This is a writeup of the provincial cult of the 7 Mothers, the Lunar missionary cult as described in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure by Moon Design Publishing, for the new RuneQuest 6th Edition rules by the Design Mechanism. This is meant to be a playable writeup, as opposed to an in-depth treatise on Lunar magic. It’s also meant to be used in conjunction the earlier Lunar Magic writeup for Mongoose RuneQuest 2nd Edition.
This will be an abbreviated writeup, as it’s not this article’s aim to devise an entirely new magic system for Lunar Worshippers. Instead, the 7 Mothers will be presented as Theist cults with unique features, enabling them to do magic that is normally impossible for traditional Theist cults to express.
RunesThe 7 Mothers as a whole use the Runes of Death, Moon and Life to express the entire cycle of the rebirth of the Red Goddess and their role in it. Further, each of the 7 Mothers has their own runic affinities as well –
Teelo Norri –
Queen Deezola – Crescent Go, Earth, Life
Jakaleel – Dying, Spirit, Darkness
Danfive Xaron – Crescent Come, Air
Yanafal Tarnils – Empty Half, Truth, Death
Irripi Ontor – Full Moon, Truth, Fire
She Who Waits – Black Moon, Mastery
Each Mother has their own variation of the Moon Rune, and this is the runic affinity that a worshipper gains when he or she is initiated into a 7 Mothers subcult (see RuneQuest, Page 297). This has no hard effect on game mechanics, but acts as a descriptor of how they approach the Moon Rune and can have a strong effect on a Hero’s magical development.
Mythos and History –The 7 Mothers are 7 mortal humans who resurrected the ancient goddess of the Red Moon, who has been known under many different names in god time myth. A summary of their story can be found here: moondesignpublications.com/library/religions/cult-7mothers.html. They were successful, and now they are regarded as having given birth to the most powerful goddess and empire in all of the world. As such, the 7 Mothers serve as gateways and teachers into the mysteries of the Red Goddess, serving as entrances to the wider Lunar pantheon.
Mythos and History
The 7 Mothers are the midwives and teachers of Teelo Estara, the Red Goddess. In the frontiers of the Lunar Empire, they form a cult that provides an introduction to the Lunar Way, and form a gateway through which newcomers to the Lunar Way can come to know the Goddess. The 7 Mothers cult enables non-Lunars to come to know the Goddess in easy-to-understand ways while still maintaining their old traditions and beliefs. This missionary effort has turned out to be a success, except in one notable case – Storm-worshipping barbarians of the Orlanthi peoples have always been difficult to to convert and bring into the Lunar way. Even for nations that were once Orlanthi but have accepted the Lunar Way, the conversion is often shallow at best, as was demonstrated when Argrath arose and the Tarsh peoples returned to Storm Tribe worship in earnest once liberated. However, for the most part, the Lunar Missionary cults usually have no trouble in dealing with other points of view, since We Are All Us.
Cosmologically, the Lunar pantheon is part of the larger Solar pantheon of the Pelorian basin, although there is also significant mythic crossover with the myths of many disparate cultures. Lunar mythology is eclectic and includes influences as befits the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan empire. Mythically, the Lunar Immortals are set against the Storm Tribe, based on the fundamental inclusion of Chaos, which Orlanthi mythology inherently rejects. Further, Lunar mysticism requires the subjugation and enslavement of the air. There can never be peace between the Lunar and Storm pantheons, as things stand now.
NatureThe 7 Mothers were the creators and rebirthers of the Red Goddess, and it is this role that they play as initiators of newcomers into the Lunar mysteries. Not only do the 7 Mothers act to replace the gods that a newcomer worshipper once followed, their various roles also act to replace the role a worshipper’s former gods once played in their life. However, it’s important to note that the missionary church does not forbid worship of older deities, except specifically in the case of Orlanth and his sons. Most people in the Lunar Empire are only lay members of the cult of the Red Emperor, giving worship on appropriate holy days, and keep to their old gods. The Provincial Church exists for those who wish to bond themselves to the Empire, granting them a gateway into Lunar religion. It’s also a fine set of cults for adventurers and others who wish to enjoy the benefits of Imperial citizenship and breaking out of old societal strictures.
OrganizationThe Provincial Church and its subcults are organized under the regional Lunar Governor in the Provinces and the temple administration. Most Lunar temples include individual shrines to each of the 7 Mothers as well as other Lunar immortals and occasionally other local gods, and always include a shrine to the Red Emperor. See Pavis:Gateway to Adventure, page 399 for more information.
Membership in the 7 Mothers follows standard Theist cult structures, but with some differences –
First, a character’s runic affinities need to be determined, as per RuneQuest, Page 297. Most people in Glorantha do not have Moon as one of their inborn runic affinities, and usually join a Lunar cult by way of initiating into a subcult whose rune matches their own affinity. In the case of the 7 Mothers, a prospective Initiate would join what is termed a Little Sister cult. For example, Harkvald, a Tarshite and recent convert to the Lunar Way, has the runic affinities of Truth and Death. This is a clean match up, and therefore allows him access to Yanafal’s normal style of Theist miracles. However, Harkvald has not undergone Akindling, which is the process of awakening the Moon rune within oneself. No Lunar worshipper can progress beyond Initiate unless they undergo the Akindling rites and replace one of their runic affinities with one of the Moon runes, based on their subcult.
When joining a little sister cult, Lunar worshippers gain Devotion and Exhort skills as normal for Theists. However, when they are Akindled and replace one of their runic affinities, Exhort is replaced by Sedenyic Philosophy, which starts at INT+CHA.
Worshippers of the 7 Mothers must always act in the best interests of the Lunar Empire and the Lunar Way. As initiation into a Lunar cult grants imperial citizenship, a Lunar must pay their appropriate taxes, obey imperial authority, and take orders from their high priest. However, as not all Lunar cults are military in nature, Lunars at the initiate level are free to do as they wish, so long as they are good imperial citizens and obey imperial laws and local laws. Lunar citizens have access to special Lunar courts and other privileges available only to Lunar citizens. Lunar citizens must make themselves available to their local temple for 1 week per season of voluntary labor.
The 7 Mothers cult provides training in Sedenyic Philosophy and Willpower for free. Further, each subcult provides training in the following skills -
Teelo Norri – Athletics, Dance, First Aid, Influence, Sing
Queen Deezola – Customs, Dance, First Aid, Influence, Insight
Jakaleel – Trance, Binding, Endurance, Willpower, Sing
DanFive Xaron – Fighting Style: Unarmed, Endurance, Willpower, Brawn, Athletics
Yanafal Tarnils – Fighting Style (choose), Evade, Influence, Athletics, Brawn
Irripi Ontor – Customs, Insight, Locale,Perception, Willpower,
She Who Waits – Conceal, Deceit, Insight, Perception, Steath
The 7 Mothers teaches Folk Magic in addition to its higher mysteries –
Teelo Norri – Befuddle, Heal, Glamour
Queen Deezola – Calm, Heal, Voice
Jakaleel – Curse, Spiritshield, Witchsight
Danfive Xaron – Might, Pathway, Vigour
Yanafal Tarnils – Bladesharp, Protection, Pierce
Irripi Ontor – Appraise, Calculate, Mindspeech
She Who Waits – Avert, Incognito, Phantasm
In the case of Theist miracles, members of the 7 Mothers have the spells of Awaken, Behold, Consecrate, Excommunicate and Extension available as their cult rank dictates. Further, all Lunar Cults have Elemental Summoning (Lune), Dismiss Elemental and Dismiss Magic. Further, the following Theist miracles are available to each of the 7 Mother subcults, as follows –
Teelo Norri – Harmonize, Heal Wound, Elemental Summoning (Undine – Young Elementals)
Queen Deezola – Heal Wound, Cure Malady, Elemental Summoning (Gnome – Young Elementals)
Jakaleel – Fear, Spirit Block, Elemental Summoning (Shade – Young Elementals)
Danfive Xaron – Perserverance, Aegis, Sacred Band
Yanafal Tarnils – Shield, Sever Spirit, True (Weapon)
Irripi Ontor – Soul Sight, Moonspear (as Sunspear), Elemental Summoning (Salamander – Young Elementals)
She Who Waits – Madness, Reflection, Mindblast
As usual, Sedenyic Philosophy can substitute for the usual Exhort rolls to invoke Theist miracles from Lunar Cults. This is only possible if the worshipper has undergone Kindling rites and has replaced one of their runic affinities with the appropriate Moon-aspected rune.
If a worshippers does not wish to be Akindled, then he or she can worship one of the 7 Mothers through what is known as a little sister cult. In terms of RQ6 game mechanics, he or she forms a pact and uses Devotion and Exhort as normal, and can even learn magic from allied 7 Mothers and other Lunar cults. Their magic will not be subject to the Lunar Cycle. However, only by Akindling will an Initiate’s magic be able to benefit from the Lunar Cycle and the special uses of Sedenyic Philosophy (see Lunar Magic in issue 10 of Rule One) If not Akindled, a Lunar will not be able to gain access to the special magic of allied Lunar cults or cross the boundaries of magical types, and will be treated as simply another Theist.
Gifts, as described here, are the result of Heroquesting and the joining of Hero Cults in addition to one’s own main worship. As such, the Lunar Way provides a wide variety of special gifts to it’s faithful worshippers to prepare them for their Sevening. Customary gifts that Lunars can earn as they advance are such things as Reincarnation, Abstinence (Danfive Xaron), Change Gender, Chaotic Blessing (A gift which is avoided by most Lunars), Elemental (one of the Young Elementals), Weapon (Yanafal Tarnils) or other such gifts of the Red Goddess. GMs and Players are encouraged to work together on appropriate gifts and heroquest powers.
Lunar Magic in RQ6
Aside from changes in terminology, the way magic functions in RQ6 by Design Mechanism and Mongoose’s RuneQuest 2nd Edition are largely identical. For the purposes of Sevening, substitute Willpower for Persistence.
Sedenyic Philosophy can substitute for Folk Magic, Exhort (Theism), Trance and Binding (Animism), Shaping (Sorcery) and Mysticism. Lunar Sorcerers still need to learn individual Grimoire skills, but all inclusive Lunar wisdom as pioneered by Irripi Ontor guides them. Likewise, Mysticism is arguably the bedrock of Lunar teaching, with secret Nathic schools of meditation and combat guarded as the state Lunar secrets as they are. Strangely, Lunar inclusiveness doesn’t apply to Mysticism – no one has seen Lunar mystics demonstrate mastery over the Zolathi secrets of Sheng Seleris or the long-lost Draconic mastery of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends, although Sedenyic Philosophy still applies for other forms of magic use. Many Lunar hero cults incorporate elements of both Theist magic and mysticism, such as the worshippers of Natha.