Re: 7M sub-cults

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Tue 09 Dec 1997 - 11:23:49 EET

Dave Cake disagrees with Andrew and myself about likely sources
of Yanafali/Humakti types.

I think the cause of the disagreement is that he's supposing our
"Yanafali Seven Mothers worshippers" to be Seven Mothers initiates
who *wish* they were in the cult of Yanafal Tarnils proper.

In fact, I think they are members of a Humaktalike subcult of the
Seven Mothers which gives out rather more specialist Yanafali magic

and training (etc.). 7M types who "gravitate towards YT" can join
this subcult, gaining more specialisation for reduced flexibility.

Dave postulated the following "three alternatives":

> There are THREE cults. There is the Seven Mothers cult, which has
> a Yanafal sub-cult, who work like the Seven Mothers cult a la GOG.
> There is the Red Army cult, which probably works like Nick says it
> does. And there is a third cult, which is just like Humakt only
> Lunar. Personally, I don't see why you would have three.

I think the first is the "Seven Mothers cult", the second is what I'm
writing up as the Cult of Yanafal Tarnils, and the third is the one I
*believe* Andrew and I are agreeing on as the "Cult of Yanafal of the
Seven Mothers" -- a *non*-regimented, *non*-Army cult for high-profile

barbarian converts who want to act like Humakti without the additional
drag of having to eat Lunar Gruel, obey orders from chinless wonders,
and die for the Empire fighting their in-laws.

I agree this sounds somewhat fanciful. But I suggest, politely, that
many existing RuneQuest games have included members of the Cult of
Yanafal Tarnils who *do* act "like Humakti" and who *don't* appear to
be serving officers on the payroll of the Lunar Heartland Corps. As
the Lunars are patently keen to encourage barbarian swordmasters to
"switch blades" and come across to the Lunar Way, it seems likely
they would have a conversion vehicle; our proposal is that the non-
Red Army "Cult of Yanafal of the Seven Mothers" *is* that vehicle.

And yes, it either does (or else doesn't) have gifts'n'geases for
its members, depending on what you've seen in your campaigns. And
its magic is similar to Humakt's -- drop the reusable Sever Spirit,
remove the Resurrection ban -- just like you'd expect. But the key
thing about this is that it's *designed* to look and act as much
like the cult of the barbarian wargod Humakt as is possible, because
it's one of the many arms of the Seven Mothers' conversion strategy.

I don't think the Lunars have yet reached the late-Roman stage of
recruiting a primarily barbarian army to fight the barbarians (though
obviously Fazzur's Tarshite Provincial Army is a step in this direc-
tion). I think the difference between the armies can be looked at in
Yanafali terms: the Heartland Corps is a professional army with YT
initiates for officers; the Provincial Army, allies, etc. are auxili-
ary forces with (normally) YT lay members for officers; a barbarian
Humakti converting to the Seven Mothers might well become a scimitar
swinging heroic adventurer, but is unlikely to immediately find him-
self commanding a platoon of the Fourth Darjiin Foot.

(I have just skimmed Peter Metcalfe's related post -- have to dash
to work -- looks like good things here. Let's think about what we've
seen Yanafali and Converts and the Lunar Army [Provincial, Heartland
and Allies] getting up to, then build our structures from that. If
we look at individual cultists' "career moves" and choices, and the
hierarchies within which they fit, we'll probably find the Truth).

Sandy wrote:

> There are plenty of Lunar Officers who are no more than lay members
> of Yanafal -- in fact, probably the majority.

I agree completely (though when it comes to individual corps, I reserve
my leeway to argue for a Yanafali-initiate-officered Heartland Corps).
I'm glad we agree that significantly "all" Lunar army officers, from
whatever unit/tribe/ally, are lay members of Yanafal Tarnils (giving
"lip service and sacrifice" to the God of the Lunar Army), though.


> Everyone in the Roman Empire had to give lip service and sacrifice
> to the Roman Gods. Of course, there were subversive cults such as
> the Christians who neglected their patriotic duty, but they were
> hardly the cream of the legionnaires. =

In the space of fifty years, the Roman army moved from being entirely
non-Christian (because the Christians refused to shed blood in battle,
preferring death by martyrdom to the performance of this civic duty)
to being entirely Christian (because the Christian Emperors refused to
have unreliable pagan troops in their armed forces). Officially, at

Telmori stuff:

> The Telmori in Ralios are totally outside the social structure. It's
> like a whole nation of monsters or outlaws.

The old Anglo-Saxon term for an outlaw, "Wolf's-Head", comes to mind...

(Ta, too, Peter, for the Telmori as "Sons-of-bitches"!).

Andre wrote, somewhat opaquely:

> So, all Telmori inside the Glowline would be in Wolf form forever,
> because inside the Glowline it's always full moon? Maybe it is the
> reason why the Telmori help Kallyr Starbrow in fighting the Lunars.
> They don't want the Glowline to expand in their territory?

1) Doesn't seem to be the case from the story of Hon-Eel the Artess
(though admittedly she did curse-or-bless the Telmori of Sylila to
be "in wolf form forever").

2) When did the Telmori help Kallyr Starbrow? (any source?)

3) Why wouldn't the Telmori want to be in superhumanly powerful man/
wolf form, forever? I like the suggestion that werewolf-form Telmori
are semi-berserk, FWIW...


PS: Thanks to Daren for "Mr Ramsbottom the Broo".


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