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Shaker Temple &


Zodgrod

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My players in our RQG 11 Lights campaign are going to Ash Anvari to join Kalyr's quest (they don't know the details but know she wants them and their Three Stars temple bodyguard to join in something important). They are heading there via an insanely circuitous route via Tink to talk to Forang Forash and Shaker Temple to talk to them about a dinosaur problem. 

While there they are going to pilgrimage to Kero Fin because why not. 

I'm at a bit of a loss about the shaker temple and the great mountain. There are a couple of paragraphs about each in the guide but I'm not finding much else.

So I'm looking for any inspiration whatever about those 2 locations once up close. The year is Sea 1624 so I might have some Lunar Tarsh soldiers patrolling but any ideas about the details of those locations would be great!

What do you think the shaker temple is like?  How do they treat Rando male Sartarites asking religious questions? 

What does Kero Fin look like outside the remarkable height and spiral path. Is there a shrine there to monetize all the pilgrimages? 

Any ideas or sources at all are welcome! 

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hm. Maran Gor is the grim mother of dinosaurs and the bloody, thirsting earth. She’s the goddess of earthquakes, the harsh sides of nature, and “Blood makes the grass grow! KILL1 KILL! KILL!” I’m imagining that they’d be fine with rando male Sartarites showing up if:

  1. Said rando male Sartarites don’t show up in the middle of one of their secret rites and try to barge into the temple. 
  2. They show up with a decent sacrifice or gift to the temple
  3. The rando male Sartarites know their place and are highly respectful to the earthquake priestesses

Maran Gor strikes me as one of the few Orlanthi gods who occasionally demands human sacrifice and can get away with it. Remind the heroes of this when they show up asking questions. Mention that the priestesses don’t have any armed guards here, but they do have, oh, I don’t know, a pack of pet velociraptors or maybe a juvenile T-Rex as a “guard dog.” It hisses and chirps (theropod dinosaurs are birds, so they wouldn’t roar, they’d make angry bird noises, just bigger) at the PCs territorially, and maybe makes a bluff charge or two to scare them off before a priestess grants them entrance. Even then....

Mention that the public area of the temple is maybe just a courtyard, an animal pen to keep sacrifices, and a hall underground with the sacrificial altar. Lots of secret spaces. Think of it like an Ernaldan temple, only darker, bloodthirsty, and more aggressive about keeping the Earth’s secrets from non-worshippers. Maybe they’d be willing to talk, but some topics will be forbidden and might get them either tossed out of the temple or fed to Fido out by the front gates.

I’m babbling, but I hope some of this helps. 

Edited by ZedAlpha
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Also, it's a refuge for Tarsh Exiles, dispossessed anti-Lunar Tarshites.  I can't imagine they're a particularly welcoming lot, even to Sartarites.  And for that reason, I also doubt there is a monetized pilgrimage there.

 

And that bloodthirsty attitude interacts quite well with Maran Gor, and they may lean into it a bit.  I would not be surprised if there are pro-Lunarite men who get sacrificed on occasion.

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2 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

Mention that the priestesses don’t have any armed guards here

I fully expect them to be well-guarded by Babeester Gor Axe Maidens.  It's that kind of place.

As noted on RQG p.133, the Shaker Temple is on the site where Grandfather Mortal died, so there's definitely a mythic focus on sacrifice here.  In 1625, the Shaker Priestesses will raise Unstey as the new King of Wintertop - based on KoS, I think these kings get a 7-year reign, and then have to defeat challengers in fights to the death to retain kingship.

4 hours ago, Zodgrod said:

So I'm looking for any inspiration whatever about those 2 locations once up close.

It's like an impossible mountain - a needle rising 12km into the Sky.  Probably looks like it touches or pierces the Sky Dome, it is that tall (if you can see it, as there are likely clouds around).  Inora was born here, so the peak should be snow/ice covered.  Orlanth and Yinkin were born here - expect cloud alynx to swirl and leap about, as well as winds that gust in all sorts of directions.  Perhaps high up, with the right sight, you can just make out the cave where Orlanth was born.

This is the brief writeup from SKoH p.115: Her ice-covered summit extends into the Other Side and is the source of her common name, Wintertop. Kero Fin is a site of pilgrimage for Orlanthi throughout Dragon Pass and beyond. The lower mountain is dotted with shrines and holy sites. At the base of Kero Fin is Maranaba, a temple to Maran Gor, the Earth Shaker. At its top is a temple to the Mother of Storm. Between lies the difficult cliffs and precipices that Orlanthi priests overcome in daring fits of religious zeal. The pious climb high up the mountain and jump off, trusting to Orlanth. Those who have defied or angered the god are unlikely to be helped and plummet to sure death. All Orlanthi are familiar with the location for on Orlanth’s high holy day their souls fly there to attend the god. Openly anti-Lunar Orlanthi have taken shelter on the Great Mother’s snowy reaches and have allied with the bloody priestesses of Maran Gor.

There are some bits on the Shaker Temple in Glorantha Sourcebook:

p.16: The Grazelanders rode against the Shaker’s Temple, but were defeated among the groves that surround the holy ground.

p.24: The exiled Lunar King Philigos and his bodyguard were slain. Their scalps still adorn the Shaker’s Temple.

p.90: the Shaker’s Temple at the base of Kero Fin Mountain. It is where Maran Gor danced to shake down the armies of the Devil when they invaded against her sister, and that place is always safe for her worshippers.  [i.e. there's probably a sacred dancing ground, and Maran's footprints are probably visible in the rock.]

I'm not sure there are any other references.  The Earth Temple I'd expect to be a cube - half within the stony earth, and half outside.  There should be a sacrificial ground, and sounds like groves around that.  Probably signs of cracked and broken earth (fissures that perhaps go to the roots of Wintertop?).

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Saronil, the first-generation heir of Sartar, was raised at Shaker's Temple, alongside Palashee, and presumably found his wife (mother of Sarotar, Onelisin and Jarolar) there. It is the home of Sorana Tor, avatar of Kero Fin.
 

Shaker's Temple also appears to be somewhat cosmopolitan - Saronil met the dwarves there who taught him secrets of wall-making and tower-building. We know that the dragonewts can use the temple as an entryway into their magical roads.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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13 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Maran Gor is a goddess of human sacrifice

Ana Gor is the goddess of human sacrifice, and it is her that manifests as Sorana Tor. She is not the same goddess as Maran Gor. But Maran Gor (as Erantha Gor the axe goddess) is one of the deities she permits to human sacrifice when it is not necessary, and I think Maran Gor serves Sorana Tor in appreciation of that relationship. 

I think all the grain goddesses have the right to accept human sacrifice, just very few of them do - Hon-Eel has genuinely discovered an ancient Earth rite, rather than creating a new Lunar one, with her maize rites. And the Earthshakers are angry at the Hon-Eel cult, not because of the human sacrifice rites (that would be rather hypocritical!) but because Hon-Eel dares to perform it without seeking the approval of Sorana Tor, who represents sovereignty over Dragon Pass (whose power is now channeled through the Feathered Horse Queen). 

I think there are some interesting questions about the relationship between the Feathered Horse Queens and the Earthshakers. 

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54 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

Well, I've had about 5 different character concepts pop in my head from this.

I think that the FHQ must allow herself to be possessed by Sorana Tor in the various sovereignty rites, including her sacred marriage with the King of Dragon Pass. But I am sure there is a lot more to it than that. 

When there is a blood sacrifice, it can sometimes be to Maran Gor, if it an enemy of the Earth etc. But I think the sacred marriage is about, in part, the King offering himself as a potential sacrifice to the Land Goddess (in this case Kero Fin) if he does not fulfill his duties to the Earth. It is acknowledging that the Land is the real source of sovereignty. 

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12 hours ago, davecake said:

Ana Gor is the goddess of human sacrifice, and it is her that manifests as Sorana Tor. She is not the same goddess as Maran Gor. But Maran Gor (as Erantha Gor the axe goddess) is one of the deities she permits to human sacrifice when it is not necessary, and I think Maran Gor serves Sorana Tor in appreciation of that relationship. 

I think all the grain goddesses have the right to accept human sacrifice, just very few of them do - Hon-Eel has genuinely discovered an ancient Earth rite, rather than creating a new Lunar one, with her maize rites. And the Earthshakers are angry at the Hon-Eel cult, not because of the human sacrifice rites (that would be rather hypocritical!) but because Hon-Eel dares to perform it without seeking the approval of Sorana Tor, who represents sovereignty over Dragon Pass (whose power is now channeled through the Feathered Horse Queen). 

I think there are some interesting questions about the relationship between the Feathered Horse Queens and the Earthshakers. 

whoops my bad, thanks

What do you think of the intercession of the Red Emperor with the Corn Dollies? That's a weird spin.

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On 3/15/2021 at 10:34 PM, davecake said:

I think all the grain goddesses have the right to accept human sacrifice, just very few of them do - Hon-Eel has genuinely discovered an ancient Earth rite, rather than creating a new Lunar one, with her maize rites. And the Earthshakers are angry at the Hon-Eel cult, not because of the human sacrifice rites (that would be rather hypocritical!) but because Hon-Eel dares to perform it without seeking the approval of Sorana Tor, who represents sovereignty over Dragon Pass (whose power is now channeled through the Feathered Horse Queen). 

They're probably also angry at how willy-nilly they are with it, using it not just to prevent starvation, but simply to just have even more food. At least a few Shaker priestesses almost certainly see that as as incredibly disrespectful, to invoke the terrible powers of the Dark Earth for convenience rather than need.

On 3/16/2021 at 11:11 AM, Qizilbashwoman said:

whoops my bad, thanks

What do you think of the intercession of the Red Emperor with the Corn Dollies? That's a weird spin.

Probably because as a male, patriarchal ruler in the mold of the old Yelmic emperors, he's understandably very leery of these rites that are so close in spirit to the concept of the sacrificial kingship that Brightface overthrew. And given that the eventual fate of the Mask of Argenteus is to be sacrificed by Great Sister, he's right to be.

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8 hours ago, Leingod said:

They're probably also angry at how willy-nilly they are with it, using it not just to prevent starvation, but simply to just have even more food. At least a few Shaker priestesses almost certainly see that as as incredibly disrespectful, to invoke the terrible powers of the Dark Earth for convenience rather than need.

On 3/16/2021 at 7:11 PM, Qizilbashwoman said:

I think that's a good point. While it might make sense in a munchkinny sense, this kind of systemic exploitation is likely culturally unacceptable to many.

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19 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I, uh, interpreted this differently than you probably intended. 🤣

As in keeping the Trickster inactive? There is no way one can talk about Eurmal and his lookalikes without innuendo.

Edited by Joerg
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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30 minutes ago, Storm Khan said:

Super thread. Btw, who/what are the 47 Cannibal Virgins? They are mentioned in the backgrounds. Perhaps, I just need to extrapolate from the thoughts here, and keep it scary. 

Personal acolytes of the Shaker Priestess, who gather tribute and sacrifices (offered willingly or otherwise) for their mistress whenever she departs the confines of the Temple.

My guess is that spending some time as a Cannibal Virgin is a requirement for promotion to Rune level. They're taught the deepest cult secrets, trained in the relevant skills and undertake rigourous physical training to attain the powerful physique befitting a representative of Maran in the Middle World, in return for waiting hand and foot on their semi-divine mistress.

If you want to give them a more active role, you could expand their tribute-gathering role to that of a sort of bandit/kidnapper/assassin, sent out on missions from the temple to retrieve particular chosen sacrifices to the altar by any means necessary - many a man, having made an enemy of the Dark Earth, has been cudgeled on the back of the head while travelling alone in the woods or staggering home deep in his cups, only to awaken bound and gagged in the back of an ox-drawn cart bound for the foot of Kero Fin...

Edited by Ladygolem
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If you want to go old school, there is a lovely William Church illustration of the Shaker Temple in Wyrm’s Footprints on p. 23.

If you want to go non-canon, Dragon Pass: A Gazetteer of Kerofinela has some interesting notes.  In the index it notes to refer to Maranaba, and under that listing it notes:

-Is the Shaker Temple. 
-Is sacred to Ana Gor and Maran. 
-Is where blood of Havan Vor, ancestor of all humans, was spilled.  Havan Vor is not found in the GtG. 
-Was called De Gavarum before Dragonkill.  Also not in GtG. 
-Is located in a series of caverns deep beneath the earth, surrounded by a jumbled wall of megalithic rocks. 
-King Varstapoor’s shade guards the temple.  Varstapoor is mentioned in the GtG as half of the Twins Dynasty, the brother-king who tended to temporal affairs (p. 179).  Also notable for the battle of Quintus’ Vale (p. 187). 
-Palashee Longaxe is entombed within its rock.  Also mentioned in GtG, as a rebel king who overthrew the Lunar Tarsh dynasty for a generation (p. 169).  This was in 1538 during the reign of Philigos, who died in 1555 trying to regain his throne.  The butcher Phargentes was crowned in 1555, and is noted as slaying Palashee, though the date of death is not specified (pp. 175, 177).

Interestingly, Maranaba is noted in the GtG as a temple to Maran Gor, but at the foot of Kero Fin (p. 710).  Hard to tell from the map on p. 709.

I’m not sure why the gazetteer is not considered canon, but there should be a few good tidbits in there that are useful.

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21 minutes ago, GMKen said:

-Is where blood of Havan Vor, ancestor of all humans, was spilled.  Havan Vor is not found in the GtG. 

Havan Vor is Daka Fal / Grandfather Mortal, or more properly it is now the name of the citadel of the Dead in the Underworld where Daka Fal sits in Judgment. (See SKoH)

24 minutes ago, GMKen said:

Maranaba is noted in the GtG as a temple to Maran Gor, but at the foot of Kero Fin (p. 710).

This is what is noted in the Glorantha Sourcebook as well for the Shaker's Temple (noted up higher in the thread).

 

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On 3/13/2021 at 7:19 PM, ZedAlpha said:

probably dinosaurs everywhere, too.

^^^THIS^^^

Ever so much this!

She is their mother.  This is their home.
===

Think of how some villages have chickens and goats and dogs and what-have-you running willy-nilly about the town.

Replace them all with dinosaurs.

Edited by g33k
grammar
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