In the fantasy role-playing game RuneQuest, magic works because relations between the spiritual and physical plane are immediate and concrete. Maintaining good relations with your chosen god allows you to learn special magic, provides you with trusty companions in a cut-throat world, and you may even roll for Divine Intervention to escape a tight place. RuneQuest and its universe link with a depth and consistency unparalleled in gaming.
RuneQuest’s major supplement Cults of Prax, explores religions useful in and designed for fantasy settings. Starting with the most primitive ancestor worship, passing through the tribal deities of the simple nomad barbarians, and exploring the intricacies of the more civilized Lightbringer cults with trader deities and a god of knowledge. Though all cults receive a broad range of capabilities from their divine relationships, there are some deities specializing in certain activities or areas, such as a war god, a city god, and the mysterious Lunar cult. Non-human religions include an elf cult and two troll cults.
The book offers over 100 new Rune and battle magic spells, and skills not in RuneQuest. The wealth of new material can be applied to any role-playing game or campaign, and referees will enjoy the many new lines of thought and the dozens of examples of tribal behavior which can corroborate any campaign. The excerpts from The Travels of Biturian Varosh can springboard more than a dozen situations or scenarios.
Fifteen religions are detailed:
- Aldrya (elf-goddess)
- Chalana Arroy (healer)
- Daka Fal (ancestor worship)
- Eiritha (herd mother)
- Humakt (war god)
- Issaries (trader god)
- Kyger Litor (troll ancestress)
- Lhankor Mhy (knowledge god)
- Orlanth (god of adventurers)
- Pavis (city god)
- Seven Mothers (the Lunar cult)
- Storm Bull (berserker god)
- Waha (nomad chieftain deity)
- Yelmalio (mercenary god of light)
- Zorak Zoran (troll wargod)
A guideline chapter shows how to design new cults. There are many appendices including a daily sun-time calendar. Descriptions combine fact, fiction, legend, and magic to add flavor so useful in campaign play. If they wish, characters can advance without bloodshed or fighting. Only the ‘cults’ series provides so much imaginative scope and so much every-day detail.
Cults of Prax is a companion to Cults of Terror.
Each Cult Description includes:
Mythos and History — the acts of the gods before time began, the behavior of the cult since time began, life after death promised to cult members, Runic associations.
Nature of the Cult — why the religion continues to exist, what its socio-political position and power has been, some of its major likes and dislikes.
Cult Organization — both inter-cult and intra-temple structures are examined, and centers of power, holy places, holy days.
Cult Membership — here are the requirements to join the cult (species, birth, ability, money, offerings, etc.), the requirements to remain in the cult (sacrifices, hates, geases and gifts from the gods, codes of conduct), the benefits received from the cult (food, shelter, training, healing), the skills taught or restricted, available battle magic, skills and spells peculiar to the cult, Rune magic availability by membership level, cult duties by membership level, and so on. Such aspects are examined separately for lay, initiate, and Rune lord and priest membership.
Subservient Cults — includes spirits of reprisal (they keep. your characters on the straight-and-narrow in such a world) and various hero cults, any of which may offer added Rune spells.
Associated Cults — from actions during Godtime or after, certain cults are more friendly to one another and will loan certain Rune spells or skills.
Miscellaneous Notes — among the most interesting sections, giving information on diet, behavior, dress, conceptions of the universe, ethics, ostentatious display, behavior toward other cults, more.
What The Critics Say
"It is testament to the monumental nature of the book that, even though it was originally released in 1979, it has yet to meet its match in depth and clarity. It is a foundational RPG text (and not just because it might be the first splatbook...)."
— Vintage RPG, Cults of Prax by Steve Perrin and Greg Stafford.
"Arguably the most important supplement ever for both Glorantha and RuneQuest."
— Reviews from R’lyeh, Retrospective: Cults of Prax.
"I cannot rate this book too highly, it makes an already excellent, imaginative, and highly playable FRP system into a masterpiece that richly deserves a place at the forefront of the hobby. 10/10."
— White Dwarf #23, (quoted in Reviews from R’lyeh review).
"[T]he best extant cosmology designed for use with any FRP that has been published."
— Different Worlds #7, quoted in Reviews from R’lyeh review).
"If you play RuneQuest, you want this book. If you are a serious Game Master in any fantasy system, you would do well to look it over… And remember: Gods don't have to be effective to be important. Belief is the thing, and the interactions of social groups and differing beliefs in Cults of Prax is good fantasy reading if you don't game at all."
— Steve Jackson, Space Gamer #27, quoted in Reviews from R’lyeh review).
"Cults of Prax is nothing like Gods, Demigods & Heroes (or its successor, Deities & Demigods), for example, which managed to reduce real world religious/mythological figures to mere game constructs; Cults of Prax does the opposite, elevating game constructs to something approaching credible, if clearly fantastical, belief systems."
— Grognardia, Retrospective: Cults of Prax.
"This is a book that should simply be treasured by gamers."
"A true classic. It showed that a roleplaying setting could handle religion and mythology as defining and central aspects of a culture. The cults are original and appealing, and their rich level of detail makes them feel real."
— El Runeblog, Cults of Prax Review.
Note: This is a fully-remastered PDF true to the original printing.
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- RuneQuest 2nd Edition
- Year Published:
- 1978, 2019
- Black and White Softcover POD
- Page Count:
- Steve Perrin, Greg Stafford
- Cover Artist:
- Steve Swenston
- Interior Artist(s):
- William Church, Guy Conrad, Gene Day, Luise Perrin, Steve Swenston
- Runes and Cartography:
- William Church