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Breaking a geas

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13 hours ago, Joerg said:

Originally, celibacy was meant to make sure that there would be no inheritable bishoprics, an instrument to keep investiture as a power of the head of the church. The patriarchic elements probably were inherent in both the Jewish and the Roman roots of the church, despite the fairly hippy elements in the original community.

Church took control over reproduction only fairly lately, according to Diarmaid MacCullogh's BBC documentary "Sex and the Church". The early church expanded into higher society mainly through female converts.

That might have been the ostensible reason given, but the christian church had a deep seated hatred and fear of women long before that. Women were controlled by so many elements of society that the church didn't need to add any more to persecute them to their hearts content. Women were already property, not people, and women were stoned for adultery (including when they were raped) where men were not punished at all for the same crime. Amongst a whole load of other inequalities.

By binding priests to celibacy the church was attempting to make them immune to "temptation" - the church feared women's supposed ability to control men by giving or withholding sexual favours. If the priest broke the vow the woman would be severely punished as a "demon temptress" - the priest would get a penance (a couple of "our fathers" maybe).

All in all it was a sordid and disgraceful (and very long) period in our history, and elements of it are still with us today. I don't see any reason why we have to transfer all of that shit stuff into Glorantha. In many ways the authors have obviously attempted to make Glorantha a much more level playing field for sexual equality than the real world ever has been, but this slipped through the net.

As I said earlier, I would substitute the "Feel no Love" geas for the celibacy ones as it achieves the same end result without the inherent unfairness.

Edited by Imryn

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3 minutes ago, Imryn said:

That might have been the ostensible reason given, but the christian church had a deep seated hatred and fear of women long before that. Women were controlled by so many elements of society that the church didn't need to add any more to persecute them to their hearts content. Women were already property, not people, and women were stoned for adultery (including when they were raped) where men were not punished at all for the same crime. Amongst a whole load of other inequalities.

By binding priests to celibacy the church was attempting to make them immune to "temptation" - the church feared women's supposed ability to control men by giving or withholding sexual favours. If the priest broke the vow the woman would be severely punished as a "demon temptress" - the priest would get a penance (a couple of "our fathers" maybe).

All in all it was a sordid and disgraceful (and very long) period in our history, and elements of it are still with us today. I don't see any reason why we have to transfer all of that shit stuff into Glorantha. In many ways the authors have obviously attempted to make Glorantha a much more level playing field for sexual equality than the real world ever has been, but this slipped through the net.

As I said earlier, I would substitute the "Feel no Love" geas for the celibacy ones as it achieves the same end result without the inherent unfairness.

Odd how the Greek orthodox church parish priests are allowed to marry and always have been. 

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16 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

The way I see this...

Firstly, unfortunately, yes, being raped would be a breach of the geas - no less so than being unconscious and forced onto a horse, bound and tied and having horseflesh or fowl forced down your throat, and any of the other unintended geas breakages.

As for why celibacy can be seen as a valid geas - because, as you point out, " In the real world this refers to the pleasures of fornication". Giving up such pleasures would be a form of actual 'sacrifice' (much moreso than killing off some chickens or cows, of dropping off some food/wine). It would represent a real 'something important to give up' to many people.

If you are interpreting the celibacy geas as giving up the pleasures of fornication how on earth do you interpret getting raped as a breach of that geas? Especially raped while unconscious?

Please explain which part of the process the victim is supposed to have taken pleasure from.

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1 hour ago, Imryn said:

If you are interpreting the celibacy geas as giving up the pleasures of fornication how on earth do you interpret getting raped as a breach of that geas? Especially raped while unconscious?

Please explain which part of the process the victim is supposed to have taken pleasure from.

A strong gift without the nasty consequences is nothing than a free ride. The celibacy geas and various others aren't about conscious decisions, they are setting up the character to fail in circumstances beyond their control for the temporary enjoyment of a gift.

Defloration (that's what the bigoted unicorn is obsessed about) - whether conscious or unconscious - is the deal breaker. The cult is more forgiving than the steed.

A Yelmalian fallen prey to broo will have their celibacy geas broken, too.

The character accepting a geas is set up to fail. As long as the character avoids failing, he or se receives a super power. That's the deal, and if you don't like it, don't go joining Humakt, Yelmalio, or Yelorna. The player is daring the GM. If the GM doesn't cash in that dare at some point, he is just playing favorites.

 

Players and GM should create a social contract - possibly print it out and sign it - about using such restricttions in the game. Players who cannot stomach such demon ex machina events should avoid playing such OP gifted cults.

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33 minutes ago, Joerg said:

A strong gift without the nasty consequences is nothing than a free ride. The celibacy geas and various others aren't about conscious decisions, they are setting up the character to fail in circumstances beyond their control for the temporary enjoyment of a gift.

Defloration (that's what the bigoted unicorn is obsessed about) - whether conscious or unconscious - is the deal breaker. The cult is more forgiving than the steed.

A Yelmalian fallen prey to broo will have their celibacy geas broken, too.

The character accepting a geas is set up to fail. As long as the character avoids failing, he or se receives a super power. That's the deal, and if you don't like it, don't go joining Humakt, Yelmalio, or Yelorna. The player is daring the GM. If the GM doesn't cash in that dare at some point, he is just playing favorites.

 

Players and GM should create a social contract - possibly print it out and sign it - about using such restricttions in the game. Players who cannot stomach such demon ex machina events should avoid playing such OP gifted cults.

Ah ok, sorry I get it now.

Forget about the fact that players are forced to accept gifts and geases if they want to play certain cults, you, as GM, see that as a challenge that means you have to force them to break the geas by any means possible.

I didn't realise that Humakt was such an OP cult. I suppose since they are so OP they should be punished, it stands to reason, and at least you don't have to worry about them resurrecting right? Only have to kill of the pesky OP so-and-so's the once!

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2 hours ago, Imryn said:

If you are interpreting the celibacy geas as giving up the pleasures of fornication how on earth do you interpret getting raped as a breach of that geas? Especially raped while unconscious?

Please explain which part of the process the victim is supposed to have taken pleasure from.

No, I'm interpreting "celibacy" as not having sex (the GM and players need to agree whether that means only penetrative, or anything).

Sex is not always pleasurable, even if consensual, and so the geas is about the basic act - not the enjoyment (or lack thereof).

You're obviously not happy with the restrictions (possibly)  placed upon your characters from Humakt, Yelmalio, et al... Have you considered joining Babeester Gor?

 

(There is not an argument here that will be condoning rape or sexual assault in any way, shape or form. This is not the forum, nor the people, who would even consider such an idea. Anything suggested to the contrary will not be accepted, and would only come from a Red Herring type logical fallacy...)

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25 minutes ago, Imryn said:

Ah ok, sorry I get it now.

Forget about the fact that players are forced to accept gifts and geases if they want to play certain cults, you, as GM, see that as a challenge that means you have to force them to break the geas by any means possible.

I didn't realise that Humakt was such an OP cult. I suppose since they are so OP they should be punished, it stands to reason, and at least you don't have to worry about them resurrecting right? Only have to kill of the pesky OP so-and-so's the once!

I think that's somewhat unfair.

Sure, geasa are there as GM plot points - as should be any cult stipulations (just the fact you join a cult means you've agreed to certain limitations, which makes for more dramatic role-playing if used appropriately).

As @Joerg was saying, gifts aren't meant to be "free", and not bringing the geas into it in some meaningful way would be making it free... (and boring).

(*NOT* equating the two ) would you be as argumentative about a dietary requirement which you found unappealing? I notice that the above example of being kidnapped (and tied to the horse) didn't raise an issue. 

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13 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

No, I'm interpreting "celibacy" as not having sex (the GM and players need to agree whether that means only penetrative, or anything).

Sex is not always pleasurable, even if consensual, and so the geas is about the basic act - not the enjoyment (or lack thereof).

You're obviously not happy with the restrictions (possibly)  placed upon your characters from Humakt, Yelmalio, et al... Have you considered joining Babeester Gor?

 

(There is not an argument here that will be condoning rape or sexual assault in any way, shape or form. This is not the forum, nor the people, who would even consider such an idea. Anything suggested to the contrary will not be accepted, and would only come from a Red Herring type logical fallacy...)

If you think I am upset about geases in general then you aren't paying attention. What I am getting heated about is the blithe assumption that its fine to further victimise a rape victim that is being expressed in this forum. For that matter I am also upset that anyone here could propose having a character raped just to break a geas.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

...they are setting up the character to fail in circumstances beyond their control for the temporary enjoyment of a gift...

The character accepting a geas is set up to fail...

The player is daring the GM. If the GM doesn't cash in that dare at some point, he is just playing favorites.

2 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

I think that's somewhat unfair.

Sure, geasa are there as GM plot points - as should be any cult stipulations (just the fact you join a cult means you've agreed to certain limitations, which makes for more dramatic role-playing if used appropriately).

As @Joerg was saying, gifts aren't meant to be "free", and not bringing the geas into it in some meaningful way would be making it free... (and boring).

(*NOT* equating the two ) would you be as argumentative about a dietary requirement which you found unappealing? I notice that the above example of being kidnapped (and tied to the horse) didn't raise an issue. 

Not what @Joerg said at all. What he said was that if a player creates a character with gifts and geases they are daring him to break the geas. As a GM this is trivially easy, so what he is saying is that in his Glorantha if you try to play a cult with gifts and geases he will simply destroy your character. I recall he said in one of his reply's to me in another thread that he had never played a Humakt character and never had one in a game he GM'ed. That makes more sense to me now.

The fact that you DON'T see a difference between having an unconscious character thrown over a horse to break a geas, and having an unconscious character raped and then using the fact of that rape to further victimise them appals me.

The fact that your mind can even go there, and then you see nothing wrong with expressing that thought in a public forum, tells me everything I need to know about you.

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6 hours ago, albinoboo said:

Odd how the Greek orthodox church parish priests are allowed to marry and always have been. 

 

6 hours ago, Imryn said:

If you are interpreting the celibacy geas as giving up the pleasures of fornication how on earth do you interpret getting raped as a breach of that geas? Especially raped while unconscious?

 

I have a request. 

This is an incredibly sensitive topic,  I request that we all take a very  deep breath and realize that an academic debate about such a subject might not be a good idea on a public forum where we have been asked to be on our best behaviours and to not alienate folk. There is a bit of tinder for emotions to get heated and we might have bruised feelings if we are not sensitive in what we say.

If the topic must continue please be nice!

Cheers

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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+1 to Bill the Barbarian's request.

Glorantha has some VERY uncomfortable parts, particularly in regards to sexuality.  The whole unicorn/virgin thing is lifted AFAIK straight out of early Christianity.  It sits kind of... oddly... in Glorantha's pagan mythology & often rather freewheeling sexuality.  There's also some frankly-outdated & regressive "1970s" points of view interspersed with the broadly enlightened and forward-thinking setting.

I'm generally and vaguely in agreement that, from a story-telling & game-mechanical perspective, "geasa exist to be broken" (the same way Champs/Hero "Disadvantages" are supposed to be leveraged by the GM to cause problems for the PC's, "Flaws" in Ars Magica likewise, etc etc etc).

At the same time, I'm rather sharply in agreement that it's never OK to inflict rape on a PC without extensive pre-negotiation (and likely use of some "safety tools").  Just saying "then don't play that character-type" is... kind of blinkered, and rather petty.  The Unicorn Riders' virginity is a horribly entangled issue.

 

Perhaps an alternate geas might be a good way to get away from this rather prickly tangle?

"Always help a woman in need."  The Yelornan's Green Age quest could involve some such aid to a woman...

Other suggestions?

 

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16 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

 

I have a request. 

This is an incredibly sensitive topic,  I request that we all take a very  deep breath and realize that an academic debate about such a subject might not be a good idea on a public forum where we have been asked to be on our best behaviours and to not alienate folk. There is a bit of tinder for emotions to get heated and we might have a bruised feelings if we are not sensitive in what we say.

If the topic must continue please be nice!

Cheers

Yes, Bill, you are correct.  But let's not have emotion get in the way of truth.

I believe it is an "academic debate", and am seeing the issue from that perspective. Remember when it was suggested that playing D&D would lead people to devil worship? Or computer games would increase the chance of becoming violent and murdering people?

 

 

2 hours ago, Imryn said:

If you think I am upset about geases in general then you aren't paying attention. What I am getting heated about is the blithe assumption that its fine to further victimise a rape victim that is being expressed in this forum. For that matter I am also upset that anyone here could propose having a character raped just to break a geas.

I don't see anyone suggesting it's "fine" to further victimise a rape victim. Nor have I seen anyone here propose having a character raped (whether for the breakage of a geas or not... although, I have seen mention of broos, which is a standard creature in RQ, and has been for decades. I presume you remove all broos from your games - yes?)

If I"m wrong - please quote! NO, not "it can be interpreted in such and such a way", but actual specific and direct quotes.

 

2 hours ago, Imryn said:

Not what @Joerg said at all. What he said was that if a player creates a character with gifts and geases they are daring him to break the geas. As a GM this is trivially easy, so what he is saying is that in his Glorantha if you try to play a cult with gifts and geases he will simply destroy your character.

I don't really want to speak for @Jeorg, as I"m quite sure he's capable of doing so himself - but... I agree with what he said (which, by the way, does not include the phrase "destroy your character" - those are your words! I agree with him... geasa are tests of faith. They can be broken in many ways (which, FTR, does not require that the celibacy geas can only be broken via rape - especially since the statistical majority of initiates into either Humakt or Yelmalio are male (not that males can't be raped, obviously)). I think he's saying  - your geas is going to be tested, and quite possibly put into situations in which the geas is likely to be broken (somehow). And, as I said, I agree with him!

 

2 hours ago, Imryn said:

The fact that you DON'T see a difference between having an unconscious character thrown over a horse to break a geas, and having an unconscious character raped and then using the fact of that rape to further victimise them appals me.

 

The fact that you don't read the...

3 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

(There is not an argument here that will be condoning rape or sexual assault in any way, shape or form. This is not the forum, nor the people, who would even consider such an idea. Anything suggested to the contrary will not be accepted, and would only come from a Red Herring type logical fallacy...)

and the ..

3 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

(*NOT* equating the two )

 I wrote that preceded that says a lot...

 

2 hours ago, Imryn said:



The fact that your mind can even go there, and then you see nothing wrong with expressing that thought in a public forum, tells me everything I need to know about you.

This is (was) an academic discussion on the nature of geasa in the world of Glorantha, and how the gods that impose such things operate. They're not particularly kind and compassionate (Humakt being the god of death and all...). We can have this discussion about a fictional world and a fictional situation, and a fictional consequence by a fictional god.

Being a gamer, and a philosopher, and an academic (and, apparently, on the autism spectrum), my mind is capable of going many places. It needs to to be able to enjoy the fundamental concept of RPGs. In the RPGs I (and most others) play, "people" (PCs and lots and lots and lots of NPCs) die. Sometimes horribly. It can be presumed that tens of millions of people died during the invasion of Chaos in the Glorantha history...I also play Werewolf - PCs regularly kill other people. Some characters do so for sport. It's part of the "role play". Many who play D&D like to play evil characters, so they can do horrendous stuff. It, again, is part of the "role play". There are very few RPGs (PnP or video) that don't have killing as a motif. (surely that should be something to be appalled about!)

And, we are quite capable of distinguishing the fantasy of RPGs and the reality of life.

Suggesting that people who play such games with such motifs in them, and are able to discuss them (in public or otherwise) is in any way suggestive of their personality, character, etc is ludicrous (and probably very insulting!)

 

If you intend to reply to this post, please start by quoting this (which I wrote above)  -

4 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

There is not an argument here that will be condoning rape or sexual assault in any way, shape or form. This is not the forum, nor the people, who would even consider such an idea. Anything suggested to the contrary will not be accepted, and would only come from a Red Herring type logical fallacy...)

 

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30 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Yes, Bill, you are correct.  But let's not have emotion get in the way of truth.

 I believe it is an "academic debate", and am seeing the issue from that perspective. Remember when it was suggested that playing D&D would lead people to devil worship? Or computer games would increase the chance of becoming violent and murdering people?

I have zero interest to be involved in this debate, zero. I wish to make a comment and go. 

Whether that subject can be an academic debate is not at issue. That subject can not be an academic debate within a forum devoted to entertainment where we have been told to be on our best behaviour (when children could be wandering around) and be welcoming to new comers. All folk here should use emotion first and foremost The first emotion should be compassion.

Academic and compassion do not go well together.

Again play nice, everyone.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
many spelling errors

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53 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Yes, Bill, you are correct.  But let's not have emotion get in the way of truth.

Full stop there.  HARD stop.

RQ is a game, an RPG set in a fictional world.  There is no "truth" here.

And particularly, in a forum where virtually every poster comes from a different table, a different Glorantha... anything resembling "truth" at one table has no presumption of a similar resemblance at another table.  Your table's "truth" has zero validility at my table, and vice versa.

 

Moreover (as noted above, but worth repeating) RQ is a game.  It's about having FUN.  By all means, let's _DO_ have emotion (specifically, MGF & enjoying the game and friends 'round the table) get in the way of "truth."

(edit to add:  "<something something>, BUT <something else>"  is a notably-problematic rhetorical maneuver)

Edited by g33k

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FIrst of all, I have taken the subject of celibacy and the role of the church into a new thread away from the RuneQuest forum, and I ask anyone meaning to debate issues like rape victims etc. there:

 

Quote

Forget about the fact that players are forced to accept gifts and geases if they want to play certain cults, you, as GM, see that as a challenge that means you have to force them to break the geas by any means possible.

No, I don't see this as my prime directive. But it is only fair to challenge these powerful and POW-less magical abilities by attacking the corresponding geases.

Quote

I didn't realise that Humakt was such an OP cult.

It offers "money for nothing", as you yourself noted when you demanded a POW sacrifice for each gift. (Which is both too expensive and too cheap, IMO.)

 

Quote

I suppose since they are so OP they should be punished, it stands to reason, and at least you don't have to worry about them resurrecting right? Only have to kill of the pesky OP so-and-so's the once!

No. Taking a geas means that you are taking a gamble with fate, and you trust that fate won't call your bluff soon.

Humakti are insanely strong killing machines, and only the fact that the temples rely on society to feed them and to sell them weaponry keeps them moderately accountable for the killings they inflict on the population.

To join Humakt is to play a doomed character. Yes, you can delay your final death by DIs if you make it to Rune Lord, but most of the rank and file will die and join their deity long before there is a post as Rune Lord available, and before they qualify.

Yes, there are a few rather old Humakti. Londra and Naimless are positively ancient as Humakti go.

Many a Humakti will die before he or she breaks one of the geases (and most Humakti will have only one, and a rather meaningless gift.) They are overpowered killing machines because of their range of magic, and their cult skills generally have check boxes, which makes approaching rune level easy. Creating an opening for a new Sword isn't that hard, either.

Yelmalians may accept healing and even resurrection. Elmali apparently don't have geases, or gifts - we'll have to wait and see what RQ GaGoG will bring.

 

 

10 hours ago, Imryn said:

Not what @Joerg said at all. What he said was that if a player creates a character with gifts and geases they are daring him to break the geas.

Yes. If you play in a system that gives you points for introducing an enemy, the GM never using that enemy is favoritism. Invoking such a boon means that you will have to face at least serious struggle to live with the consequences.

Quote

As a GM this is trivially easy, so what he is saying is that in his Glorantha if you try to play a cult with gifts and geases he will simply destroy your character.

At some point, there will be attacks on the geases, yes. There will be a chance to oppose the attacks - if say the roll on the Truth Rune versus the magically augmented Seduction fails, the character may still ask for a DI to avoid breaking the geas, or commit honorable suicide, or whatever. Or the character may accept the doom, the consequences, and seek a way to go down in a blaze of glory, Samson-style.

In fact, Samson is the archetypical Bronze Age bearer of a geas.

Do I mean to destroy that character out of a whim? Not at all. But if you decide to play a doomed death warrior, you'd better accept that role and its consequences.

If you play a Yelmalian templar, you are about as restricted in what you can do, too. My games usually have the characters tied into the background, at least the starting characters usually have a common background (although "veterans of the battle at Pennel Ford" works for me, they don't have to be all born Ernaldori clansfolk).

 

Quote

I recall he said in one of his reply's to me in another thread that he had never played a Humakt character and never had one in a game he GM'ed. That makes more sense to me now.

Yes - when I describe Humakt and the consequences of joining the cult, most of my players who like to get attached to a character prefer to play a member of some other cult. I don't usually play military games. Humakti make great sidekicks and bodyguards, but they tend to be redshirts.

My personal favorite fighter cult is the Lhankor Mhy subcult of the Sword Sages, Hevduran. I do respect Humakti for the choice they made, but I expect them to die for it, too. Both Orlanth Adventurous and Orlanth Thunderous offer good capacity for fighters, and to some extent Heler does, too. I hate playing one-trick ponies.

My players who know my style of scenarios rarely go for one-trick ponies, either, as I offer quite a lot of general challenges, usually after preparing the players for that kind of challenge and allowing them some way to prepare for that kind of challenge. I do go with player-initiated side-tracks, and those may include challenges which the characters aren't prepared for.

I wouldn't demand "Herd" skill checks from a party that doesn't have that skill in my scenarios. But then, the way I had my players create experience was a little different  from how the RQ3 previous experience system was supposed to be used - I had them take a number of years in certain backgrounds as a default. How I will deal with the more railroaded previous experience remains to be seen. I usually play on conventions, providing pre-made characters with abilities at least partially relevant to the tasks at hand. Getting players together who are willing to face my barrage of deep Glorantha is a bit harder than recruiting players for a setting of my own making (those were usually well received by my crowd).

 

But yes, the question remains when it is opportune for the GM to fire Chekhov's Gun and attack a geas. In all fairness, the character should have had the chance to benefit from the gift for a bit. In equal fairness, refusing the "Call to Adventure" is ok once or twice, but ultimately the character is likely to get a choice of two evils, one is risking to break the geas, lose cult benefits, and get buggered if persisting to bluff through, the other is to walk the path of the hero into a different kind of evil and hell. Escaping into the myths is always an option, and if the player is willing to go all out Humakt (or Yelmalio) and do the really bad stuff, kudos, and let's have fun with that. Yanafal offered his all - the total of his existence in history - to absolve Teelo Estara in the confrontation with the Devil/absolute Chaos. I will tell the player that myth, or a similar one, and possibly some other part of the Sword Story to choose from.

Sooner or later I will tell a Humakti about Arkat, too. There is always a deeper hole to be dug. "Apotheosis" as a guardian of the orthodoxy of a heroquest path may be a worthy retirement, and a chance to start something new.

Edited by Joerg
moving celibacy considerations elsethread.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

FIrst of all, I have taken the subject of celibacy and the role of the church into a new thread away from the RuneQuest forum, and I ask anyone meaning to debate issues like rape victims etc. there:

...

I suggest you take a look at e.g. p.309, the list of Yelmalios geases, and see "Celibacy on firedays/in Fire Season" etc. which clearly indicates that "celibacy" has nothing to do with the Catholic Church requirement for priests, but means "abstinence from sexual intercourse". There is nothing about pleasures or trauma of sexual intercourse, it is about the practice of sexual activities of any kind. Presumably including masturbation.

... 

What gives you the idea that the "Celibacy" geas or the virginity requirement that unicorns have for their riders has anything at all to do with pleasure, trauma or love?

...

This is cutting a bit too close to the bone, Joerg.

You're asking for the uncomfortable topic to go elsethread, and then explicitly invoking it, in the same post.

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9 minutes ago, g33k said:

This is cutting a bit too close to the bone, Joerg.

You're asking for the uncomfortable topic to go elsethread, and then explicitly invoking it, in the same post.

Guilty. I added that cross reference after having written a lot (and two involuntary computer new starts), so I lost a bit. Replies in the other thread, then.

Cutting that out, moving it.

Edited by Joerg
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11 hours ago, g33k said:

There is no "truth" here.

The "truth" I was (in my head - explicitly) referring to was a) it IS a game, and not real life, and b) what a character might do in character is not what a player (person) would do in RL. I thought the last line of both my posts had made that fairly clear...no?

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Taking a deep breath, and a step back, I would like to explain my thoughts about both gifts and geases, and the testing / breaking of them.

In RQ2 gifts were quite powerful benefits. The main reason for this was that characters started at a very early point in their careers and were years away from attaining Rune Lord status. With the new character generation system in RQG it is quite easy to create a character who is, if not already qualified, very close to attaining Rune Lord status.

Once a character has access to Rune Lord DI they can get all (or most) of the gifts with no cost. There may be some gifts that are exclusive to certain gods (perhaps Humakt is the only god who can grant sense assassin?) but that is for each GM to determine, and the majority (all stat increases, cult skill increases, additional weapon damage and HP) should be available to any Rune Lord in any cult.

Thus, the benefit gained from a gift in RQG is now minor and other characters who are in cults without gifts will very quickly catch up. The benefit gained from the gift is small and fleeting, so the cost of that gift should be commensurate.

All of the geases are described very briefly. Some, like "wear no armor on 1 location", are very clear in their intention and scope. Others, as our discussions here have shown, are less clear and must be better defined by the GM in order to play them properly.

The vast majority of the geases can be broken by the GM effortlessly. As has been repeatedly mentioned you can have a character knocked unconscious and then break almost any geas. Strap armor on their unarmored leg, put them on a horse, feed them vegetables (cooked and uncooked), meat, fish, fowl etc etc etc. But is this commensurate with the benefit gained?

I am not proposing that geases should not be tested, but I am saying that the testing and the consequences for failure should be proportional to the benefit gained from the gift.

In my Glorantha i adopt the following policies:

  1. Geases cannot be broken accidentally. The character is assumed to be following the strictures during all mundane events. Where an action would break a geas the GM will warn the player.
  2. Geases cannot be broken involuntarily. If the character is unable to resist the action that breaks the geas it doesn't count. This does not mean that the situation is just ignored, it means that the situation is resolved through roleplaying contrition, confession, penance etc. Players conspiring to contrive circumstances to evade geas restrictions do not count as involuntary.
  3. Testing geases is appropriate and required. The player should be placed in situations that require them to sacrifice something of value to maintain the geas. This testing should take place early in the characters career and should become less frequent as the character advances in their career; proportional to the current benefit of the associated gift.
  4. Breaking a geas (1). Testing a geas may involve requiring the player to make a choice, but it may also require actions such as resistance rolls etc. In the case where the player attempts to resist the action that breaks the geas, but fails, the geas is broken. The character suffers the consequences of the broken geas, however as they did attempt to resist there should be a path for them to regain their gods favour. A difficult path, but a path none the less.
  5. Breaking a geas (2). If a player chooses to break a geas deliberately the character suffers the consequences of the broken geas. It is up to the GM to decide if there is any way to regain the gods favour, but if a path is offered it should be tantamount to suicide.
  6. Removing a geas. There will come a time in the characters career when the benefit of the gift becomes negligible, and some mechanism should exist whereby the character can be released from the geas. One possibility is to use DI to remove the geas (and associated gift). Other possibilities exist, I am sure.

Characters should not be condemned to suffer under geases that are being constantly and harshly tested by the GM just for the minor benefit of gifts that are unavoidable, soon worthless and never worth the price demanded for them.

14 hours ago, Joerg said:

Humakti are insanely strong killing machines, and only the fact that the temples rely on society to feed them and to sell them weaponry keeps them moderately accountable for the killings they inflict on the population.

To join Humakt is to play a doomed character. Yes, you can delay your final death by DIs if you make it to Rune Lord, but most of the rank and file will die and join their deity long before there is a post as Rune Lord available, and before they qualify.

Yes, there are a few rather old Humakti. Londra and Naimless are positively ancient as Humakti go.

Many a Humakti will die before he or she breaks one of the geases (and most Humakti will have only one, and a rather meaningless gift.) They are overpowered killing machines because of their range of magic, and their cult skills generally have check boxes, which makes approaching rune level easy. Creating an opening for a new Sword isn't that hard, either.

I don't understand why you think Humakti are "insanely strong" or "overpowered killing machines". I don't see anything in their cult or their rune magic that justifies that characterisation - Sever Spirit is the only spell that stands out and that has been given a hard nerf; to the point that its not worth casting it on anyone but a red shirt (and a waste of 3 rp then).

I agree that they are ultimately doomed, but the restriction on resurrection guarantees that without any further help.

15 hours ago, Joerg said:

My personal favorite fighter cult is the Lhankor Mhy subcult of the Sword Sages, Hevduran.

I wondered why you made the comment about Humakti cult skills having check boxes, then I saw what your favorite "fighter" was. Talk about wanting to have everything! So sorry that your super duper sword fighting sage character has to develop his knowledge based skills to advance. Bitter much?

Has it occurred to you that specialising in something should allow you to advance faster, and attempting to get the broadest possible range of abilities should make your advancement slower?

I suppose if you think a pale 90 lb librarian who learned his sword fighting from a book is a good "fighter" then your description of Humakti as overpowered killing machines is a bit more understandable :D

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16 hours ago, Joerg said:

But yes, the question remains when it is opportune for the GM to fire Chekhov's Gun and attack a geas. In all fairness, the character should have had the chance to benefit from the gift for a bit. In equal fairness, refusing the "Call to Adventure" is ok once or twice, but ultimately the character is likely to get a choice of two evils, one is risking to break the geas, lose cult benefits, and get buggered if persisting to bluff through, the other is to walk the path of the hero into a different kind of evil and hell. Escaping into the myths is always an option, and if the player is willing to go all out Humakt (or Yelmalio) and do the really bad stuff, kudos, and let's have fun with that. Yanafal offered his all - the total of his existence in history - to absolve Teelo Estara in the confrontation with the Devil/absolute Chaos. I will tell the player that myth, or a similar one, and possibly some other part of the Sword Story to choose from.

Sooner or later I will tell a Humakti about Arkat, too. There is always a deeper hole to be dug. "Apotheosis" as a guardian of the orthodoxy of a heroquest path may be a worthy retirement, and a chance to start something new.

If I am reading this correctly you are advocating deliberately forcing a character into a lose / lose situation that will irrevocably damage or destroy the character.

How is that a proportional response to a worthless gift? What that looks like to me is just persecution of a cult you don't like.

In my experience of role playing the best experience is when the GM and the players both have a say in the world and the way the characters interact with it. As a GM I would never force that situation on a player, and as a player I would walk away from the table of a GM that heavy handed and dictatorial. And the GM would be lucky I just walked away.

I think you would be better off banning the cults you don't like from the get go than behaving like this.

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38 minutes ago, Imryn said:

If I am reading this correctly you are advocating deliberately forcing a character into a lose / lose situation that will irrevocably damage or destroy the character.

How is that a proportional response to a worthless gift? What that looks like to me is just persecution of a cult you don't like.

This is in some part a reaction to the "loveable munchkin antics" that went on with the Temple of the Wooden Sword.

I am likely to call the mythic shenanigans of any cult when the situation warrants it. As a Humaktii, you serve Death, and accept Death in the course of your activities. If you want to play a Samson character, be prepared that some Delilah will give you a haircut sooner or later. If you are invulnerable except for the heel or the shoulder blade, expect to be hit there sooner or later.

Orlanth's track record as a warleader against Chaos is about as bad as Jon Snow's track record as a war leader. He had one significant victory over the Sky Terror, and a meaningful one over the lesser Kajabori. The rest is lots of suckage, and that may afflict an Orlanthi leader sooner or later.

On the Other Side, I like to shift myths at certain parallels, especially if the antagonists have been pushing in that direction from the start. Something like this may make a heroquest path a lot harder than expected, even if the original goal can be made. On the other hand, a harder quest may have a different outcome, but not usually a useless one.

38 minutes ago, Imryn said:

In my experience of role playing the best experience is when the GM and the players both have a say in the world and the way the characters interact with it. As a GM I would never force that situation on a player, and as a player I would walk away from the table of a GM that heavy handed and dictatorial. And the GM would be lucky I just walked away.

"What do you mean my character can die of this, and I don't get a save point?" If you take the bonus for playing a doomed character, not giving you a measure of doom is a failure by the GM. Like I said, I make this clear to potential players of this cult when starting a campaign, or when playing a convention one-shot. If the plan is to have a short campaign, I might play as hardball.

If I show up as a guest GM with an existing group, I try to get a feeling for their dynamics, and I won't go George R.R. Martin on them.

38 minutes ago, Imryn said:

I think you would be better off banning the cults you don't like from the get go than behaving like this.

If you want to play a challenging and doomed concept, I am willing to accommodate you. If you want to play a loveable mass-murdering swordsman, go for Orlanth. If your Humakti concept is brooding teenage angst and violence, then my style of calling the challenge should be within narrative purpose. Going Humakti after re-life sickness, an ok concept, but the sickness remains as a plot hook, so expect to catch some plot with it.

I am all for having adventures that address a player's concept for a character, which is why I am bad with published scenarios, and a friend of sandboxes. Yes, I do offer the players some high stakes dares at times, but those are hardly the only option to continue the campaign, and entail higher risk for possibly higher or more coveted rewards. They don't come for free.

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14 minutes ago, Joerg said:

This is in some part a reaction to the "loveable munchkin antics" that went on with the Temple of the Wooden Sword.

I am likely to call the mythic shenanigans of any cult when the situation warrants it. As a Humaktii, you serve Death, and accept Death in the course of your activities. If you want to play a Samson character, be prepared that some Delilah will give you a haircut sooner or later. If you are invulnerable except for the heel or the shoulder blade, expect to be hit there sooner or later.

Orlanth's track record as a warleader against Chaos is about as bad as Jon Snow's track record as a war leader. He had one significant victory over the Sky Terror, and a meaningful one over the lesser Kajabori. The rest is lots of suckage, and that may afflict an Orlanthi leader sooner or later.

On the Other Side, I like to shift myths at certain parallels, especially if the antagonists have been pushing in that direction from the start. Something like this may make a heroquest path a lot harder than expected, even if the original goal can be made. On the other hand, a harder quest may have a different outcome, but not usually a useless one.

"What do you mean my character can die of this, and I don't get a save point?" If you take the bonus for playing a doomed character, not giving you a measure of doom is a failure by the GM. Like I said, I make this clear to potential players of this cult when starting a campaign, or when playing a convention one-shot. If the plan is to have a short campaign, I might play as hardball.

If I show up as a guest GM with an existing group, I try to get a feeling for their dynamics, and I won't go George R.R. Martin on them.

If you want to play a challenging and doomed concept, I am willing to accommodate you. If you want to play a loveable mass-murdering swordsman, go for Orlanth. If your Humakti concept is brooding teenage angst and violence, then my style of calling the challenge should be within narrative purpose. Going Humakti after re-life sickness, an ok concept, but the sickness remains as a plot hook, so expect to catch some plot with it.

I am all for having adventures that address a player's concept for a character, which is why I am bad with published scenarios, and a friend of sandboxes. Yes, I do offer the players some high stakes dares at times, but those are hardly the only option to continue the campaign, and entail higher risk for possibly higher or more coveted rewards. They don't come for free.

I am still not sure why you are so down on Humakti. They are not invulnerable, they are not overpowered, they are (to some extent) killing machines, however that is a result of the cults focus and not the result of any useless "gifts". To compensate for any advantage they may have they are already playing for higher stakes than any other cult in every battle they fight. No resurrection is a huge disadvantage when you compare them to any other cult.

Manoeuvring them into lose/lose scenarios just to test geases that they have no choice about is grotesque. Its not a test if there is no pass mark, its just torture. Give them a test where they can "win" even if the price of winning is high, and I can understand, but a lose/lose "test" is pointless.

If Glorantha worked they way you want there would be no cult of Humakt - shoot enough initiates in the head and eventually people will stop signing up. There is such a cult, so it follows that the vast bulk of Humakti are not subjected to your lose/lose tests, just the ones unlucky enough to be GM'd by you.

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Truly worth mentioning, there are no lines of impatient swordsmen queuing up  in front of Humakti Temples waiting to join the cult. Any lineups one might see would be on signup days for open non-denominational training, I would think. The exact opposite might be true. The loneliest job in Pavis ( a city not lacking in adventurous types looking to join cults) I can imagine, might be the Humakti Sword in charge of recruitment for all the reasons given.

ETA The Humakt cult is very small numerically despite its power.

Cheers

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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52 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Truly worth mentioning, there are no lines of impatient swordsmen queuing up  in front of Humakti Temples waiting to join the cult. Any lineups one might see would be on signup days for open non-denominational training, I would think. The exact opposite might be true. The loneliest job in Pavis ( a city not lacking in adventurous types looking to join cults) I can imagine, might be the Humakti Sword in charge of recruitment for all the reasons given.

ETA The Humakt cult is very small numerically despite its power.

Cheers

In peace time.

I have been reading through the HQ rules and the background stuff for Sartar, the coming storm and the eleven lights, and I came across something interesting. Apparently, in the past the cult of Humakt was able to field many battalions of up to 1000 men but in recent memory these battalions have shrunk to a few dozen men or less. I have a theory.

The kingdom of Sartar is nothing but a bunch of Orlanthi tribes that agreed to work together, and an Orlanthi tribe is nothing but a group of clans that agreed to work together. Orlanthi clans are opportunistic and always look out for themselves and loyalty is always clan first, tribe second and kingdom a distant third. When faced with an enemy like the Lunar empire every clan is looking either to fight or to cut a deal , and sometimes both. The kingdom is divided by conflicting clan loyalties and the lunars are able to easily maintain control by playing clans off against each other. When Sartari leaders are able to put together enough clans to be a threat the lunars are able to buy off enough clan leaders to beat them.

The individual Orlanthi clan warrior is a cattle raider, not a soldier, and has no clue how to fight against Lunar regular troops. Each clan has a small number of thanes who might have a clue, but the warriors they lead are not disciplined enough for them to be effective. The Orlanthi warriors and thanes experience of fighting against the Lunars is their "allies" betraying them and their generals having no clue how to fight regular troops.

In peace time the commitment and discipline that Humakt requires is anathema to the free spirited Orlanthi warrior. Once he has taken part in a few "glorious" attacks on disciplined Lunar phalanxes he might come to see the benefit of such discipline.

My theory is that as the Orlanthi resistance grows the numbers of warriors willing to place themselves under Humakti discipline will grow very fast as the fighting heats up. And probably shrink again just as fast when the Lunars are driven out of Sartar.

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21 hours ago, Joerg said:

My personal favorite fighter cult is the Lhankor Mhy subcult of the Sword Sages, Hevduran.

I have been trying to track down references to the Hevduran sub cult you mentioned, but outside a thread here about home brewed Lhankor Mhy rune magic I can't find anything.

From what I can tell  this Lhankor Mhy subcult would give you access to sorcery, and rune magic and allow you to use your lore skills as positive modifiers on weapon skill roles?

If I was looking for a cult to top the list of "overpowered" ones this would be number one.

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The other thing to remember is that Humakt is a god of emotional isolation, of severing relationships.

In times of war, many Orlanthi will experience the kinds of events that make those "severed relationships" seem like the best choice.

Most of the rest of the time, it's likely to be discovered and/or confirmed during one's adulthood-initiation ritual...  And be pretty rare.

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