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Earth season Ernalda holy day events?


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Looking at the calendar in the gamemaster pack has revealed to me that there is series of Ernalda holy days throughout Fertility week of Earth season. One of my players is an up and coming priestess of Ernalda being groomed by her mother to succeed her when she retires. My player noticed this week long holy day and was essentially like "Can this be an adventure? I think my character would want to be super-involved in this event."

The questions I am putting out to the experienced runequest community is this.

"What are the major events that occur on an Ernaldan holy day? Especially this week long festival in Earth season?"

"What are some events that players can participate in on a holy day that would be exciting from both a roleplay and a game perspective?"

"Two of my other players are a Humaktian and a Storm Bull worshipper, what would role could these death dealers take on in a festival that would make it interesting?"

I'm sure that given enough time I could think of the answers to these questions. However, this is still early days in my runequest campaign (just finished our second session of runequest ever). I want to make my players first holy day adventure something special, something that gets them invested in the community as well as involving in them in deeper myths of Glorantha. 

Thanks for the help!

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a good (crazy ?) option would be a contest to choose a year husband to Ernalda... Who can take the role of Ernalda ? a young priestess apprentice, potentialy the next priestess... who can be the pretenders ? any earth protector worhsipper (Orlanth, Argan Argar, Yelmalio and... Storm Bull, but not Humakt)

So you can involve directly some players here( oh they will be married only for a year so 5 seasons so 5 scenarios, not so long ;) oh excuse me of course at the end of the year, there is a baby, favored by Ernalda ...)

This contest can be a serie of sport events

You can ask the Humakti to become the body guard of Ernalda, making sure that no one will abuse her before the end of the contest

You can add some external events too (intruders, bad spirits, mysterious disappareance etc...) to involve every one.

There is a scenario in  sun county (Melisandre contest, well I have the french version). My answer is just a fork

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2 hours ago, Bergguy said:

"What are the major events that occur on an Ernaldan holy day? Especially this week long festival in Earth season?"

In my HQG game, I ran a five-day event over this period (actually I used Movement week as the old Thunder Rebels book mapped that as the Harvest week, but easy enough to do in Fertility week instead).

Prelude - the Harvest Queen was already chosen, but this could be run as a competition among the unmarried women, chosen by the Earth Priestess to represent the clan for the year (with the ritual obligation to marry the Barley King and deliver a hopefully blessed child at the end of the subsequent year).

Freezeday/Waterday - this was the Harvest Games.  I used the Harvest Bride/Melisandre contest that was originally in Sun County (as @French Desperate WindChild also noted).  I spread this over two days and it was held in the sacred Earth grounds.  The unmarried men (and Vingans) competed to become the annual Barley King.  Contests included:  Foot Race, Javelin, Wrestling, and catching the Greased Pig on Day 1; braving the Slingstones, Horse Race, and the Poetry/Song contest (last counted double) on Day 2.  There was a murder mystery in the midst of this that threatened the omens for the games (as well as an attack by Dark shadows sent by the Lunars).

Clayday - this was the Wedding Day.  The Barley King and the Harvest Queen wed in the rites of Orane.  I used the Orane scenario from HeroQuest Glorantha for this.  The Lunars sent Shargashi sky demons against the event in the hopes of disrupting the clan fortunes.  Orane was lost, and there was a subsequent Heroquest to the Underworld to bring her back.

Windsday - this is the Threshing Day.  All the Orlanthi are out in the sacred fields to harvest the sacred grain for the Earth temple.  The Orlanthi had to hold a vigil through the night before (note that days start at sunset, not sunrise, so the vigil was throughout Windsday night).  

Fireday - I had the Clan Moot occur on this day.  The Clan Ring gathers to discuss omens, take action, etc.  I had the players take the roles of the leaders of the clan factions and try to maneuver their favorites into the clan ring, or remove those they didn't like (very much on the order of King of Dragon Pass clan activities).  Good opportunity for the clan ancestors to appear and complain about things not to their liking, other clans to show up demanding recognition/recompense for wrongs, etc.

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2 hours ago, Bergguy said:

"Two of my other players are a Humaktian and a Storm Bull worshipper, what would role could these death dealers take on in a festival that would make it interesting?"

Guarding the events from outsiders and threats!  I had a murder mystery to solve.  If unmarried, they could be part of Harvest Games competing to win the hand of the Harvest Queen (probably a bad omen for a Humakti to win that! But Storm Bull could be a great blessing.)  

2 hours ago, Bergguy said:

"What are some events that players can participate in on a holy day that would be exciting from both a roleplay and a game perspective?"

Another example is the Feast of Beasts from HQG's Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes.  It's set in Seaseason, but you could come up with a reason to have similar Feast.  

Think US Thanksgiving holiday - extended family invited to celebrate the feast and the blessings of the year.  In this case the extended family might be rival clans, beast folk, elves! and someone is likely to have grievances.

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On 12/7/2020 at 11:35 AM, jajagappa said:

In my HQG game, I ran a five-day event over this period

That's awesome, thanks!

(by the way, one of the things I find the old HW books super useful with are the short descriptions of holidays and celebrations... I really hope the upcoming Cults of Glorantha will have room for those in the write-ups)

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Thunder Rebels (an old Hero Wars book from Issaries, Inc., not part of the Chaosium canon) has these Ernaldan festivals in Earth Season:

Quote

Tool Day
Clay Day of Fertility Week
On her high holy day, Great Ernalda prepares everyone for the harvest. The people bring forth the tools used in the harvest to be blessed. The priestesses inspect the tools and direct the men to repair them as necessary. All women then decorate the tools, and finally the priestesses bless them.

Harvest Day (Flax Day, Goose Day)
Clay Day of Movement Week
Only the women of the community celebrate this holy day. In the rite, Ernalda reveals the secret of Esrola, explaining how she returned from the clutches of Angdartha despite her being cut into many pieces. At dawn, the priestesses reveal the straw figure of Esrola cut from the first sheaf of the harvest. They spend the day singing songs in the Loom House, in the fields, and in the wilds.
At dusk, the women wrap the straw figure in blankets, put it into a basket, and hide it from view. They mourn the goddess and state their hope that someone will take responsibility for the act, express genuine grief, and promise atonement. Finally, they burn the discarded body of Esrola so that she can be reborn again at the turning of the cycle. (The men perform the same ritual the next day [Reaping Day].)

Rest Day
variable
Rest Day is held after they bring the harvest in, lay away the hay, and stack the firewood as high as possible. The Asrelia priestesses come forward and present a count of everything, then prescribe the rations for the winter. They carry as many small jars or baskets as the prophesied number of weeks of winter. They drop clay figures into each to show the food that the clan will eat that week. Other markers are dropped into the jars in secret. When the dishthane opens each jar on Gods day, these secret tokens mark the start of one of the winter household rites. The Heortlings of Kerofinela so like Fresh Apple Day that it has become synonymous with good fortune.

The book is full of stuff like this, and last time I looked it isn't going to be reprinted in Cults of Glorantha. You'll find it's mostly background information, very rules-light, and for the more rustic, backward clans of Sartar it's still extremely useful. Here's the $5 PDF from Chaosium: LINK.

There's a detailed account of an Orlanthi harvest ritual in Six Seasons in Sartar, Andrew Logan Montgomery's brilliant coming-of-age campaign for RuneQuest: LINK.

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On 12/7/2020 at 5:06 PM, Bergguy said:

Looking at the calendar in the gamemaster pack has revealed to me that there is series of Ernalda holy days throughout Fertility week of Earth season. One of my players is an up and coming priestess of Ernalda being groomed by her mother to succeed her when she retires. My player noticed this week long holy day and was essentially like "Can this be an adventure? I think my character would want to be super-involved in this event."

Absolutely, in can be an adventure.

On 12/7/2020 at 5:06 PM, Bergguy said:

"What are the major events that occur on an Ernaldan holy day? Especially this week long festival in Earth season?"

I see each day as being a ceremonial reenactment of important events in Ernalda's life. Some days have reenactments of multiple events.

On 12/7/2020 at 5:06 PM, Bergguy said:

"What are some events that players can participate in on a holy day that would be exciting from both a roleplay and a game perspective?"

Adventurers can take the roles of the participants in the reenactments. This would be like a very small, short and non-challenging HeroQuest. Think of it as being like the Christmas Nativity, a Thanksgiving reenactment or something similar.

But, leading up to it, you can have many fun and games. Who is taking part in the major reenactment? Can you undermine the initiate who is playing Young Ernalda and take her place? Who is going to be Ernalda Bull-Bride's husband and can you take that part? Does the same initiate need to play Ernalda throughout the day or can you have multiple initiates, playing each part separately? Does your clan have a story about Ernalda that nobody else have? If so, can you sneak elements of that story into the Holy day worship?

What happens if some key materials are missing? So, what if a flask of sacred oil has been stolen? Can you find out where it is and get it back? someone drops Ernalda's Crown and breaks it, just before Ernalda is crowned Queen of the Gods, can you repair it or make a new one very quickly? 

On 12/7/2020 at 5:06 PM, Bergguy said:

"Two of my other players are a Humaktian and a Storm Bull worshipper, what would role could these death dealers take on in a festival that would make it interesting?"

Humakt can be a guard for the Holy Days, or can take part as Humakt in some of the reenactments.

Storm Bull can be a guard, can be Ernalda's Bull-Husband and can kill Chaos, or at least pretend to.

But, there is more to it than that. If things happen during the Holy Day preparations they can help solve them or find things out. They can hunt down the person who stole a flask of sacred oil, repair a broken sword, butcher meat for the sacred meal, help drill the militia so they look good when parading and so on.

On 12/7/2020 at 5:06 PM, Bergguy said:

I'm sure that given enough time I could think of the answers to these questions. However, this is still early days in my runequest campaign (just finished our second session of runequest ever). I want to make my players first holy day adventure something special, something that gets them invested in the community as well as involving in them in deeper myths of Glorantha. 

Think of the Holy Week as the culmination of a scenario.

The scenario does not need to start at the beginning of the Holy Week, it can start weeks before, as everyone jockeys for position. There are lots of politics in deciding who plays which role, for example. "Hansa the Gentle shouldn't play Voria, for she was seen cavorting with Milla Cherry-Picker and probably no longer qualifies", or "Kella the Bountiful has adopted all her children so should not play Ernalda the Mother".

 

 

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Thanks for the ideas! 

I've decided to go with the harvest queen/ceremonial marriage approach as presented by jajagappa.  I'll give my ernaldan initiate a chance to compete in being chosen to be the harvest queen in the early days of the ritual. Her mother will put pressure on her to participate, but if she chooses not to, then she will play a role in helping to judge the young suitors to see if they are suitable.

I've written in a couple of ways this ceremony can go sideways....

A group of Lunars (gasp!) has infiltrated the festival. Their goal is to sabotage the ritual so bad luck would be brought down on the clan. Players must find out what is going wrong, and who is responsible.

The Harvest Queen who is selected, provided my initiate opts out of participating, will fall for one of the suitors who may not be the best competitor (either a player or a handsome rogue). Players can choose to let this play out or try to nudge the harvest queen into making a choice that would be better for  clan magic. 

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