Sunday, 23 March 2014

Adventures in the Merry Town of Tink

(Haven't done a play report in a while, so here it is. Warning - contains sex, drugs and rock and roll!)

Arriving in the middle of the night with a maimed bandit on a litter might not have been the best way to see the glorious town of Tink. The bandit had attempted to lead them into an ambush the day before, and as he said, the javelin through the leg he'd got in return for attempting to backstab Glothar was fair do's really and he was lucky to be alive thanking everyone kindly, and not abandoned in the wilds to be eaten by carnivorous dinosaurs such as they have in these parts.

Still his dozy mates made one last attempt to put an arrow in the party's backs from a copse on Bushwacker Street as they came into town. As the party arrived there was something of a local celebration going on, judging by the sound of bagpipes, cheering, laughter and blood curdling screaming from one of the rune carved menhirs surrounding the town.

The procession leading from it went past, dozens of brigands led by Philigos the Black himself, self appointed chieftain of the Bushwackers. Aldani attempted to enter Bushwacker's Hall, but was spotted and, of course, robbed. Still Philigos himself did point out the way to the Dragon Inn and refrained from stabbing anybody for the fun of it.

The Inn was a hive of activity. Thagda the Storm Shaman had had an interesting night the night before, quite nostalgic really, with plenty of local beer topped off with a big pipe of hazia courtesy of a fellow Praxian exile, a huge baboon called Garzeek. Of course it all got a bit fuzzy after that and he awoke in a ratty bed with a monster hangover. He stumbled around the room and found a bucket, and went to pee, but there was a problem... he fumbled around in his loincloth but he had somehow mislaid his penis... Not unsurprisingly he got kind of angry at that and began tearing the bed apart and throwing lumps of timber out of the window.

Below Garazar and Aldani stood by the door watching a frothing mad naked guy hurling buckets and bedsteads and foreign obscenities into the night, when the tree standing by the front door observed, 'I think someone doesn't like the beer.'

It was an elf, though barely recognizable as such, since he was covered in shelf fungus and had bandaged hands, and had dug his mouldy toes into the soil. He shook Garazar's hand 'Helloo, I'm Goonflower', he said, but Garazar had no time for pleasantries, since the rancid black pine pitch that had oozed from Goonflower's hand onto his was already sprouting thin wispy mushrooms that were driving hyphae into his skin. 'Oops. sorry,' said Goonflower as Garazar ran screaming into the inn looking for strong drink to douse his hand in.

Ingana the green haired landlady obliged with some her cheapest and most toxic lunar gin just as a stark naked berserk barbarian came charging down the stairs hollering 'Where is my fucking dick you bastards! I need to pee!'.

Ingana was unfazed. 'Here, this was left for you,' she proffered him a wooden cup of Lunar gin. As Thagda prepared to throw it at his tonsils the edge of the cup became a mouth and whispered at him in a husky female voice 'Go to a side room, we need to talk, privately'. Wide eyed he did what any sensible Praxian would do and sought the help of his riding beast, his faithful Rhino, out in the stables.

Passing the Trolkin stablehands who were rolling in the dirt having a fist fight, one of whom offered to lick his rhino clean for five silver, while the other ran off with the tasty lump of rhino dung that was the causus belli. Thagda found himself in deep conversation with two measures of gin. He would get his penis back, it informed him, if he killed Philigos the Black. Thagda was surprised to find that despite being detached his penis still had feeling as the cup of gin demonstrated the pain he would suffer and the pleasure he would be rewarded with, and if he took too long than his knob would end up being poked into a nest of fire ants. He downed the gin, finding the edge of the cup had become a pair of soft pouting lips... he panicked utterly at that and gibbering about chaos cowered behind his rhino, who munched hay and produced a couple of lumps more poo, to the delight of the hungry Trollkin.

In the meanwhile Aldani had taken to the stage trying to replace his lost silver by singing. This stage was adorned with a smooth pole for some reason, but Aldnai didn't worry about that and sang his loudest shamanic chant. Only one person applauded, a huge burly baboon with his mane teased into dreadlocks and plaits decorated with bits of coloured ribbon, and a huge pipe filled with pungent hazia. Sing us a Praxian song he demanded, demonstrating with hooting and beating the table madly, until Ingana told him to pack it in.

Garazar worked his way down the drink list at the bar, falling foul of the Premium Wintertop lager, until a duck sidled up to him. Garazar sensibly clutched this money bag , but the duck offered him something for 'the connoisseur' that could be bought in a back room. In the dark hidey hole were two human goons and a further duck dressed in black leather and with huge gold chains round their necks offered him a free go of Blacksap, a lovely resinous substance that could be chewed... Garazar thanked them and scarpered, the duck had had one hand under the table during the whole meeting and seemed very keen for Garazar to sit on the stool opposite...

The baboon, Garzeek, and his human friends were much nicer, and passed a big pipe of smoking herbs that made Garazar feel much more confident about this whole expedition, really quite happy, if rather cross eyed and confused and surrounded by things that may or may not have been spirits. Anyway he had a nice chat with the table whether it was listening to him or not.

Aldani had got on with the main business they party had in Tink - meeting Farong Farosh the famous EWF revenant and seing if he could help with their Dragon cursed gold problem. They had 100,000+ lunars of the bloody stuff hidden away in various places but since everyone they bought anything off with it ended up being toasted, they found they couldn't really spend it (though they had made a generous donation to the Black Oak gang in Runegate).

Farong was a strange guy, short, a but tubby and clad in a very funky dragon winged headpiece, slate-dark silver spectacles and bronze scaled robes. He was, Ingana warned, very dangerous despite appearances and though he talked utter rubbish and fairy tales for the most part it was unwise to anger him. Oddly enough he was quite keen to help, and called in Thagda, who was now wandering forlornly around the bar with no clothes and no penis, and Garazar who was getting along famously somewhere inside and ever expanding cloud of aromatic smoke.

Farong had a problem. He was kind of ashamed to admit it, but some bastard had stolen his penis! A mouth that had appeared out of the frame of a chair had asked him to kill Ulvarius, the Lunar cart repairman who had a shop in town, who dealt slaves on the side. Get him his appendage back, before it got dunked in a nest of fire ants, and he would help persuade the dragon, who he knew from the old days, to stop toasting people.

As the party mulled over various plans,Thagda returned to his room to fetch his clothes only to find that it had been turned over and his last nine lunars stolen. The tracks indicated that it was a small person who had recently stepped in rhino dung, but he was too pissed off to go beat the tar out of any trollkin tonight.

Back in the bar the place had filled up with bandits and layabouts of all descriptions, and someone was on stage. There hoots and cheers which quickly turned to howls and shouts, and people stole vegetables from the pile by the common soup cauldron to hurl at the stage. It seems the trollish barmaid's idea of entertainment (see illustration) had not been very popular. She went into a back room in floods of tears 'But I trained for years in the temple of Uleria' she bawled. Garzeek the baboon liked it though, not that he got into her dressing room.

From Runequest Companion

Meanwhile Aldani and Garazar were chatting up some ladies (well one was a eunuch) from the Barren, a gang of fanatic Maran Gor worshipers with sharpened teeth and a way with axes who claimed to be able to summon dinosaurs. As they chatted one of them beat a passing bandit to a bloody pulp, another offered to remove the rest of Thagda's masculine equipment and initiate him into the cult, and they all ended up taunting bandits with a serious case of beer goggles with the offer of a blow job, grinning with their highly sharpened teeth and occasionally screaming 'Hail the Bloody Earth' and draining huge drinking horns of Premium Lager. They could organise a stampede of Triceratops to marmalise Philigos and his crew maybe, but it would take a sacrifice or two, someone with nice colourful bowels to spill who would please Maran Gor. 'Bloody Earth!!' glug glug glug...

Aldani, skint, noted that the crowd did seem somewhat distracted and snaffled some spare change off the bar, only to find that some 12 year old kid was busy trying to get what he could out of Aldani's money pouch, the kid shrugged his shoulders, grinned and ran off into the sweating, smoking, giggling crowd.

As the party retired, leaving Green Ingana striding up and down the bar top waving a broadsword threateningly over a crowd of manically dancing loons with blacksap stained sputum dribbling from the corners of their mouths, Garazar observed 'I like this bar, its the best one we have been to in Dragon Pass yet.'

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Storm Bull

Continuing my series of adaptations of classic Gloranthan cults to new rulesets, here is everyone’s favourite bamhead Storm Bull for Legend in RED and Runequest 6 in BLUE. Stormbull first appeared in Cults of Prax and his classicly barbarian ways have been a popular player option ever since. Here I am drawing heavily on the 'Sartar:Kingdom of Heroes' version, but with a few bits of the old classic Cults of Prax version added back in as well.

Who is Storm Bull?

Storm Bull was the mighty son of Umath the primal storm, a great spirit who settled in the plains of Prax among Eiritha's herds. He is unthinking raw strength and violence, he fought against the chaos gods, killing many before his last epic fight against Wakboth the Devil. He killed Wakboth by calling a great shard of the broken holy mountain called the spike, but died afterwards of his wounds. He met Wakboth again in the afterlife and started the fight all over again, returning to the world after Arachne Solara finally bound and consumed the devil to create Time.

Why is he worshiped?

Chaos is a continual presence in the world, Wakboth is always trying to come back, and the followers of Storm Bull are always there to stop him. Storm Bull's followers are regarded as savage and crazy even by the barbaric standards of the cultures that spawn them, but they are regarded as a neccessary evil, for without warriors crazy enough to wade into a broo nest or hunt down a walktapus chaos would eventually take over the world once more.

His warriors are 'called' - they show more than the usual arrogance and violence from an early age, they are rude to their elders, obnoxious to their kin and violent to their peers. Eventually it is suggested to the young miscreant that he may need to leave the tribe and seek his path in the wild, asking for guidance from the spirits and the wild Storm Bull shamen.

Lay Members

Lay members are those who support the cult through material or monetary contributions. In Sartar, where the god goes by the name of Urox, people donate food and weapons to their local Storm Bull warriors, at least in part to keep them out of their villages. In Prax the Storm Bulls can form quite sizeable warbands, and the tribute from the ordinary tribes stops them raiding.

People may also become lay members by temporarily joining a Storm Bull warband. When a major chaos threat is around no one can afford to leave the fighting entirely to someone else and they form an army with the Storm Bulls as their cutting edge.

Bull Warrior

Those young warriors who deliberately set out to join a Storm Kahn's warband will be trained up in the skills of the cult. Bull Warriors must have 50% in five of the following skills: -
Legend: Any two weapons, Ride, Brawn, Resilience, Spirit Walk, Spirit Binding (Storm Bull spirits), Stealth, Perception, Tracking, Athletics
RQ6: Any combat style, Ride, Athletics, Brawn, Endurance, Tracking, Stealth, Perception, Trance, Binding

And they must pass an ordeal, going into the spirit plane and fighting a series of battles, culminating in meeting their own personal Devil and beating it.

Bull Warriors also start a Sense Chaos skill at POW%, and they may bind up to ¼ or their CHA in bull spirits.

All Bull Warriors are taught the common magic Fanaticism, and often learn Detect Enemies and Protection as well.

Bull Shaman

A Bull Shaman must have 70% or better in four of the cult skills, one of which must be a weapon and another must be Spirit Binding/Binding.

Bull shamen may bind up to half their CHA in spirits.

They gain a fetch which has the ability to cast spells on the shaman, regenerate magic points by defeating enemy spirits, and the defensive ability of a Guardian spirit.

Storm Kahns/Bull Priests

A Storm Kahn (as the Praxians call them) or Bull Priest (as they are known elsewhere) muts have 90% or more in three skills, one of which must be a weapon or combat style. They can bind up to three quarters of their CHA in spirits.

Storm Bull spirits

These are bound into fetishes derived from the totem animal of the worshipper, if any, and various gruesome relics of downed foes. Not many people other than a Bullman would have the mad enough to carry a tanned broo's scrotum full of live hornets for example, but it's the ideal home for a 'Foe of the Devil spirit.

Foe of the Devil - these will aid the warrior against a specific type of chaos monster, adding 10% per intensity to attack rolls and to saves vs any magic cast by the creature or any unusual attack, like poison.

Rage of the Bull – these add 10% per intensity to Resilience/Endurance and if the warrior would ordinarily be incapacitated by an attack they allow an extra resilience roll to ignore the pain and fight on. The disadvantage is that the warrior is beserk, and may carry on fighting after all foes have been slain – roll Insight each round or carry on attacking friends, allies and innocent bystanders, making the roll one step easier each subsequent round.

Bull's Breath – minor air elementals, never better than intensity 2, but can bring to bear stinging dust and desert heat as well as the force of the storm.

Bull's Heart – these spirits have great strength, adding 3 points per point of intensity.

Bull's Horn(s) – when the warrior makes a headlong charge he adds the Intensity of the spirit to his or his steed's movement and to damage.

Bull's Hide – the hide of the Storm Bull is impervious to any assault - +1 armour per intensity of spirit, +1.5 vs Chaos foes.

Bull's Legs – the Storm Bull can run on the wind and travel great distances. Generally low intensity spirits add to Resilience/Endurance when undergoing forced marches, extra bonuses being gained from travelling before an East desert wind, but higher intensity spirits can enable bonuses to leaping of barriers and chasms instead, or even short duration flight. Nothing comparable to the free flight of Vanganth, but still disconcerting to have the berserk on weighty bison you though you had left on the wrong side of a canyon suddenly leaping across like a gazelle.

Bull's Hooves – any number of violent combat effects, including adding to hit chances for a steed's natural attacks, unarmed combat bonuses, increased bash chances, blunt weapon attack and damage. Usually more about power than speed, associated with the Bullman's specific animal totem, if any, and some have extra power against Chaos foes.

The Cult in Prax

Prax is the homeland of the cult, with most of the great holy sites associated with Storm Bull including the Eternal Battle itself. Praxian Storm Bulls are also considered to be worshippers of Waha or Eritha as matter of course, and an initiate can drawn on any ordinary intensity 1 tribal totem spirit, and can speak with their ancestors when within the confines of Prax. When a Praxian becomes a Storm Khan he can quest for an 'awakened' steed, a riding beast of human intelligence and guile that can become a shaman in its own right.

In Prax Storm Bull warbands can reach considerable size, temporarily at least, uniting (after the usual brutal internecine brawling) under a single Khan with a single powerful chaos foes in mind. The numerous Chaos nests in the Wastes spawn some terrible mutant hordes, but the Storm Bulls can muster up an equally terrible counter horde with little trouble.

The Cult in Sartar

Sartarite Uroxi are fewer and farther between, wild warriors who live in the wilds between the villages and towns alone or in small bands. Some take up the worship of Kolat's Seven Winds or Oakfed, and work with other outcast shamen. Others follow Odayla, as an aid to survival when mainstream society regards you as an irredeemable barbarian and a nutter and won't let you come into town. The totem animal for Sartarite Uroxi is the ordinary Uraldan cow, which makes Praxians look down on them as being just too docile to be proper warriors. The Uroxi claim the mighty Skybull is their animal, but there have been very, very few who have ever tamed one or bound a Skybull spirit. Sartar cultists live more or less like subsided bandits between assaults on Chaos. Occasionally local chiefs will just round them up and execute them like common thieves rather than tolerate their antics and pay them Bull-gild to stay away. then regret it the next time a vile walktapus needs hunting.

The Cult Elsewhere

Storm Bulls go everywhere there is Chaos to be fought, and isolated warriors can be found anywhere there is a job for them to be done. In southern Heortland lies the Order of St Urox guarding the Footprint, where the great god Larnste stomped Krasht back into the ground and got bitten for his trouble. They follow the Aeolian Church and they have liturgists versed in actual sorcery instead of shamanic anarchy. They still have some painful initiation ordeals and go proper mental when they face chaos foes though, and can blast chaos foes into stone, maintaining the petrified forest that keeps the Footprint bottled up.

Talastar is another major centre, bordering as it does on the great grand-daddy of all chaos nests, Dorastor. There Storm Bulls sometimes become doomed mystics following the quiet inner storm of Tarumath as well as taking the wild and berserk spirits of the Bull. They are less unthinkingly hostile to the Red Moon as well. Yes the Lunar Way includes Chaos as it includes everything, but also fights chaos, and includes the rage of the Bull as part of its worship as well. A Nathic balanced tension between chaos and anti-chaos is the 'proper' mode of thought, they reason, achievable through Tarumathic mediation... Few of these weird 'Red Bull' beserkers have been seen in Sartar or Prax, and it is highly likely that theological niceties will go out of the window and the Moon issue settled with axes if they ever did. Even in Talastar there aren't many of them, but they do have a monastery financed by the Red Emperor himself where berserks are given refuge and training in the hopes the cult will take off.

Burial Rites

The cult is famous everywhere for its burial rites, or lack of them. In Prax a warrior is set up on his dead steed, his weapons in his hand and his armour on and left to sit and decay under the desert sun, watching the surrounding area for horrible chaos monsters. In Sartar they make a throne from the skulls of his defeated enemies for him, and in Troll lands they consider it an honour to turn him into a war-zombie to fight on after his death.

Sunday, 2 March 2014


The cult of Issaries first appeared in the Cults of Prax in 1979, and has undergone the usual mutations and expansions as Glorantha has devloped over the years, with versions of the cult for Heroquest, MRQI and so on. I am giving purely my own interpretation here as with all my previous treatements of classic RQ cults and giving stats for Legend in RED and Runequest 6 in BLUE.

Who is Issaries?

Issaries is the trader god of the Lightbringer pantheon. He was a deity who seems to have led an independent life to the Storm Tribe and only joined Orlanth after the holy mountain called the Spike blew up. He negotiated his way through the epic Lightbringer's Quest, though it took the cunning of Lankhor Mhy, the compassion of Chalana Arroy and the violence of Orlanth to get past many of the obstacles along the way.

Who worships him?

Everyone among the Thelayan peoples who trades worships him. There is a shrine in almost every village where people come to trade their crafts, crops and livestock, and every market is a temple to him. The largest towns and cities have at least one and often more temple/guildhalls where the local traders meet and discuss business, organise caravans, get licenses for market stalls and shops, set tariffs and generally do whatever is needed to make money and support each other.

Issaries is also Orlanth's herald, and among the feud-prone Thelayan tribes the clan ring will almost always include an Issaries worshipper who doesn't just trade the clan's good with neighbours, but gives gifts, negotiates treaties and makes peace. His wife was the goddess of language and his followers can speak Tradetalk and many foreign tongues as well, making them ideal emissaries and explorers.

Lay members

Everyone is a lay member on market day. Giving a copper coin or a small sample of one's wares (a pinch of grain, a miniature clay pot, a tiny sliver of bronze) to the shrine of Harst, Issaries eldest son, will hopefully make your deals fair and equitable. Some temples mint half and quarter clacks for this very purpose.

Lay members do not usually get any benefits, but caravan guards, new apprentices and the like will be given the chance to learn the skill Speak Tradetalk at the usual rate.


Those who work at a market stall or shop trading in other people's wares, or who accompany a merchant venturer may wish to become initiates.

They require 50% in three of the following skills:
Legend: Evaluate, Influence, Speak Tradetalk, Commerce, Pact (Issaries)
RQ6: Influence, Speak Tradetalk, Commerce, Exhort (Issaries)

And may learn the following common magics:
Legend: Glamour, Golden Tongue, Protection
RQ6: Calm, Glamour, Lock, Protection

and the following Divine magic, at ¼ of their characteristic POW
Legend: Shield, Blessing, Dismiss Magic, Heal Wound
RQ6: Shield, Dismiss Magic, Heal Wound

and 50% in two of the skills listed under their subcult:

Garzeen the Shopkeeper:
Legend: Lore (Accounting), Lore (Regional), Craft, Streetwise
RQ6: Bureaucracy, Locale, Craft, Streetwise

Legend: Common – Abacus
RQ6: Folk - Calculate

Gultha Goldentounge, the Merchant Venturer:
Legend: Drive, Ride or Shiphandling, Lore (Foreign region), Language (any foreign), Lore (Logistics), Any cultural weapon or Staff, Craft (Map making)
RQ6: Drive, Ride or Seamanship, Lore (Foreign region), Culture (Foreign), Language (Foriegn), any cultural combat style, Navigation

Legend: Common – Understanding, Detect Enemy
RQ6: Folk – Translate, Find Enemy, Appraise, Alarm

Herald Goodwoord, the Emissary:
Legend: Ride, Lore (foreign region), Lore (Politics), Language (any foreign), Oratory, Art (Poetry), Courtesy, Insight, any cultural weapon.
RQ6: Ride, Lore (foreign region), Lore (Politics), Language (any foreign), Oratory, Art (Poetry), Courtesy, Insight, any cultural weapon.

Legend: Common- Understanding, Detect Enemy, Entertainer’s Smile
RQ6: Folk – Translate, Find Enemy, Cleanse

Issaries demands no special duties, but it is expected that a member of the Garzeen and Goldentoungue subcults will be part of a guild or trading company and will pay guild dues to support members through lean times or in return for exemptions from town or city duties, and may receive training from senior members in return. Heralds may well be commanded to go on specific missions for their chief and clan ring. They may refuse, after all one of Orlanth's mottoes is 'No-one can force you to do anything', but clan notables will not be impressed by those who refuse the honour of serving them and the clan's interests. These obligations usually amount to 5-10% of the income or time of the member.

Garzeen cultists are under a geas however. If they come across a part of the dead god Genert they must go into the Wastes and try and find the rest of the long dead god's scattered body, and live in great fear of hyaenas which apparently carry such things. If they can pass on the object to another follower of any subcult before sundown, then they pass on the obligation. Fortunately these pieces are very rare, as crossing the Wastes with its savage nomads and frequent chaos nests is a near certain death sentence, though there have been a few humble shopkeepers who have become legends for their exploits and adventures in the far east.


Acolytes must have 70% in four skills at least one of which must be from their subcult list. They are the leaders and officials in the guilds and leaders of caravans, and are notable and usually wealthy people within their clans.

They get use of the cult special divine magics Market, Divine Lock and Pathwatch, and may learn up to half their POW in divine magic.

Acolytes are expected to make greater donations to the cult guildhalls and to carry out more extensive and important missions for their clan. A mere initiate might be asked to take a message to a neighbouring chief and deliver it courteously, an acolyte might have to to a tribal king, attend his feats, recite or even compose a praise poem, get a good deal trading the clan’s excess cattle and swear an oath to seal a peace treaty. Obligations take up 5-30% of a members time or income.

Acolytes are expected to go to the aid of any other acolyte of the cult; an emissary visiting another clan will be protected, with arms if necessary, by the equivalent Issaries cult leader in the host clan should the laws of hospitality be put aside. If a caravan is in trouble in the wilds, then an acolyte will divert his own caravan to help it out. A merchant who has fallen foul of bandits can expect at least an easy long term loan from his peers down at the market or caravanserai, if not the offer of a safe journey home. If the guildhouse is being attacked or robbed, then the acolytes must muster to defend it. If a merchant has been kidnapped then his peers must gather and deliver the ransom.


Any follower of any rank can be a 'priest' of Issaries as in the head of local guild or master of a merchant company, but recognised priests who can use the most potent divine spells have a lot of respect from their peers.

They require 90% in three skills, two of which must be from the main cult set, and one from the subcult set, plus Theology or Devotion of Issaries at 35%. Most priests will know more than this but this is not a very inward looking cult, they are men and women of the everyday world.

Spells: Create Great Market, Special Divine Lock, Spell Trading, Excommunicate and cam learn up to ¾ of their POW in divine magic.

High Priest

There is no high priest role, no unifying temple hierarchy even within a kingdom. The closest thing the cult ever had to such a position in Sartar was the hero Sartar himself, since he started out as a follower of Issaries and followed many of the gods legends as heroquests to gain the powers of diplomacy and reconciliation that helped him create his kingdom. Subsequent Princes have always had a couple of Issaries priests on their advisory ring to manage the economy, act as almsgivers and as ambassadors, but they had no authority over their fellow cultists other than what the secular royal laws gave them.

Cult Special Spells

Duration 1 hour per point of magnitude, Resist Persistence, Rank Acolyte
Creates an area of neutral ground defined by four staves 1 m long carved with the likeness of various guardian deities. The maximum area is 3m a side plus 1m per point of magnitude. The spell warns the caster if anyone crosses the softly glowing defensive screen with hostile intent, including theft, who fails an opposed roll of Pact/Exhort vs Persistence. It also hits the violator with a disruption spell. The spell dissipates if the caster moves outside the defined area, and if the staves are damaged or removed. Canny merchants often bury them if they are staying somewhere for long, or invest in tough bronze versions.

Great Market
Duration special, Resist Persistence, Rank Priest
Enables several merchants to combine their market spells into one huge spell that covers a whole fairground, adding the duration and area of each individual market spell o the whole. Areas with a large Issaries temple and a permanent priest in residence will have a market spell going pretty much all the time.

Divine Lock
Duration 1 week per point of magnitude, Range Touch, Rank Acolyte
Enables the caster to seal a doorway, chest or other opening for 1 week per pint of magnitude. Conventional lockpicking won't open it, magic is needed to get in, or brute force. The caster can open the door/box etc at any time. A caster can only have one Lock operational per spell, if he wants to seal a number of objects he will have to sacrifice for the spell multiple times.

Special Divine Lock
Duration 1 week per point of magnitude, Range Touch, Rank Priest
As per Divine Lock, but one additional person can be allowed to pass the opening per point of magnitude, and if the lock is bypassed, broken etc. the caster is immediately warned.

Duration Special, Range Special, Resist Persistence, Rank Acolyte
Must be cast on a visible path or road (trackless wastes are not permissible) with a defined destination. The spell acts as a Detect Enemies and Detect Trap spell with a range of 10m per point of magnitude to either side of the road and ahead, and it will last as long as the road lasts or as long as the caster remains awake. A Priest can create a path which can later be a target for this spell by leaving or creating markers every 20m (Joh Mith has done this in areas of Balazar), but if he misses a marker and wanders off the path the spell is dispersed. The road markers along the Royal Roads of Sartar double the range of this spell.

Spell Trading
Duration Special, Range 3m, Rank Priest
Can only be cast within the confines of a Market spell. It enables the trade of one use of any Divine Magic, the exchange being symbolised by the swapping of suitable tokens. The spells must be used within 1 day per 10% of the magnitude of the spell. For example, if Thorvald the Canny (Pact Issaries 70%) swaps a use of Shield with Yalzaring the Bitter (Pact Tharkantus 40%) for Truespear, Thorvald must use the Truespear within 4 days, and Yalzaring must use the Shield within 7 days. Has no effect on Sorcery, Common/Folk magic or Spirit Magic, and magic must be swapped for magic, not for gold, goods or any other consideration.

Standards of Behaviour

Issaries merchants are supposed to be honest, never cheating a customer, never telling an outright lie and never stealing. They are expected to be mutually supportive, even when they are business rivals, and to set aside clan and tribal rivalries when life and limb are at risk, especially at higher ranks, and are supposed to maintain the peace, negotiation and trade being better than war and raiding by any merchants reckoning.

But no one is perfect and Issaries rules are often broken, though usually in small ways. Among the clannish Sartarites some traders hold that Issaries rule that one must never cheat only applies to kin, people from other clans and foreigners are another matter, whatever the tribal kings and princely laws of the kingdom might say. Going to the aid of a caravan being beset by vicious Bison riding beserkers on the wild plains of Prax? Well we did go to the nearest Lunar fort and asked them to send out a cavalry detachment, that's helping isn't it?

In the networks of villages and steads that make up most of the Thelayan lands personal reputation is everything, a merchant who is gives a bad deal is soon gossiped about among the neighbouring villages and among fellow stallholders at the market and so most are pretty honest. In the cities and towns the comparative anonymity can lead to more lax behaviour, and guilds require members to swear oaths to uphold the local trading rules, and hold market courts to hold cheaters to account. All the bigger guildhalls have blessed standard weights and measures, and most will have a stocks.

Issaries merchants will deal in anything, the scruples of the merchant being the only limitation. Most Sartarite Issaries don't deal in slaves, as it isn't part of most clan traditions to keep people as thralls, but there are some that do. Some sell Lunar gin and other imported narcotics despite the obvious damage it is doing in the towns and cities of their homeland, and Issaries merchants have been known to participate in intertribal raids, trading for the best bits of loot (and captives) from the warriors out on the battlefield, and may well pretend ignorance when known bandits come to their shops.


Mules were created by Issaries by magic. They have the advantage of being horse like enough to be acceptable to equine cultures like the Grazelanders and Galanni, while being unlike enough for horse haters like the Praxians to allow them passage across the Plains of Prax.

Issaries and Etyries

Etyries was an Issaries merchant who was trading in Torang when the Seven Mothers performed the miraculous ritual that led to the birth of the Red Goddess. She was one of the first to see the newborn deity and one of the first converts, and after the dramatic events of the Lunar Empire's foundation became the first Immortal (after the Mothers themselves) to rise to the Red Moon. She proved herself the incarnation of Issaries daughter, born in the Godtime, and now resides at the Great Emporium of the Cerise City on the bright side of the Moon, trading with merchants from many Otherworlds. Or as the Sartarites tell it she fell under the spell of the evil chaos sorceress, went mad, committed any number of atrocities and now trades with the demons of all the hells for the gibbering remnants of men's souls to feed her demented mistress.

In Sylila and the Lunar Provinces Etyries now fills the position once held by Issaries and her merchants have the use of exactly the same divine magic and even suffer the same geas to rebuild the lost Genert and same curse of raw greed if they indulge in too many dishonest deals. The subcults are organised a little differently, but they are pretty much the same religion with a red livery. Where Etyries merchants trade in the same lands as Issaries ones they make a big deal out of their common heritage, being as honest as can be in the dealing with Issaries merchants, giving tithes to Issaries guilds, aiding Issaries merchants in trouble and generally trying to overflow with camaraderie. This has not been reciprocated in any way. Members of the subcult of Daretyries, the equivalent of the Heralds, are sometimes kidnapped and their tongues cut out to stop them spreading lies and Moon Madness, and their fellow 'peace loving' Issaries merchants aren't usually bothered a bit.

Famous Issaries Merchants

The most talked about merchant in Sartar is Gold-Gotti. He turned up in the port of Karse 35 years ago in one of the first generation of ocean going ships built after the Opening of the Oceans by Dormal the Sailor. The cargo was Kralorean silk, not seen in Kaethela for 400 years, and he made a killing. He put the profits into further ventures and is now the richest man in Dragon Pass. He owns a good part of Wilmskirk, has 'factories' – warehouses – in all the Sartarite cities and many in Heortland, Tarsh and Esrolia too and loans money to chiefs and kings. He is generous to his local temple, many young merchants have learnt the trade as 'factors' in his organisation and he has invested in many risky caravans.

Rumours abound about him though. He isn't married and never has been as far as anyone recalls, some people are sure that the tale of the Kralorean silks isn't true, and while he dresses ostentatiously in public it is said he lives in one spartan room in his vast mansion with just an abacus and a pile of tally sticks for company. And while he loudly proclaims his membership of the Balmyr tribe he was only adopted into it twenty five years back, and his true origin is obscure. He speaks Sartarite with a perfect 'courtly' accent, as favoured by lawspeakers and poets, but is fluent in many other tongues too. Despite apparently starting out as a sailor he never invests in sea voyages, which have been the most thriving and expanding area of commerce in recent decades as sailors head out from the Holy Country in all directions to rediscover the world.

Gringle Goodsell is sadly no more. He started out running caravans across Prax, and was one of the first to take magical artefacts from Pavis to Gonn Orta's Castle in the Rockwoods, a damned risky trip, but he allegedly made even riskier ones into the Otherworld as well. He was almoner for doomed King Salinarg and after the Lunar invasion he retired to Apple Lane. He set up a pawnshop and let magic items come to him, passing them on to other merchants to take to Gonn Orta. He was called back to act as a tax assessor by the Lunar occupiers, dying while resisting an attempt by King Blackmoor to arrest him for maladministration and profiteering. A sad end to a once great man. The spirit of raw greed is thought to have got the better of him, though friends insist he was an honourable man to the very end and was actually assassinated.

Joh Mith is a moderately prosperous merchant based in Jonstown, but he spends at least half the year in the bleak and barbaric land of Balazar. He was an apprentice of Gringle's during the Pavis years, and later got a loan from Gold-Gotti to open up a new route to the north that avoided the tolls imposed by the Lunars for crossing Tarsh. He makes reasonable money from the exceptionally high quality furs he brings in from Balazar, but the serious cash came from taking Gringle's surplus magic artefacts to Gonn Orta by the safer but longer northern route he discovered. Now he's gone Joh is going to have reassess his business, but he put a lot of money into ensuring Trilus in Balazar had a sympathetic ruler and he would be loath to abandon the country and his many friends there now.