cult initiations - long (sorry!)

From: Steve Lieb (liebx004@maroon.tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed 30 Apr 1997 - 07:38:39 EEST


IMHO, I have never run cult requirements as "ahh, says here ya gotta have
90% in spear. Do ya? Yup? ok, yer in!"

Sorry, too sterile.

If the book says you need 50% in Bow attack, First aid, search and scan,
this is how I have DM'd it: (by the way, this is for Yelm the Warrior)

After a morning of ritual washing (including painfullyshaving your whiskers
OFF - something you have never done!) and a difficult morning while your
compatriots enjoyed their hearty eggs and flapjacks while you maintained
your fast since the setting of Yelm the night before, you now approach the
temple.
Your "friend" - a servant of the Bull if ever there was one - burps happily
behind you, almost drowning out the growling of your stomach. Your hunger
is not eased as they discuss sotto voce how you could possibly hold out for
the full ritual 48 hour fast, when they are planning a glorious dinner
tonight with the loot gained from last week's rescue of the town's sheriff.
Despite these distractions, you try to remain focussed on treading the 19
steps before the pavement. You friends, now honestly wishing you the best,
wait there at the limits of casual visitors.
You move forward, and are met silently by robed acolytes, who place in your
had the bow of the third testing -- you will bear this with you through the
first two tests, the better to learn its feel and balance.

After an all-too-short moment, the acolyte on the left touches your elbow,
and brings you back to the main aisle. The place has never seemed quite so
SILENT before this, but perhaps that is just the pounding of your heart
drowning out the normal noises.
You make the normal obesiance to the golden icon in its usual place to the
left of the Speaker's Platform. When you rise again, the acolyte on the
right has removed her hood, and stands ready with the four questions of the
testing.
You answer the first two easily as they are about the treatment of wounds
common in adventuring, have a moment's trouble with the third, and
reflexively answer the fourth - it was something that a famer's son might
have to deal with at an early age. She smiles and re-covers her head.
You look up, and the Speaker's Place is now occupied - the High Priest
Yarnot is standing there, no longer the kindly and gentle fellow that you
knew as you grew up, but in his place is a new person - a terrible,
forbidding countenance waiting eagerly to pounce on your slightest misstep
and cast you out as unworthy to bear Yelm's name.
He gestures to the altar, and tells you to find both of the chalices to be
used in the Holy Day ceremonies - but the altar is covered in chalices,
dished, serving trays and candles - and you are only able to find one of the
cups you know are there. You are very disappointed, this must mean you will
be rejected, but the ritual continues unabated. Did they not notice? He
asked for BOTH but you only found one? Yarnot sees your expression, and
softly murmurs, "...Yelm knows we are imperfect. WE must realize it too..."
Suddenly, you realize he is still the friendly man that has always been kind
to you. Simultaneously, you realize you must be at least helfway through
the testing!
At the sunward end of the dais, he stops you and asks you a question of the
Lightbringer's quest. Fortunately, the answers are buried in one of the
stained glass windows that surround this end of the church. Looking around,
you see the one you seek and reply clearly.
Only the last test to go!
He hands you the ten arrows of Yelm - they couldn't be covered in real gold,
could they? In any case, they are the most perfect arros you have ever
seen, from the gleaming gold two-blade heads to the perfectly matched fletching.
The bow rises almost of its own accord as Yarnot steps aside - you are to
shoot from the sacred dais to the ten small butts that look distinctly like
the Ten Enemies - three of Yelm, two of your people, four of your clan, and
one of your own family.
You are barely conscious as the first arrow speeds from the string to
cleanly impale itself in the wood a handspan from the first butt - a MISS?!
The first arrow? You fight back the wave of discouragement as you see it
also pass across Yarnot's face. He had hoped you would make it, and you
have practically already let him down!
Squaring your shoulders, you go on to the next butt regardless, and you feel
better as that and the next 2 arrows both strike cleanly into their targets.
The fifth wobbles lazily off course and you groan audibly in despair, but it
somehow manages to strike ANOTHER butt - the one you missed at first! But
the targets are not all large, and not all close. Not a single arrow in the
next 4 lands home. You are devastated - you have to make this one count!
You take a few deep breaths to calm down, and almost don't notice that
Yarnot is clutching the hem of his gown as if to tear it. He couldn't be as
nervouse as you, could he?
 All that is left is to put the last arrow into the enemy of your family - a
pig of a man called Dorgal who slew your father's cattle that strayed onto
his graze. This is an easy shot - you have fantasized about this very
situation since you could draw a bow. Your hand comes back to the familiar
spot on your cheek, you slowly release your pent breath, and relax your hand.
The twang of the string is lost as you see the arrow fly straight as if
guided by Yelm himself, until it buries right between Dorgal's eyes!
Yarnot is clapping you strongly on the back, the acolytes have removed their
hoods and are smiling broadly - you have passed the test!
But you have learned some things, and the arrow test has identified the
enemies with whom you will have the greatest difficulty, as you work to
become a Sun Lord!

IMHO, that is how the initiations should be played - yeah, it's possible a
90%er could conceivably flub a 50% test, but the opposite is also possible.
Luck determines a lot of what WE do in the RW - why not in Glorantha too?
("Ahh, I grew up in a Sundomer family, but even tho everyone knew I was the
best javelineer in town, something kept me from ever passing that damn test.
So I took the hint from the gods and joined Humakt - look where it has
gotten me!")

- -Steve (liebx004@tc.umn.edu) or at work (Steve_Lieb@lepmsp.com); or
styopa@iname.com
http://umn.edu/~liebx004

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