Here’s a little snippet from the forthcoming Cults Book (more good news on that soon) that might be of interest:
Humakt demands that Death be wielded with honor and his cult upholds the code of honor in combat and war. This code is strictly adhered to by Humakti, but also generally followed by other honorable war gods such as Orlanth, Polaris, Yanafal Tarnils, Yelm, Yelmalio, and Yelorna.
Honorable combat is not fought for gain or selfish reasons. Although Humakti often serve as mercenaries for pay, that payment is not supposed to be dependent on the outcome of the battle.
The buildup and formation of battle lines is done with the full knowledge of the other side and no surprise attacks are made. In battle, two warriors may duel or engage in prolonged personal combat. Both combatants must be armed and may use Rune or spirit magic, allied and other spirits, elementals, etc. Groups of warriors may fight approximately equal numbers of foes. However, multiple warriors or magicians must not gang up on a single warrior.
A warrior who surrenders becomes a prisoner of his capture and is under their protection. At the same time, a surrendered warrior must not flee his captor until ransomed or released.
Honor also dictates how warriors were to deal with noncombatants.
No one should attack an enemy who has temporarily lost or dropped their weapon. The lives of noncombatants, prisoners of war, and farmers are also sacred. Pillaging the land is forbidden. Failure to follow the rules of honor can trigger a test of a combatant’s Honor Passion or even result in immediate reduction to that Passion (as per RUNEQUEST, page 234). Failure to act honorably may also result in a visit from the Spirit of Retribution of the offender’s cult.
Despite all of the above, Glorantha songs and stories are filled with examples of where a hero chose to act less than honorably where some other Passion (Loyalty, Love, Hate, etc.) dictates behavior instead of honor. Such conflicts are at the root of many a tragic hero.
The rules of honor do not apply to animals, monsters, undead things unless they are capable of communicating or otherwise demonstrating that they do follow the rules of honor.
So you can ignore the edits against pillaging your foes, turn up with an army 8x the size, kill them all, and then execute anyone who survived and criticises your lack of honour! This usually means you need to go without your most useful war gods (Orlanth, Humakt, and Yelmalio). But if you want an all Storm Bull and Zoran Zoran force, go for it. Which is ultimately what Arkat went for when he invaded Dorastor.
I’m not 100% convinced Orlanth is more effective as a War God than ZZ or SB. You’ve never seen what massed thunderbolts can do to an army, or what wind warp can do to missile weapons.
Massed thunderbolts? Is this before SB and ZZ cast shield and then berserk? that’s 5 points of Rune magic, as opposed to 3 points for Thunderbolt. Or for 5 points, we can hit three people with Thunderbolt spells that blow past the Shields. Given that there are more than 35,000 Orlanth and 5000 Humakt initiates in Sartar, and maybe 3000 Zorak Zoran initiates in Dagori Inkarth, I can tell you what I put my money on.
The Crimson Bat is not honourable. YT makes exceptions where the Red Emperor commands. Most Lunars would agree that the Crimson Bat is not only dishonourable but evil. But it is much better that the Crimson Bat is subject to the Red Emperor’s command and fed on the bodies and souls of our enemies than used against us!
Like all Passions, most people are not fanatics about Honor and can make pragmatic compromises. But if your Honor passion starts getting in the 80%+ range, then you are a fanatic. So that Sword Lord with a 90% Honor is going to tell you that an ambush is not proper and he won’t participate in it. And those Humakti are going to say that civilians are outside the scope of combat and are not going to be harmed or else. Same with people who surrender.And most Orlanthi are going to agree with the Humakti in principle, but they still might decide that ambushing those Lunars is worth a little dishonour.
For many war leaders, having access to Humakt cult warriors is worth obeying the Rules of Honorable Combat.