Friday, June 22, 2012

The Cult of Storm-Child

Of the so-called Old Gods (really quite new by some reckonings) of the Hill Cantons, Storm Child, is one of the select few pagan deities tacitly tolerated by the Lords Spiritual.

Though he is reputed by certain esoteric orders to be merely the half-human offspring of one of Radegast's many dalliances with the female half of humankind, he is undoubtedly the most beloved of the Lord of Hosts' children and his cult flourishes to this day in the backhills of the borderlands. His followers' abodes are instantly recognizable by the littering of children's toys, many teeth-marked, throughout their living space. “Storm-Childist households can look a little harried now and then,” opines the great Bombasticus but they have a good time.”

Not one for subtle interventions Storm-Child demands the attention of mortals he encounter. Many of the “touched” ruffians, mountebanks and picaros that style themselves “adventurers” spread too-consistent tales of hearing the godling's howls carried by a far wind while deep in the Weird.

Thanks to the ever-replenishing wonders of the Sublime Source of Crowds, details of the cult are offered here today, the day of his celestial birth. I will be making use of the wonderful D&Dized adaption of Runequest cult info that David from Dungeons Down Under has available for download here.

Deity Name: Storm-Child, The One Whose Cries Rend the Sky

Area of Control: Thunderstorms, Willfulness, and Dice

Following: Elderly eccentrics, stubborn children, gambling den operators, those who are Chaotic yet Good-natured and resist authority.

Organization: informal, horizontal network of localized Circles.

Clergy: Storm-Child has no regular spell-casting clerics as such. However adventuring classed types of any variation (and suitable alignment) may elect to become vocational lay-priests.

Duties: Each morning the lay-priest must greet the dawn with a loud shout of “Deeeeeee”. Once a month a sacrifice must be made to the local Circle of 10 gold suns times the level of the character. Failure to do so will mean being stripped of all powers granted by the demi-god.

According to the savant Allandros, priests of the Storm-Child have a tradition of eating dice on high holidaty. This is done to devour the luck of those inimical to the faith. 1x/level/week, a priest of the Storm-Child may devour dice while thinking of a particular foe. That foe will have a -4 penalty to all die rolls for d10 days. However, the Storm-Child's priest must save vs paralyzation or suffer the Curse of Teeth (see below).

Powers Granted: vocational lay-priests can assume special powers at odd levels beginning with the third. To assume the appropriate power the priest must sacrifice the equivalent of 500 gold suns times the character level worth of goods that delight the Storm Child (jeweled polyhedral dice, toy wagons constructed of rare woods, fish sticks and the like).

Non-Listed Spells: All Spells can only be cast when wearing no or leather armor.

Available at 1st level (500 suns sacrifice):
The Squalling. Once a day, summon a brief and violent windstorm that sounds like screaming and wailing. Mechanical effects could include knocking down foes, doing damage (buffet, or sonic), deafness, immense irritation (especially in parents). (Spell created by The Elder Isles' famed storm-brother, James Stuart).

Shocking Grasp. (see rulebook)

Available at 3rd level (1500 suns):
The Curse of Teeth. Usable once a week. Anyone failing a saving throw vs spells becomes subject to a terribly painful curse.

Firstly, a random (4d8) number of teeth will become loose and fall out over a period of 1d4 days. This in itself isn't particularly painful, though the shock of losing teeth and temporary blood flow may be the equivalent of a single HP of damage per day.

Secondly, new teeth appear within the targets skull and begin to push their way through the gum line and into the mouth, taking 3d10 days for all of them to come through after the last one has dropped out. This is massively painful and for each day during this phase the target must make a Saving throw vs Spells. Success indicates they are only at -2 to all rolls due to the pain. Failure indicates they are essentially debilitated and are at -6 to everything. Powerful Anaesthetics (like booze) will numb the pain, allowing normal activity, but probably carry their own risks...(Again thanks to James, what a mensch.)

Taboos and Bans: Followers of the Storm-Child are not allowed to eat food sitting at tables but must consume all sustenance while wandering around their place of rest.

Holidays: According to the writings of Bomasticus, Storm-Childist families conduct a seasonal ceremony commonly called the Howling Jubilee “in which normal social hierarchies are inverted. Household servants exert temporary control over  policy, boss their overseers and definitely speak their minds. Domestic animals are taken off lead and their grooms are expected to pick up the collars and wear them for a little while. The Littlest One rules. This is apparently a vestige of the days when we all slept in the same room with dogs, and there have been times when the inversion has applied with magical force in larger circumstances: curses and even quests rebounding on their casters, restraints untying themselves and blocking the business of the secular authorities, crib gates somehow popping open on their own. Such phenomena please the Storm-Child.”

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