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What happens to initiates who DON'T go mad in the Sex Pit?


Rob Darvall

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56 minutes ago, Rob Darvall said:

But what if the kid does well? Resists, deals with the threat. To whom do they initiate? The other pits indicate a preference through success, the sex pit is only mentioned through failure.

Adulthood initiation does not automatically come with cult initiation (not to any other cult than Orlanth, unless something goes wrong). You can undergo Orlanth's adulthood initiation and then join a Spirit Society, Daka Fal, or remain without any personal deity, or even go to the Seven Mothers and step on the Lunar path. You might apprentice to a philosopher with no more tha lay membershipp (literacy) of Lhankor Mhy.

No idea whether Monrogh imported a Yelmalian initiation rite different from The Initiation of Orlanth. The original Sun Dome Templarts of Palangio would have been ignorant of I Fought We Won, but may have used (non-equitarian) Yelmite rites. But the Sartar Sun Domers were Locaem and other Quivini, not some fancy Pelorians. Their better farmers would follow Barntar, thus they probably practice the Initiation of Orlanth. But if you undergo the Initiation of Orlanth rite as a future Templar, which pit do you think would be yours? The Sex Pit, and some of the visitors get celibacy geases? The fighting pit? Or the Strangers, allowing for a more cosmopolitan and less xenophobic outlook?

56 minutes ago, Rob Darvall said:

Conversely what happens to those who fail the other tests?

Those perish, or emerge as traumatized non-adults.

Happened to Harmast Barefoot's generation.

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49 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Adulthood initiation does not automatically come with cult initiation (not to any other cult than Orlanth, unless something goes wrong).

Having two different things called initiation, one of which makes you an adult, and one an initiate is at the least very confusing. I guess it is one way of reconciling HQ-era material and the RQ:G rules [1].

IMG in an Orlanth clan that practises traditional ordeal-based initiation, there is one clan initiation. If successful, this ends up with a result of you learning any one rune spell that can be learnt at the clan  temple. This includes those from associate cults. In effect you can go though a male clan initiation and end up, as far as the clan is concerned, as a Storm Bull, Kolati, Odaylan, or Nandan, etc. If you trust in the initiation magic, this sorting process is by defintiion accurate[2].

At a guess 'passing', or at least incompletely failing, the sex pit test tags you to Eurmal. Your life, if you stay with the clan, will be as a kind of village idiot, where community leaders have a sacred responsibillity to prevent you doing too much damage. You probably never get to learn a second Rune spell; better hope the joke spell you did learn is funny.

In most cases, a clan initiate with a respected non-Orlanth initiation-assigned deity will stay with the clan, with that deity being something like a star sign in Western culture. Maybe magically and ritually significant, but not necessarily much to do with how they live their life. You could be assigned to Humakt, play that role at sacred time rituals, but still make your living as a farmer, albeit one with a sword.

Alternatively, they might temporarily leave the clan to go join, say, a roving chaos-fighting band, where they can develop their relationship with Storm Bull more deeply. So once they return to the clan, they are the local expert at that, and would get called in for advice in any chaos-related crisis.

City-based Orlanthi generally don't do ordeal-based initiation. They have more strictly-sperated temples, with initiation being an entirely voluntary process after a multi-year apprenticeship. As I understand it, the RQ:G rules as-written currently mostly focus on city-based Orlanthi, like those in Pavis. In a city, an Orlanth temple is just one of many, not the sole social focus of the community. So, for example, going to a second temple only requires an extra 10% of your time and income, not dangerous travel through potentially-hostile territory. You routiinely have to deal with people who are not initiates at your temple without openly regardining them as your inferior.

Coming from a city, you would never call someone a 'Storm Bull' just because they knew one chaos-fighting spell they learnt from a shrine, and saw a Broo once. Doing so is the mark of a rural bumpkin. Storm Bulls are those scary guys who hang out at the Storm Bull temple, and get their beer money mostly from bounties for killing chaos creatures.

But in a clan village, then if there is noone better, they are the one who ends up wearing the Bull mask.

[1] In particular, King of Dragon Pass has an Orlanthi clan full of magic specialists they couldn't possibly support under the RQ:G rules on temple sizes.

[2] The claim that it routinely creates 15-year old child Humakti traumatised to be unable to socialise normally is a vile Lunar slander.

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, radmonger said:

Having two different things called initiation, one of which makes you an adult, and one an initiate is at the least very confusing [...] IMG in an Orlanth clan that practises traditional ordeal-based initiation, there is one clan initiation.

This is my struggle as well as far as "adulthood is an initiation sponsored by the supermajority cult but is different from supermajority cult initiation" goes, but we can take that up in greater intensity later. I like the associate rune spell as mechanical solution . . . and love all this Eurmal talk for shedding great light on that cult's function in the larger ritual landscape.

Maybe a parallel route to answers is what happens when the other pits fail. I'm running a couple of kids through the system and something goes terribly wrong. What rune spell do those kids get?

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Perhaps one way to pass initiation is not to focus on how you got out of the pit; maybe Orlanth let you out.  Instead, you could be the one who you healed the guy trapped in the Sex Pit. In the above approach, this grants you the Heal Body spell, via association with Ernalda, and tags you as a potential Nandan.

Or you could pass as a Helering. When you were in the Water Pit, you were fine. Later Orlanth frees you out into the air, and you are happy with that too.

Passing as Yinkin or Odayla are just variants on Storm Bull in the animal pit.

Yelmalio (if he counts as a full Ornalth pantheon member now) goes in the fighting pit, but teams up with allies to defeat those individually stronger than him.

Daka Fal goes in the Strange Gods pits, but submits to judgement by the guardian instead of organising his defeat.

Lightbringers show up in later stages.

Who does that leave?

 

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5 hours ago, Rob Darvall said:

But what if the kid does well? Resists, deals with the threat. To whom do they initiate?

Heler, Kolat, Yinkin,... i.e. one of the deities that has either integrated sexual experience(s) or perhaps separated from the physical constrains of the body.

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2 hours ago, radmonger said:

Having two different things called initiation, one of which makes you an adult, and one an initiate is at the least very confusing. I guess it is one way of reconciling HQ-era material and the RQ:G rules [1].

I found this to un-confuse a lot of things - like making anybody who would choose a deity not regular to their clan during their military or otherwise mercenary career, say in Pavis, potentially an apostate to their clan temple.

Bur let me also voice my disagreement over King of Sartar being part of the HQ era. King of Sartar made a huge splash in 1992, during the inception of the RuneQuest third edition renaissance that brought us brilliant products reprinting parts of the RQ2 era classics and new material, such as Sun County and River of Cradles, Shadows on the Borderlands and Strangers in Prax (and two more taking the Cults of Terror Dorastor seeds and expanding those).

However, as you can see all of this was still in the ghetto of the Zola Fel valley, hardly even striking into the Plains of Prax, and almost timidly shying away from setting anything in the land of the White Bear and Red Moon boardgame.

(Avalon Hill had licensed and reprinted Chaosium's second edition of White Bear and Red Moon, Dragon Pass, which was kept available alongside the other Avalon Hill board games which were given a much longer shelf time than hardly any roleplaying system has ever experienced).

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

[1] In particular, King of Dragon Pass has an Orlanthi clan full of magic specialists they couldn't possibly support under the RQ:G rules on temple sizes.

No problem there at all - those specialists are associated to temples outside of the clan oversight, possibly even outside of the tribe's city confederation. This is only a problem if you insist that all the specialists have to be locally grown from the Clan Temple. Which is where your subsequent proposal breaks down for me.

 

I do respect your "IMG" though. If the method below works for you and sets things "right", use that. It just makes discussing these a bit more of an extracorporeal experience as it requires me to give up 30 years of coping in a different way.

Disclaimer: My interpretation of what is going on in the Colymar tribe and its neighbors is my personal interpretation of the source material published to date, trying to follow canon but in no way the yet unpublished RQG canon defined by Jeff. I expect to be contradicted by future publications, but I cannot predict where.

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

IMG in an Orlanth clan that practises traditional ordeal-based initiation, there is one clan initiation. If successful, this ends up with a result of you learning any one rune spell that can be learnt at the clan  temple. This includes those from associate cults. In effect you can go though a male clan initiation and end up, as far as the clan is concerned, as a Storm Bull, Kolati, Odaylan, or Nandan, etc.

This might even work IMG for isolated, somewhat xenophobic and ultra-traditionalist clans, because such clans don't really have any alternative but to rely on what is locally available. Going away from this clan without the protection cult initiation offers may seem unthinkable.

And unfortunately the "example" of the Varmandi clan provided in Genertela Box exaggerates this stereotype. The possibly most backward clan in the easily most backward tribe in all of Old Sartar, not part of any of the city confederations that organize the Kingdom of Sartar through the Kings' deputies, the City Rexes (also called mayors in earlier publications, with somewhat less glorious competences, too - especially one Brygga Scissortongue of New Pavis, who admittedly has to report to a Lunar governor who has usurped all the Rex responsibilities). So far from basic Sartarite civilization that a chimney (a common item used for any Gustbran fire) is described as dangerous and possibly soul-draining sorcery.

 

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

If you trust in the initiation magic, this sorting process is by defintiion accurate[2].

As long as nobody like Lokamayadon, the God Learners, the EWF or the Lunar occupators mess with it or the ambient magic of the land. And as long as you tolerate a certain number of failures and tragical deaths as part of the initiation.

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

[2] The claim that it routinely creates 15-year old child Humakti traumatised to be unable to socialise normally is a vile Lunar slander.

Yes, that's slander. Any Humakti is by definition an adult, and by cult choice an adult close to death, even if they are five or six year old half-Telmori princesses wielding death magic in one hand and a plushy wolf toy endowed with terrible magics in the other hand (Salinarg's daughters, leaders of the Household of Death in 1602).

The dropouts will be broken not-quite adults - possibly choosing outlawry over a shameful return to their clan, easily scooped up by Gagarthi bandits needing new cannon-fodder. Gagarth's is a very inclusive cult that will initiate just about anybody willing to swear to follow their leader.

 

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

At a guess 'passing', or at least incompletely failing, the sex pit test tags you to Eurmal. Your life, if you stay with the clan, will be as a kind of village idiot, where community leaders have a sacred responsibillity to prevent you doing too much damage. You probably never get to learn a second Rune spell; better hope the joke spell you did learn is funny.

There is a limit to how many Eurmali - even extraordinarily well behaved ones - a rural community can support. Ultimately a different form of outlawry.

 

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

In most cases, a clan initiate with a respected non-Orlanth initiation-assigned deity will stay with the clan, with that deity being something like a star sign in Western culture. Maybe magically and ritually significant, but not necessarily much to do with how they live their life. You could be assigned to Humakt, play that role at sacred time rituals, but still make your living as a farmer, albeit one with a sword.

This would creat "Humakt-as-a-subcult", something I doubt we are going to see (again) in RQG. (Thunder Rebels had lots of that - you couldn't initiate to Orlanth without ending up in a subcult of one of the aspects, including the then newly introduced and since forgotten aspect of Allfather, and reciprocally for Ernalda Allmother. These aspects survived into HQ1, but did not make it into the HQ2 era products or HQG.)

Getting assigned a divine role in the "passion plays" (that make up the significant portions of religious festivals) that has nothing to do with your actual cult affiliation is rather normal. Take for instance the Evil Uncles - none of them is an associate deity in any "normal" traditional clan. Yet these masks will be donned by members of the clan, either actual uncles of an initiand, or by folk traditionally taking this kind of Krampus role. Having a Humakti or Eurmali taking on the role of a Deathwielder in the story makes the story more real, and summons up a very real risk of participants dying, but also solidifies the magic beyond what less aligned dancers could contribute.

A Humakti could be the assigned owner of a stead, and possibly the person double-checking the administrator, but will be well advised not to dabble in the fertility-bringing or growth-related ritual and mundane activities. That's what a wife or an assigned manager will take care of.

 

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

Alternatively, they might temporarily leave the clan to go join, say, a roving chaos-fighting band, where they can develop their relationship with Storm Bull more deeply. So once they return to the clan, they are the local expert at that, and would get called in for advice in any chaos-related crisis.

That presumes that this kind of mercenary cult is supported by the clan. (Looking at the Varmandi clan I badmouthed above, such shrines are quite likely, as the most successful economic export of the Varmandi seem to be mercenaries since the peace brought by Sartar hampered their traditional economic model of taking tribute from their less warlike neighbors.)

Those mercenaries have a hard time re-integrating into their clan after having spent time in civilization, accompanying traders, taking coin from Lunar superiors (whether Etyries traders, local magnates like Raus of Rone, or serving as auxiliary in a Lunar campaign or in tax collection elsewhere), and spending time in cities. At a guess, some might be based in Jonstown (closest royal city, but outside of tribal lands) sending some economic support to Oakton, while others are serving far away.

 

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

City-based Orlanthi generally don't do ordeal-based initiation. They have more strictly-sperated temples, with initiation being an entirely voluntary process after a multi-year apprenticeship.

Where do you make the cut for city-based Orlanthi, though? The Cinsina tribe for instance has quite a few rural clan center villages, like Red Cow or Dangerford (both rather far from their confederated city Jonstown), but everybody will have close kin in that city, and look toward that city for this kind of specialist ititiation.

Lismelder and Colymar are the odd tribes outside of any city confederation, making do with their own resources. The Colymar have two tribal "cities" of their own, Runegate as a trading center and at least economic power base for most of the recent tribal kings from the Taraling clan, and Clearwine, home to a great Earth Temple and thereby the magical center of the tribe. The Lismelder with their dangerous neighbor to the west are likely to have an ordeal-based initiation as they are faced with the expansion of the Upland Marsh. (So are the remaining original clans of the Runegate Triaty in the Colymar tribe, but the Taralings as successors of the third, perished clan, reformed around descendants of Old Man Colymar as the new nobility, have no direct problems).

 

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

As I understand it, the RQ:G rules as-written currently mostly focus on city-based Orlanthi, like those in Pavis. In a city, an Orlanth temple is just one of many, not the sole social focus of the community. So, for example, going to a second temple only requires an extra 10% of your time and income, not dangerous travel through potentially-hostile territory. You routiinely have to deal with people who are not initiates at your temple without openly regardining them as your inferior.

City-based doesn't end at the city gates. If your clan regularly sells on the city market, your clan life will extend to those of your clan members pursuing an urban occupation in the city, whether as actual citizens or just as residents from one of the constituent tribes.

Yes, cult distribution among the city residents has a lot less Orlanth and Ernalda cultists than in the villages surrounding the city, and those villages will have more non-standard cultists than that isolated high valley community that has a well-established delegation dealing with the outside world (aka the neighboring clans and the occasional tribal moot, never mind the world farther away), people of sufficient moral integrity not to give up the community values (or so one hopes).

However, the rural outliers have an option of a secondary temple, too. There are people who don't worship the gods through cult membership but instead join a spirit society led by a charismatic spiritual leader well connected with the hierarchies of the genii locorum in the wild lands surrounding the "civilized" parts of the rural tula. These are people who may go by without any rune magic but a greater wealth in spirit magic, possibly gaining familiars (bound spirits, friendly spirits housed in charms) without being rune levels.
According to word from Greg a decade or two ago up to 30% of "Heortlings" follow this model of magic.

Now spirit cults and spirit societies do offer rune spells, but more on a quid-pro-quo basis rather than initiating into the deeper secrets of these entities. Shamans and their apprentices may still explore those, but less specialized users will be happy with whatever the shaman as an intercessor will grant them as access to magic.

Watch out for the 14th episode of the God Learners podcast where we discuss this kind of access to magic from the Praxian perspective. The rules aren't much different in backwater Sartar, and spirit societies have their place even in urban Sartar.

 

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

Coming from a city, you would never call someone a 'Storm Bull' just because they knew one chaos-fighting spell they learnt from a shrine, and saw a Broo once. Doing so is the mark of a rural bumpkin. Storm Bulls are those scary guys who hang out at the Storm Bull temple, and get their beer money mostly from bounties for killing chaos creatures.

If you ride with the Wild Hunt, you are a Gagarthi, no matter what cults you may have joined. If you followed a Storm Khan and his psychopaths to deal with a Chaos incursion and live to tell about it (with scars or acid burns to show off), you probably are a Storm Bull gang member, even if you retired from that life for the time being. As soon as Chaos raises its ugly head again in your small part of the world, you are likely to step forth and join the bullies again.

That has tradition - Orlanth himself spent parts of his youth fllying with the Vadrudi, beating up just about everybody that dared to complain.

 

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

But in a clan village, then if there is noone better, they are the one who ends up wearing the Bull mask.

Wearing the mask in a ritual may be unrelated, although the wearer of the bull mask may find his body fighting all manner of Chaos beasts summoned and propitiated by the Orlanthi rites, and possibly gain some scars, too. Many of these effigies become the ritual enemies of other deities represented by the clan's mask wearers. The Orlanth champion will get to exchange blows, although often the Chaos effigy is not supposed to be vanquished by the Orlanth protagonist facing it alone. Orlanth's myths have a strong focus on finding the right allies and instruments to deal with an opponent that would not be overcome in the first or first two attempts (this includes his confrontation with the Evil Emperor as well as the Aroka Quest, and the Lightbringers' Quest has required failures, too). Other masks may include a star captain who helped with survival in the Greater Darkness when Orlanth was busy elsewhere, maybe his staunch thane Yelmalio the Homeguard, maybe a foreign deity that once received aid from Orlanth and now has come to pay back the favor (Sofala of the West is one case of a deity paying back such a favor, although of less use in normal clan ceremonies).

But in the end, this leads into the (for some people terrible, and hard to deal with) concept of dual initiation, an initiate of Orlanth also initiating into the Cult of Humakt for a better understanding of the secrets of that cult, and improved performance, be it in the rites or holding back the undead of the Upland Marsh.

 

2 hours ago, scott-martin said:

This is my struggle as well as far as "adulthood is an initiation sponsored by the supermajority cult but is different from supermajority cult initiation" goes, but we can take that up in greater intensity later.

That supermajority cult tends to be the representative of the ancestor collective (the clan ancestors or clan small h heroes of the clan identity legends, probably rarely available through Daka Fal's Axis Mundi but available as traditional masks in the clan rites) and Orlanth and Ernalda. Maybe joined by one or two other cults that have enough permanent worshippers (not necessarily initiates) to maintain a minor temple. Argan Argar in the Torkani tribe, for instance, or Yelmalio the Rider of the Hyalorings of Runegate whose name may be spelled and pronounced with three letters less.

 

 

2 hours ago, scott-martin said:

I like the associate rune spell as mechanical solution . . . and love all this Eurmal talk for shedding great light on that cult's function in the larger ritual landscape.

Would a failure in (adulthood, Clan temple) initiation force a Eurmali identity? Would it result in a "candidate" status?

One of my models for the adulthood initiation is a rather real initiation to the clan wyter, the clan ancestors and minor heroes, possibly even gifting a point of youthful POW to that entity for a blessing for the community. Some form of childhood innocent luck transferred to the spirit of the community now that innocence has been replaced by insight into the hardships of the magical world.

I guess this kind of "Sim-Glorantha" would be regarded as superfluous gamist mechanic by the designers who struggle with presenting RQG as lean as possible to new GMs and players. IMO there will be simulationist-trained GMs who would appreciate such meta-gaming for building their clan, and my experiences playing resource-management games with Greg using rather freeform HeroQuest rules  make me suspect that for all of his great style as narrativist GM Greg puzzled over such minutia, too. Arcane Lore states it out plainly that in some respect, community heroquesting can be an exercise in resource management. Not for the players immersing themselves in Godtime, and not so much for the GM struggling with providing the technicolor surrealistic scenery for those actions, but in determining boons and cost of such heroquesting endeavors.

Unless of course you think that RuneQuest should be mainly a player-oriented system, rather than the system where monsters or rather antagonists have the same stats as the player heroes, and develop in similar ways. RQG explicitely does not want to support such an approach in its official publications.

 

2 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Maybe a parallel route to answers is what happens when the other pits fail. I'm running a couple of kids through the system and something goes terribly wrong. What rune spell do those kids get?

Who do the bond with?

Orlanth's pit of strangers is extremely tricky in this regard. With the rules of the magical world being as upset as the upcoming Hero Wars have made it, kids accepting the leadership of some strange god or another, to the point of initiating to a traditional opponent of the clan, would be a believable outcome. Welcome your left-handed dragon followers, your black-and-red devotees to Natha the Avenger or Tolat the Rebel or Artia the Rebel, children lstening to the watery breathing of Magasta's Pool as it constricts the Chaos Void inside after Wildday and is pushed away again around Clayday, or the cycles of the Blue Streak. With a Proximate Holy Realm no longer under Belintar's administration but his old hangers-on still on short call, you could have Interesting Times with a bunch of misfit children.

Possibly collected from the entire tribe, or even city confederation, to form some "Lost Hope" recruits for the Warlocks of Argrath. A temporary tutelage by a Clown society might be a start, but some draconic or otherwise mystical training that may appear as nonsensical as Eurmali clownery may be the truth behind such a group.

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On 7/26/2022 at 3:34 PM, Puckohue said:

In the first blog version of Andrew Montgomery's The Riddle (later rewritten and incorporated in Six Seasons in Sartar), the "other brother" tossed in the Sex Pit is experienced by the adventurers as one of them, but nobody seems to remember who. So it's not actually one of the clan children, but rather someone imaginary you need to try to save during your initiation.

When I GM'd that I perceived it differently.  It is definitely one of the clan children, just one of the named NPCs.  And (spoiler) an NPC who has a key role in a later adventure.  

Not to deny that it may have morphed from its earlier first draft. But if so, ALM found it unsatisfactory in that draft. 

 

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

This would creat "Humakt-as-a-subcult", something I doubt we are going to see (again) in RQG. (

Agreed  that was a bad example, Humakt isn't on the canonical list of subcults [1], so you can't learn his magic at a clan temple. Replace with Storm Bull .

You can treat this whole discussion as being about where do (Sartarite) Uroxi come from. The answer does not, in general, start with 'when a mummy and daddy Storm Bull love each other very much'; I don't think Uroxi are much of an ethnic group. Instead, some Orlanthi get called to that path, presumably mostly on the basis of their runes. To me, it would be strange if that process did not start at clan initiation, where the known myths provide such an obvious hook.

I do dislike the idea of a second actual-Orlanth-cult initiation for which there are, at least currently, no myths, nor any explanation of what it actually means socially and politically. 

 

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

This is only a problem if you insist that all the specialists have to be locally grown from the Clan Temple. Which is where your subsequent proposal breaks down for me.

My model is specialists are generally born in the clan, but leave it for a time, mostly to live full-time in a city or military camp. They then return, effectively as a form or retirement. I don't see Sartar, at least as of 1625,  as having the state bureaucracy to say 'having completed your training, you have been assigned as Lawspeaker to this village; here it is on a map'.

As far as I can see, my model fits entirely with the rules as-written, providing you are not unreasonably pedantic about losing all your magic (or even getting attacked by spirits of relation), when transferring from Storm Bull in the context of the clan to Storm Bull in the context of a warband, or whatever. Certainly, what you learn at a temple, you can renew at a shrine, so the other direction unambiguously works.

 

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

City-based doesn't end at the city gates. If your clan regularly sells on the city market, your clan life will extend to those of your clan members pursuing an urban occupation in the city, whether as actual citizens or just as residents from one of the constituent tribes.

 

I completely agree. There is actually statute from medieval England saying that market towns could not be established too close together; the limit was set at one days travel [2] . So Issaries traders based within 10km of a city can probably visit a city-based temple market weekly. I have trouble accepting that many people routinely commute longer distances. Or if they do, its a big commitment; a full-time pilgrimage, not an extra 10% time commitment. Travelling 10km there and back, and a day at your destination, is already 40%.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

this leads into the (for some people terrible, and hard to deal with) concept of dual initiation, an initiate of Orlanth also initiating into the Cult of Humakt

 

Certainly getting into split rune pools, and the associated book-keeping as to which casting of a spell comes from which pool, is way more complexity than I would feel comfortable trying to teach to a new player. Give me 'you know this spell;when you cast it this number goers down' anyday.

Whereas any time you try to think about 'what happens over the course of this persons life?', it very often ends up with a story that makes most sense as 'they transferred from worshipping at this temple to that one. This perhaps had magical consequences, but not the kind of crippling ones an early-edition D&D Paladin got when they changed alignment'.  Again, I just don't buy the idea that any large number of people are spending all their times on continual pilgrimage keeping up a schedule of worship at multiple non-local temples.


[1] Maybe Termertain accepted the Lunar argument that ending childhood by initiation into Humakt counted as a war crime? And the KoS version covers the practice before this change?

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_town. Though England in that period was presumably a lot safer to travel than war-torn Sartar, even ignoring the dangerous wild life and actual  monsters.

 

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9 hours ago, radmonger said:

Having two different things called initiation, one of which makes you an adult, and one an initiate is at the least very confusing. I guess it is one way of reconciling HQ-era material and the RQ:G rules [1].

Yes, it can be confusing, but they are distinct.  

It's not a matter of reconciling the two periods.  You'll find references to adulthood initiations in Greg's material well before HW/HQ.  In the classic RQ, the adult initiation was simply assumed as completed, and now you were potentially a lay member of one or more cults.  The cult initiation was the primary focus.

Neither HQ nor RQG require of play out the adulthood initiation - both effectively start after that point, and even incorporate the cult initiation into the character background.  But works like Six Seasons in Sartar do bring you back to that earlier event to play explicitly.  It provides a method to bring you into the experience of Glorantha and introduce you to the myth/mystery of the world right from the start with your characters.

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On 7/28/2022 at 11:58 AM, Rob Darvall said:

But what if the kid does well? Resists, deals with the threat. To whom do they initiate?

Eurmal? Yinkin? Uleria?

 

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13 hours ago, Darius West said:

Hmm...  From what I am reading here I am beginning to think that if you don't go mad in the Sex Pit you're doing it wrong, and that is not something I want to consider.

Don't look into the Sex Pit otherwise the Sex Pit will look into you.

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14 hours ago, Darius West said:

From what I am reading here I am beginning to think that if you don't go mad in the Sex Pit you're doing it wrong, and that is not something I want to consider.

If we consider it instead that bad things can happen in Any Pit, then Ragnaglar's example serves as the lesson to the community that they must prepare the youths appropriately for adulthood (without revealing anything of the nature of the initiation/pits).  And that when bad things come out of a Pit, they must be destroyed.

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4 hours ago, soltakss said:

Eurmal? Yinkin? Uleria?

 

I'd resist Eurmal on the grounds that he winds up as the answer to damn near everything that presents a bit of a conceptual challenge. That's just a PoV.

Yinkin I think comes from the beast pit.
Uleria, however, seems logical and also ties in with the old HW/HQ/QW notion of Uleria being a demon. The initiate is now someone VERY unusual indeed and bears close watching because

3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

when bad things come out of a Pit, they must be destroyed.

and this is the pit from which bad things most frequently emerge.

 

Edited by Rob Darvall
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On 7/28/2022 at 5:09 PM, jajagappa said:

Yes, it can be confusing, but they are distinct.  

It's not a matter of reconciling the two periods.  You'll find references to adulthood initiations in Greg's material well before HW/HQ.  In the classic RQ, the adult initiation was simply assumed as completed, and now you were potentially a lay member of one or more cults.  The cult initiation was the primary focus.

Here's a subtle thing: they're distinct between initiating into the Orlanthi culture as a masculine adult, and initiating into a cult as an Orlanthi masculine adult. The Theyalan masculine and feminine adulthood initiations are the ones we have the most detail about, but I wouldn't comfortably say it reflects the majority of Glorantha, and even most of the other cultures in Dragon Pass likely handle it differently. Greg's Ernaldan initiation itself departs from the Orlanthi one in being explicitly both a rite of passage into adulthood and at least halfway into initiating to the cult of the Goddess (you "pause" it when you fall asleep.) Yelm the Youth also seems to be both an initiation into adulthood and an initiation into the cult of Yelm. And so on. So to me it's actually an interesting question why the Orlanthi initiation departs so quickly from identification with deity and into something more deeply ancestral.

Edited by Ormi Phengaria
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7 hours ago, Ormi Phengaria said:

Here's a subtle thing: they're distinct between initiating into the Orlanthi culture as a masculine adult, and initiating into a cult as an Orlanthi masculine adult.

I'm curious. Is there actually any Chaosium-published material that describes that second initiation that actually makes you an initiate? Or it is pure fan theory?

There is this great, Stafford-written, potentially-playable material steeped in myth and magic. You run it as an adventure, you go off into the hero plane, and everyone learns who they are in play. Then get to the part where you hand out rewards, and you are supposed to say 'err, you get to live and not go mad, I guess?'

Alternatively you start from the standard 21 year old RQ:G PCs, with their 3 points of Rune Magic. Someone asks 'where did I learn this'?. And the answer is 'err I dunno, maybe an owl came from wizard school and you went there to study for your exams?'.

I'm pretty sure that, at least as far as strictly RQ:G is concerned, ordeal-based initiation is an alternative, not a supplement, to 'convince the examiners'. The short form Orlanth writeup in RQ:G has 'initiation requirements: standard'. Which, as per p274, means that the exam-based method form doesn't apply to those 'familiar to the temple hierarchy' or 'with one or both parents as initiates'. Essentially everyone with good standing a clan will be one or the other[1]. So you go straight to the process of learning the spell. Which, per Red Book of Magic p4, means participating in an 'exchange of energy between divine and mortal'. You pay your POW, you get your spell.

There isn't anything in RW:G or the Red Book of Magic that I can find on a quick spin that describes what if feels like to go the process of _learning_ Rune Magic. But I think it has been a general assumption that it is a kind of lesser ritual heroquest, of exactly the kind covered by the ritual of the pots.

So in short, IMG some rural Orlanthi clans sometimes turn up the danger dial a bit on their initiation rituals, making them worthy of running as a full game session, rather than assumed backstory or perhaps a flashback. If you do this, the participants get their first rune spell based on their actions in that scenario. This will normally be a normal spell. But if you have an idea for a plot, it could be pretty much anything you could learn from a 'strange god'. If it is not a myth the clan knows about, it will be one-use, as per the extended rules on one-use spells in Red Book of Magic.

Note that It is possible to survive the ritual ordeal without explicitly passing it, but also without the kind of evident damage that marks you as a non-adult. This makes you a 'lay member' of the clan cult, i.e. a thrall or non-citizen resident. Those who the uncles have insufficient confidence in, probably largely because they know their parents, are steered down this path. And with the 'uncles' setting up  the ritual, it will be a rare chieftain's son who doesn't perform well.

A lay member can also initiate later; such a thing is regarded something like passing your driving test on the 8th attempt. 

 

 

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On 7/28/2022 at 2:20 PM, Joerg said:

Eurmali taking on the role

In my expanded awareness of the role of the Eurmal complex (a persistent 1% of the population across the barbarian belt), those touched by disorder and illusion are available to wear all masks not otherwise locally available. They can be death, the sun, a woman, the sea, Kalt Whoever He Is, other brother from another mother, anybody called for in the ritual whose role we need a warm body to fill.

Very, very few are professional tricksters or have much in the way of real magic. The specifics vary dramatically . . . some are local "funny guys" who aren't satisfied with singing the same song everybody else does, others are pathetic scapegoats . . . but when under the auspices of the mask they are under the laughing god's care and messing too much with one in the execution of their duties is asking for wild trouble. For most, participation is its own reward because it lets you demonstrate your cleverness and maybe speak a little truth to local power without real consequences. Others get dragged into it out of desperation, bullying or just because they draw the short straw. Either way, the larger LB structure works behind the scenes to pay their bar bills and keep them mostly out of trouble because they're a useful ritual resource.

As for Orlanth, my sense of the god's role in modern civil society might Vary but that's between me, the god and the gossips. Remember, I don't worship conventional Orlanth, so the notion of me having to send my kids to Orlanth Camp before they can legally drive a wagon or even be eligible for their trade stick raises an elegantly manicured eyebrow. We're happy to send our kids to camp for the networking and the experience but reserve the right to educate them in the important things ourselves. I'm sure the Sisters of Mercy and other minority cultists agree . . . the beard dads probably resent exposing the kids to all that alarming sunshine and fresh air., but it's good for them. Are we all Orlanthi All or aren't we?

Here's a free idea, though: in areas that are really into O+E, send everybody to camp and they come back adults. Adventurous can keep some of them for a gap year or six. Thunderous takes a few weirdos. "Civil Orlanth" initiation is your wedding, when you transition from free adult to full representative of the O+E mystery. And if you don't settle down, Adventurous and Thunderous have their separate roads to travel so it's not like I'm pushing a heteronormative theogamic solution. If you wanna be free, be free. There's a million things to be, you know that there are.

Edited by scott-martin
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10 hours ago, Ormi Phengaria said:

Yelm the Youth also seems to be both an initiation into adulthood and an initiation into the cult of Yelm.

As one must be born into the cult of Yelm (i.e. show direct lineal descent from the god), that is not surprising.  And certainly initiation into adulthood or the cult of Yelm will be significantly different from adulthood or cult initiations amongst the "barbarians".

10 hours ago, Ormi Phengaria said:

So to me it's actually an interesting question why the Orlanthi initiation departs so quickly from identification with deity and into something more deeply ancestral.

Perhaps adulthood initiation among the Orlanthi is a reflection not of identification with Orlanth, but of the trauma/awareness of the mythic birth of Umath (is there no place for me?), the mythic fall of Umath (the end of "childhood") and the mythic emergence of the sons of Umath from his crater (nice parallel with the Pits there).  Each "son" who climbs out of the wreckage (which could be seen as either Hell or the distinct Pits of initiation) emerges from the crater of Umath is faced with their own distinct challenges.  You are effectively a Son of Storm at that point, but not yet defined by your Deeds (which align and initiate you into the cult, e.g. association with Orlanth).

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28 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

in areas that are really into O+E, send everybody to camp and they come back adults. Adventurous can keep some of them for a gap year or six. Thunderous takes a few weirdos.

If all the "adults" are in camp, who's getting the crops planted and harvested?  Thunderous takes his due - the sturdy, reliable ones who'll get those jobs done until the Adventurous ones are more settled.

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On 7/28/2022 at 5:58 AM, Rob Darvall said:

But what if the kid does well? Resists, deals with the threat. To whom do they initiate? The other pits indicate a preference through success, the sex pit is only mentioned through failure.
Conversely what happens to those who fail the other tests?

If the kid does well in the sex pit, perhaps to Orlanth.  Orlanth is mythologically no stranger to sex.

We don't have. and are unlikely to get, a clear canon  explanation of what happens in the sex pit.  But in the RW adolescent exposure to sex does not normally produce ruined people.  Not consensual sex, at least.  An awful lot of adolescents get into it.  Sex Ed is really about information and caution rather than about revelation.

 

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On 7/22/2022 at 10:42 PM, Joerg said:

The villagers donning the sacred masks of the Evil Uncles may be all benevolent and wishing to cater to the strengths of their iinitiands, but there is always a chance that a deity takes over the mask and delegates the wearer to an observer role...

On 7/24/2022 at 10:56 AM, JRE said:

If I were playing it, the Sex pit would only appear deliberately, never as a matter of rolls. And only if the myth takes control of the ceremony, as I am sure the clan has not prepared the sex pit as nobody would be expecting a potential Ragnaglar among the candidates.

The uncles go away and prepare the pits. Nobody deliberately prepared a Sex Pit. That would be crazy! Yet… when the bad kid came to be initiated, there was a Sex Pit there and he ended up in it. That’s how hero quests work. Strange things happen, enemies invade or are drawn in, the map is not the territory.

This is of course assuming that the Sex Pit is always bad. I’m not entirely sold on that idea. Maybe the myth that we have of Ragnaglar coming out broken is not the only myth of that ilk. Other myths may exist where a young god encounters a potentially traumatic sexual test and doesn’t go down a dark path.

To be honest its kind of surprising that a fairly healthy society like the Orlanthi have such a stark “Sex is bad, it sends you mad” cornerstone in their mythology. So surprising that it can’t be true.

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On 7/29/2022 at 6:20 PM, Rob Darvall said:

.....

Uleria, however, seems logical and also ties in with the old HW/HQ/QW notion of Uleria being a demon. The initiate is now someone VERY unusual indeed and bears close watching because...

 

Uleria does seem logical, though characterizing her as a demon seem to me to be a peculiarly antisex and perhaps anti-woman point of view.  

Remember, Uleria was the original owner of the communication? Harmony? Rune.  Is the only survivor of the Celestial Court.  Characterization as a demon seems a revisionist view. Perhaps God Learner manipulation.

Uleria would seem to be a choice for people who view the secrets of their adulthood  initiation (in the immediate case the sex pit ) as the only things  they need to know.  People who tend toward fundamentalism? 

But Uleria's rune being communication would indicate the Ulerian should be open minded.  That runs directly contrary to fundamentalism.  Maybe characterization as a demon is propaganda from a puritanical cult like Yelm.

I wonder why such options [toward insanity] are only part of the male adulthood initiation.  The female initiation in Six Seasons does not have anything similar to the Sex Pit.  Rather, the female sexual options all seem positive.   There are off ramps toward Ernalda, Vinga, and  Babeester Gor, but none of them indicate insanity.  Interestingly none toward Uleria.  

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
Last 2 para.; babeester has a t in it.
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11 hours ago, radmonger said:

I'm curious. Is there actually any Chaosium-published material that describes that second initiation that actually makes you an initiate?

I will need to check The Coming Storm. Other than that, any material since King of Sartar would have been published by Issaries Inc. or Moon Design.

If there is RQG material stating this, I would be suprised, as RQG doesn't mention Orlanthi (or Praxian, or Grazelander, or Esrolian) adulthood initiation in the rules. Player characters are supposed to be young veterans in those rules.

11 hours ago, radmonger said:

Or it is pure fan theory?

See https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/catalogue/websites/pos/prince-of-sartar/chapter-1-initiation/002-the-uncles/

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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13 hours ago, radmonger said:

I'm curious. Is there actually any Chaosium-published material that describes that second initiation that actually makes you an initiate? Or it is pure fan theory?

 

Quote

After a time, between a year and three, the almost-woman achieves a balance of spirit and body, of the physical and not-physical. She eventually declares her intention to initiate to a deity and undergoes that, generally without any problem. As a part of those religious initiation rites the almost-woman re-enters her icy body slumbering in the Gods War and then she wakens from the Great Sleep. She completes the deity rites, is welcomed by her ancestors and Ivarne, and forever afterwards is a full woman.

From https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-documents/greg-sez/ernaldan-initiation-rites/

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