Re: Propitiatory worship (from The Unholy Trio etc.)

From: Greg Stafford <glorantha1_at_hTMInWhBfbXxkwNbR5AL2VsrCL8WumdDmwrEI6_XjHdgyPU_lBT_90i_9kNxBdLRB>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 18:58:59 -0800

YGWV On Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 2:56 PM, Richard Hayes <>wrote:

> 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 escape 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)

I'm going to have to think about "involuntary initiation"

However I can think of a few other gods which receive some form of
> propitiatory worship,

In fact, I'd think that a lot of gods do.

> 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, myself, wouldn't try to quantify "how much protection" they get.

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?

The point of propitiatory worship is that the worshipers don't get anything from it. In fact, the purpose is to NOT get smoething.

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

I will leave this to folks who know more about Handra.

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

Nothing. the storms are reduced in their intensity.

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?

Nothing. Daga stays away as a result of their worship.

> 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?


Greg Stafford
Game Designer

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