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Yelmalio and Other War Gods Who Lack Shield Spell

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/begin rant

One thing I didn't love about RQ3 that continues in RQG is that Shield is no longer a common spell. I suppose that makes sense for some gods who have no combat aspect, but it's a major downer for someone who wants to play a combat oriented member of a cult that lacks the spell.

I noticed that this has been fixed in some cases in RQG. Yinkin, for example, now gets Shield through Orlanth, so that helps. But gods help you if you want to play a Sword Sage of Lhankor Mhy or a combat oriented Seven Mothers cultist who's not a High Priest. Argan Argar is supposed to support spear-wielding mercenaries but has absolutely no war magic at all.

But the worst off is Yelmalio. Yelmalio is specifically a war cult, oriented toward heavy infantry. But without Shield, they don't have the staying power they need to go toe-to-toe with rune levels of any other war god.

Similar problem: Yinkin and Odayla are supposed to be hunting cults, but they don't have any missile weapon Rune Magic at all. If you want to play a sniper/archer and you want Sureshot, it's Foundchild or nothing.

Another example: Want to punch through that Shield? Well you'd better be in Babeestor Gor, because only she has a spell capable of countering high levels of Shield. (Slash is MUCH better than TrueWeapon) And her cult restrictions are pretty narrow so she's not a good choice for an awful lot of players. KL and ZZ will likely have Crush, so that's great, but they're also restrictive and if I remember right, neither has Shield.

My issue with this is that is limits combat oriented characters to a handful of cults and it cuts down on Maximum Game Fun. I love variety and choice, but the rules define only a few truly excellent paths to being a combat god (Babeestor Gor by far #1, then Humakt (but don't die), with Storm Bull a distant third). Want to play a swashbuckling Issaries? Good luck with that. Want to mix it up with the big boys as a Yelmalio? You're gonna die, Light Son.

I guess what I'm advocating is that as more cults are published and cults are expanded that the rules introduce more paths to combat glory (for players that want them, and my players always do). Shield for more gods (Argan Argar, Zorak Zoran, Kyger Litor, Yelmalio, Seven Mothers, Sword Sage subcult for Lhankor Mhy). Punch-through damage boosting magic for gods that don't have it (ORLANTH!, Humakt, STORM BULL!, Odayla, Yinkin, Yelmalio, etc.)

In my Glorantha, all cults mentioned above have Shield except KL, who has access to Armor and HP Enchantment, and LM Sword Sages, who have Great Parry. I also created a fair number of punch-through spells, including Flickering Blade for Orlanth (Slash but for swords), Deep Cut for Humakt (next hit ignores all armor), and Wind Blow for Storm Bull (Slash again). Babeestor Gor and Humakt remain awesome because of Axe/Sword Trance, but that way many other types of PC at least get a hope of almost matching them if they specialize enough in combat.

So yeah, think about it.

/end rant.

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The Yelmalio or Argan Argan worshipping warrior could just cast Dismiss Magic and the Shield goes away.

 

e: yeah, I'll give Sureshot to Odayla IMG. Yinkin is the god of Shadowcats, not bow hunting, so I personally won't give him Sureshot.

Edited by Brootse
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The main problem with giving Yelmalio Shield on RQG is that Elmal gets Shield in return for losing gifts and headed. Give Shield to the inferi- I mean Yelmalio, and Elmal gets crapped on even more.

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5 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

The main problem with giving Yelmalio Shield on RQG is that Elmal gets Shield in return for losing gifts and headed. Give Shield to the inferi- I mean Yelmalio, and Elmal gets crapped on even more.

Yelmalio isn't "inferior" though. His side WON the schism. Yelmalio came out on top in whatever magical struggle there was between the cults. Yelmalio was also a major war cult of the Empire of Light. And they're the ones with the phalanxes of hoplites to sell to the highest bidder. So all I'm saying is they shouldn't suck at the thing they're supposed to be really good at... close combat.

In my opinion, what Yelmalio lost shouldn't be Shield... it should be FIRE. Elmal should still have Fireblade and Firespear and all that good stuff while Yelmalio has gifts, geases, more subcults, better military organization, etc. But both should have Shield IMO.

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Someone had made a site that had various HQ spells altered to RQ3 rules. Can't find it right now, but I'll try to find it. It had some spells for the Sword Sages too. Iirc one of them was Defend Knowledge, it worked like Berserk, and could only be cast if the Sword Sage was defending books or someone who had mastered a knowledge skill.

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3 minutes ago, Brootse said:

Someone had made a site that had various HQ spells altered to RQ3 rules. Can't find it right now, but I'll try to find it. It had some spells for the Sword Sages too. Iirc one of them was Defend Knowledge, it worked like Berserk, and could only be cast if the Sword Sage was defending books or someone who had mastered a knowledge skill.

I'll definitely get to Hevduran the Sword Sage in my HQ->RQ rune magic posts here. But looks like Shargash is going to be next.

Here's my version of DEFEND KNOWLEDGE:

DEFEND KNOWLEDGE (Rune Magic, Self, 2 pts) While defending a library, books, or any other physical record of knowledge and under the influence of this spell, the Sword Sage attacks and parries  at 150% of normal and is immune to Demoralize.  This counts as a morale effect and does not stack with Fanaticism, Morale, or other similar spells or conditions.

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1 minute ago, RHW said:

Yelmalio isn't "inferior" though. His side WON the schism. Yelmalio came out on top in whatever magical struggle there was between the cults. Yelmalio was also a major war cult of the Empire of Light. And they're the ones with the phalanxes of hoplites to sell to the highest bidder. So all I'm saying is they shouldn't suck at the thing they're supposed to be really good at... close combat.

In my opinion, what Yelmalio lost shouldn't be Shield... it should be FIRE. Elmal should still have Fireblade and Firespear and all that good stuff while Yelmalio has gifts, geases, more subcults, better military organization, etc. But both should have Shield IMO.

Agreed on all points except the Shield. But fortunately YGMV.

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8 minutes ago, RHW said:

I'll definitely get to Hevduran the Sword Sage in my HQ->RQ rune magic posts here. But looks like Shargash is going to be next.

Here's my version of DEFEND KNOWLEDGE:

DEFEND KNOWLEDGE (Rune Magic, Self, 2 pts) While defending a library, books, or any other physical record of knowledge and under the influence of this spell, the Sword Sage attacks and parries  at 150% of normal and is immune to Demoralize.  This counts as a morale effect and does not stack with Fanaticism, Morale, or other similar spells or conditions.

Nice! Found the site, it was Soltakss': http://www.soltakss.com/hwconv02.html

A damn fine site btw. Many thanks!

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Just now, Brootse said:

Nice! Found the site, it was Soltakss': http://www.soltakss.com/hwconv02.html

A damn fine site btw. Many thanks!

Yep. Soltakss and I both independently did conversions. His are different from mine, but also super cool and useful.

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Just now, RHW said:

Yep. Soltakss and I both independently did conversions. His are different from mine, but also super cool and useful.

Yeah, thanks! Would you mind linking your versions?

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Just now, Brootse said:

Yeah, thanks! Would you mind linking your versions?

It's not hosted anywhere. Hmm. I guess I could put it up here, but it's written for house rules, not RQ. When I post the spells here, I convert them to RQ. 

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Okay, it might be a good idea to submit all this stuff to Jeff, seeing as Gods and Goddesses is still in the production stage. There may be logic that we don't know of, but a lot could be just simple oversight.

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Here's Gods of Sartar, my house rules conversion of HQ spells. Enjoy!

This is one of several documents I made in this vein. If folks find it useful, I also have STRANGER GODS, CULTS OF THE RED MOON, and SPIRIT PRACTICES.

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2 hours ago, RHW said:

Yelmalio isn't "inferior" though. His side WON the schism. Yelmalio came out on top in whatever magical struggle there was between the cults. Yelmalio was also a major war cult of the Empire of Light. And they're the ones with the phalanxes of hoplites to sell to the highest bidder. So all I'm saying is they shouldn't suck at the thing they're supposed to be really good at... close combat.

In my opinion, what Yelmalio lost shouldn't be Shield... it should be FIRE. Elmal should still have Fireblade and Firespear and all that good stuff while Yelmalio has gifts, geases, more subcults, better military organization, etc. But both should have Shield IMO.

The thing about Yelmalio being inferior was a joke :P. But I do agree with you, the difference between the two should be about fire magic. Unfortunately, Jeff is very adamant about how he wants Elmal in RQG, and iirc has even said that if he rewrote SKoH he would remove Elmal's fire powers.

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3 hours ago, RHW said:

But gods help you if you want to play a Sword Sage of Lhankor Mhy or a combat oriented Seven Mothers cultist who's not a High Priest

The Lankhor Mhy Defend Knowledge spell, given above, might help Sword Sages... though, if I were converting it, I might lean more heavily on the 'Defend' part and make it more like Shield.

As for Seven Mothers, the way I've always seen the cult is that it gives you a taster of each deity and makes you a Jack of all Trades (and master of none). And that this is done deliberately, to entice you into a 'proper' Lunar cult. So, if you're a Seven Mothers cultist and you want to be more combat orientated, you should join Yanafal Tarnils - the officials in both cults will give you every encouragement to do so. You'll get Shield, Truekopis and a whole lot more - but you'll have to give up Resurrection, Command Lune and a lot of others (though I've always thought that each of the Seven Mothers should get one spell from each of the other six as associate deities. Probably something from Etyries as well.)

To me, this is the point of the Seven Mothers, the reason the Lunars invented it. Give the barbarians a taste of Lunar culture and, if they like it, you can get them onto the hard stuff.

Yelmalio/Elmal... I agree that Elmal, as a sun god, should have some fire powers, but not as great as Yelm. He's the sun god of hill barbarians in climates where it's not that hot. Think of Scotland, Wales or Ireland. I lived in Wales for three years and it rained every single day between November and April inclusive (and a lot of days between May and October.)  So that sort of sun god. The sun god of a country where summer is a couple of weeks in July, if you're lucky. Everyone from the UK should know what I mean. Note that neither the Celts nor the Vikings were much into Sun Gods (now it's thought that Lugh wasn't a sun god after all). Nothing to match Apollo, Ra or Shamash, all from countries where summer is a lot more of a thing, countries a lot more like Dara Happa. So some fire powers, but nothing like Sunspear. Firearrow and Fireblade, perhaps

But Yelmalio should definitely have Shield. I agree with that.

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Yelmalio lost his shield at the Hill of Gold. While his templars still wield the physical one, do they have to have the magical one?

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Shield is a very useful combat spell, but not having it is not the end of the world for a fighter. There's always spirit magic like Protection or Shimmer to fall back upon. 

The exclusive use of certain Rune spells is what gives Runequest that paper-scissors-rock balance to it. No single cult has access to all the best spells, so their followers can always be overcome with the right tactics. In my experience, uber spells make players lazy and less likely to come up with tactical solutions.

I think if certain cults were unstoppable in combat then there'd need to be some explanation as to why they weren't more dominant, and why Glorantha wasn't a less diverse place.

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12 hours ago, Richard S. said:

The main problem with giving Yelmalio Shield on RQG is that Elmal gets Shield in return for losing gifts and headed. Give Shield to the inferi- I mean Yelmalio, and Elmal gets crapped on even more.

I'm not sure how that's supposed to be a balance issue? I mean, all the gods that get Gifts are intrinsically more powerful (for their followers) than Gods that don't. Honestly, I wish all Gods had their own lists of Gifts and Geas as those would really enforce proper behaviour of the faith and I don't understand why X god gets Gifts and Y god doesn't. 

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9 hours ago, Steve3742 said:

The Lankhor Mhy Defend Knowledge spell, given above, might help Sword Sages... though, if I were converting it, I might lean more heavily on the 'Defend' part and make it more like Shield.

As for Seven Mothers, the way I've always seen the cult is that it gives you a taster of each deity and makes you a Jack of all Trades (and master of none). And that this is done deliberately, to entice you into a 'proper' Lunar cult. So, if you're a Seven Mothers cultist and you want to be more combat orientated, you should join Yanafal Tarnils - the officials in both cults will give you every encouragement to do so. You'll get Shield, Truekopis and a whole lot more - but you'll have to give up Resurrection, Command Lune and a lot of others (though I've always thought that each of the Seven Mothers should get one spell from each of the other six as associate deities. Probably something from Etyries as well.)

To me, this is the point of the Seven Mothers, the reason the Lunars invented it. Give the barbarians a taste of Lunar culture and, if they like it, you can get them onto the hard stuff.

Yelmalio/Elmal... I agree that Elmal, as a sun god, should have some fire powers, but not as great as Yelm. He's the sun god of hill barbarians in climates where it's not that hot. Think of Scotland, Wales or Ireland. I lived in Wales for three years and it rained every single day between November and April inclusive (and a lot of days between May and October.)  So that sort of sun god. The sun god of a country where summer is a couple of weeks in July, if you're lucky. Everyone from the UK should know what I mean. Note that neither the Celts nor the Vikings were much into Sun Gods (now it's thought that Lugh wasn't a sun god after all). Nothing to match Apollo, Ra or Shamash, all from countries where summer is a lot more of a thing, countries a lot more like Dara Happa. So some fire powers, but nothing like Sunspear. Firearrow and Fireblade, perhaps

But Yelmalio should definitely have Shield. I agree with that.

Where are the Lunar Cults beyond the Seven Mothers dictated (in RQ stats)? 

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8 minutes ago, Tywyll said:

Where are the Lunar Cults beyond the Seven Mothers dictated (in RQ stats)? 

Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Yanafal Tarnils and Irripi Ontor are said to be like Humakt and Lankhor Mhy respectively (so you could just use their cults with some mods - Yanafal doesn't have the dislike of resurrection and undead that Humakt has (and so probably loses the anti-undead powers) Irripi has Mind Blast, etc.), but the others are harder to quantify. Teelo Norri isn't really worshipped, nor is She Who Waits, but Danfive Xaron - a sort of prison rehabilitation cult - Deezola - some sort of Earth/Fertility goddess - and Jalakeel - an ex-Zorak Zorani into witchcraft - aren't really similar to anything that has gone before (although you could probably base Deezola on Ernalda in some way).

Issue 16 of Tales of the Reaching Moon had a quite satisfactory RQ3 write up of Danfive Xaron by Mike Hagen, with assistance from Nick Brooke, Chris Gidlow and David Hall. Issue 17 had a very good write-up of Yanafal Tarnils, based on Greg Stafford and Sandy Peterson's incomplete and unpublished version, re-written by Nick Brooke and others (He gets Shield! And Oath, Morale, Sever Spirit (one-use), Berserk and Truescimitar  - which would probably be Truekopis now. Note the lack of anti-undead rune spells.). There was also an attempt at Jalakeel the witch in the same issue, author not credited, which wasn't as good, IMHO. But Irripi Ontor and Deezola remain uncovered, you're right (though, as I said before, Irripi Ontor will be very similar to Lankhor Mhy.)

But yeah. I suppose we'll just have to wait for Gods of Glorantha (will that be covering Lunar deities?)

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4 minutes ago, Steve3742 said:

Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Yanafal Tarnils and Irripi Ontor are said to be like Humakt and Lankhor Mhy respectively (so you could just use their cults with some mods - Yanafal doesn't have the dislike of resurrection and undead that Humakt has (and so probably loses the anti-undead powers) Irripi has Mind Blast, etc.), but the others are harder to quantify. Teelo Norri isn't really worshipped, nor is She Who Waits, but Danfive Xaron - a sort of prison rehabilitation cult - Deezola - some sort of Earth/Fertility goddess - and Jalakeel - an ex-Zorak Zorani into witchcraft - aren't really similar to anything that has gone before (although you could probably base Deezola on Ernalda in some way).

Issue 16 of Tales of the Reaching Moon had a quite satisfactory RQ3 write up of Danfive Xaron by Mike Hagen, with assistance from Nick Brooke, Chris Gidlow and David Hall. Issue 17 had a very good write-up of Yanafal Tarnils, based on Greg Stafford and Sandy Peterson's incomplete and unpublished version, re-written by Nick Brooke and others (He gets Shield! And Oath, Morale, Sever Spirit (one-use), Berserk and Truescimitar  - which would probably be Truekopis now. Note the lack of anti-undead rune spells.). There was also an attempt at Jalakeel the witch in the same issue, author not credited, which wasn't as good, IMHO. But Irripi Ontor and Deezola remain uncovered, you're right (though, as I said before, Irripi Ontor will be very similar to Lankhor Mhy.)

But yeah. I suppose we'll just have to wait for Gods of Glorantha (will that be covering Lunar deities?)

Gods and Goddesses has all-new write-ups for the Seven Mothers, Danfive Xaron (a new version, although Mike and Nick were both involved), Deezola, Etyries, Hon-eel, Hwarin Dalthippa, Irrippi Ontor, Jakaleel the Witch, Nysalor, Teelo Norri, Yanafal Tarnils, and of course the Red Goddess herself. Plus the Crimson Bat. 

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3 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Gods and Goddesses has all-new write-ups for the Seven Mothers, Danfive Xaron (a new version, although Mike and Nick were both involved), Deezola, Etyries, Hon-eel, Hwarin Dalthippa, Irrippi Ontor, Jakaleel the Witch, Nysalor, Teelo Norri, Yanafal Tarnils, and of course the Red Goddess herself. Plus the Crimson Bat. 

Brilliant! I don't suppose you have an ETA for it, do you?

Edited by Steve3742
Punctuation

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16 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Gods and Goddesses has all-new write-ups for the Seven Mothers, Danfive Xaron (a new version, although Mike and Nick were both involved), Deezola, Etyries, Hon-eel, Hwarin Dalthippa, Irrippi Ontor, Jakaleel the Witch, Nysalor, Teelo Norri, Yanafal Tarnils, and of course the Red Goddess herself. Plus the Crimson Bat. 

That's awesome! I never understood how the Lunars who are obstendibly either the primary antagonists or the alternate player characters never had full write ups (or at least I couldn't find them in my books). Yet I heard people playing them so I was very confused.

 

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14 hours ago, RHW said:

/begin rant

One thing I didn't love about RQ3 that continues in RQG is that Shield is no longer a common spell.

/end rant.

You make a very fine point and something I think I glossed over completely. Frankly, I disagree that non-combat gods shouldn't have it. It's like an investment in your resources. All Priests/Rune Lords benefit from protection and antimagic, and since they are your focal points in the mundane world, you want to protect those assets! I think I am going to put Shield back as a Common Spell.

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3 minutes ago, Tywyll said:

You make a very fine point and something I think I glossed over completely. Frankly, I disagree that non-combat gods shouldn't have it. It's like an investment in your resources. All Priests/Rune Lords benefit from protection and antimagic, and since they are your focal points in the mundane world, you want to protect those assets! I think I am going to put Shield back as a Common Spell.

Shield is a very powerful spell and only a handful of cults have it. YGWV, but we have tried to carefully limit who gets it.

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