Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
svensson

Outlaw or Underground Cults in the Lunar Empire

Recommended Posts

So I have an odd question about cults for the odd ducks in Lunar society... those who differ from the Seven Mothers, Red Goddess archetypes. You know, the criminals, the jokers,  the dissenters...

For the Storm cults we have Eurmal the Trickster for those in society who go against the grain. It's not an 'honorable' cult by any means, but it's accepted. Kind of like the drunk uncle at the family Christmas party, really. For the out-and-out criminal, there's even Gargath the Ill-Wind... he's in the family, but he's the one doing 10-to-15 for burglary and nobody actually likes him anyway...

There's even a couple of generic non-pantheon cults in Lanbril and the Black Fang Brotherhood, but these are fairly nasty mobsters and cutthroats.

Now, as I understand Lunar Empire it's core is overlaid on two cohabitant societies... the Solar [Yelmic] Dara Happans and  Pelorian Earth cultists along the Oslir River valley. In both pantheons, the closest thing to dissenter cults are Babeester Gor and Maran Gor, both of which would seem to be too violent for the Lunars to stomach in their Imperial core.

In the Lunar pantheon itself, we have only Danfive Xaron as a redeemer cult but nothing else.

Given the importance of magical institutions in Glorantha, where does the Lunar citizen go if he's a drunkard, or pickpocket, or jester, or whatever? The HeroQuest 1st ed. supplement 'The Lunar Handbook vol. 1' mentions a few names that I've never heard of, mostly cultural contexts, but give no details at all. And the obscure references there are not repeated in the Guide to Glorantha.

Anybody got thoughts on this?

Postscript:

Why such a weird question? Easy. Inspired by the Vostor pre-gen character, I thought it would be fun to put together a Lunar Army deserter who was from a family of smugglers... maybe an escapee from the Punishment Legions of Danfive Xaron. The concept is there, some of the mechanics are there [I'm having trouble deciding if Prior Experience ought to be Merchant or Thief], but run into a wall at magical skills or abilities. His version of 'honor' and 'heroic' ought to be WAY different than an Orlanthi or Seven Mothers cultist, but given how much a cult influences some of these decisions it's been a rough go to get the numbers crunched.

Edited by svensson
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, svensson said:

Given the importance of magical institutions in Glorantha, where does the Lunar citizen go if he's a drunkard, or pickpocket, or jester, or whatever?

Lodril - he revels in wantonness, drink, etc.

The river gods - they are always mercurial.

Others noted Orlanth and Veskerele. 

Ravenveg the Carrot God, who's likely just an incarnation of Eurmal.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Storm Bull is forbidden everywhere in the Lunar Empire, except for Bilini, I believe. Orlanth is forbidden everywhere, but bandits and thieves would worship him. Urain is forbidden, as he is worse than Storm Bull in a very bad mood.

The Spolites have a lot of forbidden Darkness cults, but they have not been described.

Monster Man is a forbidden cult, as it is the Rising Rebellion of the peasants of Dara Happa. The Cult of the Invisible Spear is a Lodril subcult that peasants use to learn spear combat in secret.

Krarsht and Thanatar are very forbidden cults but have their place.

Thief cults are generally forbidden, as are assassin cults. However, the rulers may well call on their services when required.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, metcalph said:

Bandits would worship Orlanth.

 

Bandits are quoted in KODP as worshiping Gargarth the Ill-Wind, who is the Storm patron of outlaws.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bohemond said:

Dara Happan thieves worship Veskerele the Faceless Man. 

He's the one I saw referenced in HQ's Lunar Handbook, but who is he? Do you have a reference for him anywhere that tells me something about the cult?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, svensson said:

The HeroQuest 1st ed. supplement 'The Lunar Handbook vol. 1' mentions a few names that I've never heard of, mostly cultural contexts, but give no details at all. And the obscure references there are not repeated in the Guide to Glorantha.

The HQ1 era supplements created lots of weird gods that, I believe, really didn't capture the Lunar way and have gone to the list of non-canonical sources. The best source for the Lunar gods currently is in the Glorantha Sourcebook.  And most of those are a veneer or supplement on top of the existing local cultures which are dominated by the Pelorian Earth religion (including Lodril), the Weeder folk of Darjiin and along the Oslir, etc.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Storm Bull is forbidden everywhere in the Lunar Empire, except for Bilini, I believe. Orlanth is forbidden everywhere, but bandits and thieves would worship him. Urain is forbidden, as he is worse than Storm Bull in a very bad mood.

The Spolites have a lot of forbidden Darkness cults, but they have not been described.

Monster Man is a forbidden cult, as it is the Rising Rebellion of the peasants of Dara Happa. The Cult of the Invisible Spear is a Lodril subcult that peasants use to learn spear combat in secret.

Krarsht and Thanatar are very forbidden cults but have their place.

Thief cults are generally forbidden, as are assassin cults. However, the rulers may well call on their services when required.

 

Well, as Labril shows, where thief cults are forbidden, they prosper. And the noble house Dart Competitions would keep an assassin cult going forever, much less the street level merchant wars or 'he knocked up my daughter' murders for hire.

Beyond that, it's hard for an Uroxi to stay hidden in the Empire. Pretty short career path, you know? Unless he wants to be banished to Dorastor or get an all-expenses-paid trip to the Punishment Legions.

Monster Man? Don't know that one.

Good points with Krarsht and Thanatar.

Although I was aware of it, I totally forgot about Invisible Spear. I see that as a resistance cult against the Yelmic high-handedness of the Dara Happans, but it still fits within the bounds of my questions.

Edited by svensson
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

The HQ1 era supplements created lots of weird gods that, I believe, really didn't capture the Lunar way and have gone to the list of non-canonical sources. The best source for the Lunar gods currently is in the Glorantha Sourcebook.  And most of those are a veneer or supplement on top of the existing local cultures which are dominated by the Pelorian Earth religion (including Lodril), the Weeder folk of Darjiin and along the Oslir, etc.

Is there a difference between the Glorantha Sourcebook and the Guide to Glorantha two volume set? I glanced at the guide at my FLGS, but upon seeing the same artwork repeated I just assumed I had the information in the larger set.

As for the HQ Lunar Handbook, thank God it was relegated to the 'Um, what?' file. There was a whole bunch of really bizarre stuff in there that made no sense. It seemed like it was written by a committee with no chairman.

Edited by svensson
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, svensson said:

Is there a difference between the Glorantha Sourcebook and the Guide to Glorantha two volume set? I glanced at the guide at my FLGS, but upon seeing the same artwork repeated I just assumed I had the information in the larger set.

The Gloranthan Sourcebook is for 13th Age Glorantha and is the introduction to Glorantha for that. For us old fogeys, it is mostly a rehash of previous material, with a fair amount of new stuff, but for people new to Glorantha it is far more useful and approachable than the Guide to Glorantha.

I'd recommend getting the Gloranthan Sourcebook first and then, if you like what you see and want to know more about Glorantha, get the Guide to Glorantha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, svensson said:

Monster Man? Don't know that one.

It was in the Lodril writeup in White Wolf magazine, I think. I liked the writeup, but some people didn't. 

Lodril Priests can sacrifice to Monster Man if the peasants are being oppressed. Once Monster Man is invoked, his POW builds up as more and more peasants join him/sacrifice to him, until he becomes a demigod who challenges the Lords of Dara Happa in a Peasant's Revolt. When he is no longer needed, he disappears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, svensson said:

He's the one I saw referenced in HQ's Lunar Handbook, but who is he? Do you have a reference for him anywhere that tells me something about the cult?

As others have said, the only sourcebook that mentions his cult is no longer canonical. If you're looking to flesh out his cult for campaign purposes, my guess is that he might have Darkness and either Disorder or Illusion as his runes (he's an underworld god and Darkness gods make logical sense for a god of the Dara Happan criminal underworld; Illusion is just a guess based on his 'Faceless Man' identity, but Disorder also makes sense. I would see him as a god of con-men, burglars, fences, and the like, rather than a god of bandits or violent criminals. But that's mostly just me guessing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, svensson said:

Monster Man? Don't know that one.

aka Deshkorgos, Keeper of the Fourth Hell, but in some guises Lodril as Keeper of the Third Hell.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, svensson said:

Is there a difference between the Glorantha Sourcebook and the Guide to Glorantha two volume set

Yes.

The Glorantha Sourcebook contains the myths of the pantheons of the Gods (including the Lunar), as well as the complete History of the Lunar Empire, and more.  It's a good grounding from a cultural perspective.

The Guide is effectively the gazetteer for all of Glorantha, plus good summaries of the competing cultures and the Elder Races, plus some broad summaries of the ages of the world and hints at the upcoming Hero Wars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

the only sourcebook that mentions his cult is no longer canonical.

Not correct - he appears in both GRoY and the Guide, so he is fully canonical. 🙂

GRoY notes (p.9) Veskerele. God of the Second Hell. Shown on Gods Wall IV-6.

In reference to the latter, he is among the deities of the 4th Row, the deities of Below: (p.62) Veskerele. The faceless God of Second Hell. 

The latter repeats in the Guide (p.678) IV-6. Veskerele. The faceless God of the Second Underworld and Keeper of the Second Hell.

He dwells in: Veskerelgat. The God Caves. These are the places that can be reached only by heroes, holy men, madmen, and fools. The lesser deities of the Earth live here.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Not correct - he appears in both GRoY and the Guide, so he is fully canonical. 🙂

GRoY notes (p.9) Veskerele. God of the Second Hell. Shown on Gods Wall IV-6.

In reference to the latter, he is among the deities of the 4th Row, the deities of Below: (p.62) Veskerele. The faceless God of Second Hell. 

The latter repeats in the Guide (p.678) IV-6. Veskerele. The faceless God of the Second Underworld and Keeper of the Second Hell.

He dwells in: Veskerelgat. The God Caves. These are the places that can be reached only by heroes, holy men, madmen, and fools. The lesser deities of the Earth live here.

I don't think Veskerele is worshiped by thieves.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jeff said:

I don't think Veskerele is worshiped by thieves.

Certainly not noted in the canonical sources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Not correct - he appears in both GRoY and the Guide, so he is fully canonical. 🙂

GRoY notes (p.9) Veskerele. God of the Second Hell. Shown on Gods Wall IV-6.

In reference to the latter, he is among the deities of the 4th Row, the deities of Below: (p.62) Veskerele. The faceless God of Second Hell. 

The latter repeats in the Guide (p.678) IV-6. Veskerele. The faceless God of the Second Underworld and Keeper of the Second Hell.

He dwells in: Veskerelgat. The God Caves. These are the places that can be reached only by heroes, holy men, madmen, and fools. The lesser deities of the Earth live here.

Right. What I meant is that the details about his cult in Dara Happan society are no longer canonical. 

Edited by Bohemond

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Gods Wall IV-6

Love the reference to the Wall. IMG unregulated worship of anyone below II-25 is "unlawful" if not actively wicked by Dara Happan standards so would make a great outlaw religion depending on how nasty you want the character to be and the nature of his specific grievance. In my experience there isn't a lot of room for theology in these lifestyles but they collect a lot of spirit magic.

Another vote for a Lodrilite with points sacrificed to Monster Man here, by the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smugglers could be in the province of an otherwise immaculate trade god, possibly one not directly from around here - i.e. Issaries. Finding a path where there should be none, free trade with no respect for arbitrary regulations, all of that may be an imperial crime or high treason, but it is all within the mandate of the free trader.

The thief and burglar could be some form of Orlanth - bypassing the court protocol several times to disturb the peace of the Emperor, absconding with his concubine. Probably came in secret for trysts before he slew the emperor, too.

Another great catch-all for the Lunar underbelly are the mobs of Lunar zealots from the lowest tiers of society who follow agitators. Such mobs existed even before the Goddess - several such are mentioned in the Fortunate Succession, often in connection with Illuminated wisdom dispersed (and diluted) to the crowd. While the Anabaptists of Münster are an incident from the turn of the medieval world to the modern world, the entire event had some Old Testament feel to it, also in the punishments for the leaders. Lunar cities have been on the brink of such outbreaks quite often. It is not just the White Moonies who attract weird crowds, the Blood Sun might, too. Add in some Victor Hugo's Paris (Notre Dame de Paris, Les Miserables), again not really period appropriate, but very human stories, hence quite timeless.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The thief and burglar could be some form of Orlanth - bypassing the court protocol several times to disturb the peace of the Emperor, absconding with his concubine. Probably came in secret for trysts before he slew the emperor, too.

 

In Dara Happa it would make sense that Orlanth as Niskis would be a problem. In Dara Happan culture, he would be seen as a shameless seducer and adulterer who tries to corrupt women and humiliate their fathers or husbands. He might serve as a model for trouble-making young men to express their frustration against the rigid patriarchal structure of society. (In many urban areas of late medieval Europe, young men used seduction of women as a weapon against rival families and older men they disliked, a la Romeo and Juliet, so there's a good RW parallel for that.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Bohemond said:

Dara Happan thieves worship Veskerele the Faceless Man. 

I've really not seen any evidence for Veskerele being a thief god.  

Edit: Since others have made the above point, i'll expand.  There's no mythology about him and the only reference is an off-the-cuff comment that Greg made in the foreword of Thieves Arm.  If I had to hazard a guess, I'ld say he is one of the Many in Hell.  

Edited by metcalph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, svensson said:

Bandits are quoted in KODP as worshiping Gargarth the Ill-Wind, who is the Storm patron of outlaws.

But that's the Orlanthi themselves, not the Dara Happans/Pelorians.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×