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Humakti and Wergild


HreshtIronBorne

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As far as I am aware Humakt, at least as he is worshipped among the Orlanthi of Dragon Pass has some interesting social status quirks. Mythically Humakt severes himself from his kin to shield them from the consequences of his grim actions. I would like to understand a little better how this should translate into clan based play. 

 

I would like to leave the door open for my new friends to be able to roll up a Humakti PC if it catches their interest. If the PC were to kill an enemy during a cattle raid, either attacking or defending a raid, would he personally need to pay wergild? If he kills a bunch of Lunars on patrol because of a Hate Passion, who gets blamed? Just the Humakti warrior, the clan, or whoever the pissed off invading Lunars feel like?

 

Where can I read a bit more about how the various cults fit together in Dragon Pass? Is there something written like Cults of Prax? It does a crazy good job of laying out how the cults make Prax function. 

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12 hours ago, HreshtIronBorne said:

I would like to leave the door open for my new friends to be able to roll up a Humakti PC if it catches their interest. If the PC were to kill an enemy during a cattle raid, either attacking or defending a raid, would he personally need to pay wergild? If he kills a bunch of Lunars on patrol because of a Hate Passion, who gets blamed? Just the Humakti warrior, the clan, or whoever the pissed off invading Lunars feel like?

First off, only an insane raid leader would bring a Humakti on a cattle raid. Just don't do it!

Being a (severed) Humakti, both he and the clan are legally off the hook for wergild (he will just tell them to come kill him if they can, and the clan chief will say the same thing). However, there are a number of complications. First off, the other clan has every right to attempt to kill him personally in retaliation, and because of cut ties, they can do it without his clan having any rights of venegance or wergild when it happens (this, by the way, is why Humakti need the Sense Assassin ability - they are at a constant risk of being bushwhacked). Second, the other clan can still be pissed and do revenge strikes against your clan, especially if they feel the Humakti was acting under instructions, and ultimately some Wergild payments may be the easiest way out even if no judge would convict.

If he kills Lunars, the clan can argue until the cows come home that it has no legal responsibility, but it's very likely that the Lunars just won't care. It doesn't help that you feel the Lunars are legally in the wrong when they massacre your clan and take the survivors as slaves, pour encourager les autres.

Ultimately, it's all about power. Theoretically being in the right is meaningless if you can't back it up. This, too, is where judges come in - if you manage to find a judge and take the case to court, then the judge could potentially rule in accordance to the law (or maybe not - the judge will rule as the judge feels like ruling, perhaps out of bias or bribery), and then back it up with authority and power. If you feel you're in the right but lack the power, an honest judge is one of your best options.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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Humakti who are associated with a clan are still part of that clan, having been readopted into it. (Just like how Humakt became part of the Storm Tribe again after severing his kinship ties.) They may not have a bloodline which takes responsibility for their actions within the clan, but when dealing with outsiders, the clan still bears responsibility for their actions. So the clan is still on the hook for recompense or legal action. With that in mind, though, when Humakti (or Uroxi or Babeesteri) are performing cultic duties, they have further divine protection for their actions, and so the legal responsibility falls upon their god. Which is to say, they have legal immunity. (This is one of the many reasons why you don't bring any of those three groups on cattle raids, because if they do kill someone you have no legal way to discharge that death or take responsibility for it.)

Humakti who are not associated with a clan are generally part of their temple, and said temple bears legal responsibility for their actions. Alternately, they may be part of a bloodline outside of a clan, like the House of Sartar, (generally adopted as a bodyguard or similar) and so the responsibility falls on said bloodline. Very rarely, of course, they may not be associated with anyone or anything, beholden to no one, cutting down any Buddhas they may happen to meet on the road. Such people are generally not long for this world. 

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

Eight Arms and the Mask

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As I read this, and I could be misreading, there seems to be a belief that Humakti are more willing to "see blood" and deliberately kill rival clansman, say, on a cattle raid.  Is that your concern?

Why?  Assuming the rival clan is acting with reasonable honor, isn't allied with Delecti, etc. I don't see it.  Orlanthi and Storm Bull and Babs Gor can be just as vicious and hot blooded.  Often more so.  IMO, Humakti are typically more dispassionate, so typically calmer in battle.

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4 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

As I read this, and I could be misreading, there seems to be a belief that Humakti are more willing to "see blood" and deliberately kill rival clansman, say, on a cattle raid.  Is that your concern?

Why?  Assuming the rival clan is acting with reasonable honor, isn't allied with Delecti, etc. I don't see it.  Orlanthi and Storm Bull and Babs Gor can be just as vicious and hot blooded.  Often more so.  IMO, Humakti are typically more dispassionate, so typically calmer in battle.

I don't think it's about bloodlust - it's more that Humakti have a very different approach to combat than regular Orlanthi. A typical Orlanthi has been taught limited violence and proportional responses - you beat up that herder on the raid, maybe club him if he tries to fight, but that's it. Meanwhile, a Humakti might say "he pulled his sling, so of course I cut him down". They don't do proportional responses, and any fight is at least potentially to the death. And of course, if your default response is a magically boosted sword strike, then this will cause a lot more casualties.

And I would not bring a BG on a raid either, good grief! Storm Bullies can probably handle themselves, though, or at least it will be individually determined. 

Very likely, people with sky-high death runes aren't the ones you bring on raids - it affects their behaviour in ways you don't want there. With an 80+ Death rune, I would ask for a (failed) Rune check in order to do non-lethal combat, just as for other behavioural traits.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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6 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

As I read this, and I could be misreading, there seems to be a belief that Humakti are more willing to "see blood" and deliberately kill rival clansman, say, on a cattle raid.  Is that your concern?

Why?  Assuming the rival clan is acting with reasonable honor, isn't allied with Delecti, etc. I don't see it.  Orlanthi and Storm Bull and Babs Gor can be just as vicious and hot blooded.  Often more so.  IMO, Humakti are typically more dispassionate, so typically calmer in battle.

My take on it is that accidents do happen, Humakti generally have no reason on a cattle raid in the first place, since they're generally either the clan's champion or professional warriors, and as a result they're pure liability. 

 

(And beyond that, if you need a Humakti on a cattle-raid, something's gone very wrong!)

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

Eight Arms and the Mask

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11 hours ago, Eff said:

Humakti who are associated with a clan are still part of that clan, having been readopted into it.

Or they can be sworn followers of the chief or a thane, who then takes responsibiity for their actions much like for a bonded Trickster, only (usually) with less risk of being pulled into unpredictable shenanigans. (There will be plenty predictable shenanigans, anyway...) That will tie that person's bloodline and clan to weregeld and similar legal claims.

When on a mission for someone else (like a cult leader), the responsibility falls to that individual and their legal background. The sworn master may still be required to step in, at least temporarily, which will bring trouble back to the clan, if the Humakti (or other such sociopath) returns to their adoptive clan.

 

11 hours ago, Eff said:

Humakti who are not associated with a clan are generally part of their temple, and said temple bears legal responsibility for their actions. Alternately, they may be part of a bloodline outside of a clan, like the House of Sartar, (generally adopted as a bodyguard or similar) and so the responsibility falls on said bloodline. Very rarely, of course, they may not be associated with anyone or anything, beholden to no one, cutting down any Buddhas they may happen to meet on the road. Such people are generally not long for this world. 

There may be quite a few Humakti who rather belong to a mercenary regiment as their responsible legal unit, and there may be those who are basically the same as outlaws while they are between association. The very definition of murder hobo.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 hour ago, Eff said:

My take on it is that accidents do happen, Humakti generally have no reason on a cattle raid in the first place, since they're generally either the clan's champion or professional warriors, and as a result they're pure liability. 

(And beyond that, if you need a Humakti on a cattle-raid, something's gone very wrong!)

Especially since the entire point of the cattle raid is to be sneaky and not particularly honorable. You don't want the Humakti to loudly declare himself and challenge anyone to a duel, or to complain how your approach technically counts as an ambush.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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9 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

As I read this, and I could be misreading, there seems to be a belief that Humakti are more willing to "see blood" and deliberately kill rival clansman, say, on a cattle raid.  Is that your concern?

Why?  Assuming the rival clan is acting with reasonable honor, isn't allied with Delecti, etc. I don't see it.  Orlanthi and Storm Bull and Babs Gor can be just as vicious and hot blooded.  Often more so.  IMO, Humakti are typically more dispassionate, so typically calmer in battle.

It is more a practical concern from past experiences. Even a Humakti attempting to have an honorable duel to first blood can end in an instantaneous decapitation depending on how awesome you are just standing around. I have had more than one bad guy get cut in half when I only meant to win. So, sometimes it might be best for the humalti to relly stand down. This can also happen with Babs and other high octane combat cults. Keep the Stormbull from 'zerking. Lol

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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

Especially since the entire point of the cattle raid is to be sneaky and not particularly honorable. You don't want the Humakti to loudly declare himself and challenge anyone to a duel, or to complain how your approach technically counts as an ambush.

I think it is the good reason, I was not convinced by your previous one, but here clearly, you succeed your fast-write roll

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Keep in mind that most Orlanthi endemic warfare is basically thievery or bullying/intimidation. Get in, nab some cows or livestock, maybe seize some hostages for ransom later, get the f*** out before they manage to warn anyone or mount a defense. Knock a few heads around if you have to.

If Orlanthi battles are anything like real world dark age battles, or stateless clan societies in general, they are basically gang fights: try to outmaneuver the enemy, overwhelm them with indimidation, get them incapacitated or kill someone fairly quickly (maybe through skirmishing) so that they back off. If you can get into a position well enough, you might be able to make them to just give up and back off or high tail it, which is ideal.

Casualties are probably overall low (a clan can't sustain that many casualties before the social fabric and economic output is threatened. If clan has 500 adult members and 14 of them die in a battle, that's a big god damn deal, a casualty rate of 2.8% to the entire of adult society in one fell swoop. Suddenly you have orphans, widows/ers, families that need help and support for the foreseeable future due to loss of labor power, etc., not to mention the effort that's needed to press wergild claims, assets used for funeral expenses and rites, mourning period, etc. etc. It's a giant hassle. Maybe there's even tribute demands from the victors involved, even involving thralls which means you lose even MORE labor power. It only takes a few of those relatively small battles before a clan is toast.). I might be too conservative in my estimates, people who are more familiar with ancient warfare and stuff feel free to correct me.

I think both in Glorantha as in the real world, the reason why fights may appear bloodier than they probably are is because all the attention is given to the handful of people that actually killed or died. That psycho who rushed at the head of the formation and bonked some dude's skull to smithereens is the exception, not the norm, but he is also celebrated afterwards with a real rip-roaring poem that people remember, and likely the only think people remember of that battle after a few years.

Humakti are more like a drone strike when what you needed was a reconnoisance patrol.

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

If Orlanthi battles are anything like real world dark age battles, or stateless clan societies in general, they are basically gang fights: try to outmaneuver the enemy, overwhelm them with indimidation, get them incapacitated or kill someone fairly quickly (maybe through skirmishing) so that they back off. If you can get into a position well enough, you might be able to make them to just give up and back off or high tail it, which is ideal.

This another reason why people like Humakti, Storm Bulls and BG:s are so scary - they will try to close to melee, and once they do, someone's getting messed up.

(In the American Revolutionary War, British bayonet charges virtually always succeeded - not because of actual fighting, but because if you're not superbly drilled, you will break in the face of that.)

Edited by Akhôrahil
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I thinl Storm Bulls are fine to bring to a cattle raid, or fine may be the wrong word. They probably will insist on getting along, will not atke anything serious and spout inappropriate advice ( along the “here little brother, lets show how a real man do the work” way, completely missing the point), treat any combat as a wrestling match on the fair ground (no chaos, so it must just be for fun) and getting too friendly with the cows on the way home and then drink all the beer at the victory party.

They have a mythological connection through blood and action to the traditions of Orlanthi that Babeester Gori and Humakti lacks that (personal opinions aside, no one is a programmed automata (well except Mostali, but leave them out of this), there probably are BGs and Hs enjoying a cattle raid somewhere) makes them failing to see the point of the cattle raid. BGs may even be violent opposed to a cattle raid (except if it is to liberate cattles from an abusive clan, and boy do that have potential to go wrong.

( I see here an Erumali, use of Lie and Babeester Gore on a cattle raid)

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I think it all comes down to how you see the cults (and individuals) in your Glorantha.

Some of what's said above I would strenuously disagree with. The Stormbully is, by nature, fairly insane (who willingly goes to fight Chaos???). They're also infamous for being drunks (because they willing go to fight Chaos). Bringing a drunk violent, virtually suicidal warrior on a cattle raid is bad. Even having one defend against a cattle raid would be bad!

As for a Humakti, I can see many reasons why someone would join the cult, especially in their younger years, and again especially with all the invading Lunars constantly coming around killing people (and potentially worse). So, an older Humakti may be a lot more cooler and reserved in the heat of battle, and more willing to restrain themselves (and have the training to do so). It's also a great way to decintivise any possible opposition... They're not specifically against theft (although it's probably considered dishonourable anyway), and calling out a challenge to any potential cowherds is likely going to have them back off.

As for BGs... I can see them having some sympathy with the defending cowherds, as they're the lot that are often the victims that they are sworn to avenge. Now, defending a cattle raid, that's a different story 😛

 

Back to wergild - if the Humakti partakes in the cattle raid, they (or the raid organiser) would be legally responsible - after all, it was their choice. If it's in defence of a cattle raid, I'm sure the prosecuting family could call upon any of their champions to duel said Humakti at a time and place of their choosing.

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