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Coming of age initiation for a future Babeester Gor Initiate


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Hi all.

I have a player who is thinking about playing a female warrior, and he likes Babeester Gor cult. My players will start as no adults, so I have the dilemma of which coming of age initiation prepare for that character: the Orlanthi one (because the character is a warrior, so her role in the clan is more like a male) or the Ernaldan one (because she pretends to care about the women in the clan, even when she won´t adopt the usual female role in the clan).

At first, my idea is to go with the Orlanthi path (Vinga cult probably) and when the wish for revenge appears (and it will, I have in mind something quite similiar to the great Six Seasons in Sartar), offer her the possibility to join Babeester Gor cult. Is that possible or should she need to proceed from an Ernaldan cult? Even if it´s possible, would she have a problem being a Vingan and Babeester Gori initiate at the same time?

Thanks a lot.

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37 minutes ago, Rojo said:

Is that possible or should she need to proceed from an Ernaldan cult?

If she sees herself as a female, then I'd expect her to be initiated as a woman into the clan. But there'll be something during the initiation that pulls her to Babeester Gor - perhaps a threat of chaos, or danger to the Garden, or some other encounter. 

38 minutes ago, Rojo said:

Even if it´s possible, would she have a problem being a Vingan and Babeester Gori initiate at the same time?

Yes, I think so. These are not associated cults and there would be an inherent conflict between Babeester Gor's loyalty to the temple and Vinga's desire to be free. 

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Vinga is female Orlanth, so Air and Movement.  Nobody can Make You Do Anything.

Babeester Gor is Earth and Death; protection of the Life-Giving Mother, vengeance for wrongs.

Although mundanely similar -- both warriors -- I see them as VERY different!

I think jajagappa has the right of it:  have her begin a standard women's initiation, with her female age-mates.  Given BG's origin story, I would have an enemy hero-quest attack the initiation-rite, with the PC drawn to step up and defend the others.


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There's a good example in THE COMING STORM of how an initiation rite can vary for a participant with a different fate than the usual (in COMING STORM, it's the ogre variation of the Orlanth initiation). I feel like she'd undergo the Ernalda rites and then at some point things would get weird for her.

Maybe at some point in the story, perhaps while learning how to weave in Ernalda's hut, she'd hear a woman calling for help from a different part of Ernalda's village. Some people hear this during the rites, some don't. The girls that follow that call and go out into the night witness a horrific God Time violation of one of Ernalda's daughters. (Gain the Passion HATE RAPIST or PROTECT THE INNOCENT). The perpetrator (Ragnaglar?) escapes over the adobe wall of the village. The violated goddess pleads for help. The vast majority of the girls offer comfort and healing. They might end up following the path of Bevara or even Chalana Arroy. But every once in a while, a girl grabs an ax from a nearby lumber pile and climbs over the wall to chase after the offender into the darkness.

The girls that do that find Babeestor Gor waiting on the other side of the wall. She offers them blood beer and armor, a shield and more weapons. Those that accept follow her path forever.

In other words, she'd go into the ceremony with everyone (including probably her) thinking she was getting initiated into Ernalda, but she'd come out a Babeestor Gor initiate. Which is a thing that happens sometimes and the community would know exactly what to do from there.

Edited by RHW
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Thanks a lot for the advices and the good ideas.

15 hours ago, Bohemond said:

Has the Ernalda initiation ritual gotten a full write-up anywhere? 

Totally non official, but quite good, I think:




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This initiation into the ways of Babeester Gor is not taken lightly, for it is a path that cannot be left. Still, many understand why it is taken. There is always another way, and this is one of them.

The initiation is started at sunset. The subject is brought to the women's shed by a female warrior of the clan, preferably a Gorite but a Humakti  or any woman with a good death or truth rune is acceptable. They make sure she's ready and willing for what is to come. Babeester Gor takes Consent very seriously.

The women of the tribe handling the procedures are prepared for a funeral, wailing and singing laments for the death of ernalda in the darkness and the death of the girl that is to initiate. At the height of the song, a white cow (not a bull) is taken to a large patch of dirt, preferably in a cave. the cow is milked with no bucket, letting the milk spill onto the ground. Then its throat is cut, and the blood is drained to soak the ground, creating a small pit of reddish mud, roughly human-sized. The girl is then stripped, and feels a compulsion to enter the bloody mud. Once she has done so, there's no turning back.

When she is subsumed in the mud, she rests, possibly dead, or possibly unborn. Either way, she dreams. The dreams are of unrequited cries for justice or of pain, coming from the women of the clan. The longer she dreams, the more cries she can hear. There are wails of the dead, from the past and future, of animals and plants, and eventually the very earth itself. Eventually, it becomes unbearable to just listen. She claws herself out of the pit, and is reborn into the great darkness. (Mechanically, gaining Earth Rune and Gor-specific passions, as well as Plot Hooks if you want them)

There is almost no light in the sky, and the earth is dry and dead. The ground around you has huge spikes of some sort of stone driven into it, cracking the ground into rifts that lead into a seeming nothingness. Behind them is the corpse of whichever woman's suffering led her on this path (or Ernalda/her mother if it's her own or you want to get more mythic). The only light in the darkness is a flaming halo around a dark figure with a double-headed iron axe.

The Figure is mythologically Zorak Zoran, but the questor sees a hulking and exaggerated version of whoever they seek vengeance against the most, bearing fire and the axe of death. The Questor is standing between them and the corpse, with only the mud caked on them, painting their hands and feet red. The figure approaches slowly, but the questor feels the axe calling to them, to reach out and grab it. Once they touch it, they get their Death Rune affinity.

She then tries to rip the axe from the figure's hands. If she succeeds, the axe is hers, and the figure is drained of all courage and flees pathetically. On Special or Critical Successes, she manages to wound the figure, severing a hand. She may chase after him, and extract some magical benefits from it as a heroquest challenge. If she fails, she must fight for the axe, and suffers a wound in the process. Either way, the figure flees, teaching the questor the first secret of Babeester Gor: men are cowards.

(mechanically at this point I'd go Opposed Roll of the death rune or relevant passions/keywords. I haven't put a standard Fail condition considering that this is probably the first session for the character, they don't have much power and the narrative possibilities are really not pleasant. Your tolerance for having sexual violence as a subject on the table or character death will vary, but I'd say don't go there now at the very least.)

When the figure has fled, there's a point of variability. The Gorite has awakened to the powers of death. At this point, Babeester Gor went on a rampage and killed a lot of things. You're probably better off doing this as a montage, where she wreaks vengeance on those who have wronged the earth or got near her. You can add in a couple of scenes here if you want length, like have her fight broo or pacifist healers. Maybe even have a scene with Eurmal to lighten the mood. Whatever you do, She ends up in the underworld, in front of an open door leading towards a feast, full of joyous song and the laughter of women. As she approaches, it slams shut, and a deep woman's voice sings out from the darkness.

"that life is not for you and I

who have heard the dead earth cry

so that they may have no fear

you and I shall stand guard here"

The singing voice comes from Babeester Gor herself, in all of her terrible glory. She is armored and bloody handed, towering over the questor. She is covered with trophies severed from men, and holds an axe just like the questors. She offers a mug full of what smells like alcoholic blood that tastes invigorating, like you just got righteously angry at something. She and the Questor stand watch in front of the door for what could be an eternity. As the watch goes on, you sense the presence of craven threats in the darkness, unquiet dead, damned souls and cruel demons, at the edge of your vision, kept away from destroying the feast by their fear of you. As you stand firm, you also sense a great host with you, made of the spirits of everyone else who pledged to this cult.

(chuck in a fight or two if you want some action. Give them all their rune magic and watch them absolutely fuck up a Broo or Zombie, or whatever)

Eventually, the door opens, and Ernalda walks out, bringing the resplendence of life. she approaches the questor and gives her a warm, motherly hug and she says

"I thank you, my daughter, for being and doing what I cannot. Go now into the world of life and light, and know that I will always love you."

Babeester Gor's reaction to these words is a cult secret. Few will talk about their own, either.

She then gestures towards the path the questor approached from, where a new dawn is illuminating the cavern. When you emerge to the light, you return to the real world, anew with purpose, ready to learn the skills your cult demands.

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