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Self initiation


Godlearner

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I'm running an NPC who's done this: Gabaryanga, the escaped Fonritian (Veldang) slave.  He dedicated himself to the Blue Moon, Veldara, after his first revolt against the janns of Afadjann failed, according to the Guide.  I have worked along the assumption that he visited the ruins of Blue Moon sites in northern Pamaltela to see whatever art and relics of Veldara survived, consulted entheogenic drugs and Veldang-friendly oracles, picked up whatever scraps of cult lore he could from the handed-down songs and stories of the blue slaves.  Circa 1626 (in My Glorantha) he's a 5 RP initiate of this reconstructed Blue Moon worship, Artmal subcult, but doesn't really know how to advance into the rune levels without a temple structure to join, even if he could determine and meet the theoretical requirements.  Luckily, he has a plucky band of PC Eaglebrown Warlocks interested in helping him find out.

This reconstruction probably wouldn't be possible without the Blue Moon Plateau trolls and the surviving Blue Moon cult on Melib feeding her worship, though Gabaryanga hasn't met representatives of either group (yet) in my game.  Don't how it'd work for a god with no active worshipers.

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I would think that this is very possible in a holy site to that deity.  Maybe on the hill of Orlanth Victorious a mighty thunderstorm sweeps through and lighting strikes a nearby tree.  Moved by the event, the person in question dedicates him or herself on the spot. 

Then comes a long journey learning the mysteries of the Thunderer, but that is another tale.

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I feel if there were no worshippers at all, such as with a god who only exists as a name, or a background character in some other god's myth, it would require a Heroquest to find and learn the mysteries of the god and then perform the most central of those to connect yourself to the god. This would give RP and one or two Rune spells related to the quest. Further quests and more worshippers would be needed to acquire more Rune spells, though once gained anyone could learn them in the standard way. I feel that technically you would be the high priest of the god too, even if you don't meet the requirements for a Rune priests. Maybe you would be a god-talker mechanically? I think using the process for establishing spirit cults as a model would work too.

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2 hours ago, Godlearner said:

Lets say a person wished to initiate himself to a God, but there are no worshippers of this God around. How would he go about doing that?

In the campaign I am in, which is using various published materials, we are basically all initiated into weird things as a result of Heroic actions.

At least in my case, it's now meant doing a lot of Divinations on holy days to try to figure out "When are your holy days?" "What skills do you favor?" "What are your rites?" "What magic do you have?" "Do you like long walks on the beach?"

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1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

I feel if there were no worshippers at all, such as with a god who only exists as a name, or a background character in some other god's myth, it would require a Heroquest to find and learn the mysteries of the god and then perform the most central of those to connect yourself to the god.

This is basically what Monrogh did in order to bring back Yelmalio.

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One option is to be anointed/blessed by a deity while on a quest.  This approach just happened in my HQG game where one of the PC's followed a dark trail in pursuit of a dark demon and wound up climbing up the stairs to the Tower of Night where the Empress of the Night (i.e. Xentha) sometimes rests during her journey through the night sky.  The PC successfully passed the Gate of Fear and Hunger, then entered the Tower itself.  He was led into the Great Hall of the Empress, and was so awed by her that he swore devotion upon the spot.  If he vowed to aid her and bring worship to her upon the mortal world, she would bless him with her kiss.  Thus he was initiated into the cult of Xentha, but now has obligations to create a shrine and convince at least some of the Orlmarthi to worship her.

Edited by jajagappa
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7 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Since the rules say that Priests can initiate members, and make a point that God Talkers cannot, one would think that random nobodies cannot initiate anybody, nor themselves.  At least not in any "normal" way.
 

This was my first impression upon first seeing the question, and then the answers started coming in and as you say some good ideas, non-standard but good.

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Of course, Spirit Cults are another option.  There are many lonely spirits who would enthusiastically welcome an initiate.  (Firshala in Griffin Mountain as one example.)  You might encounter one in a cave, a hidden glen, upon a lonely moor (or the Starfire Ridges), in a stream, etc.  The Spirit teaches the potential initiate what is needed to worship them and to gain their limited magic. 

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In my case a player has discovered an inactive shrine to Vrimak and wishes to become an initiate. The character also happens to have an empty matrix of Speak to Birds,  I was thinking of having him make a Worship Vrimak (the skill does start at 5%) check and sacrifice a point of POW. He could also modify his roll by Sacrifice as per rules. What do you think?

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20 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

In my case a player has discovered an inactive shrine to Vrimak and wishes to become an initiate. The character also happens to have an empty matrix of Speak to Birds,  I was thinking of having him make a Worship Vrimak (the skill does start at 5%) check and sacrifice a point of POW. He could also modify his roll by Sacrifice as per rules. What do you think?

If it's Vrimak I think he'll just need to seek out a priest. The big bird already has an established cult; if you want to start another one from scratch, that'll take a Heroquest.

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3 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

If it's Vrimak I think he'll just need to seek out a priest. The big bird already has an established cult; if you want to start another one from scratch, that'll take a Heroquest.

The problem is that he is on an island, and there aren't any priests.

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2 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

The problem is that he is on an island, and there aren't any priests.

Then he can't initiate to Vrimak. Initiation is a sacred, complex thing. You are devoting yourself body and soul to a single god in order to wield their powers in the mortal world. It's not something you can just do on a whim, with minimal effort. Priests serve as conduits between the god and its worshippers, and can lead worshippers in the process to become initiated. Without a priest, you're blind, with no one to show you the way or speak for you to the god.

Edited by Richard S.
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13 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

Without a priest, you're blind, with no one to show you the way or speak for you to the god.

Unless the god chooses you. There are plenty of unknowing/unwitting/accidental Chosen Ones in literature and mythology, after all.

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3 hours ago, MOB said:

Unless the god chooses you. There are plenty of unknowing/unwitting/accidental Chosen Ones in literature and mythology, after all.

seems to me the best and easier answer.

6 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Since the rules say that Priests can initiate members, and make a point that God Talkers cannot, one would think that random nobodies cannot initiate anybody, nor themselves.

I consider the god as its own higher Priest, so there is always another way even with the rules 😛

 

But some interesting points could be the relationship between the god and the character before the initiation.

Who wants the character to be initiate :

if the character wants and the god refuses, what are the possibilities ? priests will refuse (divination says "no"), god will not by itself "empower" the guy. so the character has to do some heroic actions and there are still two possibilities  : convince the god after a lot of devotion,  or trick/rob the god secret and becoming de facto initiate to the secret.

if the character wants and the god wants, some dreams (to learn what usually a priest teaches to pre-initiate), the last dream driving the guy in an initiation quest, and it is done.

if the character refuses and the god wants, it could be a kind of little curse : the first dreams are rejected by the character but, sometimes he/she is haunted and cannot rest. Sometimes he/she could be followed by birds/, sometimes why not helped by birds, why not becoming "doctor dolittle", understanding some bird discussion (of course when the character wants to do something important hoping to not be disturbed, etc...)

Then some sacrifice, or any other negociation with the god could help the character.

 

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8 hours ago, Godlearner said:

I was thinking of having him make a Worship Vrimak (the skill does start at 5%) check and sacrifice a point of POW. He could also modify his roll by Sacrifice as per rules. What do you think?

Have them go searching in a temple of knowledge (or pay the sages to look).  With a success they find documents pertaining to the ancient cult of Vrimak.  These describe sacrifices, meditations, and Ritual Practices.  All of these can contribute to a successful worship (including knowing the right day/season for such worship).  Sacrifices and Ritual Practices take time, but add bonuses.  Meditation can augment the Worship roll.  These should allow at least some successful worship, if Vrimak finds them worthy (should be some possibility that Vrimak considers them hostile, particularly if they have the wrong Runes, and sends an eagle to attack them). 

Edit: well temple of knowledge probably doesn't work if they are on an island.  But perhaps the island has an ancient ruin and long-lost tablets?

Edited by jajagappa
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15 hours ago, Godlearner said:

Lets say a person wished to initiate himself to a God, but there are no worshippers of this God around. How would he go about doing that?

Honestly? Just narrate how it happens and take it from there.

If you want a rules answer, then, perhaps:

  • Shamans can join/form a spirit cult, so that might work.
  • if you take a high passion for a deity then that might give you a link to the deity.
  • You could do it on a HeroQuest or via a Mystical Experience (In my Glorantha, anyone seeing the Thunder Bird shooting lightning into the ground can dig for the stone that it spat out and worship it)

 

 

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The titles of Priest, Rune Lord and God Talker are mortal politics that Gods would know almost nothing about (because, you know, they're stuck in the God's Plane). The only specific bits that would separate the average mortal would be the amount of RPs accumulated (ie, strengthen connection to the god), possibly their POW and/or CHA, and probably Runic Association. ven cult skills don't really matter to the gods...  it's all "convince the examiners", not "convince the deity".

 

ETA: It should also be noted that the gods are basically happy to work with whoever bothers to give them attention. The Elmal/Yelmalio division is a case in point, as are the Aeolian worshippers of Orlanth (clearly showing that the ban on sorcery is purely local and political, and not from the god himself!)

Edited by Shiningbrow
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2 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

The titles of Priest, Rune Lord and God Talker are mortal politics that Gods would know almost nothing about (because, you know, they're stuck in the God's Plane). The only specific bits that would separate the average mortal would be the amount of RPs accumulated (ie, strengthen connection to the god), possibly their POW and/or CHA, and probably Runic Association. ven cult skills don't really matter to the gods...  it's all "convince the examiners", not "convince the deity".

ETA: It should also be noted that the gods are basically happy to work with whoever bothers to give them attention. The Elmal/Yelmalio division is a case in point, as are the Aeolian worshippers of Orlanth (clearly showing that the ban on sorcery is purely local and political, and not from the god himself!)

I am not sure about that, after all there are specific and  tangible benefits in terms of magical power to becoming a priest or a rule lord. Why would a priest, for example, have a +20% of a POW gain if it was all the same to a deity.

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20 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

I am not sure about that, after all there are specific and  tangible benefits in terms of magical power to becoming a priest or a rule lord. Why would a priest, for example, have a +20% of a POW gain if it was all the same to a deity.

Perhaps it's more that the secrets of initiating into that status are held by the cult, and convincing the examiners allows you to be initiated as god-talker or priest or lord/lady. (Maybe CHA is a divine requirement, but maybe it isn't, or it's a requirement for having a big-time divine connection for DI rolls and similar...) But you could hypothetically steal said secrets and become an outlaw priest. This may be how one becomes a Rune level in thief cults, even. 

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27 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

I am not sure about that, after all there are specific and  tangible benefits in terms of magical power to becoming a priest or a rule lord. Why would a priest, for example, have a +20% of a POW gain if it was all the same to a deity.

The titles are mortal ones. What the gods like are the gifts (POW, MP, attention, devotion, offers, time, ...), and they reward those who are giving the most with their best rewards (spells, powers,...).

Edited by Kloster
typing mistake
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