Shargash - The Voyage Continues

From: Martin Laurie (102541.3423@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Fri 31 Jan 1997 - 20:37:43 EET

Peter Metcalfe comments:
>>>The idea of a division between Shargash and Yelm seems to me ugly.

Me:>But the diversity and roleplaying fun it creates is tremendous, escpecially
>>when you realise that there are actual differences in the _Yelm_ cult
>>dependant on which city in the Tripolis you are from.

>As I said before, I'm talking about how the initiate percieves the
>relationship between Shargash and Yelm. I agree absolutely that
>there is a difference in the Yelm Cult based on what city you came
>from (not just the Tripolis - even the Darjiinians have Yelmics too).
>I was making an issue of this because there seemed to be a line of
>thought that Yelm is a _Foreign_ God from Raibanth. It was this
>that I didn't like and I was trying to counter it by saying that
>Yelm and Shargash are very close in terms of worldview in Alkoth.

Ah, I see what you were getting at. No, I wasn't saying that Yelm is seperate
in Alkoth because he's there in force, quite naturally. Its the House
Imperators that keep the 50,000 or so initiates of Shargash in the city and its
surrounds under control and out of everyone elses harms way. However, the Yelm
of Alkoth is tinged with Shargash in a big way. A visiting Yelm Imperator from
Raibanth would not do well at a party of Alkothi Yelmites because the latter are
most likely to be initates of Shargash Protector as well as Yelm and tend to be
rather brutal in world view when compared to the more "delicate" Raibanthi
nobility. Saying that, the rituals they knew would be the same but the emphasis
wold not and this si what I was getting at and thats why the Alkothi sneer
somewhat at the rest of the Tripolis, because they know they are better.

>>If Shargash were just a mask of Yelm all this would be missing and so would
>>half of the fun.

>I don't think Shargash is 'just a mask of yelm' and I don't think that
>because Shargash is seen by most Alkothi as intimately connected with
>Yelm, all this politics should vanish. Everybody agrees on the basics.
>The Politics are in the details.

Yelm is the father and Shargash is the son but like any deity relationship of
this sort, they are considered by their worshippers as individuals. This is why
in the Houses of Alkoth the leaders are Yelm Imperators - the House fathers if
you like - commanding the "sons" who are Shargashi. Of course like any
strapping son, they get a bit unruly and the "fathers" keep them in line.
Mythically I have no problem with this, but I emphasise that Shargash and Yelm
are viewed as different "people" by their worshippers because like a father and
son, they are both individuals with a common interest in family and structure.

>>How would you play a Shargashi warrior?

>I have thought of using the Aztec warriors as a model but they
>fight crap (mainly because they fought as individuals and
>in a ritualistic manner). Proper Shargashi should be able to
>subdue their sense of self when fighting in a group.

This is how I play it but not just in a group either, they can have the beat of
Shargashs' drums within them and lose their self as well. In this state they
are truly alive and dead because they know both are part of the cycle that
Shargash brings them and thus they fear nothing.

However is social circumstances, how do you see their relationship with the
other folk in Dara Happa? Especially given the history of Alkothi survival and
independance when the other cities fell fairly often?

>When treating prisoners, the Narmer Palette should be followed
>(hit prisoner over head with big mace). Perhaps they cut
>bodyparts off as a tally of how many people they've killed.

Sacrifices in battle or preceeding battle are the rule and one reason why the
Lunar army doesn't like them on campaign with them, aside form the mythic
"release Shargash nuclear button" impications. Prisoners are a bad thing unless
shipped home as combat slaves. Also Shargashi aren't too interested in
honouring their opponents either, they kill and kill but care not for beig noble
- - Shargashi are not noble to foreigners or Digijelmi.

One game session we had recently, we met a bunch of Orlanthi and I was serving
as guard to a Yelm initiate who was leading our trade expedition up the
Erinflarth to barbarian lands.

We became embroiled with some Orlanthi bandits led by a Sword of Humakt.
Joining in local Orlanthi forces we pursued the bandits to a stead they'd
sacked. We found the children of the Stead had been nailed to Death Runes made
of planks. The Orlanthi were upset as was I because this death didn't bring the
children into Shargashs' Enclosure and this they were not part of his cycle - a
waste. to try and repair the damage I started cutting off the childrens heads
to build a pyramid of their skulls as a offering to Shargashs' mercy and an
attempt to send their souls to the Dark Path of the Underworld where Shargash
would find them. Unfortunately the ignorant local barbarians seemed upset by my
activity and I was told to desist by the noble Khorvenus (our Yelm leader) - so
I did though I was sorely troubled by the incident and the loss of the childrens
souls to some barbaric death gods ritual.....

Martin Laurie



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