Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Cult of Ehla (Outline)

Description: Ehla is the Mother Goddess of Ehlaar.  She gave birth to all the native species and her wisest children, the Demon Princes, ruling benignly over all of creation.  Then Prince Vazo led his brothers and sisters in rebellion against their mother, imprisoning her in the Dreaming.  Ehla's thoughts of escape and vengeance warped the Dreaming, turning it into the Nightmare Realm.  She toiled in pain for thousands of years until, towards the end of the Time of the Outsiders, a Native hero named Shensta derived a plan to free her.  Aided by the faith of ten thousand natives, she entered the Nightmare Realm through the City of Flying Silkworms.  She freed Ehla, who exploded out of the Nightmare Realm and destroyed the City of Flying Silkworms, leaving a massive crater in her wake.  She moved faster then the eye could see to the stars, where she took her place as the brightest star in the sky.  Shensta founded the Queendom of Gla, which is the center of her cult as well as a political force.  Ehla sends her goodwill to her worshipers across the continent and has regained her place as the most prominent God in the world.  [Unbeknownst to most, Ehla has two aspects, Ehla the Creator and Ehla the Destroyer.]

Runes: Sky, Harmony and Fertility (Ehla the Destroyer has Darkness, Chaos and Death)

Mythos and History:  Ehla created the world from a thought, then walked upon it.  In the Valley of Gla, she lay down and birthed her twin firstborn, Prince Kazed and Princess Sarriad.  Then she birthed many more Princes, then Sorgith, the First Man, and Frozin, the First Woman, plus the Mother of Trolls and all the Native animals.  She reared them, as we rear our children and animals today, and brought life and joy wherever she trod.  But the Princes grew jealous.  Lord Vazo persuaded all his siblings that they should rise up and imprison their mother, so they could divide her power between them.  Kazed and Sarriad remained loyal to their mother, and were slain by Vazo.  The rebellious Princes dragged their mother through the world, creating the Pit of Lecrass, and imprisoned her in the Nightmare Realm, binding her four arms and two legs with links of each element (air, earth, fire, water, darkness and aether), such that everything had a stake in keeping her confined.

Central Myth: Shensta frees Ehla (Mythic Resonance 120%) - Ehla lay in the Nightmare Realm, bound by every element and able only to think. She thought of Shensta, who was born in the Valley of Gla.  Shensta raised herself, defeating all manner of creatures that sought to devour her. She grew to womanhood and took the memory of Ehla throughout the Outsider empire.  She converted ten thousand men and women, who gave their magic to Shensta, enabling her to enter the Nightmare Realm.  She journeyed through the Mountains of Falling and the Plain of Hate, defeating the Lady of Disdain and the Forgotten Child.  Eventually, she came across Ehla, and she talked to each of her bonds.  She persuaded Aether and Darkness to help, and they became part of Ehla.  She scared off Earth and forced Water to flee, while she fought Air and Fire, and defeated them.  Now Ehla was free, she took Shensta in her hand and revealed her truths to her, then forced her way out of the Nightmare Realm, destroying a large part of the land, and made her way to the sky.  Shensta woke once again in the Valley of Gla. Behaviors/Insights: Never surrender, conquer impossible odds, resist fear, conversion is the beginning of greatness.

Lesser Myths: Ehla confronts her Children (Mythic Resonance 80%) - Ehla realized her firstborn children had died, and went to find out why.  She found Vazo and the others clustered round the bodies of Kazed and Sarriad and asked what had happened.  All were cowed, and wept, and begged for forgiveness, all save Vazo of the Hard Heart.  Ehla slapped him, and he yelped, and slunk away.  The children laughed at him, but all the time they grew in hatred of Ehla, desiring her power.  Behavior/Insights: Defiance, impose authority, face down the Demon Princes, love is balanced by hate.

Ehlaar the Destroyer only: Ehla Rends the Soul of Prince Cathris (Mythic Resonance 60%) - The Queen of Gla conquered the City of Cathris, and forced Prince Cathris to manifest.  She and her followers bound the Prince, and sent his soul to Ehla the Destroyer.  She breathed her Chaos Breath on his soul, and it was made flesh.  Ehla ripped him with her claws and bit him with her fangs, swallowing the gobbets of his flesh and spilling his blood back as Blood Rain on to the city of Cathris.  What remained of his soul she bound to her service.

To be continued...

Blank Cult Template for MRQ2

(There isn't really a blank cult template anywhere, so I put this one together to help in designing the Cults of Ehlaar, and Third Age Gloranthan cults.)

Description: Put here what everybody knows about the Cult. It’s what a successful Culture check would tell someone about the Cult.

Runes: Greater Gods or powers have three runes, lesser gods two and minor gods one.

Mythos and History: Put here the basic mythology of the cult

Central Myth: The most important myth in the cult.  It should have a resonance of 80-100% or above for a Greater God, 60-90% for a lesser god and 40-70% for a minor god.  The resonance, remember, represents the difficulty of recreating the myth in a Heroquest. It may help to describe the behavior that will be forced on a worshipper as a result of the myth, as well as any rewards for mastering it.

Minor Myth(s): Greater Gods will have 0-2 minor myths and lesser gods 0-1. Minor gods will tend not to have them.

Nature: Put here who the cult appeals to and its social role, as well as attitudes to it from inside and outside the local culture.

Organization: Describe how the cult organizes and operates, the size of it temples and so on.

Membership: Put here any special requirements for membership and/or promotion to higher ranks within the Cult, beyond the standard.

Common Magic: List the common magic spells the Cult teaches its worshippers. A good rule of thumb is that the Cult should be able to teach any worshipper 6 points of magic, so variable spells can count for more than 1 point. Describe any special spells the cult teaches.

Higher Magic: List the cult’s divine magic spells (including new or special spells), sorcerous Grimoire(s) or examples of special cult spirits.

Gifts and Compulsions: Describe any special duties the cult imposes on its worshippers and any gifts and/or secrets the cult bestows. Some cults ill bestow random gifts or demand random compulsions, so tables may be used here.

Cult Skills: List the five or more skills the cut teaches or otherwise demands its worshippers learn.

Allied Cults: List any cults with which the cult has special relations, including any spells or other boons given it.

Enemy Cults: List any cults singled out for special enmity, together with any bonuses or penalties involved in interacting with the enemy cult.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rules Framework: The Making of the Storm Tribe Heroquest

Image from King of Dragon Pass: Buy it!

As indicated in the previous post, for each station the Orlanth substitute must make a choice of which of the three main Orlanthi tenets to follow: NCMYDA (No one can make you do anything), VIAAO (Violence is always an option) or TIAAW (There is always another way).  To successfully complete the Heroquest, the player must succeed in demonstrating each of these tenets at least once.

I allowed other PCs to accompany the main quester as disembodied "spiritual advisers."  They could augment the quester's skills with their critical range of the appropriate skill and cast magic where appropriate (sorcery at a -20% disadvantage owing to this being a divine quest.)

FMTSE = Failure means try something else (ie choose another option).  In the event of failing all three options, the quester falls out of the Heroquest and suffers the Backlash indicated.  Backlash effects are permanent until erased by a successful Orlanthi heroquest.

I ran this myth under MRQ1 rules.  I'd put the Mythic Resonance at 60% to reflect the 6 stages, but it could be upped by the addition of more stages for more powerful questers.  Each additional stage should reflect having to convince another skeptical god.  Whenever a roll needs to be opposed, used 60% as the resistance, therefore, or more if you have added more stages.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pavis Campaign: A Brief Interlude on the Hero Plane

Illustration from the excellent King of Dragon Pass
Our heroes and the Templars returned to Ronegarth, to deliver the news that the broo who had poisoned the Vilinar had been dealt with, but there was no sign of their leader, the witch Muriah.  The Duke took this news with equanimity, but was distressed by the news of what had happened to Weis.  He took his leave of the party, saying he had much to think about.

Ronegarth had had some visitors in the party's absence.  First was Jodred, a Sword of Humakt from Pavis.  He interviewed Grom, whose deeds he had heard of, and consecrated him as an Acolyte.  He reminded the new trainee priest that he had promised to bring the way of the sword to the trolls of the Gundahaak clan.  Grom promised to get round to it.

The other visitors were far stranger - dragonewts!  The party saw a Tailed Priest, standing on one leg, singing, guarded by two watchful beaked dragonets with klanths drawn and ready, while half a dozen crested dragonewts walked round him in a circle, occasionally switching direction.  Daine told them that the priest was called Silver Whispers Descending (“no, I don’t know what it means either”) and that they came looking for the "fierce females of Fort Rone."  Silver Whispers [SWD] had been standing like that for a day without moving.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pavis Campaign: Muriah and the Mistress Part I

Broo picture via Deviant Art
Returning Lady Jezra to Ronegarth, our heroes discovered that further tragedy had befallen the Duke in their absence.  The Duchess Varna had died suddenly of her illness and Marcilla was back from Horn Gate to stop it from spreading further.  As Skye, Grom and Xaraya filed in to the Duke's parlor to pay their respects, they found it draped in black.  Also present were three Sun County Templars, including their old friend Leotychidas.  It transpired that the High Priest of the Sun Dome Temple, Gaumata the Strange had been sent a vision, about two twisted children that threatened to defile the Zola Fel valley.  Gaumata was convinced that one of these children was active in the Vilinar area of Weis Cut and had sent Leotychidas to warn Duke Raus.  Too late.

The Duke was not sure what to do about the Sun County delegation, but told the party that his scouts had found signs of Broos operating in the Vilinar headwaters and was certain they had something to do with it. Leo said that Gaumata was sure that one of the children was active in that area, the other in the remote village of Black Rock, and offered to help the party if they would also help him investigate the Black Rock area.  The party agreed.  Leo introduced his companions, Homophilius ("It doesn't mean what you think!"), a young scholarly type, and a grizzled old scout called Cleombrotus.  The group paused only to consult with Daine and Marcilla.  Daine was ill himself, and suggested a likely area for the investigations to concentrate on, while Marcilla gave the party medicinal herbs and treated linen gloves with which to handle Broo remains.