The Orlanth Cult

by Jeff Richard

ORLANTH Motion runeAir runeAir runeMastery rune

King of the Gods, the Storm King, Ernalda's Husband

To the clans who populate Quiviniland, Orlanth epitomizes all which a man can be in society. He is the Chief of the Storm Tribe, commanding the winds and the clouds. He destroyed the world by loosing the power of Death, and he created it anew by leading the Seven Lightbringers to liberate Life and Light from Death. He made the first clans and brought justice to the world.

The iconography of Orlanth varies from clan to clan. Amongst the Colymar clans, Orlanth is usually shown as a vigorous man, armed with the thunderbolt and other warrior's weapons, and wearing a chieftain's torc and arm rings. The temple to Orlanth at Clearwine Fort holds an oaken column, with each of the four sides depicting a different aspect of Orlanth (Warrior, Thunderer, Farmer and King). In the ancient hill forts, there are tall stone plinths that depict Orlanth surrounded by, and presumably strangling, tangled draconic knots. In the dark Kitori forestlands, Orlanth is depicted simply as a menhir with the Storm Rune prominently displayed.

Before the Dawn, Heort learned from the Second Son the mysteries of I Fought We Won. Heort returned to the Vinkgotling survivors in the Darkness and gave them Law, the Ring of Orlanth, clans and initiated them according to the rites of Orlanth. The grateful Vingkotlings made Heort their king and his people are now known as Heortlings. Heort's initiation rites form the basic cult of Orlanth as found in every Heortling clan, and allows men to worship the many gods through his rites. It is said that the folk to the far west (the Haranding tribes) have a different initiation rite, even though they still worship Orlanth.

Worshipers: To be initiated according to the rites of Heort and the Second Son constitutes passage from childhood to adulthood for the Heortling men.

A man who has not been initiated is not a full man of a Heortling clan.

Skills: Compose, Orate, Religion (Orlanth), Ritual, Speak (Stormspeech), Speak (own), Weapon
Virtues: Energetic, Generous, Just, Proud, Valorous. These are the virtues that every man is expected to display.
Initiation Requirements: Standard (sacrifice of one point of POW).

The basic holy person in an Orlanthi clan is called a godi:

Godi (acolyte): 15 in two of Awareness, Stealth, Oratory, Speak (Stormspeech), Weapon and 10 in Compose, Religion and Ritual.
Cult Spirit Magic: Bladesharp, Demoralize, Glamour, Heal, Mindspeech, Mobility, Strength.
Godi Divine Magic: all common, Bless Ring, Cloudcall, Cloudclear, Form Ring.
Duties: A godi leads his clan's mystical ceremonies and is a leader in the clan. There may be more than one godi in a clan.


As befits the King of the Gods, Orlanth receives magic from those gods who support his just rule. A partial list includes:

Chalana Arroy (Restore CON), Drogarsi (teaches Glamour), Eiritha (Understand Herd Beast), Elmal (Bless Horse), Ernalda (Restore STR), Eurmal (Charisma), Issaries (Path Watch), Lhankor Mhy (Truespeak), Odayla (teaches Speeddart), Voriof the Shephard (Summon Sheep), Yinkin (Identify Scent).

Not every clan associates Orlanth with all of these deities, and some clans associate Orlanth with still more gods.


Orlanth has many subcults, each clan usually knowing several aspects. These subcults offer divine magic to those who participate in the rites.

Initiation into a sub-cult requires the that godi initiated into the sub-cult or a sub-cult priest perform an initiation rite. All sub-cults have a test of varying degrees of difficulty (rather easy for Barntar, rather hard for Vingkot the Victorious), which teaches the initiate the basic mysteries of the sub-cult. A sub-cult initiate can learn one-use divine magic. A priest of a sub-cult may learn reusable divine magic. The more prominent subcults even have priests who life is dedicated to leading the magical activities that define the subcult. Some regionally prominent subcults include:


This son of Orlanth and Ernalda showed men that the path of Orlanth is the life-path of free men. He tamed the bull with a stick and a rope to haul his plough. He known throughout the Heortling Tribes.

Initiate Skills/Virtues: Animal Lore, Plant Lore, Stewardship. In most clans, a man is initiated into the rites of Barntar if he has been initiated into the cult of Orlanth.
Divine Magic: Bless Stead, Ploughstrength, Tame Bull.
Associated Cults: Ernalda (Bless Crops), Mahome (Bless Hearth)

ORLANTH THE THUNDERER (also known as Thunderous)

Wherever Orlanth is worshipped, his Thunderer aspect is known. The priests of Orlanth the Thunderer are called Storm Voices. Where godi are strongly integrated into their clan, the Storm Voices tend to be gathered around the tribal kings and in some holy places such as near great Stormwalk Mountain are even intra-tribal in focus. The Storm Voices form a powerful nobility in many Heortling tribes.

Divine Magic: all common, Bless Thunderstone, Cloudcall, Cloudclear, Command Sylph, Decrease Wind, Enchant Silver, Flight, Increase Wind, Summon Sylph, Thunderbolt, Wind Warp.
Initiate Skills/Virtues: Compose, Oratory, Weapon, Just, Generous
Storm Voice (Priest): 18 in two of Awareness, Stealth, Oratory, Speak (Stormspeech), Weapon, and 10 in three of Compose, Religion, Ritual, and World Lore.
Associated Cults: Heler (Rain), Mastakos (Guided Teleport)

ORLANTH THE WARRIOR (also known as Adventurous, Vingkot the Victorious, Jandan Adventurous, and Orlanth Victorious)

Orlanth the Warrior is another well-known aspect of Orlanth. Nearly every clan can trace decent from some great hero of Orlanth or can worship the god in his warrior aspect. The priests of Orlanth the Warrior are called Wind Lords. Without a Wind Lord present, only the godi of a war clan can worship Orlanth the Warrior. Orlanth the Warrior is an aspect with many different variations from clan to clan. Each variant has the same core aspect (Orlanth the Warrior) and one or more special spells.

Possible Spirit Magic: Detect Enemies, Fanaticism, Multimissile, Protection, Turn Blade (another name for Dull Blade).
Standard Divine Magic: Bless Woad, Command/Summon Sylph, Enchant Iron, Flight, Sanctify, Shield, Worship Orlanth.
Wind Lords (Priest): 18 in Sword and four of Awareness, Battle, Oratory, Riding, Speak (Stormspeech), Stealth, Weapon.
Possible Special Divine Magic [each variation of Orlanth the Warrior generally has one to three of these spells -- no known aspect contains all of the following spells]: Armoring Enchantment, Berserk, Battle Luck, Charge, Dark Walk, Great Parry, Lift/Telekinesis, Lightning, Mist Cloud, Shield Break, Slash, Strengthening Enchantment, Teleport, Thunderbolt, True [Clan Weapon], Wind Run, Wind Words.
Possible Associated Cults: Chalana Arroy (Cure Chaos Wound), Elmal (Reflection), Heler (Rain), Humakt (True Sword, Oath), Mastakos (Teleport), Odayla (Sureshot), Urox (Face Chaos), Valind (Snow). Not every clan associates Orlanth the Warrior with all of these deities, and some clans associate Orlanth the Warrior with still more gods.

One variant of the Orlanth the Warrior is depicted. There are dozens of others. In Taming of Dragon Pass, the aspect of Vingkot the Victorious is known to the Colymar tribe and Varmand the Strong is a known Wind Lord of this aspect.

Vingkot the Victorious (as an Orlanth the Warrior variant)

This son of Orlanth was the founder of the Vingkotling people. He gained his fame and power by undertaking the Three Tasks, and in the end he won for himself the Twin Wives. After he had made the laws and had brought peace to all races, Vingkot went alone to fight against the Chaos Man. He was mortally wounded but his immortal part could not die. Rather than suffer forever, he ordered his body burned, sitting upright in his throne.

Skills: An Initiate must have Weapon at 15, and 10 in three of Awareness, Battle, Oratory, Riding, Stealth, Weapon. He must also make a Valorous test and a Proud test.
Spirit Magic: Detect Enemy, Protection
Divine Magic: Standard Orlanth the Warrior Divine Magic and Battle Luck, Great Parry, True [Clan Primary Weapon].


This is the cult of Orlanth the King. It was founded by Alakoring Dragonbreaker when the priests allied with the Dragons against their tribal kings. Alakoring showed the priests that Orlanth is the King of the Gods.

The priests of Orlanth Rex are called Kings.

Initiates (Thanes): Must be a chieftain or a clan thane.
Divine Magic: Command Priest, Know Honor, Call Moot
King (Priest): [from Andrin's Words] "He must be initiated into the secrets of Orlanth and into the secrets of another deity. He must succeed at a Crown Test." He must be able to assemble a Tribal Council, be acclaimed by wapentake and be accepted by the tribal Storm Voices.


These are four magical weapons taken by Orlanth from his foes or given to him by his friends. Each has its own sub-cult and its own initiation rite.

The Four Weapons subcults do not provide access to the standard divine magic of Orlanth the Warrior, only the following special spells.

Divine Magic: Dark Walk, Great Parry, Lightning, Mist Cloud


Orlanth created the first Justice and had his Knowing Companion to remember the how Justice has been wielded. Heort the Swift found Orlanth's Law Staff and established the Law of Heort. Men who don't wish to devote themselves to Lhankor Mhy, or whose clan has no Lhankor Mhy priest often join the Lawspeaker subcult.

Requirements: Have a Custom (Orlanthi) of at least 10 and succeed with Honest and Just rolls.
Divine Magic: Cite Law.


Orlanth was the first poet. Men who don't wish to devote themselves to Issaries, or whose clan has no Issaries priest often join the Goodvoice subcult.

Requirements: Succeed with a Compose roll and an Orate roll.
Divine Magic: Eloquence


As can no doubt be deduced from the hodge-podge of Orlanth the Warrior subcults, this listing is far from complete. Many other subcults exist, including Orlanth Lightbringer, worshipped by questers; Orlanth of the Seven Winds, which is also called Dragonbreaker; Orlanth Aeolus, worshipped by the Hendriki wizards; and Vinga the Adventuress, worshipped by woman who wish to undergo the Orlanth rites (and who dye their hair bright red). Many other subcults of Orlanth are not currently worshipped, including Orlanth Dragonfriend. Almost any association can and probably has been made with the basic Orlanth cult, and the variations on the Orlanth cult are as diverse as the Theyalan clans themselves.

Copyright ©1996 Jeff Richard. Last updated 15 Aug 96 drd.

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