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Initiation rites for RQG


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I'm prepping for running 6SiS on Roll20. I've run the women's clan initiation rituals already, the boy's rites will be the 1st session in the NY. The clan initiations are pretty full on and I didn't want to dive straight into more 90 minute one on one sessions for the cult initiations as well, so decided to create handouts which can be individually tailored to each player. For the Babeester Gor player, I nicked an initiation pretty much wholesale from a post on here by Wrestlepig. For the Issaries player, I cobbled this together, basing it primarily on Issaries the Conciliator. I thought I'd post it in case it's of any use. I'm hoping that if anyone else has anything similar they have come up with for various cults, they might post them here. You never know, collected together they might make for a useful JC release one day.

Ardessa's Initiation

You travel to Boldhome on Waterday, Movement week, in the company of your father. Jorgunath Bladesong and Rosonil of High Water, one of the thanes, accompany you as guards. You help lead the 6 mules with what saleable goods the clan created over Dark and Storm seasons. The journey takes most of the day, under constant rain, appropriate since it is Lord Heler’s holy day. When you reach the capital you marvel at the grand temples, Sartar’s palace and the squalor of the City in the Clouds, your first ever visit to Boldhome.

You stay at the Colymar tribal Manor, and meet two other prospective initiates. The next morning, before dawn, you dress in your best peplos and are escorted to the North Market. There, standing within the huge columned temple of Issaries, you join a small crowd of young men and women, their tattoos marking them as Culbrea, Lismelder, Sambari, Malani, all the tribes of Sartar seem to be represented. You spend the next 3 days in lessons with your fellows in various catachisms:  Accounting Apocrypha, Ecumenical Economics, Holy Mass Marketing, Sacred Stock Taking, Blessed Bartering, Spreading the Good Tradetalk.

Get experience checks in Bargain, Influence, Orate, Speak Tradetalk, Cult Lore Issaries, Manage Household, Read/Write Tradetalk, Worship Issaries and Insight.

On the morning of Wildday, Issaries holy day, you are led to the Cella, a windowless room at the centre of the temple. You stand before a great bronze statue of the God, a barely bearded youth, one hand outstretched in friendship, the other held behind his back. A mule is led before you and sacrificed. Its blood collected in bronze dishes and poured onto a brazier. The resulting smoke and steam takes the offering to Issaries’ Trading Hall. The room fills with the scent of incense and copper from the mule’s blood.

As you begin to recite the invocation with the other potential supplicants, the smoke from the brazier fills your nose. Your vision swims, you feel lightheaded….

Everything shatters.

The world is in Darkness, the Great Darkness.

You stand in Orlanth’s stead, outside your Trading Hall. In a troubled mood you pull on your short beard. For trade has stopped, you must sort this out. So, you set out along your Very Long Trade Route to find out what the problem is.

You convince the Know-It-All God to come with you, because it is a confused time and things are often mixed up, and you want Mhy’s advice.

Make an Orate roll.

You convince Urox to come along, because there are many bad things that might attack you, and the Storm Bull is good at beating things up.

Make an Influence roll.

You search for a long time to find the problem.

Roll on your Movement Rune.

Finally, you find a place where the people are suffering greatly. You visit a clan called the Digging Stick People. Their Tula is the battleground for the Long-Noses and the Big-Teeth, two peoples who are fighting each other. Whenever they fight, they trample the Digging Stick Pastures. Hungry soldiers steal and eat their cows. The armies also capture and ransom the carls to get money for weapons. The armies even press the weapon-thanes into service, so that they have to risk their lives for no reward. Because of this, they do not have the time to talk to anyone or the resources to trade.

Storm Bull says “It is good to see fighting. There’s another battle coming up, the biggest battle of all. Everyone should practice.”

Know-It-All says “These people are not the same as our people. Legally, we are not obligated to help them.”

Make an Insight roll.

But you say “Storm Bull, if a big important battle is coming up, all peoples must learn to fight only their real foes. Know-It-All, the things we have in common with these people are more important that the things that separate us. I must help them.”

Know-It-All has never been generous, so he refuses to help. So you go to talk to the Long Noses with Storm Bull to protect you.

Make a Speak Tradetalk roll.

You speak to their priestess, who is troublesome. “We have no cause to make peace with the Big-Teeth. They have always attacked and killed us. They take our leaders, our priests, our healers and our thanes.” Then she lowers her voice and, through her enormous nose, whispers a shameful secret. “Then, the Big-Teeth devour our flesh and prevent our bones from being interred in my holy, secret place. We can never make peace with them so long as they eat us.”

Next, you go to talk to the Big-Teeth. They are very fierce and say that Storm Bull smells like food to them. When you suggest they make peace with the Long Noses, their warleader laughs. “It has long been decreed that we should eat the Long Noses, for they are large and juicy and flavourful. They can eat the grasses of the plains and the leaves of the forest, but we cannot. We won’t starve just to please others. We could eat your two legs instead, devour the villagers whose land you are so concerned about. But I don’t think you would consider that a good solution. We can’t do as you ask, for how does one make peace with one’s dinner?”

Make a Issaries Lore roll.

You are at a loss, so you ask Know-It-All for answers. Know-It-All tells you that Long Noses are, except for their noses, their fur, and their teeth, just like big cows. Know-It-All also says that the Big Teeth are just very big alynxes, and Issaries should treat them just like pets.

Make a Man Rune roll.

So Storm Bull goes to the Long-Tooth encampment, fights the warleader, and shows him who is boss. Again, you speak. “You must eat, but right now the Long-Noses exact a heavy toll for each one you succeed in taking. If you are willing to lose some of your choices, other things could be made better.”

Make a Bargain roll.

So the two tribes agree to meet. The Priestess accepts the Big-Teeth’s right to eat some of her people. The warleader agrees that his people will only attack the old, the sick and the cottars of the Long-Noses. He also agrees that the Big-Teeth will meet the Long-Noses during Earth season and turn over the bones of the eaten, so that they might be interred in the secret, holy way, and their spirits sent to the right place.

Make a Harmony Rune roll.


It is not long before the two groups start trading things other that the bones of the dead, and the people whose tula was once trampled soon join in the trading as well. Gradually this spreads through the world, as trade leads to talking, talking allows travel, and travel permits trade.

Thus did Issaries repair his trade route.

Gain a Devotion Issaries at 60%

On your return to Lord Orlanth’s stead you come across your three sons arguing about the best way to trade.

“You can’t stand around waiting for a deal to come to you, you’ve got to go out and find it!” says Gultha, his words sweet like golden honey.

“Nonsense” says Harst, his words hard like bronze, “A barn to store your goods, good neighbours to barter with, this is best in life!”

“You’re both idiots!” says Garzeen, his words slippery like quicksilver. “A barter in the hand might be quite fundamental, but coins are a traders best friend.”

Make an Evaluate roll, to decide the worth of their arguments.

Decide which son to support, this will become your subcult:

Goldtongue: traveling traders, from peddlers who sell from a pack on their back, to master caravaneers who traverse the continent.

If you choose Gultha Goldentongue, make a Devotion Issaries roll.

Bronzetongue: clan traders, who specialise in barter for their community, as coin is of limited use in rural communities (your father’s subcult).

If you choose Harst Bronzetongue, make a Loyalty Haraborn roll.

 Silvertongue: intermediaries, factors and shopkeepers who mostly ply their trade in towns and cities.

If you choose Garzeen Silvertongue, make a Loyalty Sartar roll.

You travel the world with your children, teaching Language to disparate groups so that they might aid each other against the Predark.

Gain the Communication Rune at 50%

You lead the souls of the Vingotling dead through the Underworld to Havan Vor for Judgement.

Make an Issaries Lore roll.

One day on the road near the Shadow Plateau, you meet The Dark Son and barter with him, trading secrets.

Make a roll on your Darkness Rune.

Make a Uz Lore roll.

Eventually you leave your sons behind, to act as Guide for Lord Orlanth when he seeks to Right The Wrong He Did. As Psychopomp you guide your Lord as he traverses the Underworld. When you find Yelm in Hell, he won’t listen to Orlanth. You use your power to make him listen and so you make the greatest bargain of all, The Great Compromise.

Make a Worship Issaries roll.

You witness the Emperor travel into the sky on the first Dawn as the Herald of Time. You are blinded briefly by his radiance.

Make a POW increase roll.

Make experience rolls for all checked skills, passions and  runes.

When your vision returns you are once again among the crowd, now made of new initiates to the Messenger of the Gods. You are famished, the entire day has passed, Yelm has already passed the western mountain peaks, the entire city in shade. A feast has been prepared and you spend the evening eating, drinking and making new contacts among your fellow neophytes. Later you are joined by the sponsors, including your father, who lifts you off your feet in a great bear hug. He weeps with pride.

The following day, Godday, your father pays for the best tattoo artist in the city to come out to Colymar Manor on his day off to do your cult tattoos. Smarting from the tattooist’s needle, you travel back to Black Stag Vale on Freezday, your mind full of the events of the last week.


Edited by Duff
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  • Duff changed the title to Initiation rites for RQG
  • 6 months later...

@Duff - this is excellent, thank you. One of the PC's in my campaign is initiating into Storm Bull. I googled for inspiration and found your post. Rather than abstract the process down to a few dice rolls there is a great opportunity to make a story of it and weave in some of Storm Bull's mythology.  I might add that having the Prosopaedia at hand has helped immeasurably as I page back and forth looking up the players in Storm Bull's mythological story.


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  • 1 month later...

This initiation ritual is adapted from the one created by Wrestlepig on here. I'm struggling to find the original post to link to, so I'm posting the version I used for my player, but all credit belongs to Wrestlepig.

Esralara becomes an Axe Sister

Esra travelled to Clearwine with Erinina on Freezeday, Fertility week, two days before the Goddess's holy day. All the way there, you were tested on your myths, questioned on the punishment for oath-breakers, rapists, kin-slayers and desecrators (“hit ‘em with your axe till they stop moving” was apparently always an acceptable answer, but extra points were awarded for including castration in pretty much all circumstances).

Make a Worship Babeester Gor experience roll. 

Clearwine was a site to behold, the grand Earth Temple sitting below it’s huge cyclopean walls. After that you couldn’t recall much of the next two nights as Erinina dragged you from taverna to taverna, on the piss with some fellow Axe Sisters she hadn’t seen in a while. An indispensable part of your training you were assured.

Gain a Loyalty Clearwine Earth Temple passion at 60%

The initiation started at sunset on Clayday. You were brought to the Shrine Of The Avenging Daughter inside the Earth Temple by a terrifying Gorite Axe Lady, her teeth filed to points. She made sure you were ready and willing for what was to come and assured you that teeth filing was not mandatory. Babeester Gor takes Consent very seriously.

Ty Kora Tek crones prepare you as if for your funeral, wailing and singing laments for the death of Ernalda in the Darkness and the death of the girl that is to initiate. At the height of the song, a white cow (not a bull) is taken to a large patch of dirt in a cavern below the Earth Temple. The cow is milked with no bucket, letting the milk spill onto the ground. Then its throat is cut, the blood soaking the ground, creating a small pit of reddish mud, roughly human-sized. You are stripped of your funeral wrappings, and feel a compulsion to enter the bloody mud.

Once subsumed in the mud, you rest, possibly dead, or possibly unborn. Either way, you dream. The dreams are of unrequited cries for justice and pain from the women of the tribe. The longer you dream, the more cries you hear. There are wails of the dead, from the past and future, of animals and plants, in the end the very earth itself cries out. Eventually, it becomes unbearable to just listen. You claw yourself out of the pit and are reborn into the great Darkness.

Make an Earth Rune experience roll, gain a Hate passion of 60% (typically Oathbreakers, rapists or kinslayers but feel free to get creative if you wish) and Devotion Babeester Gor 60% (or an experience roll if you already have it)

There is almost no light in the sky, and the earth is dry and dead. The ground around you has huge spikes of truestone driven into it, cracking the earth into rifts that lead into a seeming nothingness. Behind you is the corpse of Ernalda, in the form of your mother, Dushi. The only light in the darkness is a flaming halo around a dark figure with a double-headed iron axe.

You stand between the figure and the corpse, with only the mud caked on you, painting your hands and feet red. The figure approaches slowly, a bone adorned troll, scarred and terrible to behold. But you feel the axe in the trolls hands calling to you, to reach out and grab it.

Make an experience roll on your Death Rune 

You attempt to rip the axe from the troll's hands.

Roll an Unarmed attack. If you fail, Esra has to fight for the axe, and suffers a wound in the process, receiving a nasty scar.  Either way, the axe is yours, and the troll, great Zorak Zoron himself, is drained of all courage and flees pathetically. Roll a 2h axe attack.

On Special or Critical Successes, Esra manages to wound the God, severing a hand. You may remove your fear of trolls entirely. On a success you may reduce it by 5%. Make an unarmed and 2h axe experience roll if they were successful. 

Either way, the figure flees, teaching you the first secret of Babeester Gor: men are cowards.

You have awakened to the powers of Death. You have memories of rampage, a montage of cutting down broo in their hundreds, wreaking vengeance on those who wronged the earth, slaughtering pacifist healers who would not fight to defend those in need. Cutting off the obscene phallus of the trickster Eurmal, only for the little swine to laugh in your face, reattach it and smack you on the backside with a cow’s bladder.

Eventually you end up in the Underworld, in front of an open door leading towards a feast, full of joyous song and the laughter of women. As you approach, it slams shut, and a deep woman's voice sings out from the darkness.

"that life is not for you and I

who have heard the dead earth cry

so that they may have no fear

you and I shall stand guard here"

The singing voice comes from Babeester Gor herself, in all of her terrible glory: armoured and bloody handed, towering over you, covered with trophies severed from men, and holding an axe just like the one in your hands. She hands you a mug full of what smells like alcoholic blood, that tastes invigorating, like you just became righteously angry at something. You both stand watch in front of the door for what could be an eternity. As the watch goes on, you sense the presence of craven threats in the darkness, unquiet dead, damned souls and cruel demons, at the edge of your vision, kept away from destroying the feast by their fear of you. As you stand firm, you also sense a great host with you, the spirits of the women pledged to the Goddess, your sisters.

Some of the fools chanced their luck and you go into battle at your Goddess's side, cleaving to the right and left, brushing off wounds as if they were nothing. You dance a glorious dance of death, your enemy fleeing before you as you cut them down in droves.

Make rolls for 1h Axe, 2H Axe, bow, dodge and shield. On any critical or special successes, automatically gain +6%, on successes make an experience roll. On failures gain a new scar.

Eventually, the door opens, and Ernalda walkes out, bringing the Glory of Life. She approaches you and gives you a warm, motherly hug, saying…

"I thank you, my daughter, for being and doing what I cannot. Go now into the world of life and light, and know that I will always love you."

Babeester Gor's reaction to these words is a cult secret. Few will talk about their own, either.

Ernalda then gestures towards the path you approached from, where a new dawn is illuminating the cavern. When you emerge to the light, you return to the mundane world, anew with purpose, ready to learn the skills your cult demands.

The following night you are taken out again by Erinina and her cohort. You have no memory of it past the second taverna and wake in the back of a cart, Erinina riding at its side, contemptibly jolly and hangover free, while you lie suffering the torments of Zorak Zoran banging his war drum inside your skull.

Make a POW increase roll.

You may now sacrifice POW points to gain Babeester Gor Rune spells.

Edited by Duff
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Pavis Initiation.

This initiation is adapted from a Lunar initiation created by Nick Brookes (I say adapted, but in part it's copied word for word) so all credit goes to him.

As you watch the two Priests going about their ritual, you see through their actions that they are defining the architecture of some great city that is yet to be built. Your vision wavers, and then splits:

Through your left eye, you see the City raised from out the earth. It is rooted in stone, built of bone and sinew and muscle, a giant’s dismembered corpse. Although long deceased, it now becomes a home for fresh life – denizens swarm through its ancient streets, like feasters upon a dead body, fleas or maggots, drawing sustenance from its greater whole. It is heavy, solid, organic: it will endure.

Through your right eye, you see the City imagined upon the plain. Drawn in straight lines over the ground, it is a place of light and space. Vanishing points appear, ideal geometries intersect, white and red light form their colonnades, porticoes, piazzas and minarets. The city is a place of space and time, perfected, airy, and eternal.

And now, through both eyes, you see the fall. First a flood of sand comes from the east. White of bone and red of blood, it smashes repeatedly against the walls, eventually creating a breach. Again and again the sand returns, each time filling more of the city, eddying around motes of civilisation before finally receding.

Then the darkness from the north, emerging from the earth like the relics of some great beast. And through that earth, a pounding like a pulse-beat as it envelopes the city. The bright lights of civilisation dwindle, flicker and die until only two remain.

Finally comes the ghost of a dragon, from the west its terrible serpentine form comes. It’s breath, a wave of unfathomable intention, forces the darkness into the earth, like worms escaping Yelm’s rays. The darkness is not gone, only hiding, but the motes of light grow stronger and begin to spread.

The two priests remove their mason’s aprons, roll their shalvars back down and approach you, taking your hands in an odd handshake, their thumbs pressing on the knuckles of your middle fingers.

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On 7/16/2023 at 6:06 AM, RandomNumber said:

@Duff - this is excellent, thank you. One of the PC's in my campaign is initiating into Storm Bull. I googled for inspiration and found your post. Rather than abstract the process down to a few dice rolls there is a great opportunity to make a story of it and weave in some of Storm Bull's mythology.  I might add that having the Prosopaedia at hand has helped immeasurably as I page back and forth looking up the players in Storm Bull's mythological story.


There is a Storm Bull initiation ritual in Company of the Dragon, if that helps.

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I wrote down some past initiation stuff for my players, to help them get into character. We didn't play it out, and this was handed to them after we had already played a dozen sessions or so, so I knew their personalities. It's a combination of the cultural initiation as a young girl into Ernalda in Sun County (inspired by Six Seasons in Sartar) and the subsequent initiation into Babeester Gor.


This is what you remember from your initiation rites.

You knew something was wrong when the blood started coming. And the pain. It felt like everyone had known it would happen except you. On the morning of the splattered bedsheets you were spirited way by the women of your family, all masked and dressed up. You were carried in a litter, not allowed to touch ground. You were carried through the doors of the Ernalda temple, you knew it, you had seen it a dozen times, as a girl, with your mothers and your aunts.

But this time they put down the litter in the temple garden, and left you there. Alone.

You were hurting. You hadn’t eaten. Nobody answered your questions. So you crawled out of the litter, and found yourself in a garden. Was it really the temple garden? The trees were so high, and the undergrowth so thick. You saw no walls, and the path behind you faded before your eyes. You were lost.

And yet, there were fruits in the garden. You ate them and was no longer hungry. There was a distant sound of running water, and you followed it to quench your thirst. It wasn’t a stream that you found, but a raging river. It slaked your thirst with sweet water, but when you looked back, your path was gone, filled in with thorn bushes. You looked back to the river, and saw someone swimming in it. It was a beautiful young man, blue of skin and black of hair. He winked at you and offered you a ride across, and perhaps a ride of another sort if you would be so inclined. You said no, and told him you could swim as well as your brother. He laughed and winked again, but you looked away and swam across.

On the other side, you found a path. Stamped dirt. Thick forests on both sides. You started walking, the water, your wet clothes drying on your body. The sun grew hotter overhead, and the forests started to dry. Flowers wilted. Trees got yellow leaves. You found a young man lying on the path, exhausted and parched. He was green of skin and brown of hair, wreathed in yellow flowers. He asked you for water, but you had no pot of water on your head or hip. The only thing you could offer was your blood, but even that was dripping down your legs to be drunk by the greedy, parched dirt. You walked on, troubled by your inability to help.

Under your feet, the path grew wider, now paved and lined by flowers. Around you, people farmed the fields, dug the canals, and harvested the bounties of the earth. The houses were open and airy, and the people happy and well fed. You found yourself in a magnificent weaving hut, more a house or a mansion than a shed. Beautiful women worked there, skilled hands and wide smiles gossiping about their husband the all-seeing sun. There was a loom there, ready for you to sit down and get to work. And yet…

You heard something in the distance that nobody else did. A scream. Was the girl who had been sitting at that loom missing? Had someone taken her? You didn’t know, but you rushed in the direction of the scream. You jumped over a rose-covered fence, tearing your beautiful dress. You crawled under a thick hedge, losing your elaborate shawl. And then you found a small hut, decrepit in the surrounding beauty, and in front of it lay a woman. She was bleeding, same as you, but her chest was pierced and she did not breathe. Her blood sunk into the earth and stained your hands as you desperately tried to wake her up.

But she was dead. She was beautiful and dead, so recently her blood was still warm and wet.  Someone had killed her and was still close. You stood up, your tattered dress splattered by blood, your hands and feet red. There was a pile of firewood near the hut, and you walked over and picked up the axe that had been used to cut it. It was heavy in your hand. There was a rustling sound from the hut, and you realized that was the only place to hide. So you went inside.

In the darkness, you held the axe, filled with grief and anger over the woman outside. The hut felt heavy around you, like you had stepped deep down, into the earth. There was a breath in your ear, and a soft, female voice.

“You would avenge me?” It had the chill of the dead, and you answered yes.

“You would protect me if I still drew breath?” The breath was warmer now, and you answered yes once more.

“You would protect my holy places from defilement?” The breath was hot with passion, and you shivered but answered yes once more.

“Then awake and tell the priestess what you saw. You are too young to wield the axe yet, but if you still want to walk this path once your hands and arms are ready, go to the temple and ask for the Axe. If you are ready to kill, you can become my avenging daughter.”

Then you awoke, laid out on the earth floor of the temple sanctum, as if you had been a corpse prepared for burial. Everyone assembled gasped, but you told your story. Some cried. Some rejoiced. Some prayed you would change your mind.

You did not. When, years later, you had grown strong and fast, you went back to the temple and asked for the Axe. Your new sisters took you, gave you sweet beer mixed with blood to drink and told you stories of the dead earth and the evils of men. The ground swayed under you, but the axe steadied you. It was sharp in your hand. Black like ashes and dried blood. Heavy like dead bodies. There was a man there, in the cave. Stripped naked and covered in bites and scratches. He was tied up and gagged, but you saw his eyes. You saw his fear.

You saw what he had done.

The axe did the rest, not you.

You awoke with a splitting headache and some new tattoos the next day, not sure if you had dreamed the whole thing. But the world had changed around you, you knew its shadows in ways you hadn’t before. You know what men could do.

And what you could.


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☀️Sun County Apologist☀️

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And this one was for the Yelmalio initiate, mainly the cultural initiation as a youth.


This is what you remember from your initiation rites.

 All the waiting boys were rounded up, you were fifteen, and among the older ones. It wasn’t done every year, and you had been living in Pavis. You had been too young there, and you were so disappointed when woke up one morning and a bunch of the older boys were gone, and nobody pretended they were missing. But finally, you had traveled to the Sun Dome and it was your turn.

You were all led out into the countryside, in the dark. You didn’t see where you were going. You had been given a helmet that was slightly too large, a long staff with a pointed tip, and leather breastplates. They were heavy and chafed. The person leading your troop had bronze armor and golden hair. It took you a while to realize that she was an adult, since she was hardly taller than you. And she was a woman. That confused you all, but you were too tired and confused to protest.

You marched during the night, and then you slept. You know it was supposed to be day when you slept, but it didn’t feel like it. It felt dark. Cold. You were huddled under the thick cloak you had been given. You marched for a second night, and now you didn’t recognize the paths. The animals sounded different. The light of the torches some of you carried seemed fainter. The third night of marching it was your turn to carry a torch, and you were not afraid. The fire warmed.

On the fourth night, you started climbing. It was a steep hill. Lots of rocks. It was hard to keep your balance with the spears and the torches. Near the end of the night, you met a stranger. An adult with red hair, a strange accent, and blue tattoos. He struck you from ambush, and you called him a coward and unfair. Your head hurt, but you had no choice but to fight.

It was strange. Before, you had been with many. Now suddenly you stood alone. You fought bravely, and fair, but your helmet was knocked from your head, and the stranger kicked you to the ground. He laughed and called you weak for sticking to your honorable ways, then he took your helmet and your spear as a trophy. Maybe he thought that would stop you. It didn’t. You took your torch and climbed on, alone.

In the darkness, came another. Black as soot. Black as the moonless night. A troll, bigger than you, by far. He hissed at the light from your torch, and you struck him, but he evaded. You no longer had your armor, or your spear. Your torch was a mighty weapon, but you were already tired from the climb and the other battle. The troll took your torch and swallowed it. Now you were surrounded by the dark.

You could have turned back. You could have laid down, hidden under your cloak. But instead, you climbed. You climbed in the light of the many stars above. Your hands and feet bled, and you felt miserable, but you still had your cloak to keep you warm. Then you met someone in the darkness, in the cold night. It was a young woman, naked in the cold. Her face was wrapped and veiled, but the rest of her skin was bare. She was shivering with cold, and suggested that you two should lay together, under your cloak. Keep each other warm, and other things, left for the marriage bed.

This was the first woman you had seen naked since you knew how to appreciate it. She was beautiful, and tempting, but also terrifying with her white-veiled face. Snow followed her, her footsteps ringed with frost. You knew you needed to get to the top, but you couldn’t help but feel compassion for her. You gave her your thick cloak, and continued up, nearly naked in the darkness.

Finally, you reached the top, and the stars shone brighter. You were nearly frozen stiff, without arms, armor, or fire. Your body ached from the climb, scratched raw from rough rocks, and bruised from falling stones. But you were not alone. One by one, other boys became visible in the dark, as bruised and wretched as you. Not all of them, not by far, but enough that you felt better. Your leader was there too, with her golden hair and a pile of weapons and armor. You put them on, and your spear shone in the dark, as did the others.

When you had dressed, you heard the grunts and screams of unspeakable beings, and twisted shapes attacked you from the dark. You fought, no longer alone but with your friends by your side. Together you drove away the twisted things. Then, standing on the hill, dawn broke at last. Never had the sun felt this good. Your leader introduced yourself as Vega Goldbreath, and you introduced yourself back as Surrak Harnaksson. She looked at you and saw your deeds and saw your mercy. She told you that not all people are deserving of kindness, and to beware of fair faces in the future. But you had done good. You were a man now. You and all the others.

As you returned, the missing boys joined up with the troop, one by one. Nobody spoke of what they had seen, and you still wonder. Did the others fail at one of the tasks? You thought you had, and yet you made it to the top. As you grew older, you would realize that every boy would experience their initiation differently. Some failed as Yelmalio did, some failed as humans. Some won and found other paths to walk. You found a fair face that took your heart and left you ever lonely.

You have got the offer to lead these rights, as an adult. To guide other boys down Yelmalio’s path. To test them and scare them and let them experience humiliation and defeat, and the camaraderie that comes with shared challenges. You have never accepted, and you’re not sure why. You know the true name of the challenges of the Hill of Gold. The treacherous, lying Orlanth the Rebel, slayer of Yelm. The terrible Zorak Zoran, god of trolls and the fire he stole. The cold and lewd Inora, the Winter Queen. Perhaps she’s the cause for your hesitation.

Sometimes, in the dead of winter, you still see a flapping of a cloak among the falling snow. You get the feeling she’s waiting for you.


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Equal rites edit:

  • The demon took your torch and swallowed it … and other things “best” left for the marriage bed.
    Sometimes in the dead of night, you still see the glint of a fang, feel the scratch of a nail.
    You get the feeling he’s waiting for you.

I figure the Lord Demon of the Legions of Death, dwelling in darkness, with third eye open and magical gestures is not all that mindless and has little need for melanin or muscle bulk. We can recast:

  • Here are we, one magical movement from Kether to Malkhuth
    There are you, you drive like a demon from station to station


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45 minutes ago, Duff said:

Your Yelmalio initiation is exactly what I was hoping people would add when I started this thread. Fantastic stuff, thank you for posting it.

Thank you Duff for starting this thread (and re-starting it when nobody joined in at first)

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10 hours ago, Duff said:

Your Yelmalio initiation is exactly what I was hoping people would add when I started this thread.

Writing stuff like this is what I love, thank you for starting the thread because most of these things never get shared!

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  • 1 month later...

By request, here's a Babeester Gor myth:

The Avenging of Spring 

Voria, the goddess of spring, was born in the Underworld before the Dawn, and she was one of the first deities to return to the middle world, carried on the first breath of light. Her mother, Ernalda, still slept beneath the earth, and also still gone were Orlanth, the Lightbringers, Yelm and most of the other deities slain in the Gods War. She found herself an innocent in a world at war with Chaos, but in the handful of human settlements that had survived the Great Darkness she was hailed as a sign of hope.

In the north, Valind, the God of Winter, saw Voria's arrival and recognized her as the first sign of Yelm's return. He feared the coming of spring, and so he sent the cold god Himile and a band of ice demons to kill the child goddess. They set upon Voria and slew her as she stirred from her slumber, enslaving her spirit and carrying it back to Valind's Winter Palace in the frozen north.

Now, in the Grey Age Babeester Gor alone of the Earth Goddesses still lived, and Voria was her only kin. When she found her sister slain the Avenging Daughter was filled with rage, and took up her axe, weeping tears of blood to stain red the mossy bier Voria's lifeless body lay upon.

She first tracked the ice demons who killed Voria far to the north, to Valind's glacier, where she she engaged in some titanic battle: slaying ice demon after ice demon, the heat of her rage left her wreathed in steam until she faced Himile himself, striking him down in fury in front of the closed gates of the Winter Palace. 

Then she set upon Valind's's fortress, beginning to break down its walls. In her righteous fury she was terrifying, smeared with blood with the hands and genitals of the ice demons hanging from her neck, and each swing of her axe hewed deeper into the ice. As walls began to crack, Valind threw Spring's captive spirit from the walls into the snow outside the fortress.

Now Babeester Gor hesitated: even as she raised her axe, she knew that in the cold darkness her sister might be lost forever to the night. She fought with her own rage, but the sight of her sister and the promise that spring might return made her lower her axe and pick up her sister, bearing her from that place of ice to the underworld so Voria could reincarnate and be reborn once again as Spring.

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A Ty Kora Tek initiation for one of my players. This one is unusual because it isn't normal for a 15 year old to initiate to The Crone, but we've come up with a good in game justification.

It was Wildday of Death week, last Dark Season that you became a Keeper of the Dead. You were weak from fasting for the previous three days when Erinina Copperaxe came for you at dusk. She led you through the thigh deep snow to the Riddle, down the pitch-black spiral to its heart. Erinina took up position outside the crypt, her labrys bared as you crossed over the threshold.


A dim blue light permeated the crypt, its source unclear to you. You were surrounded by the shroud wrapped dead, countless generations of the women of the Haraborn.

Korra Longfinger stood before you, robed in black, her face covered with a skeletal mask. You were given a bitter tea to drink and you swooned, weakened by your fasting.

Skeletal hands helped you stand, except they were your hands. You were Jenrella still but also Ty Kora Tek, a title not a name.

You saw clearly now, the darkness full of vivid colour yet colourless none the less.

Make a Darkness Rune roll.

The crypt was now a vast cavern, full of the dead pleading for a place to be, so they could be relieved of their endless wandering, for Humakt and Orlanth had released death into the world and sent hordes of terrified souls wandering about with no place to be. The living too were there, not wanting to leave their loved ones.

“You must help them Sister, keep the dead safe, give the living respite”. You turned to see Asrelia, your sister. She was still young, she had not yet been aged by the troubles to come. The little piece of you that was still Jenrella knew that she appeared to you as Yana, your twin.

“So, you have finally returned to me. Why? What will they give me for my help?” you responded, your voice brittle and harsh.

“The dead will stay with you, they will keep you company, you have been alone for too long.”

“That is not enough!”

“The living will give you sacrifice, they will keep your table full so that the dead may be content.”

“That is too much!”

“You will give the living grief and sorrow in return.”

“Once more the bargain is unfair, you ask too much, then too little and again too much from me!” you answered.

You meditated on the problem. “I will only lend them grief and sorrow, after a while I will take it back to replenish my stores and they in turn can know happiness. This is fair!”

“This is fair” your sister, the Deep Earth responded.

You sent the living back to the world above and cared for the dead, collected their bones and prepared them for their last rites.

Make a Prepare corpse roll

You talked to their spirits and prepared them to move on once they were ready to leave your table.

Make a spirit combat roll.

Multitudes came till you were surprised that there were any living left, but the table was replenished, and the sorrow and grief returned, so there must be. Multitudes come, but none could leave back to the world above, you will not allow it, for the world is mad and you would not let them out into the wildness where they could be slain forever.

The dead sing mournful songs and dance mournful dances for you and you are content, even joining in when the mood takes you.

Make sing and dance rolls

The world breaks and the predark invades the land above.

Your niece, beautiful Ernalda, is brought to you, wrapped in a shroud. She is pursued by the unliving abomination, Nontraya, known as Vivamort, who had loved and was spurned by her. He climbed down from his monstrous wolf and demanded to see Ernalda. You bared his way, “she is with me now, you are Undeath and have no place here, or would you enter and have me keep you as I do her?”

“So she is dead and beyond me” he wailed, “but I will have her none the less!” He ordered his undead army to storm your palace but Babeester Gor and her Axe Sisters charged among them, cleaving them apart. Yet some made it past but were turned to dust by your fury.

Make a mace and axe roll, 1 or 2 handed. Make a Death rune roll.

Nontraya left to return to the war broken world above. Never more would the undead trouble your Palace.

Make a worship Ty Kora Tek roll.

You removed Ernalda’s shroud and looked upon her face. “She sleeps, she is not dead”.

Orlanth came for Ernalda after his Quest and woke her. Ernalda sat at her loom and wove a new shroud for you, to show you that though the Earth dies, in truth it only sleeps.

Make an Earth Rune roll.

They leave, for the living have no place in your Palace. They honour you for your hospitality. You sit among your wards, gifting solace to the dead, sorrow and grief to the living but taking it back over time, relieving them of their burden.

You felt caring hands upon your shoulders. “Are you content Beloved?” asked your sister.

“The constant flow means I am never full, but it is enough.” You replied as Asrelia/Yana kissed your cheek.

Make a POW x 5 roll

You came back to yourself, as you were led from The Riddle by Korra Longfingers. You found your old robes were gone, replaced by robes of deepest black, made from fine lambs wool. It is thick and snug and wonderful to the touch, you barely noticed the cold of the frozen dawn you emerged into. “I had it made for you last season” said Korra in her cracked voice. She looked embarrassed, avoiding your gaze “tell anyone and I’ll sneak into your chambers one night and cut off all your toes.”

You returned to Twin Stones, arriving to find your mother and sister and your extended family nervously awaiting your return.


Gain Devotion Ty Kora Tek at 60%

Gain 10% Cult Lore

Gain Loyalty Clearwine Earth Temple or Loyalty Korra Longfinger at 60%

Gain +1 to POW or CHA

Make all experience rolls. You now must sacrifice 1 or more POW points and take one or more Ty Kora Tek rune spells.

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  • 1 month later...

This initiation is an embellished version of Andrew Logan Montgomery's Vingan initiation in Company of the Dragon, all credit belongs to him.

This was put together for one of my players, so much is specific to them, but can be easily edited to fit your game.

Vingan initiation.

Make sure the player has read the Vinga Makes Her Place myth before running this.

1618, You are 15 years old and have been training hard, when your chores and duties allowed, for 2 years in anticipation of this day.

When the Defender Storm arrived in Earth Season Savan, the clan’s Godtalker, predicted the arrival of Valind in the second week of Dark Season, later than usual this year. You were allowed to put aside your duties for the rest of Earth season to practice your arms and rituals.

Valind arrived as Savan predicted. His fury is terrible this year, as if to make up for his late arrival. His battle with Orlanth covers the Vale in deep snow, the crack and rumble of high avalanches echo down the valley as the Gods fight for supremacy this winter.

On Windsday you travel to Stag Hill with Sorala of Red Rock, the only initiate of Vinga in the clan. She is dressed in her full war panoply, a magnificent horse tail tops her bronze helmet, a heavy winter cloak wrapped tight around her. The night sky has cleared, the winds have stilled. Valind performs a victory dance above, his aurora of writhing light painting the mountains in green and purple.

You arrive at Stag Hill to find Savan waiting at its centre, beside him a brazier glows in the still air. A wooden totem, crudely carved in a representation of Valind, sits at the middle of the stone ring. A young bull stands by one of the menhirs, tied by a rope through its nose ring, clouds of steam plume with its every breath.

You know White Bark has donated this bull, a substantial cost to the stead and your family. How does this knowledge affect you?

Spot hidden or Insight roll: It seems sluggish, docile.

Sorala strips you naked. You stand in the frigid cold, feet encased in snow, illuminated among the standing stones by the God’s show of strength.

How do you feel, both physically and mentally?

As Sorala washes your skin with snow she comforts you. “Don’t worry, only men should get upset when Valind overcomes his uncle. Let him preen, the Goddess will see him off”.  Savan frowns at this apparent impiousness. Sorala walks around you, slathering blue woad all over your body. As she does so Savan recites the first question:

Do you vow to take up sword and shield over kettle and spoon?

Sorala dresses you and ties on linothorax, she fits cuirboilli greaves and vambraces on your limbs.

Do you vow to take up the javelin over needle and thread?

Sorala places a javelin in your right hand.

Do you vow to leave the comfort of the hearth, to guard the stead?

She puts sandals on your feet, tying them tight, then wraps a skirt around your waist, over your armour.

Will you aid the helpless? Will you protect the defenceless?

She hands you a telamon, decorated with a black stag.

Will you avenge the wronged?

Sorala places a baldric over your shoulder and sheathes a xiphos at your left side. She wraps a winter cloak around your shoulders, tying it with a bronze spiral clasp.

She slaps you on the shoulder, a grin on her face “How are you feeling?” she asks.

“Well this should warm you up”

She passes you a flask of wine laced with magic herbs. As the magic in the herb takes hold, Savan chants and Sorala beats her sword against her shield. Savan unties the bull, leads it to the totem. With a practiced swipe, he cuts the bulls throat, letting the blood pour into a bowl. As the life leaves the bull’s eyes, Savan thanks it for this sacrifice, praying for its spirit to find rest. He then pours some of the ox blood into a mortar, mixing it with burnt sienna before passing it to Sorala. Sorala washes your hair with snow before dying it with the contents of the mortar. While she does this Savan pours the remaining blood over the totem and performs the Summons of Evil.

As Sorala places a feather topped cuirboilli cap over your still wet hair an ember from the brazier floats near to your eye and you blink.

You stand alone at the darkened stead of Orlanth. The sky is pitch black. A blizzard rages and the snow is waist deep.

You know that Orlanth your father is gone on the Quest to bring light back to the world. You know that Elmal has left his post to deliver his torchlight to the Shiver Bone clan. You know that Vinkgot is out hunting Vadrus, who killed your brother Barntar. You alone remain to defend the women and children shivering in the endless, eternal cold.

How do you feel, what emotions are you experiencing? What do you wish to do?

If she goes into the stead she finds the children wailing and the women shivering; the hearth has gone cold and cannot be lit. She realizes there is no sign of Mahome.

If she patrols the perimeter, or goes searching, she finds Mahome out near the gates, buried in the snow and half dead. If the hearth goddess dies, all the hearths of the Vinkgotlings will go out forever.

Once she does this: You hear the creaking winter wheels of Valind's chariot, its ice ram mounted on the front. The blizzard intensifies as the Winter God rolls like a juggernaut towards you.

She needs to defend Mahome!

Encourage the player to keep to the beats of the Vinga Makes Her Place myth, but don’t force it. Let them know they ARE the God, they are not restricted to mundane abilities. Let them be creative in their descriptions. Call for rolls of Javelin, Climb, Jump, Dodge, let them make liberal rolls on their Movement and Air runes. If the player seems unsure what to do, allow a Lore: Vinga roll, but give a substantial bonus, they have been studying hard prior to this.

Constantly mention the snow, the ice, the bone deep cold, Valind’s fury and the speed and ferocity of his chariot when responding to the player’s actions.

At some point she should call on the help of the Defending Wind, but let the player suggest it. If they don’t, describe it springing up around her anyway.

Depending on your style of game, regardless of the outcome of the rolls, Valind will flee, or you may decide fumbles allow for the possibility of failure. Either way don’t be harsh with your rulings.

Following the myth, Valind calls forth his snows to cover his retreat. They cover the stead until the hall and hearths are buried beneath them. Vinga should leap to the treetops and pursue, hurling javelins, using the Defending Wind to hinder Valind's escape. Valind flees beyond the boundaries of Orlanth’s Tula.

How do you feel as you watch your enemy flee from you?

Vinga now returns to Mahome and leads her back to the stead.

As you walk into Orlanth’s stead you step from between the two largest sarsen stones on Stag Hill. It is near dawn and you are still disorientated as Savan proclaims you daughter of Orlanth and Thunder Brother. There are cheers from the dozen or so warriors of the clan who have come to celebrate with you. Sorala greets you as sister and envelops you in a hug.

You are now an initiate of Vinga. How do you feel, both physically and mentally?

Gordangar the clan Chieftain calls for quiet.

“Right, lets get out of this blasted snow. Wine, ale and meat are at my Hall, let us feast!”

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On 7/16/2023 at 3:06 PM, RandomNumber said:

@Duff - this is excellent, thank you. One of the PC's in my campaign is initiating into Storm Bull. I googled for inspiration and found your post. Rather than abstract the process down to a few dice rolls there is a great opportunity to make a story of it and weave in some of Storm Bull's mythology.  I might add that having the Prosopaedia at hand has helped immeasurably as I page back and forth looking up the players in Storm Bull's mythological story.


Here is the Storm Bull initiation I came up with.  The adventurers had explored the ruins of Bonn Kanach in Beast Valley (excellent JC scenario).  After some further adventures one of the band sought initiation into the cult of Storm Bull, to serve a minotaur Bull Priest called Redeye (YGWV!)


You spend days with Redeye in the woods outside of Ash Anvari. Others come, some human but mostly Beast Men many of them minotaurs like Redeye. You fast together and over the heady smoke from plants burned in the embers of the campfire, they talk to you of Storm Bull and how he fought against his brother Ragnaglar the Mad God during the Greater Darkness killing him when he brought Wakboth the Devil into the world. You hear how Storm Bull threw himself into battle, over and over, losing an ear and being left almost dead on the ground where Eiritha lent him her vigour to continue the fight. Caring nothing for himself Storm Bull chased Wakboth, roaring with fury and demanding the very Cosmos itself come to his aid. Such was Storm Bull's rage that the Cosmic Mountain, the Spike that holds the world together, exploded and a fragment fell from the Air pinning Wakboth beneath the ground. Almost spent from his efforts Chalana Arroy healed Storm Bull, giving him the strength to ensnare the Devil with his raw strength and courage so that Arachne Solara, the Spider Grandmother could devour and bind him within Time itself.

You dream and sweat with Redeye and his initiates. Together you chant, dance and perform Storm Bull's stories of the Godtime. Over the days and nights something stirs and grows within you - whether it was always there or whether it is the fragment of Vrigama you cannot know. You start to grow a deep and burning rage against Chaos and how it has shattered and spoiled all that was Good. You understand that laws and taboos have no place in the fight to defeat the Devil and his spawn. The only thing that matters, that can matter, is a relentless, unyielding and vengeful pursuit of all Chaos - to cut it out of the world. "Any Chaos is all Chaos".

  • Gain Cult Lore (Storm Bull) at 5% + modifier, Worship (Storm Bull) at 5% + modifier, Hate (Chaos) at 60%

Feeble and almost delirious from many days of fasting, intoxicating fumes and bitter herbal infusions, you and Redeye's initiates congregate and feast together. After the celebrations, you fall into a deep sleep.  Some time later you awake. You are alone and naked save for a breech-cloth; your skin is covered in a red ochre dust, streaked with your sweat. It maybe morning, or perhaps evening - it is light but you cannot see Yelm burning in the Sky. You are standing in the woods but you do not recognise this place, there are tracks front of you. The tracks are misshapen and uneven, the grass around them withered and brown. You follow them to a tangled thicket of vines and brambles.

  • Make a Track roll

You see something lurking, hiding from you.

  • Make a Scan roll

You roar in fury at the creature, blowing the undergrowth away and revealing its evil form.

  • Make an Air rune roll

Looking down there is a weapon in your hand, you charge and fight the vile beast. It claws at you, wounding you. But, with a mighty swing, you pin the vile creature to the ground. But not before it gores you with its horns.

  • Make a Weapon roll

You drag yourself into a dark cave and lie on the ground, your chest heaving and your life-force bleeding away. Yet the ground is warm. Its vital energy flows into you bringing you new life and strength. You leap to your feet and realise at once that you are not alone - the wound you took from the creature has healed and is but an old scar. It tingles and burns with a sensation that something is not right - there is something else in the darkness with you and you know it is something that should Not Be.

  • Gain Sense Chaos at 20% + modifier

Guided by the sensation from your scar, you look for the source of the evil.

  • Make a Search roll

You find the creature in the darkness, it is dry yet slimy, scaly yet smooth. It howls and claws and rages as you wrestle with it. With every sinew of muscle and fibre of your soul you give your everything to overcome this foul violation. And perhaps that might not be enough yet for the energy flowing into you from the Good Earth beneath your feet whose sanctity you are giving your very all to preserve. With a final surge of strength you wrestle the creature to the ground where roots quickly coil around it and pull it into the soil.

  • Make a Death rune roll

In something of a trance you notice the light from the mouth of the cave and stumble blinking into the daylight. Your head clears and you see Redeye and the initiates standing before you with your gear. Turning around you realise you have emerged from Arroket's Cave, the holy site outside Ash Anvari where you first came after you met Redeye. Perhaps you have been here all along? It does not matter, the band welcomes you and you thirst for the ale they offer. Using a bone needle and some ground-up paste made from dirt and plant-leaves, you tattoo yourself with the runes of Storm Bull. Then you drink and feast with Redeye and his initiates until you are in a stupor.

  • Where is the scar from the fight? This is the source of your Sense Chaos ability.
  • Make a POW gain roll
  • Make experience rolls for all checked skills and runes

You are now sworn to Redeye, he is your Bull Priest. Many see your kind as dangerous extremists, prone to fits of rage and unacceptable behaviour, violators of laws and traditions. What these people do not understand is the singular, unrelenting devotion required of those who must hunt down and root out any and every rumour of Chaos. You can have no time in your life for baggage or for strangers. Only those who are sworn against Chaos, such as the Lightbringer gods and their followers warrant even the slightest moment of your time or attention. As the source of your strength and succour when all is dark, the Earth goddesses and Chalana Arroy are deserving of your protection.

Edited by RandomNumber
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Just a question guys.  Are these initiations into specific cults or tribal initiations into adulthood?

I have generally based Orlanthi male initiations on the model of the time when the Strange Uncles took Orlanth, Humakt, Storm Bull and Ragnaglar and put them in different pits, ostensibly to kill them, but allegedly in order to test their powers.  It is found in KoS.  I believe there is also an Orlanthi  initiation ritual based on the I Fought We Won Battle.  It might be interesting to develop what other pantheons use for their adulthood initiations.

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18 hours ago, Darius West said:

Just a question guys.  Are these initiations into specific cults or tribal initiations into adulthood? ...

By my reading, these are mostly very Cult-specific.

Arguably, an average "Lightbringer Adulthood" initiation might look somewhat like an Orlanth or Ernaldan rite of Cult initiation (or sometimes a Heler rite); but it would also have stations re-creating the story of the Founding-of-the-Clan, and/or meeting the Founding Ancestor(s).



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These are cult initiations. The way I read it, adult initiations end with lay membership of the primary male and female religions of the society in addition to adult status. But I can easily see some cultures where the result would be full initiation into the cult, such as Praxian tribes with Waha and Eiritha, or Aldryami and Uz.

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thanks for this topic @Duff, very interesting proposals from you and others 🙂


@Darius West's question makes me think another one


I consider that the process to become an adult (at least in orlanthi cultures) is based two too initiations: first the adulthood (aka you are not anymore a child) then one year later, the cult initiation (aka you are now a full member of the community with the same rights and duties than any adult, as religious activity is everywhere)



but what about a second, later initiation ? Is it the same quest or another one ?

for example to become Orlanth's initiate, it seems to me normal (but other ways could happen) that a [not anymore child but not yet adult] follows the Orlanth's initiation (meeting the second son, exploring or not deeper the path)

but what about a 30 years old lankhoring answering the call of the storm ? Could it be the same path ? or some story about the acceptance of a stranger in Orlanth's hall ? In the case of LM, it could be how LM and Orlanth met (in the pit ?) the character starting as LM being captured and finishing as Orlanth escaping ?


or is there no relationship between the mundane situation (who/from where is the applicant) and the godtime story  ?

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2 hours ago, Duff said:

These are cult initiations. The way I read it, adult initiations end with lay membership of the primary male and female religions of the society in addition to adult status.

Indeed. Anything stronger would seem to give the lie to:

  • People have loyalties to nations, cities, religions, and tribes … [but i]t is also possible for people within the game to survive quite well with no allegiances whatsoever, except to themselves.
    RQG Starter Set: The World of Glorantha, p. 4
    (emphasis in original; [] interpolated)

I have assumed that all cult initiates have some loyalty/allegiance to their cult — yes, illuminati may be a special case — and that these Gloranthans surviving quite well are not freaks and apostates … but that shouldn’t be taken as gospel. If the rights of an adult required cult initiate status, it might be tricky to thrive as a non-initiate, no?


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1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

I have assumed that all cult initiates have some loyalty/allegiance to their cult

For me, I tend to think about it as acting as if you have loyalty/allegiance/devotion to your cult. Perform the sacrifices. Obey the traditions. Be a good citizen. But in your heart, you do that because it's the path of least resistance, you don't truly feel that kind of loyalty. So, if that would suddenly become troublesome you could easily adjust your stance to the new status quo. As long as you don't actively break cult strictures (generally looser than the cultural strictures surrounding the cult) I doubt even the gods would care as long as you perform the ceremonies and sacrifice the magic points. It's when you start advancing in the cult when that really starts to matter.

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IMG being an initiate requires two things; a magical connection to a deity, and a magical education.

There are two common systems by which this happens, corresponding to the two possible orders you can do this.

The adulthood initiation ordeal system forms the connection first. it dumps you on the god plane, where you meet and form a connection to a particular deity. Then you come back to the mundane world, a bunch of experts peer over the details of what you saw, and so assign you to a cult to be educated, under the sponsorship of your clan. Some people essentially fail this step, and so end up with no magic, which limits their prospects. This is mitigated by an increasingly wide selection of low-status fallback cults, including Foundchild, Eurmal and Gagarth, for those whose experiences don't fit the conventional definition of success. And then if none of those options apply, then perhaps you have been chosen by chaos, and need leave town right now.

A cult apprenticeship system does the education first. if you take to the education, you get to the point where forming the connection is natural and untraumatic. You just need to convince the examiners that that is so. This does tend to leave society with a rather larger number of people with no useful magic, but fewer ones with unwanted, harmful or inherently dangerous magic. 

In Sartar, the former is the traditional default, but apprenticeships were gradually increasing in popularity in urban areas under the lunar occupation.

Among the Pavis exiles, the clan system had almost  entirely broken down, with cult apprenticeship being the main way of learning magic. When Argrath took over, he reconstituted adulthood ordeals, but as effectively a state, not clan function, separating young men from their families for long periods in camps outside the city. This is the source of many of his most loyal followers



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2 hours ago, Malin said:

It’s when you start advancing in the cult when that really starts to matter.

Yeah, I guess I am still in the RQ2 mindset where becoming a cult initiate is a big deal, your foot firmly on the bottom rung of the hierarchy’s ladder:

  • pass the exams
  • bribe the examiners (in units of 100L)
  • lead minor services
  • tithe
  • obey the priests
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