone switching from a Lightbringer cult to one of the Seven Mothers or Etyries. We know that at least some of these cults are not hostile to one another, and there's not really any reason to believe they're deeply incompatible unless you try to maintain worship of both and end up doing something that's taboo to one. Which is only really an issue for Yanafal and Humakt over Resurrection magic, as far as I can remember. 

 

Most gameplay relevant: Orlanth temples in Lunar areas outside of Dragon Pass look and act funny, have weird paintings, and insist he's going by a different name, but you can still get all your gameplay-relevant magic back there. 

  • Like 5

Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Eff said:

I do think that this second half is what's common in the Lunar Empire. Personal worship is not especially cared about, but state rituals are altered, shifted, Lunarized.

Yes, that sounds right to me. If you remember my Facebook post last month re: Orlanth worship in occupied Sartar (attached below), the Lunars initially worked to stop large armed mobs of Orlanthi gathering together at tribal mustering points to spread sedition. They couldn't care less what happens at clan level: clans are easy to enough to squish if they get out of line. (You can even get a friendly tribe to do it for you, with a bit of pressure applied in the right places)

 

1 hour ago, Eff said:

Overall, I don't think that spirits of reprisal are going to hit anyone switching from a Lightbringer cult to one of the Seven Mothers or Etyries. We know that at least some of these cults are not hostile to one another, and there's not really any reason to believe they're deeply incompatible unless you try to maintain worship of both and end up doing something that's taboo to one. Which is only really an issue for Yanafal and Humakt over Resurrection magic, as far as I can remember. 

I used to speculate that joining the Seven Mothers might protect converts from the spirits of reprisal of their previous religions: you could think of it as reversing the way spirits of reprisal usually work. (This might also explain why that cult doesn't have a spirit of reprisal of its own -- it has other duties)

 

Quote
Lunar Occupation and Orlanth Worship
 
Orlanthi worship ceremonies at the Tribal level necessarily involve large numbers of heavily-armed and -armoured potential rebels gathering together to listen to seditious speeches. That's what worshipping Orlanth is all about. You can't hold a tribal moot without a weapontake, you can't worship Orlanth without damning the Evil Emperor and praising the virtues of righteous rebellion.

In the first phase of the Lunar Occupation of Sartar, the occupiers were delighted to allow Orlanthi to come together across clan boundaries, get into drunken arguments and fight each other. The pressure-release valve of Sartarite Royal authority had been removed -- nobody above the Tribal Kings could bang heads together and resolve feuds across tribal boundaries. When two tribes went to war, they both lost out. (This is the 1603-04 "Interim Years" family history event: "Old rivalries reignited, and the Lunar authorities encouraged the tribes to kill each other off"). The subject tribes all paid shameful tribute to the Military Governor of Sartar, but could ameliorate this by playing nicely with the new authorities. The policy was "divide and rule."

The decapitation of the Orlanth cult began from the top down. Immediately after the fall of Boldhome, the Flame of Sartar was extinguished and the Temple of Orlanth Rex in Boldhome was closed. The next step was to shut down Orlanth temples in the confederated cities of Sartar: Jonstown, Swenstown and Wilm's Church; and then to ban tribal gatherings as a public safety measure. Sartarites could still worship Orlanth within their own clans (unless they attracted imperial attention), but travelling off-tula to tribal centres on sacred hills was seen as an inherently rebellious activity, liable to attract fines and persecutions. Wearing metal armour (a vital part of ceremonial attire) was banned; Lunar authorities were charged with collecting in any such contraband they encountered, though doing this presented obvious difficulties.

Things kicked off in Sea Season 1613 when -- as a deliberate provocation -- the Lunars sent military forces to occupy the Hill of Orlanth Victorious, sacred tribal centre for the Culbrea, and desecrate its altar. Details are in Wyrms Footnotes #12: "Skirmish at the Wind Temple" & "The Military Campaign": note that this was the fourth such attempt, and the first time the Lunars had sent a vexillated unit in regimental strength with strong magical backing.

This provoked Starbrow's Rebellion which ended, of course, in a humiliating failure for the Sartarite rebels. Although they could certainly pick off stray mercenary bands, and ambush a thousand troops here and there, they were completely incapable of opposing the full force of the Provincial Army, and seem not to have expected Lunar retaliation. During the campaign, the ban on Sartarites owning military armour escalated, and was to be enforced "with harshness and cruelty" -- commanders were ordered to "kill and confiscate all such armour which they find upon the living or the dead; smiths discovered to be producing such items will be tortured and slain." For the first time, the Storm Bull cult was proscribed as an open enemy of the Empire.

In the aftermath of the rebellion, the "new normal" established by General Fazzur involved co-opting the worst instincts of the Sartarites: so the tribes participated willingly in Duck Hunts in return for tax breaks, prominent Issaries merchants were recruited to act as tax-collectors, and a useless puppet prince was installed on the throne of Sartar, completely dependent on the Lunars to wield the authority that had once belonged to the Royal House. Rebels who surrendered were disarmed (that is, symbolically emasculated) and sent back to their tribes in shame; those who resisted were hanged as outlaws, their Wind choked and rotting within them, their feet not touching the sustaining Earth.
 
And the temples to Orlanth remained closed. As part of the peace treaty, all worship and sacrifices to the Rebel God Orlanth were forbidden; from 1617 onwards, the Lunar College of Magic under Tatius the Bright came to take an increasingly prominent role in the magical subjugation of Orlanth, and the risks of participating in proscribed worship grew exponentially, even at the clan level, as hostile spirits scryed for signs of open rebellion, and crafty mages retaliated against the enemies of the Empire with silver scimitars and sorcerous insanity. The Lunars couldn't be everywhere, but they could increasingly turn up anywhere, without notice and wielding excessive magical force.

While hilltop worship continued -- how could it not? -- it was impossible to properly perform the rites of Orlanth the King at the level of kingdom, confederation or tribe: any attempt to do so was met with overwhelming magical retribution. Rebel clans and tribes claimed that they'd never used the temples, anyway -- those were built for the city folk, not for good proud hill-Orlanthi like us. In public ceremonies held under the eye of the occupiers, rites continued without invoking the name of Orlanth. And for the Empire, that was sufficient.

 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/25/2020 at 4:15 PM, soltakss said:

Fortunately, scimitars are not swords and are fine (for those die-hards who still have scimitars in their games).

If you call it a scimitar or a kopis, it works the same - a Humakti who abandons the cult for Yanafals Tarnils suffers from the Humakti spirit of reprisal and straight swords will shatter in their hand, but curved single edged blades such as the kopis/aka scimitar do not, and the Yanafals Tarnils cult offers retraining so that in a few weeks a convert will be fighting at their old level of skill with a broadsword using a kopis/scimitar, or old level of skill with a great sword using a sickle sword (or rhomphia), old level of skill with a dagger using a sickle. 
 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/25/2020 at 4:15 PM, soltakss said:

Chalana Arroy cultists might be able to join Queen Deezola without penalty, I am not sure.

Deezola is not analogous to Chalana Arroy, she is Lunarised Ernalda. She has significant healing powers, but comparable to Ernalda (or more precisely Dendara), not as deep as Chalana Arroy. Deezola also command over the Earth, an association with sovereignty, etc. Deezola was a Dendara priestess when alive. 

The Dara Happan equivalent of Chalana Arroy is Erissa the White Lady, a daughter of Yelm - but the Chalana Arroy cult considers it just a sub-cult, so Erissa cultists May freely join and associate with Chalana Arroy cultists. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/25/2020 at 4:31 PM, Eff said:

It's stated in the Guide that most people in the Provinces abandoned Orlanth for Barntar, but it's also been stated by Jeff Richard that Aggar sees a massive Orlanth-worshiper revolt in the immediate future. 

Barntar is generally considered a sub-cult, or closely associated cult, of Orlanth - you can move from one to the other with minimal penalty. It’s more a matter of different rites rather than a new initiation for most people. And the Lunar authorities don’t generally convert the rural peasantry to more than lip service to the Lunar way even in Dara Happa - it’s still all Lodril and Oria - so as long as ‘Orlanth’ worship looks like a farmers agricultural cult, which it generally does at the clan level, it is tolerated. Sure it’s suspiciously rebellious, but potentially so is Lodril. Even if they mention Orlanth but only ask him for rain, they probably get away with if a Lunar priest isn’t in attendance - and so large population is there that can become Orlanthi warriors very quickly if the priests start practicing the Destor rites or similar. 

But what the Lunars won’t tolerate is Orlanth as a god of kings. They will savagely suppress Orlanth Rex rites that challenge their rule. And all the tribal or other cross clan rites are at least in part Orlanth Rex rites. So not only do the Lunars forbid them, and actually enforce it where able, they try to make it as difficult as possible to reinstate them, by capturing Orlanth Rex regalia where they can, killing leaders who perform them, etc. They haven’t got to the stage of forbidding Rex rites of tribal coronation yet in Sartar, but I think they have in Tarsh, and probably in some other provinces. 

Which  is largely another perspective on what Nick said. The Lunars will react badly to large gatherings of warriors, especially ones intrinsically associated with Orlanth as ruler that are intrinsically rebellious. As long as it looks like a gathering of farmers for agricultural worship, they won’t make too much of a fuss, as plausible deniability suits both sides (though a few might suspect rebellion, and some even investigate it, and probably find it, that’s cool story stuff not the general status quo). 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, davecake said:

(though a few might suspect rebellion, and some even investigate it, and probably find it, that’s cool story stuff not the general status quo). 

Some imperial lunar acolytes officials have to investigate a possible outbreak of chaos orlanth heresy in a hive city Aggarite village, seems interesting!

:50-power-truth::50-sub-light:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...