Lunar military cults

Date: Thu 23 Mar 2000 - 20:49:50 EET

> "Alexandre Lanciani" <> writes:
> IMO there are many Humakti in the Provincial Army.

>Lowell A Francis asks:
>This brings up an interesting question for me, at least for day to day>
>play in the campaign world: what are the typical cult distributions among
>the Lunar Army. I recognize that this will vary from area to area, but
>how much can we expect to see Dara Happan (Yelmalio vs. Polaris vs.
>Shargash), how much Carmanian (???), how much "straight" Lunar (YT vs.

Big question aand one which will be more fully answered in SGU BUT even then
not to my full satisfaction. It will take an entire book on its own to do
the Imperial armed forces justice, something I hope I can put out at a later

However, the first thing to remember about the Imperial Army is that it is
composed of heterogenous units. It is not the Roman army or even the Greek
army. It is way more varied than either of those. I prefer, if one must use
a historical model, to consider it similar to the Seleucid army.

This has a considerable effect on the cults worshipped. Most regiments have
a regimental deity which is usually a herocult or sub-cult of a wider cult.
Most officers are also devotees of other cults while the rank and file are
rarely more than initiates and may even be lay members in several war cults.

The basic building block of an Imperial army is the regiment. There are no
permanent higher tactical bodies. These regiments are recruited from

numerous sources and so an Imperial force will have a plethora of faiths in
it. The Lunars have been successful in integrating this mix via the powers
of inclusion available to the Yanafal Tarnils cult. Tarnils is the cult used
at the formation level. There are many warriors and soliders of Tarnils but
they tend to specialise in fighting. The Tarnils officer corps specialise in
unifying their divergent commands into a cohesive force.

In some respects they are similar to the Brigade commands common in the US
army today - the command has no fixed units under it, rather it is assigned
units based upon its mission.

I'll run through some cults to give you an idea of the wide variety in the
Imperial army and the frequency of their worship.:


Uncommon, officer rank and of noble birth. Many Dara Happan regiments are
commanded by Polaris officers. Unlike other war cults, they tend not to form
any elites composed entirely of their cult. It is strictly an officer cult.
It specialises in generalship and strategums.


Very common. Forms both the unifying officer corps for the Imperial Army
_and_ the rank and file for many units. Some elite units are entirely
Tarnils. Tarnils is also very common in house troop formations and as


The Bodyguard unit of Shargash is assigned permanently to Raibanth,
ostensibly to guard the Golden Proxy, but really to keep them away from
Glamour. In Alkoth, of course, he is king, but they Alkothi army is kept
split among the Heartlands and Cavalry corps and S's worship is not common

outside of those units.


Very common among DH units. He is a popular regimental deity, even for the
rank and file. Officers follow him, though usually of lower rank or cerebral
method than the Polaris units. He is however a parochial deity and is
disliked by Tarnils for the cults resistance to Lunar Inclusiveness.


Common for Pelandan units and a couple of Hoplite formations. The Carmanians
venerate him to a degree but mostly his cult is without true military power.


Widely spread worship among some specialiist formations of the Empire. The
Humakti of the Empire are Carmanian Knight-Killers and are often used by the
Empire as shock troops (both in terms of impact and fear generated!).
However, the cults darkers leanings has kept them out of the higher officer
corps and thus any real power.


Cult of command in Carmania, followed by the high nobility of his caste.


Followed by the Hazar Knights of the southern satrapies of Carmania and by
Pelandan sergeants of authorised house formations Of the Bull Shah tradition.


Followed by the chivalric Lion Shah tradition, mostly in the central
Carmanian noble houses. He is also venerated by a unit of the Imperial



Strongly worshipped as an active wargod only in the Red Lands. A couple of
very nasty units of the Imperial forces are YA but her worship usually
becomes common in the Heartland when nomads are a raiding.


Both normally worshipped as sub-cults of wider worship, they are the weapon
cults of Yelm and are only devoted to by specialists in a couple of units.
Most soliders venerate one or the other to some degree.


Father of the Lunar Carmanians, his cult is followed in war against the
Char-un, as the epitomy of Lunar Knighthood and by the most loyal of the
Carmanian houses. Hated by the Pelandan troops though.


Spear god of the Darjiini, warrior king and focus of worship for a couple of


Great spirit warrior and founder of the Char-un nation, worshipped for his
courage, his cunning and his ruthlessness.

YELM *Emperors names*

The cult of nobles who are not Emperor (only the Emperor worships Antirius
directly). All Yelmic nobles are fighting men by birth and training.

Depending on the Emperor their family line is descended from, they can be
highly militarised.


Sky captain and commander of Sky Marines for the Moon Boats. Doesn't get on
too well with the Yestendos cult who crew them or the Vargari cultist who
empower them.


Creater of a integrated cavalry/infantry force that could actually defeat the
Pentan nomads in their own lands. Followed by an increasing amount of
Cavalry Corps units.

I could go on, there are a lot more.

>I understand that there has been a shifting of emphasis from the
>Shargashi War College to the Polaris (I think that's mentioned in the

The military doctrine of the Empire is varied. The Cavalry Corps is split
into three traditions - Kastokum, Carmanian and Pentan while the Heartland
Corps muscles in on their turf with the Dragoon units and the Avilry.
Argument over the use of the large phalanx or the combined arms force abound
as do a multitude of other problems.

>I have to agree also that I've always thought of Humakti as
>the "generic" war-god, given his original presentation in Cults of Prax.
>However, more recent discussions about Humakti mysticism and the
>presentation of Humakt in KoDP makes me wonder about this.

He certanly is important but not the generic war god, except for Orlanthi
culture, and then he is more of a specialist. Orlanth is the generic war god.

>In terms of actual troops, how many are devoted to a specific war-god or
>is entry into one of those cults a fairly difficult or rare thing?

In the Imperial Army, devotion is not very common. It is usually the
preserve of the regimental priests and the officers. Units which have all
their members as devotees are elite and for good reason. Their magic is very

>I have
>a hard time imagining levies taking up those rites and rituals, given
>that they have to return to their old life path later.

They are usually in the army for a very long time. Most peasants in Peloria
who join up really don't _want_ to go back to their old life.

> The Seven Mothers
>is described as a "missionary" cult with central importance on the
>borderlands, so why is his cult usually presented as central to the whole
>of the military?

It certainly isn't the core of the army, Tarnils has that claim in the sense
that he is the most worshipped individual war god while controlling much of
the military. The problem has been that very little has been known about the
Empire till recently. If you only have Cults of Prax to go on, it seems that
the 7Ms are the core of the Empire. We have more info now.

Martin Laurie


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