Re: Guerilla Warfare

From: Martin Dick (mdick@insect.sd.monash.edu.au)
Date: Mon 02 Feb 1998 - 07:42:07 EET


Given the traffic on the Digest about the potential
of Orlanthi conducting guerilla warfare. I thought that
I'd post this *EXPERIMENTAL* and *UNFINISHED* sub-cult that I've
been working on.

Caveats:

* I agree totally that most Orlanthi in Sartar
would be against the members of such a sub-cult

* That the Lunars have a large variety of methods which
they can use to counter guerilla warfare

* That guerillas would cause significant amounts of damage
to their own people

* But that given all the above, that in the real world there are
countless examples to this day of rebels/terrorists (depending upon
which side you are on) prepared to do just about anything and suffer
any level of horror to achieve their goals and i see no reason why
Sartar should be any different.

* That being a magical world, that there should be magics supporting
such a role

* That is is interesting and GF (I won't claim MGF :-) ) to have such
people in an occupied Sartar

* That I don't really see these people as being player characters, except
perhaps in the spirit of those campaigns who run Chaos based characters
(Broos not Lunars).

* To an extent, this is a look at Orlanth's dark side (Shadow?)

A scenario idea that such a group of fanatics can cause is (courtesy of
Hugh McVicker) is their arrival at a village, their sounding of the
Lightbringer request, the enforced trek with most of the warriors off to
fight the Chaos (for whatever reason) leaving the village poorly protected
and the player characters coming to the rescue of the village and then
heading off to help the survivors of the anti-Chaos quest to get back. The
rebel heroes having headed off immediately their goal has been reached and
abandoning the remaining villagers in the middle of the Chaos. Having been
in the situation, it generates for the PCs an appropriate level of
indignation and disgust at the misuse of Orlanthi traditions.

* I also have a tournament based around such a group of characters which
I'm happy to e-mail to people (Word 6 format). Though the characters
aren't actually written up as members of the sub-cult.

THE SUB-CULT OF ORLANTH REBELLIOUS

A small but growing sub-cult of Orlanth from occupied Sartar and
Prax based around Orlanth's role as the usurper and overthrower of
the Evil Emperor. As it taps into a primal element of Orlanth's nature,
it doesn't have the sophisticated cult structure that is seen in many
of his other aspects.

I. MYTHOS AND HISTORY

In the GodTime

Long ago in the God Time, Orlanth was once not King of the Gods,
in fact he was not even born yet! At that time an Evil Emperor had
usurped the rightful place of the Storm as Ruler of the Gods, had
stolen the Sun, kidnapped the bountiful and beauteous Ernalda to
be his concubine, enslaved the free spirits of the world and occupied
the Spike against the wishes of the Elder Gods.

The Universe rebelled at this affront eventually, first creating wild
and rampaging Umath, but he did not have the wits to see the problem
and instead just ran around causing trouble. So the Universe tried again
with his sons. Firstly crazy tempestuous Urox, but he inherited the
thoughts of his Father and all the crazy tempestuous Urox could think
about was who he was going to fight next.

Then came brutal and callous Vadrus, but while brighter than his wild
and rampaging father or the crazy tempestuous Urox, he lacked the
ability to see the harm that the Evil Emperor was causing the Universe
and was too evil.

Then came Humakt the silent solitary one, honest, upright and clever,
surely now the Evil Emperor would pay for his crimes? But no, for
while Humakt the silent, solitary one could see the problem and might
have even been able to defeat the Evil Emperor, Humakt the silent,
solitary one didn't care about others and so his selfishness prevented
him from doing what was necessary.

Finally the youthful and righteous Orlanth was born and here the
Universe found a champion with the wits, the goodness and the
selflessness to challenge the Evil Emperor. From his birth the
youthful and righteous Orlanth could see the wrongness that the
Evil Emperor brought, the sterility of his court, the oppression of
those who did not agree or had come late to the world. The world
cried out for change and the youthful and righteous Orlanth knew
he was the one that would have to rebel against the Evil Emperor
to bring this about.

But how was he to do this? He first challenged the Evil Emperor to
a song contest, then to a dance contest, but the Evil Emperor's hold
on the world was so strong that the frightened and weak Judges were
afraid to declare the youthful and righteous Orlanth the winner, even
hough it was clear that youthful and righteous Orlanth's performances
were far newer and more exciting than the Evil Emperor's.

So discouraged the youthful and righteous Orlanth went away and
thought long and hard on how he could defeat the Evil Emperor and
for a long time he could think of no way around the stasis the Emperor
had imposed upon the world. He longed to go and fight the Emperor
but he knew that this would not work as the Emperor would just get
up from the fight and the Judges would rule against him. He thought
perhaps he could use Humakt the silent and solitary one's new weapon
Death against the Evil Emperor, but Humakt being selfish refused to
lend it to his brother.

Then one day, Eurmal, that sneaky underhanded wretch came and
visited the youthful and righteous Orlanth as he sat on a mountain
pondering how he could rebel against the Evil Emperor successfully.
The sneaky underhanded Eurmal proposed to the youthful and righteous
Orlanth, that he should do what needed to be done, and take the sword
Death from his brother. At first the youthful and righteous Orlanth was
repelled by this but eventually he saw that he must embrace the Secret
Widdershins Path of the Wind where sometimes it is necessary to do the
wrong thing in order to do the right thing. So with the sneaky underhanded
wretch who was Eurmal, he went to his brother's stead and stole the sword
Death from the silent and solitary one.

So with the sword Death hidden under his cloak, the youthful and righteous
Orlanth went to the place of the Evil Emperor. He challenged the Evil Emperor
to battle. He watched as the Evil Emperor paraded with his bow and arrows
which proved nothing, did nothing, hurt nothing, changed nothing. And then
freed to use the power of the sword Death by the Secret Widdershins Path of
the Wind, he took out the sword Death from under his cloak and slew the Evil
Emperor and freed the world.

Yet he had not yet learnt the second truth of the Widdershins Path and that
is rebellion never succeeds without a cost and in killing the Evil Emperor,
he had to let the Evil Emperor take the stolen Sun away from the world,
bringing the darkness into the world.

Then seeing what he had done, he abandoned the Widdershins Path and
became the King of the Gods. But even now, kingly and virtuous Orlanth
still knows that sometimes when others seek to become the evil Emperor
and rule the World and honorable attempts to stop the Evil Emperor have
failed, that he must again take up the Widdershins Path to overthrow the
Evil Emperor.

SINCE TIME BEGAN

The path of Orlanth Rebellious is one that few Orlanthi take. For the most
part there is little need to take such a dangerous and violent path and as
well the Storm Voices and Wind Lords generally discourage strongly those
who would head down this path of the God. The Orlanth Rex priests and
the worshippers of Ernalda point out the costs to the clan and tribe of such
rebellion and how those who take this path often end up as broken men
devoid of family and honour. Indeed, this path is but rumour and scary
stories to most Orlanthi. Generations may pass by with no man being
initiated into the Widdershins path of the Wind.

Yet every time that the path of Orlanth is threatened by domination like
that of the Evil Emperor, the path seems to spring anew. Some say that
Harmast Barefoot was goaded into his Lightbringer Quest by a priest of
Orlanth Rebellious, others say that he himself had undertaken the Widdershins
path himself. Alakoring DragonBreaker too, was said to have had Orlanth
Rebellious allies, though it is also said that he had them broken as soon as
victory was won. Wherever Orlanthi are threatened by tyranny, rumours
abound of the fanatical Widdershins Pathers who arise to fight for their
freedom, regardless of the cost.

Since the invasion of Sartar in 1602 by the Lunar Empire, rumours have
began circulating that Blood Rings have been formed and that the Lunar
Emperor who openly boasts of being the Incarnation of the Evil Emperor
of the GodTime will once again be brought down by Orlanth Rebellious.

Members of this cult know that darkness awaits them after death and their
souls are doomed to the darkest pits of Hell, but they comfort themselves
that Orlanth will remember their name and drink a silent toast to them in his
stead in memory of their deeds.

Members of this cult either practice the common funerary rites of the locale
they live in or leave their bodies to be scavenged as knowing their soul's
destination, they see little point in honouring the lifeless husk of a damned
soul.

II. CULT ECOLOGY

The path of Orlanth Rebellious exists solely to act as the catalyst to
overthrow tyranny against the Orlanthi. A splinter group in Orlanthi
culture, such a path only becomes attractive when alternatives are few
and far between. Even in the worst of situations, few Orlanthi can bring
themselves to undergo the trials and throwing off of family ties which are
necessary to take this lifepath. Yet it is the fanaticism of members of this
sub-cult which generates the hatred and anger amongst the society necessary
to rebel against those foreigners who dominate the Orlanthi.

Any Orlanthi can walk down this path and those who walk the Widdershins
path may remain in their current position in other subcults/aspects of Orlanth
except for Storm Voices and Acolytes of Orlanth Rex. Such deception is
wrong, but the rebel is willing to pay the price for such deception. All
members of this sub-cult pay a terrible price to belong. This varies from
member to member, but all involve the major focus of the member's life.
Examples include the extermination of the member's entire family, insanity,
conversion to Chaos, disowned by their kin and loved ones, death and betrayal
of the cause or whichever fate is most fitting for their crimes. All members
eventually pay a very high price for the freedom which Orlanth grants them to
do the wrong thing. All members are aware of their inevitable demise, but
fatalistically treat it as a necessary price.

Members of the sub-cult take on terrible geases and receive terrible gifts in
order to best destroy their enemy.

Orlanth's six virtues are Courage, Wisdom, Generosity, Justice, Honor, Piety but
the members of the sub-cult have their own unique interpretation of them.
Courage is seen as the courage to defy the oppressor and pay whatever cost is
necessary.
Wisdom is knowing that the cost of rebellion is cheaper than the cost of
submission to the Evil Emperor.
Generosity is the blood and life that the rebel is prepared to give for his/her
people in the struggle.
Justice is what is dealt out to the oppressor by the rebel.
Honor is knowing that the rebel is performing the actions to turn the world to
rights.
Piety is following their god Orlanth in his earliest incarnation.

Members of this sub-cult celebrate all of Orlanth's normal holy days but also
celebrate the first day of Dark Season to commemorate the liberation of the
world and the death of the evil Emperor.

III. THE CULT IN THE WORLD

The sub-cult of Orlanth Rebellious has very little actual political power in
the world with no acknowledged leaders. However the sub-cult does wield
extensive political influence when the area in which it is based is occupied
by a foreign power. As the occupation continues and as the consequences of
the occupation become worse, the hearts and minds of all Orlanthi turn towards
the fanatical and desperate policies of Orlanth Rebellious. In order to defeat
Orlanth Rebellious, the cult must be exterminated or alternatively, the
conqueror must win the hearts and minds of the conquered Orlanthi and thus
remove the mythic support of the community for their role. An Orlanthi society
which has accepted its defeat and assimilation will see the sub-cult wither up
and disappear.

IV. CULT MEMBERSHIP

Membership of the sub-cult of Orlanth Rebellious is unlike the other sub-cults
ofOrlanth. People who join the cult of Orlanth Rebellious are dedicating
themselves to an ancient and primal aspect of the God. Such sophisticated
concepts as Lords and Priests were unknown to Orlanth at that time, thus
membership is a far more primitive state. Joining Orlanth Rebellious does not
affect the status of the rebel in other aspects of Orlanthi religious life
except in so far as their actions influence their peers.

In game terms any initiate, acolyte, lord or priest of Orlanth may join the
sub-cult. Joining this sub-cult is rarely a conscious decision, but usually
occurs when some great wrong has been done to the individual who cries out with hatred in their soul to Orlanth to help them avenge and right the wrong.
Joining the sub-cult is an intensely individual experience, where a worshipper
of Orlanth's extreme emotional reaction allows them to reach the God and create a direct link similar to a priest's with the God. In game terms, establishing
the link costs 3 POW. This link is formed by a HeroQuest specifically for the
individual, though the general outline of the quest is similar.This quest must
be completed for the worshipper to establish the link.

It is important to note, that as the HeroQuest is inherently one
that cannot be prepared for, and therefore is very difficult to complete
successfully.

Examples could be the worshipper who returns to find his village wiped
out by the invader, someone who has been tortured by the invader and
then escaped, or the survivors of a disastrous battle swearing vengeance
for their fallen comrades. In each case at the point of establishing a link
with Orlanth Rebellious, the worshipper swears a vow to which they
dedicate their life, soul and blood. Such a vow might be, to destroy all those
responsible for the death of the village, to defeat and wipe out the units of
the opposing army, to drive the Lunars from Sartar or for the extremely
ambitious, to destroy the Lunar Empire.

The link frees the worshipper to act as an avatar of Orlanth Rebellious to step
across the line of Orlanthi behaviour and be freed to do the wrong thing with
Orlanth's blessing. As part of this freedom, members of the cult must take on
geases and in return receive gifts. Upon completion of the initiatory HeroQuest,
worshippers receive 2 gifts and 2 geases. They may gain a geas and gift after
any major blow against the tyranny, for the cost of 1 POW.

GEASES

Die when the vow is completed. The bearer of this geas will die
at the very moment of their successful completion of their vow.

Soul doomed to Hell. Come what may, the soul of the initiate
will end up in hell for their deeds when they die.

Family will all die. All people directly related to the initiate will dies as
a result of the actions of the initiate.

Clan will be destroyed. The clan of the initiate will be destroyed
as a viable entity as a result of the actions of the initiate. Not all
members of the clan need necessarily die.

Never parley with the enemy. The initiate may never negotiate
or treat with the tyrant or his lackeys, even in bad faith.

Sacrifice enemies to Orlanth. Captured enemies must be killed
and sacrificed to Orlanth. The ceremony is usually simple and to the point.

Head Hunting. The initiate must take at least one head
(preferably the leader) from the enemy in every battle in which
they participate.

Die before being captured. The initiate will die rather than face
the ignominy of being captured by the tyrant. When captured, the
initiate will die in horrible spasms, foaming at the mouth, spitting blood
and so forth.

Cannot be resurrected. The strength of the tie between the God and his
worshipper is so strong, that the spirit of the initiate heads straight to
Hell upon their death.

Must slay all followers of the Tyrant. The initiate may show no mercy
to those who follow the Tyrant, even the youngest must be stamped
out like a viper's young.

Lose all positive emotion. The initiate is so wrapped up in their
revenge/mission, that they feel nothing but hate. Such a person feels
not positive emotions at all and will repel any who do not share his/her
mission.

Live off the spoils of the Tyrant. The initiate may only live off
goods taken from the Tyrant and his/her followers.

Gifts

Reuseable gifts may be renewed at a temple of the appropriate god as
per normal Divine Magic. Single use gifts may be gained again by the sacrifice
of POW at a temple to the relevant god.

Divination Block (Reuseable). Initiates may obtain this as a reuseable
divine magic spell. This gift is obtained through Eurmal and thus can
only be renewed at an Eurmali Shrine.

Ignore Authority (Reuseable). Initiates may use this reuseable
divine magic. This spell allows the character to resist the call of
Orlanth Rex magics.

Blood Oath (Single Use - 1 point) This ritual binds the caster and
one other person per point of spell so as they will not be able to betray
the other persons involved in the Blood Oath. Those who betray the Oath
bring death upon themselves in the form of a Sever Spirit (of 5D6 POW in
strength).

The following are still to be detailed

Inspire (Reuseable)
Rebellion (Single Use - 2 points)
Undetectable Lie (Reuseable)
Death Wind Ceremony (Single Use - 4 points)
Reprisal Immunity (Reuseable)
Torture (Reuseable)
Travelling the Magic Road (Reuseable)
Create Blood Ring (Single Use)
Vow of Silence (Reuseable)
Sever Spirit (Single Use)

Worshippers of Orlanth Rebellious may worship and obtain divine
spells at the standard temples, but also may regain the divine spells at
the site of any battle where the forces of tyranny have been defeated.

V. SubCults

Being a sub-cult itself, Orlanth Rebellious has no actual sub-cults. The most
fanatical members however occasionally perform the Death Wind Ceremony
and dedicate themselves to the death of their enemies by summoning the Death
Wind into themselves and then unleashing it upon their intended victim. This
ceremony is both difficult, dangerous and suicidal. A successful use of the
ceremony results in the focus of the ceremony embodying the Death Wind.
The focus will then survive for POW hours, within that period they must find
the named target of the cermony and touch them. Upon touching them, the
Death Wind bursts out of the body of the focus and attacks the target. At the
end of the POW hours, if the target has not been reached, then the Death Wind
will break free of the body, destroying the worshipper and sending their soul
to Hell and then return to Orlanth. A failed ceremony will result in the death
of the caster and all those supporting the caster in the ceremony.

SPIRITS OF REPRISAL

Members of this sub-cult may be immune to the normal spirits of
reprisal amongst the Orlanthi, but their own spirit is far more deadly
than those normally sent by Orlanth. The Death Wind is the embodiment
of the Sword which was used by Orlanth to slay the Evil Emperor. It comes
from the Sky, a horrific black twister which attacks all those present with the
traitor by physical force while it sucks the soul from the traitor and then
throws it down into the darkest pits of the underworld, far from the steading
of Orlanth. Those nearby may run away but those who stay will be torn to pieces as will any buildings in the nearby vicinity.

VI. ASSOCIATED CULTS

EURMAL

Eurmal was the one who suggested that Orlanth use the sword Death in
his struggle against the Evil Emperor and who aided him to steal the sword
from his brother Humakt, when Humakt refused to lend it to him. Some say
that Eurmal alone was the thief but members of the sub-cult know that this is
not so. In recognition of the event, Eurmal grants to followers of Orlanth
Rebellious the ability to sacrifice for Undetectable Lie and Divination Block.

VII. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES

Use of the cult in games

In general, this sub-cult would be used for non-player characters only. Given
the fanaticism required to be a member of this subcult, most adventurers
would not qualify and members of this sub-cult would be unlikely to associate
with adventurers for any length of time unless the campaign is actually
focussed on an Orlanthi rebellion.

VIII. HEROQUEST PATHS

Details still to be written

- -Dead Man Quest
Atonement Quest
Joining Quest
        Humiliation
        Hatred
        Temptation
        Deceit
        Sacrifice
        Vengeance

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

End of The Glorantha Digest V5 #388
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