Shargash cult

From: Martin Laurie (102541.3423@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Fri 24 Jan 1997 - 20:52:41 EET


Chris Wehman asked:
>Shargash:
> I was also wondering if anyone had a write-up or outline for the
>Alkothi Shargash Cult. I read the great story by Martin Laurie and was
>wondering if he or his GM had fleshed out something basic(spells, spirits,
>associates, etc.).

Peter Metcalfe replied:
>Well he teaches Beserk and True Maul. I'm pretty certain that
>he has Thunderbolt and I think he knows Lightning as well. I
>reckon his cult is rather basic in structure with initiates and
>Rune Lords. Certain Priests in Yuthuppa might also know him
>but they're not considered part of the Shargash Cult.
>However I think that most people in Alkoth worship Shargash
>through the Yelm Cult as waffled about above.

Shargash worshipped through Yelm?!? This is not true at all - they are entirely
different dieties and Yelm is purely a noble cult when worshipped at initiate or
higher level whereas Shargash is _the_ cult in Alkoth.

Shargash is "felt" as a real prescence by everyone in the city. To Shargashi
this prescence is a comfort because it gives them the horror of death married
with the knowledge that death brings life thus they rejoice in the cycle. Yelm
is and always has been the commander of Shargash but Shagash is incredibly
powerful within the city, even outsiders can feel him and its difficult to even
stay in Alkoth without hearing the drumbeat of Shargash in your dreams.

Greg has commented to Pam Carlson (the GM of her excellent Alkoth campaign) to
this effect on several occasions and this is in line with his thoughts. More is
likely to be seen about this at the July Con in Victoria.

I've been playing a Shargashi for some time and although no formal framework has
been written the basics are there (subject to change), here's a summary of some
ideas to date:

Shargash worship follows paths or as they are often known "dances".

The main aspects are:

Protector:
This aspect is the one worshipped almost as a city cult by the vast majority of
Alkothi (and there are a lot of Alkothi, certainly over 100,000). These people
use the green ring wall of the city (Shargashs' Ring) as a form of shrine and
because of the protection that Shargash gives, they give back in return. Both
men and women worship this aspect, mostly as lay members.

Thunderer/Destroyer
This aspect is the prime warrior aspect and is Shargash unleashed. The warriors
of Shargash are some of the most potent in the world and at rune level have
access to very powerful magics. This aspect is revered as the Shargash who
destroys the world to allow it to rebuilt. They love war and destruction
because this brings all within Shagashs' Enclosure and protects the world from
Kazkurtum.

Lord of Ash
This is a small path mainly followed by those who tread or guide others to the
underworld along the path that will bring life again. Ash lords rule the many
Enclosures of the city and control the immense ceremonies of burning corpses,
swirling demons and howling masses. These are the men who sacrifice whole
armies to purge a defeat and who have learnt the dark ways of the spirit.

The Dark Path
Not spoken of aloud for who knows who might be listening? The followers of this
path remember the days of Shargashs' rule of the whole world when all fell to
his smashing mace. Simply put, they wish to return to the glories of those
days. However Yelm is strong in the form of the Red Emperor and they tread a
careful path as more than one noble house has been destroyed by the Emperor for
thinking such thoughts. They await their time and prepare for the destruction
of the world when they will rule all. (cue melodramatic music)

Rune Magic

Truemace, Skybolt (this is Thunderbolt but doesn't need cloud cover, instead
Shargash (Tolat) must be visible in the sky), Strength of Shargash, Sunspear,
Crush, Blast (destroys physical objects not people), Shield.

They DON'T get berserk as they are never Berserk in that sense. Instead they
gain the ability to dance the path of Shargash that they follow. At the moment

these are akin to martial arts but not in the Kralori sense though certainly
influenced by them. They are a product of the "Dance" of Shargash and use the
warriors dance skill in various ways. When I play this I imagine the Maori
challenge dance as being pretty close to it, much less gracefull and commanding
than that of Yelm but much more physically potent.

These dances are magnified in power and effect by the number of Shagashi
involved and this is a large part of the strength of the Shargashi and the main
reason why they are "chained" in Alkoth and are certainly NOT a standing part of
the Lunar Heartland Corp but instead serve in small units as mercs and guards
across the Empire.

The more Shargashi who participate in the war dance, the stronger it gets and
the more powerful they are. ie they gain greater and greater benefits from it
till they writhe in the ecstatic dance of destruction knowing that they work
Shargashs will in bring all to him. Sacrifces are used to help the dances and
to empower them and it is common for whole cities to be destroyed by the
loosened Shargash as they turn the walled city into a huge Enclosure. As Dara
happan magic is strongly ritualistc and gains strength from numbers it is no
surprise then that Shargash is kept locked away in Alkoth at all times.
Releasing him too much could literally destroy the world (or so the Dara Happans
think).

Shargash has always obeyed Yelm and so they obey him now, even if rumour says he
(the Red Emperor) isn't as Yelmically pure as he's supposed to be because he
consorts with Kazkurtum.

The rest of Dara Happa is shit scared of the Shargashi. An Alkothi visiting
Raibanth frex will not be at all welcome on the streets and people will avoid
him though they will be respectful.

There are other Shargashi areas on the Erinflarth East of Dara-Ni which was
colonised by Alkothi in their days of power and in other parts of the Empire.
One regiment of the Imperial Bodyguard is Shargash though the recruits are all
from houses created by the rise of the Red Moon and not from the older Yelmic
families.

Martin Laurie

------------------------------

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