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Yinkin in society, holy places


Joerg

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@radmongerspeculated on the "Spells for Odayla" thread about the role of Yinkin. Here's my impression, not so much oriented on RuneQuest rules.

The Yinkin cult is mainly about having a great affinity to the Shadowcat half-sibling of Orlanth in his multiple sidekick roles and occasional useful aspects.

Yinkin is the Iolaus to Orlanth's youthful Heracles. He shares the mischief and adolescent missteps of young Orlanth, sometimes as the butt of the joke, sometimes as the damsel in distress, more often as willing accomplice or even instigator of whatever comes up.

 

Yinkin worshippers are the specialists for taking care of shadowcats and aiding and occasionally directing them in useful pursuits for their neighbors.

A feline as a herding assistant takes some suspensio of disbelieve among the cat owned population. The justiification for herding alynxes probably goes:

  • young Orlanth got the task of herding the sheep
  • Much of this task involves lazing about while keeping an eye on the sheep grazing or ruminating, an activity felines excel at.
  • The two half-siblings being shown as nigh-inseparable in their adventuring probably spent time lazing about, too. Because of their good rapport, Yinkin might actually have learned to play-hunt only those sheep that annoyed his brother with their indifference to administration.
  • Felines have a better sensory package than humans, and keep alert even when mostly asleep, which makes them excellent for warning against threats.
  • Herding alynxes might be less of an aid keeping the herd together and a lot more of a deterrent or oountermeasure against predators or raiders targeting their herd.

Hunting and pest extermination or deterrance is a thing that comes more naturally to felines, and yes, Yinkin cultists might be tasked with directing the efforts of the resident feline overlords against such pests.

Most felines are solitary hunters, but a few are known to cooperate with one another in their hunts. Judgjing from the bond between Orlanth and his brother, it looks like alynxes may hunt in small teams, maybe not quite like lions, but somewhat cooperative. A prey not quite in the range for a direct pounce might be scared up and tricked into running into the partner's ambush.

Yinkin cultists make good night guards. Their companions can see with minimal light, and the worshippers have magic to gain that ability, too.

Yinkin cultists are promiscuous, like their deity and their detty's companion. They don't really respect or understand marriage vows of exclusivity. They enjoy skinship and sex, don't mind the reproductive side-effects, but they also require to be left alone much of the time. They  can be good and caring parents, but can be distracted by new opportunities to hunt or to have sex.

Human worshippers expect treatment similar to the treatment of the alynx companions of their neighbors. A place by the fire, people stepping around them rather than expecting them to give way, people providing them with food after some light clues.

There seems to be a tradition for Yinkin worshippers to inhabit solitary cabins at least part of the time. Onelisin, Saronil's daughter and second child, appears to have raised her three daughters in such a cabin in some woodland where she found and treated the wounded Ostling Four-Wolf, her grandfather's companion and replacement king of the Telmori werewolf tribe, rather than anywhere near the royal palace in Boldhome.

I would expect these solitary Yinkin hunters to be after furs rather than after venison. Bird-catching might be another speciality of theirs. Sure, they could catch deer or fish for winter reserves, and probably do to some extent, but they are as likely to return to the settlements in winter, sharing the warmth of the hearthfires with the resident alynxes and humans.

 

Do I see Yinkin as a cult for professional hunters? Yes, in the sense that they provide furs, feathers and tasty birds, and possibly middle sized rodents and martens as side dish or cat-food. The cult may be equally suitable for fresh water fishing in small rivers or ponds.

Do they have ambitions for winning the Great Hunt? IMO a Master Hunter worshipping Yinkin as their main deity would be rather rare. Bringing in canine monsters might be an acceptable challenge, though. They might also go after big cat predators for the Big Hun due to their old family feud, but I doubt that they would take on such prey outside of those rites (except as preparation).

Yinkin is not an inspiring leader, but he can work with followers that recognize his needs without being told to do so (at least not every time). As a follower, they prefer roles where they can take the initiative. They should make good scouts.

As fighters, they aren't really pre-destined for frontal battle. Their strength lies in ambushes or surprise attacks. They have good instincts for raids, too.

 

Other than Orlanth, Yinkin is also a half-sibling of Inora and Quivin, While these deities may have even smaller cults than Yinkin, there might be some magic or skill derived from those relationships. The cult might also receive some propriatory worship from lesser prey spirits.

I don't know whether Yinkin shrines get to count alynxes as worshippers. (By that logic Eiritha would be one of the biggest cults in Sartar, too, as there are nearly as many cattle as humans in the typical Orlanthi clan.)

Yinkin temples with huge human congregations seem unlikely to me. There may be seasonal temples as annexes to Orlanth ones - which suggests natural sites outside, especially hill-tops, like all children of the Mountain Goddess. Possibly shared between all the maternal siblings. The mountain mother itself is a natural Great Temple.

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15 hours ago, Joerg said:

There seems to be a tradition for Yinkin worshippers to inhabit solitary cabins at least part of the time.

The "solitary cabin" thing is just because the neighbors always complain about the continuous and raucous sex noises at all hours of the day and night.  It's difficult to venerate Lhankor Mhy when the neighbors are having howling orgasms in the next temple over.

Point:  You completely ignore the whole Yinkini promiscuity and heroic disregard for marriage.  They are out there banging away like ZZ Deathlords in a cave full of uppity trollkin.  They are at it like alley cats, because that is their god's teaching.  Nobody joins Yinkin because of the hunting bonuses.  There is only one reason you join Yinkin...  SEX! SEX! SEX! 

I think Yinkin worshipped Uleria... Prove me wrong.

😝

Edited by Darius West
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11 hours ago, FlamingCatOfDeath said:

On a silly related question what percentage of Yinkinites have awakened shodowcat companions? I definitely think it is very common among godtalkers/runepriests, but given the nature of the cult it might be fairly common among normal Initiates as well.

Side note: awakened shadowcat companions are incredibly powerful, arguably more powerful, at least in the short and medium term, than a beginning PC.  Can you say "huge skill bonuses and species max POW 28"?  The Family Heirlooms table is another example of where the game designers ignore game balance.

Having seen one awakened shadowcat in action, if one pops up in a future campaign, if I am GM the shadowcat will be the PC, and the human their awakened companion.

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16 hours ago, Joerg said:

Yinkin cultists are promiscuous, like their deity and their detty's companion. They don't really respect or understand marriage vows of exclusivity. They enjoy skinship and sex, don't mind the reproductive side-effects, but they also require to be left alone much of the time. They  can be good and caring parents, but can be distracted by new opportunities to hunt or to have sex

(NB - unedited post)

1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Point:  You completely ignore the whole Yinkini promiscuity and heroic disregard for marriage

I'm confused......

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38 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

If this were true, every 16 year old boy, and many of the girls, would join Yinkin, making it by far the largest cult in all of Sartar.  Doesn't seem to be the case.  🙂

"Initiate Membership
Requirements: Standard. An initiate must spend a year alone in the wilds."

Slightly off-putting...

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4 hours ago, Darius West said:

The "solitary cabin" thing is just because the neighbors always complain about the continuous and raucous sex noises at all hours of the day and night.  It's difficult to venerate Lhankor Mhy when the neighbors are having howling orgasms in the next temple over.

Given Orlanthi architecture, that aspect of married life is quite public in their own homes anyway.

And I don't think that Yinkini will wait for their partners to visit them (although they will take visitors in), they will be on the prowl all over the neighborhood, and know the hidden places in the granary or the haystack, or nice places out in the wilds.

 

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Point:  You completely ignore the whole Yinkini promiscuity and heroic disregard for marriage.  They are out there banging away like ZZ Deathlords in a cave full of uppity trollkin.  They are at it like alley cats, because that is their god's teaching.  Nobody joins Yinkin because of the hunting bonuses.  There is only one reason you join Yinkin...  SEX! SEX! SEX! 

I think Yinkin worshipped Uleria... Prove me wrong.

😝

Both Orlanth and Yinkin did, at times as a team (and even with the same partner, e.g. Heler/Tarhelera), at other times on their own.

Thanks to @Shiningbrow quoting my initial statement, but maybe that wasn't blatant enough. The tales of Tat and Tol are the Orlanthi version of Spring Break.

 

3 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

If this were true, every 16 year old boy, and many of the girls, would join Yinkin, making it by far the largest cult in all of Sartar.  Doesn't seem to be the case.  🙂

Orlanth offers the same for adolescents, and his happens to be one of the two largest cults in all of Sartar. With lots of other benefits.

 

3 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

"Initiate Membership
Requirements: Standard. An initiate must spend a year alone in the wilds."

Slightly off-putting...

Note that this year of solitude in the wilds doesn't mean celibacy in any way. It is a challenge to find partners in the wild, whether amoung the spirits of nature (mountain or river nymphs, dryads, swan maidens, elurae, satyrs, minotaurs, centaurs, and why not manticores?) or taking their picks from people herding out there. Raids on outlying steads with flings as a side benefit may be part of this, too.

There are also those initiatory training camps of prospective adults following the ways of Orlanth, and at least the male Yinkini candidate may have already undergone that and know where to look for people curious about this sex thing.

Another way to read this might be that runaway teenagers might come back after having been adopted by a shadowcat (or a small collective of those).

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4 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

If this were true, every 16 year old boy, and many of the girls, would join Yinkin, making it by far the largest cult in all of Sartar.  Doesn't seem to be the case.  🙂

You can bet that the Yinkini are breaking them in, but not many are cool enough to make it as a permanent fixture with the Yinkini crowd. Most are ultimately of a more conventional moral fiber.

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Yinkin's independent cult is very small, even in Sartar. Like Odalya it falls within the "Other" category, and is less than 1% of the population. There are minor temples to Yinkin at Wild Mountain, Wintertop, and Yinkin Hill, but otherwise the cult is just shrines inside Orlanth temples.

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I see Yinkini as a mix of

 

lone people walking in the wild

working for themselves and not for the community, if they have no personal interest

but able of great deeds when the community (or some members) are in big trouble

of course, looking for the wife / husband of anyone

if they are thieves, that only to eat, not to amass wealth

but at the end of the day... happy to watch the stars, in the quiet night, happy to run with cats and other shadows, happy to meet others when they want to meet others, not when others want to meet them

 

you can trust them if it is important, but you know that "important" is what they consider, not what you consider.

 

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I have always seen Yinkin as kind of a mixture of a hunter and a trickster. Lone wanderers who can be social within cities, but whose wanderlust will take them back on the road and to the wilderness on regular intervals. Kind of similar to what French Desperate WindChild said above. I have once had a Yinkini in my campaign and he was kinda like Aragorn if he had chosen Hazia instead of the One Ring quest. Was a cool character 😄.

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19 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

... The Family Heirlooms table is another example of where the game designers ignore game balance. ...

The designers have been pretty explicit that "game balance" is not a consideration for RQ & Glorantha.

Glorantha is not a "balanced" world, and IMHO setting fidelity -- as a consideration -- replaces "game balance."

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5 hours ago, g33k said:

The designers have been pretty explicit that "game balance" is not a consideration for RQ & Glorantha.

Glorantha is not a "balanced" world, and IMHO setting fidelity -- as a consideration -- replaces "game balance."

Correct. Or as Greg used to tell me, if you want game balance play chess.

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Correct. Or as Greg used to tell me, if you want game balance play chess.

Absolutely. However, it is sometimes important to recognize that a certain complaint may be, wrongly,  _expressed_ in terms of balance or fairness. While actually the underlying issue is that the amount of Game Fun being had is somewhat less than Maximum. Dismissing criticism is always an option, but sometimes there is another way.

The medium-term playability of some of the minor cults given short-form writeups in RQ:G, is, in the absence of the full cult writeup, somewhat lacking. You could express that complaint as @Orlanh gets 425 spells, your cult gets 3, this is _so unfair_. Or you could make a more valid complaint that 2 session into a game, your character has no more spells to look forward to learning, which is not as much fun as it could be. 

Hopefully the long-form wrteups in the cults book make it clear which cults are valid primary identities for long term player characters in regular campaigns. And which are going to be restricted to secondary associations, villians, NPC, one shots, or very unusual campaigns.

 

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43 minutes ago, radmonger said:

The medium-term playability of some of the minor cults given short-form writeups in RQ:G, is, in the absence of the full cult writeup, somewhat lacking. You could express that complaint as @Orlanh gets 425 spells, your cult gets 3, this is _so unfair_. Or you could make a more valid complaint that 2 session into a game, your character has no more spells to look forward to learning, which is not as much fun as it could be.

But PCs are always going to be an exception and hunt down new spells for their cult/PC once they've got all the standard ones and any GM aiming for MGF will support this. And once the HQ rules come out, it's really not going to make any real difference which cult you are in in terms of special powers for your PC. Now of course which cult you are in will still make a difference still in terms of social position and types of special powers (e.g. it's probably going to be extremely extremely rare for a Karrg's Son to get Sunspear like powers or for an Eurmali to get Rex type powers etc.) but in terms of valid primary identities for long term players in a regular campaign, things like the number of standard rune spells in a cult aren't really that important. 

In the campaign that I currently play, we have an Orlanth Thunderous Runepriest/Orlanth Adventurous Initiate, an Orlanth Thunderous Priest, a Yinkini Runepriest, an Odaylan Runepriest and a Chalana Arroy High Healer and the Yinkini and the Odaylan (despite not having the same spread of rune spells) don't pale into insignificance even in combat situations and if I had to single out a character as being a bit dominant, it's the Chalana Arroy and that's primarily built on the social role that Chalana Arroy plays in Sartar, he rarely, if ever, plays the "I won't heal you if you don't do what I say". Of course the GM, being a good GM, is open to and likes this type of play and all of us players are all in to the social/community side of roleplaying, so it works well for us. 

If we think about things in terms of GM attention to my character, in fact the player who runs out of rune spells in session 2 is at an advantage, because the GM is going to have to come up with interesting ways for the PC to get rune spell 4, 5, 6 etc. meanwhile the Orlanthi can be told just pick one of the 422 spells you don't have.

Edited by Martin Dick
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4 minutes ago, Martin Dick said:

But PCs are always going to be an exception and hunt down new spells for their cult/PC once they've got all the standard ones and any GM aiming for MGF will support this.

I don't disagree; good GMs will absolutely do that. What is perhaps missing is some advice on what being a good GM means in the context of RQ:G. There are a lot of Runequest and Glorantha-specific mistakes a GM could make that nothing currently published explains how to avoid.

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2 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

The comments about "running out" of spells are spot on.  HQ might well fix that.

Spirit cults will do what a lack of associate cults doesn't offer. These have the disadvantage that the rune power pools are separate and hence less flexible, but there is the concept of spirit societies that bundle several spirit cults and share one rune pool.

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11 hours ago, Martin Dick said:

n the campaign that I currently play, we have an Orlanth Thunderous Runepriest/Orlanth Adventurous Initiate, an Orlanth Thunderous Priest, a Yinkini Runepriest, an Odaylan Runepriest and a Chalana Arroy High Healer

I noticed that everybody is a Rune Priest, not a Rune Lord (or god-talker).  Nothing wrong with that (though see questions below), but is there any particular reason for that in your campaign?

Questions

  1. Does Odayla even have Rune Priests?  Their cult writeup describes Bear Walkers (Rune Lords) but has no entry for Priest or God Talker
  2. Does Yinkin have Rune Lords?  Their cult writeup describes god-talkers and priests, but not rune lords.

Obviously, YGMV, and PCs are "special", and can break these rules.  But, in general, how thoroughly should we parse and strictly follow the cult writeups in RQG?

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2 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

I noticed that everybody is a Rune Priest, not a Rune Lord (or god-talker).  Nothing wrong with that (though see questions below), but is there any particular reason for that in your campaign?

The Odaylan might be a RuneLord or the GM might have allowed them to be a Runepriest or maybe they are just a strong Initiate. It's a bit hard to tell a strong initiate from a new RunePriest and we haven't had to use DI recently. But the reason why there are lots of RunePriests is because it's much easier to reach the qualifications for RunePriest than RuneLord in general. 50% is easier than 90%, especially with the current character generation system. As an example, my Orlanth Adventurous initiate was planned to become a WindLord and he's still a way off that (5 skills at 90% can take a long time, especially if the dice don't roll well) and when the Orlanth Thunderous character qualified for RunePriest, I thought, if they can do it maybe I can and sure enough, the character also met the qualifications for an Orlanth Thunderous RunePriest, so a double initiation into Thunderous and some roleplaying and use of reputation, and he became a RunePriest first. As the long term goal was to be a RuneLord/Priest, it just reversed the order in which it was done.

As for your specific question about strictly following cult writeups, personally I've always treated canon as guidelines/suggestions. I like canon because it gives me a baseline to work from and indicates what the designers were trying to do, but I feel no compunction about changing/ignoring canon if I want to, so unless you are writing for Chaosium or if you want your Jonstown Compendium product to stay within cooee of the Chaosium product, for me there's no need to strictly follow anything in the rules book or the other products. 

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11 hours ago, radmonger said:

I don't disagree; good GMs will absolutely do that. What is perhaps missing is some advice on what being a good GM means in the context of RQ:G. There are a lot of Runequest and Glorantha-specific mistakes a GM could make that nothing currently published explains how to avoid.

Can you elaborate on this? As a 40 year plus RQ player, I'm not seeing this, but that's entirely likely me being in blinkers. Do you mean things like not wearing any head armour or taking a Yelmalian character to be a top-line warrior?

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