Volume 11, no 04, part 1 of 2: Lesser Faiths of Prax

From: Bryan J. Maloney (jacobus@sonata.cc.purdue.edu)
Date: Thu 06 Oct 1994 - 01:46:37 EET




From: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM
Subject: Editorial....

Brian and Sandy each sent a huge submission to the Daily this week. I'm sending them as issue four today.

And for those on the west coast: I'll be visiting colleagues in the States, in the Bay area. I suppose I'll have a couple of nights of my own to visit and meet people from the Digest. Hey, if someone's willing to host a 'meet the digest' party as we had at Convulsion, I'd enjoy that.

Send me mail...

Henk


                           Lesser Faiths of Prax
				by Brian
				     Maloney

   Prax and the Wastes hosted a bewildering variety of worships during the 15th-17th centuries ST. Many of these greater spirits have been mentioned by the Gloranthan scholar GS. My work at the Pavis site excavations have uncovered several others. I have divided these cults among three groups: "Praxian Cults" were mainly worshipped by members of the Praxian Animal Rider tribes. "Aboriginal Cults" were favored by River and Oasis peoples. Finally, "Outsider Cults" were usually found among Orlanthi or Yelmali living along the Zola Fel. Caveat: these spirits and minor deities do not fit neatly into the Jrusteli-derived religious system. (However, for those of us who play RQ, appropriate RuneQuest Sight notes have been included in parentheses throughout.)

                               Praxian Cults

Little Brother

   Little Brother was the youngest of Storm Bull's many brothers. Some farmers called him "Orlanth" and paid altogether too much attention to him. Little Brother caused many problems in the old times. He tilted the sky dome to see what was under it and let chaos in. He had a tantrum and made the sun leave for a while. He tried to fight the Devil and only managed to enrage it. Storm Bull was constantly having to clean up Little Brother's messes. Finally, he realized that Little Brother was so much trouble because he didn't have any jobs to do.

   After Storm Bull killed the Devil and pinned him under the Block, he went to find Little Brother. First, he cuffed Little Brother in the ears for letting the Devil into the world in the first place. Then he gave Little Brother a job so that he wouldn't make so much trouble anymore. Little Brother was put in charge of making it rain and making sure that plants could grow. Of course, Little Brother often shirks his duties to play with the farmers, so there is not as much rain in Prax or the Wastes as there should have been.

   Shamans can contact Little Brother at any Storm Bull holy site or during any rainstorm (a POW X 3 roll is necessary). The shaman can then establish a link (expend 1 POW to do so).

   Little Brother teaches the divine spells of Cloud Call and Rain (as per the Heler Associate spell for Orlanth in River of Cradles) to shamans who know him. Little Brother's Rain spell will only work in Storm and Sea Seasons, since he's usually off shirking any other time of the year.

   Little Brother requires a worshipper to make a moderate sacrifice (all MP) on Wind Day, Mobility Week during Storm Season.

Sun Hawk

   When Genert lived, Sun Hawk, the Sun of Prax was his scout and as his skirmisher. Now that Genert is dead, Sun Hawk protects Genert's children. Some say that Sun Hawk now roosts upon the top of Yelmalio's dome.

   Shamans can contact Sun Hawk by performing the Sun Dance. This ritual requires the shaman to coat himself in gold dust and feathers (20 wheels worth of gold dust) and must be undertaken in Fire Season under a clear sky. The Shaman must dance until he collapses from heat and thirst. (Use the fatigue and thirst rules--remember to apply any appropriate physical damage.) After he has lost consciousness, the shaman's spirit flies up to the Sun Hawk where he must make an attempt to impress the spirit (can be abstracted as an Orate roll with Ceremony as a complementary skill). Failure means that the shaman is sent back and cannot try again for a year. Success permits the shaman to establish a link (sacrifice 1 POW).

   Non-shamans must be initiated to Yelmalio. They may only attempt the Sun Dance on Yelmalio's High Holy Day. Among non-Praxian Yelmalio worshippers
(i.e., Sun Dome farmers) this requires permission of the priests.
Permission is usually not forthcoming.

   Darkness creatures who attempt to contact Sun Hawk are spiritually burned
(they lose 1D3 POW) and are hurled back to their bodies, which demoralizes
them (as per the spell) for a full week.

   Sun Hawk requires a minor sacrifice (one MP) every Fireday at dawn.

Spirit Magic: Detect Enemy, Farsee, Firearrow

Divine Magic
Hawk's Wings 6 points
temporal, nonstackable, reusable

   This spell transforms the caster's arms into strong wings and greatly strengthens his chest and arm muscles to permit flight. It also transforms the caster's feet into clawed talons that can be used to attack. The caster can fly at a speed of twice his running speed. The caster's STR is also doubled. The caster may attack with talons at a normal kick percentage. Damage is 1d6 plus DB (figured for the new STR). This spell supersedes and is not compatible with any other STR-enhancing spells.

   The wings are not able to hold any item. The talons are very clumsy and are not suitable for manipulation.

   This spell will only work in Prax and the Wastes.

                              Aboriginal Cults

Gorakiki

   Gorakiki is worshipped as a spirit by the Oasis and river peoples and propitiated by Sun Domers and Orlanthi farmers along the Zola Fel. This form of worship is apparently not related to Trollish cults.

   Anyone can contact Gorakiki for propitiatory worship by finding a large swarm of insects and entering its center (taking the appropriate amount of sting damage). If the subject is worthy (abstracted as a POW X 3 roll with Insect Lore as a complement), a bit of the caster's soul (1 point of POW) is then sacrificed to establish a link.

   This version of her worship teaches the following spells:

Divine Magic:
Speak With Insects 1 point
voice range, temporal, non-stackable, reusable

   This spell permits the caster to talk to any type of insect for the duration of the spell. It does not alter the basic disposition or intelligence of the insect.

Insect Fence 2 points
ritual ceremony, nonstackable, reusable

   This spell must be boosted with MP when cast. The number of MP used is divided by the area of land protected in hectares to determine the strength of the spell. Any insect that attempts to walk into, burrow into, or light on areas protected by this spell must overcome the MP protecting the location with its POW or be unable to do so. The area protected must be contiguous and a relatively simple geometric shape (the caster has to walk the perimeter of the area while performing the rite). The spell lasts for one year and must be cast on Gorakiki's High Holy Day
(Freeze/Fertility/Dark).

   If the caster sacrifices a point of POW upon casting the spell, he may specify one type of insect that can cross the fence unhindered. Most people prefer to contact a Beekeeper (see Gorakiki Honey-Mother below) to cast Bee Gate for them instead.

Mistress Clam:

   Also known as Monalli, this is a grumpy spirit who easily takes offense. During the Greater Darkness, she taught some people how to protect themselves from danger.

   Shamans and any initiates to a River cult may contact Mistress Clam by going to a riverbank and settling into the mud, submerged under the water for an entire day and night. It is recommended that the applicant figure out a way to breathe for that time since drowning entails immediate disqualification.

   Mistress Clam will come to the applicant after a full day and a full night underwater. The applicant may then establish a link (by sacrificing 1 POW). The applicant must engage Mistress Clam in conversation for at least one hour. If the applicant offends her (best if roleplayed, but could be abstracted as a fumble on an Orate or Fast Talk roll), she will snap her jaws shut, severing and devouring a random appendage. Any magical attempts to Regrow the severed limb must first get Mistress Clam's permission to work. Worshippers are required to immerse themselves completely in water and make a minor sacrifice (1 MP) at least twice a season.

   She teaches her worshippers the divine spell Breathe Water plus her own special spell:

Monalli's Shell 1 pt
caster, temporal, nonstackable, reusable

   The caster must boost this spell with MP when it is cast. Every MP spent gives the caster 2 AP in all locations. However, every MP spent also reduces the caster's movement rate by 1 and all perception skills by 10%. This spell is incompatible with Mobility, Flight, Teleport, and all other movement-enhancing spells.

Trout Dancer:

   Trout Dancer was a shaman of the River People in the Dawn Age. He could call forth bounty from the river when the people were hungry. Fishermen along the Zola Fel still call upon him.

   Anyone who has mastered fishing (skill of 90% or more) may call upon Trout Dancer while fishing. He will appear as a talking fish, who will promise bounty. The worshipper may establish a link (sacrifice a point of POW). Members of the Zola Fel cult may worship Trout Dancer as a Zola Fel subcult, thus not needing to make a sacrifice upon contact.

   Trout Dancer teaches the following spells, which will only work on the Zola Fel or its tributaries:

Divine Magic
Fish Dance 1 point
ritual ceremony, temporal, nonstackable, reusable

   This spell is cast upon the equipment of fishermen, not upon fish. It guarantees that the fishermen will have at least an average haul from the river. This spell is cumulative to Fish Song: Every MP expended on that spell adds 10% to the "average" take for that fisherman, so those who know Fish Song can have quite a catch. Fish Dance can only be cast on Waterday of every week and lasts for three days. (The three-day duration of the spell plus its limited day of casting is part of what leads non Riverfolk to believe that River-dwellers are "lazy", since it's only really worth their while to fish three days a week.)

Fish Song 1 point
ritual ceremony, instant, nonstackable, reusable

   This spell must be boost with personal MP calls fish to come and listen to him, 1 ENC of fish per MP expended. The caster may then begin fishing. It does not guarantee that the caster will catch anything, but it does make sure that there are fish around to catch.

                               Outsider Cults

Gorakiki Honey-Mother:

   A version of Gorakiki Bee is known to the agriculturalists of the Zola Fel valley. To worship Gorakiki Honey-Mother, a prospective initiate must find a Beekeeper and convince him of worthiness (abstracted as success in Bee Care and POW X 3 rolls). If successful, the applicant can establish a link (by sacrificing a point of POW). Initiates receive free training in Bee Breeding and may learn Gorakiki Honey Mother divine magic on a one-use basis. Initiates may call upon Gorakiki Honey-Mother with a 1d100 divine intervention roll, but only to aid a swarm or hive of bees.

   Beekeepers lead the local cult in the same way that a mastercraft leads others who practice his art. The candidate must have mastered (90% skill rating) Bee Care and Bee Breeding. He must also know "the right magics"
(Disrupt, Heal 2, and Repair 3). The candidate must also have set up
beehives for at least two queens and successfully maintained them for a year simultaneously. Finally, he has to pass a test of worthiness (abstracted as a special success in either Bee Care or Bee Breeding). Failure meant that the applicant has to wait another year to try again.

   Beekeepers are required to test applicants for initiation. They are required to teach the basics of Bee Care (up to 30%) free of charge to any who wish to know it. They are also required to teach basic Bee Breeding (up to 30%) free of charge to any Gorakiki Honey-Mother initiate. Fortunately, few people wanted to know Bee Care or Bee Breeding, since Beekeepers also have to care for their hives.

   Beekeepers can learn Gorakiki Honey-Mother divine spells reusably. They may use 1d10 for Divine Intervention from Gorakiki Honey-Mother, but only to help a hive or swarm of bees.
Spirit Magic: Disrupt, Heal, Repair
Divine Magic: Divination (only for questions pertaining to bees, of course), Excommunication, Initiation, Sanctify, Worship Gorakiki Honey- Mother. Gorakiki Honey-Mother does not teach the spells known to Bee Hsunchen.

Bee Balm 1 point
instant, stackable, reusable

   This spell calms a small swarm or hive of bees that has been disturbed. Each stacking of the spell adds another "hive size"--see "Insect Swarm" in the RQ Creatures book/chapter--to the calming influence. The hive must be within line of sight of the caster. Note that this spell is of "instant", not "temporal" duration. It calms a hive, but it doesn't keep it calm in the face of further irritation.

Bee Gate 1 point
ritual ceremony, stackable, reusable

   This rite must be performed simultaneously with Insect Fence (cf, Gorakiki above). It creates an opening in the Insect Fence through which bees may enter. Many crops would fail without a Bee Gate in their Insect Fence. Every stacked point of this spell creates another gate.

Bee Rage 1 point
temporal, nonstackable, reusable

   This spell enrages a hive or swarm of bees. The hive cannot be "aimed" but it will not attack the caster unless the caster takes an act that the bees would interpret as hostile.

Turnip Boy

   In the fields of Sun County, on the banks of Zola Fel, a young man labored. He cut the soil under the blazing Fire Season sun. His hoe chopped away at the weeds that threatened the precious crop. He was a dedicated young man who loved to toil upon Ernalda for the glory of Yelmalio.

     He was so dedicated that he worked without resting. He was so dedicated that he worked without drinking. He was so dedicated that he worked without a hat.

   Under the blazing Fire Season sun he toiled until he was confronted by a vision. Where the sun had been in the sky was an enormous Presence, a huge Entity, an imposing Being, a really big Turnip! The Turnip spoke to the young man and revealed that Turnip was the true son of Yelmalio and Ernalda.

   The peoples of the world had wallowed in sin too long, and it was Turnip's time to purify the world so that Yelmalio might walk upon it. Turnip Boy was commanded to go forth and preach. He went north and performed many wonders.

   In the land of Sartar he slew a Dream Dragon with nothing more than a turnip as a weapon. In the land of Tarsh he converted an entire tribe to Yelmalio worship. In the city of Boldhome he slew a warrior Dragonewt with his bare hands and dragged it through the city streets. Then he called fire from the sky to dispose of the corpse. (For the curious, Turnip Boy was an actual player character in a campaign I ran. He became post-mortem deified in spite of himself. Nearly all of the attributes of his cult are due to events in the mortal Turnip BoyUs life.)

   Those who wish to partake of the gifts of Turnip Boy must be initiated to Yelmalio, Yelm, Ernalda or Babeester Gor. Darkness creatures are not eligible, except Trollkin, who must be initiated to one of the four above cults or to Argan Argar. Applicants must have never partaken of hazia. Tricksters are also permitted to worship Turnip Boy, for it is known that Turnip Boy smiles upon those who take these poor, benighted idiots under their wing and teach them the Truth of Yelmalio. However, they are still bound by the restrictions of the cult should they wish to partake of its benefits.

   The character must plant a field of turnips and tend it carefully. During the height of Fire Season, the applicant must work from dawn to dusk without pausing, drinking, or wearing a hat. The applicant must work until he passes out. Trollkin can substitute stuffing themselves with turnips until they pass out during Fire Season.

   Once the applicant has lost consciousness, he will be visited by Turnip Boy, who will quiz him on the Law of Yelmalio. The applicant must pass the quiz (abstracted as a successful Yelmalio Lore or special Yelm or Ernalda Lore roll unless the applicant is a Trollkin, in which case he must fail an Argan Argar Lore roll). If the test is passed, the applicant may establish a link (expend 1 POW).

   A worshipper must remain absolutely true to the laws of Yelmalio, attack hazia and its use, practice complete chastity (not celibacy--chastity), and must preach to the masses about the virtues of the Turnip at least two hours every day. The worshipper must also keep himself stocked with turnips at all times and must expend 1 MP every Fireday. Turnips must make up a major part of the worshipperUs diet. Furthermore, the worshipper is required to wear headgear shaped like a turnip, even if that headgear is a helmet.
(Turnip-shaped helmets are special order items that cost 2-3 times normal to
purchase.) Finally, a Turnip Boy worshipper must spend one day during Fireseason completely naked under the light of the sun.

   Turnip Boy teaches the spirit spells of Detect Turnip, Endurance (up to Endurance 4) and Protection (up to Protection 4, will only function if the recipient wears a helmet shaped like a turnip). He also teaches the divine spell Truespear (which will only function if the spearhead is shaped like a turnip) and two unique spells. Turnip Boy's divine magic can be renewed at a Sun Dome Temple or any Major or larger Solar temple or at a Great Ernalda temple. Turnip Boy's Truespear spell can also be renewed at a small shrine in Apple Lane in Sartar.

Turnip Pockets 2 points
ritual ceremony, temporal, nonstackable, reusable

   For the duration of this spell, the caster has turnips. Whenever he reaches into his pocket, into his pack, into his purse, he will pull forth a turnip. The turnips so produced are ordinary, non-magical turnips. They can be used like ordinary turnips in all ways except that they cannot be used for the Turnip Healing spell (see below). This spell lasts from the time it is cast until the next sunset. It cannot be cast at night. If the caster boosts the spell with MP when casting it, his Orate skill is increased by 5% per MP used. Turnip Boy worshippers often use this spell when preparing to preach to a large crowd.

Turnip Healing 1 point
ritual enchantment, reusable

   This spell permits the caster to create a Turnip of Healing. He must start with a flawless, naturally grown turnip. He may then invest POW into the turnip via this enchantment. The turnip will function as the appropriate ingredients for any curative or healing potion with a POT equal to ten times the POW invested in it. A worshipper of Turnip Boy also gains a +10% to his Craft appropriate potion skill for every POW in the turnip.

Yinkin

   Orlanth's younger half brother was mothered by Kerofin and fathered by the Father of Carnivores. When very young, he tried his hand at thaneship, sheep-herding, and metalsmithing and failed miserably at all these and many other tasks. Then one night, when Darkness covered the land, Yinkin's sharp eye caught sight of an assassin sent to kill his brother. His soft foot let him sneak up on the would-be murderer. His sharp claw let the criminal's blood feed the earth. Since that time, Yinkin and his children have been the honored guardians and companions of Orlanthi.

   Spirit worship of Yinkin is rare anywhere except among Orlanthi in Prax, where it is fairly common (probably as a result of influence by neighboring Praxian religions). Storm-allied shamans, e.g., Kolatings, can contact Yinkin at any time and may establish a link by sacrificing a point of POW. Other shamans must befriend a Shadowcat for a year and then ask it to call Yinkin. If the Shadowcat feels like it, and Shadowcats can be pretty contrary critters, Yinkin will be called. (The GM can either role-play this for the Shadowcat or abstract it as a POW X 3% roll.) The shaman can then sacrifice 1 POW to establish a link.

   Non-shamans must be initiated into a Storm cult or a cult allied to a Storm cult. They must then befriend a Shadowcat for a year and may then attempt to call upon Yinkin as would a non-Storm shaman.

   Yinkin requires that any who follow him keep at least one Shadowcat as a friend and care for it as one's own brother or sister.

Spirit Magic: Ironhand, Silence.

Divine Magic: Catseye

Catsclaw 3 points
temporal, nonstackable, reusable

   Both the caster's hands grow retractable claws and do 1d8 damage plus his damage bonus. His chance to hit with his claws is equal to his normal Fist attack. These claws do not interfere with normal hand use.


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