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For game purposes, I wanted make sure that I minimised the sections
that were gender-specific, where they were going to be played through.
Also, I wanted the whole process to give the players a chance to get used
to Glorantha, the rules, and their characters. This is where the PCs learn
how their world works, and the players learn with them.
Rules: not many. Most of this is role-played. But as a general principle, if they're meant to be following in the steps of a deity, and they are trying the right things, their skill will get a bonus. How big a bonus? Well, how big does it have to be to give them a fair chance of succeeding? I've got a database that lets me measure each character's "alighment" to each deity, based on traits, skills, and a whole lot more, but just guessing will work as well. It may not be a "bonus" in any case. Some skills just turn up. For instance, if you're trying to follow in Orlanth's footsteps, you can have a chat with any sylphs hanging around and they'll probably cooperate.
I don't bother with ticks on the HeroPlane. Instead I make a note when anyone does anything spectacular: a crit, a fumble, or just something dramatic. That may result in a skill increase, a deity taking special notice of them from now on, or perhaps a spell. in fact, that's how I tie in with the RQ initiation Roolz that say new initiates get 1D3 spirit magic spells. My players get a chance at a spirit magic spell for each of their three HQs.
To start with, the PCs are told the myth they are about to follow, and they discuss the gods or heroes they will be emulating. (I hand the players a printout of the myth: this is faster than reading it aloud. Sometimes I'll hand it out at the end of the previous session, as "homework".) They ask for explanations of anything they don't understand: answers aren't always forthcoming, of course. To some extent I (or the officiating priest) will explain which bits of the path are important and which are window dressing.
The PCs prepare to go onto the HeroPlane. At present the officiating priest is doing all the clever stuff here, so they just have to "get into the mood" as it were. This involves spending a day fasting and praying (and going over the myth a few more times). At dusk they are summoned into the sacred area: where this is varies a bit. They are painted with mystical symbols, herbs are thrown on the fire to make it smoke, and they do some suitably mysterious dancing and chanting to drum and pipe music. A drink is passed round: like mead, but with extra herbs in it. If anyone wants to mention magic mushrooms, this is probably a good time. Tell them how disorientated they're feeling, how everything seems like a dream.
They are then led out from the sacred area to the first station of the quest. The time of day may not seem to tie in with how long they think has passed getting high: no real reason except to add to their disorientation.
Quite what happens next depends on the quest, but it's probably time to describe what the HeroPlane looks like. There was an excellent description of this in an old "Tales of the Reaching Moon", at the start of the Grey Hare quest. Basically the HeroPlane is the real world writ large. If the scene is the ordinary countryside, then the sky is extra blue, the water is extra wet, everything is more intense. And it's extra obvious that everything has spirits in it, because they can see them. Daisy spirits smile at the sun, the stream is made of undines, sylphs blow past, even the rocks have faces though they don't move as much as the rest. This is, in general, window-dressing. The PCs can chat to the spirits if they want to, but don't expect intelligent answers. Spirits have very narrow spheres of interest, after all.
The ceremony takes place at the sacred site for the bloodline. Since what is going on here is basically ancestor worship, the cult description for Daka Fal gives the relevant spells. The head of the bloodline incarnates the founding spirit of the line, and while under their control, gives the candidate the bloodline/clan tattoo and the bloodline special spirit magic spell. Incidentally, tattooing hurts. Branding, as used by some bloodlines, hurts even more. CON roll to see if you feel the pain a lot. If you fail that, POW roll to see how good your self-control is. If you fail that, Valour roll to be brave. If you fail that, squeak, wince, and start looking for Traits or Passions to Inspire you on the next lot of rolls. The results of messing this up are mainly role-play, but enough really bad rolls would stop the initiation.
Special spells? Yes, each bloodline has their own one. Invented for
them, in some cases. Of the three of my four bloodlines that I'm allowed
|Magnusson||Strength||Common spirit magic, but only works if they've drunk Oak Beer sometime that season. (For your average Magnusson, this is always true!)|
|Bransson||Dry||Based on their Alder connections. Removes up 1 pint of water per point from an inanimate object. Useful for drying cloaks, and for converting marsh to dry land.|
|Reedmeld||Reedmeld||Adds 15% to Hide skill, as long as the target is in Reeds at the time.|
The founding spirit: usually this is the human after whom the bloodline is named. Magnus, Bran, whoever. The Reedmelds, however, are different. They've been here a lot longer, and their founding spirit is a lot older. And she isn't Sartarite. She was a priestess who came here from somewhere to the north, fleeing persecution. Her name, or that of her goddess, or both, is "Enslib". The image used to represent her is a model of a woman with very long legs, made out of reeds, and a mask representing a heron is worn when incarnating her. She does not speak Sartarite: in fact, she no longer has a language in common with the bloodline. If the curious reader wants to know where this lot came from, get a copy of "Enclosure" and find out about "The Weeders" and their goddesses. Or just take it from me that the Reedmelds are weird, but harmless.