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3476RE: [indie-netgaming] HQ Thursday?

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  • Mike Holmes
    Dec 1, 2004
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      >From: Loki <xiombarg@...>

      > > So did you pay to concentrate? I can't remember. What it does, to remind
      > > you, is to cut the costs of magic in half.
      >Looking at the archives, I just paid for being an Initiate. I didn't opt
      >for concentration.

      Gotcha. Realize that for one point what you're missing out on is half price
      increases in magic abilities (and these are expensive), and power in using
      improvised feats.

      Basically, the only reason not to concentrate is if you're planning on
      picking up magic in other areas. For example, you could get charms from a
      character like Bob's (Rharohi). It does leave you slightly more flexible,
      basically, in terms of what sources you have for magic.

      Just want you to be fully informed. In any case, you can always concentrate
      at any point in the future.

      > > If that's so, then the standard Inis
      > > Affinities become available, Dancing, Pleasure, and Seduction. These
      > > cost 6 (3 if concentrated) per level, and start at 13. You can improvise
      > > feats from these affinities at -10 (-5 if concentrated). I don't have
      > > feats worked up, so you'd pretty much get to make them up.
      >Right, I do think it's the latter.
      >Now, given I don't own any Shadow World stuff, I did a
      >quick Google on Inis and Shadow World... Is it true that Inis is one of
      >the "darker" dieties, and her worship includes "unspeakable perversions"
      >as well as other forms of carnal lust, and that her servants infiltrate
      >cultures to bring thier downfall via their baser instincts?

      Well, see... One of the things that I like about Hero Quest is it's approach
      to religion. Shadow World is better than most settings in that it states
      that there's no such thing as objective evil. But there's still this
      dichotomy amongst the most widely worshipped of gods in that some come from
      the white moon, and are considered relatively "light" and some come from the
      red moon and are considered relatively "dark." This also relates to the
      source of their power which is basically life affirming magic for the Lords
      of Orhan (the gods of the white moon), and basically life consuming for the
      Lords of Charon (the gods of the red moon).

      But this is a very simplistic way of looking at it. First, the gods are
      powerful enough to overcome their magical origins - they're not slaves to
      their essential natures. Second, what Hero Quest does is to allow these
      beings to be far less objectively set in nature. Further, one of the things
      that I like about Shadow World that's also brought out well by Hero Quest
      (as opposed to not at all with Rolemaster) is the idea of cultural

      The point is that the lords of the different moons are more "universal" than
      the gods in our ancient world. That is, they do seem to have at least
      somewhat of an objective existance, in that most religions seem to have
      experienced these beings. But the thing is that it states in the most
      advanced of the SW literature that the gods are not humans with vast powers,
      but beings that adopt to some extent the nature of the cultures that worship
      them, right down to personal attitudes. So, for instance, for the Rhiani,
      Cay is the chief god, his father Kuor seen as being a mostly retired elder
      statesman. For them, Cay represents not only strenght, but honesty (which is
      mental strength to them). In Kaitaine, Cay is the dutiful son of the king of
      the gods Kuor, and is about defending his family with his great strength.

      They have different names in some locales, as an example of how they are
      adapted to the linguistics of a society even. An even more extreme example,
      the gods of the arts Jaysek and Kieron are worshipped as one being in more
      than one place - for instance as To-tonaur, the two faced god, in Nuyan
      Khom). Or usurp each other's positions in different religions - the Ky'taari
      of Mur Fostisyr worship Oriana, in most places goddess of Fertility, as
      Ariana, goddess of the sun (as opposed to the god of the Sun being Phaon,
      her husband, in most Orhan worshipping cultures).

      The "dark" gods are even more nebulous, because, since people have an innate
      fear of their origin (the red moon can simply be terrifying, like a bloody
      gash in the sky), their worship tends to be very secret-cultish in most
      places. Not all, however. For example, in the Lankan Empire (where my FTF
      game is set), Klysus is worshipped as head of his own pantheon. Now, in
      other places, Klysus is known as a dark god of death, but in the Lankan
      Empire, he's god of life, and the being that makes the sun rise at the dawn
      of each day.

      Of course, even there, he requires human sacrifices to be able to carry the
      sun... so you tell me. Are the Lankani wrong in how they worship him? Has he
      decieved the entire culture? Or is the reality that the culture forms the
      god in terms of how he empowers their priests?

      Are these beings somehow objectively evil? No, not at all, in fact, Andaras
      (lord of cats) is seen in most places as mischevious at worst, and a god of
      wisdom in many cases. The small Rhiani cult see him as a god of hunting from
      shadows (sometimes a metaphor). Kesh'ta'kai, god of magic, seems to have no
      other agenda than to get magical knowledge to people. The fact that some of
      it is the "dark" life taking magic is apparently coincidental, and can he be
      blamed if people are irresponsible in the use of the magic he gives out? In
      any case, he seems not to care one way or the other.

      To get back to Inis, to be sure, in some places what you've read is no doubt
      how her cults operate. There is no culture that I can think of that worships
      Inis primarily, her cults are always struggling for fringe acceptance. No
      doubt their public face is one of a mysticism of physicality including
      dance, and fighting, and sexuality. Her followers gain real powers, and real
      pleasure from following her - achieving states of bliss at times. Does this
      lead to overindulgence in some places? Do they have to make some political
      adjustments in some places to make their cult more acceptable? Do their
      mores mix with the rest of the cultures religion to "undermine" it's
      morality? Is this all occasionally detrimental to the culture in question?


      Is this all part of a larger plan of Inis? Or, again, is she merely a
      reflection of her worshippers? Does she manifest because she's powerful, or
      is she powerful because humans are at a base level physical and sexual
      beings? Are sexual women seen as dangerous in Rhiani culture? Yes; are there
      any male dominated cultures where they're not? What's more powerful than a
      woman in control of her sexual destiny? And why wouldn't men bold enough to
      see it in a positive light fawn over her?

      Your cult, you tell me. Just what does Elkaru believe about Inis?

      What other Rhiani believe is that worship of Inis is a barely legitimate
      part of their religion, and that Inis worshippers are to be watched for over
      over-indulging. That is, they're expected to take things "too far" - as such
      they are a release valve on some of the culture's pressures (need to blow
      off some steam, go join an Inis dance ritual). But they've been known to go
      overboard, and do things that are taboo for the society as a whole, so
      they're considered potentially dangerous.

      Put another way, the cult serves the purpose of handling those individuals
      in the culture who can't seem to abide certain of the common Rhiani taboos.
      But that doesn't mean that there aren't limits as to what the culture will
      allow in terms of behavior overall. For example, a Rhiani might look down on
      the cultists if he heard that they had staged some orgy as a ritual, but
      they wouldn't step in to do anything about it. That's within the purview of
      taboos that they're allowed to break. If there were a human sacrifice
      involved, however, the entire local cult would be killed.

      There's a constant renegotiation of where these lines lay, it's not set in

      Note that Aysha's cult played a male counterpart in Rhiani culture to Inis'.
      That is, where Inis represents unleashed feminine sexual potential, Akalatan
      represents unleashed male sexual potential (he's a snake god, go figure).
      Note that, interestingly, Akalatan is the son of Klysus. He is Birth to his
      father's Death. Wheras in the Lankan Empire Akalatan is subservient to his
      father, in Rhiani lands, Akalatan is potent and his father is a minor
      subcult diety, also seen as sorta retired (note a pattern here - the Rhiani
      value their elderly for counsel, but follow only the virile).

      Her cult was similar in it's "boundary" status. Note that when it was
      discovered that she was, in fact, performing human sacrifice (made worse
      because she lied about it - only in Rhiani culture could that make it
      worse), that the discovering Rhiani did, in fact, try to kill her.

      Consider the Rhiani honesty in all of this. Rhiani are compelled on pain of
      death and all cultural precedent not to lie. The cults are not immune to
      this. What tends to happen is that the Rhiani mostly adopt a "don't ask,
      don't tell" policy towards these cultists, because the semi-taboo nature of
      the cults makes the respondent uncomfortable responding ("Yeah, we did
      something that was fun, but that you'd think was disgusting"). But that
      leaves everyone always uneasy about what the cultists are up to. So they
      check in from time to time. The Riders of Cay, as purveyors of honesty and
      purity, are most often charged with checking these things out.

      Note that in Sherezak, where honesty was less stringent, the Inis cult there
      operated much more clandestinely - who knows just what they were up to. If
      you'll remember, they tried to make a sacrifice out of Rharohi, and even
      considered Elkaru until he convinced them that he was one of them. These
      cultists are at the moment co-located with the other members of the Lurid
      Eye tribe since the fall of Sherezak. So I'm thinking that at least some of
      his indoctrination came from those gals. The rest would come from Fahja
      himself, or the few other Inis Cultists in the tribe (Kalek Sandrunner, for

      Does that all help or make things worse? :-)

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