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Lanbril myths and heroquests


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I have a Lanbril PC in my group and the player is interested in getting more powers and secret knowledge thru heroquesting. I find very little about Lanbril in the Stafford Library books and wonder if there exists any other published (canon or not) sources.

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Like Nick, I can only think of the writeup in Pavis.

However, you could male up some HeroQuests, for example How Lanbril Lost His Face (Gain Face of Lanbril or similar abilities), How Lanbril Followed [] (Gain Shadowing or similar), Lanbril Knows the Streets (Gain Streetwise or similar), How Lanbril Stole Voices (Gain Voice Mimicry or similar), How Lanbril Got Away (Gain Foil Restraints or similar), Lanbril and the Shiny Thing (Conceal Item or similar), Nobody Remembers Lanbril (Forget or similar), Lanbril in Mostal's Halls (Various Devices, or gain a new one), or similar HeroQuests. All involve how Lanbril stole something from someone, or how he managed to avoid capture and punishment.

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

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Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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I have never seen a copy, but The Unspoken Word 2 sounds like it might be useful.

Also:

Quote

Due to Lanbril’s success in concealing his Godtime activities, most cults embodying the Truth Rune are his enemies. — Pavis: GTA, p. 376 [emphasis mine]

… suggests to me (which may be the opposite of a recommendation from any sane point of view) that there might be some mileage in stealing myths from other gods: you think x did it, but really it was Lanbril … how well he covers his tracks! Maybe Lanbril even sells/loans out myths to other gods for a piece of the POW action. [Continues to gibber incoherently to self.]

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4 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

I have never seen a copy, but The Unspoken Word 2 sounds like it might be useful.

Also:

… suggests to me (which may be the opposite of a recommendation from any sane point of view) that there might be some mileage in stealing myths from other gods: you think x did it, but really it was Lanbril … how well he covers his tracks! Maybe Lanbril even sells/loans out myths to other gods for a piece of the POW action. [Continues to gibber incoherently to self.]

Unspoken Word 2 has a lot of stuff on thieves and some adventures on that theme.  Overall, it's about putting together a collection of gutterscum to help Argath liberate Sartar.

Heroquests:

  • The Taming of Valind
  • The Sandals of Darkness

Also, I agree with mfbrandi - in my own games, a lot of Lanbril heroquesting is about basically infiltrating other religions to steal holy power, heroquests, etc.

To quote my ongoing Blue Moon Empire project:

Imperial scholars have often wondered how the cult of Lanbril could muster enough power to do anything before it became an Imperial cult, how gangs of a few dozen can generate enough power to do miracles of Lanbril.  The correct answer is, of course, that they *steal* it. Anyone initiated to Shadow Lanbril can attend any religious ceremony and steal some of the power for Lanbril.  If a sacrifice is made, Lanbril gets a cut.  If you do this right, the spirits of retaliation won't find you.  Of course, if you've irritated Lanbril and you blow this trick, you are going to be in trouble.  So don't blow it!

Perhaps Lanbril's most annoying (to non-Lanbrili) power is the power to steal other Gods' miracles.  This requires a heroquest and can backfire.  The most common Shadow Lanbril quest is 'Lanbril Steals Orlanth's Sandals of Flight'.  The one which makes outsiders the most nervous is 'Lanbril Steals Eurmal's Pants'.  Even most Lanbrili aren't sure what that one does and they don't want to find out, really.

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17 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

I think the cult writeup from Pavis is the only significant source.

Yes, that's the source, largely repeated in subsequent Pavis works including the HQG Pavis: Gateway to Adventure. There really isn't anything of significant difference between the presentations.

17 hours ago, Soccercalle said:

I have a Lanbril PC in my group and the player is interested in getting more powers and secret knowledge thru heroquesting.

As noted in his mythos: "When other gods worked with magic and power, he rejected these in favor of physical skill and covert manipulation. He cultivated Disorder, and worked to, attain the illusion that all was right until repair was impossible and he had made his escape. Lanbril did invent a magic of his own, to confound the pursuit of his victims, and to confuse those suspecting his presence."

If you think about the range of skills that Lanbril uses (Act, Disguise, Voice Mimicry, etc), the most important heroquests would be along the lines that @soltakss noted above - it's all about Mastery of these seemingly mundane skills. I picture the ultimate Lanbril thief very much along the lines of Scott Lynch's Locke Lamora (see his "The Lies of Locke Lamora" and subsequent volumes). These thieves are skilled at mimicking others: LM sages, Ernalda priestesses, Orlanth warriors, etc. Which means they want to 1) carefully watch their targets; 2) learn enough of relevant skills (R/W language, Bureaucracy, Cult Lore, Worship, etc.) to pass themselves off in that capacity; 3) quest to see their target's deities so they can use that knowledge to manipulate others. 

The quests are not necessarily to steal/gain magic items on quests, but to thoroughly impersonate others so they can gain goods in the mundane world.

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I like to imagine that the Lanbrili have their own variation on lots of other cults' myths where one of the side characters was actually Lanbril in disguise and sneakily stealing something while everyone's attention is on the main action. Infiltrating other cults rituals and quests also allows them to sneakily leverage other cults' and communities' magical resources for their own ends, though this is not without risks.

What did "Ginna Jar" steal from the underworld while Orlanth & Yelm were posturing? Only the Lanbrili know.

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 I also think that they obtain their magitech gadget secrets by heroquesting to the Fall of Zistorwal and impersonating the Mostali confiscating contraband items.

Edited by JonL
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6 hours ago, JonL said:

 I also think that they obtain their magitech gadget secrets by heroquesting to the Fall of Zistorwal and impersonating the Mostali confiscating contraband items.

As the fall of the Clanking City occurs within Time, I would not allow heroquesting to that. What I would do is find the God Time equivalent. The Plundering of Aron might be one such, or the ancient Machine Wars against the Mostali.

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6 hours ago, jajagappa said:

As the fall of the Clanking City occurs within Time, I would not allow heroquesting to that. What I would do is find the God Time equivalent. The Plundering of Aron might be one such, or the ancient Machine Wars against the Mostali.

Oh, but Orlanth intervening within Time to strike down Zistor overlaps God Time there, much like the Battle of Castle Blue. It makes for an interesting contrast in the outcomes between Orlanth slaying the upstart deity in the former case, yet failing in the latter.

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6 hours ago, JonL said:

but Orlanth intervening within Time to strike down Zistor overlaps God Time there, much like the Battle of Castle Blue.

Orlanth exists within Time and without, as does the Sun or the Red Moon. Gods can be summoned and act within Time, though it weakens or breaks the Compromise. But you still can't quest back into the past.

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How Lanbril stole death might be an interesting one - find someone who is hero questing somewhere on the trickster stole death then passed it around cycle and steal death from them. Death is separation, such as separation of people from their belongings, or separation of people's abilities and powers from their person, so a Lanbril thief in possession of a piece of death would be terrifyingly capable - maybe even able to steal heroic abilities, as Lanbril stole  magic from the gods in godtime. 

Edited by EricW
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On 6/22/2023 at 8:18 AM, JonL said:

What did "Ginna Jar" steal from the underworld while Orlanth & Yelm were posturing? Only the Lanbrili know.

I mean, if Lanbril was any one of the Lightbringers, surely he'd be Flesh Man?

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6 hours ago, Leingod said:

I mean, if Lanbril was any one of the Lightbringers, surely he'd be Flesh Man?

But the suggestion is not that Lanbril was a Lightbringer but that by “stealing myths” (which should be interpreted freely), Lanbril performed acts usually attributed to other gods (or not usually attributed to anyone, but if you dig deep it will seem that anyone but Lanbril did it).

[extremely dubious pseudo-explanation consigned to an oubliette]

Spoiler

Methods of myth-stealing include:

  • retcon
  • disguise
  • retcon + disguise
  • spraying the room with molten handwavium
  • “look, over there, a jabberwock!”
  • “well, I could tell you how I did that, but then I would have to …”
  • anything supremely devious you can dream up at your table

It is a game of Snakes and Spiders with Lanbril as the most accomplished double-goer. Actually being the other god is left for lesser creatures: Lanbril wouldn’t stoop to that, leaving it to “heroquesters” and other worms. (As I understand it, the modern conception of heroquesting is that it is not [redacted].)

The joy of theft by retcon is that “now” it is true that it has always been the thief that did it. When there are embarrassing lacunae in a god’s abilities — holes they can never explain: “I am a fire goddex, but I cannot even light a Swan Vesta” — Lanbril whispers from the nearest region of deep shadow that they can rent the embarrassed godlet the missing ability at a “reasonable” rate. Everyone keeps it on the down-low.

Spoiler

Don’t underestimate the deities who refused to cough up the cash for things that even the woman on the Clapham omnibus might reasonably expect:

  • Yelmalio & fire
  • Zorak Zoran & sanity
  • Annilla & intellect (or possibly potatoes)
  • Nysalor & life
  • Mallia & respect
  • Thed & skin

Lanbril didn’t even bother offering Orlanth temperance or modesty.

Why? Well, this seems like fun in a half-arsed “does this really hang together?” kind of a way, and it is [cough!] an explanation of why there is a dearth of well-known Lanbril myths; a dearth which — as soon as one’s attention is drawn to it — seems not only appropriate but obligatory.

Like a four-colour superhero of the old school, Lanbril is prone to discovering that they have long been able to x, even though they have shown no sign of this previously. Can the Lanbrili do this, too? Can they in RQ? Have they gotten together and performed en masse a blasphemous rite to port themselves to Blades in the Dark?

Young Glorantha creationist and notorious void cultist

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A Lanbrili idea came to me last night... pretty potent, I think, so IMHO it needs to be HeroQuested-for...

"False Worship"  (a new, Lanbril-exclusive Skill)
A Lanbril thief may study the lore & mannerisms of a Cult, and insert themselves as a "visiting" co-cultist from a far-distant city, and then attend worship, seek instruction, etc.  They may potentially learn virtually any "Cult Secret" this way.

If they have at least one Rune in common with the deity at 60% or better, they may offer False Worship of the deity (*).

This consists of attending worship service on an appropriate Holy Day, and performing a normal-seeming POW-sacrifice, thus gaining one of the specific Rune-Spells of the Cult.  However, this acts as a One-Use spell, with a temporary "Rune Pool".  Upon casting the spell, it is permanently-gone, as is(are) the Rune Point(s) used to cast it; but in fact, that Rune Point was never really "sacrificed" and regenerates in a day, as if it were a Magic-Point!

Once the pseudo "Rune Pool" is empty & all POW is back with the Lanbrili (a day later), the cult's Spirits of Retribution will not see such a Lanbrili as a heretic or apostate to be punished.  The Lanbrili shows no sign of any link or association with the cult, whatsoever; they are an "innocent bystander."

While in possession of the spell, with a Rune-Pool gained by False Worship, the spell acts in all ways as a regular Rune Spell & Rune-Pool for the Cult.  It may be cast as usual, Spell-Traded with Issaries, placed into a spell-matrix (n.b. this is an exception to the "one-use" nature of the stolen spell), etc etc etc.

If the Lanbrili has "fenced" the Rune-Spell to an Issaries, they regenerate the POW (just as if they had cast the spell) and (if their Rune Pool has dropped to zero) are then severed from that cult; but the Issaries still has the spell available to cast or trade again.



(*) there are rumors [by which I mean, I'm considering the mechanics for] some Lanbrili knowing a "Falsify Rune" method, whereby they appear (to all metaphysical tests, Second Sight, etc) to possess a rune that they do not possess.  This may be as simple as a set of spells, "Falsify Air," "Falsify Harmony," etc.  This would let a Lanbrili steal Rune Magic without even having one Rune in-common with the deity!!!

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10 hours ago, g33k said:

A Lanbrili idea came to me last night... pretty potent, I think, so IMHO it needs to be HeroQuested-for...

"False Worship"  (a new, Lanbril-exclusive Skill)
A Lanbril thief may study the lore & mannerisms of a Cult, and insert themselves as a "visiting" co-cultist from a far-distant city, and then attend worship, seek instruction, etc.  They may potentially learn virtually any "Cult Secret" this way.

If they have at least one Rune in common with the deity at 60% or better, they may offer False Worship of the deity (*).

This consists of attending worship service on an appropriate Holy Day, and performing a normal-seeming POW-sacrifice, thus gaining one of the specific Rune-Spells of the Cult.  However, this acts as a One-Use spell, with a temporary "Rune Pool".  Upon casting the spell, it is permanently-gone, as is(are) the Rune Point(s) used to cast it; but in fact, that Rune Point was never really "sacrificed" and regenerates in a day, as if it were a Magic-Point!

Once the pseudo "Rune Pool" is empty & all POW is back with the Lanbrili (a day later), the cult's Spirits of Retribution will not see such a Lanbrili as a heretic or apostate to be punished.  The Lanbrili shows no sign of any link or association with the cult, whatsoever; they are an "innocent bystander."

While in possession of the spell, with a Rune-Pool gained by False Worship, the spell acts in all ways as a regular Rune Spell & Rune-Pool for the Cult.  It may be cast as usual, Spell-Traded with Issaries, placed into a spell-matrix (n.b. this is an exception to the "one-use" nature of the stolen spell), etc etc etc.

If the Lanbrili has "fenced" the Rune-Spell to an Issaries, they regenerate the POW (just as if they had cast the spell) and (if their Rune Pool has dropped to zero) are then severed from that cult; but the Issaries still has the spell available to cast or trade again.



(*) there are rumors [by which I mean, I'm considering the mechanics for] some Lanbrili knowing a "Falsify Rune" method, whereby they appear (to all metaphysical tests, Second Sight, etc) to possess a rune that they do not possess.  This may be as simple as a set of spells, "Falsify Air," "Falsify Harmony," etc.  This would let a Lanbrili steal Rune Magic without even having one Rune in-common with the deity!!!

I like it but it may be too powerful. Like why bother being a Thanatari if you can just join Lanbril and steal similar power with far less risk?

Lanbril stole magic in god time. I think each act of theft should be a dangerous separate heroquest, so if you manage to steal Orlanth’s chariot, you get teleport - but good luck sneaking up on Orlanth!

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7 hours ago, EricW said:

but good luck sneaking up on Orlanth!

Your ally gets the blue boy to start talking about his favourite subject — himself and how great but underappreciated he is — then you steal Old Windypops’ chariot, because at that point you could steal his legs and he wouldn’t notice.

O is not exactly the sharpest tool in the box: “First Ernalda, Orlanth’s wife, was not present. This disturbed the god for the seat beside him was empty, and half of his conversations were with the unanswering empty space.” Violence is always an option for him, but I suspect that tying his own shoelaces … not so much. Eurmal told me that Old Breezy Breeks thinks that his initial “O” is for “awesome”.

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On 6/26/2023 at 7:07 PM, EricW said:

I like it but it may be too powerful. Like why bother being a Thanatari if you can just join Lanbril and steal similar power with far less risk?

...

The Thanatari just needs to go murderize someone... whoever, whenever.  Then they've got it all: spells, skills, everything... forever-ish, IIRC?

The Lanbrili needs to learn a Lore to quite a high level, then go on an extended infiltration to the temple of the target Cult, passing as One of Them., then wait for a Holy Day ceremony.  They only get, typically, 1-3 Rune Spells (depending on their Pow-Sac) which are Temporary (One Use) -- unless they further invest in spell-matrices to store them permanently.  They may also learn skills, but typically only to typical beginners' levels (they may show up as not really One of Them simply from not having any of those ancillary skills).  While holding the spells & rune-pool, the Lanbrili is subject to Cultic restrictions, and to Spirits of Reprisal, just as if they were a member of the Cult (leading to the interesting image of a Lanbrili "Fake Orlanthi" needing to do a Riddle Challenge with a Yelmie, offer to perform a service for Ernalda, etc).

As is often the case with "evil magic," Thanatar's is the quicker path to power.

Edited by g33k
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