Submitted by MrJealousy on Sat, 05/01/2013 – 07:05

Is there a heroquest or myth involved with revealing a persons parentage?I have an Orlanthi character in my game who is going to find out that they were adopted and it is going to be quite important for them to find out who their parents were. All of the people that would have known are dead now (or are going to be) and there isn’t going to be any easy way for them to discover this information.I guess I could make up my own myth, but I was hoping that one already existed that I could use.Any ideas?

complexity of Orlanthi ancestry

Submitted by Charles on Mon, 07/01/2013 – 02:52.

To find the blood ancestors, I suggest that the hero should take the standard rituals of Ancestors Day (Wildday, Death week, Dark season, see page 360 of Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes) and extend them into a HeroQuest.
One part of the difficulty for this quest is that the Orlanthi adoption rituals are the real deal. When adopted, the adoptee gets a complete new set of ancestors with mutual recognition of the relationship. The ‘blood’ ancestors are not automatically repudiated unless there is some form of emnity between the two groups of ancestors. So it is possible to have two sets of ancestors (though it would be unusual and difficult or ‘impossible’ to have two clans).
So the hero will have to work out how to distinguish between his adopted ancestors and his blood ancestors. This might require that the hero first take part in the Ancestors Day ruituals with his adopted family with a view to learning how to identify his adopted ancestors. And then a year later, perform another HeroQuest to find ancestors that he cannot identify.
For added fun not necessarily related to the original question, repudiation of ancestors may well attract reprisals similar to those from the gods. After all, the Ancestors are worshipped as gods…

I think!

Submitted by Charles on Mon, 07/01/2013 – 03:39.

Some of the above statements about Orlanthi adoption are presented as fact when they are actually opinions. I formed them by reading about Argrath’s complicated parentage in King of Sartar

Submitted by MrJealousy on Mon, 07/01/2013 – 07:58.

Ok, that’s interesting. Looking at the Ancestor Day you get the most recently deceased ancestor which is handy for my game (and could mean that my players one remaining live witness, has now just been handed a death sentence 🙂 now that I don’t actually need him). I like the distinction that you could have two potential groups of ‘blood’ ancestor but only one ‘clan’ ancestor.But you also pulled out the Argrath card and that made me think that if he took part in an Ancestor Day ritual couldn’t he call a Sartar clan ancestor? Although I admit that with my fuzzy knowledge, I’m not sure there is such a thing as a ‘Sartar’ clan…


Submitted by MrJealousy on Sun, 06/01/2013 – 13:43.

Oooo lots of crunchy goodness in there, thanks for all of the input.I realise that family and clan are important among the Orlanthi, I just thought there would be an easy way to prove that you were of the family, rather than just saying I am the son of the son of Someoneorother.@Simon – I’d forgotten about Ancestor Worship, which seems blindingly obvious now! I can see a way that would be helpful, just got to get a Daka Fal worshipper onboard…@Joerg – how did Arkat prove his parentage?Jumping over the Dara Happans (that wont be acceptable for my gang i’m afraid) and straight into the Argraths. Argrath relit the flame of Sartar and proved he was rightful king. But didn’t he already know that? If my pc was related to Sartar how would he know to even try to relight the flame?I think it is going to have to be detective work for my players, do the leg work, prove it in a ritual. There is one person still alive that can give them some real information but he is in enemy hands……and it’s more a case of “I’m not your father Luke”.@Robin – your point A seems to blow the Ancestor Worship idea away completely. I had thought that AW was about you and not your clan. I might ignore that…I like the idea of sending them off on a Light Bringer quest, just for a laugh…Looking at your C and D points they could be useful, but I’d have to retrospectively fit those things in to the characters past, because I’m not HQ I’m RQ3 🙂 Lots to think about. At least I’ve left myself plenty of time before I have to present this reveal to the players, it is going to be the big finale.So thanks for the input guys!

Submitted by RoM on Mon, 07/01/2013 – 08:37.

If the character is related to Sartar one way to find out is again simply by the tattoo. There is a specific Sartar tattoo. I think you can find it on the back cover of the Sartar book, or on another exposed position. The character could have always known it or maybe he always wondered what it meant. Again any lawspeaker or other educated person could explain the meaning.
In the Colymar campaign chapter of the Sartar book there is a similar encounter you could use. An Orlanthi approaches the character and reveals the character’s blood connection to Sartar. He also provides some more useful information on that topic. I can’t give you a page number right now, cause I don’t have the book handy. But it is in a small box, I think on a lefthand page.


Resonance with the Flame of Sartar

Submitted by Joerg Baumgartner on Mon, 07/01/2013 – 08:30.

The story how Prince Temertain failed to relight the Flame of Sartar but managed to make it flicker is common knowledge in Sartar. Getting it to flicker was no mean magical achievement, failing to relight it later was seen as proof that Temertain was not royal material.
I would think that any person feeling the urge to prove kinship with the lineage of Sartar would attempt to contact the Flame (well guarded by Lunar forces and probably magicians). Imagine a pre-Arthurian Britain where access to the sword in the stone was as well controlled as nowadays a visit to the crown jewels. And probably a lot less public access, too.

Arkat: I heard about the Arkat Saga from people who read it, but I never read it myself, so I cannot say. IIRC his mother’s pregnancy was illicit, the entire episode may have happened on the other side, and the father may have been a false god that later was proven to be the god of war and death when meeting the Orlanthi of Ralios.

Submitted by Jeff on Sun, 06/01/2013 – 14:29.

Ancestor worship is about you as a part of a kinship group. You, as a member of a kinship group, claim descent from a group of shared ancestors. That’s who is being worshiped, the founders of your gens.

Editor-in-Chief, Moon Design Publications

Submitted by soltakss on Sat, 05/01/2013 – 16:02.

I can’t think of any, really.Argrath proves his lineage, showing that he is descended from Sartar, but is that through a HeroQuest? Probably, at least part of it would be. How would a character go about it?Perhaps by contacting the Spirits – taking part in an Ancestor Worship ritual, but not as part of the clan, might reveal one ancestor and allow some kind of tracking.Inheritance – maybe the character has some kind of inherited talent that has come from his ancestry and can try and find out who else has such a talent.Trial and error – It may be that the character tries to do something on a HeroQuest and succeeds because of descent from a particular ancestor, or fails due to non-descent from the ancestor. That would rule out certain lineages.
Simon Phipp.

Searching for unknown parents

Submitted by Joerg Baumgartner on Sat, 05/01/2013 – 08:11.

The first mythical character who comes to my mind forced to prove his parentage was Arkat after his return from the forests of Brithos, where he spent his childhood, and again when he came among the Orlanthi.
Would-be Dara Happan Emperors have to cite their lineage and prove their descent from an emperor by less than 4 generations. Nowadays, only a divine parent or grandparent can grant that outside of the Takenegi clan or mechanic.
I am not aware of any such situation in Heortling myth. When you are adopted into a clan, you get adopted by the ancestors, too. (Which happens to most newly-wed wives? And in case of a divorce, you revert to your birth clan ancestors, or does a Heortling wife retain those ancestors and gain the new ones?)
The Star Captains were taken in as clan leaders or tribal leaders regardless of their lineage, because they were saviors in a desperate situation.

Then there are the Argraths. Again, it is not the direct parent but the proof of descent from Sartar the hero which qualifies them. And some of those proofs came about by heroquesting. The ultimate proof is the link to the Flame of Sartar, or after 1602 the ability to relight it – acceptance of the ancestor.

Unless you plan these parents to be of the lineage of Sartar, you’d have to find an appropriate heroic ancestor of the parent (outside of your adoptive clan) to prove your connection, but as I understand your problem, the crux is finding out about the ancestry.
Usually the quest for the parent starts with gathering the clues and artifacts surrounding the arrival at the adoptive parents. The mysterious child fostered by a wild animal often has a single possession or two which contain some ominous clues. Glorantha being magical, the fostering wild animal probably is a minor god or spirit entity that has more than the average life span, and might be sought out for more information.
A foundling on the doorstep (or whichever equivalent your backstory uses) usually occurs in connection to visits of mysterious strangers (such as traders, entertainers, pilgrims, refugees…). It is not unheard of that they have a guardian hiding among the chieftain’s retainers or living as hermits in a cottage or at a shrine nearby.
If you know the where, you might contact the genius loci for an eye-witness account (or whichever sense that local deity employs – this can be quite strange and biased information, like an exact description or even replica of the footwear if that entity is soil-based, leading to a variation of the Cinderella chase, or a recognition contest like that with the outcome of Njord and Skathi).

Basically, you get to do a lot of detective work, and will have long interviews with crones everywhere you visit in order to establish lineages etc. (Or you can employ a NPC Lhankor Mhy sage follower to suffer this tedium, and ask him for his findings.) The same goes for researching notorious lawsuits whose outcome may have led to the adoption, or interviews with grizzled warriors about suspicious martial incidents around the time of the adoption. Given that an 18 year old beginning character in 1621 was conceived during and born in the aftermath of the Lunar conquest of Sartar, that’s a lot of haystack with many needle-like objects.

Are you going for a “I am your father, Luke”-moment? Does your character have a strange rune, possibly even a Moon rune? (Maybe incorrectly identified with some other rune during initiation, or revealed during initiation?)
Since there are quite a few tribes and clans who show some acceptance for the Lunar presence, this wouldn’t mean immediate banishment from a clan.
Wouldn’t it be fun to find out that Fazzur is your father or grandfather? (especially after trying to prove descent from the Sartarite royal lineage, and with that option still not completely off the table since parents come in pairs)

Another possible difficulty is for children born after ritual sex, in Heortling society the most accepted form of having a different father than the that time husband of the mother. It isn’t adultery while lending the body to the goddess, after all, and the father may be a visiting priest or heroquester performing a ritual or quest not usually performed by that clan (much like young Harmast did to summon rain against Palangio’s drought). The rite will have been memorable to the clan performing it, though, and might be discovered by some detective work or by an accidental revelation (depending on what style of campaign you are playing).

But to sum it up, all I can think of right now is do the legwork, then prove your result in a quest or ritual “against” a powerful entity (like e.g. the dormant Flame of Sartar).

Submitted by RoM on Sat, 05/01/2013 – 08:09.

I am not sure if there is an official rule for such things. I think that it is probably up to you and how difficult you want it to be. Here are some solutions that just popped to my mind.A) Once the character is adopted and an adult member of the X clan he has lost his connection to the Y clan. Technically they changed history. Since the adoption the character has never belonged to another clan before. If he contacts his ancestors they would be those of the X clan. As there is no way of asking anybody living or dead, the character has no chance of finding out at all. In fact all attempts would only lead to his adopted parents.B) Although his true parents are dead they are not gone but simply in the underworld. The character could try an otherworld Lightbringer Quest to resurrect or at least find and question his parents. Not an easy task, if the group has no idea where to look.C) In the Gods Time several deities joined the Storm Tribe without being Storm Gods, like Elmal and others. Even though they now belonged to a different tribe/clan they still kept their runes and their magic. Likewise your adopted character could still have some abilities of his old clan. You can use the Clan Questionnaire in the Sartar book to determine what abilities that would be. Then the group would only have to find out why the character has this odd ‘Sliding down the a snowed mountain with bones under the feet’ ability.D) The character could still have his old tattoos next to the new clan’s tattoos. The markings would clearly show his clan and bloodline. Any lawspeaker in the area could probably tell you their meaning.I hope that was of some help.
Cheers Robin

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