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Desemborth the Thief Rune Magic

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Years ago, I made Rune Magic for many of the subcults presented in Storm Tribe, converting the listed feats into spells or skills. Here's Desemborth, the Thief subcult of Orlanth. If people find this useful, I have many more.

P.S. If there's a subcult you're interested in, let me know. If it appeals to adventurers, I probably did it.

 

DESEMBORTH THE THIEF

(God of Thieves)

Orlanth was the first thief.  Among other things, he stole the Sandals of Darkness from trolls, Lightning from the Fire Gods, and his wife, Ernalda, from Yelm.   Desemborth worshippers will never steal from their own clan.  Technically, stealing from strangers is not against the law, so Desemborth worshippers are not considered criminals.

Cult Personality Skills:  Loyal, Patient.

Desemborth Rune Levels are Rune Lords known as Sandals of Darkness.  They must have mastery in both Hide and Sneak.  They must have 3 additional cult skills at 90%+.  Skills can be chosen from Any Weapon Attack, Any Parry or Dodge, Mythology of Orlanth, Climb, Jump, Sleight, Conceal, Fast Talk, Listen, Search, Loyal, or Patient.  Sandals roll 1d10 for DI.

 

ILLUSION RUNE SPELLS

AVOID TRAPS (Rune Magic, Self, Stackable, 1 pt)  This spells gives the Sandal +25% to all applicable skill rolls to detect, avoid, or disarm traps.  Each additional pt gives an additional +25%.

INVISIBLE HAND (Rune Magic, Self, Stackable, 1 pt)  This spell allows the Sandal to use his Manipulation skills at range.  1 pt gives a 10m range.  Each additional pt adds +10m to the range.

NO SCENT (Rune Magic, Self, Stackable, 1 pt)  This spell makes it impossible to detect the Sandal by scent. 

DARKWALK (Rune Magic, Self, 2 pts)  This spell makes the Sandal invisible and inaudible in darkness.  Blend in is total.  Attacking or casting an offensive spell gives away the Sandals position but does not end the spell.

MOVEMENT RUNE SPELLS

SQUEEZE THROUGH GAP (Rune Magic, Self, Stackable, 1 pt)  On the casters next movement, he can pass through any gap in a barrier, no matter how small.  The caster can pass through up to 1/2 meters of barrier in this way.  Each additional pt doubles the thickness of a barrier that can be passed through.

WALK WITHOUT FOOTPRINTS (Rune Magic, Self, Stackable, 1 pt)  The caster leaves no footprints or fingerprints behind, not even in snow or mud. 

DESEMBORTH’S SECRET

WITHOUT A TRACE (Rune Magic, Self, Instant, 3 pts)  The caster vanishes without a trace on a gust of wind, escaping any pursuit, trap or prison.  No one sees the escape.  They simply find his cell empty or the noose dangling free or the track ending without explanation.  “We only looked away for a second!”   This is essentially a teleport spell which can be activated even when the Sandal of Darkness is unconscious or incapacitated.  After his miraculous escape, the Sandal of Darkness reappears at a time and place of the GM’s choosing (generally the closest safe spot to the place where he escaped).

Edited by RHW
Added Rune Lord qualifications
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On 3/15/2019 at 5:04 PM, RHW said:

NO SCENT (Rune Magic, Self, Stackable, 1 pt)  This spell makes it impossible to detect the Sandal by scent.

What's the point of stacking this?

On 3/15/2019 at 5:04 PM, RHW said:

WALK WITHOUT FOOTPRINTS (Rune Magic, Self, Stackable, 1 pt)  The caster leaves no footprints or fingerprints behind, not even in snow or mud.

Likewise.

Overall, I like this cult. I like how it feels vaguely trickster-y, without being "Oops I murdered the Thane again teehee." This feeling comes about particularly because of Without A Trace. I feel like that spell should be one-use; it's kind of a fixed-cost DI, really.

The name doesn't make sense to me. I see that it's an Orlanth sub-cult, but it feels weird that the cult worships "Desemborth the Thief" instead of "Orlanth Stickyfingers" or something like that, to follow the examples of Orlanth Thunderous, Orlanth Adventurous, Orlanth Rex, and so on. But the "stealing, using magical shenanigans" theme is strong, and I find it evocative for my imagination.

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27 minutes ago, Crel said:

The name doesn't make sense to me. I see that it's an Orlanth sub-cult, but it feels weird that the cult worships "Desemborth the Thief" instead of "Orlanth Stickyfingers" or something like that, to follow the examples of Orlanth Thunderous, Orlanth Adventurous, Orlanth Rex, and so on.

You missed "Vinga Adventurous" from that list.

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13 minutes ago, Crel said:

The name doesn't make sense to me. I see that it's an Orlanth sub-cult, but it feels weird that the cult worships "Desemborth the Thief" instead of "Orlanth Stickyfingers" or something like that, to follow the examples of Orlanth Thunderous, Orlanth Adventurous, Orlanth Rex, and so on. But the "stealing, using magical shenanigans" theme is strong, and I find it evocative for my imagination.

This is a name from the list of names of Orlanth (or portions of Orlanth) presented e.g. in the Stafford Library book Heortling Mythology p.7f, and was first published in the Hero Wars book Thunder Rebels (which introduced oodles of subcults, probably more than anyone asked for). On the other hand, the name-dropping of his foes like Lord Kavan who imprisoned him in the Ebon Cage or Elvor, the maker of the Sandals of Darkness, does give a little more hint of personality for the darkness foes this thief aspect accrued (although they, too, are likely to be titles or aspects of darkness deities better known by another name, such as Argan Argar).

A deity performing deeds under an alias isn't exactly unusual. When the deeds of the alias accumulate, it may be conceived as a separate entity, and possibly worshipped as such when the service to a community (or sub-community) becomes significant enough to warrant this.

Stealing goods or artifacts isn't exactly a high prestige form of theft. The high prestige goes to the cattle raider (going by the name of Finovan) who brings home palpable wealth instead of gimmicks and baubles. For the retreaval or absconding of clan or tribal regalia this subcult is the specialist you would go to.

Raiding cattle, stealing goods, or demanding tribute are all respectable forms of taking wealth from other clans, but they do have their repercussions. The theft of objects without harming anyone from the formerly owning community might put the lawspeakers to a quandary in terms of fines for a settlement. When a feuding clan is holding back due weregeld, breaking in to retrieve items of roughly commensurable value might even be a way for a weaker clan to satisfy their claims (and thereby their ancestors).

 

Thunder Rebels does give the Illusion rune for the Stealth feats, but I wonder how much that is congruent with the use of that rune in RQG. Avoidance of perception is more an antithesis to the elemental sense addressed rather than trickery, and might thus be used under the Storm Rune rather than the Illusion Rune as Storm has been in opposition to all other elements.

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A sub-cult with different runes and different Rune Lord requirements is interesting, but also problematic. No other cult has rune spells for runes that the main cult does not have, so from an RQG perspective that's tricky.

Can an Orlanth member, who joins the Desemborth sub-cult, then use his Illusion rune to case Common Rune spells?

Edited by PhilHibbs

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9 hours ago, Crel said:

What's the point of stacking this?

Sorry. That’s a house rules leftover. We got rid of Extension and Multispell, so each extra point of stack doubled duration or number of targets. Since this is a Self Only spell, stacking would double duration.

Edited by RHW

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9 hours ago, Crel said:

Overall, I like this cult. I like how it feels vaguely trickster-y, without being "Oops I murdered the Thane again teehee." This feeling comes about particularly because of Without A Trace. I feel like that spell should be one-use; it's kind of a fixed-cost DI, really.

I see it more as a limited Guided Teleport given the GM determines the reappearance time and place. Again, house rules stuff here, but the Secret of a cult is roughly equivalent in power to Sever Spirit or Resurrection, it’s harder to get than common Rune Magic and generally requires a Hero Quest to get. YGMV.

Another house rules thing, this is a subcult of Orlanth Adventurous, each character could choose only 1 subcult, so by following Desemborth, a PC is giving up most of the storm magic that a Destor devotee (Orlant Adventurous 1.0) gets.

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8 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

A sub-cult with different runes and different Rune Lord requirements is interesting, but also problematic. No other cult has rune spells for runes that the main cult does not have, so from an RQG perspective that's tricky.

Can an Orlanth member, who joins the Desemborth sub-cult, then use his Illusion rune to case Common Rune spells?

An artifact of Storm Tribes and no longer canon, but each subcult used to have their own unique Rune. I made Desemborth’s Ilusion, but it could be Darkness. And I’d say, no, no common Illusion magic allowed. Alternatively you could assign the Illusion magic to Storm (No Scent, Invisible Hand), or Movement ( Invisible Hand, Avoid Traps) or even Mastery (Darkwalk?) 

Edited by RHW
Eurmal messed with my spelling

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Any interest in more of these? I have dozens. Same thread or new thread for each?

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17 minutes ago, RHW said:

Any interest in more of these? I have dozens. Same thread or new thread for each?

New threads will ease finding the cult in the archives.

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15 hours ago, RHW said:

Alternatively you could assign the Illusion magic to Storm..., or Movement... or even Mastery (Darkwalk?) 

Mastery isn't a rune that people can have in RQG.

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8 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Mastery isn't a rune that people can have in RQG.

Clump it all under Mobility except Darkwalk, which is Darkness.

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In my Glorantha, there was only a single devotee of Desembroth in all of Dragon Pass, a slick sneak thief who occasionally helped the rebellion. Sartarite, early 30s, super mysterious. No one ever knew his real name and he always wore a mask, Dread Pirate Roberts style. People just called him the Sandal of Darkness. "Sandal" for short.

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On 3/17/2019 at 2:44 AM, Crel said:

What's the point of stacking this?

 

Overall, I like this cult. I like how it feels vaguely trickster-y, without being "Oops I murdered the Thane again teehee." This feeling comes about particularly because of Without A Trace. I feel like that spell should be one-use; it's kind of a fixed-cost DI, really.

The name doesn't make sense to me. I see that it's an Orlanth sub-cult, but it feels weird that the cult worships "Desemborth the Thief" instead of "Orlanth Stickyfingers" or something like that, to follow the examples of Orlanth Thunderous, Orlanth Adventurous, Orlanth Rex, and so on. But the "stealing, using magical shenanigans" theme is strong, and I find it evocative for my imagination.

With the new Runes and Passions augments, it might be possible to defeat spells. Certainly you'd want a couple extra magic points behind them to defeat magical detection.

There's logic on both sides of the 'stackable or not' argument.

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1 hour ago, svensson said:

With the new Runes and Passions augments, it might be possible to defeat spells. Certainly you'd want a couple extra magic points behind them to defeat magical detection.

There's logic on both sides of the 'stackable or not' argument.

I see the "Stackable" tag as saying add extra RP for extra effect. Ex: Extension 2, Extension 3, and so on. I don't see the noted spells as being stackable in that sense--although dumping MP into them definitely is important! But No Scent and Walk Without Footprints, as currently written, seem to act in a binary, Y/N? sort of way.

Could you explain your stance further? I don't understand how the augmenting system might overcome a spell's effect, when that effect doesn't appear to require die rolls.

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As noted above, the "Stackable" tag may be wrong for some spells. In our house rules, there was no Multispell or Extension, so stacking a spell could add targets or extend duration (or extend Range).

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On 3/18/2019 at 10:28 AM, PhilHibbs said:

Mastery isn't a rune that people can have in RQG.

With the main deity, Orlanth, having Mastery, Storm and Movement, this is a rule that I would immediately houserule away.

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3 hours ago, soltakss said:

With the main deity, Orlanth, having Mastery, Storm and Movement, this is a rule that I would immediately houserule away.

So what other runes would you add, and how would you deal with the ratings? If adventurers then have more runes to spread their points among, would you give them more points in character creation, and how would they acquire the extra runes if they join another cult?

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11 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

So what other runes would you add, and how would you deal with the ratings? If adventurers then have more runes to spread their points among, would you give them more points in character creation, and how would they acquire the extra runes if they join another cult?

I have a very free and easy relationship with ratings etc.

What I would do is allow members of a cult to gain the runes for their cult. In Character Generation, they just gain the rune, in game play they might have to take part in an initiation ritual or learn the skill. Don't forget that Associate Membership of a cult is not as powerful as membership of your main cult, so ties to the cult might be weaker.

In the Adventure Chapter, it says "Starting human adventurers do not begin with any affinity in these Form or Condition Runes, but they can be learned later. Upcoming RuneQuest sourcebooks will explore even more Runes. Non-human adventurers may begin with these runes, and are described in the Glorantha Bestiary.". So, Adventurers can gain the Mastery Rune in game play, However, I'd say that an Adventurer could have it as part of character generation by replacing a Form Rune with a Condition Rune. 

 

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Still, it doesn't really make sense for Orlanth Rune spells to use the Mastery Rune, unless they are advanced spells only available to high level Rune Masters.

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6 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Still, it doesn't really make sense for Orlanth Rune spells to use the Mastery Rune, unless they are advanced spells only available to high level Rune Masters.

True, but I am not a fan of the idea that all Runespells are tied to a Rune. I much prefer the RQ3 term "Divine Magic" to the RQ2/RGQ term "Rune Magic".

For me, a Deity has several constituent parts:

  • Runic Makeup - What the deity's runes are
  • Ancestry - Who are the Deity's parents/grandparents, if applicable
  • Background - Where did the deity come from
  • Actions - What did the deity do in God Time, or Time

Divine Magic Spells (Or Runespells) have their origins in one or more of those. Spells such as Wind Words clearly relate to either Air/Storm or Movement, so come from Runic Makeup. However, spells such as Dark Walk for Orlanth come from the deity's Actions, although you could link it to Movement at a pinch. Berserker for Storm Bull or Urain are possible due to their Air/Storm nature, but I think it is part of their background or just part of them. It is possible to justify many spells in terms of Runes, but some definitely come from a deity's actions. Orlanth owns the Earth Shield and gets Great Parry, but that does not reflect his Runic Makeup, but comes from his Actions or Background.

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I like it, but "balance wise" he's really OP. He's got every single tool you would want from a thief god, and the skills of an assassin. It's like a trickster visited every good shrine and got all the good spells. My assassin would gladly trade Black Fang for this guy! 

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