To: RuneQuest-Digest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM Subject: RuneQuest Digest Volume 9, no 3 Reply-To: RuneQuest-Digest-Editor@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM Sender: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM Contents: Charles Gregory Fried - Blue Moon Cult (pre-GoG variation) Editorial: This was too large for a Daily. -- Henk Langeveld, Maintainer/Editor of the RuneQuest Digest and RuneQuest Daily Submissions for the Daily to:
for the Digest: Subscriptions and questions: Me: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM -------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (charles gregory fried) Subject: Blue Moon (heretical) Message-ID: Date: 10 Sep 93 10:00:06 GMT Well, since I'm going all out tonight, here is the write-up of the Blue Moon I promised Nick. I wrote it a good many years ago, before I knew squat about Lunar religion, and so it bears only (perhaps interestingly) accidental relation to the cult of Annila. Since it is heretical, you will detect other non-standard stuff. I think of white-light (the Light of stars and the Sun) as alien to Glorantha (though later, heros ascend to Sky as Stars). Stars preceed Moon preceeds Sun. I also think that it was the Blue Moon's sister, the White Moon, who led the LightBringer's quest to hell. Orlanth just tagged along for muscle. The fiery YELLOW (not white) orb that rose in the Dawning was Yalem, the Sunsson Moonsson. The White Moon stayed behind with her lover the Sun in Hell, where he damn well belongs. But this is off point! SELAKUAN The Blue Moon, Goddess of the Dreamtime and Fortune-Tellers (copyright, Gregory Fried) I. MYTHOS AND HISTORY A. BEFORE TIME When the first stars appeared and glinted in the Sky, like the first glimmerings of a thought or an idea, Glorantha, the the cosmic womb, became uneasy. The stars wandered and kept no pattern in the black vault of heaven, and while they smiled with beauty and promise, still Glorantha felt a forboding. For the stars came not from her. Glorantha heeded these portents. In her wisdom, imbued with a prophesy of Light, her daughter Ga conceived a child under the beams of the stars, reflecting what was to be. The child was mighty, and dwelt for a long time within the Earth, learning secrets of the great mother and treading the edges of Chaos. There she discovered the power of Death, and with it, she was born from the Sea. With the powers of Earth and Sea, Ga sent this child to the dome of the Sky, endowed with Light to look over the World and to rule it. This child was the Moon, Selakuan, a poem woven from all the elements, and with her unearthly blue light she did indeed rule. But she ruled with justice; with a dancing rhythm she travelled the vault of Sky, turning her dark side to the Earth whenever her brilliance frightened its inhabitants. Indeed, her Light did not offend the elder races, who lived untroubled on the surface. She brought a fey Color to the lands. From Earth and Sea, she brought rain and plant (mushroom, mold, and fern), and to balance these gifts, she wielded the power of Death to complete the cycle of life. But in Selakuan's justice, Death was always renewal and return, not the cruel event we know today. So in her dancing rhythm, Selakuan, became Mistress of the Dreamtime. With her cyclical movements, it is even said, the Dreamtime itself was born. For the time we know, the Nowtime, had not yet had his birth, and Selakuan wove the web of the Dreamtime with her justice and danced upon it. But Death introduced a turbulence of its own into the World, and upon that turbulence Storm rode into the cosmos, sired of Earth and Sky. Umath thrust apart Earth and Sea from the Sky and placed Air between them. Selakuan gasped as she was torn from her mothers in this act of violent rebellion, and Death slipped from her hands. Eurmal, the god who cares only for his own mischief, found Death, and, in his injustice, gave it to Storm. This changed Death's nature forever: from then on, it was a cruel, sharp Sword. Umath also usurped the power of rain, and other prerogatives, and so took his turn at ruling the World. When the Sun came, Selakuan's power was further diminished. The Sun's intense white light overwhelmed the strength of the Blue Moon, whose gentle radiance had offended no one. Shunning violence, her web of justice shattered, Selakuan withdrew from the affairs of the cosmos. B. SINCE TIME BEGAN With the birth of the Sunsson at the Dawning, and so of the Nowtime, the Blue Moon was banished from the reconstructed cosmos. Her blue Light was diffused across the day-time Sky as a sign of her capitulation to the great cosmic compromise of the gods, and her orb was taken from her. Yet the other deities cannot entirely exist without a link to the Mistress of Dreams, so she reappears every year in the Sacred Time, and her color is there to observe for all those who can see the dome of Sky. Her worshipers believe that finally the Nowtime will end and that the reign of the Blue Moon will be restored, and that then she will always be full. Until that time, they revere Selakuan's infinite hidden presence -- the hidden presence of dream. Some say that Arachne Solara, the SunSpider, is the Nowtime twin and reflection of Selakuan, the Blue Moon, but this has not been confirmed by even the boldest of heroquesters. C. LIFE AFTER DEATH The devotees of Selakuan know they will be drawn beyond the Nowtime to their goddess, there to await the end of time. D. RUNIC ASSOCIATIONS Selakuan is associated with the Runes of Moon, Infinity/Time, and Fate. These are great powers, but because an active reintroduction of Dreamtime would be hostile to the new ordering of the cosmos, the other divinities severely monitor the banishment of the goddess. II. NATURE OF THE CULT A. REASON FOR CONTINUED EXISTENCE The Dreamtime is beyond the World now. But without some vestigial connection to Selakuan, Myth itself would die. Mortal and deity could no longer interact. Cults would become meaningless. Heroes would vanish. The cosmos still needs the Blue Moon -- only, she may not show her face. But all of us return to her every night, when we enter the empire of dreams, and during the day, the vestigial presence of the goddess is manifest in the blue of the Sky. There are those who actively seek the extinction of the the Blue Moon. They have their reasons. Of course, there are others who passionately work for her restoration, quietly seeking out the remnants of the dream-threads in the memories of mortals who must sleep every night. But most of her present worshipers are fortune-tellers who subsist on the margins of society. Selakuan looks on upon all this and waits in patience. B. SOCIAL/POLITICAL POSITION AND POWER Though the followers of the Blue Moon are tolerated, this is generally only because their goddess is needed for certain arcane rituals, and because they themselves are unobtrusive and marginal. C. PARTICULAR LIKES AND DISLIKES The Blue Moon is compassionate and gentle. Nevertheless, some of her followers bear little love for Storm or Sun cults, and this is considered justified. The cult loves and respects graceful dance, music, poetry and the craft of weaving. Cultists may not be Resurrected, at least until the return of the reign of the goddess. Spiders especially, as well as snakes, are sacred to Selakuan, and are often the choice for bound and allied spirits. The cult is not ideologically pacifist, but encourages the shunning of violence. The cult is not obliged to oppose Chaos, except if the Chaos in question threatens outrage or annihilation to the cosmos and its inhabitants. This stipulation is ground for broad conflict in interpretation, and is one of the chief causes of suspicion of the cult. III. ORGANIZATION Cult organization is very loose. Each temple, which generally serves a large area, has a single high priestess, elected for life by the other priestesses. Her one important power is that of veto against any application for initiation. Otherwise, she is first among equals. Holy days fall on Godsday, seasonally in Fate (if you don't use a 10 week calendar, then Fertility) Week, and the High Holy Festival falls on the Sacred Time. IV. LAY MEMBERSHIP Anyone having their fortune read by a Blue Moon cultist is a lay member for that time and gives up a point of temporary POW. V. INITIATE MEMBERSHIP Only those with keen powers of spiritual perception, or those thought to be graced in some way by the goddess will be offered the chance to be initiates. The test is abstracted as (POW + INT/2%) + (Analyze Character and Fortune Telling skills/2%). Any being may be considered for initiation (as in the cult of Chalana Arroy), so long as they obey the Blue Moon's tenets: to refrain from violence; to protect those in one's charge; to seek out and preserve the fabric of the cosmic dream-web; to protect the world from dissolution; to seek no dominion over others until the return of the goddess to her rightful place as Mistress of Dreamtime. These tenets effectively keep out most Chaos beings. Above all, the examiner must be convinced that the petitioner truly understands what it means that, though the Blue Moon is banished, she still retains a hidden presence. This insight is spiritual, and the test of it can be role-played in substitution of the abstracted test outlined above. The spirit magic spell Sleep is available to cultists (see the Chalana Arroy spirit spell), and is considered a cult secret not to be shared with outsiders; those slept are protected by the cult. Special Cult skills: Analyze Character. Knowledge skill, 5% base. This is a skill that allows an observer to read the mood and attitude of a person whom they have some chance to study. This is not mind reading, but rather a sort of honed emotional intuition. Regular success gives a sense of the target's present surface mood; special success give a broader sense of the target's disposition that carries this mood; and critical success gives insight into an aspect of the target's psychology. A fumble will give an erroneous reading. This skill is the counter-skill to Act. It is very helpful when performing Fortune Telling. Fortune Telling. Communications skill, 5% base. As a skill, fortune telling is not an occult, magical art, but a way of communicating with someone -- something like our psychoanalysis. The exact method (tarot, tea leaves, etc -- the cult prefers its own tarot deck and the analysis of dreams) should be judged by context by the GM, but the teller must be able to communicate with the person being read. The person seeking a reading asks a question of the teller, and she speaks with and puts questions to him as she reads the signs. Her Analyze Character skill is useful here. With success in the Telling skill, the teller can inform the inquirer of a psychological (not a prophetic) truth about himself (use the Critical and Special guidelines from Analyze Character), and where this truth has come from in his past and where it is likely to take him (depending upon how open he has been with her -- although the best Tellers are very good at gleaning the slightest hints of a person's motivations, etc). Combined with divine magics of the Blue Moon, however, this skill can have truly prophetic powers. This skill works best when role-played out fully. VII. RUNE PRIESTESSES A. GENERAL STATEMENT Most representatives of the goddess at this level are female, though males can attain this status, too. Acceptance requires 90% in Orate, Analyze Character and Fortune Telling, plus a POW x 1% roll, which may only be attempted once every Sacred Time (the goddess is both choosy and difficult to reach). E. RUNE SPELL COMPATIBILITY Though banished, Selakuan is not broken. Some true devotees may still reach her, though she has lost many of her powers over Life and Death. She can summon small Lunes, and Earth and Water elementals. She grants worshipers access to the common divine spells, and the following special magics: F. CULT SPECIAL RUNE SPELLS The Blue Moon is still the Mistress of the Dreamtime, and she has access to the Runes of Time and Fate. Her priestesses can draw on her to bend the laws of the Nowtime, but the goddess's power is not great enough to allow travel to the past or future of the linear flow of the Nowtime. That would be too much like the Dreamtime for the other divinities to tolerate. Blue Moon cultists may never spell-trade with the divine magic of their goddess. BlueLight: 1 point, temporal, ranged, stackable. This spell causes a globe of deep blue light to come into existence, with a diameter of 5 feet/2 meters per point stacked. Any being in this light who is overcome by the priestess' POW will suddenly be assaulted by an intense memory of dream they have had, to the point of having it impinge on their present reality. The effect of this spell depends on the attitude of those overcome to the caster. Those friendly to the caster will recall the mood of a pleasant or encouraging dream: depending on circumstances, allow this to affect their skill rolls a little (say, + 2% per point), or give them an additional resistance roll against a hostile spell in effect, such as Demoralize. Enemies will be overcome by a memory of a nightmare: treat this as an attack by the Madness divine spell. Those neutral to the caster will be affected as if under the City Harmony spell of the Pavis cult, as they pause in wonder at their day-dream. This spell will add intensity to the experiences of those affected by Deepsleep and Dreamvision spells, in a manner best interpreted by the GM in context. Presentiment: 1 point spell. Duration instant. Range n/a. Non-stackable. This spell will tell the caster if the direct result of a relatively minor act will bode well or ill for the agent in the immediate future. Thus, one could employ it before opening a mysterious door, but not as a means to foretell the outcome of a battle. This presentiment is a feeling, not a statement of facts. Deepsleep: 1 point, stackable. This spell overcomes its targets with a very profound sleep, during which the sleeper may have revelatory dreams. Sleepers feel no pain and do not sense the outside world; they have only a POWx1% of waking after a vigorous shaking or serious wound. Blue Moon cultists are bound to protect the bodies of those in Deepsleep. Dreamvision: 2 points, special. This spell must be cast on someone overcome by Deepsleep. This spell allows the caster to impose a narrative on the target's dream. This narrative does not necessarily unfold as the caster would intend or predict; she may only set up the basic elements. Such a dream will have a subtle and lingering effect on its target, and if the dream is told to a Blue Moon cultist, she will have a better chance of interpreting it (skill x 1.5). Fortune-Telling: 1 point spell, stackable. The caster must combine this spell with the successful use of a fortune-telling skill. She will then learn her INT/3 facts about the subject's past. These facts will be general (age, area of birth, class of profession, etc.), but for each one, there is a POW x 1% chance that the fortune teller will have sharp and true insight about something important. The fortune-telling will also give a sense of general trends for the subject's future, based on the patterns of the past. INT/3 such trends can be identified. But there is a POW x 1% chance for each true insight (see just above) that the caster will glimpse an aspect of the subject's true Fate as well. This is a Fate based spell, not a Time-Rune spell. Vision: 3 point spell. This spell gives caster a vision of a specific period of the past. See the Reconstruction divine spell of the Lhankor Mhy cult for specifics. Timebend: 3 point spell, temporal, caster only. This spell gives the caster fleeting visions of the very near future (within twelve seconds). Hence it functions as a continuous Presentiment spell. In addition, the caster may use it to predict the immediate actions of another being. To do this, she must overcome the target's POW in any given round. In game terms, this means the person whose actions are being predicted must state his or her intentions for the next 12 seconds (a round), which cannot then be altered. This allows the caster's character to act and respond as if she had the power of immediate foresight which this spell confers. What his means must be creatively judged by the GM in context, but in combat, it should grant a bonus on SR and attack and defense ( skills x ~1.25), plus the advantage of knowing what the opponent hopes to accomplish that round if she overcomes him. Dreamgate: 3 point spell, special. This spell allows the recipient to pass from the Nowtime to the Dreamtime. It may be employed, though, only by heroquesters who have the permission of their gods to enter into the realm of Myth to reforge a tiny piece of reality. Selakuan's priestesses must teach this spell, on a one use basis, to those who ask and who have the grace of their deity. The priestess may cast Divination to learn absolutely if the subject is a true hero of the god, and cannot deny a hero's request. She must first place the quester into a Deepsleep. The priestess may charge the hero to perform a deed for her as well on the quest. This is but one way to enter the Myth-time, although all other methods do imply the at least tacit acknowledgement of the goddess' dominion over her dream-realm. VIII. SUBSERVIENT CULTS A. SPIRIT OF REPRISAL FURIES - Horrific ghostly-blue spirits, the Furies attack apostates of the cult with a POW of 3d6 + 6. In addition, they will eventually attack any intelligent being who knowingly and wantonly murders a cultist of Selakuan. This is known as the Curse of the Blue Moon, and protects the cultists from persecution. IX. ASSOCIATED CULTS A. BLUE SKY Selakuan receives this spell from the blue sky dome, usable only when day-time Sky is visible: Skysanctuary: 3 points. When this spell is cast, the cultist disintegrates in a bloom of blue light which is drawn up into the blue sky above. The cultist returns to the spot she left when the spell expires, or before then if she wishes. From the Sky above, the caster can view an area encompassing the field of vision she held before her ascent. If the caster so chooses, she may rematerialize in her home temple, but this makes the spell one-use. B. Others.....? Chalana Arroy (Comfort Song and Restore INT)? Ga (Gnomes)? Kyger Litor(Darksee)? Triolina (Undines)? Gorgoma (Second Mouth)? Arachne Solara? X. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES A. Fortune Telling There are many methods of telling fortunes, and some are more useful in given circumstances than others. The cult of the Selakuan is most famous, though, for its Blue Moon Tarot "deck," which consists of images of all the Runes which constitute the cosmos. Other noted methods include the analysis of dreams and the analysis of fabrics woven on sacred looms. B. Dragons and Dragonkind The cult tends to respect the dragonkind, but holds it wise to leave them to their own special way of Dream, believing that some time, their way and the way of the Blue Moon will converge. It is prophesized that this will only happen at the end of Time.