Is the Cult of Ibis hiding something? (Possible Spoilers)

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns
Nyarlathotep
Stoat
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:53 pm

Is the Cult of Ibis hiding something? (Possible Spoilers)

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:35 pm

Are Mitra's followers correct in suspecting something sinister?

Now that's a question which has been biting at my mind after reading their segment in Stygia: Serpent of the South.

I know that "received wisdom" from various pastiches and comics portray Ibis and the priest Kalanthes in a somewhat sympathetic light - the eternal enemies of the Old Serpent.

But the "narrative" of the Cult of Ibis history - its roots in Acheronian empire, and the various mysteries which seem to give their worshippers access to questionable aspects of sorcery does tend to place a shadow over them.

Do we even know what was the Cult's stature in Acheron and Old Stygia? Did they only receive their bad rep amongst those peoples after the fall of the empires?

And how is it that they came into posession of the knowledge of the three names of a certain dangerous entity?

Thoughts?
VincentDarlage
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2145
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:16 pm
Location: Indiana, USA
Contact:

Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:19 pm

Ibis is fleshed out even more in Faith and Fervour, including Mysteries. The Sixth Mystery of Ibis may hold the answer to the last question you asked.

All we really know is that Ibis exists as a cult in or around Nemedia (the new Dark Horse comics places Hanumar in Ophir or Koth, IIRC) and that it has a priest named Kalanthes and that Thoth-amon really doesn't care much for him. Promero's opinion in "The God in the Bowl" is that Ibis has fought Set since the dawn of creation.

I think the pastiches and comics turned Ibis into a rather uninteresting good guy, which never set well with me - I just always felt it was the wrong way to look at Ibis. If one takes it that Promero knows the truth about Ibis and Set, then he is a good guy. Since the quote wasn't in the narrator's voice, I took it as something Promero believes to be true (since Promero wasn't there personally, he is therefore relating something he has been told - therefore, his belief is only as accurate as his source, and since we are not told who or what is his source, I decided to be skeptical).

Part of my reason for this was that if Ibis is part of Set's pantheon and fought him from the beginning, then, in order for Set to be the dominate god, Set must have been seen as the "most good" for society - and therefore Ibis must have been the "evil" or trickster god - at least insofar as Stygian society was concerned. That was just hard to convey and/or swallow. If Stygians saw Ibis as the good guy, then he would have been the dominant god - most evil people do not see themselves as evil. How do I create a god that is seen by the Stygians as evil, but by the rest of the Mitraic world as good, and still have a Stygian religion that holds up a working society?

Some people, however, have mentioned to me that I should have let him go on as an unabashed good guy. I felt my approach was a bit more interesting. It is no more canonical than any other approach, though.
Last edited by VincentDarlage on Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
kintire
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 967
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:48 pm

Postby kintire » Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:33 pm

Some people, however, have mentioned to me that I should have let him go on as an unabashed good guy. I felt my approach was a bit more interesting.
We have Mitra and Asura as "good guy" gods fighting Set. Do we really need another? I think your approach is MUCH more interesting...
Nyarlathotep
Stoat
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:53 pm

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:43 pm

Well i do like your take on the Ibis Cult, they may not be "do-gooderish" a la the priests of Mitra (although their inquisitor-like nature throws that statement into question as well), but there's a tinge of something darker.

Maybe the Mitrans' fears of the Cult are unfounded, the followers of Ibis just prefer to avail of themselves of every advantage that might help them oppose the brood of Set. The ends justify the means perhaps?

But he was worshipped by both Stygians and Acheronians in the past - what could have percipitated the cult's fall from grace?

Now i wonder if Ibis was a "defective" member of the pantheon, ie: he wasn't evil enough and ergo was deemed "bad" by the Stygians. So its not a matter of Ibis being "good" a la Mitras, his tenants happen to be the least horrible of the Stygian pantheon.
User avatar
Majestic7
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 490
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:56 pm
Location: Finland

Postby Majestic7 » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:04 pm

I don't think having purely goody good cults or gods fits in the spirit of Hyboria. In my Hyboria, Ibis certainly has a lot of things to hide - after all, the cult does originate with Acheron. Those interested in mixing Cthulhu Mythos with Hyboria would easily find some Great Old One to put behind the cult. If my current player characters ever manage to come back home in Nemedia alive, I will most likely use Ibis in some manner. I have a few plans already in mind.
Campaign log & house rules at Obsidian Portal:
http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/conan-ae
User avatar
Majestic7
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 490
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:56 pm
Location: Finland

Postby Majestic7 » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:06 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote: Now i wonder if Ibis was a "defective" member of the pantheon, ie: he wasn't evil enough and ergo was deemed "bad" by the Stygians. So its not a matter of Ibis being "good" a la Mitras, his tenants happen to be the least horrible of the Stygian pantheon.
I think talking about good and evil is a wrong way to approach religion anyway. In Hyboria, the gods are not really present like in your typical D&D-like fantasy, they are more of cultural constructions like in our world. I don't really think that Stygians see Set as "evil". Internal politics would be a better reason for the exile of Ibis from Stygia than some shadowy ethical argument. In my opinion, the cult has simply changed in to something less sinister out of necessity, in order to survive in Nemedia.
Campaign log & house rules at Obsidian Portal:
http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/conan-ae
kintire
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 967
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:48 pm

Postby kintire » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:17 pm

I think talking about good and evil is a wrong way to approach religion anyway. In Hyboria, the gods are not really present like in your typical D&D-like fantasy
Indeed. They are much more present than your typical DnD like fantasy.

Generally, this is not good...
Nyarlathotep
Stoat
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:53 pm

Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:22 pm

I figured that there must have been some sort of political intramural between Set and Ibis' cults - Set won of course, but what's driving me up the wall is why, and what could have laid Ibis' cult low.

Both of their mysteries are rather potent - although cosmology wise, Set's followers might have the upper hand about the err "true" picture of the cosmos, especially concerning those who have come before the rise of humanity.

That which is dead..etc.etc..
User avatar
The King
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5003
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 11:41 pm
Location: City of Wonders, Valusia (before the major cataclysm)

Re: Is the Cult of Ibis hiding something? (Possible Spoilers

Postby The King » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:54 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:Are Mitra's followers correct in suspecting something sinister?

Now that's a question which has been biting at my mind after reading their segment in Stygia: Serpent of the South.

But the "narrative" of the Cult of Ibis history - its roots in Acheronian empire, and the various mysteries which seem to give their worshippers access to questionable aspects of sorcery does tend to place a shadow over them.

Do we even know what was the Cult's stature in Acheron and Old Stygia? Did they only receive their bad rep amongst those peoples after the fall of the empires?
Your assumption is very interesting indeed, especially with the coïncidence that Xaltotun was in Nemedia during the Hour of the Dragon. Though nothing about this possible connection is said in Howard's novel I'll think of it if I make a campaign out of it.
Last edited by The King on Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
An American-style kitchen is a kitchen in the living room.
A French-style toilet has toilet in the living room.
My neighbours combine both styles.
VincentDarlage
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2145
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:16 pm
Location: Indiana, USA
Contact:

Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:32 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote: But he was worshipped by both Stygians and Acheronians in the past - what could have percipitated the cult's fall from grace?
I go into that in Faith & Fervour. The cult's stature was in good standing in Old Stygia and Acheron. Ibis worked side by side with Set as his scribe. Since Ibis was a recorder of all things (and thus kept social order), when the Khari came and ousted the Giant-Kings, a new social order was created. Therefore, a new "recorder" was needed, so Ibis was replaced by Djehuty. Djehuty kept the new social order and recorded the new truths.

The Acheronians, who grew out the people displaced by the Khari, retained Ibis. This set up a situation where the Acheronian pantheon, headed by Set and his Ibis, was opposed to the Stygian pantheon, headed up by Set and Djehuty. Thus, the Acheronian Ibis became, in a weird sense, opposed to the Stygian Set.

If you read the sentence in The Hour of the Dragon about Xaltotun's first death, he was poisoned by "jealous priests of Stygia," indicating a rivalry between the Acheronian cults and the Stygian cults, even though they both worshipped Set. (In a way, it would be like the conflicts between Protestants and Catholics, the same God, but they differ in various details - in this case Ibis/Djehuty is one of those details.)

When Acheron fell, Ibis simply became pragmatic and sided with the people it predicted would win, so it helped the Hyborian invaders root out the Acheronian Set-worshippers - thus further cementing its status in Hyborian minds that Ibis is opposed to Set. The Hyborians never saw any other version of Ibis, just the one that helped them out.

In my version, Ibis was not opposed to Set since the dawn of time, he has been opposed to Set since the dawn of the Hyborian age, which, as far as the Hyborians go, may as well be the dawn of time, thus rendering Promero's statement in "The God in the Bowl" true - from a certain point of view.

In my version of events, Ibis became a betrayer in order to survive, instead of choosing to remain loyal and die. Therefore, the cult of Set is still angry at the cult of Ibis and bears them no love.
Last edited by VincentDarlage on Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kyorou
Mongoose
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:00 am

Postby Kyorou » Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:37 am

Nice ideas, Vincent.

Although, I'd add that Ibis seems to be a somewhat intellectual and distant divinity, thus being understandably less popular than Set among Stygian commoners.
User avatar
Majestic7
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 490
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:56 pm
Location: Finland

Postby Majestic7 » Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:52 am

The way I see it, Set is not popular with Stygian commoners, they just fear him in the form of his priests.
Campaign log & house rules at Obsidian Portal:
http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/conan-ae
Kyorou
Mongoose
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:00 am

Postby Kyorou » Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:56 am

OK, you're right. My bad.

Correction : Ibis (or his cult) seems less likely to strike down on Joe Stygian than Set or his fellas. Therfore, Set gets more worship. :wink:
Nyarlathotep
Stoat
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:53 pm

Re: Is the Cult of Ibis hiding something? (Possible Spoilers

Postby Nyarlathotep » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:14 pm

The King wrote: Your assumption is very interesting indeed, especially with the coïncidence that Xaltotun was in Nemedia during the Hour of the Dragon. Though nothing about this possible connction is said about in Howard's novel I'll think of it if I make a campaign out of it.
We already know the Acheronians still continue to live on in the hills and isolated areas of Nemedia (egad, sounds like a Hyborian version of an HP Lovecraft town of "degenerates") - and I believe there was a passage in Hour of the Dragon where it was said that Xaltotun consulted with them.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are left over Acheronians who worship or are part of the Cult of Ibis and still worship Set in secret.
kintire
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 967
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:48 pm

Postby kintire » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:35 pm

We already know the Acheronians still continue to live on in the hills and isolated areas of Nemedia
Indeed... and how long do they last? I've always been intrigued by Howard's "The Black Stone"
I learned then that the present inhabitants of Stregoicavar are not descendants of the people who dwelt there before the Turkish raid of 1526. The victorious Moslems left no living human in the village or the vicinity thereabouts when they passed over. Men, women and children they wiped out in one red holocaust of murder, leaving a vast stretch of country silent and utterly deserted. The present people of Stregoicavar are descended from hardy settlers from the lower valleys who came into the ruined village after the Turk was thrust back.

Mine host did not speak of the extermination of the original inhabitants with any great resentment and I learned that his ancestors in the lower levels had looked on the mountaineers with even more hatred and aversion than they regarded the Turks. He was rather vague regarding the causes of this feud, but said that the original inhabitants of Stregoicavar had been in the habit of making stealthy raids on the lowlands and stealing girls and children. Moreover, he said that they were not exactly of the same blood as his own people; the sturdy, original Magyar-Slavic stock had mixed and intermarried with a degraded aboriginal race until the breeds had blended, producing an unsavory amalgamation. Who these aborigines were, he had not the slightest idea, but maintained that they were "pagans" and had dwelt in the mountains since time immemorial, before the coming of the conquering peoples.
VincentDarlage
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2145
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:16 pm
Location: Indiana, USA
Contact:

Re: Is the Cult of Ibis hiding something? (Possible Spoilers

Postby VincentDarlage » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:07 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if there are left over Acheronians who worship or are part of the Cult of Ibis and still worship Set in secret.
I think that is not only possible, but probable. If I were to stat up Kalanthes, I would use the Acheronian racial template for him.
Kyorou
Mongoose
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:00 am

Re: Is the Cult of Ibis hiding something? (Possible Spoilers

Postby Kyorou » Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:44 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if there are left over Acheronians who worship or are part of the Cult of Ibis and still worship Set in secret.
Well, seems to me the struggle between the "ally with Hyborian" liners and the Acheronian old guard can be a nice way to throw my PCs into the cult's politics.

Maybe something about one of the factions hiring them to recover some "stolen" artifact...
User avatar
Majestic7
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 490
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:56 pm
Location: Finland

Postby Majestic7 » Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:21 am

If one would want to mix Cthulhu Mythos with Ibis, Hastur might work fine. From the mythos established by other games (CoC, Delta Green), there are several cults of Hastur which worship different avatars of the same being. Of course, the decadent, destructive nature of Hastur doesn't seem to fit with the intellectual style of Ibis, unless Ibis as an avatar is all about intellectual degeneration. Nyarlathathotepth might work better, as the old boy seems to enjoy going around as patron of sorcerous arts that cause mankind to destroy itself.
Campaign log & house rules at Obsidian Portal:
http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/conan-ae
Nyarlathotep
Stoat
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:53 pm

Postby Nyarlathotep » Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:38 am

Well, seems to me the struggle between the "ally with Hyborian" liners and the Acheronian old guard can be a nice way to throw my PCs into the cult's politics.
Actually, i figure that the "Acheronian old guard" is rather quiet...extremely quiet. If it was ever leaked to the Hyborian kingdoms as to the questionable history of the Cult of Ibis, that might give the Mitrans the political opportunity to crush them.

I would think the overwhelming majority within the Cult of Ibis would be of the "ally with Hyborian" faction because that would be the default - the outer "ho hum..we hate Set" face.

However, behind that would be the "old guard," and thanks to Vincent for pointing out one of the mysteries, that might be a fitting title.

I could see Kalanthes and the Old Guard hiring PCs out to either retrieve or destroy evidence of the older Cult of Ibis.


There's one thing i don't understand though - if this is really the truth how come the Black Ring and the Priesthood of Set have not tried to "out" the Ibis cultists?

If they bothered to, they could put together enough evidence and let it conveniently land in the hands of the Mitrans and other Hyborians and let them do the dirty work of finishing off their enemies.
User avatar
Majestic7
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 490
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:56 pm
Location: Finland

Postby Majestic7 » Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:03 am

Nyarlathotep wrote: There's one thing i don't understand though - if this is really the truth how come the Black Ring and the Priesthood of Set have not tried to "out" the Ibis cultists?

If they bothered to, they could put together enough evidence and let it conveniently land in the hands of the Mitrans and other Hyborians and let them do the dirty work of finishing off their enemies.
Perhaps the cult is simply insignificant to them. They pose no direct threat to the leadership of Setites in Stygia and seem unable to stop plots of the Black Ring abroad. If you like conspiracies, perhaps the cult of Ibis is so impotent because they realize such evidence exists and could be used to destroy them. They are being blackmailed in to submission. Sometimes a controlled enemy is more useful than a destroyed or desperate one.
Campaign log & house rules at Obsidian Portal:
http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/conan-ae

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests