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Multiculting in Glorantha


Ironwall

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So we know the cult breakdowns of several cultures, but how many people initiate into multiple cults I doubt there's a list of specifics like how many engizi/orlanth or ernalda/chalana arroy but how often would you find a person in glorantha who is a member of multiple cults in general

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7 minutes ago, Ironwall said:

So we know the cult breakdowns of several cultures, but how many people initiate into multiple cults I doubt there's a list of specifics like how many engizi/orlanth or ernalda/chalana arroy but how often would you find a person in glorantha who is a member of multiple cults in general

Pretty rare, I'd say; It's not just a matter of an adventurer wanting the Kewl Powerz.

They need to be committed fully to each deity (barring Illumination), so your hypothetical Ernalda/ChalanaArroy multicult needs to be fully pacifist 100% of the time, never learn weapons skills, nor any spells more-dangerous than Sleep & Befuddle, etc; they don't get to compromise just because Ernalda says "there's always another way."  Maybe that's so, but it had better be a peaceful way!

Where do you woship at Sacred Time??!?

Similarly, I think there's a real challenge combining the ethos of two Cults with different "Elemental Primacy" runes as :20-element-water:Engizi & :20-element-air:Orlanth.  Better IMHO to grab an intermediate like Heler, and multicult either to Big E or Big O, depending on which element is more important.

===

Still... it's an interesting question that I'd love to see @Jeffaddress -- roughly how many "multi-cult" (both cults at Initiate or better) exist in "canonical" Glorantha (specifically Sartar, or any of the defined Homelands)?


 

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6 hours ago, Ironwall said:

So we know the cult breakdowns of several cultures, but how many people initiate into multiple cults I doubt there's a list of specifics like how many engizi/orlanth or ernalda/chalana arroy but how often would you find a person in glorantha who is a member of multiple cults in general

Multiculting is a very expensive hobby.  Each time you become an initiate, you have to spend 10% of your income on the cult in tithes.  Obviously the dirty trick here is to become an illuminate.  Consider the excess of time and funds that becoming a Priest or Lord involves however.  Now admittedly if you reach an august rank, the temple likely covers your expenses so you won't starve, but if you have to spend 90% of your income on 1 cult, and 10% on the other, you have no beer money.  You might as well commit hara kiri at that point (jk).

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Miultple cult membership has been documented in quite a few cases, and why not? Hardly any deity expects exclusive devotion, most are part of a pantheon that expects its adherents to worship all of those deities with varying degrees of intensity.

Each cult may come with strictures and taboos. As long as those aren't mutually exclusive, there will be no problem as long as the cults don't have enmities.

THe main problem will be to attend those holy days shared by the cults, or to provide satisfactorily stand-ins (through votive figures or similar expenses).

Undergoing an initiation doesn't mean to adopt all traits of the deity - that isn't even required when embodying that deity casting the deity's magic. (And even less embodying that deity casting an associate deity's magical gift to that cult.)

Becoming your deity is important when taking on that role in a heroquest, but even there, it can be method acting, aka ritual preparation. The moments when you have to be the most like the deity you embody in a heroquest is when you do something different from what people expect this deity to have done. Your identity will be challenged, and despity you having done something unheard of, you will need to be the deity as much as you can. Knowing the cult secret and being able to apply it will be useful, but you don't even have to be an initiate of the deity whose role you take on when setting of on a heroquest. All you need is sufficient ritual preparation, being primed for the challenges your backers can expect, and prepare you for. And on low immersion heroquests, wearing the correct ritual mask may be 90% of the required method acting already.

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Some GMs hate multiple cult membership, some don't mind it and some actively encourage it.

I feel that many Gloranthans will belong to more than one cult.

Trolls and Aldryami will often worship multiple cults, Kyger Litor/Aldrya and another cult.

People who live in cities often worship the City Cult and another cult.

 

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For our games it depends on the cults. Eurmal, for instance, is a mental state, so I would only allow it for illuminates. Humakt is by definition the one who stands alone. Some are temporary affairs. An Ernaldan widow that dyes her hair red and joins Vinga for a couple of years does not lose her Ernaldan affiliation. 

Some I consider are good associates, but it still will be expensive and limited to selected people. Issaries and Lhankor Mhy. Hyalor and Golden Bow. Wachaza and Magasta. 

Some are made to share, and probably be inactive most of the time. City cults, River gods, Mastakos, Lokarnos...

In our case, a professional Historian that also tries to sell his books and needs to claim a herald neutrality while traveling seemed a perfect Issaries / LM fit. But we decided that there is a primary cult, the one where you can be considered for God talker, and in this case Issaries knows it is not the main focus, but still giving access to more magic and formation than a simple associate. I require in this case a higher loyalty to Lhankor Mhy than Issaries. If that changes that may well create a personal crisis.

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According to RQG p278, "God-talkers may not initiate new members of the cult. Although they are provided with food and board by the temple, they typically must maintain another occupation (including being a Rune Priest of another cult)." If God-talkers can be priest of another cult, that means clearly it is possible to be initiated of at least 2 cults, provided, as Soltakss told, that cults restriction are respected.

8 hours ago, Darius West said:

but if you have to spend 90% of your income on 1 cult, and 10% on the other, you have no beer money.

Again according to RQG p278, the aforementioned priest/god-talker pays 90% of income to the cult he is a priest and 50% of the remaining to the cult he is God-talker. In your case, I understand he would pay 90% to 1 cult and 1% (10% of the remaining 10%) to the other, keeping only 9% for himself. This can pay for beer, but not much more.

7 hours ago, soltakss said:

Trolls and Aldryami will often worship multiple cults, Kyger Litor/Aldrya and another cult.

IIRC, according to Trollpack, all trolls are initiated to Kyger Lytor and according to Elder's sercrets, all Aldryamy are initiated to Aldrya, so dual membership seems common for them. But those supplements were written for RQ3, where Lay membership was not described ruleswise, so we perhaps have to understand that as 'all Trolls/Aldryami are lay member (and not initiated) of Kyger Lytor/Aldrya.

 

11 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Somewhat more relevant to game play, how many experienced adventurer PCs are "expected" to be multicult?  Our group is 3/8.

In our RQ3 group, 100% In RQG, 1/6, but this will increase soon.

1 hour ago, JRE said:

Humakt is by definition the one who stands alone.

Humakt/Other cult (especially Orlanth) is possible. You cut links when become initiated to Humakt, but nothing prevents you to create new links after that.

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Can a Zorak Zorani be an initiate of Kyger Litor?

If you strictly follow the cult restrictions the answer would be no. But a troll not being a member of the Kyger Litor cult just seems strange to me. 

 

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16 hours ago, Darius West said:

Multiculting is a very expensive hobby.  Each time you become an initiate, you have to spend 10% of your income on the cult in tithes.

How do you interpret "income"?  We have, perhaps erroneously, interpreted that as your yearly income, say, 60L for a Warrior.  And not including what you gain in gameplay.  Under that ruling, an extra 6L a year is nothing.

If you do include stuff gained in gameplay, tithing is a pain.  And also a pain to calculate.  One of our players is a tax lawyer and we joke about how he could hide our income as "capital gains" and deduct "expenses" etc...

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28 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

How do you interpret "income"?  We have, perhaps erroneously, interpreted that as your yearly income, say, 60L for a Warrior.  And not including what you gain in gameplay.  Under that ruling, an extra 6L a year is nothing.

If you do include stuff gained in gameplay, tithing is a pain.  And also a pain to calculate.  One of our players is a tax lawyer and we joke about how he could hide our income as "capital gains" and deduct "expenses" etc...

I fall into the latter group. The "yearly income" is tied to your non-adventuring occupation (better not spend too much time on-the-road). But tithing comes from ALL income, including adventuring. Any other interpretation leads to the concept of... Spending 100% of your time adventuring -- hence no occupation income, and thereby no tithe to pay (though you would have to make up the cost-of-living aspect out of the adventuring loot).

The tithe shouldn't be that difficult to compute. You know what you started the adventure with, you know how much you ended the adventure with... Take the difference (end - start), if zero or negative, nothing to tithe (you lost out on that adventure). If positive, deduct 10% (or whatever one's rank requires) from the excess, and keep the rest. Granted, if all the loot was in weapons, armor, clothing -- one may need to locate a trader willing to buy such (I'd consider loot used to replace damaged property as no=effect). Crystals may be costly if not sold, as one would still need to tithe the proportional value from out of money. Or maybe provide the tithe in the form of looted goods (Humakt may have a use for decent swords/armor to provide to members being sent on missions)

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I include all income when it's time to calculate tithes.  After all adventuring income can dwarf farming or crafting  income.  

How would the cult look at is if the character with one hide of land starts wearing silks and bronze armor and jewels but only tithes 12 lunars of ag income?  When he comes in to the temple to buy 6 point spell training?  There is obviously a lot of unreported income.  Why assume that the priest is stupid?

I do allow deduction of expenses vs non ag income.   And in my Glorantha there is barteras well as trade so payment of tithes in kind is ordinary.  In fact it is expected in the case of ag income.  

A while ago I drafted up Gloraznthan Form 1040.  This may be of interest to the tax lawyer referenced above.

 

 

 

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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I've always thought that if an adventurer is "donating" large enough loot or cash, then the temple isn't going to go all tax-lawyery on them, calculating that exact % they're supposedly owed.

When you're dropping of hundreds of lunars each season, not too many will mind if the percentages don't quite work out - especially for unique items (eg, crystals). Similarly, if you hand over an important relic you've recovered, you should be good for a year or 2, regardless of what other stuff you've managed to loot.

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2 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

How do you interpret "income"?  We have, perhaps erroneously, interpreted that as your yearly income, say, 60L for a Warrior.  And not including what you gain in gameplay.  Under that ruling, an extra 6L a year is nothing.

If you do include stuff gained in gameplay, tithing is a pain.  And also a pain to calculate.  One of our players is a tax lawyer and we joke about how he could hide our income as "capital gains" and deduct "expenses" etc...

Income is the money you earn.  If you raid the Rubble and pull out 1000L, that is all income. The God Issaries himself keeps track of these things in his divine ledger, which Etyries still checks, and Styx help you if you come up short on your tithes when you die.  That is where ghosts come from, rejected from their afterlife for double dealing the gods over a few measly coins when their eternity or rebirth was at stake. Only illuminates are immune to this.

Edited by Darius West
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3 minutes ago, Darius West said:

Income is the money you earn.  If you raid the Rubble and pull out 1000L, that is all income. The God Issaries himself keeps track of these things in his divine ledger, which Etyries still checks, and Styx help you if you come up short on your tithes when you die.  That is where ghosts come from, rejected from their afterlife for double dealing the gods over a few measly coins when their eternity or rebirth was at stake. Only illuminates are immune to this.

Entire rebellions were about the definition of income. The book Montaillou shows a conflict where the church claimed a tithe in the form of every tenth lamb born to a herd of sheep, whittling away the substance of the herds as herd renewal wasn't allowed to go un-taxed. Or taking the seedstock for next year into account for the tithes - ruinous if your farming yields barely more than what you need to sow again.

There is a good practical reason for taxing a hide rather than actual income - it allows "expenses deducted" taxation and tithing.

When I look at the standard of living and I compare that with prices for food and shelter, I come to the conclusion that the bare minimum for survival is exempt from taxation or from income calculations. The standard of living expenses are what remains after the necessities for luxuries (such as meat for food) and ostentation.

This may not be what the designers aimed at, or it may fit their idea, but that's how the economy in my games roll. Your daily food will be what your community or your hosts will offer you, plus whatever you personally add, whether from luxuries you bought, stuff you hunted or foraged, or durable stuff you carry as part of your community fare while you travel.

Want a decent meal in the poor farmers' hovel you stay for the night? Purchase some livestock for sacrifice at the altar, add some salt or spices to your offering, and share the meat with the community. No, you did not impose that on your hosts, you just made a pious offering that happens to be available to feed the guests, nothing for the hosts to be ashamed of.

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13 hours ago, Kloster said:

Humakt/Other cult (especially Orlanth) is possible. You cut links when become initiated to Humakt, but nothing prevents you to create new links after that.

Though that was quite typical in RQ2, I usually allow only associate cults to multi-initiate, as they have shared myths and friendly hierarchies. Humakt has no associates, so no multiple cults. However I allow temporary initiates, so you join Humakt for a couple of years, till the war is over, and if you survive Orlanth will welcome you back. I play the hierarchy as aggresively neutral, so hard to reconcile with devotion to another cult. In a way it is his gimmick, no permanent loyalty except to yourself, but extremely loyal to your current wielder / employer. Another initiation would jeopardize that.

Yanafal Tarnils, on the other hand, enjoys allowing what Humakt does not, so I allow them to share cults with their associates.

As for income, I do not sweat it. The player decides how much to tithe. If the amount seems reasonable, nothing happens. If it is a lot, there will be comments but it may improve reputation or loyalty temple. If I think it is too little, they may not be allowed at certain ceremonies (less options for RP recovery), even in faraway temples, and lose loyalty temple. There will be comments (the priest seems happy, or they clearly expected more from you) so the player may adjust the amount. Usually it is goods rather than cash, so evaluation may be a bit hard, but tithing gives you better return than selling, so they keep the coins to themselves. 

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53 minutes ago, JRE said:

Though that was quite typical in RQ2, I usually allow only associate cults to multi-initiate, as they have shared myths and friendly hierarchies. Humakt has no associates, so no multiple cults. However I allow temporary initiates, so you join Humakt for a couple of years, till the war is over, and if you survive Orlanth will welcome you back. I play the hierarchy as aggresively neutral, so hard to reconcile with devotion to another cult. In a way it is his gimmick, no permanent loyalty except to yourself, but extremely loyal to your current wielder / employer. Another initiation would jeopardize that.

Yanafal Tarnils, on the other hand, enjoys allowing what Humakt does not, so I allow them to share cults with their associates.

As for income, I do not sweat it. The player decides how much to tithe. If the amount seems reasonable, nothing happens. If it is a lot, there will be comments but it may improve reputation or loyalty temple. If I think it is too little, they may not be allowed at certain ceremonies (less options for RP recovery), even in faraway temples, and lose loyalty temple. There will be comments (the priest seems happy, or they clearly expected more from you) so the player may adjust the amount. Usually it is goods rather than cash, so evaluation may be a bit hard, but tithing gives you better return than selling, so they keep the coins to themselves. 

Just checking GM screen pack for RQG, Sora Goodseller is priest of Issaries and initiate of Yelmalio, and Nameless is Runelord of Humakt and initiate of Orlanth. That means 20% of the fully described NPC are member of 2 cults.

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I already emphasized this is my own policy. Nameless is a relic from the forty years old Stafford campaign, where it seems almost all players were Humakti multi-initiates, so I do not consider her a typical example. Finally, I would allow Issaries as an associate of Yelmalio rather than Orlanth in Sun Dome lands. Yelmalio provides Catseye to the Issaries, and Issaries provides Lock. In the same way that in my Glorantha a clan Orlanth temple will only provide magic of the associates with at least a shrine in the clan, so usually Ernalda and maybe one more deity depending on the clan. For wider magic you may need to visit the Tribal temple and for rare associates (Mastakos or Valind ) a Great temple.

At the end of the day, the rules are a framework, and you need to decide how to fit the rules to your idea of the world, or the world to the rules. After many years and different rulesets, my idea of the world trumps the rules. 

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I would suggest that multiple cult initiation is uncommon (I use 1 in 100), but multiple subcult and lay membership is common. Certain cults make it easy to become an associated cult initiate (eg. Yinkin & Orlanth).

There are few examples of multiple cult membership to use as an example: Sora Goodseller, Priestess of Issaries, Initiate of Yelmalio in the GM Screen Pack Adventure book. There's another in the Starter Set, Book 4 (no details as maybe spoilers), an initiate of two cults.

I may have missed others.

See also this previous thread:

 

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

I would suggest that multiple cult initiation is uncommon (I use 1 in 100), but multiple subcult and lay membership is common.

I think that the higher you go in the society, the higher the number of dual cult people will be. I think your 1% is correct for the global population. The 20% we have in the screen pack are members of the Colymar ring.

 

1 hour ago, David Scott said:

Certain cults make it easy to become an associated cult initiate (eg. Yinkin & Orlanth).

IIRC, the cults just need not to be hostile (i.e. neutral or better).

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On 6/6/2022 at 8:00 AM, Kloster said:

IIRC, the cults just need not to be hostile (i.e. neutral or better).

IMG, there's still some effective limitations on initiating to a 2nd Cult -- you have to be a  good  Lay-Member, well-known to priest & temple (likely, to a community: a clan, a city neighborhood, a guild, etc) as a faithful follower of <new-cult-to-Initiate-to>... not just some schmuck adventurer with coin to spend and an itch to acquire <special Rune magic>

And still be maintaining member-in-good-standing status in your original Cult.

Edited by g33k
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On 6/6/2022 at 12:48 AM, Frp said:

Can a Zorak Zorani be an initiate of Kyger Litor?

If you strictly follow the cult restrictions the answer would be no. But a troll not being a member of the Kyger Litor cult just seems strange to me. 

In the olden days, Mistress Race Trolls (UzUz) could join any cults, so they were fine.

 

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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