Religion in Glorantha
The Storm Pantheon
The gods of the Orlanthi barbarians and the enemies of the Red Goddess.
The Cult of Orlanth – sggW
Orlanth is the chief and king of the Storm pantheon. His runes include Movement, Air, and Mastery. He is opposed to the Chaos, Moon, and Stasis runes.
In addition to his rune power, Orlanth also possesses the Dragon Power, which he gained when he cut off the head of Sh'harkazeel the Cosmic Dragon.
All initiates of Orlanth must be free men (although the Vinga subcult provides a means by which women can perform men's roles and participate in male-only rituals) and must follow his six virtues: Courage, Generosity, Honor, Justice, Piety, and Wisdom. They must honor their word and their debts.
Orlanth expects all of his worshippers to emulate him in their thoughts, word, and deeds. Initiates who fail to act properly and violate his virtues suffer his anger and may bring down divine retribution against their entire community.
Initiates must spend a significant amount of time worshipping and offering sacrifices to Orlanth. They must participate in the clan militia (called a "fyrd") and should possess a weapon.
Characters that become initiates of Orlanth must tithe 1% of all their income and be willing to serve, if so called. In game terms, this is represented by a Debt 1 (tithe) [-1p] and Duty (to clan; ≤6) [-2p]. They also must buy the Religious Rank 1 (Orlanth) [5p] advantage.
All initiates of Orlanth may learn the Symbol-Drawing skill for the Air Rune g, the Movement Rune s and the Mastery Rune W. These skills are all based upon IQ and are considered to be very hard.
Initiates may learn spirit magic spells from the following lists:
- Air – Purify Air,Create Air, Wall of Wind, Air Vision, Air Jet, Clouds, Predict Weather
- Body – Might, Vigor, Grace
- Communication – Sense Foes
- Healing – Lend Energy, Minor Healing
All priests of Orlanth may learn the Symbol-Drawing skill for the Air Rune g, the Movement Rune s and the Mastery Rune W. These skills are all based upon IQ and are considered to be very hard.
Priests may learn all of the spirit magic spells available to initiates plus the following:
- Air – Walk on Air, Windstorm, Lightning, Resist Lightning, Spark Storm, Lightning Weapon, Rain, Storm, Summon Air Elemental, Control Air Elemental
- Body – Boost Strength, Boost Health, Hold Breath, Balance, Ambidexterity, Reflexes
- Communication – Truthsayer
There are many subcults of Orlanth in Sartar; most have only a few hundred members and are confined to a single tribe or even a single clan. Most emphasize a particular Thunder Brother or local hero and combine its worship with that of Orlanth. However, several subcults are important or prominent enough to deserve further description.
- Barntar gs The Orlanthi plow god and the most popular and widespread sub-cult of Orlanth.
- Dar W The cult of chiefs and kings, which they join as part of the crowning ceremony.
- Destor s A warrior subcult known for their rapid movement and blinding strikes.
- Hedkoranth g The thunderbolt of Orlanth.
- Heler g Also known as the Blue God, Heler is the Orlanthi god of rain.
- Mastakos s Orlanth's Charioteer, and thus the god of travel and motion.
- Niskis sx The god of both seduction and fertility; he brings new life with rain.
- Orlanth Rex W Only a true high-king that has united the Orlanthi people can join this cult, but many revere and worship this aspect of Orlanth.
- Thunder Brothers gW The collective sons and incarnations of Orlanth.
- Vinga W The cult of warrior women, and the only way a woman may join the cult of Orlanth.
Hon-eel the Dancer– Second Inspiration of Moonson, Lunar goddess of rebirth.
The Lunar Empire was desolated by horse barbarian attacks in its early years. After the barbarians were defeated, Hon-eel appeared and renewed the empire. She restored provincial lands which had drifted from Lunar rule as a result of the barbarian attacks, settled new lands, drove the last of the horsemen off, and discovered a new food grain, maize, for Peloria. Hon-eel danced her way to the end of the universe and brought back rich blessings of fertility for all who were wise enough to call on her.
Her images show a graceful, handsome woman. She is dancing, balanced on her right foot. Her left foot is on her right knee, and she holds forth a bundle of maize.
Hwarin Dalthippa – Immortal Heroine of the Red Goddess; the Conquering Daughter.
Hwarin Dalthippa is the favorite goddess of the Lunar provinces. Once mortal, she founded the famous and beautiful city of Jillaro, conquered the provincial barbarians and integrated them into the empire, and built the magical roads which today crisscross the region. She is also worshiped by women as a domestic goddess.
Her most famous temple image shows her standing helmeted, a third eye visible on her forehead, holding a spear and with shield and distaff at her feet.
Nysalor – The Bright One, the Illuminator, God of Illumination.
At the end of the Dawn Ages the hubris of mortals reached its ultimate form when they sought to create a perfect god. At his birth terrible portents shook the world and a great struggle began which lasted almost a century.
Nysalor is not now worshiped for Arkat the Destroyer killed and dismembered the god, and scattered the pieces across the worlds. The story of Nysalor is well known and often repeated as a moral tale. Most people know only parts of the whole story.
No images of the living god survive. He is depicted in Pelorian manuscripts as a radiant man, floating above the ground in a pose of cross-legged meditation.
The Red Emperor – God-emperor of the Lunar Empire.
The Red Emperor is the ruler of the Lunar Empire. He is the supreme head of the political government, the highest priest of the Lunar religion, and the commander-in-chief of the Lunar Army.
The Red Emperor has no name, only titles. He is the Moonson, Lord of the Four Quarters, Staff and Pillar to God, Leader of the Egi, Shah of Shahs, and the Bright and Illustrious Emperor of Dara Happa. The Red Emperor alone is capable of leading the many peoples of the Empire. He alone can wield Justice amongst them for he has no territorial origins. Though regions differ in customs and politics, he alone can coordinate them all with equality. The Red Emperor embodies and manifests the Lunar principle, We Are All Us.
Religiously, the Emperor alone is capable of many Lunar magics, for he alone is the Son of the Moon. He is the Highest Priest for the cult of the Red Goddess, and holds supreme office in many other Lunar cults as well. As Emperor, he alone can see the greater needs of all, and order the movement of the Empire's gods.
It is the custom of the Emperor to change his form to suit the needs of the time and place. This custom began after the Nights of Horror, where the Emperor and most of his household staff were killed. Foolish people believe that there has been more than one Red Emperor, but he has always proved that he is the same entity whenever he returns from the Moon after his demise.
The Red Goddess – Sedenya, the reincarnating Red Moon, Sister of Chaos, Lurker on the Veil.
Moon Goddess, Mistress of Time, Sister of Chaos, and Lurker Upon the Veil are some titles given to this unique goddess. She was born in the Gods Age but was broken and scattered during the Gods War – not quite dead but not quite alive either. She was resurrected by the Seven Mothers in 1220 (0/0). Reborn within Time, and therefore mortal, the Red Goddess proved her right to exist despite the opposition of the Old Gods. She defeated the Old Gods at the Battle of Castle Blue in 1245 (0/25).
In 1247 (0/27), the Red Goddess danced her last dream upon the face of the earth, revealing the secrets of her inner soul to her companions. Then she took the ground she had danced upon and, wrapping it about her like a cloak, clutched her secrets close to herself and ascended into the sky. She rose higher and higher into the Middle Air, where she now sits and turns slowly, looking over her domains in history and myth from the heavens as the Red Moon.
In addition to ruling the heavenly body, the Red Goddess promises a self-awareness which gives her worshippers a special outlook on life. She is held sacred by folks from all walks of life inside the Lunar Empire but, despite the ubiquity of her cult, only about 1% of the population of the Lunar Empire directly worships the Red Goddess.
She is often portrayed with red skin, sitting cross-legged, draped in a white gown with a neckline which plunges in a "V" to her navel. Her hands are formed in the signs of welcome and of peace.
All sizes of temples to the Red Goddess are found inside the Empire. Outside its boundaries, usually only minor temples are found.
Requirements: A candidate must be "illuminated". He must also be either a priest of another lunar cult or else be an initiate of another lunar cult and have a skill of 14 or higher in Religious Ritual (Lunar), Ritual Magic (Summoning), and Ritual Magic (Enchantment). The character must be approved by an Examiner; this examination is abstracted as a roll on 3d against one-third (round down) of the character's IQ plus Will. Characters that become initiates of the Red Goddess must tithe 10% of all their income and time to the Red Goddess and be willing to serve as an Examiner, if so called. In game terms, this is represented by a Duty (to Red Goddess; ≤6) [-5p].
An initiate of the Red Goddess can learn lunar magic – a weird combination of sorcery and spirit magic which was created by the Red Goddess. Only initiates of the Red Goddess (and her Examiners) can use lunar magic. Refer to the section on lunar magic for full details.
Examiners are officers who initiate new members into the cult, collect tithing, and co-ordinate inter-cult activities by lunar associate cults. All Examiners are appointed by the Red Emperor, who is the head of this subcult.
Examiners may learn lunar magic plus the special divine magic spell, Worship Red Goddess.
- Etyries provides Mindlink.
- The Seven Mothers provide Command Lune, Excommunication (priests only), Mindblast, Regrow Limb, and Truesword.
The Seven Mothers – Recreators of the Red Goddess.
The Seven Mothers is the guardian cult of the Lunar Empire's borderlands. It is the official state organ responsible for keeping foes of the Empire out and admitting friends of the Empire. For the former mode, the cult has a warrior subcult terrible in its fury. In the later mode it is a teacher subcult whose mission is to educate those wanting to meet the Red Goddess.
The Seven Mothers is a proselytizing cult. Its members include both missionaries and converts. Anyone who wants the benefits of the Lunar sphere of influence must pay attention to this cult and its welfare.
This cult is mainly composed of minor and major temples. There are few shrines. Shrines that do exist may be used to learn the Madness divine spell.
To become an initiate a character must donate at least $20 to the temple and make a successful roll against five skills of their choice to prove their value to the cult.
Characters that become initiates must tithe 1% of all their income and be willing to serve, if so called. In game terms, this is represented by a Debt 1 (tithe) [-1p] and Duty (to Seven Mothers; ≤6) [-2p]. They also must buy the Religious Rank 1 (Seven Mothers) [5p] advantage.
Initiates gain access to two spirit magic spells and single-use access to several divine spells (plus any offered by the shrines of associated cults; see below). Initiates can have the Power Investiture advantage but this is rare as few initiates acquire divine spells and the advantage does not add to spirit magic spells.
Spirit Magic: Befuddle, Glamour.
Common Divine Magic: Command Cult Spirit(*), Divination(†*), Mindlink(*), Sanctify(†*), Warding(‡*).
Special Divine Magic: Path Watch(*), Reflection(*).
To become an initiate a character must meet all of the standard requirements given for priests above.
Priests may learn sorcery (an exception to the general rules). The restrictions and duties of a priest of Etyries are less than those common to other priesthoods; in game terms this means that they may take Duty (to Etyries; ≤9) [-10p] instead of the usual level required for priests.
Spirit Magic: as for initiates.
Common Divine Magic: Command Cult Spirit, Divination, Mindlink, Sanctify, Spellteaching, Warding, Worship Etyries.
Special Divine Magic: Exchange Spells, Path Watch, Reflection.
- Sedenya, The Red Goddess, provides Worship Red Goddess.
- The Seven Mothers provide Command Lune, Excommunication, Mindblast, Regrow Limb, and Truesword.
Yara Aranis – Horse Eater, Goddess of the Reaching Moon.
The savage goddess, the daughter of the Red Emperor and Gorgorma, was conceived to terrorize and slay the horse nomads. The cult is more popular in the northern Lunar Empire, but a shrine is included in all borderland temples.
She is shown sitting cross-legged, with four arms, each of which holds a weapon or makes a gesture to destroy her foes.