View Full Version : Rebuilding an Old Cult

2011-08-27, 09:12 AM
This is Runequest, but it's pretty much fluff so I don't think it'll matter if it goes here instead of the other systems.

I'm playing an Orlanthi (worships the wind god Orlanth, and more or less its own little culture) from Sartar in our Runequest game. We've gone pretty far now and we're still early in the game (we've only been playing for a couple of months). I'm working my way up to becoming a Wind Lord, the Orlanthi version of the Rune Lord. Vir the Ramkiller, party thief, is a good little Orlanthi and does her service to the god regularly such as tithing, helping people in need, and defiling Lunar property.

Background: In the Elder Wilds, wayyyyy up north past Sartar and Balazar, we came across two random blue plinths. Detect Magic revealed a woman standing between them. Visibility, which reveals spirits on the spirit plane, didn't show her. While everybody else got paranoid and wouldn't touch her with any other spells for fear of entering Spirit Combat (which only one of our party members has a high enough Power attribute to win consistently), even though we now knew that she was magical and not a spirit, I took my handy quarterstaff with a Dispel Magic matrix on it and, well, dispelled magic.

The woman became physical again and introduced herself to me as Firshala, an old goddess of the fire rune. She was imprisoned between the plinths because she lost a ton of followers and power (or something). She gave me a little blue stone which, I've been told by the DM, has one use of automatic success Divine Intervention (when we get into deep trouble, he gets us to roll a d100 to see how much our god likes us). So basically, I've got Firshala backing me. In thanks to her for the stone, and because I kinda felt sorry for her, I joined her (now nearly-dead) cult.

Joining more than one religion or cult in Runequest is totally okay as long as the gods don't mind each other; as far as I've been told, Orlanth doesn't have any issues with Firshala and vice versa.

My issue is this: We're still continuing with our quest to do... something (I think we're just wandering around trying to kill stuff for money right now, and there's been talk of an Orlanthi artifact in the area), but I want to try to rebuild Firshala's cult along the way. My Fast Talk (basically Diplomacy) skill sucks and the group is fairly RP-light. The plinths are now a holy site, but it's so far into the middle of nowhere that I'm actually the only one who can find it again (and even then, I only have an idea of the general direction). Not to mention the constant random Teleportation encounters that zip us halfway across the Elder Wilds with only shimmering air as a warning... Firshala's shrine is only well protected because it's freaking impossible to find twice.

Ironically, I'm running a campaign in another setting where my player is trying to revive an old god's cult, but I can't get any ideas for actually doing it myself. Besides, it's easier to focus on one thing in a solo campaign; this is with three other people, and their characters all have motivations of their own.

So, ideas? Rebuilding Firshala's cult. We play once a week, so I've got another week before I have a chance to put it into play. I just really need general ideas for when we go into towns and we're around people. Also, if anybody plays RQ and knows where other Firshala holy sites are, that'd be a plus.

And no, as far as I know, this won't interfere with Vir becoming a Wind Lord. I'm holding on to that automatic Divine Intervention stone as long as I possibly can.

2011-08-27, 10:00 AM
Well, a good place to start is to find out what she's the god *Of*. And I know you're going to say "Fire", but I mean how does she impact the lives of her followers? Sunny weather? Driving out evil? Perhaps she inflames the loins of young lovers?

People are inherantly selfish, it's what keeps the species going. They will want to get something back for the worship they offer. If she has feast days or festivals, that'll help.

For getting people to show, see if they'll attend a short seminar for 1gp. They get the GP at the end, regardless if they join or not. Then sell them a timeshare near the alter and you're golden.

2011-08-27, 12:38 PM
I don't even know if she's the god of fire. She's just associated with the rune for it. I wasn't given much info on her because none of the characters would know much about her, unless I can make a good Cult Lore check (and it's so low that I don't have much of a chance of making the roll).

I like the idea of giving out money... bribery is always a good investment. :smallbiggrin:

2011-08-28, 06:48 PM
I don't even know if she's the god of fire.

You can always just lie. Suddenly "uncover" some holy texts from a long-ago prophet. If dishonesty isn't your thing, extrapolation might be. Take any fuzzy hints that might point towards a possible conclusion and turn them into ironclad proof. You might only know that she's a goddess of a fire rune, but there's no reason why you have to say that. After all, it's perfectly reasonable to infer that she's the goddess of fire from that, right? (I'm not saying it's the only explanation, only that you should pick an explanation and stand firm on it; no one

If you yourself have any magical powers or abilities, use them to support your goddess. If someone says that they worship a fire goddess and that she can grant them amazing spiritual gifts, people might pay attention, but if that same person can cast something similar to pyrotechnics (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/pyrotechnics.htm) or continual flame (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/continualFlame.htm) people are definitely going to take notice.

Play on your character's personal reputation. If he has any major accomplishments (saving a village of a dragon or something like that), now's the time to pad your goddess's resume. After you pull a nun out of the burning building, turn to the nearest civilian and say something like, "Do not thank me. It was the strength of the goddess Firshala that won this day!"

2011-08-28, 07:34 PM
These are all good ideas. I would also add that a good place to start recruiting is usually the underbelly of society. Go to those that are downtrodden, those who have little to live for, those who will be unsatisfied with the current divinities. Tell them about a new goddess, one who cares about her worshippers, and one who doesn't care much about what her followers do, so long as they give her praise. Once you have a good base among the lower classes, start galvanizing them. Get them to do little things at first. Let you use their homes or places of business as temples. Get them to make small donations so you can purchase an actual temple, complete with trappings. Have them sew holy symbols onto their clothes to show their devotion. Eventually, word of this new goddess will spread through word of mouth, into the upper classes. Congradulations, your cult has evolved into a Religion!
Note: I don't know much about the world of Runequest, so this advice may or may not be applicable.