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[CofD] DIY Mystery Cults

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  • #46

    The Janlarek Koyperu

    Set in the English Channel, the island of Sarnia is culturally a mix of English and French. Yet on the uplands is a people who stubbornly cling to their own ways for thousands of years. The Bailish are clannish and suspicious of outsiders. The Romans, the French, the English, and even the Nazis learned that, like hornets, the Bailish are most dangerous when their homes are disturbed. The Bailish territory is the Balabaro, the land surrounding sacred Mount Belmuno.

    Though nominally Christian, the Bailish are deeply superstitious; every bird carries omens based on the way they fly, and meaning and portent can be found in an unusual flower or the fall of a stone. The landscape is covered in spirits of place, and creatures that play tricks or wield magic are often circumscribed by time of day or place. Cunning folk are sought out before doctors or veterinarians. If a rumored witch is accused of doing harm, the locals won’t turn to the priest, but to another witch for redress.

    The witches keep their secrets. Perhaps the greatest secret of a true witch, or sorkosa, is that the goddess of the ancestral Belexi is still worshipped, prayed to, and offered sacrifices.

    The remnants of the ancient priesthood, the Janlarek, are the liaison between the people and their goddess, part of a line stretching back to Neolithic times.

    While most Bailish don’t claim to be worshippers of the raven goddess Beliankos, most are superstitious enough to follow the tenets of the folklore.

    The Balabaro has many dolmens and rings not shown on the archeologist’s map. Some stone circles still feel the tread of feet at dusk. Upon death, a Janlar is secretly removed before embalming and carried to a stone circle, where rites are performed as a corvid makes a meal of corpse’s eyes. Then the dead one is left to decay in a dolmen. When the faithful unseal the barrow to check on the skeleton a year later, they invariably find the skull missing.

    Initiation Benefits

    Magpie Early in their training, the neophyte is taken under the wing of an experienced sorkosa, usually the one living closest. They learn the signs, charms and folklore of their people. Gain the Specialty: Occult (Bailish Lore)

    •• Crow At this point, the student is initiated, becoming a Janlar. To the student’s newly-opened eyes, anything out of the ordinary is backed by hidden forces. With more experience, a Janlar can discern between mundane and supernatural. These have become the eyes and ears of the group. Gain the Merit: Eye for the Strange••

    ••• Rook The experienced sorkosa knows the Balabaro like the back of her hand, including the locations of passage graves which were not abandoned. Gain the Merit: Moor Walker••

    •••• Raven As a mark of honor, the respected elder Sorkosa is given the “bird’s ale”, a potion that instills the power to speak with any bird. Through the birds, the elders communicate to each other or spy on interlopers. Gain the Merit: Animal Speech (Bird) ••. In addition, the Sorkosa learns how to meditate in a dolmen to gain the knowledge of the ancestors. Gain the Merit: Channeling •.
    .
    ••••• Owl The oldest and wisest of the Janlarek, the Jankosa, learn the secret ways around and into Belmuno, and know how to seek an audience with the Goddess – either in person or in a vision. (The folklore hints at how to do so-- chanting in stone circles, balancing on certain cliffs in the moonlight, etc – but the Jankosa is less likely to die from a successful attempt).

    Other common Merits:
    All speak Bailish, a language in the same family as Basque. A few speak Belexi (the pre-Roman language of the area), which is preferred for the oldest rites and chants.
    Thaumaturgies are also prevalent—divination, familiars, enchantments, etc.; a substantial portion of the upper-level Jalarek are hedge witches.
    The particular goddess is, in reality, a vampire. Beliankos has a strong affinity to the Balabaro, so much so that she is loathe to travel outside her domain. As far as she is concerned, she is a goddess– one forgotten by her people, but still tied to them and the land. She rarely involves herself with them; like a biologist who loves a species but is more interested in the population than any short-lived individual, she likely won’t intercede on a mortal’s behalf. Someone who knows the old ways may earn her favor on a whim, or as part of a long-term plan which may help the Bailish but probably won’t end well for the individual. The Janlarek are the most likely to get her attention, and the mostly likely to survive it. The best that could be said for her is that no vampire or werewolf can step into her territory without her finding out, and such trespassers will die before they can trouble the Bailish.

    Though Beliankos is a hands-off sort of diety, there are many spirits that become involved in the religion, to be placated or driven off by a sorkosa with the attunements to sense them.
    Merit: Moor Walker (• to••••)
    Prerequisites: Athletics ••, Stealth ••, Streetwise/Survival ••
    In the folklore, the witches of the Bailish can change into owls or crows, or turn invisible. That isn’t necessarily true, but they can move unseen and unimpeded throughout the Balabaro.
    Effect: When rolling to navigate, hide, evade, or pursue in the Balabaro, Moor Walker takes effect.
    With the one-dot version of the Merit, four successes mean an exceptional success on these rolls. With two dots, three successes make an exceptional success. With three dots, any successful roll is considered exceptional. Note that this doesn’t affect actual successes in extended or contested actions, but affords the advantages of exceptional success regardless of successes rolled.
    Last edited by Corrigan; 09-09-2019, 06:27 PM.

    Comment


    • #47
      This is really awesome, but I might rename the Hedge Prowler merit to make sure people don't think you're talking about The Hedge from Changeling: the Lost


      A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
        This is really awesome, but I might rename the Hedge Prowler merit to make sure people don't think you're talking about The Hedge from Changeling: the Lost
        Fair point. Will do.

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