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Vinga: cult membership

Lay membership

Any non-chaotic female may join the cult as a lay member. They are required only to attend Holy Day celebrations, and may learn the spell Droop. Most Orlanthi women in a moderately risky area (such as a city) will join on this basis.

Apprentice membership

Apprentices are lay members in training to become initiates. They must be adult, have no dependents, and pass a simple test to demonstrate their fitness to become a warrior. Under exceptional circumstances children will be accepted as apprentices, but they must have the permission of their parents. The exact nature of this test varies from one temple to another, but does not expect the apprentice to already have any combat skills, as it is accepted that many women will never have had the chance to learn. [If your campaign uses Traits, a Valour roll would simulate the test in most cases].

Once accepted, the apprentice gives 95% of their time to the cult, to be split between work and training as the priestess (or senior initiate) in charge of apprentices decides. Note that in some cases these may overlap: hard labour at temple tasks may act as training for STR and CON. Training will generally try to build on skills the apprentice already has, if any, and will choose combat methods to suit her abilities, within the limits of the teaching available.

The apprentice may leave at any time, but re-acceptance in this case is not automatic and will depend on the reasons for leaving.

Initiate membership

Ordinary initiates are the warriors of the cult. They gain the blessing of infertility from Vinga (and thus become semi-immune to that aspect of attack from Broo, as well as other inconveniences). Some initiates make the most of this freedom, and gain many "friends" thereby, but note that joint membership of Vinga and Uleria is not an option!

Contrary to rumour, initiates may marry, but only where the form of marriage does not make them the subordinate partner. (See the forms of marriage in "King of Sartar" for more details on this).

Initiates are required to come to the aid of any woman who is being oppressed by a male. They are not required to seek vengeance after the fact, although they frequently do so. They are required to kill Broo whenever they find them, unless the odds are too great for this to be possible. In this case they are required to return as soon as possible with sufficient allies to do the job.

Vingan warriors dye their hair red (see myth) each High Holy Day (the dye will last the full year).

The test for initiation varies from one temple to another, but the four skills (plus Ceremony, or Religious Lore if you use it) will be chosen from:

  1. at least one weapon attack
  2. a missile attack
  3. Dodge
  4. a parry
  5. first aid
  6. sneak
  7. ride

Initiates must spend at least the standard time working for the cult, as well as attending the Holy Day celebrations and tithing as normal. Spending further time working for the cult is encouraged, and is the normal method of payment for spells and training. Tasks often include acting as guards for allied cults, such as Chalana Arroy. Vingans are often preferred as guards, as they generally know more healing skills than the average Orlanthi warrior, and tend to be rather less boisterous in carrying out their duties.

Initiates are taught any available combat skills, plus Dodge, Ride, Sneak and First Aid. They may also learn skills from allied cults.

"Retired" membership

It is accepted by Vingans that a warrior may not wish to stay a warrior for life. They may, after consultation with their priestess, retire from combat duty, losing the combat-related requirements as they do so. They may at this point regain their fertility if they so wish, though this will normally require a ceremony by an priestess of Ernalda. Some retire in order to marry and have children (though note the restrictions on marriage still apply!), some simply retire when they feel they are too old for active service. They retain many of the privileges of initiates, and may act as trainers for the temple. Some go on to other careers: Vingans turned Healers are not unknown. One duty they do retain is that they may be called back by the temple at any time to serve as full initiates in so far as it is within their ability to do so. Generally this would only be invoked in the case of an attack on the temple itself, or an invasion of the tribe or country in which that temple is based.

Daughter membership

(See reference to Natalina)

Daughters of Vinga are both Rune Ladies and Priestesses. They give up at least 90% of their time and income to the cult (in practise, somewhat more than this). In return the cult supports them, pays their ransoms and provides them with cult spells. A candidate for Daughter must fulfil the standard requirements for priestess and also have 90% in a weapon attack, Dodge, and three of the following skills:

  • any other weapon attack
  • any missile attack
  • any parry
  • Ride
  • Sneak
  • First Aid
  • Scan
  • Search
  • Listen.

She must have been an initiate in good standing and known to the examiner(s) for at least a year. There must be a need for a new Daughter (there is always a need for a new Daughter!) She must in the opinion of the examiners be dedicated to the ideals of the cult (note that membership of other combat cults normally indicates a lack of dedication to this one).

In theory a new Daughter of Vinga will receive an iron weapon to mark her status. In practise such a weapon may not always be available.

Daughters of Vinga roll for divine intervention on D10 rather than D100.

Leave of absence may be granted (provided there is someone to take over her temple duties) for quests that will bring fame to the cult and for defence of her own family, clan, tribe, etc. In either case most of the active initiates from her temple and clan will probably come and join in. It is often said that if you make an enemy of one Vingan, you make enemies of them all.

Priestess membership.

Priestesses of Vinga are Daughters who run their own temple or shrine. All Daughters qualify for this role, but most do not serve the cult primarily as priestesses immediately. The priestess of a temple has absolute authority over all other Vingans entering it, even if they are her senior under other circumstances.

Red Women

Sometimes a Vingan's hair may turn permanently red at initiation, on becoming a Daughter of Vinga, or during a HeroQuest. This is a sign of exceptional piety and dedication to the cult. Such Vingans are known as "Red Women" (see reference to Heort). It is unusual for Red Women to retire, and even more unusual for them to regain their fertility. Any child of a Red Woman is clearly destined for greatness.