Dorasta



Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 26 November 1997
Last Updated On 26 November 1997
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 1997

As I was running a campaign set in Dorastor and as their was nothing published on Dorastor aside from the little in Cults of Terror, I decided to create my own version of Dorasta. Basing the cult on a standard Grain Goddess with a few twists on the Husband Protector and Chaos traits, I created a cult which was aesthetically pleasing - a cult that was a normal Earth cult with chaotic properties and which could be used by all the people in Dorastor. I made the High Priestess an Earth Nymph as that made her very powerful in her own right and made it all the more compelling to find out why she continually allowed Ralzakark to perform the Sacred Marriage each year. I put the High Priestess into her own valley and located a Temple there, but I cannot remember where that was, I think it was north of the Seven Hills on the Plain.

When Land of Doom came out I changed the cult of Dorasta to fit in with the new revealed truths. I moved the Nymph to Dorasta’s Cleft and made the Dorasta Shrine the Great Temple there. I added the Tobros subcult and any other associate cults as a Grain Goddess can have as many Husband Protectors as you like and also has very many associate cults. I kept the idea of the Plant Warp and the Curse on the land and did not allow Dorasta to be worshipped in Bilini or Talastar, preferring to keep her within Dorastor.

Anyway, I don’t think my version is a bad one and it kept the players on their toes, especially when Brankist challenged Ralzakark in Dorastor and Ralzakark said "OK, I am Dorasta’s Husband Protector, if you are so powerful YOU protect her for a year." and then proceeded to send Chaos forces against all the Dorasta Temples throughout the year, tying Brankist down for long periods of time. The players never worked out the truth about the High Priestess and never went into the Dorasta Cleft, which was a good thing otherwise they would have wanted to know about the Wolf Bear which, I think, is probably something which Greg Stafford does not know about and just put in there to stir things up a bit.

So, here is my version of the Cult. If you have any comments, please let me know.

Mythos and History

Before Time

When the world was young, Gata gave birth to many Earth Goddesses, both on her own and with the aid of Genert her brother and husband. One of the Goddesses produced from Gata’s and Genert’s union was Dorasta, Land and Plant Goddess of the land of Dorastor.

As a fertile and pleasant goddess, Dorastor soon filled her land with plants and animals. She invited the people of her kinswoman Aldrya to live with her and two Great Forests sprang up within the shelter of the mountains nearby. Dorastor had many children, including the Feldichi who performed many miracles and did many impressive things.

During the Gods’ War, Dorasta was assaulted by many deities but managed to survive with the help of her many husbands. From the North came Yelmalio, from the South came Argan Argar, from the East came Orlanth, from the West came poison in the form of Ragnaglar the Mad God who forced her to his will and took her for a while.

After the Darkness, Dorasta awoke with the rest of the Earth Deities and greeted the Sun as her First Husband.

Since Time

After the Feldichi died out, Dorasta grieved for a while, but was cheered up by the re-appearance of people from other parts of the world. From the South came Orlanthi, from the North came the people of the Sun, from the East came the trolls and from the West came poison in the form of The Destroyer.

When the Second Council moved to the lands of Dorastor, worship of Dorasta was increased until her power rivalled that of Ernalda. When the God Project was finished, the God Nysalor married Dorasta and became one of her Husband Protectors. Lokamayadon the False Orlanth also married her at this time and became another Husband Protector. Ernalda became jealous of the power of Dorasta and poisoned the minds of the Gods against her, sending an Avenging Angel from the West to take her as Ragnaglar had before. Arkat the Destroyer, Ernalda’s nephew, took Dorasta and raped her, destroying her fertility, razing the ground, blasting the Earth’s powers and salting what remained.

Afterwards, Dorasta had no children who could survive. All lived for a short time and died of the poisons and curses on the land. Dorastor became a sterile and blasted land, where only the Elves survived in their ancient strongholds. Eventually, some Sorcerers came from the West and awakened a friend of Dorasta from long before. This friend became her Husband and tried to protect her from the Curse on her body. He took her deep within the myths of Glorantha and introduced her to the Changer who gave her the ability for some of her children to survive. Thus strengthened, Dorastor took the Changer as another Husband and the lands prospered and grew fertile in spite of the Curse.

Now, the land of Dorasta is renowned for its great fertility and for the wealth that comes from the Earth, so that people come from many lands to farm its lands.

Life After Death

The worshippers of Dorasta know that they will reside in Ty Kora Tek’s Halls until Asrelia calls on them to return to the World whereupon they will be reborn into a good Earth family.

Nature of the Cult

Reason For Continued Existence

Dorasta allows the land of Dorasta to be fertile. She is worshipped as the plant and farming goddess. The farmlands of Never Dead have many worshippers of Dorasta as do the lands adjoining Bilini and Talastar.

Socio-Political Position and Power

Dorasta has no Social or Political power, except as the Wife of Orlanth in the adjoining lands. Ralzakark performs the Sacred Marriage each year with the High Priestess of Dorasta and grants her many gifts for the privilege.

Particular Likes and Dislikes

Dorasta hates the cult of Arkat and Ragnaglar for wrongs done to her in the past. She dislikes Chaos in general, but accepts Pocharngo and Ralzakark as necessary evils. Orlanth and Argan Argar are liked as Husbands, but are feared for their anti-Chaos zeal. Dorasta is friendly to the Vampires of NeverDead as they support a Great Temple to her cult.

Runic Associations

Dorasta’s Runes are Earth, Plant and Chaos.

Virtues

Dorasta has the same virtues as does Ernalda.

Organisation

Inter-Cult Organisation

All of the Temples of Dorasta report directly to the High Priestess in the Cleft of Dorasta. In effect, they actually report to Ralzakark as the Cult of Dorasta is the crop arm of Ralzakark. The High Priestess of the Cleft is an immortal daughter of Dorasta and Nymph of the Cleft, able to control all the beasts born in the valley. As this is the case, worshippers bring dinosaur and hydra eggs into the valley to hatch to bring strength to the High Priestess.

Intra-Temple Organisation

The oldest Priestess is the High Priestess in any temple, with the other Priestesses acting as Chief Priestesses. The many acolytes teach skills and spells to initiates.

When the High Priestess becomes an old crone, she leaves and joins the cult of Ty Kora Tek, leaving the next Chief Priestess to become High Priestess.

Centres of Power/Holy Places

The Cleft of Dorasta is the Most Holy Place as this is where Dorasta was buried in the God Time and also where she was buried to escape Arkat. Another Holy Place is the Dead Place where Ragnaglar took her to wife and the Good Place where she met Pocharngo.

Holy Days and High Holy Days

Clay Day is Holy, as is Fertility Week of each season, with the High Holy Day being on ClayDay/Fertility/Earth, in common with the other Earth Goddesses.

Lay Members

Anyone may become a lay member of Dorasta, even those of Chaos - Dorasta accepts any who come to her.

Requirements

There are no requirements to join, save that the lay member must not harm the crops or fight Dorasta.

Benefits

None, save that the cult will feed its lay members in return for work in the fields.

Initiates

Requirements

Any woman may join the cult of Dorasta as long as she is not a member of a Dust Rune Cult and does not belong to hostile or enemy cults.

Men must pass a Test of Holiness and must give a gift to the cult of 100L.

Restrictions

Initiates must support the cult and must work in the Cult Fields for 10% of their time. They may not harm the fields and may not belong to enemy or hostile cults.

Initiates may not refuse a member of the cult sustenance, but may ask for work as a payment.

Benefits

Initiates may be fed and sheltered by cult members anywhere within Dorastor. They may not be assailed by the cult members or their husbands, even if the husband belongs to a chaos fighting cult and the person seeking shelter is Chaotic. However, the Husband may ask the cult member to leave after a day whereupon all hospitality requirements have been met and are no longer in force.

Sprit Magic

Dorasta grants the same Spirit Magic as the standard Grain Goddesses.

Skills

Dorasta teaches the same skills as the standard Grain Goddesses.

Wild Daughters

The Acolytes of Dorasta, these may not be virgins, must be married and must be fertile. They must have 75% in all cult skills and must pass the Test of Holiness.

Benefits

Wild Daughters are not harmed by eating the plants of Dorastor, no matter what poisons the plants may contain. The poisons are not neutralised, they merely have no effect on Wild Daughters.

Wild Daughters may sacrifice for cult magic and Subcult magic but not for spells from Husband Protectors.

Wild Women

These are the Priestesses of Dorasta. They are respected and feared by many around for their ability to be unharmed by Chaos.

Requirements

Only women may become Wild Women. They must have 90% in cult skills and have 10 points of Divine Magic. They are usually acolytes already. They must pass the Test of Holiness and must have borne a healthy child. They must be married to a member of one of the Husband Protector cults.

Benefits

Children born to Wild Women are not affected by the Curse laid on Dorasta by Arkat but have a 10% chance of being Chaotic and a 50% chance of being mutated into different forms, normally born as different descendants of Grandfather Mortal, so a human may give birth to a troll or elf or even a duck!

Wild Women may eat of the plants of Dorasta without ill effects, so no poison or disease carried by Dorastoran plants will harm them. This means that they can survive in the wilds of Dorastor easier than most people.

Restrictions

Wild Women must always answer a call for help from a Cult Member, even if it puts themselves in danger.

When asked by Wind Lords "What Darkness shall I fight?" the Wild Women must always nominate a member of the Cult of Arkat and must grant the Wind Lord a fertility gift in return. As Arkat hurt Dorasta, this is a valid reply.

Wild Women must always bury the dead members of the cult if possible. If this is not possible, they must try to return to the corpse and bury it later. Dorasta does not like her worshippers being left on the surface for anyone to pick over.

Rune Magic

Common Divine

As the Grain Goddesses.

Cult Special

As the Grain Goddesses, with the additional spell of No Harm.

No Harm (1 Point, Stackable, Reusable, Instant)

This spell is cast on a plant grown in the land of Dorasta. It causes the poisons or diseases in the plant to have no effect when eaten. Each point of spell affects one plant, if cast on a tree or bush, or a sheath of wheat or barley.

Sub Cults

As land of Doom.

Spirits of Retribution

Any Priestess turning agianst Dorasta will always bear mutated children who will always be Chaotic. The spell of No Harm will not work for them and all poisons etc. will have full effect on the Apostate worshipper.

Initiates are affected as Priestesses, apart from the curse on their children.

Associate Cults

Gorgorma grants Second Mouth.

Babeester Gor grants Great Parry.

Orlanth grants Wind Words.

Argan Argar grants Summon Shadow.

Yelmalio grants Catseye.

Yelm grants Sunripen.

Pocharngo grants Plant Warp.

Plant Warp (1 point, stackable, reusable, instant)

When cast on a plant or a 10x10m plot of grassy plants, Plant Warp causes the plants to mutate so any plants grown from that batch of seeds will be different from the parent plant. Each point of spell gives a 20% chance of mutation and a 10% chance that the plant will be chaotic. Mutations should be rolled separately for each plant derived from the parent.

Ralzakark provides protection from outside enemies.

Ragnaglar provides Fear.

Notes

Dorasta’s Chaotic Nature

Dorasta is in the unique position of being a Chaotic Land Goddess. She only became Chaotic in order that her children could survive and she is unhappy about the choices forced upon her. She blames Arkat for her troubles. She took Pocharngo’s touch so that her children may stand a chance against the Curse by speeding up the evolutionary process. The Curse acted against Dorasta’s first children, a kind of Potato, and soon acted against the variants which she tried to grow. However, when faced with the immense variety of new plant forms, the Curse could not keep up. It is still in existence, though, which is why the farmers of Riskland have a hard time - their crops will sooner or later just die out because the Curse will have realised that they are not changing.

Husband Protectors

As some of her husbands are enemy to Chaos this means that the husbands who would normally protect her may well attack her worshippers, as happens fairly often. The only husbands who will never attack her are Pocharngo and Ralzakark, although many cultists do not want a Pocharngo worshipper or Ralzakark as a husband.

Chaotic cult members often take husbands from the cult of Dorasta and therefore cannot become Wild Women.

The Cleft of Dorasta

I must admit that I took this from the Land of Doom supplement as I did not have it in my early Dorastor. But now I have it I have changed it slightly.

Dorasta’s Cleft is a valley within Dorastor where Dorasta was buried to escape the Darkness and Arkat. It consists of two elongated hills joining in a Cleft with a dark cave between them leading into the ground. From a distance it looks like a woman lying on the ground with her legs apart, for that is what it is.

The Temple in Dorasta’s Cleft is headed by an Earth Nymph, a daughter of Dorasta from before Time. Few people know this, for her appearance changes slightly each year, sometimes she looks older, sometimes younger, sometimes taller or shorter, sometimes her appearance changes entirely. As an Earth Nymph, she has the usual abilities of being able to manifest anywhere within the Cleft and of being able to control any fixed INT creature born within the Cleft. She is also worshipped by the people of the Cleft and has considerable personal power.

Anyone not hostile to Dorasta may be escorted into the Cleft where many HeroQuests to the Earth may be attempted.

Whenever a Dorasta cultist finds an unhatched dinosaur egg or a pregnant fierce or large animal, they try to bring it to the Cleft so that the young are hatched or born inside the Valley, giving the Daughter control over them. This activity is frowned upon by Ralzakark and the surrounding Heroes, but still goes on. For this reason, the Daughter of Dorasta may call on a number of Dinosaurs, Bears, Wolves, Tigers and such-like in defence of the Cleft.

Each year, Ralzakark comes to the Cleft and performs the Sacred Marriage with the Daughter of Dorasta, the resulting birth eats its way out of her after one Season and becomes a powerful broo, normally raised by Ralzakark himself. The Daughter does not like this and tries to persuade another Husband Protector to challenge Ralzakark for this right, but has so far been unsuccessful.

Never Dead

The Vampires of Never Dead have a strong relationship with the Cult of Dorasta. Neverdead has the largest area of farmed land within Dorastor. The land is actually farmed by zombies overseen by teams of Dorasta initiates. The crops produced are taken to The Granary in Never Dead where it is kept by more initiates of Dorasta. When the crops are required, they are transported in Dorasta caravans and taken to different areas of Dorastor where they are traded by members of the Dorasta cult. In fact, the cult of Dorasta has a monopoly on the crops grown in Never Dead. The heads of the Overseers, Granary Guardians and Traders are all vampire Priestesses of Dorasta, with the Trader head also a Priest of Issaries and Etyries. Issaries allows her to keep her spells because she is Illuminated and also acts as an exemplary trader.

The Vampires understand the difficulty of growing crops in Dorastor and often use the Plant Warp spell to protect their crops against the Curse, in the areas of farmland that were not Aldrya Forests previously. This means that a great deal of the initiates’ time is spent cataloguing the new types of plants grown, replanting them into similar fields, checking if new strains are persistent or poisonous and generally engaged in research. This also means that Never Dead cannot always guarantee a regular and stable supply of every crop, although it appears that more and more of the persistent strains are proving to be immune to the Curse and the wheat and barley grown on the Burnt Lands are stable crops.

There are approximately 1000 initiates involved in the farming of Never Dead, 200 involved in the Granary and 300 involved in the Caravans. Never Dead supports 9 Priestesses and their attendant acolytes of around 200. There is a Great Temple of Dorasta within Never Dead’s Earth Quarter. There is also a Major Temple to Babeester Gor who provides the Caravan and Granary guards and Shrines to all the major Earth deities, including Dagorma who provides skeleton guards for the Temples.

Riskland

The farmers of Riskland do not always worship Dorasta, sometimes preferring their imported goddesses of Pela, Frona, Ernalda, Ralia and Hon Eel. This means that their crops will prosper for a while, normally a few years, but will then produce diminishing yields as the Curse takes hold and kills the new plants. Eventually, they will be unable to grow their own imported crops. Their only remedy is to worship Dorasta and use the Warp Plant spell. Many of the Riskland farmers do not worship Dorasta because she is Chaotic, unfortunately they are doomed to failure in the Land of Doom.

The Curse

When Arkat raped Dorasta he left behind many spiritual wounds and curses. This meant that the very land would turn against itself and would cause any crops grown on the land to die. Sometimes the Curse would take hold immediately and would kill any of a certain variety of plant almost as soon as it was planted. Sometimes, the Curse takes time and kills the plants after many generations of growth. However, the Curse will eventually take hold and the species will die.

To escape the Curse, Dorasta married Pocharngo the Mutator and gained an ability from him. She could make her children produce mutated offspring and thus produce new varieties of plants. This meant that the Curse would not be able to keep up with each generation of change and the crops could survive.

When this was first shown to work, Dorasta blessed all her children and all their descendants, so that much of the wild crop in Dorastor is subject to a mild version of Plant Warp. Many plants within Dorasta’s realm has a 10% chance of producing mutated offspring. These mutants have a 10% chance of being persistent, that is they will breed true, subject to the normal 10% chance of mutation. Any non-persistent mutant plant will always produce mutated offspring. Mutants have a 10% chance of being affected by the Curse and will die. Persistent strains have a 10% chance of not being affected by the Curse , otherwise they will die out in several years. Many of the current "staple" plants in Dorastor are descended from persistent strains which are resistant to the Curse.

The mutations can range from changes in colour and texture to changes in size and shape, gigantism or dwarfism, changes in species, the gaining of poisonous or healing properties and even the gaining of intelligence or magical powers. Persistent mutants can have good properties, for instance the Dorasta Cult can grow giant forms of many vegetables and fruit and also have forms of Healing Plants unknown anywhere else in the world. They can also be harmful and care should be taken when dealing with any mutated plant.

Arkat’s Curse did not reach into the Aldrya Forests of Poisonthorn or Hellwood as Arkat was friendly to the Elves. For this reason, the plants in the Forests are not generally subject to the Warping effect, although mutants may grow their if spread by the winds, for instance, or if Plant Warp is used on the plants, as the Krjalki in Hellwood are known to do. It was mainly because the Curse does not reach nto the Forests that the Vampires of Never Dead burnt down an area of Hellwood many years ago. The burned area was turned over to cultivation and produces fairly stable crops, not affected by the Curse and not needing to be subject to Plant Warp.