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How common is Runic Cult insignia in your campaign?


svensson

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Akhorahil's Gargath thread got me thinking about cult insignia and how prevalent they are in campaigns.

Now, we all know that Glorantha artwork is chock full of illustrations with people wearing their cult runes openly. Most of them show the cult runes in large sections gear or blatantly  obvious tattoos.

But does everyone actually display their runes so openly? It seems to me that most people have good reason to keep their runic affiliations less pronounced than the artwork implies.

For some peoples and in some situations, knowledge of what cult a given person belongs to is a VERY bad idea. For example, during the Lunar occupation it's not a very good idea to display the runes of Orlanth Adventurous. Orlanth Thunderous, yes, but Adventurous... probably not a good idea with Red Inquisitors running about. After all, we know that some Orlanthi had to hide their Orlanth worship in a completely separate pantheon [such as Barntar and Heler cultists]! Criminals bands would not do well to display Gargath or Lanbril or Black Fang runes. And secret Chaos worshipers aren't gonna display those where they might get burned at the stake for it.

OTOH, a Rune Master would obviously have to display their runic affiliations as part of their religious clothing. And since a Rune Master's time is taken up by their religious role 50+% of the time....

I can see getting your runes tattooed onto your body as part of your initiation into the cult, and as one is promoted those runes might even be augmented to be bolder or more visible.

Edited by svensson
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i think like you

what i consider is

- devotion passion, more devoted you are more you show your cult

- status / role, you are a priest or a runelord you should probably show more than a initiate

- local acceptance(I mean local as the city, the road, the house you are, or the secret cave where you worship your secret god) you show more if your cult is welcome, less if it is hunted. Of course if you have hate authority (or lunar if you are orlanthi or Argrath if you are lunar) you show more, if you have fear authority (or .... ) you show less

but the point is not only cult, you can show runes because you are a merchant (not the god, the job), because you love what represents the rune, etc..

At the end of the day, people cannot be sure of "what" you are only by seeing one rune, more probably they have to watch carefully everything (of course some would decide after one rune or one color or, ... even if they are wrong, don't care, a good stranger is a dead stranger)

I like the "what are your markings" in prince of sartar, it is not only the runes, but how you show them

http://www.princeofsartar.com/comic/69-adventurers/

 

 

 

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I think that apart from deity-specific Runes, it's not going to necessarily be easy to pick someone's cultic affiliations out by their tattoos. (Eg the Nysalor and Red Goddess stickers on Redbubble are :20-moon-phase-4-Full-Moon: :20-condition-mastery: :20-form-chaos: and :20-element-moon: :20-power-life::20-form-chaos: -but many Red Goddess initiates would show off Mastery and many Nysaloreans would put Life on. How does one distinguish them?)

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35 minutes ago, Eff said:

I think that apart from deity-specific Runes, it's not going to necessarily be easy to pick someone's cultic affiliations out by their tattoos. (Eg the Nysalor and Red Goddess stickers on Redbubble are :20-moon-phase-4-Full-Moon: :20-condition-mastery: :20-form-chaos: and :20-element-moon: :20-power-life::20-form-chaos: -but many Red Goddess initiates would show off Mastery and many Nysaloreans would put Life on. How does one distinguish them?)

Certainly true. A LOT of cultists display similar runes so you'd need other distinguishing insignia to tell them apart.

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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

i think like you

what i consider is

- devotion passion, more devoted you are more you show your cult

- status / role, you are a priest or a runelord you should probably show more than a initiate

- local acceptance(I mean local as the city, the road, the house you are, or the secret cave where you worship your secret god) you show more if your cult is welcome, less if it is hunted. Of course if you have hate authority (or lunar if you are orlanthi or Argrath if you are lunar) you show more, if you have fear authority (or .... ) you show less

but the point is not only cult, you can show runes because you are a merchant (not the god, the job), because you love what represents the rune, etc..

At the end of the day, people cannot be sure of "what" you are only by seeing one rune, more probably they have to watch carefully everything (of course some would decide after one rune or one color or, ... even if they are wrong, don't care, a good stranger is a dead stranger)

I like the "what are your markings" in prince of sartar, it is not only the runes, but how you show them

http://www.princeofsartar.com/comic/69-adventurers/

 

 

 

Well, thanks for the 'like'.

Your criteria make sense to me, especially tying the Passions mechanic to it.

And yes, if you're a member of an accepted and open cult, you can display your affiliation all you want. But when Gimgim the Grim is on your tail, Air /Motion/Mastery together [Mastery implying Rune Master status] is not a good thing to have inked to your face 😁

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19 hours ago, svensson said:

But does everyone actually display their runes so openly? It seems to me that most people have good reason to keep their runic affiliations less pronounced than the artwork implies.

I have always played that one's outer runic affiliation would be very dependent on one's cult and its place within the scheme of things.  A warrior would likely proclaim their cult and runic status clearly with tattoos and ornaments, a thief, well... a lot less so.  This creates a dynamic where people who outwardly display their runes are suspicious of those who don't.  This in turn leads to people in dubious activities potentially displaying false runes.

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5 hours ago, coffeemancer said:

All I know is that if I was in glorantha I would have the fertility rune embroided on my trousers

Oh behave... (imagine this being said by a Canadian with a really bad English accent).

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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3 hours ago, coffeemancer said:

All I know is that if I was in glorantha I would have the fertility rune embroided on my trousers

The bonus being that if you crap your trousers in battle, you can say the soiled pants are just bursting with fertility.😜

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As for the original question, I appreciate the shorthand of being able to tell my players a little something about a site or a person or something from the runes they find.  I feel it is useful to maintain feel without requiring they memorize a lot of setting info.

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On 7/22/2021 at 10:26 AM, svensson said:

Now, we all know that Glorantha artwork is chock full of illustrations with people wearing their cult runes openly. Most of them show the cult runes in large sections gear or blatantly  obvious tattoos.

 

Only our shaman has really obvious tatties, on her face. Hey @Nozbatwhat are those runes? 

I was going to say, we only pay attention to runes (unfortunately) when casting Rune Spells, but the group has done such a good job preserving their Rune Points they have never cast a Rune Spell. 

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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Something else that might obscure cult ties is that people also often get tattoos of Runes they have a personal (and perhaps also cultural) connection to but which aren't a part of whatever cult they're a part of. Looking over the art from the adventure book in the GameMaster Screen Pack, for example, Leika has the Illusion Rune tattooed on her right hand and the Fire Rune on her neck, Asborn Thriceborn has a Fertility Rune on his right bicep and the Earth Rune on his forehead, and Dunorl Brandgorsson has Earth on his left shoulder and Harmony on his right bicep. This even though all three are devotees of Orlanth. And Eranina Chan even has the Air Rune tattooed on her right shoulder despite not having a notable affinity to that Rune at all in her write-up.

Edited by Leingod
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3 minutes ago, coffeemancer said:

Wonder how detailed descriptions the artist got of the characters. Could be they just picked some runes they thought were cool?

In the examples I listed? Doubtful; like I said, all of the Runes I mentioned (with the exception of that Air Rune for Erinina) are right there in their write-up. Leika has Fire and Illusion Rune affinities in her character sheet, and so on for the rest.

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52 minutes ago, Leingod said:

In the examples I listed? Doubtful; like I said, all of the Runes I mentioned (with the exception of that Air Rune for Erinina) are right there in their write-up. Leika has Fire and Illusion Rune affinities in her character sheet, and so on for the rest.

Interesting. 

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On 7/23/2021 at 7:35 PM, Bill the barbarian said:

Only our shaman has really obvious tatties, on her face. Hey @Nozbatwhat are those runes? 

It took me a while to locate the sketch I drew of Natalinna ... This one has the Man Rune and a Fire/Sky Rune on her temple with I assume an Air Rune on the other side

I think I did another sketch with the Spirit Rune on her forehead which I think I'd prefer and a Man Rune on her chest with smaller Air and Beast Runes for the associated cults of Yinkin and Odayla possibly on her temples or inner wrists

IMG_5393.jpg

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On 7/23/2021 at 7:35 PM, Bill the barbarian said:

Hey @Nozbatwhat are those runes? 

Found the other sketch with Man Rune on her forehead.. Movement Rune on her Temple.. Beast Rune on her neck and Spirit Rune on her décolleté

Oh and the Tribal Wyter tattoo on her arm

IMG_5395.jpg

Edited by Nozbat
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