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A question about Spirit Cults


Agentorange

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52 minutes ago, Agentorange said:

That all makes sense...so a shaman might recognise the what: powerful deity , has gem magic. But not the who: Asrelia ?

Yes. It's important to note that the shaman is likely seeking the spirit magic (in this case Detect Gems), eventually find a powerful Earth vortex and finds a spirit within it and negotiates to learn the magic. The spirit may only be showing an aspect of their power, so gives it a simple name. It's only after continuing contact, the shaman begins to learn more about the nature of the spirit and for sacrifice teaches more. Then the shaman may realise this is a larger entity.

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7 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

IMG... I mostly sort of agree, except...

The spirit cult could gain access to more Rune spells, but it would require effort on the part of the shamans (assuming more than one). Perhaps even a geas (ie, taboo) would be laid for each (extra?) spell?

I would also make it fairly clear that those not initiated into the cult of the god (ie, normal theistic worship) wouldn't even know about what Rune spells (or others) are actually available (although, some may guess). This is because they wouldn't have the Cult Lore to know the myths, and thus not the specifics of what the deity is actually capable of. One could certainly presume some wind spells for Orlanth, but are unlikely to know Shield, and certainly not know of the existence of Darkwalk.

As a corollary, Associated spells would of course be out - again, no understanding of the myths involved.

Other spells? well, since we don't have a mechanic for how spirit magic is actually taught in theistic cults, that's easy to get around. Not that it would matter much, because the new spirit cult's shamans can just get those spells anyway from the spirits....

Skills? Depends - who's going to teach them? If you have someone who can - great! If you don't, then too bad.

 

I think the bigger question is - how would these entities take to having opposed allegiances within the spirit cult? (if they could even sense them)

All very sensible - and thought provoking

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On 1/21/2023 at 4:41 PM, Jeff said:

Some spirit cults are established by shamans but end up being maintained by priests, or even by a senior initiate. Others are formed by a shaman and die with that shaman. 

There's a tremendous amount of flexibility with them. Examples of spirit cults include: Oakfed, Six Sisters, Black Fang, Elk Woman, Lightning Boy, Thunderbird, Gustbran, Green Bow, Stone Heart, and many many more.

Thanks for that. in many ways I find Spirit Cults to be more interesting than the major deities. Not sure why, I just do.  Out of curiousity I took a look at the Gods of Glorantha preview over at the Well of Daliath. It was nice to see that there were a fair few spirit cults in the mix for publication, thats certainly part of the book I'll be keen to read. 👍

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IMG, Rune Magic is relatively-rare to get from Spirit Cults.

Most that offer any, offer only one (or a few) spells, and they're equally-likely to be "Common" as specialized rune-spells (of course, there's a LOT of utility to be had from the "Common" Rune-spell list!).  None offer the range & variety that the major Cults do.

The thing that makes Spirit Cults interesting & special, IMHO, is the unusual spirits & special Spirit-Magic; they don't need Rune-magic too.

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10 hours ago, Agentorange said:

Thanks for that. in many ways I find Spirit Cults to be more interesting than the major deities. Not sure why, I just do.  Out of curiousity I took a look at the Gods of Glorantha preview over at the Well of Daliath. It was nice to see that there were a fair few spirit cults in the mix for publication, thats certainly part of the book I'll be keen to read. 👍

Perhaps because they look a lot less like formalised religion, thus allowing for a lot more possibilities (ie, less restrictions) than the big cults.

Or is that just me?

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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

Perhaps because they look a lot less like formalised religion, thus allowing for a lot more possibilities (ie, less restrictions) than the big cults.

Or is that just me?

I think that's part of it, but also I think that Spirit Cults are  often very much tied into specific places, so perhaps have more unique flavour than the major cults.

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6 hours ago, g33k said:

IMG, Rune Magic is relatively-rare to get from Spirit Cults.

Most that offer any, offer only one (or a few) spells, and they're equally-likely to be "Common" as specialized rune-spells (of course, there's a LOT of utility to be had from the "Common" Rune-spell list!).  None offer the range & variety that the major Cults do.

The thing that makes Spirit Cults interesting & special, IMHO, is the unusual spirits & special Spirit-Magic; they don't need Rune-magic too.

Ah, now I must admit i tend to look at it  through the other end of the telescope. I think Rune magic is quite common for Spirit Cults. I suspect that may be because that's how they've been presented in the game though. Most of the spirit  cults in RQ2,3 and RQG did have an associated Rune spell so that's how I tend to perceive them.

But you're right, there's no reason is has to be that way. And unusual Spirit Magic spells or access to unusual spirits would be just as fun and just as interesting. Given that spirit cults are often shaman led they may actually be more fitting as well. Certainly in my homebrew world spirit cults gave spirit magic spells.

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On 1/21/2023 at 5:41 PM, Jeff said:

Some spirit cults are established by shamans but end up being maintained by priests, or even by a senior initiate. Others are formed by a shaman and die with that shaman. 

There's a tremendous amount of flexibility with them. Examples of spirit cults include: Oakfed, Six Sisters, Black Fang, Elk Woman, Lightning Boy, Thunderbird, Gustbran, Green Bow, Stone Heart, and many many more.

Is the White Bull Society a sort of spirit cult or something else?

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Here are my old Spirit Cult rules, written for RQ3 back in the nineties.

Spirit Cult Rules

Note: the rules below are intended to make spirit cult membership easier and more widespread, and also to clear up who pays POW for what, and why. They are not “official” in any way. The apparently “generous” availability of one-use Rune magics follows my earlier suggestions (in Tales #12 and Gloranthan Digests past) for widening re-usability of such magic for all users (i.e. regained annually): I do not intend to set up Spirit Cult worshippers as “super-users” of Rune magic, like the Tricksters in Gods of Glorantha (whose spells are always reusable). If you treat “one-use” Rune spells by the book in your game, treat Spirit Cult Rune spells in exactly the same way.

My main bone of contention with the previously published rules is that they appear to make Spirit Cult magic very expensive for the presiding Shaman. The apparently inexpensive Rune spells available from spirit cults become rather pricey, when you consider that it could cost four points of a Shaman’s POW just to be able to sacrifice for them (two to Summon <spirit>, one to Worship <spirit>, and one to become an “Initiate” eligible to sacrifice for Spirit Cult magics). By replacing all of this investment with a single, reusable, one-POW “Summon <Spirit>” ritual (granting the ability to both worship and obtain magic from the spirit in question), we can make Shamans more varied, experimental and unpredictable – as I think they should be!

The official RQ3 rule mechanics for Spirit Cults are in Gods of Glorantha and Troll Gods, and many spirit cult examples can be found in these sources, not to mention Tales #14-16, and the Book of Drastic Resolutions: Volume Prax. RQ2 mechanics were in Borderlands; the Cult of Firshala, from the RQ2 supplement Griffin Mountain, is also an example of a nascent Spirit Cult, growing out of a chance encounter.

1) First Catch Your Spirit...

A shaman needs to have the 1-POW Rune spell “Summon <spirit>” before he can organise Spirit Cult worship. Any friendly spirit will teach this gladly to shamans it encounters: spirits can be met by chance while wandering the spirit plane, contacted deliberately by going to places they are known to frequent (their homes, territories, or favourite spots), or summoned by holding a ritual to attract their attention (in an appropriate location, appropriately garbed, with appropriate ritual objects, offerings and sacrifices).

Random Spirit Encounters

Chance encounters are up to the GM, whether using the Spirit Plane Encounter Tables (any incarnation) or his own devious devices. Such encounters could be good or bad news for the shaman. In some places, “random” spirits are known to cluster – as around the “generic” holy places in Prax, the ruins and oases, where hungry and forlorn spirits cluster in search of food or worship. Random shamanic encounters have brought both beneficial and malevolent spirit cults into the world. If a Shaman meets and befriends a nice spirit, he can learn how to summon it for a 1-POW sacrifice/gift/ donation (and go back to his tribe to arrange worship). If a Shaman meets and is taken over by an evil spirit, it may (while possessing the shaman) arrange a worship service to “summon” and propitiate itself! (Cue demonic laughter).

Finding Spirits “At Home”

Places that are “home” to specific spirits can easily be assigned depending on your campaign needs; el pendejo’s list of the spirit cults at holy places in Prax gives a fair idea of their frequency, or you can base this on the availability of e.g. sub-cult shrines in your own game. Many spirits (obviously including spirits “of” places) are sedentary, and this how “local” spirit cults survive – the spirit that happens to dwell in the Hare Woods, or the Travelling Stone, will always be found by the people who live round that way, for better or for worse. Locals should probably know of (at most!) a single place within reasonable travelling distance where any given spirit can be summoned, as if they knew two or more they wouldn’t know where to go if they wanted to worship it! Summoning spirits at their known holy places (aka “homes”, “nests”, “territories”, etc.) is relatively straightforward, though a full summoning ceremony is usually employed (following the sensible Shamanic principle, “better safe than sorry”). If the Spirit turns up, the Shaman can sacrifice 1 POW for the Summon <spirit> ritual Rune Spell. If it doesn’t, you’ve lost nothing.

Summoning Rituals

If you choose instead to call up a specific spirit, to a place with which it has little or no previous connection, it’d be best to think in “Ritual Magic” terms: go to a place appropriate to that spirit, bringing gifts (sacrifices, trappings, items) that you think will be attractive to the spirit, and try to summon it to you there. Thus a Praxian shaman summoning Sun Hawk would wear a hawk-feather cloak, a bright-eyed, beaked mask, and perform his ritual in the arid uplands (“hawk country”) at high noon, offering up a live hare or similarly attractive prey to catch the spirit’s attention. (And Sun Hawk still isn’t guaranteed to turn up...)

The GM should modify the Summon chance depending on the suitability of the players’ preparations, and their “fit” to his campaign needs. A base-chance Summon roll should normally only apply under “ideal” circumstances: after enough research has been done to select a suitable location, an apposite date and time, carefully and expensively prepared “props” (costume, ritual objects, etc.), and a tasty gift, sacrifice, offering, or whatever.

The Summon skill roll is made, modified by Ceremony attempts (measured in hours). A failure costs the Shaman one POW, and he does not learn the “Summon <spirit>“ Rune spell (he thought he did, and got it wrong, and blew his POW). A fumble is left to the devious and twisted imagination of the GM. On a success, the appropriate “Summon <spirit>” one-point Rune spell is learned (at a cost of one POW), and the spirit appears for the Shaman.

NEW SPIRIT CULT RUNE SPELL, AVAILABLE TO ALL SHAMANS

SUMMON <spirit>
1 point Rune spell, summoning ritual, re-usable (special).

Summon <spirit> allows a Shaman to summon, worship and learn Rune magic from a spirit in the form of Spirit Cult worship. The spell is automatically regained one season after its last use, whether or not that Summoning ended in a worship service (successful or otherwise). Thus Spirit Cult worship normally occurs every season. A Shaman may sacrifice for more than one use of the spell: the spirit is usually very happy to allow this, as it permits more frequent summoning and worship of the spirit than would otherwise be possible (while not requiring undue exertion on the spirit’s part).

(NB: the one-point Spirit Magic spell “Summon” is not powerful enough to allow Shamanic spirit-cult worship, you cheapskate! And we all know that the Great Newt hates cheapskates!...)

2) Then Worship It...

A summoned spirit expects to be worshipped, sooner or later, and it may become upset, surly or uncommunicative if nothing is offered after it’s gone to the trouble of turning up (and/or had its home invaded by unwelcome outsiders). NB: a Shaman who has a good “track record” with a particular spirit might be able to call it up for other purposes... this is left to individual GMs to develop.

Becoming a Cultist

Becoming a member of a Spirit Cult congregation costs 1 POW, which is sacrificed in the presence of the summoned Spirit, and creates a link to it (in a manner similar to cultic Initiation). This should be noted on the character sheet (perhaps on a list of Spirit Cults or other cult initiations), as it will normally be permanent: a Praxian brave who once worshipped Sun Hawk in his wild and foolish youth can still do so as an elder, if the spirit can be found.

It is very hard to be “Excommunicated” from a Spirit Cult (as no-one can be bothered to go through the motions?); much more likely you will be torn to pieces by your former co-religionists if they catch you.

Worship Ceremonies

At a worship ceremony, worshippers sacrifice all but one of their MPs to the spirit. Roll 1D100: if the number rolled is less than or equal to the number of worshippers, the worship was successful. A canny GM may use the exact number rolled as an indication of how powerful the summoned manifestation of the Spirit is: success, POW of spirit equals 1D100 roll; special success, POW equals number of worshippers; critical success, POW equals 95; failure, what spirit were you talking about? – it doesn’t hang around; fumble - Aha! Cue evil GM laughter and cunning plots...

Outsiders!

If you attend a successful worship service but are not a worshipper (you’re present, but have not given POW to the spirit), the Shaman and Spirit may detect you and feel unkind towards you: a POWx3% roll is probably appropriate (they are detecting your “uninvolved” POW, so having a high POW works against you), whether you are “hanging out” in the congregation, hiding behind a nearby rock, or whatever. Commonly, simpler and/or more malicious spirits assume such persons are intended as sacrifices, and don’t ask twice before tucking in!

A note on the “Worship” spell

Spirit Cult worship does not require a “Worship” Rune spell. The Shaman’s ability to summon the spirit is equivalent to this. Shamans who have sacrificed for the relevant Summon spell do not need to sacrifice 1 POW to participate in Spirit Cult worship: they already have a “link” of sorts to the spirit, understanding its nature well enough to direct Magic Points to it (compare with Initiation). They can participate in, and derive full benefits from, a Spirit Cult worship services in which they do not leading the congregation.

3) Then Get Its Magic...

All Spirit Cult worshippers who have participated in a successful worship ceremony can sacrifice for one or more points of the spirit’s Rune spell(s). “Ordinary” worshippers regain the use of their Rune spells as per normal one-use magic (i.e. if you follow my “One-Use Rune Magic” guidelines, they are regained annually following a successful worship service; if not, they are one-shot spells, gone for good once cast).

Shamans who know the relevant Summon ritual can gain their Spirit Cult Rune spells “reusably”: they will regain the use of all their spirit cult rune spells (other than a just-cast “Summon <spirit>“) every time they participate in a successful worship service for that spirit (whether leading worship or simply participating).

4) And Keep It Happy...

Requirements, Taboos, Restrictions

Some spirits will require certain actions, attitudes or taboos from their followers. Most can’t afford to be so picky, or their “cult requirements” are pathetically trivial (e.g. “always butcher frogs”). Some can be scary, though: be creative! A follower who breaks his taboos cannot successfully participate in the next worship service (i.e. his participation counts for nothing, he is not a % in the Shaman’s roll, he cannot gain or regain Rune magics). A Shaman who breaks his taboos has the replenishment of his Summon spell delayed for another season, annoys the spirit, and may have to explain this to his congregation. (Spirit cults don’t have spirits of reprisal, but the main spirit can usually manage well enough by themselves, whenever they are summoned for worship service, should malefactors be unwise enough to present themselves). Note that it is unusual for a spirit cult to have unduly onerous membership requirements, or how on earth would it survive? “Daft” requirements are far more fun!

Regular Worship

Successful spirit cult worship is commonly carried out seasonally: this is magically efficient, keeps the spirit happy, and tops up cultists’ Rune spells on a regular basis. Spirits can afford to be forgiving, though – their sense of time is different to ours – and will not bear lethal grudges if “neglected” for a while. Most are pathetically grateful for whatever worship they can attract, and see no point in driving away their semi-faithful worshippers. So if a Shaman only worships the Sun Hawk at midsummer – or only at midsummer if his tribe is near the Sun Dome Temple at that time – he won’t be shunned for that reason.

The bulk of the members of any spirit cult may only want to worship annually, to renew their “one-use” Rune spells. For this reason, any more frequent worship will usually represent a highly domineering, exploitative or obsessive Shaman – it’s no surprise that these are common Shamanic personality traits!

Can I join more than one Spirit Cult?

The Spirits worshipped by Spirit Cults are pipsqueaks compared to the Big Gods. Their Shamans and worshippers can usually worship any number of them (unless they strenuously object, such as when a Star Spirit learns you are also a worshipper of the Great Dung Beetle), and they’re usually grateful for whatever worship they can obtain. In the boardgame Nomad Gods, the Praxian tribal shamans ‘worship’ (i.e. use) any spirit they come across, regardless of existing alliances or traditional tribal friendships, except in special cases (like the Three Feathered Rivals, or raw Chaos). (NB: the mutual antagonism between the Three Feathered Rivals is famed throughout Prax: pity the Shaman who maintains good relations with more than one of these quarrelsome birds!)

In fact, as Shamans don’t have the close emotional ties to their spirit cult associates that priests have towards their gods, it is entirely possible for a Shaman to summon a spirit with whom he has previously has a good relationship, only to entrap, enslave or betray it. If the tribe is very hungry, and the shaman knows how to summon Frog Woman, and his followers all know how to butcher frogs, by now... well, French cuisine comes to the Plaines of Prax! Or, for example, a Shaman wanting to do Sun Hawk a favour might summon Raven (Sun Hawk’s rival) to a place of Sun Hawk’s choosing, for an outburst of cartoon-style violence...

What does my God think of my Spirit Cult?

Major religions consider most spirit cults beneath their notice. Most spirit cults are glad of any worship they can attract. It is unusual for a mainstream cult to bear a special animus towards a spirit cult (how did it survive?) Clearly there are exceptions – a Yelm priest is unlikely to sympathise with shamanic worship in any case, even less with shamanic worship of Darkness spirits!

Some divine or divine/shamanic cults encourage worship of certain spirit cults (e.g. Kyger Litor likes her shaman-priests to worship the Troll spirit cults), and may maintain ritual knowledge, apparatus or sites so as to make this easier and more readily available to their practitioners. In a sense, a sub-cult shrine can be seen as a permanent, institutionalised “Spirit Cult”, with its own occasional devotees, offering one specialised Rune spell, and attracting a fragment of the worship given by Initiates of the main cult to their deity. (But that’s enough God Learning metaphysical speculation for today!)

So should I build a Shrine? A Temple?

In Spirit Cult worship, congregations are more important than fixed shrines. If you can get loads of your followers to chant the praises of the Great Newt, they will probably do this around a stream, pond, river or spawning-pool – an appropriate location for summoning and worshipping such a being. So you can hold your seasonal worship there regularly, let it be known that that’s where prospective worshippers of the Great Newt should join his existing dozens of followers... and it might be handy (at some point) to set up permanent facilities for your regular summoning ceremony (runestones, changing rooms, storage space for bulky ritual objects). And this is, of course, what Shrines are!

If, on the other hand, you’re out in the desolate wastes of Prax, you can forget about keeping an immobile “shrine” to yourself. A Sun Hawk Shrine’s equivalent would be the medicine bundle and mask and shamanic costume and ritual paraphernalia owned by a Praxian Tribal Shaman who had previously contacted the Sun Hawk. If any other tribe got hold of these (by fair means or foul: spot the scenario potential!), they’d be able to summon the Sun Hawk more easily themselves. And if they did so at Sun Hawk’s Perch, a traditional worship spot the Big Bird is known to frequent), successful worship becomes even easier: as ever in Prax, the shrines and holy spots are known to and shared between many tribes, and used by whoever happens to be in possession at the time.

You want to build a Temple for your Spirit Cult? Sounds ambitious, but why not go for it! It’ll be fun to see how the local adventurers react...

Do you have to be a Shaman to start a Spirit Cult?

Frankly, I doubt it. If I were overhauling the RQ3 magic rules for a more “Gloranthan” flavour, one of the things I’d do would be to make it easier for people to gain limited powers reusably – thus, instead of generic “Acolytes of Orlanth”, I might allow an “Acolyte of Orlanth’s Lightning Spear”, gaining that one Rune spell reusably (while all his other Rune spells remained one-use). Similarly, I’d find it easy to believe that occasional individuals can be found who, while not “full Shamans” in the RQ3 rules sense, nevertheless might possess certain Shaman-like abilities – one of which would be the ability to summon and worship one specific spirit. (Perhaps it was a chance encounter with the spirit that first triggered this unusual ability?).

IMG, at least, some Spirit Cults would be led by people who are in no way as “magically powerful” or “generally competent” as a fully trained Shaman, Priest or Sorcerer, but who can nevertheless lead a Spirit Cult worship service, summon their spirit, gain reusable Rune Magic from it, and so on and so forth. This would be, if you like, the “flip-side” to the way Shamans can exploit encountered spirits: here, the spirit empowers the (damaged?) person it has contacted, but only to allow them to direct worship towards itself. He can lead worship to the Frog Woman, all right – but he isn’t a Shaman, or a Priest, or able to do very much else, come to that. (This way, rogue or predatory Spirit Cults are easier to establish: you don’t need to “take out” a Shaman in order to get a presence in the community).

What the priests, wizards and inquisitors make of this is of course a matter for your own scenarios...

Notes for GMs

Spirit Cults are ideal for GMs wanting to spring surprises on their players. As opponents, they are sources of weird, one-off Rune spells for otherwise “normal” opponents. If followed by the players, the ad-hoccery inherent in Spirit Cult worship invites new and interesting scenarios, heroquests, and challenges. Spirits have interests, needs, requirements, and objectives, just as much as player characters do: a spirit cult with powerful and capable followers will encourage the spirit to widen its horizons, expecting more and more from its “faithful” devotees.

Edited by Nick Brooke
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9 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

So should I build a Shrine? A Temple?

In Spirit Cult worship, congregations are more important than fixed shrines. If you can get loads of your followers to chant the praises of the Great Newt, they will probably do this around a stream, pond, river or spawning-pool – an appropriate location for summoning and worshipping such a being. So you can hold your seasonal worship there regularly, let it be known that that’s where prospective worshippers of the Great Newt should join his existing dozens of followers... and it might be handy (at some point) to set up permanent facilities for your regular summoning ceremony (runestones, changing rooms, storage space for bulky ritual objects). And this is, of course, what Shrines are!

I

I remember these.. ! Did anybody ever do a spirit cult of the Great Newt ?  Surely they must have done.....

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52 minutes ago, Agentorange said:

I remember these.. ! Did anybody ever do a spirit cult of the Great Newt ?  Surely they must have done.....

Lots of us in the Greydog Clan worshipped the Great Newt, for obvious reasons, and of course that was in the back of my mind when I wrote Black Spear, Act IV...

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22 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Lots of us in the Greydog Clan worshipped the Great Newt, for obvious reasons, and of course that was in the back of my mind when I wrote Black Spear, Act IV...

You realise I'm going to have to buy it now just to find out.......

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On 1/21/2023 at 1:30 PM, Agentorange said:

So next question..

Can spirit cults teach unique spirit magic spells as well as their unique Rune Spells ? or perhaps instead of Rune Spells. The rules don't say they can't....so I've assumed they can.

In the examples published so far, even the large spirit cults only teach one or two Cult Special rune spells.  And they usually don't have all of the Common rune spells, but a narrower selection.

Small spirit cults may not happen to  give any rune magic, as I understand them.

As I understand it, amount of magic should be in proportion to the number of worshippers.  So your brand new local spirit cult with ten worshippers should not expect to get much, probably no Rune spell at  all. because in comparison with even a small god cult they are miniscule.  Look at the possible spirit cult in the back of Griffin Mountain.

If they get a unique spirit magic spell, then that is a pretty significant benefit considering their members' magical input.

I'm not saying don't do it.  I am saying the spirit cult should not be as beneficial as a god cult. Or even as a large spirit cult like Oakfed.

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1 hour ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

In the examples published so far, even the large spirit cults only teach one or two Cult Special rune spells.  And they usually don't have all of the Common rune spells, but a narrower selection.

Small spirit cults may not happen to  give any rune magic, as I understand them.

As I understand it, amount of magic should be in proportion to the number of worshippers.  So your brand new local spirit cult with ten worshippers should not expect to get much, probably no Rune spell at  all. because in comparison with even a small god cult they are miniscule.  Look at the possible spirit cult in the back of Griffin Mountain.

If they get a unique spirit magic spell, then that is a pretty significant benefit considering their members' magical input.

I'm not saying don't do it.  I am saying the spirit cult should not be as beneficial as a god cult. Or even as a large spirit cult like Oakfed.

I certainly wouldn't be expecting them to have loads of magic - far from it. But I don't think the amount of magic available would be a function of how many worshippers the spirit had. Either the spirit knows the magic or it doesn't. I do think that's more about the shamans relationship with the spirit, how well he knows the spirit, it's mythical background etc etc. But I wouldn't expect Sprit Cults to have a whole array of spells in the way a major religion does... but a unique spirit magic spell ? that seems plausable.

 

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Generally speaking, a spirit cult teaches a single Rune magic or Spirit spell, or teaches a specific skill. Some may have Divination, or another common spell. A few who are elemental aspects will give summon/dismiss elementals. This format is followed by the spirit cults we will see in the upcoming Cults of Glorantha. Many have been published before, and provide the same spells (most are in the Red Book of Magic). For example as mentioned in previous threads, Kolat provides Bind Wind and Command, Dispel, and Summon Air Elemental (all sizes). It's not hard to figure that Ride River Horse in RBM is the single spell provided by the River Horse spirit cult, Great Leap / Frog Woman, or Dew / Dew Maid.

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On 1/27/2023 at 7:44 AM, Soccercalle said:

Is the White Bull Society a sort of spirit cult or something else?

Spirit cult and associate cult of Orlanth Adventurous, Storm Bull, and Waha.

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11 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Generally speaking, a spirit cult teaches a single Rune magic or Spirit spell, or teaches a specific skill. Some may have Divination, or another common spell. A few who are elemental aspects will give summon/dismiss elementals. This format is followed by the spirit cults we will see in the upcoming Cults of Glorantha. Many have been published before, and provide the same spells (most are in the Red Book of Magic). For example as mentioned in previous threads, Kolat provides Bind Wind and Command, Dispel, and Summon Air Elemental (all sizes). It's not hard to figure that Ride River Horse in RBM is the single spell provided by the River Horse spirit cult, Great Leap / Frog Woman, or Dew / Dew Maid.

Most the Spirit Cults i've used in my game follow exactly that format - 1 Rune spell or Spirit Magic spell. The irony is that the two examples provided in the RQG rulebook don't follow that format 😆

Oakfed gives 2 Rune spells
Blackfang gives 3 Rune spells

I'm not counting the common Rune spells for either. Just had a quick look at Borderlands and both Frog  Woman and River Horse give 2  Rune spells there. But I reckon these might be the exceptions rather than the rule. possibly it's like the Oakfed rule that the 2nd spell can only be accessed on a special sucess roll.

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16 minutes ago, Agentorange said:

I'm not counting the common Rune spells for either. Just had a quick look at Borderlands and both Frog  Woman and River Horse give 2  Rune spells there. But I reckon these might be the exceptions rather than the rule. possibly it's like the Oakfed rule that the 2nd spell can only be accessed on a special sucess roll.

The two River Horse spells are now combined into one, and Frog Woman no longer is associated with Traskers (although there is certainly no reason to change it if you're using borderlands).

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2 minutes ago, David Scott said:

The two River Horse spells are now combined into one, and Frog Woman no longer is associated with Traskers (although there is certainly no reason to change it if you're using borderlands).

The Summon River Horse aspect seems to have vanished entirely - leaving only the Ride River Horse. I wonder why they went that route...likewise with Frog Woman. Still as you say YGMV and all that. well MGMV 😆. I like what Jeff had to say further up the thread about spirit cults having tremendous flexibility, I do think you can play around a bit with the number of spells, theres a comment on p377 about " gain what few spells " which suggests more than one. But I do tend to the position that the default  setting should be: keep it simple, keep it small. As I said most my spirit cult ideas only had 1 spell.

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19 hours ago, David Scott said:

or teaches a specific skill.

I don't get this bit - unless it's something like Sense Assassin or Sense Chaos, which are god imbued, and more like a power.

A skill is something that someone can teach, so I don't see why it should have any effect on limiting what magic is available.

Could you give an example of what you are referring to here?

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3 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

I don't get this bit - unless it's something like Sense Assassin or Sense Chaos, which are god imbued, and more like a power.

A skill is something that someone can teach, so I don't see why it should have any effect on limiting what magic is available.

Could you give an example of what you are referring to here?

Any skill really. Like Summon spirit teacher, information can be a skill. Eg, Brother Dog teaches te Communications skill Understand Dog, 

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5 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

I don't get this bit - unless it's something like Sense Assassin or Sense Chaos, which are god imbued, and more like a power.

A skill is something that someone can teach, so I don't see why it should have any effect on limiting what magic is available.

It could be a cult-specific skill available nowhere else, or a normal skill that is taught by the spirit.

For example, Swim is a standard skill, but people living in a desert would not know the skill. A Spirit cult could teach Swim and cultists could train Swim at waterholes. Another example is a rare Craft taught by the Spirit Cult, so worshipping Durev might allow cultists to learn Craft (Carpentry).

Cult-specific skills could be Sense Assassin or Sense Chaos, which would not be taught by Humakt or Storm Bull, but instead are taught by the Spirit Cult instead.

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

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On 1/21/2023 at 8:22 AM, Agentorange said:

So members of a spirit cult could then access whatever Rune Spells the spirit cult offered....and also have access to a much wider variety of spirit magic than the worshippers of one of the regular gods etc, especially if it's relatively minor deity. Ok spirit cults tend to be small localised things. But in a small localised sense a spirit cult could be more powerful than a regular cult - if you see what I mean.

And as much print as Humakti have gotten for being OP, I am shocked none have raised the banned for Shamans in this regards. Where are the naysayers calling this profession into question. Not that I would, I do not believe either are OP in comparison with many other possible PC one can create (just don't get me started on how all of RQG is OP).

 

On 1/21/2023 at 10:47 AM, soltakss said:

Yes, although Shamans, not Shamen, because English is funny like that.

 

 And so are the English... 😉

 

On 1/21/2023 at 12:30 PM, Agentorange said:

So next question..

Can spirit cults teach unique spirit magic spells as well as their unique Rune Spells ? or perhaps instead of Rune Spells. The rules don't say they can't....so I've assumed they can.

If you are doing a long form writeup of this spirit cult (and why wouldn't ya?) I would say make a myth which explains the reason for this spell and have it be comparable to small cults in what way or another (either in MPs cost or restrictions or... consequences). 

 

On 1/21/2023 at 1:06 PM, Agentorange said:

Old Bill the lawgiver

<snicker>

 

On 1/22/2023 at 1:10 AM, Nick Brooke said:

Simon @soltakss points out that knowledge of Auld Wyrmish was originally a stolen cult secret. I'll just mention the "eradication of all human life in Dragon Pass"-level consequences that resulted from it.

 

see a couple of quotes above.

 

On 1/22/2023 at 5:26 AM, soltakss said:

Let's think about one problem at a time ...

🤣

 

Great question @Agentorange!

 

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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