Jump to content

Humakti Honor


Recommended Posts

The players were tasked, by their patron, to capture or kill a group of bandits harrying the lands.  Upon dispatching the lone sentry and bursting into the ruins they used as a hideout, the Humakti moved to slay the scoundrels.  Another player said, "Whoa!  A Humakti would never act so dishonorably!"   He read an excerpt concerning honor in general, as well as one aimed particularly at the Humakt cult.  The offending player reconsidered and changed his actions, already regretting having attacked the sentry from surprise.

This got me thinking....    Humakt, and his cult, embody Death and the Death Rune.  Just as Orlanth embodies Air & Movement and Ernalda Earth & Harmony.  Many other deities/cults share these runes, but these deities own them.  How is Death necessarily honorable?  Death is uncaring of such human inventions.  Why would the Humakt cult put such a huge emphasis on honor?  To stymie death?  (your foe surrenders and drops his weapon, honor bound you must spare him, robbing death).

Yanafal Tarnils....   He, in a way, turned his back on Death and turned towards the Red Moon.  He has altered some basic tenets (such as resurrection) already, so I can definitely see them incorporating the ideals of honor into their new cult.  I get it.

Humakt?  Yeah, there's the attachment to the Truth Rune, but truth doesn't necessarily equate to honor.  Death Rune = Cold, Merciless, Cruel, Relentless.  Honorable?   I don't think so.  Death knows nothing of honor.  Visit a battlefield and see.         

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The way I think of it, Humakt owns the Orlanthi concept of Death, and to the Orlanthi, Death in combat is the most honourable pursuit of all. I'm sure a Humakti Swordlord visiting a battlefield would actually see it as an immensely honourable place where hundreds of warriors had been granted entry to the afterlife.

That said, there's definitely plenty of room for interpretation, if your player wants to be more of a ruthless killer then there's no harm in altering your Glorantha slightly to make the Humakt cult run more along those lines. Even better, use your player's unorthodox approach as a seed for a side story in which they shake up the old Humakti traditions, possibly forming a subcult of more viscious warriors.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Erick Eckberg said:

The players were tasked, by their patron, to capture or kill a group of bandits harrying the lands.  Upon dispatching the lone sentry and bursting into the ruins they used as a hideout, the Humakti moved to slay the scoundrels.  Another player said, "Whoa!  A Humakti would never act so dishonorably!"   He read an excerpt concerning honor in general, as well as one aimed particularly at the Humakt cult.  The offending player reconsidered and changed his actions, already regretting having attacked the sentry from surprise.

This got me thinking....    Humakt, and his cult, embody Death and the Death Rune.  Just as Orlanth embodies Air & Movement and Ernalda Earth & Harmony.  Many other deities/cults share these runes, but these deities own them.  How is Death necessarily honorable?  Death is uncaring of such human inventions.  Why would the Humakt cult put such a huge emphasis on honor?  To stymie death?  (your foe surrenders and drops his weapon, honor bound you must spare him, robbing death).

Yanafal Tarnils....   He, in a way, turned his back on Death and turned towards the Red Moon.  He has altered some basic tenets (such as resurrection) already, so I can definitely see them incorporating the ideals of honor into their new cult.  I get it.

Humakt?  Yeah, there's the attachment to the Truth Rune, but truth doesn't necessarily equate to honor.  Death Rune = Cold, Merciless, Cruel, Relentless.  Honorable?   I don't think so.  Death knows nothing of honor.  Visit a battlefield and see.         

This is heretical, but... perhaps Humakti honor codes are the main thing which keeps them socially tolerated. Death is indifferent and often cruel, but there are a lot more non-Humakti and if you actually kill indifferently or cruelly, that ends with you rushing to meet Humakt personally, but a lot of the non-Humakti probably preceded you in the process. So the non-Humakti push for restrictive codes which make it very hard for Humakti to actually kill anybody they care about, and the Humakti push for codes which make them important, and this meets in the middle with a system of honor that requires people treat Humakti with respect or flirt with death but also keeps Humakti predictable and easily outmaneuvered, because they've got the power of death on their side.

Now, textually, this just isn't there. Honor in-game is entirely a list of things PCs shouldn't do or get slapped for, with minimal aspect where honor can be insulted or infringed upon, where it can drive someone to behave very disruptively indeed. I think this is entirely because of the fear that Humakti PCs will produce all manner of difficult, explosive situations and prove hard to write prewritten scenarios around.

  • Like 4

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

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Humakt is the primary god of death and war, yes, but he's also explicitly called out as the god of honorable death and war. Death, in and of itself, is not honorable. Humakt serves to restrain death, to use it with responsibility, so that the horrors of the gods war (caused by irresponsible use of death) will never happen again.

 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about this...

Humakt is the god of Death.

But he's not actually the god of killing.

His role is to keep Death and Living separated, but it's not his job to actually decide who *should* be where - only that once the appropriate situation has arisen (someone has died) does he ensure that they are on the correct side of the divide.

Humakti believe that everyone should be allowed to live their allotted life, and that everyone should have a good, 'fair' death.

This would mean not randomly killing anyone you meet. (Sure, Death would take anyone, anyhow.. but the cult members aren't Humakt himself).

And, thus, everyone deserves the chance to live - or has the right to risk their life - not have it stolen (eg, assassination/murder).

The only way a Humakti can ensure that is - to give people the opportunity to face death, or to run away.. or surrender. That can't be done by silently sneaking up behind someone and killing them.

 

Also, we need to keep in mind the other cults that have the Death rune - in particuular Zorak Zoran, who is mindless death with no rules. @Chao and @Eff have said, there should be honour in death. Especially an Orlanthi honour for Humakt - to not become like a ZZ deathlord and revel in the constant taking of life, but in acknowledging it as an important part of one's journey. And ZZ is Humakt's enemy precisely because of this.

Remember, it was Death that brought about the Greater Darkness and ultimately, the Great Compromise. It's not something to be trifled with, nor used/treated inappropriately. Bringing Death has consequences, and it can't be taken back!

 

(ok, it can.. but we won't go there)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To note, the code of honor Humakti follow is not the exact same as "Orlanthi" cultural honor. Orlanth follows Humakt's code, sure, but it's also the same code followed by the Solar war gods (save Shargash, of course) and (most of the time) Yanafal.

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/honor-and-combat/

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

To note, the code of honor Humakti follow is not the exact same as "Orlanthi" cultural honor. Orlanth follows Humakt's code, sure, but it's also the same code followed by the Solar war gods (save Shargash, of course) and (most of the time) Yanafal.

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/honor-and-combat/

Thanks for the link!  I'm intrigued by this line:

"The rules of honor do not apply to animals, monsters, undead things unless they are capable of communicating or otherwise demonstrating that they do follow the rules of honor."

  1. Maybe I'm a softie, but I definitely think that honor should apply to animals.  One should not ambush and kill and entire group / family of deer or wolves.  Kill what you need for food, or to scare away the predator, but don't slaughter them all.
  2. There is no exception for chaotics.  So, Humakti must show honor to Broo, Ogres, etc.  The Bat is given as an exception, which makes sense, but proves that "relatively normal" chaos is still subject to the rules of Honor.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. That’s hunting, not warfare. (Usually.) Honour isn’t relevant.

2. That’s about honourable Yanafali using the Crimson Bat. Not about fighting it.

People often get hung up on “not honourable” vs. “dishonourable.” Nobody is going to celebrate the Praxian khans who cut deals with Chaos Broo to take down their rivals, but they haven’t acted with dishonour by doing so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Erick Eckberg said:

The players were tasked, by their patron, to capture or kill a group of bandits harrying the lands.  Upon dispatching the lone sentry and bursting into the ruins they used as a hideout, the Humakti moved to slay the scoundrels.  Another player said, "Whoa!  A Humakti would never act so dishonorably!"   He read an excerpt concerning honor in general, as well as one aimed particularly at the Humakt cult.  The offending player reconsidered and changed his actions, already regretting having attacked the sentry from surprise.

For me, I would suggest the following:

  • Sneaking into their camp and slaughtering them in their beds, while they are asleep, is not honourable.
  • Sneaking into their camp, dragging them from their beds and slaughtering them is not honourable.
  • Sneaking into their camp, dragging them from their beds, giving them a weapon to fight with and slaughtering them is not honourable.
  • Sneaking into their camp and setting their house on fire, slaughtering them as they flee is not honourable.
  • Sneaking into their camp and fighting them in combat is honourable.
  • Attacking a sentry with surprise is honourable, unless you have the "Never Participate in an Ambush" geas.

So, it all depends on context.

Being a Humakti who doesn't want to kill things is a bit odd to me, but there are many types of Humakti.

  • Like 3

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/13/2023 at 3:43 PM, Erick Eckberg said:

How is Death necessarily honorable?  Death is uncaring of such human inventions.  Why would the Humakt cult put such a huge emphasis on honor?

IMG (and as far as I understand from the canon), Humakt is about making Death meaningful. The cult is big on "honour" (whatever that is) because it doesn't like unnecessary death (again, whatever that means). My interpretation is that Humakt regrets giving Death to Orlanthi, because he then proceeded to kill Yelm and fuck up the cosmos for everybody. So wielding Death is a big responsibility, and you can't be a jerk storm-bro about it.

Now, a few notes about implementing all this in a RuneQuest game specifically:

- Not every combat is to the death. Not every NPC will fight until they hit 0 HP. If a GM plays it like this, they effectively reduce any conflict to "one side has to die for the other to win". That shouldn't be the case, and teaches players bad habits. People lose hope, get scared, change their mind, etc. When an NPC goes below half or a third of their HP, or get one or two limbs disabled, I usually have them surrender or flee or whatever (unless they're zombies or particularly fanatic or whatever). If I'm feeling fancy I roll a D100 for my NPCs under a stock Loyalty/Devotion Passion to see if their heart is still in it. I don't get fancy too much. At this point, killing someone who surrenders, or shooting them in the back as they flee, is obviously dishonourable. Humakt will not be happy. But bottom line: you can avoid all metaphysical discussions about killing NPCs if NPCs don't get killed often.

- Instead of trying to come up with hard rules for honour, go with the "we know it when we see it" rule, aka the "table check" rule. Go around the table and see what players think about it. In my experience, players can be harder on themselves than I will ever be!  The main problem I have is to remember to do it, that is I often forget to check for high Runes/Passions and bring it in play. Thankfully my players often mention it anyway.

- Let the player decide what kind of honour they want their cult to be about. Take notes and whatever is honourable for them is honourable for NPCs.

- As Nick says, it's not all black and white. Just become something isn't honourable doesn't mean it's dishonourable. There's nothing honourable about eating apples or kicking someone in the nuts. Doesn't mean it's dishonourable either.

- Let the player do dishonourable things! Sometimes there are other stronger reasons to do something. That's why RQ characters have multiple Passions. That bandit ambushed and killed your brother, and you can do the same right now? Well if you have Love Family 90%, that's totally understandable. That's what opposed rolls between Passions are for (if you want), or, you know, just do it and lose a few points in Honour. That's part of the character's arc, it's great!  Personally, I either let the player change their mind, or I make them roll for that Passions: if they fail, good job, they can do the thing without feeling bad! If they succeed, they immediately lose points in it while doing the thing. I let them negatively augment the roll, too (so for instance using Love Family to get a penalty to Honour).

Edited by Lordabdul
  • Like 6

Ludovic aka Lordabdul -- read and listen to  The God Learners , the Gloranthan podcast, newsletter, & blog !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/14/2023 at 6:45 AM, Rodney Dangerduck said:
  1. Maybe I'm a softie, but I definitely think that honor should apply to animals.  One should not ambush and kill and entire group / family of deer or wolves.  Kill what you need for food, or to scare away the predator, but don't slaughter them all.

Sure, don't kill more than you need to, but ambushing animals whilst hunting is fine.

On 1/13/2023 at 11:43 PM, Erick Eckberg said:

This got me thinking...  How is Death necessarily honorable?  Death is uncaring of such human inventions. 

Humakt saw how the misuse of death could have terrible consequences. So he took ownership of it and brought discipline to it's use.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This weekend my players were choosing their characters. One of them asked me about humakt and the cool spell Morale, and I really didn't have much idea about it. Not until cults book is out. But I had an idea and I show him the scene in Salusa Secundus (dune movie) and the sardaukar ritual. Now I just don't have one Humakti but Three of them!!! 😂😂😂

 

Edited by kalidor
  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, kalidor said:

This weekend my players were choosing their characters. One of them asked me about humakt and the cool spell Morale, and I really didn't have much idea about it. Not until cults book is out. But I had an idea and I show him the scene in Salusa Secundus (dune movie) and the sardaukar ritual. Now I just don't have one Humakti but Three of them!!! 😂😂😂

 

Except... Duncan just took out a stack of them, and when he had the perfect opportunity to Sneak Attack (as any sane person would have), he yells to get their attention...

so while I get the Sardaukar displaying this Humakti "I can die and it's ok" mentality, Duncan displays the "I will die with honour" (and the appropriate sword skills) of the Humakti.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

55 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Except... Duncan just took out a stack of them, and when he had the perfect opportunity to Sneak Attack (as any sane person would have), he yells to get their attention...

so while I get the Sardaukar displaying this Humakti "I can die and it's ok" mentality, Duncan displays the "I will die with honour" (and the appropriate sword skills) of the Humakti.

Yep, but I was talking about the "ritual" in Salusa Secundus. It was the only part I showed them. I told them that could be a Humakt battalion while Morale spell was casted. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, PhilHibbs said:

Would a Humakti ever act as an executioner, or is that dishonourable, killing an unarmed defenceless person with their head on a block?

The Humakti might be able to claim that the death sentence turned the executionee into a walking dead which needs putting to rest.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/14/2023 at 7:45 AM, soltakss said:

For me, I would suggest the following:

  • Sneaking into their camp, dragging them from their beds, giving them a weapon to fight with and slaughtering them is not honourable.
  • Sneaking into their camp and fighting them in combat is honourable.

What do you see as the key difference between the first and the second bullet above? Other then your use of the term "slaughtering" instead of "fighting" the two situations seem similar to me.

7 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Would a Humakti ever act as an executioner, or is that dishonourable, killing an unarmed defenceless person with their head on a block?

Not without losing Honor. I could see a Humakti killing a prisoner who was first armed and unrestrained so that they are no longer defenseless. But then what happens if the prisoner surrenders to the Humakti or falls from a non-fatal wound? Now killing them breaks the Humakt honor code.

Seems like a job for Babeester Gor or Storm Bull initiates.

Edited by Bren
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think formal executions break honor. IMO, killing a defenseless victim out of hand is dishonorable, while killing someone who has been sentenced in a formal proceeding is neither honorable nor dishonorable. The important point is avoiding reckless use of death.

  • Like 2
  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Would a Humakti ever act as an executioner, or is that dishonourable, killing an unarmed defenceless person with their head on a block?

12 hours ago, Bren said:

Not without losing Honor.

11 hours ago, Richard S. said:

I don't think formal executions break honor.

Nothing's ever simple with Humakt, is it? So I guess the answer is... it varies. Different regions and subcults and traditions will have different takes on this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/26/2023 at 9:33 PM, PhilHibbs said:

Would a Humakti ever act as an executioner, or is that dishonourable, killing an unarmed defenceless person with their head on a block?

Personally, I think executioner is the perfect job for a Humakti.

if someone warrants the death penalty (rather than exile or working off a debt), then they've done something very serious (kinstrife?).

While it's not "honourable", it certainly wouldn't be dishonourable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMO, "Honor" is, in some cases, left deliberately open to interpretation.  And different cultures or cults think differently.  Humakti Honor is different than Orlanthi.  In those cases, it's best to talk with the player and have them express, from their character's POV, why they think an action is honorable or dishonorable.  Maybe make minor adjustments.  But a GM trying to impose a global honor code is likely to cause blowback.

Let the players decide, within reason.  Then hold them to that for the future.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/23/2023 at 5:53 AM, Shiningbrow said:

Except... Duncan just took out a stack of them, and when he had the perfect opportunity to Sneak Attack (as any sane person would have), he yells to get their attention...

so while I get the Sardaukar displaying this Humakti "I can die and it's ok" mentality, Duncan displays the "I will die with honour" (and the appropriate sword skills) of the Humakti.

Both could be Humakti. Don't forget that Humakti can kill Humakti in battle.

On 1/26/2023 at 1:33 PM, PhilHibbs said:

Would a Humakti ever act as an executioner, or is that dishonourable, killing an unarmed defenceless person with their head on a block?

Of course they can. The honour is gained by carrying out a rightful execution, according to the law. Humakt is a god of Death and lawful execution is a good use for a Humakti.

 

On 1/26/2023 at 8:43 PM, Bren said:
On 1/14/2023 at 12:45 PM, soltakss said:

For me, I would suggest the following:

  • Sneaking into their camp, dragging them from their beds, giving them a weapon to fight with and slaughtering them is not honourable.
  • Sneaking into their camp and fighting them in combat is honourable.

What do you see as the key difference between the first and the second bullet above? Other then your use of the term "slaughtering" instead of "fighting" the two situations seem similar to me.

The first situation is where the opponent has been dragged out of bed, so has no armour or equipment, but just has a random weapon thrown to them.

The second situation is where the opponent is fully armed and armoured, with equipment.

They are two different situations.

 

  • Like 2

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...