Six Ages Ride Like the Wind: Guide to Nyalda Marriage Maker

A guide to the Nyalda Marriage Maker ritual, including how to succeed and what rewards you can get.

 

Introduction

I think of Nyalda Marriage Maker as the most finicky ritual of the game—not necessarily the hardest, but perhaps the most complicated.

Learning the Ritual

You can start the game knowing this ritual if your first god was Nyalda and when the First Clan divided your ancestors were the best magicians.

Otherwise, you can learn it through sacrifice to Nyalda. (Be patient, though, because she’s got a lot of mysteries to get through…)

Rewards
  • A marriage blessing.
    Helps Beren the Tall out with his event chain, which prominently features marriage negotiations. Other than that, gives relatively minor bonuses to clan mood, population, and relations with Rider neighbors for seven years. Can be worth it if you’ve started Beren’s event chain; otherwise, don’t bother.
  • Strengthening of the quester’s abilities.
    Increases Bargaining and Lore by one level each. Can be useful for building up a female master trader; in combination with Ekarna’s ritual you can quickly get someone to Heroic and then (for example) have her get you out of nearly all raids by bamboozling other clans into accepting one cow’s worth of tribute.
    If either skill was already Heroic, Nyalda will also grant a point of Clan Magic the next several times you choose the quester to lead a mission.
  • A treasure sacred to Nyalda.
    Can be the Nyalda Staff, which grants divine blessing (bonuses on Leadership and Magic tests, in this case) to Nyalda worshippers, or the Nyalda Stone, which reduces the number of worshippers necessary to maintain a shrine/temple to Nyalda. The former can be useful if you select Nyalda worshippers for a lot of tasks, but this isn’t the reward I’d go for myself.
  • Increased grain production.
    I like this reward (more food! to eat or to trade and become rich!), but it’s tricky to get because it requires a skill that is useful nowhere else in the ritual.
  • 50 cows worth of gold plaques.
    Don’t bother. If you want trade goods from a ritual, both Hyalor Tablet Maker and Taming the River offer more.
  • The magical weapon Shargash gave the quester.
    Random war treasure. Probably not worth it.
  • Cows.
    Variable number, 50 at most. Would not recommend unless you really need the cows.
  • Internal harmony.
    Not sure if this boosts Harmony magic as well as clan mood.
  • A war blessing against your ancestral enemy.
    Bonus to Combat in raids when the opponent is your ancestral enemy.
    Lasts seven years for the Ram People; is permanent for other enemies. Potentially useful if your ancestral enemy shows up a lot.
    At risk of being obvious, you need to have an ancestral enemy to get this option.
    It isn’t known if this blessing switches over if your ancestral enemy changes due to an event.

Preparation

Sacred Time Magic

As usual, a variety of Sacred Time magic allocations can come in handy in this ritual—provided you invested at least two points in the relevant area!

Diplomacy Magic can help choices in all stages of the ritual, including all options in the final stage. It’s probably the single most valuable area for this ritual, especially if your secondary quester isn’t the best (more on that below).

Harmony and Ritual magic can come in handy in two stages each, depending on your choices.

And Exploring and Fields each help with one choice in the ritual. (The choice Fields Magic helps with is the only way to unlock my favorite reward from the ritual, that of increased grain production).

Asking Other Clans

You can ask both Riders and Wheels to help with this ritual. As usual, Riders are significantly easier to convince, and Riders who agree with you about Cenala easiest of all (provided you don’t have a reputation as a rite-shirker).

If Cenala hasn’t been introduced or the schism isn’t an issue, your odds of convincing Riders will be better if your first god was Nyalda, you have one of her worshippers on the circle, and/or a circle member has the Matriarchal personality trait.

You can ask Wheels to help, but frankly, doing so is likely more trouble than it’s worth.Personally, I don’t seek help from Wheels in this ritual. Because of their sexist ways, they actively hinder “choices drawing on women’s power” (including telling Little Yelm that a wife is not a slave, or calling on Shargash’s wives for aid).

However, if those are not the choices you plan on, it’s an option. (As usual, the Wheels are put off by a Hyalor worshipper on the circle and like seeing a Relandar worshipper there, and they’re very unlikely to help if you’ve shirked helping at their own rites.)

Other Factors

Taking a treasure will give your odds of success a fairly minor boost, and can open up opportunities if you stray from the ritual path. Of course, you’ll also risk losing it if things go badly.

Your sacrifice (helped by Ritual magic) also influences your starting bonus. I tend to max the Goods slider, but I’m also pretty sure that’s rather excessive—you may not actually have to sacrifice more here than you would asking a god for Mysteries.

As always, it’s a bad idea to perform the same ritual twice in less than five years. Avoid doing so.

Choosing Questers

Nyalda Marriage Maker is unusual among your sacred rituals in that you must send two clan members into the Gods War rather than just one. The primary quester enacts the role of Nyalda herself, refusing her unwanted suitors. The secondary quester acts as Nyalda’s divine kinswoman, taking over marriage negotiations when a suitor Nyalda actually wants appears.

Primary Quester (Nyalda)

Primary questers for Nyalda Marriage Maker must be women who are not shamans. Beyond that, the game recommends choosing a Nyalda worshipper who is good at Bargaining and Lore, although these are not the only skills that can be useful (and indeed, a quester can get through with one but not the other).

Your primary quester handles only the first three stages of the ritual. If you have a strong secondary quester in mind, it’s okay to only succeed at two of them—you’ll still get a reward. If your potential secondary questers are all kind of dubious, you want your primary quester to succeed at all three stages.

High Bargaining can get your quester through all three stages; a combination of Bargaining and Leadership can also be useful. High Lore on its own will only get the quester through two stages, though; the same is true of Magic and Diplomacy.

High Food on its own will only take care of one stage, but it does unlock an excellent reward. So Food plus another skill can be one path through the ritual.

Secondary Quester (Nyalda’s Negotiator)

You must also select a secondary quester to deal with the final stage of the ritual by conducting marriage negotiations on Nyalda’s behalf. All female clan members, including shamans and tricksters, are viable options.

The secondary quester will be tested on BargainingDiplomacy, or Lore, depending on what you want her to negotiate for.

This choice is made during the ritual, not before. Note that you choose the goal of the negotiation for before you choose the secondary quester—you can’t back out and choose something else if, say, you decided to bargain for cows and then realize that your best bargainer is only Good at the skill. So while choosing your primary quester, also make sure you have someone else competent in one of those skills!

(Depending on which option you’re taking, worshippers of Ekarna and Osara can have advantages as secondary questers.)

Stage 1: Little Yelm

Nyalda refuses to marry Little Yelm because, as a distillation of Dara Happan patriarchy, he wishes to chain her up in his palace. (He’s also just not a very impressive sun god, by Rider standards.)

This is the stage of the ritual where failure can sometimes result in the quester getting lost in the Gods War.

How does the quester deal with Little Yelm’s marriage proposal?

“A true god of the sky would never choose life under a roof.”
  • Test: Oration (Diplomacy + Lore) vs. Skepticism
  • Magic: Harmony
  • Personality: Daring, Peaceful, Warlike, Harsh (unknown which are penalties and which bonuses); Inarticulate (penalty)
  • Other Bonus: Relandar on ring, Dara Happan ancestral enemy; Golden Honeycomb, Snake Spirit active
“A wife is not a slave.”
  • Test: Lore vs. Skepticism
  • Magic: Harmony
  • Personality: Matriarchal (bonus)
  • Other Bonus: Matriarchal circle member; more women than men on circle; the Golden Honeycomb and the Snake Spirit
  • Other Penalty: Patriarchal circle member; more men than women on circle; Wheels supporting ritual (greater penalty the more Wheels you have)
  • Reward Unlocked:
  • Notes: Values called matriarchalDominance and patriarchalDominance are also checked. I believe these are ongoing measures of gender issues in your clan (if the difference gets extreme you get grumpy male or female elders coming to the circle asking for things to be rebalanced).
    Failure can age quester.
Lead him to a hill where a troll will ambush him.
  • Test: Hunting (Combat + Food) vs. Elusiveness
  • Magic: Exploring
  • Personality: Daring (bonus?), Waffler, Insecure (penalty?)
  • Other Bonus: Raven on circle, Dostal on circle; the Fox Spirit, possibly Inilla’s Find and Dostal’s Tracking blessings
  • Notes: This choice checks for Troll ancestral enemy–not sure if that’s a bonus or a penalty.
Let him marry an attendant disguised as Nyalda.
  • Test: Deception (Bargaining + Leadership) vs. Skepticism
  • Magic: Harmony
  • Personality: Insecure, Inarticulate
  • Other Bonus: Raven on the circle (larger bonus this time); Snake Spirit, Golden Honeycomb
  • Reward Unlocked: Gold plaques (i.e. trade goods reward)
  • Notes: Dara Happan ancestral enemy is checked (not sure if that’s a bonus or a penalty or if it checks ProEnemy and AntiEnemy personality traits).
Offer him marriage to one of Nyalda’s attendants.
  • Test: Bargaining vs. Customer
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality: Merciful, Inarticulate, Harsh, Peaceful, Warlike (again, not sure which are penalties and which are bonuses)
  • Other Bonus: Relandar on circle; Trade Wind’s Assess ability; possibly Wealth Plaque of the Wary Grouse
  • Reward Unlocked: Gold plaques (i.e. trade goods reward)

Stage 2: Shargash

Shargash the Demon Sun has married and discarded two divine wives already, which makes him poor husband material.

The River Wife, incidentally, seems to be the Oslira: Alkoth is located on the Oslira under the glacier.

How does the quester avoid marriage to Shargash?

Summon his Rice Wife to threaten him with hunger.
  • Test: Food vs. Divine
  • Magic: Fields
  • Personality: Matriarchal, Patriarchal (nb: women cannot actually have this trait but it is checked),
  • Other Bonus: Matriarchal circle member, more women than men on circle, matriarchalDominance (see below); Fire Spirit active
  • Other Penalty: Patriarchal circle member; Wheels helping ritual (the more Wheel helpers the larger the penalty); patriarchalDominance
  • Reward Unlocked: Increased grain production.
  • Notes: The variables matriarchalDominance and patriarchalDominance also matter here—the former is added to the bonus, the latter subtracted from it. These values are tracked throughout the game, and are influenced by everything from your chieftains’ gender to your choice of first god to how you handle events like the one in which men of a neighboring clan seek to undermine their female chieftain.
Summon his River Wife to attack him.
  • Test: Magic vs. Divine
  • Magic: Ritual
  • Personality: Matriarchal (bonus); Patriarchal (impossible here but would be penalty); AntiEnemy, ProEnemy (only if Water ancestral enemy; probably ProEnemy is a bonus and AntiEnemy a penalty here)
  • Other Bonus: Matriarchal circle member; more women than men on the circle; Fire Spirit
  • Other Penalty: Patriarchal circle member; Wheel supporters (the more Wheel supporters the larger the penalty); Water ancestral enemy
  • Notes: See above choice for explanation of matriarchalDominance and patriarchalDominance.
Let him marry an attendant dressed as Nyalda.
  • Test: Deception (Bargaining + Leadership) vs. Skepticism
  • Magic: Harmony
  • Personality: Insecure, Inarticulate
  • Other Bonus: Raven on circle; Snake Spirit
  • Reward Unlocked: A magical weapon
  • Notes: Checks for Dara Happan ancestral enemy. Also checks whether you got the gold reward in the Little Yelm stage—possibly a penalty?
Offer him marriage to one of Nyalda’s attendants.
  • Test: Bargaining vs. Customer
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality: Merciful, Inarticulate, Harsh, Peaceful, Warlike
  • Other Bonus: Trade Wind’s Assess, Wealth Plaque of the Wary Grouse
  • Reward Unlocked: A magical weapon
  • Notes: Checks Dara Happan ancestral enemy.

Stage 3: The Golden Men

It’s not really clear what the Golden Men are—they’re portrayed as stupid creatures, not full gods and certainly not worthy of marrying even a divine attendant, and their template in the myth version of this song is a human man. On the other hand, the quester can call them solar fragments, their counterparts in Elmal’s myth are “small suns”, and they can make more of themselves from gold (the bones of solar gods).

Some random Gloranthan nerdery: I’m pretty sure the runes on their hems are all Light, not Fire—that is, the rune Yelmalio, who Riders call the Weak Sun, ended up with when the troll god Zorak Zoran stole his Fire.

In any case, they want Nyalda to marry their leader. How does the quester respond to their presumptuous offer?

Mock them in song.
  • Test: Singing (Diplomacy + Leadership?) vs. Confidence
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality: SongQuoter (bonus?), Insecure (penalty?), Inarticulate (penalty?), Harsh (bonus?)
  • Other Bonus: Raven on the circle; Turtle Spirit
Offer them the gold Little Yelm gave you.
  • Test: Bargaining vs Customer
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality: Miser (penalty), Spendthrift (bonus), Inarticulate (penalty?)
  • Other Bonus: Ekarna on circle; temple to Ekarna; Trade Wind’s Assess ability; Wealth Plaque of the Wary Grouse
  • Notes: Only available if you married an attendant off to Little Yelm; removes gold reward option at the end of the ritual.
Offer them the weapon Shargash gave you.
  • Test: Bargaining vs Customer
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality: Miser (penalty), Spendthrift (bonus), Inarticulate (penalty?)
  • Other Bonus: Ekarna on circle; temple to Ekarna; Trade Wind’s Assess ability; Wealth Plaque of the Wary Grouse
  • Notes: Only available if you married an attendant off to Shargash; removes weapon reward option at the end of the ritual.
Set them against one another.
  • Test: Bargaining vs Customer
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality: Miser (penalty), Spendthrift (bonus), Inarticulate (penalty?)
  • Other Bonus: Ekarna on circle; temple to Ekarna; Trade Wind’s Assess ability; Wealth Plaque of the Wary Grouse
“Solar fragments who wish to marry must find earth fragments.”
  • Test: Lore vs. Resentment
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality: Inarticulate, Waffler
  • Other Bonus: Relandar on circle; Relandar temple; Rose Spirit; Relandar’s Clan Lore blessing
Summon an earthquake
  • Test: Magic vs. Divine
  • Magic: Ritual
  • Personality: Matriarchal (bonus), Patriarchal (penalty, but impossible); Harsh, Merciful
  • Other Bonus: Matriarchal circle member; matriarchalDominance; more women than men on the circle; Fire Spirit
  • Other Penalty: Patriarchal circle member; patriarchalDominance
  • Notes: See Shargash section for explanation of matriarchalDominance and patriarchalDominance
Run away.
  • Test: n/a
  • Notes: Choice only appears if you have already failed at other options. Hurts chances of getting a reward. Some of your Swords may be wounded.

Stage 4: Elmal and His Kinsmen

Elmal is behaving as Rider suitor should: standing back and letting his relatives (mostly his brother Relandar) do the talking. All the others were scandalously forward!

This section has a rare entirely wrong choice. It’s there as foreshadowing so you don’t make the same mistake in a situation where it will get you in real trouble.

This section is also weird for another reason: your primary quester isn’t handling it herself! Instead, she calls in a helper to represent Nyalda’s kinswomen, who will negotiate with Elmal’s kinsmen on her behalf. This secondary quester must be female, but can follow any religion, including shamanism.

Her skills, not the primary quester’s, will determine success here.

(It might be possible to choose a male secondary quester if your main one is literally the only noblewoman in the clan who is healthy/available. I have not actually been able to check this, though.)

Having found a suitor she approves of, what does the primary quester instruct her relatives to focus on in the negotiations?

Cows.
  • Test: Bargaining vs. Selling
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality (Secondary Quester): Miser, Spendthrift, Inarticulate
  • Other Bonus: Ekarna circle member, temple to Ekarna; Trade Wind’s Sell ability; Staff of Sharp Dealing; herds are scant
  • Other Penalty: Secondary quester does not worship Ekarna
  • Reward Unlocked: Cows
  • Notes: The number of cows you get seems to depend on your degree of success—I think it can be anything from 35 to 50, though usually it’s been 50 for me. (Might technically be possible to get 55.)
“How does he differ from her rejected suitors?”
  • Test: Lore vs. Elusiveness
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality (Secondary Quester): Intuitive, Teamwork (bonus), Individual (penalty)
  • Other Bonus: Relandar on circle; temple to Relandar; perhaps Fox Spirit, Inilla’s Find, Dostal’s Tracking
  • Reward Unlocked: Internal harmony
A demonstration of Elmal’s divinity.
  • Test: Lore vs. Elusiveness
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Other Bonus: Elmal chieftain; secondary quester worships Osara; you have a temple/great temple to Elmal; possibly Fox Spirit, Inilla’s Find, Dostal’s Tracking
  • Other Penalty: Elmal not on circle
  • Reward Unlocked: Internal Harmony
Proof of true love
  • Test: Lore vs. Elusiveness
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Other Bonus: Everything that affects vs. Elusiveness tests does something here; however, I’m not listing them because you shouldn’t be taking this choice and I don’t want to encourage it.
  • Notes: This choice exists to foreshadow that Riders (and their rival cultures) do not base marriage negotiations around love, so that you’ll know better when you get the option in Beren and Redalda’s marriage negotiations. That said, do not do this. It can only fail, and may actually fail worse the “better” the secondary quester does.
The head of an enemy.
  • Test: Diplomacy vs. Selling
  • Magic: Diplomacy
  • Personality (Secondary Quester): Warlike (bonus), Peaceful (penalty)
  • Other Bonus: Secondary quester worships Osara; Trade Wind’s Sell; Staff of Sharp Dealing
  • Reward Unlocked: War blessing against your ancestral enemy

By lyreofsheliak

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