Yelmalio - The Ostrich Rider

Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 21 June 1999
Last Updated On 21 June 1999
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 1999

See Also
The History Of Yelmalio
The Evolution of Yelmalio
The Forest Sun
The Mountain Sun
Yelmalio Jokes

I Cult Ecology

A. Mythos

Yelmalio was the sun of Yelm and Ernalda, born before Orlanth stole Ernalda from the Emperor and before the Emperor disowned both his wife and his children.

A Son of the Sky, Yelmalio rode a mighty steed, a great bird with iron claws and beak. He was a friend of the Forests as a son of the Earth and was one of the Protectors.

Once, Yelmalio assisted in a raid on a fortress held by Argan Argar. He was commanded to do this by Yelm, his father, after his mother had shamed him by marrying the god Orlanth. Yelm was about to disown his family and gave Yelmalio one chance to atone for his shame. Yelmalio met his mother's new husband and challenged him, losing his Lightning Spear in the process. He then met the god Zorak Zoran who nearly killed him and stole his fire powers.

Yelmalio defended many of the Forests and when he was banished by Yelm he took many followers on a trek to the far lands of Prax. There his sure-footed steed could easily manoeuvre through the forests and his tribe prospered and flourished. Once he had to leave the forests to help his kin. Oakfed, a wild fire god, came to Prax and devoured the forests there. Many opposed him, including Yelmalio's bird riders, but Oakfed was too strong. Yelmalio returned to see the blasted remains and chased Oakfed away. He heard that the Ostrich had hidden her head in the ground as Oakfed approached, leaving her riders to march against the god on foot. Yelmalio left vowing to find a more faithful mount. Later followers of Yelmalio returned on horseback, but horses never survived long in Prax.

B. Since Time

The cult of Yelmalio Bird-Rider has only survived amongst the Ostrich Riders of Prax. Everywhere else the followers of Yelmalio gave up riding the great birds after the betrayal in Prax and rode horses instead.

The Ostrich Riders survived as one of the Independent tribes, fighting the invaders as they entered Prax. They fought alongside the Pure Horse Tribe as they invaded Prax and were allies of Pavis and the Sun Dome Temple when they arrived. Most of the cult was destroyed in the DragonKill and the cult took many years to recover.

C. Life After Death

Worshippers of Yelmalio Bird Rider are cremated after death and their souls rise to Yelm's Halls in the sky. They are then reborn into the Ostrich Tribe as warriors.

D. Runic Associations

Yelmalio is associated with the Runes of Light and Truth.

II. Nature of the Cult

A. Reason for Continued Existence

Yelmalio is the Rider, the first to conquer and ride upon birds. He is the founder of the Ostrich Tribe and is the father of the tribe. He is the role-model and is the perfect warrior and tribesman.

B. Social/Political Position and Power

Yelmalio has power amongst the Ostrich Tribe as he sits on the Council. One of the Clans of the Tribe is the Light Clan and is dominated by Yelmalio worship. Outside the Ostrich Tribe, he has little power and no influence.

C. Particular Likes and Dislikes

The cult is hostile to the god Oakfed and to trolls, creatures of darkness and the cults of Argan Argar and Zorak Zoran. It distrust horse-riders as it feels that Yelmalio betrayed them in order to ride horses.

The cult is friendly towards elves and the cult of Yelorna and Arroin.

III Organisation

A. Inter-Cult Organisation

The cult is only found amongst the Ostrich Tribe. Clans may be able to raise minor temples. When all the clan is gathered together a Great Temple results.

There is no organisation outside the Clan with priests of the cult accepted as equals when travelling to other temples.

Worshippers may worship at temples of the Forest Sun or the Sun Dome although they will not be fully trusted.

B. Intra-Temple Organisation

Temples are led by Light Riders who are the priests of the cult. Where a clan cannot support a Light Rider they have Light Walkers who stand in their place.

C. Centre of Power, Holy Places

The Hill of Gold in far away Vanch is a Holy Place as is the place where the Golden Dragon devoured the Ostrich Tribe's warriors. There are several places in Prax where Yelmalio fought Oakfed and drove him off.

D. Holy Days and High Holy Days

Fireday is the holy day of the cult, with Fireday of Truth Week being the seasonal holy day. The High Holy Day is Fireday, Truth Week, Fire Season.

IV Lay Membership

A. Requirements to Join

Lay Membership is open to any member of the Ostrich Tribe and to any slaves or friends of the Ostrich Tribe.

B. Requirements to Belong

Lay members must worship on each Fireday. They may never befriend trolls, dwarves or members of darkness cults.

C. Mundane Benefits

Lay Members are taught combat skills and Ride Ostrich by the cult.

Lay Members may learn cult skills and spirit magic at half price.

D. Restrictions

Lay members may not know Darkness or Fire based spells and must forget them if known.

V. Initiate Membership

A. Requirements for Initiation

Any member of the Ostrich Tribe may become an initiate of Yelmalio the Bird Rider. There is no further test to be taken but a point of POW must be sacrificed.

Outsiders must pass a test of Spear, Bow, Ride Ostrich, Sneak and Scan and sacrifice a point of POW.

B. Requirements to Remain Initiated

Initiates must accept a Gift and Geas. They must tithe 10% of income and 10% of time to the cult.

C. Benefits

Initiates are given a saddle, an ostrich and a composite bow and quiver of arrows.

Cult skills are taught for free.

Initiates may learn the spells of Co-ordination, Light, Lightwall, Farsee and Detect Gold.

All initiates may sacrifice for one use of cult and associated cult divine magic.

VI Light Walkers

A. Requirements

These are the acolytes of the cult. They must have 75% in the cult skills and must take a gift and its geases.

B. Duties

Light Walkers lead clan worship where there is no Light Rider.

C. Benefits

Light Walkers may sacrifice for cult divine magic reusably and for associate cult divine magic on a one-use basis.

VII Light Riders

A. General Statement

These are the heads of the cult and are priests. They specialise in the bow and spear and in riding.

B. Requirements for Acceptance

They must have 90% in Spear, Bow, Scan, Ride Ostrich and one of Shield Parry, Firespeech, Listen, or Sneak and must know the spell of Farsee or have it as a gift.

They must take a gift and geas upon becoming a Light Son.

C. Restrictions of the Status

Light Riders may never eat potatoes as they represent the buried earth. They may never eat raw eggs or fish. They may never ride any animal but an ostrich. Light Riders may not wear red or have red blankets as red is the lost colour of fire. They may only marry Earth Priestesses and if already married must divorce their wife after a year if they do not become an Earth Priestess.

Light Riders may never show mercy to trolls or dwarves, nor may they torture any creature.

They must give 90% of time and income to the cult.

D. Benefits of the Status

Light Riders gain a piece of runic iron or gold, often as a spear or shield. They may search for more iron or gold. They are given a war ostrich and all the equipment needed to keep one.

They gain three initiates as personal guards and these remain until they themselves become Light Riders.

A Light Rider may take one gift and its geases on the High Holy Day of the cult each year.

Light Riders may gain an awakened Ostrich as an allied Spirit.

Yelmalio supports his Light Riders and they may call on him through Divine Intervention with a loss of 1D10 POW.

VIII Divine Magic

Light Riders and Light Walkers gain access to the following spells:

Common Divine: All Special Divine Magic: Catseye, Sunbright, Cloud Clear, Enchant Gold, Enchant Iron, Shield.

A. Cult Special Divine Magic

Catseye (1 point, touch, duration 12 hours, nonstackable, reusable)

For 12 hours this spell affects the target's eyes so he can see by any amount of light no matter how small. If there is no available light, the person cannot see otherwise he sees as if it were a normal day.

Sunbright (2 points, ranged, temporal, nonstackable, reusable)

This spell puts a 50 metre radius circle of light around the recipient of the spell. This acts as daylight in all respects. It demoralises vampires, ghouls and intelligent undead and gives the recipient a 2 point Shimmer effect.

IX Subservient Cults

A. Cult Spirit of Reprisal

Those leaving the cult will be afflicted by a curse. Anyone who they lie to will know they are lying.

B. The Rider

Ostrich Riders may gain the ability of Bird Archery. This ability allows them to use their full bow chance when riding an ostrich, regardless of ride ability. Note that my version differs from the standard Kuschile Archery description , I prefer it as an ability rather than a skill.

C. Monrogh

This Hero came from the West and brought a new spell Lantern, as described in the Sun County Book. Ostrich Riders who know this spell must wear an arm ring with a gold fire rune.


This ancient hero teaches the skills of Scout Plains and Map Making. Followers may wear a yellow feather in their hair.

X. Associate Cults

A. Aldrya

Yelmalio protected the Forests during the Darkness and in return Aldrya grants Light Riders the Heal Body spell.

B. Vrimak

Father to Mother Ostrich, Vrimak, god of birds, gives the Speak to Birds spell to Yelmalio cultists.

C. Yelm

The father of Yelmalio, Yelm grants his Son the spell of Sun Spear to the High Priest only.

XI Miscellaneous Notes

A. Relations with other Yelmalio Cults

The Ostrich Rider recognises other versions of the Yelmalio cult. Worshippers may worship at temples to the Forest Sun and the Sun Dome. They may even worship at Horse Rider Temples, but feel uncomfortable in doing so.

Sun Domers allow Ostrich Riders to join the Regiments and the Forest Sun allows them to join the Marching Aldryami.

At present, the Sun Dome cultists are trying to civilise the Ostrich Tribe and to unite the two varieties of Yelmalio. However, the Ostrich Riders do not want this, preferring to stick to their ancient customs, although welcoming the chance to learn new skills and spells.

B. Gifts and Geases

All Gifts and Geases given by Yelmalio are random and must be rolled.

Use the normal Yelmalio gifts and geases, except replace Javelin attack increases with Shield Parry, replace Communication with Horses with Communication with Ostriches. Replace all geases dealing with horses with geases dealing with ostriches, remove all celibacy geases and replace with marriage restrictions.