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EricW

How Do Chaos Fighting Cults Feel about Arkat the Destroyer?

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I understand, but I'm saying that if someone can turn against their greater order/cult due to personal conviction or allegiances, it's hypothetically possible for them to have had a hostile intention all along.

Undergoing the initiation rites and succeeding in them with a hostile intention will be somewhat hard. These rites are deeply immersive quests, baring the self of the initiee to the deity.

Hostile intent to the specific priesthood of the place of initiation won't be a problem, but hostile intent to the cult object will be difficult to overcome.

 

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Don't like it for flavor reasons and lack of precedence? Sure, no worries. But it's not impossible, is it? Religion in Glorantha is about observing cultic practices, after all, not the Lutheran notion of deep personal faith.

For the Initiate, his cult is about becoming like his deity or becoming his deity, at least in special instances (when carrying or enacting the magic of the deity). The lay members and associates may be ok with just observing the cult practices and sacrifices.

Divine magic is the magic of being, not of having or knowing. You have to be the Storm to cast a Lightning, even though it is reduced to an ability roll on your runic score in RQG or HQG.

You can always be the storm with the wrong allegiances. Sylilan sky bear worshippers might be able to "infiltrate" Orlanth after proving that their deity is as much an aspect of the Storm King as the local form.

Edited by Joerg
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Noted.

I'm somewhat influenced by anthrpological writings on religious practices, where the issue of personal conviction is essentially a kind of "Chinese room" that is impossible to decipher, or rather, the difference between pretending to be convicted and actually being convicted is not outwardly appreciable, so therefore socially nonexistent.

In a universe where spirits and gods can genuinely read your mind or what have you, things are clearly somewhat different.

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

You can always be the storm with the wrong allegiances. Sylilan sky bear worshippers might be able to "infiltrate" Orlanth after proving that their deity is as much an aspect of the Storm King as the local form.

Hon-Eel loved exploiting reciprocal "earth mother" initiation wherever she could find it. If enough lightning (or whatever the right omen might be) will "convince the examiners" that you're one of them, infiltration is trivial.

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On 2/25/2019 at 8:57 PM, EricW said:

It seemed a very natural thing for an illuminate to do when I read it. Nobody but an illuminate could infiltrate a chaos cult without getting busted by divination or detect enemy, especially a paranoid knowledge cult like Thanatar or any of the Lunar cults.

Actually, illumination offers you no protection against divination or detect enemies.  It only protects you from spirits of retribution.  It is quite possible for illuminates to be someone's enemy and be detected as such, and divination will work on them too, except it is expensive and most people won't bother unless there is a good reason to waste your divine magic that way this season.  Does Thanatar even get divination except via hijacking someone's brain?  I can't remember.

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4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Actually, illumination offers you no protection against divination or detect enemies.  It only protects you from spirits of retribution.  It is quite possible for illuminates to be someone's enemy and be detected as such, and divination will work on them too, except it is expensive and most people won't bother unless there is a good reason to waste your divine magic that way this season.  Does Thanatar even get divination except via hijacking someone's brain?  I can't remember.

According to RQ3 "Lords of Terror", Divination cannot determine that an individual is illumined or has become an apostate. However "Dorastor Land of Doom" says Divination is effective on an  illuminated individual, insofar as his actions affect the appropriate cult.

So pick your sourcebook ;-).

I think I have an answer to my question though, the general feeling is Lunars would not be using illuminates to infiltrate rebels, even during the troubled spy infested age described in "Orlanth is Dead", and the Lightbringer rebel groups would never be tempted to use illuminates to infiltrate the Lunars.

Edited by EricW
Fixed a typo

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16 hours ago, EricW said:

According to RQ3 "Lords of Terror", Divination cannot determine that an individual is illumined or has become an apostate. However "Dorastor Land of Doom" says Divination is effective on an  illuminated individual, insofar as his actions affect the appropriate cult.

So pick your sourcebook ;-).

I think I have an answer to my question though, the general feeling is Lunars would not be using illuminates to infiltrate rebels, even during the troubled spy infested age described in "Orlanth is Dead", and the Lightbringer rebel groups would never be tempted to use illuminates to infiltrate the Lunars.

Yes, well, ask your divination question carefully (as if that was news to anyone).  Detect Enemies is potentially the end of most Gloranthan spy plots when you think about it. I wonder how many cults surreptitiously cast Detect Enemies on prospective new members?  Most, I would guess.

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On 2/21/2019 at 3:16 AM, EricW said:

Arkat the Destroyer's illuminated followers infiltrate chaos cults like local Thanatar nests, learn their secrets, then use that information to help destroy the temple and kill the chaos worshippers.

The main danger of this is that the infiltrators can go native and become the horrors that they are trying to destroy.

In Dorastor, I had an Angel who had come down to Nysalor's Bright Empire to prove that she could not be corrupted by Gbaji. She became an Angelic Vampire, with power over Light and Darkness.

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Looking at it from another perspective, we have examples of Illuminated Chaos Cultists infiltrating normal cults, so why not have it the other way around?

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6 hours ago, Darius West said:

Yes, well, ask your divination question carefully (as if that was news to anyone).  Detect Enemies is potentially the end of most Gloranthan spy plots when you think about it. I wonder how many cults surreptitiously cast Detect Enemies on prospective new members?  Most, I would guess.

You could play it that way, but my thinking is "detect enemy" just seems too simple a solution.

How could illumination ever have presented a threat to Glorantha if a simple "detect enemy" spell can detect a dark side illuminate who wants to loot your cult for its powers? I mean the whole Gbaji thing would have been over in five minutes - "guys, you need to cast detect enemy on any prospective initiate".

Take the following description of an illuminated Humakti who got transformed into a scorpion queen, from "The Cults of Dorastor":

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Rana was born a human of the Bilini tribe, a tomboy in a clan chief's household. When her father refused to allow her to join the Vingans, she severed her ties with her family, and joined a Humakti mercenary troop. She eventually became a Sword, and came to lead her own company. She earned a reputation and a good living by escorting merchants through the dangerous lands, and her group became much in demand after several successful trips through Dorastor. At some point she became illuminated and embraced the way of Lunar civilisation, though she remained devoted to Humakt.

Finally Rana's luck ran out. The caravan she guarded was ambushed by scorpion men and all were slain, save Rana, who was captured and chosen by the queen K'Zara, for the Ritual of Rebirth. When K'Rana hatched, she remembered her former life, but illumination shielded her from madness. Concealing her memories from K'Zara and the tribe, she grew to adulthood, and became a favoured bodyguard of the old queen. When K'Rana judged herself ready, she challenged K'Zara, winning easily. She devoured the old Queen and assumed leadership of the tribe. Unfortunately she also assumed K'Zara's chaotic features. K'Rana mastered the philosophical conflicts of her twin natures (Scorpion Queen and Sword of Humakt), then began to teach her people the ways of Humakt.

Few of her tribe were promising pupils. Most became initiates (and now support a shrine), but K'Rana hoped her children would be smarter. Her first hatchlings were of human intelligence, but her second clutch produced a group of bestial siblings, barely above animals. In dreams she consulted K'Zara's memories, and the curse of the Folk was revealed to her : Bagog is a beast by nature, and has intelligent children only when she devours people. While Scorpion Men can eat each other, this only staves off loss of intelligence for a few generations. Her first clutch produced superior children because she devoured K'Zara, wisest and strongest of the tribe.

In the three years since she became queen, K'Rana has increased her tribe's status, though it remains one of the smaller tribes in Dorastor. She renewed her ties with the Etyries merchant, trading information and escort through Dorastor for goods difficult for the folk to obtain (e.g. metal armour and weapons).

 

My point is, if a non illuminate casts "Detect Enemy" on an illuminate, how do they make sense of the answer? Rana believes she is a good Humakti, she doesn't think using her scorpion queen poison tail is an issue because its part of her. She also didn't have a problem with reconciling her faith in Humakt with her conversion to the "Lunar Way". She could probably use a scimitar without feeling bad about it, without letting it bother her - because she is an illuminate. No matter what outrages she perpetrates, she thinks she is doing the right thing, her intentions in her own mind are always good.

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4 hours ago, EricW said:

My point is, if a non illuminate casts "Detect Enemy" on an illuminate, how do they make sense of the answer?

It is pretty simple, Detect Enemies tells if there is a mutual or one-sided desire to harm or exploit (which is a form of harm). I have always included groups the caster hates as detected enemies. Illuminates definitely want to exploit the cult, and show up like any other con artist.  It isn't about the moral compass of the agent, it is about the intent to harm, and that isn't suddenly confused by illumination. The real question is, does countermagic actively or passively block detection spells i.e. can the person casting the detect tell that their spell is being blocked or not.  I think the answer is probably that countermagic is passive, and that you can't tell it has been blocked.  Of course that means that cults that give Detect Enemies spells are going to be far harder to infiltrate though.  They include Barbeester Gor, Daka Fal, Humakt, Hykim & Mikyh, Issaries, Lhankor Mhy, Malia, Orlanth, Pamalt, Storm Bull, Thed, and Yelm; probably others too, but no majors.  Cults that offer Countermagic include Aldrya, Asrelia, Daka Fal, Etyries, Hykim and Mikyh,  Issaries, Kyger Litor, Malia, Pamalt, Thed, and Waha.  I would suggest that cults like Lanbril, Trickster, Krarsht, and Black Fang seriously need Countermagic as a simple matter of survival.  They also need to learn the words to Detect Enemies so they can use their superior Dex SR to fast cast a point of countermagic when they hear someone casting detect enemies.  It has often been said that being a spy is a bit like getting leprosy, in that you are constantly performing checking routines on yourself for marks and signs in an anxious and paranoid fashion.  It is all part of tradecraft.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

The real question is, does countermagic actively or passively block detection spells...

And the real answer to this in 'current' RAW of RQG, is "No." It has been officially clarified that the rulebook's mention of Detection spells as being something Countermagic protects from is erroneous.

You need Detection Blank or something to stay under that particular radar.

However, I feel that Illumination would protect a Cult infiltrator to some extent. Detect Enemies is a pretty personal spell. I don't think it would detect someone who only had malicious intent towards an institution that was precious to the caster, and it would only detect such intent on a person other than the caster, in the case of Find Enemy. So unless the infiltrator was a bit indiscriminate in their attentions, they'd pass the test: "I bear no wish to harm the examiner, and learning cult secrets for my use doesn't actually cause them any harm." I see Illuminates as being very practised at compartmentalising their motives and attitudes, and that's a skill spies also need.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

Of course that means that cults that give Detect Enemies spells are going to be far harder to infiltrate though.

RQG gives Find Enemy to a lot more cults than that, too. So 'being an enemy' of the Cult you're trying to join would be a stopper for most Cults, if detect spells were that capable.

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

They also need to learn the words to Detect Enemies so they can use their superior Dex SR to fast cast a point of countermagic when they hear someone casting detect enemies.

They'd also need a Heroquesting gift or something to be able to do that without the examiner noticing.

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8 hours ago, womble said:

They'd also need a Heroquesting gift or something to be able to do that without the examiner noticing.

Or they could use the False Form (?) Cacodemon spell, or its equivalent.

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10 hours ago, Darius West said:

It is pretty simple, Detect Enemies tells if there is a mutual or one-sided desire to harm or exploit (which is a form of harm).

This is one of the spells I'd love to see RQG integrate more closely into the Passions mechanics. It's a whole lot easier to simply scan all character sheets in range and return all relevant Hates . . . personal, situational / transactional (a potentially rich area of the rules), cult / homeland. Basically a way to weaponize ye olde Cult Compatibility Table. 

My suspicion is that if Illumination can fool Sense Chaos it also blanks binary "yes/no" empathy magic. Fortunately Mindspeech /Mind Link is off the books.

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

This is one of the spells I'd love to see RQG integrate more closely into the Passions mechanics. It's a whole lot easier to simply scan all character sheets in range and return all relevant Hates . . . personal, situational / transactional (a potentially rich area of the rules), cult / homeland. Basically a way to weaponize ye olde Cult Compatibility Table. 

My suspicion is that if Illumination can fool Sense Chaos it also blanks binary "yes/no" empathy magic. Fortunately Mindspeech /Mind Link is off the books.

IM (RQG) Glorantha, Passions do indeed serve as indicators of Enmity for the purposes of Detect/Find Enemy spells. Anyone in range who is a member of a "Hate [Group/Individual]" set, or has a Hate Passion that includes a set the caster/subject is a member of will register as Enemy, even if they are unaware of the caster/subject's existence. I'd say the same would apply if any of their Cultic relations were 'Hate' too. Illumination obscures Cult membership, though, so that element of the Detect would be defeated by Illumination, as would registering because the caster has a "Hate (Chaos)" Passion because Illumination obscures that element of your nature. 

Edit: It also, IMG, naturally includes anyone without any moral/prejudicial attitude who simply merely has the intent of inflicting significant harm on the caster/subject.

Edited by womble
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29 minutes ago, womble said:

IM (RQG) Glorantha, Passions do indeed serve as indicators of Enmity for the purposes of Detect/Find Enemy spells. Anyone in range who is a member of a "Hate [Group/Individual]" set, or has a Hate Passion that includes a set the caster/subject is a member of will register as Enemy, even if they are unaware of the caster/subject's existence. I'd say the same would apply if any of their Cultic relations were 'Hate' too. Illumination obscures Cult membership, though, so that element of the Detect would be defeated by Illumination, as would registering because the caster has a "Hate (Chaos)" Passion because Illumination obscures that element of your nature. 

Edit: It also, IMG, naturally includes anyone without any moral/prejudicial attitude who simply merely has the intent of inflicting significant harm on the caster/subject.

Illumination specifically allows people to hold contradictory passions. For example an illuminated disease master healer, like the Gbaji worshippers who secretly spread plague then “cured” the plague they themselves had spread, could love Malia hate Chalana Arroy, and love Chalana Arroy hate Malia all at the same time.

What does a lightbringer see when they cast “detect enemy” on an illuminated healer who is also a disease master?

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2 hours ago, EricW said:

Illumination specifically allows people to hold contradictory passions.

I didn't know Passions existed before RQG, and there's been no official treatment of Illumination in that incarnation of Glorantha yet, as far as I'm aware. The way I read Illumination, I feel an Illuminate could give up any Passion(s) they had previously held, once they attain Enlightenment.

2 hours ago, EricW said:

For example an illuminated disease master healer, like the Gbaji worshippers who secretly spread plague then “cured” the plague they themselves had spread, could love Malia hate Chalana Arroy, and love Chalana Arroy hate Malia all at the same time.

What does a lightbringer see when they cast “detect enemy” on an illuminated healer who is also a disease master?

To be clear on how Detect Enemies (DE) works: you cast it on yourself and it detects 'valid targets' within range, or you cast it on a specific valid target and it lets you track their location. Find Enemy only works in the first mode, but you can cast it on someone else, and use them as the origin for the range, and the reference for whether someone within range is an enemy or not.

In my Glorantha, if an Initiate of Chalana Arroy cast DE within range of anyone who had the Passion "Hate (Chalana Arroy Cultists)", it would detect them as enemies whether they were Illuminate or not, or whether they also had the "Love (Chalana Arroy Cultists)" Passion. If the Disease Master (who's Cult crops up as a "Hate" on the Cult Compatibility Matrix for Chalana Arroy) were not Illuminated, that, too would be cause for the DE to 'ping'. But Illumination masks Cult affiliations, so being Illuminated would protect a Disease Master who did not "Hate (Chalana Arroy)" from being detected by the spell as cast by a Chalana Arroy cultist.

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Chiming in on this rather RQ-mechanical discussion: If your Red Cow character has gained the "Hate Chief Broddi" passion for some previous hostile interaction between these two, will that person register as an enemy of Broddi every time the spell is cast, or does it only register when said character is prepped and ready to perform a kinslaying?

In my reading of said spell, it reacts to "killing intent". The two guardsmen half-dozing before the entrance to the holiest section of the temple aren't enemies as long as they are blissfully unaware of the breaking and entering party. Two other guardsmen already in pursuit of the party on the other hand are actively inimical. Yet another group of guards waking up to an alarm chime stepping up prepared to take on any intruder might register as they radiate a general readiness to get violent with everyone out of their place.

In the case of the Disease Master detected by the Arroyan, the person might be glossed over by the spell as long as he doesn't mean to harm the Arroyan personally, but any disease he carries might register on the Arroyan enemy radar.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Chiming in on this rather RQ-mechanical discussion: If your Red Cow character has gained the "Hate Chief Broddi" passion for some previous hostile interaction between these two, will that person register as an enemy of Broddi every time the spell is cast, or does it only register when said character is prepped and ready to perform a kinslaying?

In my (personal, current) interpretation, yes, that character would register as an Enemy if Broddi cast Det Enemies or anyone else cast Find Enemy with Broddi as the target. It's a reason why just being detected as an enemy isn't reason to just pre-emptively geek the detectee...

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

In my reading of said spell, it reacts to "killing intent". The two guardsmen half-dozing before the entrance to the holiest section of the temple aren't enemies as long as they are blissfully unaware of the breaking and entering party. Two other guardsmen already in pursuit of the party on the other hand are actively inimical. Yet another group of guards waking up to an alarm chime stepping up prepared to take on any intruder might register as they radiate a general readiness to get violent with everyone out of their place.

 I'd say it certainly does that as well.  For my money, the dozing guards would only register if either of them Hated or was Hated by the subject of the spell. The other sets you mention would definitely register. The ones on stand by playing cards wouldn't have registered until they heard the alarm. I don't see unconsciousness as a barrier to being detected, but it might be... I'd have to think about that.

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

In the case of the Disease Master detected by the Arroyan, the person might be glossed over by the spell as long as he doesn't mean to harm the Arroyan personally, but any disease he carries might register on the Arroyan enemy radar.

I don't think diseases are entities the Detect Enemies spell is meant to latch on to, personally. Maybe Disease Spirits; I'm not sure... I'd think that the spell would detect incomplete creatures like Undead (if the subject of the spell is Humakti, say), but I'm not confident that it would detect predatory animals aiming to lunch on the subjedt: they're not 'enemies' per se... though you could say the spell would consider them enemies... I think the enemy would have to be manifested if they were a spirit, to show on the spell, or Detect Enemies becomes a cheap Detect Spirit. Though you could say the same about Detect Undead... 

 

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On 3/2/2019 at 8:04 PM, womble said:

And the real answer to this in 'current' RAW of RQG, is "No." It has been officially clarified that the rulebook's mention of Detection spells as being something Countermagic protects from is erroneous.

So, where would I verify this please? Given that it is definitely in the RQG rules on page 258, where is the errata that changes that?   Are they planning a reprint?  Presently there is no Detection Blank spell.

Also, the Detect Enemies spell's  exact wording on page 259 is that it affects "any being intending to harm them, or it detects and locates a specific individual on whom he caster concentrates."  It doesn't require "killing intent" but an intention to harm, and that may also include harm to one's interests.  Many enemies never actually draw each others' blood after all.  or is this being retconned as well?

On 3/2/2019 at 8:04 PM, womble said:

RQG gives Find Enemy to a lot more cults than that, too. So 'being an enemy' of the Cult you're trying to join would be a stopper for most Cults, if detect spells were that capable.

Good point.  I forgot that spell exists.  On the other hand, would you really spend one of your tiny allotment of divine spell points for that?  Detect Enemies is far more economical.

On 3/2/2019 at 8:04 PM, womble said:

They'd also need a Heroquesting gift or something to be able to do that without the examiner noticing.

Or they whisper the spell under their breath and do any hand gestures behind their back.  It would be one of those times when a matrix under one's clothes would be valuable as that requires only the MP to activate. 

On 3/2/2019 at 8:04 PM, womble said:

However, I feel that Illumination would protect a Cult infiltrator to some extent. Detect Enemies is a pretty personal spell. I don't think it would detect someone who only had malicious intent towards an institution that was precious to the caster, and it would only detect such intent on a person other than the caster, in the case of Find Enemy. So unless the infiltrator was a bit indiscriminate in their attentions, they'd pass the test: "I bear no wish to harm the examiner, and learning cult secrets for my use doesn't actually cause them any harm." I see Illuminates as being very practised at compartmentalising their motives and attitudes, and that's a skill spies also need.

If detect enemies were a personal spell it would be next to useless.  How could you avoid an ambush with Detect Enemies if you don't know the ambushers personally if Detect Enemies were so personal as to require that?  Furthermore, clearly if a character has any positive passion towards their deity or temple, then a sleazy illuminated infiltrator is a threat to both.  I'd even say that if the institution is on the land of people you owe a loyalty towards (such as being on your clan's Tula) then an illuminate will detect as an enemy.

I think a competent illuminated infiltrator would opt for a more subtle approach.  They wouldn't approach members of cults that had detect enemies, and they would seek to ingratiate themselves wherever they could with their target through deeds that earn their trust.  They might ask questions about the target cult and express their admiration for their new friends and their deity's powers.  The aim is to receive an invitation to partake in the cult, because an invitation means a lot less vetting, and if you have done good deeds for the cult, it is a lot less likely that the deity can really say you are an enemy, as deities can't sense illuminates, only hostility.  The trick then is to genuinely befriend the cult and to genuinely change alleigances, just like Arkat did on multiple occasions.  Oh, but then later, he betrayed those allegiances because he was illuminated and a better offer came along.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

I think a competent illuminated infiltrator would opt for a more subtle approach.  They wouldn't approach members of cults that had detect enemies, and they would seek to ingratiate themselves wherever they could with their target through deeds that earn their trust.  They might ask questions about the target cult and express their admiration for their new friends and their deity's powers.  The aim is to receive an invitation to partake in the cult, because an invitation means a lot less vetting, and if you have done good deeds for the cult, it is a lot less likely that the deity can really say you are an enemy, as deities can't sense illuminates, only hostility.  The trick then is to genuinely befriend the cult and to genuinely change alleigances, just like Arkat did on multiple occasions.  Oh, but then later, he betrayed those allegiances because he was illuminated and a better offer came along.

There's also the "I'm originally from a feuding clan/tribe, so of course I detect as an enemy" excuse. You admit to being originally hostile to the hosts, but in the interest of the cult, you are overcoming those obstacles.

 

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

So, where would I verify this please? Given that it is definitely in the RQG rules on page 258, where is the errata that changes that?   Are they planning a reprint?  Presently there is no Detection Blank spell.

It's in the thoroughly inadequate "Runequest Core Rules Questions" thread. I think. It came up out of a looooong thread about Countermagic. Believe me or not. I could care very little less.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

Good point.  I forgot that spell exists.  On the other hand, would you really spend one of your tiny allotment of divine spell points for that?  Detect Enemies is far more economical.

If you're an Examining Priest, checking whether someone is fit to join the Cult, you absoulutely would, since your allotment of divine spells is greater than 'tiny', you can get them back pretty often and you may well not know Detect Enemies, no matter how economical. If you knew DetEn, sure, you'd consider using that instead, since it does the same thing.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

Or they whisper the spell under their breath and do any hand gestures behind their back.  It would be one of those times when a matrix under one's clothes would be valuable as that requires only the MP to activate. 

Magic is visible, not just the casting of it. If you cast a Countermagic or Shield, expect to glow or shimmer, or something. There's a thread about that going on somewhere today, I believe.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

If detect enemies were a personal spell it would be next to useless.  How could you avoid an ambush with Detect Enemies if you don't know the ambushers personally if Detect Enemies were so personal as to require that?  Furthermore, clearly if a character has any positive passion towards their deity or temple, then a sleazy illuminated infiltrator is a threat to both.  I'd even say that if the institution is on the land of people you owe a loyalty towards (such as being on your clan's Tula) then an illuminate will detect as an enemy.

You're defining 'personal' the wrong way. What the spell detects is Enemies who wish you harm. That's why it's personal. It doesn't detect them if they only wish harm to the person next to you, or to your Uncle or to the Tribal King to whom you are loyal. You don't even have to know they exist if they wish you harm (for whatever reason, which might include reasons that mean they don't need to know of your specific existence yet). It's personal from that direction. If you're being ambushed, it'd be a particularly focused ambusher who could close down the 'want to harm' list to only the people at whom they're actually aiming; the vast majority of participants in most ambushes will wish general harm to the whole party ambushed. Even an assassin aiming to strike down a specific person in a group will wish harm to those who impede them, or might impede them; it's probably a talent of successful assassins to be able to contain their ill-will so that a bodyguard's Det En won't ping them (which is why a good bodyguard might use an Extended Find Enemy cast on the principal).

 

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19 hours ago, womble said:

You're defining 'personal' the wrong way. What the spell detects is Enemies who wish you harm. That's why it's personal. It doesn't detect them if they only wish harm to the person next to you, or to your Uncle or to the Tribal King to whom you are loyal. You don't even have to know they exist if they wish you harm (for whatever reason, which might include reasons that mean they don't need to know of your specific existence yet). It's personal from that direction. If you're being ambushed, it'd be a particularly focused ambusher who could close down the 'want to harm' list to only the people at whom they're actually aiming; the vast majority of participants in most ambushes will wish general harm to the whole party ambushed. Even an assassin aiming to strike down a specific person in a group will wish harm to those who impede them, or might impede them; it's probably a talent of successful assassins to be able to contain their ill-will so that a bodyguard's Det En won't ping them (which is why a good bodyguard might use an Extended Find Enemy cast on the principal).

Okay, so lets resolve a couple of test cases...

(1) An orlanthi casts detect enemies within range of a party of sleeping Lunars whose watchman has fallen asleep too.  They have never met and neither side have any hatred passions, but their nations are at war and they are loyal to their nations. Do the Lunars show up as enemies.

(2) A humakti casts detect enemies on a group of hidden gagarthi bandits.  Neither party has seen or heard each other, but the spell is in range.  The gagarthi are cowards who are only interested in attacking weak prey, which the humakti is obviously not, but the humakti has been tasked with finding and killing the bandits.  Do the gagarthi show up as enemies?

(3) The same case again except that the humakti isn't looking for a fight but the gagarthi are, but neither side knows the other exists yet.

(4) Siblings A and B have flown into a rage with each other over imagined insults and blows fly.  A knocks down B and runs away to avoid trouble with the watch.  B wants to make peace.  A does not want to make amends and is now hiding from the watch.  If B casts detect enemies, will A show up as an enemy even though A wants to keep beating B up but has no intention of homicide?  Does A show up as an enemy?

(5) A shopkeeper notices a well dressed person lurking in part of their shop that is difficult to see, and suspects they are the disguised thief they have heard of.  This is true, but the thief is really not interested in harming the shopkeeper physically, only in stealing some inlaid silver boxes.  The shopkeeper is also terrified of the potential confrontation and would sooner let the thief run than actually fight them but fully intends to summon the watch.  They both cast detect enemies within seconds of each other, as the thief suspects that the shopkeeper is onto her.  Does either spell detect the other party as an enemy?

Edited by Darius West

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On 2/21/2019 at 4:16 AM, EricW said:

Arkat the Destroyer's illuminated followers infiltrate chaos cults like local Thanatar nests, learn their secrets, then use that information to help destroy the temple and kill the chaos worshippers.

How do Lightbringers and chaos fighting cults like Storm Bulls and Zorak Zoran react to this kind of skullduggery? Is there any possibility of at least limited tolerance for their activities? I mean, the Arkati are illuminates, they give power to chaos during the infiltration stage, but they help destroy chaos, providing information which might not be obtainable by other means, helping to gain access to hidden temples, improving the odds of success, helping to ensure none of the chaos scum survives the raid.

Without them, there would be more chaos. 

I certainly never heard of the cult of Arkat infiltrating cults like Thanatar. Although Arkat is NOT covered in the Gods and Goddesses book, his presence is certainly there. There's basically two cultic approaches to Arkat in the Third Age:

Arkat as a mystery cult. These cults are extremely secretive about what they believe, their initiation rites, and their ritual practices. They might march through the city in procession and offer praise to the Arkat, but then they go into their underground temple to perform their actual rites. Not even lay members know what goes on in there. Maybe they venerate the Invisible God, maybe they sacrifice humans, maybe they consort with Broos. Who knows? It is a mystery cult!

Arkat as the Sorcery God. Arkat took the secrets of sorcery from Brithos or Seshnela (pick one) and taught it to the cult. Otherwise it is similar to the mystery cult - everyone knows they practice sorcery, but otherwise their beliefs and rites are a mystery.

Other cults generally distrust Arkat. His cultists are weird, secretive, and most people have stories about how Arkat betrayed them over a thousand years ago ("Sold our ancestors to trolls," "performed human sacrifice in the Temple of the Invisible God," "allied with barbarians and monsters," etc.). These stories are well-known to everyone. The fact that the Arkati don't talk about what they believe only adds to the distrust.

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On 3/3/2019 at 6:42 AM, Joerg said:

In my reading of said spell, it reacts to "killing intent".

I like this. It brings a question about an abstraction - who is theoretically your enemy - down to something more immediate. Instead of saying "Yeah, so that dude pinged as an enemy, not sure why to be honest" you would go "I sense his blood-lust and killing intent towards us!" This is a lot meatier.

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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

I like this. It brings a question about an abstraction - who is theoretically your enemy - down to something more immediate. Instead of saying "Yeah, so that dude pinged as an enemy, not sure why to be honest" you would go "I sense his blood-lust and killing intent towards us!" This is a lot meatier.

I think if we think in terms of game play, we should probably keep "detect enemies" simple. If you cast "detect enemies", the spell detects enemies. I don't think it is necessary to nail the definition down too much, it detects people the players would reasonably identify as enemies, either now or later in the scenario - unless there is a good plot reason why they aren't enemies at the time the spell was cast, but became enemies later.

Having said that I think there is a case for suggesting illuminates get a pass from "detect enemies" style spells. Orlanthi think illuminates are chaos, so if you allow Orlanthi to sense illuminates using "detect enemies", you've effectively given them a "detect illuminates" spell, which doesn't seem right at all. 

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