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Cult relations (Orlanth, Ernalda, Barntar, Grain Godess)


Godlearner

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I am setting up a village, in my campaign, with primary worship bring those of Orlanth, Ernalda, Barntar, Grain Godess.

To me it seems that there is a lot of overlap between these four cults, so please help me strainten things out. Who would worship each deity? 

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My take is that If it only has two temples, one will be to Ernalda and one to her husband. The Ernaldan temple will normally have a shrine to every crop goddess the village grows.

If the village is largely responsible for its own defense,  and owning and being able to use weapons is near universal, then Ernalda's husband will be Orlanth, and his temple will have a Barntar shrine. This is pretty much everywhere in Sartar and Prax, and most of the Holy country.

In some places like the Grazelands and Tarsh,  carrying weapons is unusual or forbidden to farmers. Bandits, raiders or broo are expected to be dealt with by a standing army before they get within miles of the village. There Ernalda's husband will be Barntar, and his temple will have an Orlanth shrine. It would be rare village that had separate temples to both Barntar and Orlanth, or Ernalda and a grain goddess. If a village has a third temple, which it probably doesn't, it would be to some other locally-important specialty deity. 

By my reading of the rules, you only need to learn one spell to become an initiate. So staying within the village, you can initiate to any cult with a shrine, in either temple. But if you pick something other than the big two, then to learn more you have to travel further afield. Which many will not have the time , funds or inclination to do.

Adapting some of the HQ-era material, I'd suggest that if the village practices teenage ordeal-based initiation, then the requirement to have a shrine is dropped. You go on the ordeal, and if you come back (and probably fewer than 1 in a 100 don't), you can some back with any Rune spell learnable by an Orlanth initiate. including those from his associates. You could model simply this by rolling initiation tests, in order of preference, until one passes.

And if all fail, then then you don't come back.

 

 

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If Barntar is seen as a cult, I would say that men dedicated to the lands ( farmer, herder, ...) will follow Barntar when the rest, higher social classes, bloodline leaders, warriors, ... crafters ? would follow Orlanth when not an exotic one (Issaries, LM, such exotism ... 😛 )

 

More difficult to me with the grain goddess

The only option I imagine would be there is in this clan a particular grain providing wealth and only source of some typical "industry" (maybe a specific beer, some cloth, etc)

 

then some women will be dedicated to this goddess so important localy, when other will follow Ernalda herself (from any social classes)

 

but I have the same difficulties than you, it is just a thought among others

 

Edited by French Desperate WindChild
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In many villages in Dragon Pass, you have two minor temples - one is to Orlanth Thunderous and his son Barntar, the other to Ernalda and the Grain Goddesses. Orlanth and Ernalda are the primary cults, with Barntar and the Grain Goddesses being subcults.

Given the connections between Orlanth and Ernalda, this would effectively mean the men of the village do the Orlanth secret stuff, and the women of the village do the Ernalda secret stuff, and on major holy days they do their stuff together.

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5 hours ago, Jeff said:

one is to Orlanth Thunderous and his son Barntar, the other to Ernalda and the Grain Goddesses. Orlanth and Ernalda are the primary cults, with Barntar and the Grain Goddesses being subcults.

Understood. How would it be different if it was Elmal and Barntar?

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27 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

Understood. How would it be different if it was Elmal and Barntar?

Don’t ask Jeff that, you’ll hate his answer. (Wanders off, muttering)

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1 hour ago, Godlearner said:

Understood. How would it be different if it was Elmal and Barntar?

Just use the model the GM Screen pack adventurers book. The Enhyli clan have a minor temple to Yelmalio (who they call Elmal) in Runegate. Just file off the clan name and location:

Minor temple Yelmalio 
Minor temple Ernalda 
Shrines Humakt, Seven Mothers, Storm Bull Orlanth Thunderous or Barntar, pick two more. 

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1 hour ago, Godlearner said:

Understood. How would it be different if it was Elmal and Barntar?

REEEALY different.

As written, Barnhar is not part of the solar pantheon. So no reason to have a Barntar shrine with Elmal/Yelmalio. 

But under the late part of Lunar occupation the Orlanth temples in Sartar towns were closed so most Sartarite men would profess to follow Barntar.  Presumably either the Orlanth altar was covered with a tarp or the Barntar shrine was moved to a new building.  (How would everyone describe that in your campsigns?)

Now if you are in a place that doesn't follow Monrogh's revelation and Elmal is Orlanth's Thane- then you effectively have two subcults and no major cult on the men's side.  Why is that?  What backstory will you invent and what are its implications?

 

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16 minutes ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Elmal is Orlanth's Thane- then you effectively have two subcults and no major cult on the men's side.  Why is that?

Yes, exactly. This is a situation I am trying to work out in my head. How to mesh these two cults. It seems that Barntar would be dominant based on needs with Elmal more as a uncle/guide/leader figure.

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24 minutes ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Now if you are in a place that doesn't follow Monrogh's revelation and Elmal is Orlanth's Thane- then you effectively have two subcults and no major cult on the men's side.  Why is that?  What backstory will you invent and what are its implications?

In earlier publications, you could have Elmal as the main men's cult in a clan (rarer by far, but still there). You can see this as late as in Red Cow, where one of the neighbouring clans is an Elmal clan.

It would still have Ernalda/Esrola, and I believe Barntar can be worshiped as a subcult of Ernalda as well?

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I would play that Barntar the plowman is for sure Ernalda's son. Who is his father depends on the clan, and his name may also change depending on the traditional clan myths, as I suspect many farmer clans will claim him as one of their ancestors, and use that acestor's name. Another reason for bad blood among neighbours, as they worship him wrong and under a wrong name. 

That will change the associations, so maybe in Yelmalio dominated areas farmers work deep into the night (Catseye), but they will have no Shield. I am also sure that rather than Yelmalio, the Ergeshi remnants of the Kitori worship him secretly as Argan Argar's son, and consider cuckolding their Yelmalion overlords as a great virtue. Religious resistance. 

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Just to piggyback on everyone else's good thoughts to reinforce your own original impulse . . . if this is the kind of village situation that interests you, you're probably going to be exploring a relatively ground-level game where more people than usual are focused on the basic labor of keeping a household running. More people spend their days in direct interaction with the crop cycle. That's okay. They're people too. You can really explore their aspirations and character here, bringing in the larger-scale Orlanth + Ernalda mysteries around that foundation.

This village might be unusually poor or isolated so it can't reliably provide Orlanth + Erlanda (I almost typed Orlanda there, mount your chariots o my revisionaries) to everybody. They just don't have time or resources to stretch the rites all the way around. This then creates a social tension between the people who get access to adventurer-style magic, initiation and status . . . and those who don't. It's more of a quasi-feudal structure with farmer families and slightly more rarefied "aristos" who think past the hide. If the local leadership is particularly unpleasant they might even reserve O+E for themselves and their friends, denying it to the little people and so that's why you have separate Barntar + Grain here.

The question for your game would then revolve around what O+E thinks about that the common B+G rites don't provide in any refined form. Does something like O+E naturally and spontaneously evolve out of B+G, so a really good homestead will naturally produce sturdy and clever children who can tap into the more adventurer-style mysteries on their own? Does fortune favor the bold, even if that's the idiot youngest child who can grow up to be someone important? Or are some people just not fit for the O+E life and B+G is all that they can handle? Are Orlanth and Ernalda naturally expansive or exclusionary, and how does that work in either scenario? Is the secret stuff a universal adult human right or something that can be granted or withheld?

To avoid pushback from the known history of how the Orlanth cult in particular has evolved in places like Sartar, you might consider setting your village in the past or in some far-flung corner of the theyalan belt . . . getting a "rites of spring" vibe from the place, a little archaic and simple by modern Storm Tribe standards. Maybe somewhere in Aggar, second age Balazar, somewhere like that. Of course in Balazar you would also have a shot at bringing in expansionist Yelmal influences to complicate the mix, and we know how well that works.

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On 7/4/2022 at 5:01 AM, Godlearner said:

I am setting up a village, in my campaign, with primary worship bring those of Orlanth, Ernalda, Barntar, Grain Godess.

To me it seems that there is a lot of overlap between these four cults, so please help me strainten things out. Who would worship each deity? 

Okay, so Barntar is a cottar deity, and is a Thunder Brother, and so can be seen as a sub-cult of Orlanth.  Barntar is followed by men who are dedicating their lives to the cultivation of cereals, rather than war or leadership roles.

The local grain goddess is a sub-cult of Ernalda, unless for some reason Ernalda isn't locally venerated, such as in a place where Yelmalio holds sway and considers Ernalda a slattern.

Otherwise Orlanth and Ernalda are the primary male and female deities in most Orlanthi villages.

You should also consider deities like Heler, Voriof, and Uralda if we are getting agricultural.  Not every clan can manage a shrine to them, but herds are super-important.

 

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Okay, so Barntar is a cottar deity,

Barntar is by his myths a cattle man, the tamer of the bull, and thus a freeman/carl rather than a semifree cottar.

 

 

1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Barntar is followed by men who are dedicating their lives to the cultivation of cereals, rather than war or leadership roles.

Barntar is not a chieftain, but he is the productive freeman who goes to fight a dragon to end drought, and who musters for the warband.

In a rural setting, 90% of the population engages in primary activities like agriculture and herding, with fishing and hunting distantly following. Few do any of these four activities exclusively.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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9 hours ago, Darius West said:

unless for some reason Ernalda isn't locally venerated, such as in a place where Yelmalio holds sway and considers Ernalda a slattern.

Yelmalio is one of Ernalda's husband-protectors.  It's Yelm, not Yelmalio, that has issues with Ernalda.

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

Yelmalio is one of Ernalda's husband-protectors.  It's Yelm, not Yelmalio, that has issues with Ernalda.

It seems pretty odd that Yelmalio is dating his Dad's ex-wife, just saying.

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16 minutes ago, Darius West said:

It seems pretty odd that Yelmalio is dating his Dad's ex-wife, just saying.

The problem is more for Yelmalio that Ernalda also has Argan Argar as Husband Protector, not that she also dated Yelm.

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22 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

Does Buserian have  a Freudian subcult to analyse that?

Roll insight...

12 minutes ago, Kloster said:

The problem is more for Yelmalio that Ernalda also has Argan Argar as Husband Protector, not that she also dated Yelm.

The dirt is a fickle mistress.

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10 hours ago, Joerg said:

In a rural setting, 90% of the population engages in primary activities like agriculture and herding, with fishing and hunting distantly following. Few do any of these four activities exclusively.

Note that doesn't mean 90% of the population in a typical Sartarite village are initiate-level worshippers of a Barntar Rune Cul; there wouldn't be enough Orlanthi left tun run a temple. Cults are not occupations, though they can be more or less compatible with different occupations. 

Barntar is the name of the set of myths by which Orlanth Rune Cult initiates reconclie themsleves with being mostly farmers, while maintaining their readiness to choose violence should the need arise. A clan or village without a shrine to Barntar is one in which every man (and some of the women) wants to be a warrior, and chafes if they have not raided even once this whole season. Such a shrine also allows regaining any exotic agricultural magic a local specialist may have learnt in the rare case they went to the magical equivalent of an agricultural college.

 

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14 hours ago, Kloster said:

The problem is more for Yelmalio that Ernalda also has Argan Argar as Husband Protector, not that she also dated Yelm.

Well, daddy shouldn't have died then, should he??

And, let's face it, all that came about because he was too arrogant.

At least the pillowtalk wouldn't be only about himself with AA.

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In my version of the Orlanthi, in a patrilocal clan a widow (depending on the marriage contract) usually returns to her clan, but a well liked widow will usually marry a relative of the deceased, so she or he can remain in the household and clan. After a few years she will be closer to them than her own family, and she will have probably children and nieces that she would not want to leave. It would be possible (except in cases of blood relation) as they are once again part of their original clan. So she may sequentially marry the first husband brothers, or even father, uncles or sons from a previous marriage.

So I am sure they do not have some of our mental restrictions to marrying in the family, and Yelmalio marrying his stepmother is perfectly ok, once dad is dead. 

The key part is "well liked", but I am sure Ernalda has that part down easily. 

In the Esrolian system it is even easier, as potential husbands just come to her door, and she picks and chooses. No problem picking the son of a previous husband. 

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