Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gods of Questworld

Ishtar in Hades     Ernest Charles Wallcousins

In RuneQuest, in order for a character to cast Divine Magic he (or she) must be (at least) an initiate in a cult.  Other than magic, cults offer a social network for characters, opportunities for training in cult related skills, the potential for divine intervention, and special benefits.  In any RuneQuest setting where religion plays a part, cults are important.  Glorantha has many detailed cults; Questworld has three.

Included in the Questworld boxed set, there is an eight-page introductory pamphlet.  About one page of the pamphlet is devoted to an article by Steve Perrin, “How to Develop Gods for Questworld.”  Perrin suggests that a Gamemaster may “transship the Gloranthan gods wholesale,” but acknowledges that not all Gloranthan gods are appropriate for Questworld.  In my opinion, the Gloranthan gods belong to Glorantha; placing them in another setting just doesn't feel right.  Of course, with a change of name and some cosmetic alterations, a Gamemaster can deploy what Perrin calls “Gloranthan Look-alikes.”

Perrin also offers advice for those interested in developing original gods:
In establishing a pantheon, the beginning godmaker should to account for certain phenomena.  These include storms, the sun, growing things, emotions, death, secret knowledge, and the general perversity of the world and events.
Perrin points to “the mythos of Mother Earth” for examples of pantheons.  For creating original cults, Perrin refers the “godmaker” to examples in specific RuneQuest supplements “and various issues of Different Worlds.”  While Perrin does an adequate job discussing 'how to develop gods', he refrains from supplying practical information on cults – how those gods relate to characters.

The three Questworld cults are detailed in the 'Candlefire' book written by Alan LaVergne.  The gods of these cults aren't an appropriate cornerstone of a Questworld pantheon.  Of course, it wasn't LaVergne's responsibility to create a pantheon.  Steve List, in his review of Questworld for the premiere issue of Fantasy Gamer (Aug/Sep 1983), decries LaVergne's “overuse of what he considers to be humor.”  List feels that the three cults “are almost parodies of 'real' cults.”

Without further ado, the Questworld cults:

...the Panash cult today is for all those who adventure primarily for the fun of hit, and who are concerned with cutting a proper figure.  Bravado and feats of derring-do are highly prized by the Panshees (as cult members are called).  Genuine courage and actual recklessness are respected, but not always emulated.  The looks of the thing, not the actuality, are what count.
Panash Rune Lords are called “Flynns.”  There is an NPC Flynn named Fayer Banx.

Nik-El has been worshipped wherever beings take chances, either for profit or for the sheer enjoyment of risk and adventure...A Nik-El temple is usually a casino, brothel, or pawnshop.
Nik-El is a goddess of luck; associated elementals are called 'Tumblers'.  (Think slot machines.)

(The history of Nik-El mentions she participated in “the Gods War” and “the Compromise,” events in Gloranthan mythology not applicable to Questworld.)

Vrang 2jhomang (sic):
Vrang 2jhomang is the cult for metal workers not smart or clever enough to belong to an armorer's guild.
Before ascending to godhood, Vrang was a blacksmith – albeit not a very competent one.  He gained the nick-name 'Two-Finger Jho' after smashing three fingers on his left hand.  He is known for inventing horseshoes (both the game and the equine accoutrement) and teaching men and dwarves how to use a hammer to fight.

Gwydion Conquers Pryderi     Ernest Charles Wallcousins

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