Adulthood Initiations

Submitted by m121 on Tue, 23/10/2012 – 04:58

So, for Orlanthi Vinga and Nandan worshipers, do they initiate as Ernalda and Orlanthi worshipers to become adults and then get 1W in thier runes and transfer over, or do they initiate directly into Vinga and Nandan worship?

Male Earth Initiation

Submitted by Psychman on Wed, 19/12/2012 – 04:28.

I have also been curious about this aspect of role divisions in the Orlanthi.  Their traditional divisions place healing within the purview of Earth so that the average male, storm rune bound does not include healing skills as a major part of their life and livelihood.Where does that leave the male healer?  They could join Chalana Arroy of course, but then would need to be totally non-violent.  The thread appears to suggest that while Nandan may be the full “female” role in a man’s body, an individual male can initiate into the Earth rune during adult initiation, then find one of the Earth pantheon at their “specific deity” initiation, such as Bevara (the “field medic” goddess).  It may not be common, but it can occur.Is this an accurate reading of the situation?

Submitted by AllisonBW on Sun, 16/12/2012 – 08:23.

Sorry for doing a little necroposting here, but the OP is my GM, who’s currently plotting a clan ring game and who introduced me to the setting a few months back. (My GM is the only one of us who has Glorantha books at the moment, but I’ll have the Guide come May; I’ve already kicked in my $35.) I was the one who had the question. I really should have registered and asked for clarification myself sooner, but I’ll admit to being a little embarrassed about making a big deal about this kind of thing, even if I have enough questions to basically start a Storm Tribe gender roles megathread.More than initiating directly into the cult of Vinga or Nandan, what I was actually wondering is whether one could initiate into adulthood (as opposed to a cult specifically) through Vinga or Nandan instead of Ernalda or Orlanth. (That Vinga was listed as a possible variation under the Ernaldite initiation ritual is encouraging, though I also wonder about whether Nandan would be an acceptable alternative to the Orlanthi initiation.) If it helps, “tomboy” is a bit of an understatement for the would-be Vingan/Vingan-ish concepts I have in mind–think the types that would rebel against being considered Ernaldites even in childhood or even as a stepping stone on the way to following a deity like Vinga (I know one of the books my GM has implies that Vingans have to be Ernaldites first), Elmal, or Urox, and for whom the Ernaldite initiation contains at least a little body horror. I could elaborate further, and do have questions beyond that, but I’ll spare you giant walls of text at the moment.

The gods provide…

Submitted by Charles on Sun, 16/12/2012 – 13:28.

but not in the fatalistic sense or, at least for the Orlanthi, not in the fatalistic sense. In King of Sartar (watch this space 🙂 ) Kallyr, who is an initiate of Vinga, is followed by many mothers who require vengeance and (temporarily?) join Vinga (“dyed their hair red”).
The pantheon worship of the Ernaldi (oops Orlanthji) people is far more flexible than can be easily incoporated in the rules. Vinga is Orlanth (sort of, or mostly) but is also Ernalda’s daughter. There will be no reprisal spirits for any woman that temporarily or, in a time of real need, permanently transfers worship from Ernalda. And equaly for Nandan and Orlanth.
Or, if I mis-interpreted…
A girl that starts the Ernalda initiation path but finds herself drawn to a more tomboy or male oriented role will be given a path to achieve it. Whether or not this is what their parents or sponsors want or expect does not matter to the gods. The minority paths out of the main gender roles are there and, when someone takes that path and succeeds, the community has no choice but to recognise the choice of the gods and of the newly coined initiate.

Submitted by AllisonBW on Sun, 16/12/2012 – 15:15.

That’s a really huge help. Just to make sure I’m reading this right, if a young woman begins the Ernaldite initiation but is rather poorly suited to the typical course of said initiation described in the article, her initiation may take a different course as befits the kind of adult she’s meant to grow up to be (maybe involving hearing Vinga’s voice rather than Ernalda’s)? Because that’s a big weight off the shoulders; some of these characters I’ve got on the table might put a few therapists’ kids through college after the pregnancy and passivity parts. I’m going to guess in the same vein, an old-fashioned Nandan (I think the term used in the 80s was “woman in the form of a man”) who gets dragged kicking and screaming into the standard Orlanthi initiation may well find herself separated from the boys and on a different road. Or am I reading this incorrectly after all?I had gotten the impression that Ernalda and Orlanth are very socially liberal even where their societies may not be, and that many of the Storm Tribe conventions about gender come from society’s rules and not necessarily from Ernalda and Orlanth per se. Especially with Orlanth’s whole “No one can make you do anything” thing, it seems like–save for society’s ability to gate access to deities, like the Q&A on female followers of Yelmalio mentions (assuming I’m not remembering that all wrong)–this is one of those places where it’s quite possible to end up wrong with one’s society but right with one’s god. Which seems somehow appropriate to mythological adventure stories.This does leave me with some questions still, though some really big ones have been answered. One of my less silly ones involves the association between runes and the minority paths out of the standard gender roles. For instance, is it possible for, as the old Nandan descriptions put it, a woman in the form of a man to end up with a rune other than Earth (I’ll softball this one and say Darkness or Water), and what might this mean for them, their role in society, and their role in the eyes of the gods? Or, say, for a woman who takes Vinga’s path (assuming that’s a thing) in her initiation to end up with a Fire rune and what that means for hers. Like, whether said would-be Nandan with a Darkness rune would be unable to play the feminine role in marriage heroquests, or the opposite for the would-be Vingan with the Fire rune who ended up joining the cult of Elmal. Or, for that matter, the role of a young woman who took a Vingan path, and initiated into both Vinga and Urox, and ends up devoting to the latter; or in the same vein, a Nandan with a dual initiation into Nandan/Ernalda and Lhankor Mhy, and what happens to their role if they devote to Mhy. I’m going to guess that again, Orlanth and Ernalda would be relatively open-minded, though society or other deities might be less so. Am I barking up the right tree?

IMO, runes vs gender roles

Submitted by betx on Mon, 17/12/2012 – 11:37.

First of all, remember that the first rule of playing in Glorantha is that YGMV (your game may vary….or more realistically will vary.  So if the general consensus view doesn’t quite fit for your group, adjust as necessary.Second is some personal opinion stuff, my interpretation of how Heortlings view things, which may or may align with anyone else (and as MGWV, I don’t worry too much about it).  Warning: incoming wall of text.The gods and great heroes created archetypes for how to live, work, and generally do things.  Ernalda and the Earth tribe created broad and varied paths, and their daughters –who are most Heortling women—find those paths appropriate.  Orlanth and his stormy sons and followers likewise created paths that suit most heortling men.  So common and archetypical are these rolls that most people make the easy conflation of ‘this is what it means to be a woman/man.’  But in truth it only means that this is what it means to be an earth rune holder following the earth tribe or a storm rune holder following the storm tribe.  In the case of Vinga or Nandan, they don’t have the rune one would normally see with a body of that gender, and they may start their initiation as expected for their body, but they’ll complete it as appropriate for their rune.  And with some sloppy wording I think Nandan should be thought of not so much as “a woman in the form of a man” but “an ernaldan in the shape of an orlanthi,”  and even that is not exact (followers of any of the elements can be male).Fire likes its rules and categories, and its main representation in the Storm & Earth tribe is Elmal who only takes on male followers.  But it has allowance for women to access the cult of Elmal through Redalda—but how those with the fire rune see male and female roles is different than storm or earth followers.  There are also only fairly limited and narrow paths available to them if they want to emulate their gods.  A stoic and uwaivering male worshipper of Elmal might in some ways relate better to the cool and calculating Ernalda followers than the stormy and passionate Orlanthi, while a Redaldan horse woman might find she better understands the footloose followers of Orlanth adventurous than her stay at home Ernalda the Mother sisters.Water may see gender as a false dichotomy, or at least as a mere detail.  After all, it is merely form–while water know that it can fill any form but is always water.  A water linked person may or may not choose to follow typical heortling gender roles, but it is choice more than deep nature, and always has the potential to change. Darkness is not ignorant of gender, but at the level that heortlings access it, gender is not so important, so male or female will tend to operate somewhat similarly to each other and different from storm/earth linked.In other words, there are not really gender roles, there are rune roles.  It is simply that most women have the earth rune and most men have the storm rune.As for initiation, remember that there are two initiations—into the storm & earth tribe (when you awaken your runes), and initiation to a specific god(dess), should you eventually do that.  The initiations described in the books, to me, list what most people go through, those women with the earth rune and men with the storm rune.  For those with different elements, things will start out the same, but as you proceed through myth and get to the parts where the other elements intrude on the narrative, those children will inevitably veer off on other paths.  (and consequently, they probably have a higher ratio of failed initiations as they are likely to be less informed about those paths and they are not as well trodden).  It doesn’t make sense otherwise—why would a woman with a storm rune association go through all the secrets of the earth tribe?  Obviously she wouldn’t.Remember that before first initiation the candidate is still a child, their runes are not awake and may or may not show so clearly in their personality.  Sometimes it may be pretty clear to parents and other elders, sometimes not so much.  Hopefully they’ll be aware of those likely to take other paths, and prepare them appropriately, but I’m sure that in some cases that does not happen.So for example, a girl may start her initiation as usual, back in the garden that was the green age.  Things progress, mostly (but maybe not totally) following the usual course of things, until at some point there is a moment where Vinga takes up her spear, and the girl follows that branch, never completing Ernalda’s progression through motherhood, the sleep-that-is-not-death, etc, but instead following the Orlanthi myths through the storm age and darkness.  Or perhaps in the storm age, when Orlanth is gone and Ernalda takes various husband protectors she takes on the tribe of one of them (or more traumatically she is captured, learns their ways, but later is able to return to the storm tribe).  Or she is the brave and horse-loving daughter who undertakes the foreigners marriage to help bind Elmal (or Beren, or whichever horse-god) to the tribe and then runs wild him as horses for a time before returning to the storm tribe to protect children and foals, or…..

Orlanthi All = 85%

Submitted by RoM on Mon, 17/12/2012 – 07:00.

I don’t think there is a discrepancy between gods and mortals in that regard. Both agree that there are gender roles. However, they also agree that for some individuals the typical gender roles don’t fit. Nobody can make you do anything. There is also a rule of thumb that the “Orlanthi All” applies only 85% of the time. That means 85% of all men worship Orlanth, while 15% are weirdos who worship Nanda, Urox, Humakt or whatnot (this is just a rough concept, not a census, you find the actual cult numbers in the Sartar book). You could also say that Orlanth himself appears as Orlanth in 85% of the cases, while he is Vinga, Helamakt etc. in the rest.About the runes: characters still need to meet all cult requirements to initiate. That means Orlanthi need the air rune, Ernaldans need the Earth rune. You cannot initiate to Orlanth having the darkness or fire rune. Among the 15% weirdos of the clan you would still be accepted as an Argan Argar or Elmal initiate, and it would be accepted and even expected that you worship the Orlanth pantheon and partake in the general Orlanthi rituals and holy day ceremonies. Note: Having the air/earth rune is not a requirement in the sense “you have to do that otherwise you won’t be one of us”. It simply means without having the divine rune affinity you will never have a spiritual/magical connection to your deity.CheersRoM

Submitted by AllisonBW on Mon, 17/12/2012 – 09:57.

I should perhaps clarify myself: Nandan and Vinga have gender-role implications, and that’s a little more what I was getting at in “would-be Nandan” and “would-be Vingan.” As in, first case–I’m making comparisons to the old-fashioned Nandans of the 80s who were described as “women in the form of men,” to make it a little easier to parse why someone might want to be a Nandan even if she’s not otherwise the Earth-rune type–let’s say someone fitting that stereotypical description of a Nandan ends up separated from the group in the Orlanthi initiation and, while a somewhat chilly and introverted individual, ends up taking a more generally feminine path instead of going through Orlanth’s hall (maybe meeting a champion of her own to ennoble, who warms her chilly heart). She gets a Darkness rune. Assuming this is even possible, after this, does she still have the freedom to take a feminine role in her clan and cultural rituals, or is her clan going to tell her it’s time to either take off the dress and man up, or initiate into Nandan and abandon her Darkness rune for an Earth rune in the process, which seems to be possible and would actually give her a way out of this mess (and what would the opinion of her gods be on the matter of whether she must be a cultist of Nandan per se)? In the case of the example of the would-be Vingan who ends up with a Fire rune and joins the cult of Elmal, my GM read in one of the books they bought recently that female Elmal followers apparently exchange gendered responsibilities and rituals at least to some degree, though I don’t know if this is to the same degree as Vingans (which might bum out the might-be Elmal follower I’m considering for my GM’s clan-ring game). Third case, that of a hypothetical dual Vinga and Urox initiate who after a few years is considering devoting to Urox, which would entail leaving the cult of Vinga. Is she also regarded as leaving the masculine gender role in the process (in which case she’d probably choose to remain a dual initiate), or is this one of those cases where there’d be leeway? (I mean, Urox, for Orlanth’s sake.)Also, silly thought: temporary initiations into Nandan and Vinga are possible for certain things, like a woman temp-initiating into Vinga to get revenge. Now I’m picturing someone temp-initiating into Nandan or Vinga in order to play the desired role while marrying through a marriage heroquest, or for a female weaponthane otherwise following a different deity (like Elmal) to take the infertility vows so as not to end up with unexpected maternity leave during raid or troll season. Are these appropriate uses of temporary initiations?


Submitted by Charles on Mon, 17/12/2012 – 23:57.

The Orlanthi are a ‘barbarian’ culture (at least in the 3rd age). Survival of the clan and clan members is a primary driver of (almost) all people. Hunger and even near starvation happens for many, if not most Sartarites, at least once every few years.
What this means: all members of the clan must pull their weight. Even the clan chief goes into the fields and works during plowing and during harvest. The crippled must look after the babies, toddlers and other total dependants so that all able-bodied can get into the fields. The children perform back-breaking work in the fields (as a child and teen, I had to work as in my parent’s market garden, my neighbours had to work in the fields – and we mostly loved it).
There are gender roles and, in theory, there is social pressure to adhere to these roles. However, the people are very pragmatic and anyone that is productive in any fashion to a reasonable level is accepted. While there may be inner turmoil in the person driven to a non-standard path and, to an increasingly lesser extent, among their family, their bloodline and their clan, generally people just get on with it.
The point about people taking on temporary ‘initiations’ to achieve temporary goals or to futhfil mythical roles where there is no suitable candidate is very well taken and very important. However, I suspect that it is not so much a formal initiation as a conscious choice to worship a different god to temporarily get different magic. Depending on the situation there may be some reprisal from their main god. But if there are strong drivers that are recognised by the community (survival, revenge but probably not ambition), then likely the reprisals will be mild.

Submitted by AllisonBW on Tue, 18/12/2012 – 04:11.

Ha ha ha. Yes, I overthink everything terribly–believe me when I say I have a very bad habit of trying to fully explore social conflicts and social drama (others have noticed I kind of have a thing for intense character exploration and for misfits). And I’ll keep that in mind with regards to the views of the community: “In Orlanthi society, even if your clan thinks you or the way you do things are weird, being useful is a good way to get them to put up with you.”But yeah, I’m starting to see how these characters might fit into Orlanthi society, and their place in the eyes of the gods, now. My GM is a bit partial to the bloodthirsty Vinga/Urox worshiper who may one day be the future Butcher of Dara Happa, but I’m also seeing some good drama potential in the much more stable follower of Elmal who strives to be seen by the Suffering Sun as one of his own people, and a worthy reflection of his example, rather than as someone in Redalda’s department. (And I think now I get that given weaponthane + obsessively useful to the point that her clan half-jokes that she hasn’t slept since the Second Age + fluidity of worship within the Orlanthi pantheon, taking Vinga’s infertility vows went over all right; and that when someone asks her whether she’s a man or a woman, as she gets from time to time, they’ll understand what she means when she answers “Vingan.”) Thank you for all the help; it cleared up a whole lot of questions!

Call of (multiple) Duties

Submitted by RoM on Tue, 18/12/2012 – 05:28.

Generally you can initiate into as many cults as you wish, as long as you meet the requirements (e.g. the deity’s rune, gender/race restrictions etc.). However, remember that staying in multiple cults *with your whole heart* is sometimes not as easy. A cult gives you magic and power. But it also gives you a code of behaviour. Especially when it comes to extreme cults like Urox, Humakt, Babeester Gor or Chalana Arroy it will be a life long challenge to pair them with more moderate cults like Ernalda or Orlanth. As a Vingan weaponthane her responsibility is to protect the clan. As an Uroxi warrior she knows no loyalty to any clan and her responsibility is to kill chaos. Sometimes these two duties go hand in hand, for instance when chaos threatens the clans. But more often than not these duties will conflict. Such a character can be hard to play. And if you have a cruel GM (such as I am) he will make your character the source of much trouble for herself and her clan.

Submitted by AllisonBW on Tue, 18/12/2012 – 06:18.

See, and cruel GMs are the most fun. Sometimes mine is softer than I’d like. (Though the context my GM and I have been discussing quite a bit involves the whole clash with the Lunars and Fire Tribe, and given the Lunar Empire playing nice with Chaos and all that, keeping the battle against the Lunars alive seems like something that might be appropriate for a Vinga/Urox mix.)She’s kind of… well, not kind of, definitely the loincloth-clad barbarian berserker type who thinks things like armour and shields are cowardly, and who favours a weapon with no particular defensive properties (two-handed axe), and is eager for blood and glory in battle and digs the “monster-slaying” gig to boot, so I can see her tipping towards the Urox side should she ever be forced to choose between the two cults. She is kind of a questionable example of Vinga at best, particularly Vinga’s own mythology as opposed to the Orlanth side (I could see her eventually setting her axe down for something like Orlanth’s klanth, but not so much for a spear). If she cleaned up her act and settled down a bit, I could see her perhaps developing somewhat closer to Orlanth’s example (though I’m not sure if that’d be “close enough” for a Vingan). And that’s actually not impossible, as while she definitely seems to be closer to Urox by default, there are things that might complicate this decision–like the fact that while she sometimes plays the “pfft I don’t need anybody” game, there’s a part of her that is kind of happy to be accepted and respected, or the fact that one of the potential players considering joining this game when my GM starts it would be playing a Nandan PC whom we’ve already agreed would likely be this character’s wife, and that’s one of those “OK time to grow up” influences as well as something of a tie-down. So there’s definitely a reason she straddles those two cults as an initiate rather than devoting to one or the other–they kind of represent conflicting parts of herself that she has to decide the trade-off between, and yeah, I can see that producing friction. (Sorry about letting topical drift go this far.)

Submitted by soltakss on Mon, 29/10/2012 – 16:39.

I think it depends on the type of worshipper.Those naturally drawn to the different cults would awaken the runes during the adult initiation, as suggested, and would then naturally be drawn to the correct cults. So, a woman might be a bit of a tomboy as a child, then awaken her Air rune and play around with swords not spindles. A boy would be happier knitting and cooking than playing with swords. Of course, this is a gross generalisiation.However, there are ways that a person could suddenty change cults.For example, a woman seeking revenge could become a Vingan (Or a Babeester Gori). After the revenge is complete, the woman could either return to her old cult or remain a Vingan. In the Nandan case, it might be that someone’s sister was killed and the worshipper becomes a Nandan to take her place as wife, for example. Is there a going-back after this? Sure, perhaps it is a year-marriage, in whihc case the Nandan might choose to return to a mopre usual cult.What are the game mechanics behind this? I haven’t got a clue. This sort of thing should be story-led, not mechanics-led.
Simon Phipp.

Submitted by metcalph on Tue, 23/10/2012 – 05:39.

Vingans initiate into Vinga which is an subcult of Orlanth (Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes p81 and p126).  They are forbidden from participating in Ernaldan rites.
A similar case applies to Nandan.

Submitted by Glimmervoid on Tue, 23/10/2012 – 09:52.

I think you’re confusing the different types of Initiation, as least as I understand it.The ‘adulthood’ initiation happens between 15 and 19, and turns you from a child into an adult in the eyes of the clan. You’re taught the secrets of the clan, awaken your runes (whatever they may be) and become a Ley Member of your religion. For the Orlanthi this means your worship the Orlanthi pantheon as a group, not any individual. At this stage you’re not an initiate of Orlanth, Ernalda, Humakt or whoever. You’re a Ley Member. In game terms you use your runes for augmenting not overt theistic magic.Sometime later (I think I read within 3 years normally), you’ll feel drawn to a particular god. This is your cult initiation. In game terms this happens when get a rune keyword up to 1W. You can only initiate into a cult which shares some of your runes, so someone with the Earth Rune will never initiate to Orlanth and someone with the Air Rune will never initiate to Ernalda (at least when something YGMV Mythic is not going on).  This is the stage where you can start doing overtly magical theistic magic.To use your example, a potential Vinga will awaken the Air Rune during her ‘adulthood’ initiation. Since she has the Air Rune she is drawn to Orlanth and joins the Vinga subcult during her ‘cult’ initiation. Nandan is the same but with the Earth Rune and Ernalda.On a related note, I seem to remember something about any women being able to join Vinga temporally to gain revenge. Assuming I’m remembering correctly (which is a big if), does anyone know how this works rune wise?

Temporary Vingan initiation

Submitted by betx on Fri, 02/11/2012 – 09:47.

This was explicitly laid out in Storm Tribe (for an earlier rule set, pre-runes), and is strongly hinted at in King of Sartar, which says something along the lines of ‘every childless widow of the Kheldon tribe died their hair red and joined Kallyr’ (not an exact quote, I don’t have it in front of me….but I was reading it recently as the campaign I’m running is precisely in that piece of time right now.IIRC correctly, even in Storm Tribe, the women didn’t really leave Ernalda, so much as take up a temporary relationship with Vinga in order to extract revenge.  Essentially they gained a sub-cult that gave them a type of combat magic.  I think that the same principle should work in HQ2;  they don’t gain storm magic, but they do gain some Vinga based combat/revenge magic.  How you’d mechanically distinguish this from, say, Babeester Gor magic, I’m not so sure, but the flavour is obviously quite different.But I could be wrong, maybe there is a temporary rune swap?

The story should trump the rules

Submitted by Charles on Fri, 02/11/2012 – 22:35.

Why not discuss with your players and then play it out and let us know how it worked and what you learned?
Some possibilities include:

In times of high disruption and high emotion, all sorts of temporary arrangements get made and when all settles down, everyone reverts to the norm (which may be slightly altered from the previous norm).
As Orlanth and Ernalda lead and define the pantheon, they grant a lot of flex to their worshippers that move within the accepted bounds of the pantheon. This particularly applies to switching worship to their children.
The initiation to Vinga is not a full magical initiation, more like joining a warband to get protection of the warband wyter.
Most of what we know of Vinga is to do with her being the female aspect of Orlanth and I cannot recall any stories of her relationship with Ernalda. However, in the big sense, Ernalda defines women in Orlanthi society and, of course, Vinga is a woman. So the same flexibility that allows women to move betwen aspects of Ernalda over the course of their life can be extended in times of disruption to include Vinga.