Propitiatory worship (from The Unholy Trio etc.)

From: Richard Hayes <richard_hayes29_at_IGcKXMPRnIkaQXq-jsJC6Zu4k7BILNxZbivLVceKibfZx2f1OUZcOhRJom8p>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 22:56:49 +0000 (GMT)

Recent discussions about Mallia have included a number of references to how Mallia receives propitiatory worship, which I understand to mean worshipping a hostile deity in order to appease it, and thereby to eascape the worst excesses of its manifestations on the Lozenge. I can even remember how this was done in Cults of Terror-- people sacrifice permanent power to be cured of a disease (also known as involuntary initiation)

However I can think of a few other gods which receive some form of propitiatory worship, and I wondered how the propitatiory worship of these deities would work. Do these cults have a status like 'involuntary initiation' too? If so, what do they give, and how much protection do they get from their sacrifice?

I am sure there are others, but the following examples of possible propitatiory worship came to my mind as a starting point:

1. Blood over Gold states that in some of the islands off the coast of Wenelia there is a profession (the Propitiators) devoted to the propitatiory worship of various sea gods in order to keep the Mer-people on side. What sort of magic/worship do the Propitiators perform, at what cost, and what benefit do they derive from it? In Runequest terms, I  see the gods, spirits etc., of the Islanders' religion as being a hotch-potch of spirit cults (some of which may be mixed/misapplied worship, as some of the spirits may be gods whom the mer-people worship theistically), although I'm not sure if I would describe a propitiator as a shaman-- though he/she is probably more like a shaman than a conventional sorceror, priest or mystic).

We are told on p. 46 that "Most propitiators are worshippers of common religions and not specialised into one form of magic as the complex array of sea entities may be spirits, gods, essences, some of the above or neither [sic]", although we are also told that a minority "join various sea cults depending on the needs of their communities").

2. I don't know how close to canon it is, but personally I liked the write-up of Handra in Tradetalk (Vol. 10 iirc).The Handran authorities are (relatively liberal?) Malkioni who practice a degree of formal separation between Church and State (much state power rests with trade guilds rather than a landed aristocracy).  That city had an arrangement with the Merfolk based on tribute and trade. Is this a wholly secular arrangement under which the Handrans pay tribute in exchange for protection, or does it have a religious dimension of propitiatory worship. If so, is it led by the Handran state, or by its Church, and how does it work -- bearing in mind that the Handrans are Malkioni of the Ralian school (some Permissivist, some Tolerantist) who venerate the Invisible God and certain saints

3. Valind sometimes receives propitiatory worship from people anxious to avoid the worst of winter. What do people get for their sacrifices?

4. Whilst the orthodox Orlanthi way to counter Daga (the god of famine) is through invoking Heler, it does not seem unbelievable that Daga might sometimes receive propitiatory worship too (especially from people who either can't invoke Heler, or who have tried and failed to do this). If so, what would people get for their sacrifices?

5. Was there any element of propitiatory worship in the tribute the peoples of the Holy Country used to render to the Kitori agents of Ezkankekko?

I am also interested in other examples of propitiatory worship, and what they involve

Richard Hayes

From: Todd Gardiner <> Subject: Re: The Unholy Trio: Rephrasing the Question To:
Date: Tuesday, 30 December, 2008, 5:36 PM

Humans have a great fear of the unknown (disease which can strike with no reason or identifiable cause) and things they cannot control or avoid (even the strongest can fall victim). To me, it is little surprise that Malia receives propitory worship, given that it is the only method which suggest a course of action people can follow.

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