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Yanafal Tarnils


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So, I just suddenly found myself caught up in a game of Heroquest Glorantha and am looking for info on the cult of Yanafal Tarnils for my character, an lunar-supporting Esrolian bodyguard. To be specific, I'm not looking for info on the Seven Mothers subcult, I need information on the cult dedicated solely to Yanafal because I'm pretty sure the Hero Wars writeup of him is outdated. So far what I know is that he's basically a Lunar version of Humakt, though with some focus on the military rather than just being about individual fighters, is followed by most Lunar commanders and infantry, and that he has access to some sorcery.

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Practically the only additional tidbits are:

1) He was known as "Ram and Warrior".  Expected some ram-related war magic and ram helmets.  

2) He was one of the Arrows of Light.  At that battle, he was the wielder of Fury, which may be his scimitar or some Lunar berserk magic.

3) His cult has since developed the ability to create vexilla - bascially combined forces magic.

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Ram helmets, yes. Not so sure of much directly ram related magic. I suspect it’s just an indication that he follows a particular Yuthupan custom.  

The Seven Mothers sub-cult of Yanafals is basically an entry path into the Yanafals for missionary converts, but it’s an entry path to more or less the same cult. Treat them as a Seven Mothers initiate (as per HeroQuest Glorantha or Pavis book) that has the Empty Half Moon phase, and is an initiate of Yanafals as a Lunar Immortal.

So they have access to Darkness and Death magic, both through their Lunar phase and also Death directly. They most use Lunar Evocations that mimic divine magic to cast fear (Darkness) and combat magic, and also have access to Darkness and Death based Lunar sorcery for more specialised combat magic. They can use their Death Power for more or less everything that Humakt can, only their direct Sever Spirit is weaker. 

It is also useful to read the Lives of Sedenya part 3, which details Yanafals part in the Goddess quest, and why Yanafals has conquered Death (and so may be resurrected). He can also use his Darkness Rune to confront Darkness - this may reflect both his wandering sin the underworld, and his status as one of the Four Arrows of Light, able to confront Carmsnian Darkness magic. 

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As any Lunar can, they can use their Lunar Rune as Chaos, but they then are expelled from the cult unless they are Illuminated. 

And of course their swords are curved, not straight. 

I do not think they normally get access to any of Humakts Truth magic, though it may be common for them to access Truth Powers once they are Illuminated and may use the magic of other phases. 

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Yanafal Tarnils is called “Ram and Warrior” in the old rituals. He was an exiled Carmanian nobleman living in Yuthuppa who still ruled his lands. He later defeated his master, Humakt, in battle and became War God for the Lunar pantheon.

Yanafal Tarnils was responsible for bringing the Lunar Way to the Dara Happan army. He also organized new Lunar regiments to replace destroyed Dara Happan units. Most importantly, he transformed the Army Headquarters into Corps Headquarters, and he instituted the Battle Groups, with their sacred headquarters and vexillae.

His cult resembles Humakt’s cult in most respects, though it is less narrow-minded. High honor and bravery are upheld by the Yanafal Tarnils soldiery.

Yanafal Tarnils is worshipped by both officers and many enlisted men in the regiments (although the officers also often worship Polaris).

One significant factor of the Yanafal Tarnils units (designated as the Modern Lunar tradition) is that they can receive the “normal” Lunar magic. This is different from previous military magic, and is the result of Yanafal Tarnils and his worship.

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8 hours ago, davecake said:

Ram helmets, yes. Not so sure of much directly ram related magic. I suspect it’s just an indication that he follows a particular Yuthupan custom.  

I think the Ram Magic is not from Yuthuppa but Carmanian in origin as the Bull Shahs were ruling at the time.  Hence actual ram magic seems appropriate.

Another possibility which just occurred to me is the worship of the Iron Ram.

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Over and above standard "YGWV" disclaimers, "outdated" is especially relative here.  The Lunar material has been through several iterations, each contradicting as much as it adds, and sometimes appearing to row back in the original direction.  So who knows, the new old might be the old new.  I'd advise just using what you find best, and drifting it in whatever direction appeals...

With regard to the 7M version of the cult and the full/Heartland one, my intuition would be that the Humakt-like angle is greatest in the former, for the very reason of presenting a compatible face to converts.  The worship elsewhere will resemble Humakt less, whether or not they're truly related at any deep level.  Having said which, somewhat like Humakt but moving in the direction of 'soldier' and 'officer' (and by implication, somewhat away from 'solo killing machine') isn't a terrible starting point, either, absent much in the way of definitive detail otherwise.

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6 hours ago, metcalph said:

I think the Ram Magic is not from Yuthuppa but Carmanian in origin as the Bull Shahs were ruling at the time.  Hence actual ram magic seems appropriate.

Another possibility which just occurred to me is the worship of the Iron Ram.

I think extrapolating an entire ram magic tradition that is literally never mentioned anywhere in any of the various descriptions of the cult from Cults of Prax through to HeroQuest Glorantha, or in the description of any other cult, and does not fit into any of the mythical or runic associations of the cult, just because it is used as an epithet, seems to me to be a stretch at the very least. 

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Just now, davecake said:

I think extrapolating an entire ram magic tradition that is literally never mentioned anywhere in any of the various descriptions of the cult from Cults of Prax through to HeroQuest Glorantha, or in the description of any other cult, and does not fit into any of the mythical or runic associations of the cult, just because it is used as an epithet, seems to me to be a stretch at the very least. 

There has never been a complete description of the cult of Yanafal Tarnils anywhere.  At best there has been shortform descriptions of varying quality.  So the argument from silence hardly applies.

I hence find the suggestion that a major epithet of Yanafal Tarnils should be interpreted allegorically to be rather odd given that pretty much the epithets for the other seven mothers are not.  

 

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1 hour ago, Alex said:

Over and above standard "YGWV" disclaimers, "outdated" is especially relative here.  ....

With regard to the 7M version of the cult and the full/Heartland one, my intuition would be that the Humakt-like angle is greatest in the former, for the very reason of presenting a compatible face to converts.  The worship elsewhere will resemble Humakt less, whether or not they're truly related at any deep level.  Having said which, somewhat like Humakt but moving in the direction of 'soldier' and 'officer' (and by implication, somewhat away from 'solo killing machine') isn't a terrible starting point, either, absent much in the way of definitive detail otherwise.

The HQG and Pavis book versions of 7 Mothers are both quite recent, and quite similar, so I'd tend to stick with them for now, at least until RQG comes out. 

Recent writings (eg the Lunar history from the Glorantha Source book from the 13th Age kickstarter) is that Yanafal is still very much considered an ex-Humakti who has battled his previous God directly, but of course it is Carmanian Humakt, and there may be many details in attitude between them and the Heortlings we are used to. 

Quite likely the difference between the 7M version and the Heartland one, apart from the 7M one recruiting via conversion of Humakti rather than directly (which obviously will have an effect on their abilities and attitudes) is that the Heartland version acts more as an officer corps as you say, and trends much more towards using the sorcerous magic of the cult, which are probably also mostly Lunar battle manuals, especially the Forty Nine Strategems grimoire mentioned in the Pavis 7M writeup. 

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17 minutes ago, metcalph said:

There has never been a complete description of the cult of Yanafal Tarnils anywhere.  At best there has been shortform descriptions of varying quality.  So the argument from silence hardly applies.

While technically true, the cult has been written about, both as part of the Seven Mothers and separately, for multiple editions and rules sets, and I think this is literally the first time I can recall anyone ever making your suggestion that its a sheep cult, let alone in any official source. 

 

26 minutes ago, metcalph said:

I hence find the suggestion that a major epithet of Yanafal Tarnils should be interpreted allegorically to be rather odd given that pretty much the epithets for the other seven mothers are not.  

This is an extraordinarily silly thing to say. So, 'Spindle Hag' - so, its about... spinning yarn? 'Bridge of the Seeker' - the Danfive Cult and magic is about literal bridges, as in the architectural feature? 'Brown Man' - Irrippi Ontor magic somehow literally involves the colour brown? 'Binder Within' is not to be interpreted as a metaphor about unity, but literally about tieing things up? 

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53 minutes ago, davecake said:

While technically true, the cult has been written about, both as part of the Seven Mothers and separately, for multiple editions and rules sets, and I think this is literally the first time I can recall anyone ever making your suggestion that its a sheep cult, let alone in any official source. 

We weren't talking about Yanafal within the Seven Mothers, we were talking about Yanafal Tarnils as a stand alone cult.  And I didn't say it was a sheep cult, I said he had access to ram magics.  Your memory notwithstanding, I have made this suggestion in the past.  And given the only official source of Yanafal Tarnils by himself happens to be the somewhat desperate shortform in ILH-2, the silence on his ram magics in the official source is not that persuasive.  

  

53 minutes ago, davecake said:

This is an extraordinarily silly thing to say.

Y'know if you didn't like the idea then the wiser thing to do would have been to ignore it rather than wasting time with hyperbolic dismissals.  

 

 

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Yanafal Tarnils Writeups

  • Cults of Prax - Seven Mothers
  • Gods of Glorantha Box 5 - Seven Mothers
  • HeroQuest - Imperial Lunar Handbook 2 - Cult of Yanafal Tarnils
  • Tales of the Reaching Moon - Tales #17  - Cult of Yanafal Tarnils (#16 & #17 go thru each of the 7M)
  • Heroquest - Pavis Gateway to Adventure - Cult o Seven Mothers with YT as sub-cult

The last 3 probably offer some useful insight.

 

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Pavis GtA was the publication where we hammered out how Lunar magics work and what magics were available to cultists. HeroQuest Glorantha contains basically the same text with a few minor errors corrected. So looking at page 192 of HQG you can see that the Subcult is associated with the Empty Half Moon and replaces  Death and Darkness runes.

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Magic: Evocations, Glamours, Grimoires 

Darkness: terrifying one's foes or confronting Darkness  

Death: combat or battle Strictures: Be honorable in all thoughts

 

The immortal cult of Yanafal Tarnils is the War cult of the Empire. 

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His subcult resembles Humakt's in most respects, though it is less narrow-minded in its devotion to Death and Truth. High honor and bravery are upheld by the Yanafal Tarnils subcult

Pavis GTA also tells us of his grimoires 

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The Yanafal Tarnils cult possesses several military grimoires containing spells for war and battle. The most famous of these is the Forty-Nine Stratagems (Empty Half Moon) (attributed to Yanafal Tarnils himself).

 

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

Pavis GtA was the publication where we hammered out how Lunar magics work and what magics were available to cultists. HeroQuest Glorantha contains basically the same text with a few minor errors corrected. So looking at page 192 of HQG you can see that the Subcult is associated with the Empty Half Moon and replaces  Death and Darkness runes.

The immortal cult of Yanafal Tarnils is the War cult of the Empire. 

Pavis GTA also tells us of his grimoires 

 

Reduced to bare essentials, Yanafal Tarnils was a Humakt cultist prior to birthing the Red Goddess. Essentially, he provides a subset of Humakt's magic to the Lunar Empire.

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

Reduced to bare essentials, Yanafal Tarnils was a Humakt cultist prior to birthing the Red Goddess. Essentially, he provides a subset of Humakt's magic to the Lunar Empire.

Even though his title is Ram and Warrior, I would be surprised if he has any specifically ram magic. If I recall that is a reference to his martial ardour (rams being seen throughout Peloria as war-loving). That being said, he may have had an awesome horned helmet.

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I agree with @Jeff - no ram magic, but probably a cool horned helmet (and even if he didn't have one, is probably now regularly depicted with one). I like the idea that it is a symbolic reference to his warlike nature. It makes total sense that rams would be seen as a symbol of war (and yes, most of the epithets of the Seven Mothers are symbolic). 

The helmet is almost certainly a commemoration of the battle between Urvairainus and the Ram People. Either a custom of the warriors (officers?) of the warriors of the Northern Oslir region (including Yuthuppa were Yanafal is said to be from) of commemorating the victory by wearing the hats (and image of the sacred Iron Ram) they stole from their conquered enemies, or deliberate invocation of the ancient enemies by Carmanian conquerers (though the latter seems unlikely, given that Urvairainus beat them soundly).  

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1 hour ago, Caras said:

Does Yanafal Tarnils have a spell Kopis Trance or Scimitar Trance? I quess it has very much similar runespells as Humakt.. But Sever Spirit only One-Use. But how about Trance spell?

iirc he provides something of that nature to the Seven Mothers, so I'd think so. It's basically sword trance but restricted to kopis.

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1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

iirc he provides something of that nature to the Seven Mothers, so I'd think so. It's basically sword trance but restricted to kopis.

i wonder if Lunarite Death runes are curved in shape like a yatağan/kılıç

(Yanafal uses the kopis because He is a god who wants a sword that hits like an ax, but it's barely curved. The iconic curved swords of the Lunars are not the heavy infantry clobbering kopides, which were butchery tools adapted for war, but the skirmisher, light infantry, and cavalry swords with an actual crescent shape to them!)

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38 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

i wonder if Lunarite Death runes are curved in shape like a yatağan/kılıç

(Yanafal uses the kopis because He is a god who wants a sword that hits like an ax, but it's barely curved. The iconic curved swords of the Lunars are not the heavy infantry clobbering kopides, which were butchery tools adapted for war, but the skirmisher, light infantry, and cavalry swords with an actual crescent shape to them!)

A backronymic/folk etymology micromyth: Yanafali use curved blades because when Humakt tried to slay his apostate follower, his sword bent.

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21 minutes ago, Eff said:

A backronymic/folk etymology micromyth: Yanafali use curved blades because when Humakt tried to slay his apostate follower, his sword bent.

While that sounds cool, I'm going to assume it's the same "it's crescent so moon lol" logic we see with the Sables and who knows what else.

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2 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

While that sounds cool, I'm going to assume it's the same "it's crescent so moon lol" logic we see with the Sables and who knows what else.

Well, that's why I specified folk etymology- it's not true (probably), but it's something people would tell themselves without the knowledge of the sacred mysteries of Sedenya that explain why curved blades. Fortunately or not, my suspicions in that area are that it's related to human sacrifice (see also the myth in the Entekosiad where Jaganatha appears to inform the High Gods that their rule will end because they have refused to allow human sacrifice...)

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