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Breaking a geas

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What should happen if a Humakti or Yelmalion break a geas?

Clearly the gift is lost, so keep track of that relationship, if you go by the Lottery Swords example. Is that permanent, or can the gift be re-acquired by some form of attonement?

If one of the geases for a multi-geas gift is broken, does that mean that the other geases can be dropped, or are there further consequences for either or all of the first or subsequent broken geases? If you have to take the gift again to get it back, could you end up with 3, 4, or 5 geases for the gift?

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3 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

What should happen if a Humakti or Yelmalion break a geas?

Clearly the gift is lost, so keep track of that relationship, if you go by the Lottery Swords example. Is that permanent, or can the gift be re-acquired by some form of attonement?

The Gift is lost, permanently, however, the Geas is retained. However, as a GM, I'd say the PC can HeroQuest, or otherwise atone, depending on the circumstances, to regain the Gift.

However, it does depend in the circumstances.

A Yelmalian with "Never let a horse suffer needlessly" who takes his horse into a Chaos Nest and is attacked by randy broos might have broken his Geas, but it isn't really his fault, so he might be able to atone and get his Gift back.

If he takes his horses to Ikadz' Flaying Pit where they are flayed and their souls given to him as beads on a necklace, I'd say the Geas is irrevocably broken and he couldn't get the Gift back, ever.

3 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

If one of the geases for a multi-geas gift is broken, does that mean that the other geases can be dropped, or are there further consequences for either or all of the first or subsequent broken geases? If you have to take the gift again to get it back, could you end up with 3, 4, or 5 geases for the gift?

For me, the Geas is not dependant on the Gift, so if you lose the Gift you still retain the Geas, so no, I'd say you cannot drop the other Geases.

If your Gift has a corresponding Geas, you just pick the Gift back up and keep the Geas. You might get an extra Geas for being a bad, bad cultist.

If your Gift has a Random Geas, I'd just roll another Geas. If the Gift has multiple Geases and one was broken, I'd allow the Gift to be retaken with one random Geas.

 

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9 minutes ago, soltakss said:

If your Gift has a Random Geas, I'd just roll another Geas.

Although if it is one that reflects a conditional restriction, I'd impose the next higher-level restriction.  E.g. Never eat the meat of birds; I'd now make it: Never eat any meat.

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25 minutes ago, soltakss said:

If your Gift has a corresponding Geas, you just pick the Gift back up and keep the Geas. You might get an extra Geas for being a bad, bad cultist.

I had a quick theoretical chat with my group and we came up with that as the minimum - you atone at the next holy day and take an additional random geas per geas broken in order to get the gift back. The players were a lot more harsh than me in that they thought you should lose access to your Rune magic as well until you atone.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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17 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I had a quick theoretical chat with my group and we came up with that as the minimum - you atone at the next holy day and take an additional random geas per geas broken in order to get the gift back. The players were a lot more harsh than me in that they thought you should lose access to your Rune magic as well until you atone.

I am not surprised. Players often see the fairness/unfairness of a situation and see things in black and white. "You broke a geas, you have to pay for it".

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5 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

you atone at the next holy day and take an additional random geas per geas broken in order to get the gift back. The players were a lot more harsh than me in that they thought you should lose access to your Rune magic as well until you atone.

Well, that does force them into some interesting roleplaying situations!

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IMO it would depend on the nature of the breaking.

*Was the worshiper under unconscious or magical compulsion? For example, 'Never ride a horse on [x] day'... was the worshiper KO'd or Stupified and had to be transported over his saddle to get aid?

*Did the worshiper do it as a survival measure? [especially the dietary ones]

*Did the worshiper do it simply for convenience?

etc.

At minimum, under the more favorable circumstances, the worshiper would suffer the temporary loss of the Gift and access to Rune magic until some kind of formal atonement is made. If the breaking was egregious or specifically Rune related [Both Yelmalio and Humakt embody the Truth rune so wilful lying would be very bad], then the worshiper might suffer the penalties of the deity's Spirit of Reprisal until they made atonement and their conduct would most assuredly come up if the worshiper wanted promotion in the cult.

And among Yelmalions and Humakti on active service some geas-breaking wouldn't count that much against them. The 'exigencies of service' sometimes require the violation of a geas to get the mission accomplished. For one example, it would be a real pain in the ass for a commander or chieftain to have to manage who couldn't ride a horse on which day of which week during which season when he needs someone to get on a horse to deliver a message or go to battle. Note that 'active service' in this context means serving as a temple mercenary without temple support, especially among Yelmalions who require a Sun Dome temple for much of their worship.

Edited by svensson

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10 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Well, that does force them into some interesting roleplaying situations!

Don't it just? hehe

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I don't think the reason for breaking your oath matters: you promised your god you broke your oath. That's it. Now, if you want to atone for it, it's a different matter: if it' was for convenience you can forget about it otherwise, it might be attempted. Anyway, an oathbreaking is a serious offense and atoning for it should probably demand a heroquest.

Edited by jps
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10 hours ago, soltakss said:

I am not surprised. Players often see the fairness/unfairness of a situation and see things in black and white. "You broke a geas, you have to pay for it".

It could be worse. In Irish legend, a geas is a fatal taboo, one, which broken, invariably triggers the death of the subject.

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In Irish literature, which is where the concept of a geas comes from (fun fact: it's pronounced more like 'gaysh' than 'gee-ass'), when a hero breaks his geas, he will die. It's just game over for him. So if you're running a more epic-level game, breaking a geas ought to be something earth-shaking for the character. Things should never be the same again. Look at Indrodar Greydog--he broke his geas to not marry and although it took Humakt a while to punish him, Indrodar came to the absolute worst end a Humakti can have--he became undead. 

Edited by Bohemond
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27 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

In Irish literature, which is where the concept of a geas comes from (fun fact: it's pronounced more like 'gaysh' than 'gee-ass'), when a hero breaks his geas, he will die. It's just game over for him. So if you're running a more epic-level game, breaking a geas ought to be something earth-shaking for the character. Things should never be the same again. Look at Indrodar Greydog--he broke his geas to not marry and although it took Humakt a while to punish him, Indrodar came to the absolute worst end a Humakti can have--he became undead. 

But... Irish pronunciation features tend towards that "slurring' and rolling sound anyway.... So, FWIW.

I don't understand the last story... why on Glorantha would Humakt want to make someone into an undead???That seems a completely stupid punishment for a god who hates them so much. Killing Indordar and not allowing his soul to join him in the ranks - sure. Sending him to a really nasty area of the underworld - sure. Undead???

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11 hours ago, soltakss said:

A Yelmalian with "Never let a horse suffer needlessly" who takes his horse into a Chaos Nest and is attacked by randy broos might have broken his Geas, but it isn't really his fault, so he might be able to atone and get his Gift back

Though Yelmalio's justice burns pure and clear, fortunately for player characters "needlessly" is a great MGF get-out clause for that geas...😎

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I saw this question last night... and I'm still not sure on my position.

Does a geas require the person to actively fulfill the requirements? Or does it also include passively. By those, I mean either wilfull, or with full knowledge and consent, versus not.

So, in @svensson;s "thrown on the back of a horse while unconscious" - does that count as breaking the geas, because the initiate had no way to either know or stop it? If a geas is about how you act, then being thrown on the back of a horse while unconscious isn't actually about your behaviour! (Granted, this all assumes that gods aren't petty...).

Now, what happens if the Lightson is out camping in foreign territory, and he's served dinner, and asks "Is this horsemeat?". The others in the group know about Yelmalio and his interests, and lie.. "Nope - it's really tough bison". The gods aren't omniscient... so I'd presume that the Gift etc remain in place. So, what happens 10 years later when they're all drinking at the pub, and some drunk idiot says "Hey, you remember that time we told you it was Bison, when really it was horse? Sheesh, that was hilarious!!!"... is the geas now broken? (was it actually broken in the first place??)

11 hours ago, soltakss said:

A Yelmalian with "Never let a horse suffer needlessly" who <snip> takes his horses to Ikadz' Flaying Pit where they are flayed and their souls given to him as beads on a necklace, I'd say the Geas is irrevocably broken and he couldn't get the Gift back, ever.

 

You are irrevocably cast out of the cult.. no amount of atonement will ever let you back in. A number of Spirits of Reprisal equal to the number of RPs you've sacrificed to Yelmalio will haunt you for the rest of your days... And, you'll never be able to ride on a horse again. (and, probably, you'll never see the light of the sun again, either!)

 

Yes, I do believe some things are irrevocable and unforgivable.

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4 minutes ago, MOB said:

Though Yelmalio's justice burns pure and clear, fortunately for player characters "needlessly" is a great MGF get-out clause for that geas...😎

The Yelmalian (and cohorts) could have walked! Or taken another form of transport... Plenty of sables and bison around.

(If I was GM, I'd have this in mind...)

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14 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

You are irrevocably cast out of the cult.. no amount of atonement will ever let you back in. A number of Spirits of Reprisal equal to the number of RPs you've sacrificed to Yelmalio will haunt you for the rest of your days... And, you'll never be able to ride on a horse again. (and, probably, you'll never see the light of the sun again, either!)

Yes, I do believe some things are irrevocable and unforgivable.

When running the convention scenario Last Tango in Pavis long, long ago at RQ Con II in San Fransisco (1995) we had to make up an extra PC on the fly, and so made him a disgraced 79 year old Light Priest busted back to the Sun Dome militia for farting in the temple, or some such. When Rich, the guy playing him asked me what Yelmalio magic does he have, I said "all of it" (incidentally, presaging how Rune magic is done in RQG). When he asked what Yelmalio geases his character had, I replied "all of them!" (and we read them all out!) This made for some very amusing roleplaying!

Edited by MOB
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1 hour ago, jps said:

I don't think the reason for breaking your oath matters: you promised your god you broke your oath. That's it. 

This, above all else.  However anthropomorphic the gods may be, they're gods and our characters are (at this point in the game) just people.  As a GM, I wouldn't portray a god as reacting favorably to lawyering from one of its worshippers.  Between me and the player may be a different matter.  Aside from revoking the geas-related gift, Spirits of Reprisal are on the table, a geas-related curse to skills or abilities, penalties levied against the relevant rune(s) -- the question shouldn't be "What's a reasonable punishment?" so much as "Where does the pain stop?"

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
Clarity
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25 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

I don't understand the last story... why on Glorantha would Humakt want to make someone into an undead???That seems a completely stupid punishment for a god who hates them so much. Killing Indordar and not allowing his soul to join him in the ranks - sure. Sending him to a really nasty area of the underworld - sure. Undead???

According to the Greydog campaign, which seems to be essentially canonical, Indrodar's last act was to go into the Upland Marsh to kill Delecti. That is when Humakt punished him, presumably by withdrawing his protection at a crucial moment. Exactly what happened isn't entirely clear, but Indrodar's undead corpse still walks the Marsh. For those who haven't played the Orlmarth campaign, I won't give away the spoiler, but it's an especially poetic punishment. So it's not so much that Humakt turned him into an undead as Humakt allowed the worst possible thing to happen. It's really quite suiting--for me, it captures some of the feeling of medieval literature. 

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2 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

According to the Greydog campaign, which seems to be essentially canonical, Indrodar's last act was to go into the Upland Marsh to kill Delecti. That is when Humakt punished him, presumably by withdrawing his protection at a crucial moment. Exactly what happened isn't entirely clear, but Indrodar's undead corpse still walks the Marsh. For those who haven't played the Orlmarth campaign, I won't give away the spoiler, but it's an especially poetic punishment. So it's not so much that Humakt turned him into an undead as Humakt allowed the worst possible thing to happen. It's really quite suiting--for me, it captures some of the feeling of medieval literature. 

Ah! Fairy Nuff!

That makes a lot more sense...

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Depends on the Geas. 

Loss of relevant Gift, for sure. 
If it was lost accidentally, a Great Quest might atone. 
If it was a deliberate act they are automatically apostate, and subject to consequences, and can never atone.

If they are Illuminated, ignore the above stuff, but social consequences might be high.

Some Geas might result in death if broken. 

I imagine King Skilfil, who is sworn to protect the Giant Hawks in his care, is under a Geas, and would likely be eaten by Giant Hawks if he breaks the Oath.

I'm sure Blueface has some mighty Shamanic taboos and Geas that tie him body and soul to Greyrunner Runefang and Votankiland itself. He might well be completely incapable of breaking them given the inter-generational aspect of the Blueface mantle. Perhaps it is better to imagine him the hapless shamanic slave of a Gigantic Immortal Sabertooth who is guarding the Elder Wilds against various foes. If Blueface dies, another takes his place.

Looking at Indrogar, he wasn't punished with Undeath by Humakt, but instead he lost the protections of Humakt in breaking his Geas. It sealed his doom when he marched into the Marsh. Perhaps a withdrawal of protections and magics by the offended God is in line. The longer you go without atonement the more you loose. Perhaps Indrogar was hoping to atone by marching into the Marsh and doing a great deed to make up for his failure.
 

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8 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

I don't understand the last story... why on Glorantha would Humakt want to make someone into an undead???That seems a completely stupid punishment for a god who hates them so much. Killing Indordar and not allowing his soul to join him in the ranks - sure. Sending him to a really nasty area of the underworld - sure. Undead???

I don't think the choice or preference of Humakt comes into it. You break a geas, and bad things happen. It isn't a punishment. It isn't Humakt getting angry and lashing out, it's just an inevitable consequence.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

I don't think the choice or preference of Humakt comes into it. You break a geas, and bad things happen. It isn't a punishment. It isn't Humakt getting angry and lashing out, it's just an inevitable consequence.

I get that idea for Irish geas (and planet Earth geas in general), but for Glorantha?? I don't think that fits with My Glorantha variety

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12 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

I get that idea for Irish geas (and planet Earth geas in general), but for Glorantha?? I don't think that fits with My Glorantha variety

The gods' lack of free will is clearly established, they have no choice in what they do. The God Learners proved that if you invoke the prayers correctly, you get the magic.

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3 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

The gods' lack of free will is clearly established, they have no choice in what they do. The God Learners proved that if you invoke the prayers correctly, you get the magic.

Orlanth had to kill Yelm? And had to go to the Underworld to rescue him? Chaos had to come into the world, and the Great Compromise was always going to happen, with no way to change it?

 

Orlanth - "no-one can make you do anything... well, except for Fate, of course... well, ok, really, everything you do is because you're being made to... so just forget what I said at the beginning there, hmmmm ok?"

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1 minute ago, Shiningbrow said:

Orlanth had to kill Yelm? And had to go to the Underworld to rescue him?

That was before the Cosmic Compromise and the birth of Time/Entropy. The Gods trapped themselves in a web that they cannot escape from other than in exceptional situations like the Sunstop or Castle Blue where the compromise breaks.

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