Fronela is a strange place. Literally. It is a land that only recently emerged from the mists of the Syndic’s Ban, revealing strange cities, principalities, and barbarian nations. Everything is ancient and new at the same time.
And there’s a lot of Fronela there, with more than 9 million humans it is comparable in population to Peloria. But there is no empire providing unity – instead four or five big players (Loskalm, Jonatela, Kingdom of War, Rathori, and Uncolings) jostle in an environment with at least a score of independent minor players.
More than almost any other location in Glorantha, Fronela is inspired by classic sword and sorcery – Leiber, Moorcock, Smith, Moore, Wagner, Saunders, Asprin, and Delany, just to grab a few titles off my bookshelf. We have an enclave of immortal sorcerers at Sog City (shades of the God OF Lankhmar), weird short lived empires, barbarians, love priestesses, and so much more. And thanks to the Ban, none of it really needs to make much sense yet – everything just emerged from being literary concept within the last generation or two and is now confronting with reality (usually badly).
And of course at the center is Sog City – Greg’s answer to Lankhmar. A city of 50,000, it is far and away the largest city in Fronela. But unlike Glamour or Nochet, Sog City is dilapidated, decadent, and squalid. It is “owned” by immortal sorcerers who reside in the City of Brass and care little about what the mortal residents of the city do. It is a maritime city with ships coming in from far with great riches that rarely benefit most of the city’s inhabitants.
Big things are happening in Fronela. The idealistic Kingdom of Loskalm, with its philosopher-rulers, is locked in struggle with the Kingdom of War, which might well as be the Mabden of Corum, or the armies of Granbretan. Jonat’s heirs have united the tribes and cities of the south, through marriage, diplomacy, and by force. The Rathori and Uncoling barbarians raid and seek plunder in this disordered environment. And finally the Lunar Empire has its Red Eye on Fronela, and seeks to reunite the Arrolian Properties with the Empire.
Moorcock’s Corum stories would not be out of place in Fronela, and I’ve long thought that the David McCall Johnson cover of “Knight of Swords” is a perfectly fitting Hrestoli heading off into the mists of Fronela: