Jeff Richard is one of the regular posters in the RuneQuest Facebook Group. here’s some of his recent RuneQuest posts, only Jeff’s replies are included where relevant. Facebook membership is required to access the originals.
As an aside, I often post notes or things that I am working on that I think people will find interesting or useful. But I am posting this material without edits or revisions – they are all notes or works in progress. If people really expect me to edit or revise such ephemera before I post it, I am probably not going to post such things.Jeff Richard, 2021
The Geography of Dragon Pass and Sartar
A little blurb on the geography of Dragon Pass and Sartar. Not much like Caledonia at all.
Sartar is a rugged and seismically active region filled with rounded hills and deep, twisting valleys. At its center rise the Quivin Mountains, an upthrust of steep peaks along the same watershed as the Storm Mountains in the south, and the Indigo Mountains in the north. The elevations range from around 700 meters above sea level at Duck Point to 3120 meters at the peak of Quivin Mountain.Much of this area is a karst landscape covered by a dissected plateau of limestone and sandstone, created when the oceans covered the land in the Lesser Darkness. During the Gods War, the original limestone and sandstone rocks were folded into troughs by igneous intrusions of granite and quartz. Rampaging storm gods wore this down to rolling hills, buttes, and mesas, exposed the granite cores, and left a rugged and strikingly beautiful landscape. Creeks and rivers have carved out twisting but fertile valleys. The Starfire Ridges in western Sartar are the first in a series of ridges between the Upland Marsh and Prax. A seismically active area, the Starfire Ridges are a mass of tuff and sandstone, and a geothermal area called the Cinder Pits with steaming sulfur vents. West of the Starfire Ridges are the grasslands that surround the Upland Marsh, a vast bog of murky islands, rocky outcroppings, and groves of cypress and blackthorn trees standing out of the dead plant material and black water. The bog is ringed with a narrow fence of hardwood trees.The Quivin Mountains are plutonic masses of granite that thrust through the surrounding limestone during the Gods War. They are sons and daughters of Lodril, the great Fire God beneath the earth, and of Kero Fin, the Mother of Mountains. The permanent snow line is at approximately 3000 meters, and thus Quivin Mountain is capped with snow year-round. There are several small glaciers in the Quivin Mountains, most are on Quivin Peak itself. North of Sartar is a rugged dissected limestone plateau called the Far Point. Most of the plateau is between 1050 and 1150 meters high, although there are several volcanic intrusions, most notably Firetop and Jerra Hill that are 1300 meters and above. The area is closely linked with the volcanic fields of the Indigo Mountains, itself an active volcanic mountain range where Lodril’s children still hurl fire into the air. Several plains atop the Far Point are noted for their fertility, particularly the Sharl Plains and Engoli’s Fold.The Creek-Stream River drains most of Sartar and the Far Point. From its source at Skyfall Lake to the Choralinthor Bay at Nochet, the river is 700 kilometers long. For much of its length, the river is usually between three and four meters deep and from 100 to 200 meters wide, sometimes growing much larger during the spring floods. The river is also called the Engizi, which is the name of its god. It has two major tributaries, the Creek and the Stream, and many smaller rivers, including some seasonal tributaries that largely disappear in late Fire season and early Earth season. A long range of limestone hills marks the eastern reaches of Sartar. Typically called the Guardian Hills, they include sub-ranges such as the Yellow Hills, Quail Hills, Forloss Hills, and Division Hills. This is another dissected plateau, cut by rivers whose sources are the winter snows of the Quivin and Storm Mountains. The Quivin River has carved a deep canyon called Enothea’s Cut through the hills.Rivers and creeks have carved numerous twisting valleys in the hills. These valleys are well-watered and fertile with deep rich soil. Melt-off from the mountains flood the valleys each spring, and the valley floors are runnelled with irrigation ditches to control the waters. Some of these ditches date back to the Second Age or before.To the east of the Guardian Hill are the Plains of Prax, a relatively flat region between the River of Cradles in the east and the hills and mountains which separate it from Dragon Pass and the Holy Country in the west, and between the mountains of Shadows Dance in the north and the coastal zone and the sea in the south. Prax was beloved of Eiritha and was fertile and pleasant, but its essence she gave to aid the Storm Bull against the Devil. The surface of the land is now hard clay and sand, underlay by limestone.All of Dragon Pass is seismically active, and earthquakes are common. The areas around the Starfire Ridge, Far Point, and Dinosaur Hill are the most seismically active in Sartar. The Earthquake Goddess is offered propitiatory worship throughout Sartar, even if her number of initiates is small. Dragon Pass is littered with fantastic landmarks from the Gods War, and Sartar is no exception. The Skull Ruins and Bone Hills are the remnants of a True Dragon, and the outline of sleeping giants can be seen in the mountains. North of the Far Point, the cursed depression known as Snakepipe Hollow was formed when the Chaos Army invaded and an ancient Earth Temple collapsed in order to trap the corruption. A much more recent formation is the Dragon’s Rest, formed in 1625 when the Green Dragon awakened and devoured a Lunar Temple and much of the Lunar Army.
I didn’t realize there was so much volcanic activity in Sartar. What does the cult of Lodril look like there? there isn’t much of one in Dragon Pass. They recognise Lodril as the father of the Indigo Mountains (which are active volcanoes), but they don’t initiate into his secrets, preferring to rely on Ernalda and Orlanth.
You would graze sheep and cattle in terrain like this. My father grew up not far from here and they had over a thousand head of sheep.
Part of the Big Thompson Gorge. Or maybe it is Enothea’s Cut, east of the Killard Vale.
Echoes of the Great Compromise
Echoes of the Gloranthan Great Compromise from Aztec mythology. “When all was in darkness, when the sun had not yet shone and the dawn had not yet broken, the gods gathered and spoke among themselves.”
Prior to the Lunar Occupation, the Sartarite army was primarily foot militia led by mounted noblemen called thanes. The army was augmented by warrior societies, mercenaries, and various allied troops (such as Grazelanders, Pol-Joni, and Sun Dome Templars). Sartar’s military after the Liberation was a motley conglomeration of causes, defying neat and easy categorization and organization. During Prince Kallyr’s short reign, the Sartarite military consisted of her friends and companions, her personal followers, her tribe (the Kheldon), and whatever city and tribal militia would follow her to battle. During the Interregnum (1626-1627), central authority in Sartar disintegrated, and the Sartarite army was reduced to feuding tribal mobs. Upon his acclamation as Prince in 1627, Argrath concentrated upon strengthening his internal position, and above all, his army. Building on his own personal cavalry forces he raised in Prax, he made his army the greatest source of wealth, honor, and power in the principality, and quickly transformed the Sartarite army to become a uniquely flexible and effective force.
Among the Sartarites, all free men and women are expected to follow their chief in times of war and danger. In most clans, only the chief, thanes, and their bodyguards are professional warriors; most of the militia are farmers and herders. Service is typically owed to the clan chieftain, who in turn owes it to the tribal king, and on to the Prince. Each Fire Season, the local militias muster at a tribal or even city level. Members participate in athletic competitions and mock sparring contests to learn how to fight, and to strengthen them.During the Lunar Occupation and Sartarite Rebellions, the Sartarite militia were primarily light infantry skirmishers. They are lightly armored, typically with a composite or open helm and a quilted linen hauberk, and fight with sword and javelins. They are led by their clan chiefs and thanes but follow their tribal kings into war.
The Sartarite cavalry was formed in imitation of the sun-worshipping horsemen the Orlanthi encountered. These mounted and more heavily armored warriors are members of the noble castes, the only classes that could afford such things. This later led to the rise of the Orlanth Rex cult and its own mounted warrior, the “thane.” While warrior societies maintained themselves, either from plunder, tithes, or even bribes, the thane was supported by the clan or tribe itself. They became an elite class freed from the duties of other men and sworn to the fight. At the time of Prince Kallyr, thanes lead the militia or form the mounted bodyguard of the tribal kings. When Argrath becomes Prince, he gathers many thanes together to form elite cavalry regiments like the Twin Spears.
Warrior societies are maintained by War Clans and tribal War Gods, such as Orlanth Adventurous, Babeester Gor, Humakt, and Storm Bull. These are bands of full-time warriors who support themselves through raiding and looting (usually of livestock). They are experienced warriors who have often gone afield and acquired some wisdom and equipment, including mounts to get around. Warrior society members are built along cult lines (usually as members of Storm Bull, Orlanth Adventurous, or Humakt).
Individual fighters or groups of fighters are often recruited by local leaders to serve as bodyguards or professional soldiers. The guardsmen of the various Sartarite cities are mercenaries paid by the cities and mercenary companies are a common feature in Dragon Pass. Mercenary companies like the Brown Choppers and the Boldhome Axemen participated in Starbrow’s Rebellion, and the Liberation of Sartar was achieved in part with aid from numerous mercenaries like Jarandor’s Raiders, the Storm Hills Chargers, or the Hendriki Volunteers.The Humakt and Sun Dome cultists are the best-known mercenaries in Sartar but Orlanth Adventurous mercenary companies have become quite common. Entire tribes are also known to be willing to fight for pay.
Art by the outstanding Ossi Hiekkala.
Do the tribes on the eastern side of Sartar field more cavalry due to the proximity to Prax and their comparatively open lands? It’s not it is quite so simple. I think the larger and wealthier tribes tend to have more mounted warriors, simply because they have the resources. I am sure the Runegate thanes claim they are are among the best horsemen in Sartar, which gets disputed by the Dundealos and so on.Argrath takes the best and most loyal from all the tribes and recruits them into standing cavalry regiments like the Two Spears, Eaglebrown Warlocks, and the Egglords. Membership in these units are sources of honour, status, wealth, and cult advancement. Through means like that, Argrath manages to unify his kingdom.
The East and West Pockets of Boldhome
Almost a third of the population of Boldhome lives in the East and West Pockets of the city. These dwarf-made complexes are carved out of the stone of the valley’s wall, and include residences, workshops, temples, and assembly halls, which were carved out of the stone cliffs, and all have access to water and sewage systems (including private toilets connected to the sewer network). Most buildings are approximately 15-20 meters square, with each floor divided into series of rooms intended for a family unit that include a sleeping area, a shrine, a central room with a cooking fire (ventilated by a chimney), and a water room. Multiple passages exist between these “family units”, and many buildings extend deep into the cliff. The result is a honeycomb-like maze of rooms. On the map, the East and West Pockets don’t look so big, but once you see the isometric maps we have done, you will see how big they really are!
The mile scale looks like about 1/2 mile relative to the meters (~804 meters). Matt says – good catch! Simple explanation: I muffed the metric conversion scale!
The Tribes of Sartar, 1625-1626
So there are 157 clans in Sartar (not including the Telmori and the Pol-Joni of course), with an average population of about 900 members. 600 are adults. The average tribe in Sartar has 6100 members, divided into about 7 clans.
The average Sartarite clan has about 600 adults. Of them 180 serve in the militia. About 40 adults belong to the clan aristocracy of priests and thanes (and their immediate family), about 400 are full free members, about 100 are semi-free tenants and dependents, and about 60 are unfree.
Of those 600 adults, about 200 are initiates of Orlanth, another 200 are initiates of Ernalda. 30 are initiates of Yelmalio, and 30 are initiates of the Seven Mothers. 18 are initiates of Issaries and 18 are initiates of Humakt. 12 each are initiates of Chalana Arroy, Lhankor Mhy, Daka Fal, and Storm Bull. There are 6 initiates each of Maran Gor, Babeester Gor, and Eurmal. There are another 30 initiates who fall into the none of the above category.
The Dundealos were displaced by the Lunars in 1618 and settlers were given their land in the Dundealos Valley. Most members of the tribe were exiled and joined with the closely related Pol-Joni tribe, with whom they claimed kinship. However, soon after the Dragonrise, the Dundealos returned to their valley with the aid of their Pol-Joni allies. That’s a blood-soaked valley with a lot of tragedy.
Who loves the Sun?
Yelm often gets a short-shrift by many fans. But the Sun God is one of the Great Gods of Glorantha, with oodles of Rune spells, subcults, and more associated gods than you can shake a stick at.In Dragon Pass, his cult is the preserve of the Pure Horse People aka the Grazeland Pony Breeders.In Peloria, his cult is far more pervasive, and is part of the state religion of the Lunar Empire. The Lunar allied nation of the Char’Un are also Pure Horse People and worship Yelm. And the Pure Horse People of Pent also follow Yelm.
Even the Orlanthi acknowledge the importance of the Sun, and he is invoked in Ernalda rituals. He doesn’t have a cult among the Orlanthi (they prefer Yelmalio, whom they find more useful and helpful), as he is a distant god, stuck in his ways. But they definitely acknowledge him.
So I ask you, who loves the Sun? Well just about everyone. Except the trolls. They hate him.
Why does Orlanth have multiple arms?
So an art issue that a few grognards have raised directly or indirectly – why does Orlanth have multiple arms?
The Orlanthi depict Orlanth as having four arms so that they might display the breadth of his powers – Orlanth is armed with a sword, the thunderbolt, a shield, and a dragon head or axe, or even sometimes the lightning spear. He is even sometimes depicted as having three or four heads – each depicting an aspect of him (Adventurous, Thunderous, Rex, and Lightbringer). This is a visual way of showing Orlanth’s remarkable breadth of abilities and aspects – greater than other gods, and clearly greater than any mortal, limited by a mere two hards.
Vinga is the feminine incarnation of Orlanth. Variously described as Orlanth’s daughter, an aspect of Orlanth, or one of Orlanth’s transformations, she is revered by the Sartarites as a war goddess, and is a favored aspect of Orlanth by the Kheldon Tribe.
How can my Vingan PC get four arms? Become a goddess with many powers and attributes?
Other than Krarsht and Bagog, who are non-human, none of the major Chaos deities are depicted with more than the typical number of arms. Not Thed, not Cacodemon, not Mallia, etc
We always treated four arms as a Lunar / chaotic thing, so seeing them on so many Storm Tribe gods is a bit disconcerting. I think the only Lunar deity usually shown with more than two arms is Yara Aranis, who ALWAYS has six arms and two legs, making eight. Yes, the Red Box gave YA four arms. Greg had a conniption fit about that when the piece came in (it is in the old Chaosium files), as the art direction had SIX ARMS not four. But the piece is so damn beautiful that it remained.And the little jot about how YA loses two arms fighting Sheng Seleris in the Argrath Saga is a nod to the art screwup. This bit:At last dusk arrived, and the six armed goddess of Saird was freed. Like a wolf spider leaping upon a fly, she was upon the king of the nomads. Even though he was stripped of his guardians Sheng Seleris was no weakling, and now the goddess is known as the goddess of six arms and four hands. But she bit and broke him to death, and by dawn had dragged his soul to eternal punishment once again.
Is there a story behind Vinga using a trident? Trident is a common way of depicting the Lightning Spear, like Cu Culainn’s GaeBolg.
Types of ships in the Choralinthor
More notes: There are three common types of ships in the Choralinthor: tubs, nets, and triremes.
Tubs are tub-shaped deep-hulled ships about 10 to 20 meters long, with a single, squarish sail. They are used as merchant ships, carrying goods and people, and make blue-water trips (assuming they have a Dormal shrine).
Nets are sturdy shallow-drafted boats about 5 to 10 meters long, with oars and a detachable squarish sail. They are used as fishing boats (like a pirogue, luzzu, jangada, dhoni, baddan, or bokkura).
Triremes are expensive warships with oars and sails. They are 30 to 40 meters long and about 5 meters wide. Most are in the service of Nochet or Rhinos, although Seapolis maintains a handful (paid for I suspect by Esrolian merchant princes).Eyes are painted on boats to allow them to see through mist and rain (and to evade the Closing).
Sailing Distances from Seapolis
- City of Wonders – 56: So basically, you could go between City of Wonders and Seapolis in a morning.
- Leskos – 120: A full day away.
- Storos – 136
- Rhigos – 144
- Karse – 152
- Nochet – 160: about a day and a half away.
- Iron Fort – 160
- Casino Town – 224: Two full days away.
- Machine Ruins – 240
- Corflu – 600: Five full days away, unless you get good winds.
- Handra – 1040: Eight or nine full days away, unless you get good winds.
Although Seapolis itself was built by masons out of stone or fired brick (probably brought from Esrolia), the fishing villages are probably made out of reeds and wood. Many village houses are built on posts to deal with the tides.
From a Sartarite Orlanthi perspective, the Sun Domers are those Solar mercenaries that live between Sartar and Volsaxiland. They fight as mercenaries, generally hold themselves aloof from most festivals, except to show up at the big Ernalda ceremonies. Some are friends, some are enemies, but generally we are neutral towards them. Trust them when they agree to do something for you, but don’t assume they will do the right thing unless they have already agreed to it (which usually means paying them).There’s a community of them way out in Prax. Like all things Praxian, life is harsh and so are the Praxian Sun Domers.
All of MOB’s commentary is focused on that weird community of them out in Prax. To be honest, the Praxian Sun Domers are kind of the Asterix and Obelix of Glorantha.
Are the Praxian Sun Domers, being descended from Second Age Sun Domers, more or less Dara Happan than the Sartarite Sun Domers? not Dara Happans at all. Their interaction with Dara Happan things is more of a cargo cult.
Is there a line of authority between the two Dun Domes? Each Sun Dome temple is independent and autonomous – see the original cult writeup in Cults of Prax. They have different secondary stories, different locations, sometimes some different friends and enemies, but all recognisably the same god.
Mountains of Dragon Pass
Here’s a sketch Matt Ryan did for me while we were working on the Dragon Pass master map. This gives a quick visual impression of the mountains of Dragon Pass.
Notes on the Boldhome Pockets
Each pocket is split into terraces, and each terrace has several galleries. Each gallery holds many families, usually organized around guild, clan, or cult activities. Galleries typically have a large communal eating area or feasting hall. These include storage rooms, kitchens, and private dining rooms. They are typically named after the gallery, so the Bonesmith Feasting Hall, etc.Each gallery has numerous hearths. These are residences, where families sleep, weave, keep their possessions. There are typically chambers near the hearths for funerary urns, and shrines to the family gods. There are channels with running water, some of which have stone latrines built over them. They are lit by fires that are ventilated by mysterious dwarf-made chimneys.Each gallery has its collection of rooms that are used for worship. They are carved with images of the gods, many engaged in copulation to display the Life-Creative power of the Lightbringers and the Earth Goddesses. These rooms are called the gallery Temples, but typically function as shrines to whatever are the predominant gods of the inhabitants of the gallery.Every gallery has its Fire Rooms, located in the rear of the galley. These rooms have kilns and forges, and are used as workshops. This is also where the bathing areas are, with heated pools of running water; some even have steam rooms. The Fire Rooms are ventilated by strange dwarf-made chimneys and tunnels, and have a constant light breeze.At the very rear of each gallery is a sacred Air shrine, where all the Mostali chimneys and tunnels gather. This chamber appears as vents that runs from the lowest terrace to the open air. Air rushes in and out of these vents, assisted by air elementals and spirits. There are shrines to the Breather Within where the inhabitants call upon the powers of Air to keep the Pocket habitable. During the Lunar Occupation, these served as a hidden Temple to Orlanth Victorious, where the god was worship despite the Lunar ban.
here is where being well-read in Gloranthan lore can actually interfere with your ability to interact with Glorantha! Who says that the humans use what the dwarfs built for them in the manner the dwarfs expected? Or even understand it?
I doubt there are more than a handful of Sartarites who know that the Mostali believe in a World Machine. They worship Mostal of course. A dead god who made the Spike.
the Dwarf was commissioned by Sartar to build his city. He had his reasons.
So during the Windstop, people had to leave the Pockets and find new shelters? the Breather Within continued during the Windstop.
same thing happened during the Evil Year – Orlanth was bound, but the Twisted Wind of the Hendrikings could still be contacted.
Detailed map of Saird
Here is a far more detailed map of Saird, which gives an idea how densely populated this lowlands here are. Lots of villages! And the Daughter’s Road running from Jillaro to Filichet is going to be the symbol of Saird for most people. Over 250 years old, this is an incredible monument of magic and engineering. No wonder Hwarin Dalthippa is a goddess!
Now something I find particularly interesting on this map is that we get Furthest in the very southeast corner. You can’t really talk about the Lunar Provinces without mentioning Furthest, which is the jewel in the Provincial Crown. As I have mentioned before, Furthest is one of the most Lunar cities in the Lunar Empire, built to glorify the Lunar Way and extend the Reaching Moon. Interestingly, that means that the area around Furthest has some of the deepest Lunar roots on the map – only Jillaro is comparable.
Now it is only about 170 or so km between Furthest and Mirin’s Cross, but that is still about the distance between Rome and Capua.
So if you think of Saird as about 190 km by about 190 km (36k km2) you get something a little bigger than Belgium or a little smaller than Brandenburg. It is the cockpit of Peloria, where Dragon Pass and lowland Peloria like to fight their wars.
Is Aggar considered part of Saird? Part of it is. Most of it is not.
Notes on Saird
The original “homeland” of the Yelmalio cult was Saird, a border land between Dragon Pass and Dara Happa. In the early First Age, this was a mixing ground of settlers from Dragon Pass, Pure Horse People, and various other groups such as the hunter-gatherer Jajajarings. It became part of the World Council of Friends by 150. Between 375 and 425, there was an incredible mixing of cults and cultures in Saird. The Orlanth Thunderous cult was suppressed, many of the Wind Lords worshiped a mortal demigod as the incarnation of High Storm – we all know the story. Rebels like the old Berenething tribe were exterminated in Saird and their lands given to those loyal to the Broken Council. But outside of the Orlanth cult was a tremendous exploration of the paths of Light, encouraged by the Broken Council (and their new Light God). The Sons of the Sun were powerful and popular, and later given rule over Dragon Pass, with its unruly tribes, trolls, and dragonewts.Arkat and his troll, Orlanthi, and Praxian allies defeated the Sons of the Sun and rule was given to the trolls. The Yelmalio cult (which were the spiritual heirs of the Sons of the Sun) overthrew the trolls in Saird. Although they initially fought against Dragon Pass, they soon joined the Empire of Wyrms Friends and became an important military arm of the EWF and aided in the conquest of Dara Happa. Sun Dome temples were built from Fronela to Prax.But the Empire of the Wyrms Friends was forced out of Saird in 956 by a coalition of Carmanians, Dara Happans, and Orlanth Rex warlords, ruled by cadet branch of the very heterodox Karvanyar Dynasty. For almost 200 years, Saird was a melting point of Yelmalion, Orlanthi, Dara Happan, and Carmanian cultures. Chaos and dragons were identified with Ganesatarus the Devil, the Lodril cult was imported but Dendara did not take, every man was the Last Light against the dragons, and Yelm and Orlanth were viewed as the Rival Brothers – who would naturally quarrel unless held together for a greater purpose (usually by Yelmalio). Real world analogies – the Mitanni, Seleucid Syria, Lydia, etc.Then came the Dragonkill War of 1120. The dynasty was extinguished, and Saird was briefly conquered by Dara Happa. When Dara Happa was dissected by the Carmanian Empire, Saird became dominated by Orlanthi and (to a lesser extent) Yelmalion tribes. When the Mad Sultanate showed up, the tribes were horrified by the Chaos brought by the new Lunar Empire. Many Sairdite tribes followed Jannisor in his Great War against the Lunar Empire (1270-1275) and were defeated at their moment of victory inside Glamour.As the Lunar Empire marched south, conquering Sylila in 1309, the Sairdite tribes unified into the Kynnelfing Alliance, but were ultimately defeated by Hwarin Dalthippa in 1347. This sent the most anti-Lunar groups south across the Death Line into Dragon Pass. In Saird, the Seven Mothers and Hwarin Dalthippa became important cults. Over the next century, Saird became a battleground between mostly Orlanthi Tarshites and the Lunar satrapy of Sylila. A stable Provincial system didn’t really come into existence until 1555 (Phargentes was the first Provincial Overseer). Hon-eel early had came to Saird with her maize en route to Tarsh, and by now (1625) about a third of the population follows the Lunar Way. The Yelmalio cult is still important, although secondary to the Seven Mothers and Ernalda, and the Orlanth cult holds on with surprisingly large numbers, although largely subsumed into Barntar. Many peasants are descended from Pelorian colonists and worship Lodril instead.
Now Monrogh only shows up into this story after around 1582 or so. The Provincial Kings, seeking military allies, encourage the local Yelmalio cult to organise along Monrogh’s lines and into Sun Domes, thus returning the cult back to where it was in the Second Age, as valuable mercenaries for whoever is the regional ruler.
But you can see from this, Yelmalio has been around in Peloria since the beginning.
The only weird thing was the Hendriki Tribe that worshiped a limited and constrained version of Yelmalio. But now the Sartarites are the cultural centre of a reinvigorated Yelmalio cult.
When you tell the story from this perspective, the Praxian Sun Dome Temple is just a weird footnote (“did you know that Yelmalio made it all the way to Prax in the Second Age, and there is a weird little colony of them still there! Wow!”), and the whole Elmal-Yelmalio thing becomes another footnote (“did you know that the rebellious Hendriking tribe had a weird little Yelmalio variant that was tolerated by the trolls and the Only Old One, but it died out in the 1550s when they embraced the larger Yelmalio cult?”).
Now that’s a badass second age what with the Carmanian reach opening up into something like an intellectual diaspora. yes, and worth thinking about how different Second and Third Age Peloria are from the First Age version described in GRoY.
also remember, the Carmanian-Dara Happan-Orlanth Rex coalition that liberated Saird would be made up of weirdos, experimenters, hyper-pragmatists, and all sorts of desperate folk willing to work together because otherwise it means extinction.
One can think of the Seven Mothers and the early Lunars as being within that tradition, just this time they are focused against the Carmanians (and the horse nomads).
They just managed to pull a much bigger rabbit out of their hat.
And even more ironically, we can think of Argrath and his merry band of Tricksters, magicians, and Praxians as being the newest version of that same desperate experimental tradition. Except this time, dragons are GOOD!
The south too. As for the inquisition, one thing I really love about this open model is the way Carmanian sorcery comes around hardcoded to really hate the monomyth. Dragons come and go. And of course Dragons are pretty much the same damn thing as Chaos. Equally evil, equally the minions of the Devil.
And this Long History of Peloria is askew to the Comprehensive History of Dragon Pass. The Hero Wars is a meeting of tectonic plates.
So I encourage you to imagine Saird as a. densely populated and very urbanised place with three large cities (including one metropolis) but also with many rural tribes who often play kingmaker in city politics. The Daughter’s Road runs through it on its way to Jillaro.The three large cities are all within 90 km of each other (Mirin’s Cross and Fyllich Kwan are only 50 km apart). It is a melting pot, with Lunar missionaries, bureaucrats, and officers, Yelmalion Sun Domers, Earth Priestesses, other Lightbringers, Dara Happan nobles and Lodrilli peasants, all jostling against each other.
Although Yelmalio is associated with Yelm, the Yelmalio cult is autonomous. Within the Lunar Heartlands, the Yelmalio cult is of course subject to the Red Emperor and his satraps, but so is almost every other cult (Red Goddess, Seven Mothers, Lodril, Dendara, Polaris, even Shargash). In the Lunar Provinces this gets a bit trickier. The Provincial Overseer has rule over the Provinces, and many Sun Dome Temples have treaties of alliance with individual provincial kings. Plus there are likely some long-standing contracts between the Lunar rulers and individual Sun Dome Temples.But the Provincial Overseer is dead. Many provincial leaders lack the coin to pay their contracts, and besides the Lunar Empire is a bit preoccupied right now with a Pentan invasion and a White Moon uprising.
Thus in the Hero Wars, individual Sun Dome Temples will go their own way, fight both for and against the Lunar Empire. But Yelmalio dislikes the Red Goddess, so the Lunars need to pay extra.
what is the mythical origin of the dislike between Yelmalio and the Red Goddess? Is it Yelmalio’s association with Orlanth? Yelmalio hates Chaos.
But didn’t Yelmalio throw in with Nysalor/Gbaji? And is Yelm down with Chaos? Yelmalio supported the Broken Council. He also hates trolls and is none too fond of dragons. To tell the truth, he might hate trolls EVEN MORE than he hates Chaos.
Is Yelmalio no longer the son of Yelm? Or did they have a (big) falling out? how many times does Son of the Sun or Yelmalio (Little Yelm) need to be said. Or that Yelmalio is associated with Yelm?
In the Lunar Heartlands Yelmalio has been sidelined by Yelm. But Yelmalio is the frontier cult, and in the Lunar Provinces the rulers are not Yelm cultists. Maybe if the Red Emperor personally showed up as the ruler of the land he could invoke his Yelm status.But in Dragon Pass, Talastar, Zarkos, Ralios, and Fronela, the Red Emperor is not the ruler, and so does not get to play the Yelm Imperator card. Associate cult does not always equate to being able to order around.
Other Names of Lodril
Lodril is known by many names throughout Glorantha. Here are a few of the best known:
Balumbasta is worshiped by the Agimori of Pamaltela. He is the Strong God, Lord of the Fire People.When he was created he rose up out of the ground, leaving a great valley. He shook himself violently, then he pushed together the rocks to raise the Great Hill where the Old Gods live. He helped create mortals. Balumbasta fought against Vovisibor, but his strength was insufficient. He is famous for his great burning spear and for his sons, Vangono and Varama.
DuTukkos is the god who tamed the ancient Arcos River and brought back the things which mankind needs to live with it. He is worshiped by anyone who makes their living on the river, including fishermen, merchants, basket weavers, and other weeders, and the few rice farmers of the region.
This ancient goat-riding god and his tri-formed wife Sekana are worshiped by the dry farmers of Kostaddi. They have virtually no worshipers among the urban population.TurosThe Great God of the peasants of the West Reaches, Turos is recognized as the God of Power. He raised the mountains, varved the rivers, and shaped the first temples. He once went into the underworld and defeated Derdromus, and took away all the treasures and freed Oria and the other goddesses of Life. He gave laws to humans and was blessed by Idovanus. Turos is worshiped in conjunction with his wife, who is usually Oria the Grain Goddess, and any other lesser deities in seasonal rites and propitiatory rites.VestkarthanVestkarthan the Deep is the God of the Vent, a great volcano in Caladraland. He is a great and lusty fighter, known for his ability to consume great quantities of anything. He was defeated by Argan Argar and forced to build the Palace of Black Glass for the Only Old One. His cult acknowledges him as a local name for Lodril. He is the father of Caladra and Aurelion.ViTurosA form of Turos. Farmers going to saird came from many places and knew Turos in many different ways. To get the best advantage for themselves in their precarious colonial existence, they worked and summoned this more sharply defined version of their god, who taught them a new set of rites which could be used in the new land. Later, when Hon-eel settled Oraya, she summoned the same god to help her.
Solf is the polluted fire, the burner of unclean substances. He is the volcano, burnt out due to decadence, and worshiped by commoners in Teshnos. His worshipers practice sexual deviance, gluttony, and abuse numerous intoxicants including alcohol, opium, and psychedelic spices. Ideally, they should die through these excesses. Solf teaches the Death of the Self. The Death of the Self must be strictly licensed for, if uncontrolled, it leads to massive depopulation as devotees transmigrate into new bodies.
Alkoth is a standard Dara Happan city that also happens to be an entrance to the Underworld, and is a city of the dead. That is less of a contradiction than it might seem!Alkoth’s patron god is Shargash, who is the Death God of the Celestial Pantheon (Death and Fire). As a Death God he has strong connections with the Underworld and is tied with Yelm in his Dead God aspect. That Underworld connection is going to mean that there are ghosts and other underworld things whenever the barriers between the mundane world and the divine realm is weak – temples, holy days, astronomical conjunctions, etc. Most of that activity is concentrated around the high-walled enclosures where the dead are burned – these temples are decorated with the heads and skulls of the slain, a grim and grisly reminder of the city god’s power.But most people go along their normal mortal activities. They work, cook, sleep, raise kids, sing and dance, and go through their lives. They worship other gods and spirits, make offerings to their ancestors, and even participate in the Lunar mysteries.In fact, because of the city’s mighty patron, Alkoth rules the surrounding countryside and collects tribute – probably largely in the form of rice, pork, and other foodstuffs – from the surrounding villages of Henjarl. This large agricultural surplus supports a large population, which in turn aids Alkoth in maintaining control over its marshy hinterland. Compared to Darjin, Henjarl is more “civilised”- canals crisscross the marshlands and contain the waters, making rice cultivation easier. Perhaps that is a direct analogy to Shargash abandoning Biselenslib for Oslira and her irrigation canals!The Shargash cult forms the basis of the city’s militia, with the Hell Men serving as an elite warrior society. However, most members of the militia are farmers and tradesmen. When the drums beat, they drop their regular activities and engage in battle. However, they are not soldiers and rarely fight outside of Henjarl unless led by the Red Emperor.
Are the Hell Men demons, or human warriors? Human Rune Masters.
The Darjiin and Henjarl Marshes
The wetlands of Henjarl and Darjiin are comparable to the Pripet Marshes in Belorus and Ukraine. Open sedge reed spaces alternate with nearly impenetrable shrub thickets. Pine forests can be found on the pockets of dry land (many of which are volcanic in origin). With melting snow in Storm and Sea Season, and the summer rains, the marshes flood and the local population have to take boats to get around. Much of it has been turned into rice paddies. The area is rich with bird life, and Biselenslib and SurEnslib – the heron goddess of Henjarl and Darjiin – are important ancestral cults and bird-woman goddesses with life-nurturing qualities, but can also appear as a bird of prey or corpse eater, linked with the powers of death and regeneration. These traditional “bird woman” ancestor cults are still found among many commoners in Dara Happa.
The metropolis of Alkoth is at the edge of the Henjarl Marsh. The wetlands around the city are dedicated to rice cultivation, and Biselenslib is the ancestral goddess. Alkoth itself is a very Dara Happan city – with arguably more of an independent identity than even Raibanth and Yuthuppa. It is also an important Lunar centre.
Alkoth is about 225 kilometres downriver from Mirin’s Cross, which is the cultural centre of Saird. Alkoth’s large agricultural surplus (rice, fish, and pork) enables it to maintain a large population – which of course allows it to have plenty of specialists – scribes, potters, red-smiths, merchants, as well as nobles and soldiers.During the Third Wane, Alkothi river pirates roamed up and down the Oslira River as far as the Thunder Delta. They robbed other travellers on the river, stealing goods, raiding villages and villas, and taking hostages. These river boats would have been small and easily ported.
For the most part, Alkoth is a standard Dara Happan Lunar city – it is just dedicated to a different part of the Sky pantheon. If you imagine Yuthuppa being the place of Dayzatar and Raibanth being the place of Yelm, then Alkoth is the place of Yelm in the Underworld.
Biselenslib: Is she also a bird goddess? She is a Bird Woman Goddess.
Is she associated with a specific bird? herons:
The Pelorian bowl is a steppe-land, about 640 km from Saird to the Thunder Delta, and about 800 km from the Sweet Sea to the Redlands frontier, where it merges into the Pent steppes. For point of comparison it is a little bigger than the High Plains of the United States or nearly three times the size of the Pannonian Basin in Europe (Austria, Hungary, Romania, etc.). Without humans, the Pelorian bowl is a mixed temperate grassland, with wetlands and wooded areas (primarily in the hills). Native animals include bison, wild cattle, lions, black bears, sabre-tooth cats, the occasional dinosaur, and lots of birds.Furthest is the wettest city of the Pelorian valley, at 85 cm.Mirin’s Cross is 71 cm. Mirin’s Cross gets most of its precipitation in Storm Season.Alkoth is 61 cm (Kiev – the area of the Pripet Marshes). Alkoth is in a convergence zone that gets precipitation both in Fire Season and in Storm Season.Glamour is 41 cm (Spokane). The presence of the Crater moderates the Northerly winds, but also means Glamour is in a rain shadow.Raibanth is 36 cm. The presence of the Yelm cult definitely increases the number of cloudless days. Almost all of the precipitation falls in Fire Season, when the Pelorians worship Entekos the Rain Goddess and Dendara the Good Wife.Yuthuppa is 46 cm. Almost all of the precipitation falls in Fire Season.Elz Ast is 56 cm. Elz Ast is on the White Sea. Elz Ast is an awful place – the Pelorian version of Quebec City. Cold and miserable in winter even with the Kalikos Expedition.Further west in Talastar and Brolia, you get more rain (maybe as much as 102 cm in Hazard Fort and Dorastor), because of the Rockwoods.Further east it gets drier. The Arcos valley likely gets around 40 to 50 cm or so, and the Pentan grasslands get even less (probably around 30 to 35 cm)
So when you think of much of the Lunar Heartlands, think this:
This was the homeland of the various horse-riding cultures of the Dawn – the Pure Horse People (aka Hyalorings) and the chariot-using and cattle (or even reindeer) herding folk descended from the Starlight Ancestors. Now those nomadic and semi-nomadic people were forced out some 1400 years ago, and play as much direct a role in Pelorian life as Sarmatians did during the later Palaiologos Dynasty in Constantinople.But just as Constantinople was threatened by different nomadic confederations (various Turkic groups – Seljuks, Ottomans, Golden Horde, etc.), Peloria has long been worried about the nomadic confederations beony the Arcos River. Several times in history, the grasslands along the Arcos have been ruled by horse nomads. And of course for nearly a hundred years, a powerful confederation led by Sheng Seleris conquered much of the Pelorian Heartland, returning it to grasslands.
The indigenous flora was likely mixed grass prairie, with plenty of riparian trees like cottonwoods, willows, maples, elm, oak, ash, etc. Much of the Pelorian plain is now deforested, but a thousand years ago, much of the northern and western plains were covered in woodlands.
Another note – reindeer herding has been practiced in Eol, Ashrill, and even in Karasal since before the Dawn. And goat herding is common in the western plains. But pigs are the main meat animal in most of the Pelorian heartlands.
Now this all has some impact on “Lunar” attire. Rather than looking like the cast of Rome, basic dress consists of a skirt, tunic, jacket, cloak or sleeved robe, and headdress. Commoners have few pieces of clothing and often are restricted to specific colors. The skirts of half-citizens cannot extend below the knees and usually must be shorter, while nobles and priestess wear long robes and skirts that drag on the floor.Now that might envision images of Byzantine noble clothing, but it could just as easily be the winter attire of the Iroquois, the Volga Bulgars, the Chuvash, or the Cucuteni-Trypillia Culture:
I sometimes find it funny that Duke Raus has such a reputation for being a swell guy. Between keeping 90% of all loot (5% Fair Share plus 5% Leader’s Portion), it is worth remembering how he treats thieves>TheftThe duke promises to pursue thieves, and to subject the thieves to the same ruling they would get if his own goods were stolen. The following lines quote the duke’s own laws of possession. “Any person employed by me who is found to possess an object vouchsafed as my own possession will forfeit all rights and safety of life, limb, and future, and his soul will be at the mercy of my good will.” Furthermore, the duke’s habit is to chop off the hands of petty thieves who snitch from his servants on the streets of Pavis, so his reputation as a source of justice is that “Far from him his justice is deadly, and harsher near his pocketbook.”
The Other Lightbringers in Sartar
The other Lightbringers (Chalana Arroy, Eurmal, Issaries, and Lhankor Mhy) have large and well-developed cults in Sartar. These cults are primarily centered on the cities – few tribes, let alone clans, can support the number of specialists needed to maintain a temple to the God of Scribes or the Goddess of Healing, but all of Sartar’s cities have shrines or temples to each of the Lightbringers (although the Eurmal shrine is usually within the Orlanth temple). The Sartar Dynasty serve as patrons of the Lightbringer cults, even during the Lunar Occupation. Sartar built temples to Chalana Arroy, Issaries, and Lhankor Mhy in his cities, gave them gifts and endowments, and his heirs maintained and expanded upon these. His dynasty strongly supported trade, knowledge, and healing – and those cults received much largess. For example, the libraries of Boldhome and Jonstown are among the most important in the Third Age, and the dynasty was renowned for its learning and literacy. Royal scribes serve the prince and the city rulers. Issaries and Chalana Arroy have been similarly supported, and even Eurmal’s cult has received (admittedly more limited) patronage – Clown Tower in Boldhome is a rare public temple to Eurmal. These cults tend to have a broader perspective than the clan and tribal-based Orlanth and Ernalda cults, and members largely stay neutral in tribal conflicts. During the Lunar Occupation, they were largely untroubled by the Provincial Government and they continued as they had before, albeit with less support and patronage.
Hopefully this helps make it clear that the other Lightbringer cults are not really organised on a clan or even a tribal level.
What’s up with Humakt? Humakt is not really a Lightbringer, although he is part of the pantheon. Humakt’s cult normally operates outside of clan or tribal lines, although there are a few notable exceptions (the Malani are able to maintain a tribal major temple).
Is Ginna Jar directly worshiped or is she an Inner Secret shared by the Lightbringer cults? Ginna Jar is worshiped but is not the subject of a cult.
Does she get called on frequently or is she mostly important during Sacred Time? she gets invoked whenever all the Lightbringers are collectively worshiped. Which is often.
And this is an important point – some of the old material from the HW era made it seem that everything in Orlanthi society was organised on a clan level, and that each clan was a hermetically sealed monad. That’s not true, not even for the Orlanth and Ernalda cults, which have temples that transcend clan and even tribal boundaries. The Sartarites have been organised into tribes for centuries, and have been unified by the Sartar Dynasty for over a century. That is going to have a big impact, allowing a greater surplus to support more specialist cults and occupations, but at a city or even kingdom level.
So, these temples are a parallel hierarchy to that of clans and tribes? other hierarchy, not parallel. These temples are typically outside of clan and tribe – so the high priest of the Jonstown LM Temple is not subject to the Cinsina or Culbrea tribal assembly, but looks to the city rex and city ring, or even to the Prince.
Ernalda in Sartar
Ernalda is the main goddesses of the Earth Temple complexes in Dragon Pass and her cult has been greatly enriched by the Esrolian Earth Religion and the heroquesting of the Feathered Horse Queen. These Earth Temples are a loose network of largely autonomous temples that have a loose pecking order. Great temples are considered senior to major temples, which in turn are senior to minor temples and shrines. The Feathered Horse Queen is acknowledged as a powerful incarnation of Ernalda, but has no direct authority over individual temples or priestesses. In Sartar, there are great temples at Boldhome, Clearwine, and Alda-Chur and major temples at Alone, Clay Man, Dancing Snake, Gladmow, Goodfarm, Goodfork, Greenstone, High Pole, Hill Pear, Ingan, and Three Emerald Temple. These temples include shrines and even minor temples to other Earth deities such as Asrelia, Babeester Gor, Maran Gor, Ty Kora Tek, and Voria, as well as to Ernalda’s husband deities – normally Orlanth and Yelmalio, but in some places even Flamal and Storm Bull. Minor temples are normally twinned with a minor temple to Orlanth Thunderous or Orlanth Adventurous. Orlanth is viewed as Ernalda’s most important consort and the cults are very closely connected. The Orlanth cult protects the Earth Temples, but other cults, such as Yelmalio, Storm Bull, and even Argan Argar, compete for the honor. Although priestesses do not generally lead the clans or tribes, they are women of great influence and importance, and in some communities more so than the chief or king. At the same time, the Earth Temples typically do not participate in local clan or tribal conflicts, except as they involve the Earth Goddess.In Sartar, the Ernalda cult is the ultimate authority over the land itself, delegating care over specific pieces of land to cults, tribes, or other entities. Ernalda and her fellow Earth goddesses governs the cycles of fertility – that of birth, growth, decline, and death. One of the most important rituals the cult performs is Bless Crops, which helps assure the fertility of the fields. This ritual typically involves the sacrifice of an animal, ritual hierogamy between the Earth Priestess and a representative of the local Husband God while worshipers dance and sing, and then engage in merrymaking. The boundary stones marking the lands delegated to tribes, clans, temples, or other entities or individuals are protected by Babeester Gor.The Ernalda cult is often responsible (or asserts responsibility) for arranging marriages between its members and suitable followers of one of the Husband-Deities, although individual choice is acknowledged and permitted. Temples sometimes arrange marriage contests for women who consent to the rites—these contests are open to any follower of a recognized Husband-Deity and test the suitors to prove their worth through a series of contests. Contestants are typically sponsored by their communities or temples, but “wanderers” are always permitted. The contests match the participants’ prowess at combat, athletics, social skills, and magic. Most contests last a week (and are combined with the High Holy Day ceremonies), but some contests take much longer. The winner of the contest is chosen as the year-husband of the participant, and the participating community gains blessings and magical allies as a result of a successful contest. Many Earth priestesses prefer to choose their consorts in this manner, and the stakes are much higher. The marriage contest of an important Earth priestess is an event of regional importance, and a truce suspends hostilities between followers of the Husband-Deities during the contest.
The FHQ is the incarnation of Kero Fin? Ernalda.
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