Runequest Thursday #127 - Antaeans for Runequest!

Clint Staples

One of the races I created for the Aegean setting of the Swords of Kos is the Antaeans. Descendants of Antaeas, a giant who fought and lost, a wrestling match with Herakles, they fit the setting very well. We are in the process of readying Players Guide to the Aegean for the BASH Roleplaying Game for release, and it has become popular to convert the Antaeans of late, so here is the Runequestification of my Antaeans, as well as a cult for their use in Glorantha.

Also: Check out the attachment for Jocasta, the Blade Barrier, Earthdaughter.


In the Aegean:

Antaeans are giantish humanoids seven to eight feet in height, with powerful bodies weighing 400 to 600 lbs. They are descended from Antaeus, an exceptional earth giant from the land of Gintu, a Hill Giant Kingdom south of the Kingdom of Tyre, who wrestled Heracles and lost.

Mainly found in Libya, there are Antaeans In Aigyptos and elsewhere, though they are fewer on islands or at sea. Antaeans prefer to maintain their connection to Gaia by remaining in contact with the earth, and few take to sailing. Antaeans tend to be bronze or grey of skin with dark-hair and eyes of bronze, silver, or copper. The size and musculature of most Antaeans make them adept at martial pursuits, but they are just as good as farmers, employing a subtle earth magic to increase the fecundity of the land under their care. Antaean towns on the North

African coast are common stops for grain ships bold enough to brave a region known for Titanic domination. The Antaean town militia here drill regularly, and are a match for the majority of incursions by disorganized titanspawn.

Antaeans are strong and favor heavy weapons like the Heavy War Pick that benefit from their brawn. They prefer throwing weapons like javelins over things like bows and crossbows and are counted among the best staff-slingers in the Aegean. Most Antaean villages are based around farming, but Smithcraft is also highly regarded. Most Antaeans who choose fighting as a profession opt for heavy armor such as mail or plate. Because of their Hill Giant ancestry, Antaeans revere Gaia, the Titanic Earth Mother. Demeter, the Olympian goddess of grain and the harvest is also venerated. Legend suggests that Antaeas might well have been son to Poseidon. Whether this is true or not, many Antaean settlements have a shrine devoted to Poseidon in his role as the Earth Shaker. The descendants of Antaeus still maintain some of their antipathy towards Herakles. No Antaean will ever be a champion or priest of Herakles.

Many Antaeans are as proud as was their doomed ancestor, but few are so belligerent. Most are rather stoic in outlook, preferring to master their emotions rather than give into excess. Perhaps because of their size and this outlook, they have a reputation for fearlessness which many try to emulate.


Earth Wardens

Rare Antaeans are natural shaman, having gained a guardian earth spirit that warns them of danger, granting occasional visions of the past or present, even portents of the future. These individuals are called Earth Wardens and are respected in Antaean culture for their wise counsel. The earth spirit may come to an Earth Warden in dire need, or it might have been his constant companion from earliest childhood. Whatever the case, it is a devoted aide and servant to the Warden. Earth Wardens cannot themselves travel astrally, but act as a lodestone for their guardian spirit, which a Warden can discorporate to seek in the spirit realm.

Earth Wardens, in tune with their guardian, with the spirit world and more besides, gain the ability of Foresight, which can aid them in combat, as well as in foretelling events of import.

Earth Wardens generally are bound by their duty to their people, and only leave them if their Foresight commands.  


Earth Warden Skill: Foresight (Starting % = INT + POW)

By means of a trance, which takes 1d10 rounds to enter, you can Foresee the future. You may ask the GM a single simple question for each degree of success (Normal Success 1, Special 2, Critical 3) about a subject of import to you or another you have chosen to benefit with your Foresight. After you have exited your trance, pay 1 temporary POW for each question you asked. If you have insufficient POW remaining, you fall unconscious for 1 hour per POW you were short.

In combat, Foresight may be used instead of Block, Evasion or Resistance, to avert or negate an attack that can be defended against in one of these ways. Each such use costs 2 temporary POW. In the same way, you may substitute your Foresight for a single attack Skill check in a combat, at the same POW cost.

Note: Although the Earth Warden is an Aegean concept, there is no reason it could not be used in Glorantha, as an alternative or addition, to the Earth Child Cult.


For Glorantha: Cult – Earth Child (Runes: Earth, Life, Man)

Antaeans are devotees of the local Earth Mother manifestation, often calling those who are particularly devout (initiates) Earth Children. Rune levels are Earthsons, or Earthdaughters, depending on their gender, but there is no specific Runelord status in the cult, Earthsons and Earthdaughters fulfulling the roles of Priest and Cult Avenger more than well enough.


Before Time

Antaeans venerate their Ancestor, Antaeas, as the Earthson, first in the Cult of Earth Child, Defender of the Earth Mother. Antaeas was the product of a union between a The First Giant and Mortal Woman. He rose to adulthood inheriting great gifts from both his parents. The giants were capable of defending themselves, but Mortals were often prey to attack by demons, gods, beasts, and disease. Antaeas offered a place to any mortal who devoted itself to the Earth, and sworn to defend them for their devotion. In this way did Antaeas fight the Great Beast – the Ravager – when it attempted to violate the bounty of the Earth. In his fight, Antaeas was slain, and healed by the earth, three times, before tearing the beast limb from limb and scattering its remains.


Since Time Began

Antaeans understand the duty of mortals to take up the mantle of Defender and Avenger, to follow in the footsteps of Antaeas. They welcome any mortal with similar conviction.


Runic Associations

Earth represents the Earth Mother, her son Antaeas, and his descendants: the Antaeans. The Earth is the most basic of the elements, and upon which all others must rely. The Antaeans, and their long distant ancestor, are its defenders.

Life represents the great gift that Earth gives to all living things. Antaeas was a champion of Life, and his descendants follow in his footsteps.

Man represents the connection between Earth and mortal existence. Earth provides for the needs of all mortals. Mortals must defend and care for the earth just as they defend their children and belongings.


Holy Days

Clay Day of Fertility Week is the seasonal holy day, The specifics of which change from season to season. In Sea Season, this festival is the time of births and beginnings, planting or making ready to plant. This fertility notion extends to the Antaeans themselves and many children are born near this time. It is lucky to be born on the Sea Season Holy Day. In Earth Season, there is a grain festival in honor of the Earth Mother’s bounty. Boundaries are walked, fields are ritually tended. In Fire Season, there is the Great Reaping Festival, the High Holy Day, when the Annual Cycle culminates for plants, beasts, and men. Weddings, and less formal couplings, are common amid the plentiful harvest, and just as often violators of the Earth’s bounty are hunted down. Dark and Storm Season Holy Days are the Bread Festivals, when life is rekindled amidst the warmth of the earth in homely feasts of root vegetable stews and great cubic bread loaves. These are somber times, when many Antaeans give great offerings of power to the Earth, that she may remain strong in the chill. These sacrifices culminate in Sacred Time when the Earth Wheel turns and the Earth Mother returns, hale and hearty, in Sea Season.


Earth Children

Most Antaeans are content to farm and venerate the Earth Mother. But some are moved to devote themselves more fully.

To become an Earth Child, one must be accepted as an Antaean. This is automatic for those who ARE Antaean, but it is possible for a trusted non-Antaean to be adopted into the cult by giving up all other elemental runic ties and devoting oneself to the Earth in a prolonged, and in some case, tortuous ritual (CON x3% to persist through the ritual). Successful emergents from the rite have gained the grey dusty skin and something of the size +1d6 SIZ, +1d3 STR) of Antaeans, and can never belong to a cult with other elemental ties than those to the Earth.

Antaeans (natural or adopted) can become Earth Children if they have 3 of the following skills at 60%: Earth Lore, Farming, Earth Speech, Smithing, Theurgy, any one of: War Pick, Great War Pick, Javelin, Staff Sling, Warfare. There is a test to ensure sufficient skill, but it is understood that only those of sufficient dedication would attempt to become Earth Children.


Earthson/ Earth Daughter

To become an Son or Daughter of Earth, the candidate must have minimum POW 16, five skills (chosen from: Earth Lore, Earth Speech, Heal, Smithing, Theurgy, Tracking, Warfare, any of: War Pick, Great War Pick, Javelin, Staff Sling) at 90% or higher, and devote his or her life to the defense of the Earth and her beloved from hostility, and as avenger against trespassers and violators.


Cult Magic:

Common Magic: Heal, Strength, Pierce, Protection

Rune Magic: Berserk,  Bless Crops, Trueweapon, Stoneflesh


Cult Special Runespell:


Duration 15, Rank, Earthson/daughter, self

Stoneflesh immediately confers the effects of Protection 1 on all locations of the body, which stacks with any other protection spell the caster might possess. In addition, weapons attacking Stoneflesh compare their Armor Points against the Target’s rank of Stoneflesh on the Resistance Table, if the weapon fails, it does no damage to its target, and inflicts its rolled damage against its own HP, possibly breaking it.