> There seems to be very little information about how people become initiates in Heler's cult, compared to some other gods. I actually have two players who are interested in playing Helerings, so I'm actually quite interested in figuring out how to approach it. One thing I'm thinking of right now is that it should conclude with being cut free from Aroka and swearing allegiance to Orlanth - thus accepting the responsibilities of Helering adulthood. I'll probably come up with something in time anyway, building off the other examples, but still, any ideas would be welcome right now!
It's actually because there is no centrally defined initiation requirement, usually, and instead there is the *theme* of shape change with all of the myriad possibilities that it provides.
There are some caveats to that general response -- in the few areas and localities where he Heler cult is actually dominant, which is to say mostly in a few bits of Maniria, then you will be liable to have some precise, local, and very socially organised initiation rituals -- based on whichever shape of the god happens to be dominant in those places. It might be a blue ram ritual, a black ram one, a rain sheep thing, etc etc
These initiation rituals are liable to differ wildly from place to place IMO -- the Aroka thing that you suggest is liable to be very Dragon Pass centric for instance !! :-)
> Also, is there a mythic reason for the hostility between Heler and Elmal outside of the wooing of Esrola?
It's more cosmological, and local -- Esrola can provide her summer fertility in the summer rains, or in the summer heat.
There is a more mythological aspect in the gods war struggle between Sun and Rain, and one ancient myth of the defeat of the Sun/Sky by the Water gods led in their battles by Heler exists to explain why the Sky is blue instead of golden, as it used to be (many other explanations for the blueness of the sky exist) -- a corresponding myth explains that the subsequent defeat and casting down of the Water gods created the Skyfall Downpour in the North of Dragon Pass...
Then again, Heler and Elmal are still *allies* in the Storm Tribe of Orlanth ... :-)
Heler is a VERY ancient god, older than both Orlanth and Ernalda, and yet ever youthful -- and the simplest and most primaeval of his initiation rituals is to give yourself to the cleansing, purifying, and soul-transforming power of abandonment to his life-giving rains, and discover your own secret shape of your waters within and their one-ness with the waters without.
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