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From: (charles gregory fried)
Subject: A cult for y'all
Date: 23 Jul 93 21:58:43 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 1320

Greg Fried here.

Since the RQD has been a little sparse lately, I thought I'd send in a cult
from my campaign.    Comments are welcome.  You'll note that the geases at
the end have not been assigned random values yet -- too much of a chore.  I'd
welcome further suggestions on geases appropriate to the cult.   I'm curious
if people think this cult succeeds as an example of a Storm god who manages
to keep some of his own stormishness in check, or if the whole thing is just
a hopeless contradiction in terms!  Here it is:

EZROTH, Father of Islands
(by Gregory Fried)



Before the Great Darkness, the god Ezroth, son of Sea Crone and Father
 Storm, roamed the outer seas and was lord of the great ocean storms. 
 He was wild and proud, and fabulously strong, seeking out adventure and
 glory, and he traveled across the broad seas with his companion Lanas. 
 Ezroth learned lessons of honor from his mother, and forswore the violent
 cruelty and reckless deceit of some of his stormish brethren; he flexed his
 strength far out in the outer oceans. Ezroth loved to challenge other gods,
 especially those of Storm and Sky, to tests of strength and courage.  He
 once defeated a race of mighty sea tritons in a contest of strength, for
 even they could not resist the surge of his swells, and in their defeat they
 swore him love and fealty.  

But in his wanderings, Ezroth fell in love with Aethellin, a coastal daughter
 of Ernalda the Earth Mother.  Ezroth had fought with Zathur, a brutal god of
 Darkness, who, for a time, wielded the power of Death.  Ezroth had fougt with
 Zathur in the Darkness of Deep Water, far away from where his greatest
 strengh resided, on the surface.  Zathur cut him down and left him for
 dead.  Badly wounded, Ezroth washed up upon the shores of Aethellin.  She
 healed and tended him.  During this time of convalescence, Ezroth warred with
 Aethellin's Earthen pride; he had avoided Land in his venturings, and could
 not understand her solid calm and seeming aloofness.  Aethellin warred with
 Ezroth's Stormish wildness and insolence; she had always been content with
 her belonging to her Land, and could not understand his impetuous wanderlust
 and bravado.  But then both struggled with their own natures; and then they
 discovered their love for one another.  They longed now for an honorable

Finally healed, Ezroth put aside his storms and traveled alone to the halls
 of Ernalda, the great Earth Mother, to win her blessing.  But Ernalda
 refused their union, berating Ezroth for thoughtlessly beating her shores
 with surging waves and storms.  "But go in peace," said Ernalda.  "For the
 love you bear for my daughter does me honor."  Respecting Ernalda's
 wishes, Ezroth departed from her halls, returning to the broad expanse of
 the outer Ocean.  But Aethellin kept contact with him through his companion
 Lanas, god of the traveling ocean waves, though Ezroth would not dishonor her
 by coming to her without her mother's blessing.   In Ezroth's absence, the
 Sun had gained Ernalda's permission to court Aethellin, and he sent her
 many gifts. 

During the Chaos Wars, Lanas brought Ezroth terrible word: the chaos god
 Uralog, the Mouth of the Deep, together with a legion of undead terrors,
 was swallowing up huge tracts of the Earth Mother's lands.  The Sun,
 Aethellin's suitor, had failed her, and many others, for he had been killed
 and dispatched to Hell.  (Like many other gods, Ezroth had witnessed the
 Sun's demise, and he gathered up a flaming spear that the Sun dropped in
 his deathly fall from the Sky.)  Aethellin was in dire need.  Ezroth rushed
 with his tritons to find Aethellin on the verge of being sucked down Uralog's
 maw.  The tritons engaged the forces of Uralog.  In one arm, Ezroth grabbed
 Aethellin and held her above the waves, with the other, he seized Uralog,
 snapped the swirling gullet that descended down to Chaos, and flung the
 maimed god out into the outer oceans.  But no longer could Ezroth move
 without submerging Aethellin.  So he gave up his storming wildness
 completely, the union was blessed by Ernalda, and the Married Ones became
 the gods of all islands.  

Their first child was Varla, goddess of the ocean squall, a daughter who
 inherited her father's sudden fury and her mother's protectiveness. 
 Their second child was Maraben, whom Varla raised.  A sickly, solitary
 child, he left the body of his mother, Aethellin Island, only to return
 later with skills and knowledge critical to the livelihood of the people
 of the Island during the agonies of the Chaos Wars, as well as the diplomatic
 and political skills needed to unite and organize them.


Ezroth continues to hold up Aethellin, and by doing so, the worship of
 the pair has spread to many islands, not merely their own land.  During the
 Dawn Ages, Ezroth and Aethellin gave over rule of Aethellin's Island to their
 daughter Varla and son Maraben.


The worshippers of Ezroth are promised a place at his side supporting
 Aethellin, if they are properly buried at sea.  Ezroth can make no such
 promise for those who perish beyond his reach.  Katak the dolphin-friend
 escorts the souls of the dead to Ezroth, if they were pious in life, and
 prevents them from sinking further into Darkness, or even into the Mouth
 of the Deep beyond.


There are two aspects to the cultic worship of Ezroth: Ezroth Youth and
 Ezroth Husband.  The youthful Storm god is associated with the runes of
 Storm/Air, Truth and Disorder; in this aspect, his father's ancestry is
 manifest, but for a Storm god, Ezroth's wildness is tempered by Honor
 (the Truth rune).  The resolute husband is associated with the runes of
 Water, Truth and Stasis. Storm and Disorder are suppressed (only to be
 recovered in the direst of emergencies).  The Water Rune has gained
 precedence, as Ezroth draws on his mother, Sea Crone, for the strength to
 help hold up Aethellin, and thus the Stasis Rune is also significant to
 him, since he seeks the stability required to preserve his wife and their
 bond; the Truth runes reflects his bond of honor to Aethellin (the Truth
 rune being interpreted as honor rather than knowledge).  At times, Ezroth
 is associated with the Mastery Rune, but this is generally only in less
 advanced areas where the worship of his son Maraben has not developed and
 Ezroth must guide rule.



As the supporter of islands, Ezroth's worship as Husband is inextricably
 linked to the worship of Aethellin.  He provides comfort and safety to
 island dwellers who draw life from the sea directly around them.  Ezroth
 provides and potent role model for the human life cycle:  youth is allowed
 its playful and rebellious freedom, within the limits of honor, but with
 adulthood comes the honorable burden of responsibility and support that
 most members of society must come to terms with.

The worship of Ezroth Youth alone is quite rare, and is taken up by sailors,
 dockworkers, adventurers and some aristocrats in civilized cultures. 
 Usually, the worship of Ezroth Youth is subsumed in the cult of Ezroth
 Husband, and most Youth worshipers go over to worship of Husband in
 adulthood, upon marriage.


Ezroth always holds a respected position where he is worshiped, though
 his actual power depends on whether his son's worship is also present,
 to whom he must defer in matters of politics.  Alone with his wife, Ezroth
 and Aethellin provide the basic social organization for island society. 
 Ezroth guides hunters, fishers, and soldiers, as well as the clan or village
 elders who guide life along with the Aethellin worshipers.

In more developed island societies where Maraben is worshiped, Ezroth then
 helps to guide the daily lives of local communities along with Aethellin. 
 Where his daughter Varla's cult is present, fighter worshipers of Ezroth are
 usually oranized and trained as soldiers, that is, in formation, with
 discipline, etc.  Varla's cult produces the more individualistic
 warriors who act as scouts and commandos.

It should be noted that this cult is most powerful when, together with
 the cult of Aethellin, it lays claim to an entire island.  The cult exists
 in coastal settlements of mainland continents, but then is commonly quite
 minor.  The cult is exceptionally rare inland, away from the ocean, and then
 Ezroth Youth is more likely to be found than Husband.


Because of his marriage and choices made in the Mythtime, Ezroth's cult
 respects Earth cults and is even suspicious of Storm cults if they seem
 overly unruly or deceitful.  He honors his mother, Sea Crone, for the gifts
 of life of the Sea which she gives to the people he protects.

The cult is friendly to trtions and the cult of Katak the Dolphin, and, of
 course, is closely associated with the cults of Aethellin, Lanas, Varla,
 and Maraben.  In their youth, cultists are encouraged to challenged Storm,
 Sea, Sky, and even Darkness cultists to competitions of strength and skill,
 but there is no necessary hostility involved.  The Sun is mistrusted.
 The cult is an enemy of Chaos, and, of course, bears special hatred for
 Uralog, the Mouth of the Deep.  He is hostile to any cult that would harm his
 people or the land of his wife.

The cult weapon is the flail.  Ezroth also picked up and wielded a spear
 dropped by the Sun in his collapse to Hell.  Ezrothi soldiers use spear
 and shield when fighting in formation.

Ezroth always likes a good test of strength and courage, and he is a great
 patron of wrestling contests.  A cultist may not refuse an honorable
 challenge, though he is not obliged to fight to the death or even to injury.



Except in rare cases, the worship of this cult is confined to single
 islands, such that there is no real inter-cult organization, though
 foreign cultists usually have the respect of their hosts.  Ezroth also
 requires that islands have but one single cult hierarchy; he does
 not like to see his wife's land divided. Worshipers are bound to remove
 such devisions on an island, whether by peaceful means or not.  Cultists
 from the true Island of Aethellin may gain great respect, but they too may
 command no absolute authority outside of their own realm. 


Each island has one High Priest of Ezroth Husband as ritual "husband" and
 a High Priestess of Aethellin as his "wife", who may or may not be his
 true wife, depending on local practice.  Together they act as most respected
 elders and leaders of the community.  Various local temples on the island
 may each have their own priest, but their can be only one high priest on an

The cult considers the Island of Aethellin to be particularly sacred. 
 There, Craterlake on Megalith Mountain is especially holy, for there,
 it is said, Ezroth's blood flows to bring life to the land of Aethellin.

Each island consacrated by the worship of the god and of Aethellin is
 considered sacred land.  Each local temple must find a well or a spring of
 pure water which is its holy place.


Weekly holy days fall on Waterday.  Seasonal holy days vary, and describe
 aspects of Ezroth and his life.

The holy day of Storm Season is in Disorder week; it celebrates Ezroth's
 turbulent youth.

In Sea Season, it is Waterday of Movement week, and describes the god's
 link to the sea in his wandering youth.

For Fire Season, it is again in Disorder week, descibing the failure of
 the Sun and Ezroth's struggle against Chaos to save Aethellin.

Waterday of Harmony week of Earth Season is the cult's High Holy day, for
 it is the marriage day of Ezroth and Aethellin.

Waterday of Stasis week in Darkness Season celebrates the bond of Ezroth
 and Aethellin that endured through the dark times of the Chaos Wars, and



The cult is open to all who are not enemies of Earth or Sea, or creatures
 of Chaos.  Lay membership is given freely to children of current worshipers.


Lay members must attend all holy day services and bring useful offerings
 to the temple, generally in the form of food or labor.

Lay members must never wontonly harm Earth or defile Water.  They must learn
 the Peaceful Cut to speak when harvesting, chopping trees, digging, or
 hunting animals and fish of the island.  This prayer ensure that such
 taking of life will not harm or offend Ezroth or Aethellin.

Lay members must report Chaos wherever it is found.

Lay members show respect to fellow cultists and members of the associated


Lay members are accepted members of the island community and may hunt,
 farm, and fish freely, according to local custom.  The cult will care
 for lay members as best it can in times of crisis.


The cult of Ezroth offers skills in boating and other crafts needful for
 the support of the community.  Martial training is only available to


Teaches Strength, Endurance, Vigor, Ironhand, Protection, Detect Enemy,



Those seeking to become initiates of Ezroth must choose either the Youth
 or Husband aspect to follow.  Those who are already married must choose
 Husband.  This choice is not permanent for the Youth cultists; they may
 switch to the Husband aspect later, and, indeed, must do so if they marry. 
 Skills checked for proficiency include fist, flail, grapple or spear attack;
 swim; boat or shiphandling; climb, jump, dodge or scan; orate.


As for lay members.  Initiates may be required to participate in the local
 militia.  They must seek out and fight Chaos when it is reported.  They must
 not show cowardice in a fight or competition.  They must deal honorably with
 their community.

Initiates are encouraged to marry, preferably an Aethellin cultist.


Initiates are respected members of the community and can expect aid and
 comfort from their fellows in times of need.  When serving in the militia,
 they can expect upkeep from the temple, and will often receive arms and armor
 from the cult.


As for lay members.  The cult also teaches initiates skills in spear, flail,
 shield, fist and grapple.


As for lay members.  In addition, the cult also teaches initiates the spell
 Fireblade.  This spell was won when Ezroth picked up the flaming spear
 dropped by the Sun.  Each cultist may only use Fireblade on his own personal
 spear that he has consacrated for use in battle in Ezroth's name.

Initiates may gain the typical initiate's limited access to divine rune
 magic.  Additionally, if an initiate marries and Aethellin cultist, he
 may sacrifice to that godgess for any divine Aethellin spell that his wife
 knows; such Aethellin spells are employed by the Ezrothi on a one-use basis.

If an itiatiate of Ezroth Youth becomes an initiate of Ezroth Husband, he
 keeps any Youth divine magic he has as one use, but cannot sacrifice for more.



Ezrothi rune lords are the protectors and providers of their communities. 
 Rare Ezrothi Youth rune lords are often tribal or island champions:
 noted athletes, hunters or soldiers.  


Canditates must be initiates who are known to the community.  Their honor
 must have been tested by deeds of war or competition.  

Canditates for rune lord status in Ezroth Youth must master the flail,
 fist or grapple.  They must master two other combat skills, including
 dodge and additional masteries beyond the one in flail, fist or grapple, and
 they must master two skills associated with athletic activities (climb, jump,
 etc), or with boating, or with hunting.

Canditates for rune lord status in Ezroth Husband must master the spear,
 fist or grapple.  They must master two other combat skills, including dodge
 and additional masteries beyond the one in spear, fist or grapple, and they
 must master two skills associated with athletic activities (climb, jump,
 etc), or with boating, or with hunting.  Mastery of Orate can count as one of
 the non-martial skills.

If a Youth rune lord marries, he loses his status and must reapply as a
 Husband rune lord.


Rune lords must follow the obligations of initiates with unwavering
 strictness.  Rune lords of Ezroth Husband are tied to their home communities
 by bonds of duty and loyalty. They may only marry Aethellin cultists and must
 divorce all other wives.


Rune lords have great prestige in their communities.  Their needs are seen
 to by the temple, but they must devote their live to the protection and
 livelihood of their homes.

Married Ezrothi rune lords gain magical benefits from their Aethellin wives
 as do initiates.



Ezrothi rune priests maintain order and oversee the spiritual well-being
 of their community in its daily life.  Priests are the ritual "fathers"
 of the community.

Rune priests to Ezroth Youth are quite uncommon, and champion the spirit
 of independence and valor in a community.


Canditates for priest of Ezroth Husband must be married, or agree to marry as
 part of the rites of becoming a priest.   Requirements are otherwise standard.


Priests to Ezroth Husband may only marry Aethellin cultists and must divorce
 all other wives.  Their community temple must remain their permanent home;
 unless founding a new island colony, priests are bound to serve the community
 to which they are tied.

Ezroth Youth priests have fewer restrictions, but command less respect.


For priests of Ezroth Husband, these are similar to the rune lord's.  The
 voice of a priest carries great weight, and they preside over many of the
 communiites festivals and rituals.


All common divine magic.  Devotees of Ezroth Husband will ALWAYS succeed in
 dispelling the magic of Ezroth Youth, and need only use one point of Dismiss
 Magic to do so.


Summon Triton (Both aspects) 1 point, ritual summoning, one-use (special). 
 This spell summons a triton from the ocean.  Arrival time must be determined
 by circumstances (usually more than an hour and less than a day, i.e. 1d24
 hours).  Such beings cannot be summoned on land.  Ezroth's mythic victory
 over the tritons allows his cultis to summon them, but the pact of
 friendship between Ezroth and the Tritons now means that the cultist
 must persuade the triton to aid him.  This rite is often merely a formality,
 as the triton may often be very willing to assist in a fight against
 Chaos.   But sometimes the triton must be bargained with.  This spell is
 one-use the first time it is used, but if the cultist persuades the triton
 to aid him, he may sacrifice for the spell again as a reusable spell, calling
 on the same triton until that triton dies or gets offended, at which point
 the spell reverts to being one-use.

Beserk (Youth only) Standard.

Cloud Call (Youth only) Standard.

Guardian (Both aspects) 1 point, stackable, ranged, temporal.  Whenever the
 target of this spell suffers distress, the caster will know it and have a
 sense of the direction of the target.  The target may also draw on the
 caster's POW to fuel spells; this use cannot reduce the caster to POW 0,
 however.  If cast as one-use, the spell is permanent.  If the spell is
 stacked it allows the caster to target several persons at once.

Thunderbolt (Youth only) Standard.

Sea Strength (Both aspects) stackable, reusable, ranged, temporal.  This
 spell adds 1d6 points of STR per pont stacked in the spell.  When cast on
 Ezrothi initiates, the first point of the spell brings them to species
 maximum STR (21 for humans).

Summon Water Elemental (Husband only)  The cult can summon elementals up
 to medium size.

Summon Air Elemental (Youth only)  The cult can summon elementals up to medium

Shield (Husband only) Standard.

Float (Husband only) Standard, except that at one point, the cultist may
 support 10 kilograms times his current STR.  Stacked to two points, he may
 support 20 kilograms times his current STR, etc.  The cultist  may only stack
 a number of points into this spell equal to the square root of the number of
 POW points sacrificed to Ezroth for divine magic in general, rounding down.

Waterwalk (Husband only)  1 point, ranged, temporal, reusable.  Use of
 this spell allows the caster to walk on water.  This may be no easy task in
 rough seas, requirnig various agility rolls!  For each additional point
 stacked, another person may be included in the spell.  If an Ezroth cultist
 casts this spell in conjunction with his Aethellin cultist wife, it will last
 as long as they hold hands, lock arms, or maintain contact in some such

Calm Ocean Storm (Husband only)  3 points, ranged, reusable.  The caster
 may use this spell if he can see his home island, or, in the case of fog or
 darkness, he is within one kilometer.  Then, within a ten meter radius, waves
 will reduce to no more than gentle swells, and the winds to brisk breezes.  
 If cast from land, on an island consacrated to the worship of both Ezroth and
 Aethellin, the radius of the calming is 160 meters and will last until the
 storm subsides.

Earthquake/Tidal Wave (Husband only)  5 points, special, one-use.  Only a
 High Priest to Ezroth Husband may learn this spell.  It can only be cast
 on an island where the cults of Ezroth and Aethellin, the Married Ones, have
 won broad acceptance.  The priest can sacrifice POW incrementally to acquire
 it, and must begin doing so after attaining office as High Priest.  This
 spell may only be used in the direst of emergencies, where the well-being
 of the whole island is at stake.  The priest must gain permission of the
 Aethellin cult to use the spell.  The spell calls up the the powers of
 Ezroth's turbulent youth: Ezroth shifts his steady grip on the island,
 and the land rocks and heaves, causes earthquakes and forcing up a tidal
 wave.  The spell is employed in moments of last defense.  The people of
 Aethellin Island itself used this spell to crush an entire fleet of shark
 worshipers with an immense wave, but paid a heavy price in earthquakes for
 doing so.



The spirit Feeblearm will attack the offender in a moment of stress.  It has
 a POW of 4d6.  Feeblearm fights for three rounds, engaging the offender in a
 spiritual wrestling match.  But rather than taking POW, this spirit takes
 points of STR.  Feeblearm will return all points taken if the offender 
 agrees to make restitution to the cult.  Otherwise, the points are lost



Magasta: provides Breathe Air/Water to the son of his queen.
Sea Crone: provides Understand Sea Creature to her son.
Katak: provides Sea Grace.


A.  Tritons

Tritons are a noble race of sea beings, descended from the Sea Crone. 
 They are proud, large and strong, and have a tough, scaly skin, usually 
 of a blue or green hue.  Tritons have two legs, with fins instead of feet. 
 These appendages allow them quite rapid movement in water, but they move
 very awkardly on land, and have all their movement and combat skills halved
 there.  Tritons can breathe air, but they suffer one hit point of damage to
 their general hit points for every hour they are out of water.  They speak
 Sea Speech.

Characteristics       Average
STR 3d6+12           22-23		01-04/01-03   R Leg  3/7
CON 2d6+6              13			05-08/04-06   L Leg  3/7
SIZ   4d6+12             26  		          09-11/07-10   Abdom  3/7
INT  2d6+6               13			12/11-15        Chest  3/9
POW 2d6+6              13			13-15/16-17   R Arm 3/6
DEX  2d6+6              13			16-18/18-19   L Arm 3/6
APP 2d6+3                10		          19-20/20         Head   3/7

Move: 6 in water, 1 on land; Hit Points: 20; Magic Points: 13; DEX SR: 3;
 Fatigue: 26 (35 - 9)

WEAPON         SR     ATTK/PAR%       DAMAGE          ENC/AP
Trident         5      50/40           2d4+1=2d6      2/10
Net             4      45/40          entangle          3/12
Light Xbow     1/MR    40/-              d6+2          3.4/6

Skills: Swim 80; Dodge 35 (in water); Sea Lore 40; Scan 40; Listen 40
Armor: 3 point skin; often shell or alluminum armor.
Magic: Spirit and divine magic (Sea gods).  Rarely sorcery.

These are statistics for an average triton.  Some are considerably
 more powerful.

B.  Gifts and Geases

Ezroth is unusual amongst his stormish brethren in moderating his wildness
 by the dictates of honor.  This is reflected in his association with the
 Truth rune.  By some accounts, another Storm god, Humakt, completely lost
 his association with the Air/Storm rune in his association with Death and
 Truth.  In any case, the Truth rune gives EzrothUs worshipers access to
 gifts from the god.  For each gift, the the cultist must assume the according
 number of geases.  The geases are a path to closer identification with
 the god.

GIFTS	                                                Geases Required
1) +10% in a skill useful to the cult	                      1
2) Sea Speech at INT times 3%, or +10%	                      1
3) Mindspeech with all dolphins	                              2
4) Immediate 90% skill in flail, or use (1)	              3
5) Immediate 90% skill in one-handed spear, or use (1)	      3
6) Immediate 90% skill in punch, or use (1)	              3
7) Immediate 90% skill in grapple, or use (1)	              3
8) +1 STR	                                              1
9) +1 CON	                                              1
10) +1 SIZ	                                              1
11) +1 CHA	                                              1
12) Immediate 90% skill in boat, or use (1)	              2
13) Immediate 90% skill in shiphandling, or use (1)	      2
14) Immediate 90% skill in swim, or use (1)	              2
15) Gain Breathe Air/Water as a reusable spell	              1
16) Gain Understand Sea Creature as a reusable spell	      1
17) Always know direction of home temple	              2
18) Gain Detect Water as an ability, no MP cost	              1
19) Know one day in advance that a storm is coming	      1
20) Pick gift of choice, and roll for the requisite number of geases	

Blessed by Ezroth: no geas
Bathe every holy day
Bathe every day
Always act Stormishly with Sun cultists
Always act Stormishly with Sun and Sky cultists
Always act Stormishly with Sun, Sky and Darkness cultists
Never befriend Sun, Sky or Darkness cultists
Never take shelter from Sun
Never use a sword
Never use a mace or maul
Never use a bow
Never use any but cult weapons (flails, spears, shields, javelins)
Only use weapons constructed of copper, aluminum, wood and/or bone
Always protect Earth
Never love any but Earth cultists (includes Earth cult lay worshipers)
Never deceive anyone
Never befriend Storm cultists other than Ezrothi or Varlans
Eat only fish on Waterday
Vegetarianism on Clayday
Marry if not married; if married, sire or adopt a child
Adopt a widow to provide for
Never eat the meat of sea mammals
Never destroy a boat

That's all, folks!  GF out!