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Sean_RDP

Lunar Marines

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So I am working on the background for the Red Sky at Night campaign I am going to run. I have determined that I want to make the characters Lunar marines. The Lunar navy (as I understand it) is relatively new and not that big. The basic premise of the campaign's start is that these are 3 to 7 (number to be determined) Lunar soldiers / sorcerers or what have you that were part of a far outpost and when everything goes to hell, they have to make it back home without any help. Across a world that is pretty damn hostile to them right now. 

After puttering around a bit, I thought that a group of marines, part of a group set to look out on a small island near Corflu (or somewhere else) would find themselves in need of getting home without their ship and their unit (company).  

To make a Lunar Marine, really just a soldier roped into naval service because they can swim, I decided to modify the Light Infantry Warrior a bit. I am sticking with the book material mostly to make it easier for new players. But may expand a bit as needed. 

  • Unit Weapons: Javelin, 1H Weapon, Medium Shield ( but might a small shield be more appropriate?)
  • Homeland: Lunar Tarsh (I thought they would have all been recruited there, but Other Suggestions?)
  • Occupational Skills: add Boat +10%, Swim +10%, Shiphandling +15% (Should I drop any skills?)
  • Cults: Seven Mothers (Other suggestions?)

I do not see any other changes that would be needed; I can always have rope lying around should they need it.

Unit

Ship: Red Scar of Corflu; CO: (rank?) Dajath Skymarked

Marine ship's company of 35 + 1 officer. Unit name: Scorpion (company / cohort / something) - Divided into seven bands of five (ish); CO Ahreza Pripas

Squad: Dark Moon Band - 1 (npc) leader Hegesh Oromod

TL:DR Backstory. The ship was laid up for repairs and this whole unit (The Scorpions) were assigned to an island look out post. Then the stuff happened. 

 

So any thoughts are appreciated.  

 

 

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If the ship doesn't work, how are you planning them to get off the island and flee back to Lunar Tarsh? (That's what I'm understanding the premise of your campaign to be, anyway.)

Yanafal Tarnils might be a good additional choice for your players, so they aren't all locked to one cult. There's an old writeup for him in an issue of Tales of the Reaching Moon which I've... found, and is pretty good. Dunno if you can find it licit-ly, but taking Humakt and calling it Yanafal Tarnils should serve closely enough. Same honorable war god stuff, though not anti-undead and anti-resurrection.

Yelm's also a reasonable choice; there's some Yelm-worshipping nobility among the Lunars, even in Tarsh I think. A Lunar noble worshiping Yelm who got wrangled into service could be an interesting character, if players want more on-theme variety. (I'm thinking the fop upper-class officer trope from TV and movies.)

I'd let players who want to be sorcerers use the Philosopher occupation, or at least get the additional Rune + Technique.

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Both Yelm and Yanafal are officer cults, whereas I understood the premise to be more on the non-com and grunt level of soldiery. Actually, pretty close to the very small core of survivors of the Black Company after they left the sorcerers' service in the north.

Seven Mothers, a Pelorian river god (e.g. the Black Eel, inheriting much of the Engizi cult) from around Mirin's Cross, a Lunar monitor or two (the magic-support squad members, Odayla - all of this would be found in Sylila or the Provinces and might be detached to naval duty.

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8 hours ago, Sean_RDP said:

So I am working on the background for the Red Sky at Night campaign I am going to run. I have determined that I want to make the characters Lunar marines. The Lunar navy (as I understand it) is relatively new and not that big. The basic premise of the campaign's start is that these are 3 to 7 (number to be determined) Lunar soldiers / sorcerers or what have you that were part of a far outpost and when everything goes to hell, they have to make it back home without any help. Across a world that is pretty damn hostile to them right now. 

After puttering around a bit, I thought that a group of marines, part of a group set to look out on a small island near Corflu (or somewhere else) would find themselves in need of getting home without their ship and their unit (company).  

To make a Lunar Marine, really just a soldier roped into naval service because they can swim, I decided to modify the Light Infantry Warrior a bit. I am sticking with the book material mostly to make it easier for new players. But may expand a bit as needed. 

  • Unit Weapons: Javelin, 1H Weapon, Medium Shield ( but might a small shield be more appropriate?)
  • Homeland: Lunar Tarsh (I thought they would have all been recruited there, but Other Suggestions?)
  • Occupational Skills: add Boat +10%, Swim +10%, Shiphandling +15% (Should I drop any skills?)
  • Cults: Seven Mothers (Other suggestions?)

I do not see any other changes that would be needed; I can always have rope lying around should they need it.

Unit

Ship: Red Scar of Corflu; CO: (rank?) Dajath Skymarked

Marine ship's company of 35 + 1 officer. Unit name: Scorpion (company / cohort / something) - Divided into seven bands of five (ish); CO Ahreza Pripas

Squad: Dark Moon Band - 1 (npc) leader Hegesh Oromod

TL:DR Backstory. The ship was laid up for repairs and this whole unit (The Scorpions) were assigned to an island look out post. Then the stuff happened. 

 

So any thoughts are appreciated.  

 

 

The Lunar Empire doesn't have a Navy as an independent service branch. The situation resembles the later Roman Army. The naval troops that invaded Karse from Corlfu were part of the Provincial Army, but they could have been originally from the Heartlands Corps like the troops serving in Pavis. The penteconters that patrol Oslir have soldier-rowers as crew, and are part of the Provincial Army or the Heartlands Corps. Some nobles could have their own war ships too. And if you want you can use smaller ships than penteconters. A marine is just someone who serves as a soldier on a ship, eg. the Greek hoplites that served on triremes weren't specially trained for it, they were just normal militiamen assigned for duty on ships. YGMV and you can make a small, less known cult, some hero cult perhaps, that specializes on naval warfare and boarding actions. Maybe the cult could have a spell that helps with jumping or climbing in heavy armour.

 

23 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Both Yelm and Yanafal are officer cults, whereas I understood the premise to be more on the non-com and grunt level of soldiery. Actually, pretty close to the very small core of survivors of the Black Company after they left the sorcerers' service in the north.

Seven Mothers, a Pelorian river god (e.g. the Black Eel, inheriting much of the Engizi cult) from around Mirin's Cross, a Lunar monitor or two (the magic-support squad members, Odayla - all of this would be found in Sylila or the Provinces and might be detached to naval duty.

All officers in the Lunar Army must be members of the cult of Yanafal Tarnils, but all members of the cult of Yanafal Tarnils aren't officers. Every Lunar soldier must be at least a lay member of the cult in fact. And in the traditional Yelmic Regiments the rank and file soldiers are also worshippers of Yelm.

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6 hours ago, Crel said:

If the ship doesn't work, how are you planning them to get off the island and flee back to Lunar Tarsh? (That's what I'm understanding the premise of your campaign to be, anyway.)

I think that is the general idea, though IF they get there and how will be up to them.  As for how they get off the island, there will be a few options once things go south. For instance perhaps the island is a landmark for fishermen who have their boats out. The characters could bribe, threaten, or just steal one of those. The island might be accessible (ish) at low tide? That could make for an exciting escape. If the outpost is attacked, the attackers might have boats of their own.  I do not intend to make it easy, but options will exist. 

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3 hours ago, Brootse said:

The Lunar Empire doesn't have a Navy as an independent service branch. The situation resembles the later Roman Army. The naval troops that invaded Karse from Corlfu were part of the Provincial Army, but they could have been originally from the Heartlands Corps like the troops serving in Pavis. The penteconters that patrol Oslir have soldier-rowers as crew, and are part of the Provincial Army or the Heartlands Corps. Some nobles could have their own war ships too. And if you want you can use smaller ships than penteconters. A marine is just someone who serves as a soldier on a ship, eg. the Greek hoplites that served on triremes weren't specially trained for it, they were just normal militiamen assigned for duty on ships. YGMV and you can make a small, less known cult, some hero cult perhaps, that specializes on naval warfare and boarding actions. Maybe the cult could have a spell that helps with jumping or climbing in heavy armour.

Right, that is the way I read it to. I am also researching "marines" from other cultures in human history that might (or might not) offer some ideas. This group was basically chosen because they had some skill with water, swimming, or boating already. 

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Alright, that makes sense. I just figured that it was worth asking if you had some boat ideas in mind.

If you're looking for ancient marines, I recommend Thucydides's The Peloponnesian War. Apart from the fact that I'm a total Hellenophile, it has plenty of decent accounts on ancient maritime warfare which, when reflecting, make sense to my mind as how the Lunar Empire might act. Plus it's also a half-decent read in most translations.

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2 hours ago, Crel said:

If you're looking for ancient marines, I recommend Thucydides's The Peloponnesian War. Apart from the fact that I'm a total Hellenophile, it has plenty of decent accounts on ancient maritime warfare which, when reflecting, make sense to my mind as how the Lunar Empire might act. Plus it's also a half-decent read in most translations.

No, anything Hellenic comes from a long naval tradition, something the Lunars definitely lack. Even the Spartans used to have a navy and founded (failed) colonies in the Tripolis area.

If anything, you should look at the Roman navy in the Punic Wars. The Romans were at that time a land power without much knowledge about ships or naval warfare. Just like the Lunars, who know about river barges and moon boats, and that's about it.

6 hours ago, Brootse said:

All officers in the Lunar Army must be members of the cult of Yanafal Tarnils, but all members of the cult of Yanafal Tarnils aren't officers. Every Lunar soldier must be at least a lay member of the cult in fact. And in the traditional Yelmic Regiments the rank and file soldiers are also worshippers of Yelm.

The traditional Yelmic regiments have officers who are initiates of Yelm. The rank and file worships sons of Yelm.

There are a few Yelmic Second families whose economic reality makes it near impossible to maintain cult obligations, and who might enter yelmic regiments. If they are initiates of Yelm, they are accepted administrators or officers (usually staff rather than rank and file).

Most Heartland troopers are lay members of a couple of Imperial cults, but initiated to none (or maybe to something like the RQ3 "Yelm the Youth" which was basically a lay member who had sacrificed a point of POW for the afterlife benefits at the adulthood rites). That makes quite a few of them Daka Fal cultists, but absent family members, this doesn't really give them much help when fighting abroad.

Lunar soldiery will have a greater amount of initiates than the Heartland norm, but I would be astonished if they reached a 50% quota. Typical Yelmic martial cults are Hastatus (Yelmalio without all the baggage of Hill of Gold) and Sagittus (Golden Bow).

Heartland Lunars might include illuminated initiates of the Red Goddess. Of the other immortals, Yanafal, Irrippi, Deezola, Etyries, Jakaleel and Hon-eel probably are the most encountered initiates.

Provincial Lunars (including Sylila and Oraya) are more likely to initiate to a specific deity than the mostly sheltered Heartlanders, and Provincial forces probably consist mainly of initiates. The Seven Mothers cult will dominate.

Officers' cults are named such because to join you have to prove that you are officer material. In the Heartlands, that's pedigree. In the provinces, ability probably plays a role. An officers' cult won't necessarily welcome the hoi polloi in their cultic ranks. "If you want to initiate, initiate to the unit's deity!"

The Lunar military command structure is fairly unspecific at lower ranks.We know about Fazzur's staff, but we don't know whether a patrol leader is an officer or a man from the ranks who has risen as far as he can expect (the equivalent of the Roman Centurio). I can see a lot of "master sergeants" interpreting the commands of their noble officers to the least damaging outcome. This has been a rule in civilized warfare for millennia.

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10 hours ago, Sean_RDP said:

Right, that is the way I read it to. I am also researching "marines" from other cultures in human history that might (or might not) offer some ideas. This group was basically chosen because they had some skill with water, swimming, or boating already. 

I was inspired by the Muses and found a name for the Hero of the hero cult: Arlee Ermeus.

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

No, anything Hellenic comes from a long naval tradition, something the Lunars definitely lack. Even the Spartans used to have a navy and founded (failed) colonies in the Tripolis area.

If anything, you should look at the Roman navy in the Punic Wars. The Romans were at that time a land power without much knowledge about ships or naval warfare. Just like the Lunars, who know about river barges and moon boats, and that's about it.

The traditional Yelmic regiments have officers who are initiates of Yelm. The rank and file worships sons of Yelm.

There are a few Yelmic Second families whose economic reality makes it near impossible to maintain cult obligations, and who might enter yelmic regiments. If they are initiates of Yelm, they are accepted administrators or officers (usually staff rather than rank and file).

Most Heartland troopers are lay members of a couple of Imperial cults, but initiated to none (or maybe to something like the RQ3 "Yelm the Youth" which was basically a lay member who had sacrificed a point of POW for the afterlife benefits at the adulthood rites). That makes quite a few of them Daka Fal cultists, but absent family members, this doesn't really give them much help when fighting abroad.

Lunar soldiery will have a greater amount of initiates than the Heartland norm, but I would be astonished if they reached a 50% quota. Typical Yelmic martial cults are Hastatus (Yelmalio without all the baggage of Hill of Gold) and Sagittus (Golden Bow).

Heartland Lunars might include illuminated initiates of the Red Goddess. Of the other immortals, Yanafal, Irrippi, Deezola, Etyries, Jakaleel and Hon-eel probably are the most encountered initiates.

Provincial Lunars (including Sylila and Oraya) are more likely to initiate to a specific deity than the mostly sheltered Heartlanders, and Provincial forces probably consist mainly of initiates. The Seven Mothers cult will dominate.

Officers' cults are named such because to join you have to prove that you are officer material. In the Heartlands, that's pedigree. In the provinces, ability probably plays a role. An officers' cult won't necessarily welcome the hoi polloi in their cultic ranks. "If you want to initiate, initiate to the unit's deity!"

The Lunar military command structure is fairly unspecific at lower ranks.We know about Fazzur's staff, but we don't know whether a patrol leader is an officer or a man from the ranks who has risen as far as he can expect (the equivalent of the Roman Centurio). I can see a lot of "master sergeants" interpreting the commands of their noble officers to the least damaging outcome. This has been a rule in civilized warfare for millennia.

Greek hoplites weren't fishermen and wouldn't have known anything about sailing. Hellenic-like marines will fit the Lunar Empire well. And Sean_RDP, if you want to make your Lunar marines be a special unit where the members have some sort of boating background, that's fine too, because the Lunar soldiers are equipped by the state, unlike the greek hoplites. Maybe one of the requirements could be a high Water rune too?

I don't get why some people keep on insisting that most people in Glorantha are lay members instead of initiates, nothing in Runequest books support this.

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29 minutes ago, Brootse said:

I was inspired by the Muses and found a name for the Hero of the hero cult: Arlee Ermeus.

A pic of him:

9um5EAC.jpg

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41 minutes ago, Brootse said:

 

I don't get why some people keep on insisting that most people in Glorantha are lay members instead of initiates, nothing in Runequest books support this.

For me it is this quote from page 269 in the RQG book

"Most who belong to a cult are lay members, without any authority or position within the cult."

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2 minutes ago, sladesy said:

For me it is this quote from page 269 in the RQG book

"Most who belong to a cult are lay members, without any authority or position within the cult."

Hah, well that is a big change. Ok, I looked at the temple sizes, and now the minimum size includes the lay members too. I wonder where the lay members go after death? I think I'll make a thread about lay members.

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18 minutes ago, sladesy said:

For me it is this quote from page 269 in the RQG book

"Most who belong to a cult are lay members, without any authority or position within the cult."

This is on page 73 and seems to be the way RQG is intended, based on every NPC in the GM screen adventures being initiates:

"Nearly every adult is initiated into the cult of a specific deity."

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7 minutes ago, Narl said:

This is on page 73 and seems to be the way RQG is intended, based on every NPC in the GM screen adventures being initiates:

"Nearly every adult is initiated into the cult of a specific deity."

I think these are two different initiations this article by Greg Stafford clears it up for me. http://www.glorantha.com/docs/orlanthi-initiation-rites/

I look at the fully initiated status as being an initiate level in the cult and obtaining rune points prior to that they would still be lay members

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11 minutes ago, Narl said:

This is on page 73 and seems to be the way RQG is intended, based on every NPC in the GM screen adventures being initiates:

"Nearly every adult is initiated into the cult of a specific deity."

Different regions have different levels of initiation. Many lay members, however, of a cult, are actually initiates of a different one. Everyone participating in the harvest festival, for instance, in Sartar, is a lay member of Barntar/Ernalda, except for the Barntar and Ernalda initiates proper and higher, adding up to 99% of the village (that one Humakti is probably sitting it out...)

Edited by jeffjerwin

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1 hour ago, Brootse said:

Greek hoplites weren't fishermen and wouldn't have known anything about sailing. Hellenic-like marines will fit the Lunar Empire well. And Sean_RDP, if you want to make your Lunar marines be a special unit where the members have some sort of boating background, that's fine too, because the Lunar soldiers are equipped by the state, unlike the greek hoplites. Maybe one of the requirements could be a high Water rune too?

I don't get why some people keep on insisting that most people in Glorantha are lay members instead of initiates, nothing in Runequest books support this.

 

9 hours ago, Joerg said:

No, anything Hellenic comes from a long naval tradition, something the Lunars definitely lack. Even the Spartans used to have a navy and founded (failed) colonies in the Tripolis area.

A big piece of why I recommended Thucydides is also that I figure it'll be more interesting reading than some other sources :P. There's very much a point where too much information is a bad thing, but an entertaining historical document which is vaguely on-topic could be a pleasant source of inspiration, I reckon.

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11 hours ago, sladesy said:

"Most who belong to a cult are lay members, without any authority or position within the cult."

11 hours ago, Narl said:

"Nearly every adult is initiated into the cult of a specific deity."

Both are true.

If everyone is an initiate of one cult and a lay member of two others, then two thirds of cult members are only lay members of that cult. If everyone is a lay member of four other cults, then 80% of cult members are only lay members.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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5 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:
16 hours ago, sladesy said:

"Most who belong to a cult are lay members, without any authority or position within the cult."

16 hours ago, Narl said:

"Nearly every adult is initiated into the cult of a specific deity."

Both are true.

If everyone is an initiate of one cult and a lay member of two others, then two thirds of cult members are only lay members of that cult. If everyone is a lay member of four other cults, then 80% of cult members are only lay members.

I mistakenly posted my reply to this in the questions thread, where it has been deleted.

Anyway, your average clansman in Orlanthi or similar (e.g. Yelmalian) society is initiated to one or maybe two cults (not counting spirit cults), or primarily an ancestor worshipper, and lay member to just about all of the dozen deities that your clan relies on for their annual magics.

Your average Pelorian citizen may be initiated to a specific deity, although possibly rather in a spirit cult temporary way, as Pelorians are known to drop worship for inefficient cults and to march on towards more efficient ones. For their afterlife connection, they might rely on Ancestor worship - that would explain Duke Raus of Rone, a nobleman from Kostaddi and ancestor worshipper.

Pelorian godtalkers probably still are initiated to their deity, although the Yelmic lesser priesthood that oversees the rites for the acceptable cults might be the ones to do all the magical heavy lifting. In that case, it would be interesting to learn how the deity's magical blessings - formulated as rune spells - would be cast on the attending worshippers.

 

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Back on the marines in the Roman empire there was an actual 'marine' legion - but then they had a lot of sea to police - which the Lunars really don't - in fact I'd say the Corflu to Karse expeditionary force would have just involved hiring any vaguely seaworthy vessel that came into port and packing troops aboard them rather than the Lunars building actual warships. 

As for your Lunars stranding them at Corflu with just a regular ship raises the question of where can they go? - not just Sartar and Prax but the whole Holy Country is in revolt so the only way back to the empire by sea would be the very long way round to Sog City and through Arrolia - which could be an epic campaign.

But for that the last thing you want is any sort of galley - galleys need to be beached or find a friendly port every night as they can't carry enough food or above all water for all those rowers.

And the last place you would want to beach a galley to look for supplies is along the coast of Prax.

It would make more sense for me if the 'marines' (who could be a random set of survivors from the Lunar army and the odd civilian - an Etyries trader would be useful as would a 7 mothers missionary) just hijacked a small trading ship and sailed rather than rowed it west.

In fact as the river of cradles is navigable all the way to Pavis have them hijack a trading ship as the city falls and flee down the river to Corflu fighting off angry Praxian pursuers all the way - hell have them kill a Khan's favourite son so a pack of Praxians vow to hunt them down and hijack their own ship at Corflu...

Once you get past the enemy territories of Kethaela you could actually run it as something like a classic Traveller campaign with the players having to take on all sorts of dodgy missions and do a bit of trading to keep themselves fed and their ship seaworthy and keep ahead of any pursuers.

There is also quite a lot of material - whether it is still 'canonical' or not hardly matters - about the Wenelian coast and the Trader Princes including a whole Heroquest campaign book that can be easily converted to RQG. 

In fact the more I think about the more attractive such a campaign looks...

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On ‎10‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 2:36 PM, Sean_RDP said:

Right, that is the way I read it to. I am also researching "marines" from other cultures in human history that might (or might not) offer some ideas. This group was basically chosen because they had some skill with water, swimming, or boating already. 

Most Lunar 'marines' serve in the riverine fleet, so researching Roman riverine forces is probably more helpful than looking at sea warfare. Admittedly, some of the rivers in Peloria are massive, but Roman forces on the Rhine and Danube are likely to be a better fit. Lunar river forces are liable to be confronted by new experiences: tides; the fact that the open sea goes on into a distant haze - they'd be used to seeing both banks of the river most of the time; the water is salty; finding a safe haven in a storm is much more difficult.

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It always surprised me that the Dara Happans and Lunars didn't have a navy, as the Oslir and its tributaries flow through their Empires.  I know the Lunars have a long-standing feud with the Waters and Riverfolk, but no Lunars on boats? Seems odd to me.

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

It always surprised me that the Dara Happans and Lunars didn't have a navy, as the Oslir and its tributaries flow through their Empires.  I know the Lunars have a long-standing feud with the Waters and Riverfolk, but no Lunars on boats? Seems odd to me.

The Guide says they have A river navy of sleek, oar-driven penteconters and biremes patrol the Four Rivers and their tributaries.

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