Friday, 29 March 2013

Lhankor Mhy


Another cult updated for Legend/RQ6. The Legend specific bits are in red the RQ6 bits in blue

Lhankor Mhy is the Orlanthi god of knowledge. He stood by Orlanth's throne as his Lawspeaker when he ruled the world during the Storm Age and accompanied him on his epic quest to rescue the sun from hell.

He is worshipped by the 'Knowing Men', the scholars and lawyers of Sartarite and other Thelayan cultures. They are quite emphatically scholars, not scientists or sorcerers, and can be relied on to waffle endlessly about the minutiae of history, legal precedents and ethics, but few among them create anything truly new or experimental. In fact knowing a fair bit about the Empire of the Wyrm's Friends and the Middle Sea Empire they are downright leery of anything new, regarding innovation as a sure path to disaster. The new Red Moon goddess and her 'progress' crazed followers are on the road to Hell, no doubt about it.

They are supposed to be impartial and uninvolved in politics, advising all impartially. This doesn't preclude fighting amongst themselves though, and any sizeable temple is a rat's nest of cliques, academic rivalries and backbiting.

Followers

There are two sorts of followers. The temples run a few classes for ordinary members of the populace, usually in Literacy (local language), which are paid for at the usual rate, up to 50%.

A few, usually younger people, are accepted as Apprentices if they have Literacy skills of 50% or more and pass a test, rolling INTx5% or less. If they fail they can always reapply next year. Apprentices are expected to work full time for the temple and spend at least 50% or their time in class, studying any number of cult skills at half price. The rest of the time is spent doing a variety of unexciting tasks like copying scrolls and books, cleaning, helping in the refectory and even farm work where the temple has lands attached for its upkeep. Their little free time is spent doing the usual damn fool things students do in all times and places.

Apprenticeship lasts around six years, but bright apprentices who make suitably large donations to the temple can take their exams early.

Apprentices can learn the following Folk/Common magic at half price:
Legend: Bearing Witness, Detect Magic, Detect Gold, Detect Silver, Mindspeech, Understanding
RQ6: Appraise, Find Magic, Find Gold, Find Silver, Mindspeech, Translate

Initiates

To become an initiate one must have 50% in five temple skills. At least one must be Literacy (local language) and another must be a Lore skill. The other three are chosen from: Any other Lore or Literacy, Theology (Lhankor Mhy) or Devotion (Lhankor Mhy), Oratory, Insight, Evaluate or Bureaucracy.

Other skills or requirements may be required by individual temples; Hevduran Dege temple in the Holy Country for example allows sword combat skills to be part of the curriculum and the Jelenkev School in Heortland requires some knowledge of sorcery, being dominated by Aeolians.

Initiates are the grad students of the temple. The cleverest are invited to stay and work as teachers and researchers or have to leave and find a trade . Either way they donate at least 30% of their income or time to the temple.

They get training in the Teaching skill at half price, and can enrol in classes in other cult skills at the same discount.

Initiates get access to the following Divine Magic, and may know up to ¼ or their POW in Divine Magic.

Divine Magic
Legend: Absorption, Amplify, Behold, Dismiss Magic, Mindlink
RQ6: Absorption, Behold, Dismiss Gnome, Dismiss Sylph, Dismiss Magic, Mindlink

Initiates who have proved their orthodoxy and have 50%+ in Theology or Devotion may learn sorcery. The priests of Lhankor Mhy know their god invented sorcery and that the charlatan Zzabur stole his notes to cook up the Blue Book. Sorcery as practised by anyone outside their cult is literally soul destroying, the only spells permissible are those that have been sanctified by the cult through the use of the mysterious Alien Combination Machine, and then encoded in secret scrolls.

An initiate may know a maximum of ¼ their INT in Sorcery spells on top of this, but an apprentice who knows more sorcery than divine magic is usually regarded as religiously suspect (except at the Jelenkev School) and their Exhort/Pact rolls are at one step greater difficulty.

The skill studied is Grimoire (Torvald Fragments) or Invoke (Torvald Fragments). The precise number and nature of the spells available at different temples varies, depending on what ancient texts they have in the library, but the following selection is in the largest publicly known collection.

Spells
Legend: Analyse Magic*, Enhance Intelligence, Intuition, Object Reading*, Sorcery Resistance*, Dismiss Confusion*
RQ6: Analyse Magic*, Intuition, Sorcery Resistance*, Dismiss Confusion*, Enhance Intelligence, Object Reading*

* New spell.

Otherwise almost any spell is possible, the library stacks in Lhankor Mhy Temples are disorganised to say the least, Temple strongrooms have forbidden books that no one dare translate or use (Tap spells for example) and plenty of scholars have private collections they will let their colleagues see one day, but not just yet, not while they are still working on them. It is widely suspected that Minyarth Purple has a copy of Abjure Ageing somewhere he isn't sharing with anyone.

Each time a non-sanctioned spell is cast, 1d4-1% in lost in Pact (Lhankor Mhy) or Exhort (Lhankor Mhy). Use of totally banned spells like Tap, Demon Summoning, and the creation of undead reduce this to zero immediately. Once it reaches zero you are deemed souless and excommunicated, and in the most serious cases the Brain Flayer will be invoked (see later).

Acolytes

Acolytes must have Teaching 50%+, a literacy skill at 75%+, a lore skill at 75%+ and Theology (Lhankor Mhy) or Devotion (Lhankor Mhy) at 50%+ and must have contributed one previously unknown fact to the temple library, as adjudicated by the Priests. The libraries are so full that these contributions are often mindbogglingly obscure scraps of trivia of no possible use to anyone, but if it isn't in there, it still counts.

Acolytes may gain up to half their POW in Divine Magic and a third of their INT in sorcery spells, making them potentially very powerful and versatile magicians.

Divine Magic:
Legend: Heal Mind, Mind Blast
RQ6: Heal Mind, Mind Blast

Sorcery:
Acolytes may go beyond Torvald's Fragments and use the more obscure spells sanctified by the temple. Typical choices are Telepathy, Spirit Resistance and Mystic Sense.

Priest

Priests must know one Lore to 90%, one Literacy skill at 90% and one other cult skill (may be another Literacy or Lore) at 90%. They must have been an acolyte for at least five years and have written one book deemed worthy of inclusion in the temple library. These books are often indexes, bibliographies and compendia culled from existing books, but deemed worthwhile additions if they cut down the number of dusty scrolls and tablets one must dredge through to find the fact you are looking for.

They may gain up to ¾ of their POW in Divine Magic, and half their INT in Sorcery, a powerful magician by anyone’s standards.

Priests usually live full time at the temple, receive fees for teaching and advice, often sit alongside the greatest tribal Kings and the High King of their realm in court, or even sit in judgement on his behalf. They can ferret through all the secret libraries, lead expeditions to discover lost knowledge and generally rule the roost, though there are always eccentrics who get fed up with it all and become Wild Sages doing protracted field research and only seeing their colleagues once a year (or even less for those who consecrate their own shrines).

There are three positions they covet – Provost of Apprentices, Chief of Loremasters and Chief Priest. No one makes it to Chief Librarian, as they call their High Priest, without going through one of these jobs first.

Divine Magic:
Extension, Consecrate

High Priest

Every major temple has its own high priest, called a Chief Librarian. Often eccentric and obtuse quite simply because they can be and get be and get away with it, they are elected for life by the priests and acolytes and by dint of dubious sorcery and comfortable and cloistered living they can live to a very ripe old age. The various Chief Librarians rarely get on, endlessly disputing each other's religious dogmas, organisational practices and right to receive fees from subordinate temples. Fortunately these turf wars are conducted through long and tedious court cases, snarky letters and thick books full of obscure references.

They can have as many divine spells as their POW allows, and up to 2/3 of their INT in sorcery spells, and have access to the Alien Combination Machine that allows sorcery spells to be consecrated to Lhankor Mhy. They generally have 110% or more in a Lore skill and one other cult skill and several books to their name.

Divine Magic
Legend: Excommunicate
RQ6: Fortify Library, Excommunicate

Lhankor Mhy and Sorcery

It is widely known that the cult dabbles in sorcery. Traditionalist Orlanthi regard this as deeply suspect, but the sages are unwilling to give it up as it is so damn useful, and, after all, their god did invent it. Lhankor Mhy priests are well aware of the hostility and get very defensive about it, going to great lengths to reassure people that their sanctified spells are without any risk and that nothing remotely God Learnerish, Malkionist or horror of horrors Lunar is going on.

Relations to other cults

The doctrines of Lhankor Mhy insist that knowledge cannot be denied to anybody. The cult has no qualms about charging high prices for their advice and for teaching, they aren't a charity, but an outright no is unacceptable. As a result their temples sometimes have members of other knowledge related cults as tenants or even parts of the faculty. In Pavis the Lunar Irripi Ontor cult has an entire branch of the central temple, in Jonstown the Lunars have an annexe within the temple grounds, but are refused entry to the library. The cult has less of a problem with Buserian cultists, but will not allow any foreign sorcerers on their premises under any circumstances.

In southern Heortland the cult has pretty much been entirely supplanted by the Aeolian Saint Ankormy the Scholar, who have almost entirely gone over to sanctified sorcery, and even written grimoires for other Aeolian cults to use.

Oddities and eccentricities

Each temple has its own unique features, but all follow a few basic doctrines. Apprentices are not allowed to marry until they have become initiates. All initiates must have a beard, preferably grey, a requirement female members get round by wearing false ones. Members are required to preserve written knowledge, even at risk to themselves. Wild Sages, those who opt out of the temple hierarchy and go off to study in the field, are prone to all kinds of manias and peculiarities, though the idea that a rival sage is out to get them or steal their work is often not purely paranoia.