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Can men follow Babeester Gor?


Glyph

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I was prompted to this by a post in the Spells for Odayla thread, and although I've headlined BG the question is really about any of the cults with gender restrictions, including Ernalda and Maran Gor.

RQ:G states for Orlanthi there are four sexes and six genders, but some cults still restrict by sex/gender. If a character were biologically male, and gender was a male in a female role (nandan?) Could they join BG, and ultimately make Rune Lady? 

As a follow up, could a biological female follow Waha - bit more tricky this one as it's not Orlanthi culture. 

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PS - I can't help thinking of Loretta in Life of Brian...

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I think the obvious answer is that the initiation ceremony renders them significantly less biologically male. In particular, they can no longer father children. Those sufficiently dedicated to a nandan gender role may be ok with that.

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The question really turns on whether when the Babeester Gor cult says it admits only women, it means sex (whatever that specifically means) and so male, neither, and both-sexed individuals are excluded, or it means gender in a narrow sense and so only people of the gender "woman" are allowed to join and men, vingans, nandans, helerings, and non-gendered people are excluded, or it means gender in a broader sense where women, nandans, and helerings could join, but men and non-gendered people would be excluded, and possibly vingans, and possibly not vingans. Or perhaps it means "non-men". 

Once you've resolved that one to your satisfaction for your Glorantha, then of course it's a question of whether this is a divine restriction, a cultic restriction, or a cultural one- eg does the goddess enforce (gently or harshly) an understanding of what women are on prospective initiates, or is it the cult that gatekeeps the initiation, or is it a background belief about who is suited to follow Babeester Gor which determines why there are no men in the cult? 

So having laid out some of the possibilities, how have I, in my Gloranthas, addressed this question? Firstly, being well aware that in Greg Stafford's understanding of Glorantha, there were such things as non-op trans women and trans men, to be somewhat direct, I concluded that bodies couldn't be the primary factor here, as that would run counter to an important spirit of the setting for me. Then, in actual play, my players and I discovered that a Babeester Gor character was agender and this led to an important realization- genders are self-declared for the purposes of the cult IMG/ITG. You can be a woman just for the purposes of joining the cult, and perhaps it is simply a declaration of solidarity or similar that has become formalized and calcified. I don't know that there are any men in the cult IMG, but they certainly would be able to join given those conditions. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

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I've just expanded the table I use in my game in which I have a nandan Maran Gor initiate. This is based on the box in the core rules on page 81

This is in answer to Are you a woman? The important thing about this is that no one would question your answer, you are what you say you are. Your game may differ.

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The rulebook says women in the case of BG initiates or Maran Gor priestesses and says female in the case of Eiritha, Vinga and Maran Gor God talkers (without castration or celibacy). Maran Gor god talkers (castration), Waha and Yelm specify male. The difference between woman and female is probably a case of non-systematic terminology.

The particular case of Maran Gor God talkers physical requirements (males are castrated, females are not) makes me think the differentiation is not gender based but sexual. That would extend to Maran Gor priestesses (where the term is women), so in Eff matrix above I consider the restriction is by sex (with "both" being able to join any, though they may suffer penalties), and the restriction is cultic, as if it were divine I would expect the implementation of the restriction would not need to be through mundane means, and most of these cults are more restrictive than their hosting society, which makes sense to make the restriction cult based. Also it is MGF for me if you can break the restrictions with some magic and chutzpah, though not easy, which would not work if the restriction was divinely enforced.

So if your sex is "none" you cannot join any specific sex restricted cult and if your sex is "both" you can join all, though Maran Gor will still castrate your male part.

This also works for me because socially recognised genders will vary in different parts of Glorantha, while I expect the four sexes are generally accepted. As always, some  areas (as for me the limitation is cultic) may change from the baseline. Vinga in Esrolia might accept all genders but the male gendered, with no sex requirements, and it would not be a problem for me.

It may be clarified in Gods of Glorantha, or we may get the revealed word of the designers, or we will probably continue to have a mix of different terms. 

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A nandan is a "male (body) in a female role".

Is Babs Gor a "female role"? 

I personally think not - Babs Gor strikes me as extremely vingan: a female body taking up a very stereotypical male role of violence and protection.  YMMV.

Therefore, I go with the "physically female" requirement for Babs Gor.

For the record, I'm very uncomfortable with the stereotypical "female role" / "male role" terminology.  Everybody should take a human role.

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8 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

A nandan is a "male (body) in a female role".

Is Babs Gor a "female role"? 

I personally think not - Babs Gor strikes me as extremely vingan: a female body taking up a very stereotypical male role of violence and protection.  YMMV.

Therefore, I go with the "physically female" requirement for Babs Gor.

For the record, I'm very uncomfortable with the stereotypical "female role" / "male role" terminology.  Everybody should take a human role.

However we are role playing a society which does recognize - and in most cases does live -  different male and female behavior stereotypes.  Which is also human, just look at the RW and history.

 

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

 

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Hi David , thanks to share it. However there is something I may misundestand (both English and not a lot of discussion about gender irl etc)

vingan is a male in a female body I agree but why their « sex » is male ? Isn’t « sex » the body part ? And vingan the « male » gender ?

same for nandan ? I would switch the god-dess then but it may be a word definition issue ?

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If Babeester Gor has accepted as a worshipper someone who appears to be male, then Babeester Gor knows something about that person.

Are you going to argue with Babeester Gor?

Turning that on its head, a man who wants to join Babeester Gor needs to do something special to prove that he is female.

There was a lovely cult of Kanak Gor in an old supplement, Cults of Light & Magic, that allowed men to worship a form of Babeester Gor when they castrated themselves in a fit of religious ecstasy. 

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44 minutes ago, soltakss said:

There was a lovely cult of Kanak Gor in an old supplement, Cults of Light & Magic, that allowed men to worship a form of Babeester Gor when they castrated themselves in a fit of religious ecstasy. 

I had never heard of that book before, and had to look it up.  Slight correction: it's called Cults of Light & Death.

I'm slightly obsessed with getting ahold of a copy of that now.

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2 hours ago, Jason Farrell said:

I had never heard of that book before, and had to look it up.  Slight correction: it's called Cults of Light & Death.

I'm slightly obsessed with getting ahold of a copy of that now.

Very much non canonical.

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The way I've explained the difference between Babeester Gor followers and Vingans is: a) Vingans are like tomboys - they're girls/women who tend to hang out with the guys and do stereotypically "boy" things (get dirty, run around in the woods, rough and tumble play, etc.), while b) Babs followers are like the girls/women who stick with other girls/women, but are the ones who are willing to physically stand up to any harassment or just willing to be directly confrontational. So, it's about a combination of biological/physical sex and attitude. I think a Nandan (effeminate male who takes on typically female roles) could serve a Babeester Gorite, but I'd personally never allow a Nandan to become an actual  initiate of Babs without some sort of sex changing magic (at which point, they're no longer Nandan in my opinion.)  

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With Babeester, I say that you have to have an earthy gender. With Maran, you need not have an earthy gender, but if you have a form of fertility outside of being able to become pregnant, you must give that up to become a god-talker. If you have given that up, but can still bear children, you can become a celibate priestess. This is slightly contradictory, yes, and that is also the point.

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13 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Hi David , thanks to share it. However there is something I may misundestand (both English and not a lot of discussion about gender irl etc)

vingan is a male in a female body I agree but why their « sex » is male ? Isn’t « sex » the body part ? And vingan the « male » gender ?

same for nandan ? I would switch the god-dess then but it may be a word definition issue ?

The table answers the question put to the individual are you a woman? It's not an answer based on physical parts. 

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20 hours ago, Glyph said:

I was prompted to this by a post in the Spells for Odayla thread, and although I've headlined BG the question is really about any of the cults with gender restrictions, including Ernalda and Maran Gor

Technically, Ernalda doesn't have any gender restrictions. And, to become a Priestess, one only needs to have given birth to a healthy child - which in such a magical world as Glorantha, there's many ways that could happen!

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17 hours ago, David Scott said:

I've just expanded the table I use in my game in which I have a nandan Maran Gor initiate. This is based on the box in the core rules on page 81

This is in answer to Are you a woman? The important thing about this is that no one would question your answer, you are what you say you are. Your game may differ.

image.png.3717e78f66186ce250bda3aacd12f5fa.png

 

I would have assumed that anyone born physically male who upon adulthood is prepared to have their genitals removed with an axe would qualify for BG.  You have to lose your member to gain membership, much like with Maran Gor, yet apparently people who have been neutered don't qualify.

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Would a cult run by women, a significant minority women traumatized by misdeeds of men, accept a man joining their cause as one of them while remaining a man? Even a man whose Otherworld experiences earned him direct approval of the deity?

This is quite similar to an ogre openly identifying as such or a cursed Telmori, in either case having earned the marks of a Humakti, asking to join the Malani temple of Humakt, or the Humakti bodyguard in Boldhome.

 

Would a functional male be able to become the goddess for purposes of casting her rune magic or being her in a heroquest? How would this person be able to pass an identity challenge?

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

How would this person be able to pass an identity challenge?

I belive there is Trickster magic for that.

But then I think some versions of the Orlanthi gender list have 'eurmali' at the end. Which presumably represents those who find it funny to sneak into sacred spaces they are not supposed to be in. This usually ends about how you would expect.

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I think I like @Rob Darvall's explanation of 'experiencing the Mundane Plane as a woman' for those who are drawn to Babeester Gor. And I think that applies to most, if not all, the other cults with gender restrictions [Ernalda, Vinga, Yelorna, etc.].

In the first place, there are plenty of cults that allow gendered males to shine, whatever their societal role. A couple of war cults [or more] for gendered women is not only reasonable, but necessary in Glorantha for inclusion's sake if nothing else.

For those who identify as alternate gender identifiers, if you're looking for a war cult Humakt doesn't care who or what you are provided you're not Chaotic or Undead. If you want to play the 'gender bender' role, there are a bunch of trickster cults or other cults that don't have specific gender rules.

And lastly, as a general rule, other than the Fertility Rune propagation of the species aspect of things, almost all Gloranthan deities don't care who you love, so long as your oaths are kept. Two women, a Vingan and an Ernaldan, may marry in Orlanthi society, but if one has an affair on the other, it still breaks whatever oaths of fidelity they may have made to each other, just as it would with a man and woman [or any other combination]. What matters is the oath-breaking, not the gender identity.

 

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38 minutes ago, svensson said:

... a Vingan and an Ernaldan, may marry in Orlanthi society, but if one has an affair on the other, it still breaks whatever oaths of fidelity they may have made to each other, ...What matters is the oath-breaking,

 

Focussing on the important bit. Like Kinstrife, possibly not as badly, oath-breaking harms the whole group.

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13 hours ago, radmonger said:

I belive there is Trickster magic for that.

That in itself makes you "lose" your indentity challenge, turning you into "Eurmal pretending to be Babs". Which may be fine for a situation but requires a re-identification as Babs for whenever you want to access one of her feats, becoming her.

Taking ordinary questing and making it extra-hard experimental questing just to stay on track. Little different from brute-forcing a myth in the God Learner way, with losses of questers left and right.

 

13 hours ago, radmonger said:

But then I think some versions of the Orlanthi gender list have 'eurmali' at the end. Which presumably represents those who find it funny to sneak into sacred spaces they are not supposed to be in. This usually ends about how you would expect.

Eurmal is rarely far from Babeester. It is almost as if he was fascinated by her not getting the joke.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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