Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Kolat

Another adaptation of an old(ish) cult for RQ6, since one of my players in Griffin Mountain had his PC come to a sticky end during a Heroquest and would like his new character to be a Kolating Shaman. There have been a few write-ups of Kolat for Heroquest and one for RQ3; I am going to be mostly following the Sartar Companion version.

Who is Kolat?

He is a son of Umath and a member of the Storm Tribe, and defended the Vingkotlings against the onslaught of spirits that sought to drive the Gods out of the world, defeated Zzabur the Sorcerer who preyed upon the Vingkotlings after their chief gods left on the Lightbringers Quest and slew Karkajan the Monster Shaman.

Who worships him?

Oddballs. The Orlanthi are a settled agricultural people for the most part with a powerful pantheon of gods and hierarchy of kings, chieftains and priests. But there are always malcontents and wanderers and people who feel the climb up the greasy pole of tribal politics isn't worth the candle and want another kind of power, some have odd dreams, some are driven out by misfortune and injustice. Then there are other people who never did fit in with Orlanthi culture; in Sartar some families never found a place among the colonising clans and tribes and remained stickpickers on the margins of the wildlands, tramps and charcoal burners holding to an ancient hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

The typical Kolating holds no allegiance to any family, clan or tribe. He wanders the land living rough and trading his unique talents for dealing with spirits with the settled farmers. Kolatings have a reputation for being conmen and thieves, but the Orlanthi are habitually distrusting of any strangers not part of their clan. They at least accept Kolatings as part of Heortling culture and deserving of some traditional hospitality, even if it is sometimes even more grudging than that given to Tricksters.

Where is he worshipped?

He is worshipped in Heortland, the Rightarm Islands, Maniria, Dragon Pass, Ralios, all through the Lunar Provinces and Talastar, Fronela and the North West and even in Pent. He may be more widely worshipped geographically than Orlanth himself, though across most if this area his is a very minor cult. But in primitive Brolia he is the most important member of the Storm Tribe, and in the most Lunarised parts of Vanch, Holay and Sylila he is the last remnant of the storm still worshipped since Orlanth worship has completely died out.

The secondary traditions a Kolating has access to will differ throughout this range. The ones given here are found in Dragon Pass, Maniria and Tarsh; in Pent Kolat is a minor tradition kept up by shamen dedicated to Kargzant.

Common Members

Quite a few Heortling people have a basic understanding of spirits, many clans have at least one person who has a touch of the 'Second Sight' and some Binding or Trance skill, often following the Earth Witch tradition, but sometimes the Kolat Seven Winds instead or as well. They will have knowledge of Find Spirit, Spirit Shield or Witchsight. They will usually be followers of a theistic cult as well. They can bind up to ¼ of their Cha in spells, but if they have theistic magic this will be reduced by 2 spirits per Divine Miracle known, and the number of Miracles will be reduced by 2 per spirit held.

The wandering shamen have little respect for these settled types though, regarding them as mere dabblers, unless they are willing to accompany them as apprentices.

Spirit Worshipper

These members are usually found as apprentices to the wandering Kolatings. They can actually bind spirits, up to half of their CHA, but must take a Seven Winds spirit with its attendant geas as their first spirit.

They must have 50% Trance and 50% Binding (Seven Winds Spirit), and need 50% in three of the following skills: Insight, Locale, Willpower, Lore (Seven Winds), Survival , First Aid, Sing, Healing, Binding (Secondary Tradition), Deceit, Sleight.

If they are sworn as a shaman's apprentice then they need not pay for any training, but are required to accompany him and give him a share of any fees earned for using shamanic skills. If not, they can gain a place by the fire and hospitality at any shaman's encampment, but there is no obligation to feed them. They can request training, and will be asked to pay half the usual costs.

Shaman

Shamen can bind up to three quarters of their Cha worth of spirits, one of which must be a Seven Winds spirit, one must be from a secondary tradition and one of which may be a Fetch. They may bind a Guardian Spirit, which confers greater protection from hostile magic, and bind Air Elemental Spirits (see Seven Winds tradition below).

They must have 70% Binding (Seven Winds), 70% Trance and 70% in two skills from Insight, Locale, Willpower, Lore (Seven Winds) Survival, Binding (Secondary Tradition), Lore (Secondary Tradition). The minimum Binding (Secondary Tradition) skill must be 35%.

The Fetch of a Kolating must have the following traits:

Autonomy – it can travel wherever the wind goes.

Elemental – it can manifest in the physical world as a Sylph.

If it has Manifest it can also appear as an eagle, and if it has Shapechange it is able to turn the Shaman temporarily into an eagle.

When rolling for the traits of a Kolating Fetch one trait must come from the following set.

  1. Hot wind – can act as a Warmth folk magic spell without spending any MP, can cast Heat for 1 mp, and can add its POW as a %age to any attempt to oppose a cold, ice or darkness spirit
  2. Cold wind – can act as a Cool Folk Magic spell without spending any mp, cast Chill for 1 mp, and can add its POW as a %age to any attempt to oppose a heat or fire spirit
  3. Howling wind – can cast Demoralise on as many targets as fit within it for just 1mp the lot.
  4. Hunting spirit – can hunt down one of the six foes; the undead, the possessed, death spirits, disease spirits and curse spirits sent by women, gains a Spirit Tracking skill of 50%+Int+Pow
  5. Hunting spirit – can hunt down one specific type of animal using its own tracking skill or enhancing that of the shaman, Track Animal 50%+Int +Cha
  6. Blow away foes – when attacked by multiple spirits the shaman can choose to have his fetch keep all but the strongest at bay with its winds. Willpower vs Willpower of the attacking spirits for this to work.
  7. Lightning – can use Disruption for 1 mp, and can target as many people as fit within it as an elemental for 1mp each.
  8. Thunderous Voice – enables the Shaman to use the folk magic Voice whenever he feels like it, and can make rolls on Influence, Oratory or Sing one step easier for 2 mp, at least when dealing with other Storm worshippers; others might ask who the shouting, bragging lunatic thinks he is.

High Shaman

Can bind his entire Cha in spirits, and need 90% in one Binding skill (any tradition, not necessarily Seven Winds), 90% Trance and one of; Lore (any Tradition), Insight, Willpower.

High Shamen are respected and feared, and are often cantankerous and eccentric from having to follow the geases of so many spirits. All can command and use Seven Winds spirits, but some specialise in the lesser traditions; Chalk Man shamen are earthy and apparently good humoured, eager for a game of gambling sticks and highly likely to tell you tall tales and try and con you, Oakfed shamen are often hot tempered, Night Listeners dress in black and are alert and penetrating, Serkos shaman are loners. Those few shamen who favour Granny Vo and Uncle are like men from another country, dressed in furs, carrying stone knives full of strange oaths and are often rude.

Spirit Lord

There is a Spirit Lord of Kolat out there up on one of the sacred mountains but no one knows who he is or where he is. Kolating shamen tend to travel a lot, it is entirely possible that he is the scruffy skin clad old man selling charcoal to the bronzesmith over there, is hiding behind that looming stormcloud over there or is sitting in a trance on the peak of Kero Fin hunting through the spirit world looking for the pernicious shamen of Jakaleel as they seek to capture and convert the spirits of the Orlanthi dead.

The Seven Winds Tradition

There are six varieties of spirits that this tradition can call on, and a Shaman can never have more than one of each kind. They are Nature spirits in RQ6, and usually augment skills and boost attributes or cast enhanced versions of Folk Magic.

Before Me. Provide charms relating to the wind, such as enhancing knowledge of the weather, using small winds to move things, sending messages via the winds, using wind to help arrows fly etc. Taboo: Never Commit Adultery. For example: Spirit casts Mindspeech spell with a range of 5xPOW in meters, a tiny breath of wind taking the Shaman's words and whispering them to the target, each point of intensity of spirit can increase range or increase number of recipients.

On My Right. Provide charms relating to cold weather, such as increasing Endurance against cold, helping the shaman survive and find food in the cold, combating fire spirits, causing frostbite and so on. Taboo: Must Tend Oak Trees. For example make Endurance rolls one step easier in cold weather

Behind Me. Provide charms that can change the weather. Taboo:Rise Early From Sleep. For example increase cloud cover over one square kilometre per intensity, can block out the light of the moon or weaken the sun.

On My Left. Water Spirits that counter spirit attacks. Taboo: Never Drink Alcohol. For example: Provide one 'spirit armour' per point of intensity to reduce mp loss during spirit combat or make Binding skill rolls half a grade easier per intensity when fighting off hostile spirit attacks.

Above Me. Fire spirits that defend against magic, track spirit magic back to the caster, or rebound spirit magic. Taboo: Must Sleep under the Sky. For example: If the shaman resists a spell equal to the intensity of the spirit or under it is reflected back at the person who cast it, at a cost of 1mp to the spirit, or make all rolls to resist a spell half a grade easier.

Below Me. Darkness spirits that fight one or more of the Six Foes; corporeal undead, the possessed, spirits of death, spirits of disease and curses sent by women, Taboo: Never Kill. Example; Add two steps in weapon damage vs Skeletons and Zombies, or make all rolls to resist hostile magic cast by women one grade easier.

The seventh wind is Within Me, and is in fact the Shaman's fetch, which enables the shaman to embody it as an Elemental spirit.

Once a person has become a shaman, the Before Me, On My Right and Behind Me spirits may be replaced by Elemental spirits that not only have the powers noted above but which can be released to fight as Elementals, but not embodied. The On My Left, Above Me and Below Me spirits can be replaced by Guardian Spirits with slightly limited abilities (ie On My Left only attacks spirits, Above Me only intercepts spells, Below Me can do either, but only against certain foes).

Shamen with the Seven Winds tradition can learn and teach a number of useful folk magic spells such as Avert, Frostbite, Chill, Cool, Heat, Shove, Speedart, Spiritshield, Voice and Witchsight

Chalk Man Tradition

The Chalk Man is a great Earth spirit who aided Kolat many times, rescuing him from Karkajan with the aid of his gambling sticks. Chalk Man lives under a hill in northern Dragon Pass, marked with his outline. The Chalk Man binding skill can be used as a Gambling skill when playing the gambling stick game, and used to help bind spirits of other traditions if the shaman can persuade them into playing. His spirits are nature spirits with a variety of odd powers, and again only one from each category may be taken at any one time. In ancient times there were shamen who followed Chalk Man alone and had Chalk Man give them fetches, but no one now knows how that is done. Going into the cave in the Chalk Man hill looks like an obvious route for research, but no one is quite brave enough to try.

Might and Vigour folk magic spells are taught by Chalk Man spirits.

Oakfed tradition

Also followed in Prax, Oakfed spirits can only be bound in the depths of winter, and anyone with one of these spirits cannot also have an On My Right Spirit from the Seven Winds tradition, and will be regarded by the Aldryami as hostile. These spirits can burn anything, and shamen can even bind one that will burn away spiritual impurities.

Night Listener

A darkness spirit also worshipped by Trolls, which wake men in the night if they are threatened by intruders (or in the day for troll worshippers), or attack intruders. The folk magic Alarm is taught by these spirits.

Serkos

Serkos is another name for Odayla, and the animal spirits associated with Odayla can be found HERE.

Granny Vo and Uncle

These spirits are very old and rather mysterious and live in a tent on a vast empty plain in the spirit world. Granny Vo is the spirit of untamed nature and may have something to do with the goddess Velhara who was mother to Odayla, the foreign Balazaring spirit Rigtaina and maybe a few other spirits and goddesses besides. The Kolatings see her as old and dotty and say if they do not perform her rites correctly she will destroy the world. She gave Kolat the Three Bow, and Three Bow spirits can do a number of interesting things such as shoot magic arrows, start fires, make rainbows and read omens at the cost of keeping a unique, capricious and strange taboo set by Granny.

Propitiative Rites

Worship of chaos is not permitted, but certain chaos entities feature prominently in Kolat rituals as enemies and special rites can be used to combat them.

Karkajan

The chaos shaman is invoked in many Kolating rituals as an evil and corrupting influence which must be driven away. However there is a rite involving making a decorated straw man to represent Karkajan and undergoing a small heroquest which ends in burning the figure. This will confer a long term resistance to foreign spirits. The recent fashion in Sartar is to dress the strawman up in the black robes of a Jakaleel shaman or in the red finery of the Red Goddess herself; needless to say this will get you crucified if the Lunars catch you. Some shamen have always advocated putting living enemies like broo or goats inside a wicker man to add to the potency of the rite, serious hardliners among the rebel tribes are now burning Lunar missionaries alive.

Malia

Kolatings offer a fawn and a lamb to Malia four times a year, and settled Orlanthi may invite them to do so in their steads as a defence against disease, even though the practice is frowned upon by the cult of Chalana Arroy. Any shaman may attempt to exorcise a spirit of disease, but it takes a long time, and if the rite fails the shaman himself may be infected and any further attempt to cure the person, even by a theist priest of a healing god or goddess will fail.

Thed

Shamen can summon a spirit called Be'e at certain wasp nests. This spirit will ride a wasp all the way to Thed herself and tell her that Kolat knows she is there. Later, if the shaman is threatened by broo, a wasp will come and give him forewarning of the attack and then go and sting a broo.

If the broo doesn't take the hint and go back, the shaman can release a huge swarm of wasps from his mouth which will set about the broo. This rite is not easy to do, finding the wasps nest is hard enough, and its effectiveness depends on how powerful a spirit of Be'e the Shaman can summon and defeat. If it works the spirit becomes a kind of 'wasp elemental', of equivalent size to an elemental of the same intensity and all broo within it will make all rolls at one difficulty level harder.