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Crel

Cult Skill Discrepancies

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I noticed something interesting recently: the starting skill bonuses an adventurer gets in the adventurer creation chapter due to their cult aren't always from actual cult skills. Most often this is Sing, but there are other examples like Intimidate for Babeester Gor and Maran Gor. This was relevant for my game because I had some players checking these lists for their seasonal occupation/cult skill checks. In addition, adventurers may add "+20% to one of these starting skills and +15% to another" (RQG p.73) during adventurer creation, which seems a bit odd to me because there's often a lot of cult skills which may not necessarily get a starting percentage, where those bonuses could be added (and which I'll probably allow in the future with my own players).

Mostly thought it was interesting and figured I'd share. Table comparing the Adventurers chapter & the Rune Cults chapter is below.

Deity:

Starting Skill Bonuses:

Cult Skills:

Argan Argar

Speak Other Language (Darktongue), Read/Write (Darktongue), Sing

1H Spear, Bargain, Cult Lore, Insight (Human or Troll), Read/Write (Darktongue), Speak (Darktongue), Worship

Babeester Gor

1H Axe, 2H Axe, Intimidate, Speak Other Language (Earthtongue)

1H Axe, 2H Axe, Battle, Cult Lore, Listen, Search, Track, Worship

Chalana Arroy

First Aid, Treat Disease or Treat Poison, Sing

Alchemy, Cult Lore, First Aid, Plant Lore, Treat Disease, Treat Poison, Worship

Daka Fal

Speak Other Language (Spiritspeech), Spirit Combat, Sing

Cult Lore, Speak (Spiritspeech), Spirit Combat, Spirit Lore, Worship (Ancestors)

Eiritha

Understand Herd Beasts, Herd, Sing

1H Axe, Animal Lore, Herd, Homeland Lore (local), Plant Lore, Understand Herd Beasts, Worship

Engizi

Boat, Speak Other Language (Boatspeech), Swim

Boat, Cult Lore, River Lore, Speak (Boatspeech), Swim

Ernalda

Dance, Animal Lore or Plant Lore, Sing, Speak Other Language (Earthtongue)

Animal Lore, Dance, Cult Lore, Farm, First Aid, Insight (human), Orate, Plant Lore, Worship

Eurmal

Dodge, Fast Talk, Charm

Charm, Conceal, Cult Lore, Dodge, Fast Talk, Sleight, Worship

Foundchild

Track, Peaceful Cut, Sing

Devise, Hide, Missile Weapon, Move Quietly, Peaceful Cut, Scan, Survival, Track, Worship

Humakt

1H Sword, Other Weapon, Intimidate

1H Sword, 2H Sword, Battle, Craft (Bronze or Iron), Cult Lore, First Aid, Scan, Sense Assassin, Worship

Issaries

Bargain, Speak Other Language (Tradetalk), Sing

Bargain, Cult Lore, Customs, Evaluate, Orate, Speak Own/Speak Other Language (any), Speak (Tradetalk), Worship

Lhankor Mhy

Read/Write (any), Lore (any), Sing

Alchemy, Cult Lore, Evaluate, Lore (any), Read/Write (any), Worship

Maran Gor

1H Axe or Mace, Dance, Intimidate, Speak Other Language (Earthtongue)

Climb, Cult Lore, Dance, 1H Axe, 1H Mace, Scan, Throw, Worship

Odayla

Track, Peaceful Cut, Sing

Climb, Hide, Missile Weapon, Move Quietly, Peaceful Cut, Scan, Survival, Track, Worship

Orlanth

Orate, Speak Other Language (Stormspeech), Sing, any sword, Dance

1H Sword, Battle, Cult Lore, Farm, Herd, Orate, Scan, Sing, Speak (Stormspeech), Worship

Seven Mothers

Speak Other Language (New Pelorian), Read/Write (New Pelorian), Sing

Conceal, Cult Lore, Insight (Human), Listen, Lunar Empire Lore, 1H Sword (Kopis), Read/Write (New Pelorian), Scan, Speak (New Pelorian), Worship

Storm Bull

Cultural Weapon, Sense Chaos, Intimidate

Battle, Cult Lore, Cultural Weapons, Ride, Scan, Sense Chaos, Track, Understand Herd Beast, Worship

Waha

Peaceful Cut, Spirit Combat, Sing

Cult Lore, Peaceful Cut, Ride, Spirit Combat, Survival, Tribal Weapon, Worship

Yelm

Ride, Speak Other Language (Firespeech), Sing

Bow, Cult Lore, Ride (Horse), Speak (Firespeech), Worship

Yelmalio

Celestial Lore, Speak Other Language (Firespeech), Sing

Battle, Bow, Celestial Lore, Cult Lore, Listen, 1H Long Speak, Pike, Scan, Search, Speak (Firespeech), Worship

Yinkin

Speak Other Language (Beastspeech), Track

Charm, Climb, Hide, Move Quietly, Scan, Speak (Beastspeech), Survival, Track, Worship

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Correct, and not a discrepancy. Babeester Gor cultists are very intimidating, for example. It's a skill that they naturally tend to acquire, but it is not a skill that the cult values and rewards. So they get the skill, but it is not a "cult skill" for the purposes of advancement.

I also allow the skills from the cult section to be chosen for the +20/+15 bonus.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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That makes sense. I can imagine skills like Sing and Intimidate being developed through communal practice and demeanour rather than through formal instruction. Speak Other Language could be picked up colloquially (if it's the lingua franca in the temple) or through language lessons.

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I noticed the discrepancies as well, but assumed that it was a deliberate mechanism to steer starter adventurers into developing a more rounded range of skills.

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'Sing' as a cult skill provides some insight to the nature of the worship ceremonies of the cult and hints that some cult spells and rites have to be accompanied by singing (or chanting). 

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11 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

hints that some cult spells and rites have to be accompanied by singing (or chanting). 

Or that they are usually accompanied by singing - it may not be a necessity, but simply a practice. I think, for example, that many Ernalda ceremonies involve singing, and it is a very common ceremonial method for them, but I don't think that means their spells require it, or (as it shows in the skill lists) priestesses are required to be good at singing (just like many many Christian churches). It may even be that while the congregation always sings, their singing is to augment the dance, which in turn is not required but simply the chosen method of ceremonial magic enhancement - which would still mean an initiate gets a lot of practice singing! 

Where singing is required to cast a spell it is usually directly specified (eg Comfort Song, Tree Chopping Song). I think singing well is not required for the magic to work, in most cases. 

It can give us plenty of cultural detail though, especially about the details between lay member/initiate ceremonies, vs inner mysteries. Yinkin lay members learn about cats, but the inner mysteries are about becoming (and being good at) being a cat. Yelmalio lay members sing hymns and learn the sacred language and about the skies - not everyone is expected to be part of the warrior culture. Most cults that require the Peaceful Cut sing it, and value singing. Even Lhankor Mhy and Issaries use singing in their ceremonies, though it seemingly has nothing to do with the inner mysteries of the cults. The Argan Argar cult outer mysteries are basically Darktongue language classes (which actually makes a lot of sense). And so on. 

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I think singing is probably a part of a bronze age persons general life, not just religious ceremonies - I'm thinking work songs and chants and just general entertainment.

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On 6/11/2019 at 1:35 AM, PhilHibbs said:

Correct, and not a discrepancy. Babeester Gor cultists are very intimidating, for example. It's a skill that they naturally tend to acquire, but it is not a skill that the cult values and rewards. So they get the skill, but it is not a "cult skill" for the purposes of advancement.

I agree with this. The Gor sisters are freaky. This was more something I noticed and figured could be of interest to discuss.

That being said, these are skills described on p.73 as "starting skills taught to [the cult's] members" which implies to me that they ought to be skills the cult values in the sense that they're intentionally teaching it rather than amorphously acquiring it (like Christians learning to sing, kinda, as pointed out above).

Though the notion of new Gor initiates sitting in a classroom learning to glare appropriately does bring a smile to my face...

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2 minutes ago, Crel said:

Though the notion of new Gor initiates sitting in a classroom learning to glare appropriately does bring a smile to my face...

Maybe it is kind of like a haka? In earth cult ceremonies they have to ritually stomp, threaten, glare and look scary?  

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54 minutes ago, Imryn said:

I think singing is probably a part of a bronze age persons general life, not just religious ceremonies - I'm thinking work songs and chants and just general entertainment.

In fact, this was still the case far after bronze aged finished. Up to the begining of 20th century, all human activities that required a regular rythm were guided by more or less 'ritual' songs. The 'Volga Boatmen' is a famous example. The first cinematographers (The Lumiere brothers ones) were singing 'Sambre et Meuse' to keep the rythm, and numerous songs were (and in some cases still are) used to teach alphabet and numbering (Does Ein Zwei Polizei, Drei Vier Offizier, .. raise some memories?).

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32 minutes ago, Imryn said:

I think singing is probably a part of a bronze age persons general life, not just religious ceremonies - I'm thinking work songs and chants and just general entertainment.

That would be figured into the skill base chance, then. Some cults generally involve more singing than others, so for example maybe Ernaldans do more singing than Humakti.

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2 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

That would be figured into the skill base chance, then. Some cults generally involve more singing than others, so for example maybe Ernaldans do more singing than Humakti.

"I let my sword do all the singing..."

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