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PhilHibbs

Breaking a geas

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15 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

For an Orlanthi, who live in a fairly gender-balanced society, I think that "rules lawyering" would be appropriate. (not suggesting you're wrong with your example - just talking about geasa in general)

I think most Orlanthi do keep Ernalda's lesson in their back pocket; not their go-to strategy, but available:  "There is always another way."

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On 4/29/2019 at 8:58 AM, The God Learner said:

Perhaps the Compromise should be seen as a geas sworn by the Gods? They can obviously break it, but, for reasons we do not know, they strongly prefer not to.

Oh, I think we very much do know:  the Compromise is part of the patch that keeps Chaos from pouring into the world and unmaking it utterly.

 

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On 4/29/2019 at 4:58 PM, The God Learner said:

Perhaps the Compromise should be seen as a geas sworn by the Gods? They can obviously break it, but, for reasons we do not know, they strongly prefer not to.

1 hour ago, g33k said:

Oh, I think we very much do know:  the Compromise is part of the patch that keeps Chaos from pouring into the world and unmaking it utterly.

So, if geases are mythologically linked to the compromise, breaking a geas lets chaos into the world. Nice. So, you don't break a geas even when fighting chaos, because it literally makes the problem worse.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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What we know about the Compromise (Guide to Glorantha, looks similar to Cults of Terror)

Quote

 

Time was born in Hell, where the shadows of Chaos reigned and held sway over the heart of the universe. All of the universe was in confusion, elements blundered amidst each other, and devils ran amok, slaying and kidnapping gods and mortals alike, carrying them to the formless void. When the Lightbringers entered the Underworld and completed their great tasks, they forged a cosmic pact which bound all entities, living and dead, spiritual and physical, pure and unholy, intelligent and inert, into the Great Compromise. No beings responsible for the creation of the world had exemption from this final synthesis. In their pact, the deities settled their senseless and destructive wars which had precipitated the Chaos they now united against. They agreed to accept a common ground of existence in order to share responsibility for the protection of the realm and to uphold their present status in the universe. They thus bound themselves irrevocably to the spiritual matrix of the new age.

Their vows are the source and cause of Time; the energies of this Compromise provided the soul-essence of the new age. The old deities created the will of the new age and bound themselves to uphold it. The more powerful the deity, then the more numerous the commitments binding it into the world matrix, and the more effectively fossilized its role in the Time to come. The lesser creatures of the world, especially the surviving mortal races, were free to grow, change, and develop within the new age. By utilizing their freedom and knowledge of the new laws accompanying the new age, the mortal folk could commune with the gods and powers of the universe.

 

And elsewhere in the same, the end of the LBQ:

 

Quote

 

After that, the goddess Arachne Solara laid great schemes and plans between them, and they swore to those plans also, joined by the other gods in death who yearned to survive. They stood fast as Chaos reached the land of the dead, to confront the empty powers of life for the last time.

Arachne Solara constructed a great and magical web made of many things no longer found in the world, and then she gave the web to all of the gods to hold ready between them. When Chaos entered into their realm, the gods cast the net upon Kajabor and held him tight while the goddess leapt upon him with a vengeance and the strength of desperation and mystical splendor. She enwrapped the Chaos god in her legs and struggled mightily, and at last devoured him whole.

Then the goddess carefully collected her net and used it to conceal the birth of her child. [ahem] The child is the Pledge of the Gods, and all existence swore by it to uphold their agreements. This is also called the Great Compromise or the Immortal Pact, and it is the oath which recreated the world. ... 

The flush of Dawn, the rosy goddess, came. Arachne Solara stood upon the Gate of Time and cast her net across the universe, catching each surviving thing and binding it into the new world. Her child was born then, concealed by the net and protected by the strands. The child was called Time.

 

Perhaps the strands of the web should be seen as representations of the vows and geases of the gods. 

(Smudged note at end of comment: 375?)

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On 5/6/2019 at 5:41 PM, Shiningbrow said:

I could go more pedantic over the use of the word 'harm'... versus that of 'hurt'.

Slap a woman in the face? That's fine, I can just cast healing, she's OK. Not my interpretation of the geas, but Your Geases May Vary.

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Slap a woman in the face? That's fine, I can just cast healing, she's OK. Not my interpretation of the geas, but Your Geases May Vary.

This is a society in which women are frequently warriors, so yeah - a slap in the face might be nothing!

OTOH, disparaging her and mocking her ability, demeaning her, etc etc would be a type of 'harm' that no Heal spell will fix!

In the example above (Yelmalian challenged by a Vingan) - "harm" is not going to be "hurt"... and, denying the challenge would be a gross insult...

So, yeah, apparently MGDV.

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'Harsaltar the Terrible, the son of the Prince, met the Red Emperor in single combat and gave him a fatal wound. That could have won the day except that the dying Red Emperor slid past his defenses and forced the boy to break a geas which killed him'.

So having taken the 100 raise characteristic +1 gifts he needed to buff up from 8 year old boy to Humakti superman did breaking the geas just reduce him back to a puny child when they are all instantly removed?  

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Professor Chaos said:

'Harsaltar the Terrible, the son of the Prince, met the Red Emperor in single combat and gave him a fatal wound. That could have won the day except that the dying Red Emperor slid past his defenses and forced the boy to break a geas which killed him'.

So having taken the 100 raise characteristic +1 gifts he needed to buff up from 8 year old boy to Humakti superman did breaking the geas just reduce him back to a puny child when they are all instantly removed? 

Nothing so paltry as a few raised stats. Harsaltar and his sisters had taken the really heavy duty geases when they formed the Household of Death. Harsaltar was killed by the geas, not by the Emperor.

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On 5/12/2019 at 9:35 PM, Joerg said:

Nothing so paltry as a few raised stats. Harsaltar and his sisters had taken the really heavy duty geases when they formed the Household of Death. Harsaltar was killed by the geas, not by the Emperor.

Yes, these were Terrible HeroQuesting Geases. I'd guess that they were sworn on the Styx, Garrote of the Gods, to strengthen them.

Edited by soltakss

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On 4/29/2019 at 5:34 AM, 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. 

Indrodar did break his geas, but I think the consequences of that were more the curse to his bloodline and being later forced to kill his own kin. His death in the marsh, along with his Humakti companions, was duck-related - which was tragic given he was the original Duckfriend who brought the Lismelder under Duck rule.  But you never can trust ducks. 

His Hero cult has its own gifts & geas. One of them is "Never let a duck suffer needlessly" 

And at least he died with his boots on - according to some he was never seen to take them off! 

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1 hour ago, Divadllah said:

Indrodar did break his geas, but I think the consequences of that were more the curse to his bloodline and being later forced to kill his own kin. His death in the marsh, along with his Humakti companions, was duck-related - which was tragic given he was the original Duckfriend who brought the Lismelder under Duck rule.  But you never can trust ducks. 

His Hero cult has its own gifts & geas. One of them is "Never let a duck suffer needlessly" 

And at least he died with his boots on - according to some he was never seen to take them off! 

The gods move in mysterious ways. Given that ducks are so often tools of Humakt, who's to say exactly what moved them to betray Indrodar...

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Pretty sure anyone in Orlanthi culture that violates a geas is forever after known as "Breaking Wind".

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Violating a geas is a terrible thing. A Humakti cultist who violates a geas is no longer an initiate or Sword of Humakt, lose all their gifts and keep their geases, and is cursed by the cult Spirit of Reprisal. 

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6 minutes ago, styopa said:

Pretty sure anyone in Orlanthi culture that violates a geas is forever after known as "Breaking Wind".

You think Orlanth sends mere impests against those who break their oaths? Flint Slingers and Bronze Fists at least.

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9 hours ago, Jeff said:

Flint Slingers and Bronze Fists at least.

As euphemisms, those are terrifying.  I've heard 'Flint Slingers' are agony, but I think everyone's been threatened to some degree by the Bronze Fists of Orlanth.

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On 6/9/2019 at 4:09 PM, Jeff said:

Violating a geas is a terrible thing. A Humakti cultist who violates a geas is no longer an initiate or Sword of Humakt, lose all their gifts and keep their geases, and is cursed by the cult Spirit of Reprisal. 

Unless you're illuminated in some way... perhaps...

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On 6/9/2019 at 11:09 PM, Jeff said:

You think Orlanth sends mere impests against those who break their oaths? Flint Slingers and Bronze Fists at least.

I was incredibly pleased with how my players dealt with the question of offering a hospitality oath to Temertain, in the Colymar campaign in Sartar: KoH. In the campaign, this is usually a terrible dilemma - they are there to steal from Temertain, so swearing to abide by the rules of hospitality then stealing from him would make them oathbreakers (both making them vulnerable to attacks by the spirits of retribution, and having potentially disastrous consequences in a later heroquest). 

not wanting to give my players response away to anyone yet to run through it, I put it in spoiler tags

 

They had a session to think about it and one of my players came back the next session with his reply - " I will respect your hospitality as Zenfel did to Umath." This is an obscure Orlanthi myth in which Zenfel, innocent sky god, offers Umath hospitality but betrays him. The PCs were, in a roundabout way, admitting that they did not intend to honor hospitality, but came with hostile intent,, and so did not lie or break an oath. They were betting that neither Temertain nor his (mostly Lunar) court would know an obscure Orlanthi myth (and in so doing, prove he was not truly fit to be an Orlanthi king), and would not admit to not knowing. I played it that their ruse worked. Their statement was accepted as accepting hospitality. But Orlanth (and the greater powers of Glorantha, including crucially certain underworld figures) accepted that they had not lied or broken an oath, when they later stole something of great importance. Orlanth, of course, is not a Truth Rune god, and admires a clever trick from time to time, so they got away with it. 

Incidentally, anyone know how to put that paragraph behind spoiler markers or similar? 

Edited by davecake
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I think determining when and if a geas has been broken depends on three things - what the god knows, what the character knows, and what the player knows.

From the description of Divination on P271 RQG we know that for a god to know something from the current world it must be told it by an initiate or above in their prayers - specifically told it, not just have the worshipper thinking about it.

The character knows what the character witnessed, and what other people tell them happened. The character may or may not believe things they are told, and may or may not pass them along to their god in prayers.

The player probably knows all.

Thus, if a character breaks a geas, and is a good worshipper they will tell their god next time they pray. They may try to conceal it, but this would represent a loss of faith and gods are immediately aware of that.

If a character breaks a geas but is unaware that they have done so they won't tell their god, and won't lose faith because of it. If other worshippers of the same god witnessed the geas being broken they will tell their god next time they pray. If they hear about the geas being broken they may or may not investigate further, and may or may not tell their god.

Once the god is aware that a geas has been, or might have been broken, they will react according to their nature. Impulsive or violent gods will probably smite first and ask questions later, more temperate gods might investigate further before smiting.

If a character broke a geas involuntarily there should be some process of penance whereby they can win back their gods favour, If they broke a geas deliberately the consequences should be far reaching and permanent.

That brings me to the player. If the player attempts to rules-lawyer, or in any way weasel there way around geases the character should be absolutely hammered. Geases are restrictions imposed by the god the character worships and the character should want to follow them, to the point of being willing to die or allow loved ones to die rather than break them.

The players should be willing to role play their characters properly, and this should be explained to them (if they don't know already) when they take on gifts and geases.

Edited by Imryn
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1 hour ago, Imryn said:

I think determining when and if a geas has been broken depends on three things - what the god knows, what the character knows, and what the player knows.

From the description of Divination on P271 RQG we know that for a god to know something from the current world it must be told it by an initiate or above in their prayers - specifically told it, not just have the worshipper thinking about it.

The character knows what the character witnessed, and what other people tell them happened. The character may or may not believe things they are told, and may or may not pass them along to their god in prayers.

The player probably knows all.

Thus, if a character breaks a geas, and is a good worshipper they will tell their god next time they pray. They may try to conceal it, but this would represent a loss of faith and gods are immediately aware of that.

If a character breaks a geas but is unaware that they have done so they won't tell their god, and won't lose faith because of it. If other worshippers of the same god witnessed the geas being broken they will tell their god next time they pray. If they hear about the geas being broken they may or may not investigate further, and may or may not tell their god.

Once the god is aware that a geas has been, or might have been broken, they will react according to their nature. Impulsive or violent gods will probably smite first and ask questions later, more temperate gods might investigate further before smiting.

If a character broke a geas involuntarily there should be some process of penance whereby they can win back their gods favour, If they broke a geas deliberately the consequences should be far reaching and permanent.

That brings me to the player. If the player attempts to rules-lawyer, or in any way weasel there way around geases the character should be absolutely hammered. Geases are restrictions imposed by the god the character worships and the character should want to follow them, to the point of being willing to die or allow loved ones to die rather than break them.

The players should be willing to role play their characters properly, and this should be explained to them (if they don't know already) when they take on gifts and geases.

My general rule is that a god knows everything or nearly everything that his worshippers do. Although gods are not omniscient, initiation creates a strong bond with a god that allows Him/Her to be aware of the initiate and their actions. So in the case of breaking a geas, I think that the god knows automatically that it's been broken, even if the worshipper doesn't. 

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40 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

My general rule is that a god knows everything or nearly everything that his worshippers do. Although gods are not omniscient, initiation creates a strong bond with a god that allows Him/Her to be aware of the initiate and their actions. So in the case of breaking a geas, I think that the god knows automatically that it's been broken, even if the worshipper doesn't. 

A geas is very powerful oath. Humakt is the god of oaths. He knows when his initiates break their oaths.

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8 hours ago, davecake said:

Incidentally, anyone know how to put that paragraph behind spoiler markers or similar? 

Try soltakss's method below...

   On 5/24/2019 at 12:19 PM,  soltakss said: 

You can always wrap a Spoiler tag around the answer.

It's magic, innit?

   Hide contents

OK, so what you do is use tags, specifically the spoiler tag. Within square brackets [] you put the word spoiler and then in another set of square brackets you put /spoiler.

So, misspelling so as not to have a spoiler, you put [spoileroo]This is a spoileroo[/spoileroo], but using spoiler instead of spoileroo.

There may well be a tag that means "Treat anything inside as text, in which case, I could have used that instead, but not sure what it is. In HTML Code does the trick and that seems to work, so ...


[spoiler]This is a spoileroo[/spoiler]
Edited by Bill the barbarian
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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

A geas is very powerful oath. Humakt is the god of oaths. He knows when his initiates break their oaths.

Good point - an Oath spell just happens - you don't need to confess that you broke the oath before the Sever Spirit hits you. Break oath, dop down dead. Break geas, swords shatter.

One potential gotcha to watch out for - if someone casts Befuddle on an enemy, and the Humakti with Never Ambush doesn't realize it and hits 'em, boom. Is that too harsh?

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10 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

One potential gotcha to watch out for - if someone casts Befuddle on an enemy, and the Humakti with Never Ambush doesn't realize it and hits 'em, boom. Is that too harsh?

I wouldn't take that as ambush...

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16 hours ago, Jeff said:

A geas is very powerful oath. Humakt is the god of oaths. He knows when his initiates break their oaths.

 

15 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Good point - an Oath spell just happens - you don't need to confess that you broke the oath before the Sever Spirit hits you. Break oath, dop down dead. Break geas, swords shatter.

One potential gotcha to watch out for - if someone casts Befuddle on an enemy, and the Humakti with Never Ambush doesn't realize it and hits 'em, boom. Is that too harsh?

Sorry, you are both wrong. Humakt is the god of death and war - he just happens to be pretty keen about truth as well but doesn't have a portfolio for that (just had a marvel moment: "you are not the god of hammers")

A geas is not any type of oath. An oath is an agreement between two parties that is negotiated in advance, and once both parties agree they fuel the oath by putting magical power into it. A geas is a restriction that is imposed by the god with no negotiation and no magic power is put into it.

The limits on what a god does and does not know are pretty clear (RQG 271) :

"Secondly, initiates and Rune Masters are extensions of the deity, and can tell the deity many things through prayer. Thus, a deity will know what has happened to its Rune Masters and, to a lesser extent, its initiates. The god does not know what a Rune Master or initiate is thinking and cannot deduce motivations. A deity cannot invade anyone’s mind; though it knows when a worshiper has lost faith. Other knowledge given to a god by a worshiper must be volunteered through prayer."

Gods can't read minds, not even their worshippers minds, and have to be specifically told of events in prayers. I am now wondering what happens to gossipy worshippers who pass on information that they heard from a friend of a friend etc

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I think the best way to handle geases is through the "loss of faith" clause.

If a character deliberately knowingly breaks a geas this is a loss of faith, the god knows immediately and its smite time.

If a character involuntarily breaks a geas (put on a horse when unconscious etc) the god does not know, but the character confesses in worship and a penance is imposed.

If the player even tries to rules-lawyer or weasel it, its super mega smite time - pair of smoking boots is all that's left.

Edited by Imryn

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