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Benefits of cults for non-cult members (Broken Tower Spoilers)


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Hey, all. I finished running The Broken Tower for my family today, and I was wondering something about creating subcults or cults for gods not in the RCG core book. Our group chose to appease Idrima in return for protection from Chaos, and I was wondering if anyone who played the adventure ever dealt with Idrima as a cult or subcult afterwards. The adventure recommends using her as a subcult of Maran Gor, which no one in our group really worships. I could see her teaching some skills like Earthspeech or Spirit Combat in return for cows. Would it make sense for someone in our group to become an honorary priest of Idrima for their part in reviving tribute to her if they're alright with the Earth Rune? And would that come with any powers or restrictions? I imagine that she's not going to be as strong a deity as Ernalda or others, but she probably has something to offer for payment.

I hope my questions make sense. I'm trying to make a fun adventure for my family, and I think giving them rewards and opportunities for their actions would help them become invested in the game I'm running.

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2 hours ago, Kargzant said:

I hope my questions make sense.

Don't worry, they make sense.

2 hours ago, Kargzant said:

I'm trying to make a fun adventure for my family, and I think giving them rewards and opportunities for their actions would help them become invested in the game I'm running.

That means you have perfectly understood the MGF rule.

2 hours ago, Kargzant said:

and I was wondering something about creating subcults or cults for gods not in the RCG core book. Our group chose to appease Idrima in return for protection from Chaos, and I was wondering if anyone who played the adventure ever dealt with Idrima as a cult or subcult afterwards.

I never experienced that, either as a player or as a GM, but the idea seems fine.

2 hours ago, Kargzant said:

I could see her teaching some skills like Earthspeech or Spirit Combat in return for cows.

Good idea.

2 hours ago, Kargzant said:

Would it make sense for someone in our group to become an honorary priest of Idrima for their part in reviving tribute to her if they're alright with the Earth Rune?

If, as a GM, you're ok with it, YES, and she can be a subcult of almost any earth deity.

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3 hours ago, Kargzant said:

Hey, all. I finished running The Broken Tower for my family today, and I was wondering something about creating subcults or cults for gods not in the RCG core book. Our group chose to appease Idrima in return for protection from Chaos, and I was wondering if anyone who played the adventure ever dealt with Idrima as a cult or subcult afterwards.

I haven't played it, as I am waiting for our RQG Campaign to start.

But, there is no problem with worshipping a long-lost demigod and using it as a subcult.

3 hours ago, Kargzant said:

he adventure recommends using her as a subcult of Maran Gor, which no one in our group really worships. I could see her teaching some skills like Earthspeech or Spirit Combat in return for cows.

Depending in her description and powers, it could be any earth goddess or specific ones. 

3 hours ago, Kargzant said:

Would it make sense for someone in our group to become an honorary priest of Idrima for their part in reviving tribute to her if they're alright with the Earth Rune?

Yes.

3 hours ago, Kargzant said:

And would that come with any powers or restrictions?

They can learn her magic and gain a Rune Pool from her.

Restrictions might come from her backstory or myths.

3 hours ago, Kargzant said:

I imagine that she's not going to be as strong a deity as Ernalda or others, but she probably has something to offer for payment.

Sure, give her cult one Rune Spell to start off with and build from there.

One of the good things about starting a Subcult is HeroQuesting to uncover new powers, but a Subcult normally only grants one or two spells to the main cult.

3 hours ago, Kargzant said:

I hope my questions make sense. I'm trying to make a fun adventure for my family, and I think giving them rewards and opportunities for their actions would help them become invested in the game I'm running.

Absolutely, why wouldn't you reward Adventurers for their successes?

Starting a subcult is a really good way of doing that, I use it all the time.

 

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Standalone minor cult or subcult to Maran Gor makes every sense. I expect this situation may well occur in my campaign once we resume it, and I would likely allow an Earth cultist to get to be God-Talker with waived or reduced entrance requirements if she’s the one who sets the whole thing up.

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13 hours ago, Kargzant said:

The adventure recommends using her as a subcult of Maran Gor, which no one in our group really worships. I could see her teaching some skills like Earthspeech or Spirit Combat in return for cows.

Or treat her as a spirit cult. Your suggestions work perfectly with that.

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My first answer was

if Idrima is a subcult of a major deity, you can have one pc as "honorary priest" (for me = god talker)  but it implies to be initiate to the major deity

my second answer would be, if no pc want to be initiate of Maran Gor (in your case), the way is more to define a minor cult, sacrifice 1 POW at initiating the priest and it is enough: no need to have the other requirements, after all the new goddess must "start" with what she has, not a lot of choices, but enough to start

 

but in fact, reading all the answers, I think that @David Scott answer is the best way.

And your players may want to transform the cult spirit in a major cult, season after season, by heroquest to fortify and discover the deity's power and recruiting / converting new initiates.

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Thanks for the advice, everyone. I've taught my mother and brother the basics of RQG, and to encourage them to deepen their connections with their deities (Chalana Arroy and Humakt, respectively) I'm planning to give them POW checks every year at Sacred Time so they don't have to cut into their skill modifiers when they want to gain new Rune Magic. That would help them explore options like Idrima. I'll reread some of the options for spirit cults to see how they would work in this case.

I really like the idea of letting them found a cult and raise it to importance as part of an overarching narrative. Both of my players were really happy with how they ended the adventure. Are there any products that I can buy an official PDF of that have rules for Heroquesting? I'm willing to do the work to convert HeroQuest books or other products to RQG.

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1 hour ago, Kargzant said:

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I've taught my mother and brother the basics of RQG, and to encourage them to deepen their connections with their deities (Chalana Arroy and Humakt, respectively) I'm planning to give them POW checks every year at Sacred Time so they don't have to cut into their skill modifiers when they want to gain new Rune Magic.

That's already a Sacred Time feature...  Page 420 (emphasis mine)

Quote

1. Worship
All Rune points are replenished with a successful Worship roll during Sacred Time. Even on a failure, 2D6 Rune points are replenished up to the adventurer’s total Rune points. Additionally, all initiates and higher-level members of a cult get a POW gain roll.

There are also the seasonal holy days... Page 418 (ditto)

Quote

Increasing POW with Worship Rituals
The Worship skill allows a cult member to participate in a Worship ritual to the deity specified. If the Worship ritual is held in a temple, holy place, or sanctified ground on a holy day of the god, the presiding officials (High Priest, Rune Priest, God-talker, etc.) receive a POW gain roll if they
succeed with their Worship skill.

A Worship ritual held on the High Holy Day of the cult or during the Sacred Time, allows all participants that make a successful Worship skill roll to make a POW gain roll.

For Humakt -- that makes Storm/Death/Windsday (so with sacred time -- two POW gain rolls a year)

Chalana Arroy -- whoo... Every day of Sacred Time/Fate week is a high holy day... Whether one interprets that to mean 7 possible POW gain rolls (if one rolls at the close of the day) or just 1 roll (I'd probably rule for two rolls: a high holy day Worship, and a general [p420] worship, just as most cults have at least one high holy day during the rest of the year [Aldrya has one each season]).

 

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On 5/29/2021 at 8:26 PM, Kargzant said:

Hey, all. I finished running The Broken Tower for my family today, and I was wondering something about creating subcults or cults for gods not in the RCG core book. Our group chose to appease Idrima in return for protection from Chaos, and I was wondering if anyone who played the adventure ever dealt with Idrima as a cult or subcult afterwards. The adventure recommends using her as a subcult of Maran Gor, which no one in our group really worships. I could see her teaching some skills like Earthspeech or Spirit Combat in return for cows. Would it make sense for someone in our group to become an honorary priest of Idrima for their part in reviving tribute to her if they're alright with the Earth Rune? And would that come with any powers or restrictions? I imagine that she's not going to be as strong a deity as Ernalda or others, but she probably has something to offer for payment.

I hope my questions make sense. I'm trying to make a fun adventure for my family, and I think giving them rewards and opportunities for their actions would help them become invested in the game I'm running.

All of the suggestions and answers above in this thread are excellent ones, but... 

...the jump from "not a worshipper, never heard of her" to "honorary priest" is a pretty huge one.

My suggestion is that the adventurer would first have to:

  • Sacrifice at least 1 POW to become an Initiate
  • Take a Passion of Devotion (Idrima) at 60%+, and maybe Loyalty (Broken Tower/temple) 60%
  • Start new Worship (Idrima) and Cult Lore (Idrima) skills

Once all of those are underway, then see if they qualify to be a Priest using qualifications similar to those of any priest (RQ, page 276), but also looking at Maran Gor (RQ, page 299).

I would substitute Climb for Herd, Animal Lore for Throw, and might rethink the qualifications for God-talker (eunuch) or Priestesshood (celibate). She's a lot more into blood sacrifice and fertility, so maybe making her followers non-fertile is not the ideal match. 

You might consider creating "Animate Sprul-pa" as a special Rune spell (seems a 2-pointer, to me).  

Edited by Jason D
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8 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Chalana Arroy -- whoo... Every day of Sacred Time/Fate week is a high holy day... Whether one interprets that to mean 7 possible POW gain rolls (if one rolls at the close of the day) or just 1 roll (I'd probably rule for two rolls: a high holy day Worship, and a general [p420] worship, just as most cults have at least one high holy day during the rest of the year [Aldrya has one each season]).

See POW Increase in the Q&A for clarification of how many POW gain rolls per year (6).

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7 hours ago, Jason D said:

All of the suggestions and answers above in this thread are excellent ones, but... 

...the jump from "not a worshipper, never heard of her" to "honorary priest" is a pretty huge one.

Honorary Priest of a tiny nascent cult like Idrima isn't going to be as powerful a position as priest of an established cult. In terms of "powers you get" it's probably even less than an initiate in some ways, the "honorary" is just what it says. You have the authority, but not the flash-bang potency.

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2 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Honorary Priest of a tiny nascent cult like Idrima isn't going to be as powerful a position as priest of an established cult. In terms of "powers you get" it's probably even less than an initiate in some ways, the "honorary" is just what it says. You have the authority, but not the flash-bang potency.

I see it as a story opportunity for a "learning the ropes" arc tied to a "land war" arc.

For instance: sure, you're the priest of the Idrima cult, because Idrima needs *someone* at the moment to do that. But you're bad at it (low Cult Lore and Worship skills), and you have to learn who Idrima is and what makes her tick. On the other hand, Idriam keeps complaining and threatening you and the surrounding lands, lamenting about how the priestesses "back in the day" were so much better than you. But even though she complains, she knows it's better than going back to being forgotten.... although if you don't get better soon, she might look for a new priest... and maybe the Greydog people are hearing about this and trying to get Idrima on their side by having someone really look into her history (a mix of trips to the Jonstown library and spirit/ancestor investigation), so they can present Idrima with someone who has now double your scores in Worship/Cult Lore. And now the Greydog are on the verge of grabbing these lands from the Colymar....  that kind of stuff.  Just because it starts as a very small cult doesn't mean it can't be important, with important stakes. Sometimes, opposing factions are going to throw countless resources just to control, like, a bridge, or whatever. This could be similar.

Edited by lordabdul
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Oh and FWIW, the two times I ran Broken Tower, both groups ended up negotiating with Idrima, with on PC each time stepping forward to propose worshipping and propitiating her. In both cases, the players were totally new to RQ and Glorantha, and they really like that aspect of the setting. These were just one-shots, so we didn't follow up with a campaign, but if we had, I would have indeed written her up as either a Maran Gor subcult or a Spirit Cult, as is recommended in the book. Probably a Spirit Cult associated with Maran Gor, so the PCs have an incentive to go talk to the scary ladies in the scary temple.

The only thing that I was a bit confused about at the time (and still am, to be honest) is that Spirit Cults (RQG p377) supposedly have shamans instead of Rune Priests and God Talkers, so does that mean you need to be a shaman to lead a Spirit Cult? Which means that, potentially, the PCs can't lead that cult, if none of them are a shaman. I figure it's OK to forego the rules for a bit of MGF, especially since it sounds like you only need to be a shaman if you're actively trying to hunt down a spirit and "convince" it to exchange magical gifts for worship. Had I continued playing after the Broken Tower, I would probably have ruled that they didn't need a shaman in Idrima's case because she can materialize and communicate, and she *wants* to be worshipped. I'm not sure if that's how it's "supposed" to be played though?

Edited by lordabdul
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1 minute ago, lordabdul said:

The only thing that I was a bit confused about at the time (and still am, to be honest) is that Spirit Cults (RQG p377) supposedly have shamans instead of Rune Priests and God Talkers, so does that mean you need to be a shaman to lead a Spirit Cult? Which means that, potentially, the PCs can't lead that cult, if none of them are a shaman. I figure it's OK to forego the rules for a bit of MGF, especially since it sounds like you only need to be a shaman if you're actively trying to hunt down a spirit and "convince" it to exchange magical gifts for worship. Had I continued playing after the Broken Tower, I would probably have ruled that they didn't need a shaman in Idrima's case because she can materialize and communicate, and she *wants* to be worshipped. I'm not sure if that's how it's "supposed" to be played though.

Most spirit cults are long established and don't have the object of the cult readily available, as Idrima, Firshala, Orgorvale or the barley-sheaf-headed godling from a certain underground complex. When the potential spirit cult entity shows themselves, they can assign a chief follower who doesn't have to be a priest or shaman to be the chief priest - much like the contact person for a wyter doesn't have to be a priest or shaman.

A shaman is required to contact a spirit cult entity not physically manifest opposite their worshipers.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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4 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

My players would not consider propitiation, as they'd just witnessed Vansana being sliced in half by her sprul-pa.

That seems like a very good reason for propitiation. 🙂

Edited by Akhôrahil
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