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Daka Fal and Grandfather Mortal


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OK, I'm almost certain this question is answered somewhere but damned if I can find it.

One of my players asked a couple of questions about the Daka Fal cult and I'm hoping the Collective Brain Jar will be of help.

Firstly, are Daka Fal and Grandfather Mortal the same entity /deity?

Secondly, if Daka Fal is the patron God of ancestor worship, why can't an initiate of Daka Fal join another cult? One presumes that one's ancestors WERE members of Orlanth, Ernalda, and so on, so does this imply that Daka Fal cannot contact ancestral spirits that had patron deities in life? I would presume that if someone followed the Path of Spirits to Shamanhood that there wouldn't be an  issue provided that the pantheon accommodated ancestral spirits in the first place.

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7 minutes ago, svensson said:

Firstly, are Daka Fal and Grandfather Mortal the same entity /deity?

Many cultures have different answers to that.  In the God Learner Monomyth they are the same entity but others disagree.

7 minutes ago, svensson said:

Secondly, if Daka Fal is the patron God of ancestor worship, why can't an initiate of Daka Fal join another cult?

Daka Fal is not a God because he died.  Because of this, he's sulking about his worshippers joining other gods.  Other ancestor worshipping traditions don't have a chip on their shoulder about such matters.  

7 minutes ago, svensson said:

One presumes that one's ancestors WERE members of Orlanth, Ernalda, and so on, so does this imply that Daka Fal cannot contact ancestral spirits that had patron deities in life?

Depends on what you mean by contact.  Summon Ancestor only allows the summoning of ancestors with Daka Fal rune magics.

 

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3 hours ago, svensson said:

Firstly, are Daka Fal and Grandfather Mortal the same entity /deity?

Grandfather Mortal was the fertile father of many. Then he suffered Death, and never recovered from it.

What was left after this transformation became Daka Fal, Judge of the Dead.

 

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Secondly, if Daka Fal is the patron God of ancestor worship, why can't an initiate of Daka Fal join another cult?

IMO game balance reasons, first and foremost - everybody would do so, otherwise. Everybody worships their dead ancestors, except maybe for the Brithini who may hold them in high reverence but don't expend any magic towards whatever became of them when they died, or the Vadeli who might hold them in reverence or whose crooked ways might lead them to not do so. Even so, these groups have some veneration to their founders, at least the immortal parts of those (the embodied runes).

 

Multiple initiations to different standard deities already bring quite a few other cans of worms, like which cult gets the main say for the individual's afterlife. Like an ugly divorce, only worse. 

 

For all its mechanical similarity to a regular cult, Daka Fal worshipers don't have any divine Other Side. Daka Fal is an entity of the Underworld, and with a link to the deep end of the Spirit World.

 

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One presumes that one's ancestors WERE members of Orlanth, Ernalda, and so on, so does this imply that Daka Fal cannot contact ancestral spirits that had patron deities in life? 

If you look at the Orlanthi or Solar or Lunar concept of 5, 6 or 7 souls, there is (at best) one elemental portion of a soul tied to the deity in question. (Things get fuzzy with the weirdo powers only deities like the other Lightbringers, severed ones like Humakt, etc.) The spirit of such a dead would be different from the divinely connected part of the soul.

That means that Axis Mundi shouldn't usually be a connection to the divinely granted magic of such an ancestor.

Patron deities are weirdly possessive of the souls tied to them through initiation.

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I would presume that if someone followed the Path of Spirits to Shamanhood that there wouldn't be an  issue provided that the pantheon accommodated ancestral spirits in the first place.

An ancestral shaman would probably fit well into the Daka Fal structure, but might be too powerful as an individual spirit to be subject to the Axis Mundi rites. Shamans somehow transcend these definitions of initiation.

Shamans of Kolat or Earth Witch don't usually initiate to any of the adjacent cults in the pantheon.

Whether or how much initiation into a spirit cult counts against Daka Fal initiation is yet another question.

 

Grazer (or Pentan) Yelmic shamanism is a form of ancestor worship. The same might be said about Waha.

Hsunchen have their ancestral animal totem instead.

Speculations about the Eastern or Pamaltelan shamanic traditions are outside of our current knowledge.

 

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25 minutes ago, Joerg said:

or the Vadeli who might hold them in reverence or whose crooked ways might lead them to not do so.

At least in My Glorantha, from the Vadeli perspective a dead Vadeli is a failed Vadeli, worthy only of exploitation.

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5 hours ago, svensson said:

Firstly, are Daka Fal and Grandfather Mortal the same entity /deity?

Essentially, yes, they are the same deity. Grandfather Mortal became the Judge of the Dead, i.e. Daka Fal.

5 hours ago, svensson said:

Secondly, if Daka Fal is the patron God of ancestor worship, why can't an initiate of Daka Fal join another cult?

As written, Daka Fal simply reveres ancestors, so many of the ancestors will worship Daka Fal, especially if they came from the same ancestor-worshipping clan.

I have never really understood the prohibition against joining other cults. It isn't the case for Trolls or Elves, both of whom gain Daka Fal worship through their respective ancestor-cults (Kyger Litor and Aldrya).

5 hours ago, svensson said:

One presumes that one's ancestors WERE members of Orlanth, Ernalda, and so on, so does this imply that Daka Fal cannot contact ancestral spirits that had patron deities in life?

An ancestor is an ancestor, no matter who they worshipped.

The ancestor who worships another deity might have married into the clan, or might have descendants who married into the clan, or might have left the clan, joined another cult and then their descendants joined the clan again.

Some people say that it doesn't even have to be a direct ancestor, uncles, aunts and cousins are fine, as long as they are part of your family.

5 hours ago, svensson said:

I would presume that if someone followed the Path of Spirits to Shamanhood that there wouldn't be an  issue provided that the pantheon accommodated ancestral spirits in the first place.

I just allow Daka Fali to join other cults, it makes things simpler.

As a rationale, I say that people worshipping their Yelmic ancestors, for example, would not do it through Daka Fal, but instead have a Yelm Tradition of Ancestor worship that grants most of the same spells.

 

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6 hours ago, svensson said:

OK, I'm almost certain this question is answered somewhere but damned if I can find it.

One of my players asked a couple of questions about the Daka Fal cult and I'm hoping the Collective Brain Jar will be of help.

Firstly, are Daka Fal and Grandfather Mortal the same entity /deity?

Secondly, if Daka Fal is the patron God of ancestor worship, why can't an initiate of Daka Fal join another cult? One presumes that one's ancestors WERE members of Orlanth, Ernalda, and so on, so does this imply that Daka Fal cannot contact ancestral spirits that had patron deities in life? I would presume that if someone followed the Path of Spirits to Shamanhood that there wouldn't be an  issue provided that the pantheon accommodated ancestral spirits in the first place.

1. Yes. More or less.

2. Members of other cults can join Daka Fal as Lay Members. They can learn spirit magic or get skill training. Initiation is into a shamanic path - look at Daka Fal's magic. It is pretty much all geared towards summoning ancestors and getting their aid. It is a different process from wielding the power of the gods and the ancestors distrust the gods in general (this is the cult of MORTALS not of the gods). 

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12 minutes ago, Jeff said:

1. Yes. More or less.

2. Members of other cults can join Daka Fal as Lay Members. They can learn spirit magic or get skill training. Initiation is into a shamanic path - look at Daka Fal's magic. It is pretty much all geared towards summoning ancestors and getting their aid. It is a different process from wielding the power of the gods and the ancestors distrust the gods in general (this is the cult of MORTALS not of the gods). 

So do I understand correctly that the entity relating to ancestor spirits and mortality [the separation of the Living and the Dead] is called Daka Fal by some cultures and Grandfather Mortal by other?

That would make sense in Hsunchen or Nomad context, but Daka Fal specifically exists within pantheons... the Praxian pantheon for example. So I don't see the dogmatic /doctrinal problem with a Bison Rider being an initiate of, say, Waha and Daka Fal.  In the shared cult mythology, Waha negotiated the conditions whereby Life could exist in Prax and Daka Fal is the guardian of spirits of the Dead.

Is it a Runic requirement? Is a strong affinity for the Spirit Rune necessary to initiate into Daka Fal, as opposed to Waha requirement of the Man Rune?

Or am I just 'trivializing the momentous and complicating the obvious' again? 🤣😁

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1 hour ago, Jape_Vicho said:

I don't get this, the spirits of the dead Orlanthi distrust the Lightbringers? Why?

There is a distinction between The Ancestors and Ancestor Worship.

The Ancestors are those that went before and operate in a mob of tutting, teeth-sucking, bone-chilling disapproval of whatever the young folk do nowadays. Nothing is ever right for them, not the way you worship Orlanth and Ernalda, not the way you manage your Household, treat your family or raise your children. You always bring the wrong type of food and drink for the Ancestors, if you even remember them at all, you never honour them, except on the Ancestor Days and barely even then. Basically, you suck, especially considering how perfect your Ancestors were, how well they behaved and how they always honoured their Ancestors.

Ancestor Worship is the worship of named Ancestors, or a named lineage. You honour them all the while and actively worship them. You keep their names alive by sacrifice. You do things properly. They like this, a lot. Of course, some don't, but they probably had it in for you anyway. These ancestors worshipped their own ancestors and what was good enough for them is good enough for you, laddie or lassie. They don't need any jumped-up Gods or Goddesses telling them what to do, for they worship their own family and, unless the gods and goddesses are part of that family, they don't count.

 

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5 hours ago, svensson said:

So do I understand correctly that the entity relating to ancestor spirits and mortality [the separation of the Living and the Dead] is called Daka Fal by some cultures and Grandfather Mortal by other?

 

Grandfather Mortal, or rather, the Man Rune archetype, and the First Mortal (ie first individual to die) archetype, has tons of different names across the lozenge. I believe the Orlanthi of Dragon Pass call him Darhudan. The Dara Happans might associate him with Murharzarm. Sometimes they're a woman, sometimes they're twins, and sometimes they're couple. Sometimes all of the above. 

I'm not sure why "Daka Fal" (apparently the Praxian term) ended up as the default, I'm assuming (and am prepared to be lectured otherwise) that it's mostly a relic of Prax being the location for lots of RPG material in the formative years of the setting.

(Sidenote: Perhaps there's a retcon where Darhudan as a name is considered and archaicism and most Orlanthi have now adopted the name Daka Fal, much like we've been informed that most Caladralanders and Orlanthi do not use the term Veskarthan anymore, but have adopted Lodril as a common name for the volcano god.)

Overall, there seems to be an understanding that this Man Rune Progenitor was the first to experience Death, and then set up shop in the Underworld to help those who came later, becoming the Judge (or perhaps more accurately, the organizer) of the Dead. However, this connection/co-identification is probably not universal, and is probably a bit of a God Learner inference (as noted above). I'm not even sure all cultures HAVE a specific "judge" of the dead. Dara Happa has Bijiif, I guess, which might serve as a kind of underworld-Murharzarm (ostensibly a portion of Yelm, but that might effectively be the same thing), but they have others too, iirc. And who knows what the Kralori have. 

Trolls have an interesting topsy-turvy version where the event where Grandfather Mortal dies is where is INTRODUCED to Darkness and then fathers the Mistress Troll race through Kyger Litor. ie. his death is the trigger for his fertility here. But then that sorta reverse thing is pretty typical of Uz, who after all have a very different origin than most others. 

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9 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Trolls have an interesting topsy-turvy version where the event where Grandfather Mortal dies is where is INTRODUCED to Darkness and then fathers the Mistress Troll race through Kyger Litor. ie. his death is the trigger for his fertility here. But then that sorta reverse thing is pretty typical of Uz, who after all have a very different origin than most others. 

I never realised that, but it is obvious now you mention it.

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On 6/5/2021 at 9:44 PM, soltakss said:

You always bring the wrong type of food and drink for the Ancestors, if you even remember them at all, you never honour them, except on the Ancestor Days and barely even then. Basically, you suck, especially considering how perfect your Ancestors were, how well they behaved and how they always honoured their Ancestors.

Fun story - I had one of the PCs roll Manage Household for Ancestor Day, and as usual with these things, she critted it. So afterwards, the Ancestors went about complaining in other steads how this isn’t as good as that nice lady’s and so on.

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10 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Fun story - I had one of the PCs roll Manage Household for Ancestor Day, and as usual with these things, she critted it. So afterwards, the Ancestors went about complaining in other steads how this isn’t as good as that nice lady’s and so on.

I like it!

Did you also give a bunch of "ancestral blessings" (bountiful harvest, premium quality, bonii to Craft rolls, etc)?

And maybe a +1d4% Reputation...

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20 minutes ago, g33k said:

I like it!

Did you also give a bunch of "ancestral blessings" (bountiful harvest, premium quality, bonii to Craft rolls, etc)?

And maybe a +1d4% Reputation...

I think there was a small amount of rep involved and a bonus to the Income roll. 

Also, since she managed to crit two public Worship (Ernalda) rolls in a row when arriving in the new community on top of this and she's just loaded with Rune Points and helps out with these giant Bless Crop spells for the neighbours, a lot of people are convinced she's particularly holy and are pushing for a priestesshood for her. 

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On 6/5/2021 at 11:21 PM, dumuzid said:

At least in My Glorantha, from the Vadeli perspective a dead Vadeli is a failed Vadeli, worthy only of exploitation.

Okay.  Now explain to us how a dead Vadeli differs from a live Vadeli in this respect. 😄

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Vadeli and Brithini REALLY remind me of Eldar and Dark Eldar from 40k. I wonder if the GW guys took direct inspiration, or whether they both draw on similar archetypes (ie. one side practices self-denial, the other full indulgence).

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23 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Vadeli and Brithini REALLY remind me of Eldar and Dark Eldar from 40k. I wonder if the GW guys took direct inspiration, or whether they both draw on similar archetypes (ie. one side practices self-denial, the other full indulgence).

It's a good question + interesting insight into their symbolic ecology. Weighing the documents, I suspect the parallel evolution hypothesis is the way to go. The GW team had easy access to the folkloric Dökkálfar / Ljósálfar split (and local versions echoed in Moorcock, Garner, Katharine Mary Briggs, etc.) and published information about the Brithini was scarce when the first Eldar units came out around 1988. The Vadelites as we know them were practically unknown even after the Genertela Box in 1990, evolving mostly on the mailing lists. 

There's a chance the GW team was consulted on the unpublished RQ2 western lands expansion (Mortal Lords) and were inspired by that experience, but I think the influence would've showed up first over on WH.

The Daka / Grandfather axis is perpendicular to this brightside / nightside split among the would-be immortals.

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4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Vadeli and Brithini REALLY remind me of Eldar and Dark Eldar from 40k. I wonder if the GW guys took direct inspiration, or whether they both draw on similar archetypes (ie. one side practices self-denial, the other full indulgence).

Likely both pull from Nietzsche's distinction between the Apollonian and the Dionysian.

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On 6/5/2021 at 8:55 PM, Joerg said:

Everybody worships their dead ancestors, except maybe for the Brithini who may hold them in high reverence but don't expend any magic towards whatever became of them when they died, or the Vadeli who might hold them in reverence or whose crooked ways might lead them to not do so.

I think venerating ancestors for magic was probably one of those things that some Brithini found necessary to survive in the Darkness, and established as a practice by the time we get to the Dawn, at least among the Dawn Age Seshnelans. 
The Vadeli probably don’t usually, their individualism, nihilism and general sociopathy generally don’t leave them with warm feelings towards their families, and shamanism and spirit magic interferes with sorcery (and unlike the Brithini, the Vadeli are generally all sorcerers). Though combining sorcery and ancestor worship can lead to some interesting synergies. 

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On 6/6/2021 at 12:13 AM, svensson said:

So do I understand correctly that the entity relating to ancestor spirits and mortality [the separation of the Living and the Dead] is called Daka Fal by some cultures and Grandfather Mortal by other?

Grandfather Mortal is a Godtime figure, and further more a God Learner construct - every culture has the story of the first mortal being (or beings, in some the first man and first woman are created simultaneously, or are effectively a hermaphroditic myth figure), but the individual myth figures vary (such as the East Isles lustful Iste, or the Kralorelan wild man Ebe. Perhaps the most extreme variation is that he is an aspect of Malkion. He dies in the Godtime (if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be mortal). In most cultures he then becomes a god of ancestry and mortality - but Grandfather Mortal is the name for this god before the separation. 

Daka Fal is the Praxian name for this god of mortality. He does have a separate Orlanthi name - Darhudan - but it seems pretty likely that the Orlanthi and Praxian traditions have got mixed together in Dragon Pass, especially his worship as a separate path is more prevalent in Prax. Some of the RQG imagery (particularly the mirror face) seems more Darhudan than Daka Fal - but there really isn’t much to differentiate them in real terms, it’s just imagery and cultural role. 

In Kralorela he is the wild man, whose worship gets ‘tamed’ - the wild man Ebe is worshipped through his son Aptanace, who invents ancestor worship, and the 700 other arts of civilisation - the original shamanic ancestor worship still exists in the rural villages. In Pamaltela, it is tied up with fertility, because he is the first of the Agi who drinks water, choosing both mortality and fertility in that act. And so on.

The potential Ogorvaltes cult is interesting, because it’s about integrating ancestor worship into worship of the gods, and puts an interesting wrinkle into lots of these potential ancestor worship traditions. 
 

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

I think venerating ancestors for magic was probably one of those things that some Brithini found necessary to survive in the Darkness, and established as a practice by the time we get to the Dawn, at least among the Dawn Age Seshnelans. 

The heterodox Brithini (both on the mainland and in the outskirts of Brithela) had the concept of ascension, like e.g. for Yingar the messenger, a grandson of Malkion (son of Horal and Menena, uncle of Hrestol's wife), who apparently had become a celestial entity. Other ancestors like Talar had been killed in the Double Belligerent Assault, and don't appear to have been contacted by their descendants.

2 hours ago, davecake said:

The Vadeli probably don’t usually, their individualism, nihilism and general sociopathy generally don’t leave them with warm feelings towards their families, and shamanism and spirit magic interferes with sorcery (and unlike the Brithini, the Vadeli are generally all sorcerers). Though combining sorcery and ancestor worship can lead to some interesting synergies. 

I don't know whether the Vadeli venerate Vimorn, Vadela, or Vadel. I suppose they invoke the latter in their counterstrikes against the other Brithelans, like the Tadeniti who probably were blamed for the skinning of Vadel.

Vadel was one of the first Brithelans to encounter shamans, and while they suffered some significant defeat creating soulless individuals, they also learned to contact and dominate those spirits. They might even enslave ancestral spirits, or provide bodies those spirits can dominantly possess.

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