Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Bronze Treasure


Glorantha has a plethora of planets, some seem have been fixtures in the sky since the earliest days of the gods, others have come and gone, and come back again (like the various moons). And of course each culture has a different name for each and a slightly different take on what god they are and their role in myth and legend.

Bronze Treasure is a large planet of reddish hue that has a cycle of 28 days. In the far eastern lands of Teshnos he is Tolat, in Dragon Pass and the Holy Country Jagekriand, in Peloria he is Shargash the Destroyer, always associated with deities of destruction and war.

In Prax he is the Bronze Treasure, forger of the first bronze weapons that proved so superior to the stone and bone of the Praxians and patron of such native redsmiths as there are. They mostly associate him with the Sky and Death runes, though among the increasing number of Lunar converts in the Sable Tribe he is the ‘Little Moon’ and Sky has been replaced with the Moon rune.




Lay Membership

Bronze Treasure is one of the great spirits invoked before a battle between Praxian nomads. Along with the usual rites to Waha and Eiritha, any other spirit the Khans think may be useful may be invoked; Storm bull is a must if chaos is involved, Oakfed, one or more of the Three Feathered Rivals, an elemental spirit possibly, ancestors, whatever they think will be useful.

And Bronze Treasure is pretty useful. The rival tribes may vie for his favour, and the one who honours him most wins his blessing for the battle; any warrior with a bronze weapon may cast Bladesharp on it at one less magic point (though always at least one), and any Strength spell costs only 1 point for the duration of the battle.

The rites to gain this favour vary, but can only be done while Bronze Treasure is in the sky and all involve bloody sacrifices of herd beasts and often humans. Bronze Treasure prefers the spirits of blooded warriors, captives taken in preliminary raids do very nicely. Sometimes a particularly mean Khan will tell a bunch of mediocre slaves that he will free the last one standing after an all in ritual combat/gladiatorial contest and give them bronze daggers to kill each other with. The last one is then treacherously seized and sacrificed to Bronze Treasure.

Initiate

Any Praxian warrior may try and create his own Bronze Treasure with the aid of a shaman at a holy site of the spirit.

The rite involves capturing an enemy warrior of at least the same skill and status as the warrior himself with a minimum POW of 9 and a weapon skill of at least 50%. If deemed acceptable to Bronze Treasure the captive is sacrificed when the planet is at his zenith and his blood poured over the mould for a bronze weapon which is immediately cast by the shaman. A bone hilt or handle made from part of the body of the foe is added, maybe his scalp or skin used as a binding on the handle and his spirit called back to be fought in spirit combat and bound into it.

Bronze Treasure doesn’t like making this too easy and will lend the spirit 6 of his own POW for the duration of the combat. Two points of POW are sacrificed by the binder to give the weapon its unique enchantment.

Most shamen will find that Bronze Treasure may put more conditions on the task (or maybe they will do so themselves to test the mettle of the petitioner or to make the task as near impossible for a petitioner they don’t like for some reason; foreigner, old feud, rival tribe etc.). Copper may have to be brought from the Copper Sands and tin from the slopes of the Dragonspine Mountains, the shaft of a spear or axe may have to be taken from an elf forest in Shadows Dance, an old Bronze Treasure weapon may need to be recovered from some forsaken hell hole full of monsters and recast, or some other challenging task.

The sacred moulds used to cast a Bronze Treasure are limited and it is uncertain how to make new ones. Suitable moulds may be laying in treasure hoards or lost in ruins all over the place.

After the creation of the weapon the relatives of the sacrificed will pursue the wielder and attempt to free the spirit to join his/her ancestors.

The exact powers of the weapon depend on whether the shrine is a traditional one with runes of Fire and Death, or one that has been converted to Moon and Death.

Fire version

While the person possesses the weapon he can use the spirit of his sacrificed foe as a normal bound spirit which counts against his usual max for bound spirits, but since it is hostile it will never remember any spells for him and can only be tapped for magic points. Once a day for one hour the wielder can use a 2 point Rune Spell that adds half again to their strength up to their racial maximum and for each foe slain with the weapon add 1 further point of strength which may take them beyond it. Their skin becomes increasingly redder and their demeanour more furious and they must roll their POW vs their enhanced STR or immediately attack any enemy or imagined enemy they see. At the end of the spell their strength is halved but recovered over a period of an hour.

If the weapon is ever broken the spirit is released and it will attack the user in spirit combat at some point by way of revenge. The power of Bronze Treasure adds 1d3 to the HP of the weapon, but it is always a good idea to keep it repaired and in good order. Matrices may be added to the weapon.

The wielder is subject to a geas - never sheathe or drop the weapon unblooded, it must always be used to strike at least one blow in anger whether the power of Bronze Treasure is invoked or not, and they must sacrifice one herd beast or one human and 2mp to Bronze Treasure when he is at his zenith, once every 28 days. Challenging a foe to a ritual combat and slaying him is an acceptable form of sacrifice.

Moon version

At those shrines where Bronze Treasure has been ‘Lunarised’ the effects differ. As long as the Bronze Treasure is possessed all the wielder's magic from whatever source is subject to Lunar Cyclism. The power of the Bronze Treasure can be invoked on any day, but effects vary:

Dark/Dying Moon: adds ¼ to STR, lasts 15 minutes,1d3 magic points are gained per slain foe which can be used by the wielder. These are lost when the moon becomes crescent. Blade has a black tinge, user’s skin become darker as he gains power, gains +5% Hide in Cover per 3 points absorbed and 10% Darksense ability. POW of bound spirit is halved.

Crescent Moon: adds ⅓ to STR, lasts 30 minutes. Each foe slain adds 1 DEX, eyes glow redder and gains 5% Detect Enemies and Detect Spirit as an ability per DEX absorbed. POW of bound spirit is at ⅔.

Half moon: Adds ½ STR, lasts 1 hour, gain STR as normal Fire version above. POW of bound spirit is normal.

Full Moon: Adds ⅔ STR, lasts 3 hours, gain 1 point of STR or DEX or 1d3 magic points per slain foe as desired, 1% cumulative per use on a Full Moon day of gaining a Chaos Feature next Sacred Time. POW of bound spirit is half again.

Holding a Lunar spirit like this will add 1% to chances of Illumination next Sacred Time.

The geas and sacrifice is as the Fire version.

Shaman


Shamen who wish to master the rites of Bronze Treasure must take over a holy site. These are scattered around Prax and the Wastes and each has it’s own particular unique features. Each usually has it’s own resident shaman, usually with apprentices and a followers from his tribe, and they must be got rid of.

Shamen must personally make the bronze weapons used to create the magic items detailed above. Since the Praxians are neolithic nomads who mainly raid and trade for what bronze they have this can be difficult, they learn from an existing shaman or gain the knowledge from foreigners, and even so rites are often spoiled by having a weapon turn out to be a dud due to poor casting. But being at a shrine, getting hold of a good supply of copper and tin and practising will give the shaman a Weapon smithing skill gain roll once per season, and Bronze Treasure himself can teach a shaman who sacrifices to him at a rate of +5% skill per permanent POW or enemy warrior or shaman sacrificed. Weaponsmithing and one weapon attack skill are not limited to the 5 x DEX limit usually imposed on shaman skills as long as he is resident at the site and actively making bronze and practising his skill with a Bronze Treasure weapon to defend it.

Local tribes supporting the shaman will see that he is supplied with food, water and materials in return for bronze weapons and the odd Bronze Treasure rite for their warleaders and the shrines are often little trading posts in the wilderness.

If the shaman wishes to dedicate himself to the Fire version of Bronze Treasure he must not hold a Darkness spirit, the Moon version is opposed to Air spirits, but otherwise it is a relatively easy matter to convert a shrine from one to the other, just find a suitable spirit or the right element and bind it into a standing stone at the site.

Use of Weaponsmithing skill:

Fumbled roll - utterly useless object, wrong proportions of copper and tin, chuck it away.

Failed roll - poor quality object, HPs are 10-60% of what they should be, damage 10-60%, use it if you like, but don’t ask for a refund when it breaks

Success - an adequate quality weapon.

Special - Nice weapon, +1 to HP and +5-25% to value

Critical - Excellent weapon fit for a Khan, +1d3 HP and gains 1 AP reducing any damage done to it in combat by 1; double value.



Some Holy Sites

Moonbroth
Not far from Moonbroth in an area of volcanic activity called the Tubes. This used to be held by the Pol Joni who invited/kidnapped Gustbran redsmiths from Sartar and taught them the shamanic part of the rites, but is now controlled by a Sable shaman who has rededicated it to the Lunar Bronze Treasure. With good supplies of ore from trade in Moonbroth a veritable weapon factory. Will make a Bronze Treasure in the form of Sartarite style broadswords and bastard swords. They have just acquired a mould for a scimitar from the Lunar Heartlands and are sure they have dedicated to properly to Bronze Treasure and want someone to try it out.

Monkey Ruins
A smelter run in a half-assed fashion by baboons and under constant threat of closure by baboon traditionalists who regard bronze as human thing they have no use for. Intermittent supplies of copper and tin, poor quality smithing, not produced a Bronze Treasure magic weapon in living memory.

Eiritha Hills
In a valley in the hills south of Eyebrow, with a shaman appointed by the priestesses at the Paps, though many there frown upon the violence of this old sky spirit, the current incumbent being from the Bison Tribe. Has moulds for battle axes and a kopesh, an unusual form of broadsword still found in some old ruins and used in old rites in Pavis and Adari.

Feverlast
In the far southwest of the wastes, an oasis where merchants from Teshnos trade with Praxian nomads. The shrine here is decorated with statues of Tolat imported from Melib and local tradition dictates that the shaman must be a woman.

Valley of Pinnacles

Incredibly dicey location just to the east of the valley itself, frequently overrun with chaos beasts. Control of the shrine passes from Praxians to Broos and back, Broo proving as capable of the rite of the Bronze Treasure and acquiring bronzesmithing skills from him as humans. Likewise control passes from Moon to Fire and back.

Zebra Graze
Has a reasonable source of tin nearby and gets copper from trade with Sun County. Makes spears and lances. Local shaman is actually from Pavis and claims to have learned smithing from the dwarves themselves, and says the best weapons are from the secret dwarven bronze alloy, and objects made of it and even ingots can be found in the Big Rubble.