2021-01 Jeff on Facebook

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

Newest at top, oldest at bottom.

Table of Contents

    Mining Metals

    This is a tentative summary of the main mining sources of metals in Dragon Pass and the Holy Country. Bronze and copper are primarily locally sourced. Although some tin, silver, gold, and aluminum are locally mined, much of the supply is imported from elsewhere. Nearly all iron is imported – either from the dwarfs or from Seshnela.

    Note that any metal can be bought from the Dwarf Mine, although their prices are always much higher than from human merchants (on the other hand, they always have supplies).


    Bronze can be directly mined from Gods Age battlefields where the storm gods fought and fell. Although they can be almost anywhere in the Dragon Pass area, such deposits are rare and very valuable. it is usually easier and cheaper to alloy copper and tin.Mining sources:Red Hill Destor’s Hills, Finovan Hills – sometimes called the Bronze Hills. Where many minor Storm gods fell fighting against the invasion of the Water Gods.


    Copper is a common metal in the Dragon Pass area. Most copper is alloyed with small amounts of tin to create bronze, although some is used without alloying. Dragon Pass and the Holy Country are net exporters of copper.Mining sources:Barastaros Hills – sometimes called the Copper Hills (large)Thorab’s Hill (large)Dwarf Mine (unknown)Indigo Mountains (small)Sharl Plains (small)


    Tin is an uncommon metal, However, there are several small deposits of Tin in Dragon Pass. Tin is also imported from the Lunar Heartlands and Teshnos.Mining sources:Starfire Ridge (small)Auroch Hills (small)Dwarf Cliff (small)Dwarf Mine (unknown)Solung Plateau (small)Falling Hills (small)


    Gold is a very rare metal and in high demand. Dragon Pass imports most of its gold from the Lunar Heartlands or from Teshnos.Mining sources:Guardian Hills (small)Dwarf Mine (unknown)Falling Hills (small)SilverSilver is a rare metal and in high demand. Dragon Pass imports most of its silver from the Lunar Heartlands.Mining sources:Guardian Hills (small)Falling Hills (medium)Dwarf Mine (unknown)


    Lead us a common metal in Dragon Pass. The Lead Hills are the main source of lead, and it is extremely easy to mine there.Mining sources:Lead Hills (large)Dwarf Mine (unknown)


    Aluminum is a rare metal. Dragon Pass imports most of its aluminum from the seas in the form of Quicksilver.Mining sources:Indigo Mountains (small)Dwarf Mine (unknown)

    Glorantha is not Earth, and the metals named in print as “bronze,” “iron,” “gold,” and so forth, are analogues, not duplicates, of earthly metals.

    Gloranthan bronze is more like bronze than iron.

    Here is the description of Bronze in a forthcoming publication:BRONZE (hu-metal) is the most important metal of Glorantha. Bronze has a melting point of about 950° C.Bronze originates from the bones of storm deities slain in the Gods War. It can be mined in its own right, but is more commonly made by alloying copper and tin. On rare occasions, a piece of bronze is still found that retains its former bone-like shape. These are highly prized and sometimes have magic properties. Unfortunately, they are also easily faked. Most bronze used by mortals is produced by alloying copper and tin.No Enchant rituals for it are common, but normal non-magic forging makes perfectly serviceable weapons, tools, and armor.

    My purpose in posting these notes is not to reenact tedious arguments from 25 years ago, but rather to make it clear that there are mines in Dragon Pass, and metal is transported from point A to point B. Remember most bronze is alloyed. Although copper is very common, tin comes from a handful of places – which means Issaries gets involved. So places like the Starfire Ridges, Auroch Hills, and Dwarf Cliff have small mines, kilns for smelting tin into bars, and markets where tin bars are traded. That tin is then taken to the cities or to areas where copper is mined to be alloyed with copper to make bronze.

    This is stuff that the adventurers can get involved in. A mine has been taken over by something else – trolls, rock lizards, cave trolls, dwarfs, whatever, which means the local supply is unavailable and the local community asks the adventurers to help reclaim the main. Or an Issaries caravan has a large amount of valuable metal and hires the adventurers to help guard them (as they got the supply at the expense of another tribe, dwarfs, Lunar noble, whatever).

    Trolls trade lead they find to human merchants through the Argan Argar cult. They probably take most of what they find, of course – but even the excess is a lot.Dwarf Mine – well now we are dealing with one of the ancient Mostali – who knows how far that mine extends.

    Mines aren’t big things like in our world. You’d likely have many small mines. These mines might extend quite a way into the earth, but have a very small surface footprint.

    Things under the Earth belong to the Earth Temple. The earth might get delegated to a clan, a tribe, an individual, another temple – or might stay with the Earth Temple. Of course, the Earth Temple probably gets something for the delegation.So for example, the silver mines near Guilder Town are “owned” by the Asrelia Temple of Boldhome, and under the control of the Serzevethi family of the Kheldon tribe.

    Initiation rites in Esrolia

    This is a wonderful archaeological review that helps provide support for theories of initiation rites in Esrolia:


    Yelmalio Art

    Speaking of Yelmalio – here he is! Dispelling the tendrils of Darkness!

    This was a reference for the hat – and is a real Bronze Age magical hat:


    The Sun Dome Temple in Sartar

    As part of a project, I have put together a deep background history of the Sun Dome Temple in Sartar that is likely mostly unknown even to the Yelmalio cult. So this stands outside of Glorantha as a secret (but correct) history – but I think it might be of use to folk trying to make sense of the history of the Yelmalio cult in Sartar.

    A History of the Sun Dome Temple in Dragon Pass

    At the Dawn (1600 years ago) this was the center of solar worship in Dragon Pass, where Lightfore and the restored Sun were worshiped together by the Heortlings under the name of Elmal.Later in the First Age, the Sons of the Sun and later the Dara Happans proved that the returned Sun was a separate god – the Golden Age Imperial Sun Yelm. The Elmal cult acknowledged this (they had to because the Dara Happans proved they were right in magical contests and challenges). The Elmal cult shifted its focus to Lightfore who remains even when the Sun is dead. The Cold Sun, the Frontier Sun, etc – but the most popular name was the Little Sun – Yelmalio. During the Broken Council, Yelmalio was largely loyal to the Broken Council and aided Nysalor in fighting the Heortlings and Trolls at the battle of Night and Day.The Broken Council built a great golden sun dome here after the Battle of Night and Day. Yelmalio was given rule over the former Heortling tribal lands and fought against Arkat and his trolls in the Gbaji Wars. The great golden sun dome was destroyed, but if you look right and squint, you can sometimes still see its mirage.Fast forward a few centuries. The Orlanthi overthrew the troll Arkat placed as overlords of Dragon Pass with the aid of the Yelmalio cult and gave this site to the cult, who built a new Sun Dome temple (think the Second Temple in Jerusalem). The Yelmalio cult were important allies of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends, and Sun Dome Temples were built along the frontier of the Empire (this is the origin of the temple in Prax as an aside). A network of temples extended from Fronela to Ralios to Garsting and Prax. The temple in Dragon Pass was one of the two main temples (the other was at what is now Mirin’s Cross).But the Empire of the Wyrms Friends collapsed, and the Yelmalio cult suffered. Sun Dome Temples lost contact with each (this is the beginning of the Testing of Solitude in Prax). Some temples allied with the True Golden Horde to assault the Dragon’s Nest, resulting in the Dragonkill War. The Sun Dome Temple in Dragon Pass was razed – like every other human settlement in Dragon Pass.

    One of the two central temples lost, and the cult in turmoil, the Yelmalio cult in South Peloria persisted but continued its decline and disunity. In Kethaela, a small cult in Heortland continued to worship in the Dawn Age style, protected by the Only Old One and the Hendriki Tribe. They worshiped Lightfore and the Sun together as Elmal (but drew their magic from Lightfore). After Belintar killed the Only Old One in 1318, many of these cultists migrated into Dragon Pass to practice in their traditional ways rather than accept Belintar’s magical changes. This is the same impulse that caused many Orlanthi to migrate into Dragon Pass.

    The Elmali found the ruins of “their” temple and it became an important cult center, although they lacked the resources to rebuild the dome or much else (another cult center was Runegate). The temple was thus rebuilt as a Sun Temple, without a dome. As the settlers formed into tribes, the Elmal cult began to take on extra-tribal characteristics. Initiates from different tribes would gather at the Sun Temple to worship together instead of worshiping merely at the tribal level (a similar thing was happening with some of the other Lightbringer cults, but they resolved it differently).

    For about two centuries this slow change continued. But during the reign of Saronil, the Elmal cult came under increasing influence from the Yelm cult of the lowlands. Lunar missionaries were sent to reveal the secrets that had been hidden from the Elmal cult by the Orlanthi and the Only Old One. This resulted in rapid changes and social explosion, Some switched their worship to Yelm the Sun (although continuing to call the subject of their worship Elmal) and fought with the House of Sartar. Monrogh Lanterns was convinced that Elmal was NOT the imperial Sun, but was the light that remained after Yelm was killed. He brought back Yelmalio, and his movement spread like wildfire through the remaining Elmali and to the surviving Sun Dome Temples of the Yelmalio cult.At the same time the trolls of the Troll Woods were raiding throughout southern Sartar and Hendrikiland. They blocked off the trade route between Karse and Wilmskirk, collecting high tolls from those who wanted to pass to the south – this diminished the wealth of the Sartarite princes, who were locked in increasingly external conflict with the Lunar Empire and internal dissension with the Elmal cultists.Tarkalor solved both problems. He allied with the Yelmalio cult and together they defeated the trolls of the Troll Woods. When Tarkalor became Prince of Sartar, he granted possession of the Sun Temple to Monrogh Lantern and built them the grand Sun Dome Temple using Sartarite stonemasons. Tarkalor paid for a gold dome and other signs of his support. After Tarkalor died in 1582, the Yelmalio cult was independent (their loyalty was to Tarkalor personally) but remained friendly with Terarsarin and Salinarg, although I doubt they got huge endowments from the increasingly beleaguered princes.

    This is a canonical text that I just gave to a writer working on this material.

    Was the EWF-period Yelmalio cult draconized, or still basically worshiping Yelmalio? (Rather than Sun Dragon or something.)? They worshiped Yelmalio.

    His history has been a ping pong between the Orlanthi and the Dara Happans.

    So as of 1625, it makes sense to speak of the Yelmalio cult in Sartar, most of which is focused on the Sun Dome Temple as their religious center. This cult is inter-tribal. There is a small group centred on Runegate that still puts Yelmalio into a tribal cult structure, but otherwise, most Yelmalio cultists that live outside of Sun Dome County look to the Sun Dome temple for militia duties, religious ceremonies, etc.

     The bulk of the 250 Yelmalio cultists around Runegate belong to the Enyhli Clan, but the Narri have a fair number as well. The cultists around Runegate worship Yelmalio as an associate of Orlanth Rex. They don’t use the pike, they ride horses, etc. As described in the cult writeup.The Yelm cultists were a faction that reached its peak probably around 1565. I think their numbers ceased to grow after Monrogh’s movement was embraced by the rest of the Elmali, and eventually they mostly died out.The Pol-Joni and Dundealos worship Yelmalio, but in the Praxian manner.

    The Cults of Prax Yelmalio writeup is a fair overview from the perspective of the “modern” Praxian Yelmalio cult.

    The Duck Hunt

    Rather than hide this in a big thread about Honor and War, I think this tidbit about the Duck Lawsuits is probably worth its own post:

    In early 1626, the Ducks brought a claim to Prince Kallyr demanding compensation for the Duck Hunt. Claims were made against the Balmyr, Cinsina, Colymar, Dinacoli, Locaem, and Malani for their participation in the murder of hundreds of ducks. Many refused or at least refuted the claims, and Boldhome was filled with dissension. Kallyr was said to have welcomed the news that the Lunar Army was seen marching again, as battle was preferable to the squawking of endless legal claims.

    And these comments show the tragedy of the ducks. Even when they are victims of horrible crimes – and the Duck Hunt was a horrible crime – people can’t help but crack dopey jokes. No wonder the ducks are so angry!

    As I get near to wrapping up the final text on the Sartar book and move into art, I need to say – man this book will blow some minds! Sartar with princes, roads, cities, and caravans! 33 minor cults, including many you have never heard of!

    All the tribes, loads on the cities, clan creation details, new occupations, expanded family background, and much much more. And that is not even including the Boldhome booklet, the Dragon Pass gazetteer booklet, Encounter booklet, and the MASTER MAP!

    Here’s a snippet:

    Orlanth in Sartar

    Orlanth is the patron god of the Kingdom of Sartar, and nowhere is his cult more fully developed. The three main subcults of Orlanth – Thunderous, Adventurous, and Rex – have temples and shrines throughout the kingdom and rarely does an initiate have to travel more than a day to worship their preferred aspect at a sanctified holy place. There is also a great temple to Orlanth Lightbringer, a mystical subcult that inspires individuals to correct the wrongs of the world. Many other subcults can be found in Sartar as well; these are simply the most important and prominent ones.Orlanth Adventurous is the warrior god subcult of Orlanth, patrons of heroes, warbands, raiders, and adventurers. About a fifth of all cult activity is associated with this subcult, which emphasizes warrior prowess. Orlanth Adventurous often defies traditions and settled assumptions; he is a god of Change and Mastery, as much as a god of Air. Orlanth Adventurous is more often associated with cities and tribes than villages, although some clans have him as their patron god. The Four Magical Weapons subcult has been fully incorporated into the Orlanth Adventurous subcult throughout Sartar.Orlanth Thunderous is the most popular and widespread subcult of Orlanth. About half of all cult activity is associated with this subcult, which emphasizes the god’s mastery of winds and weather. This is the atmospheric god, bringer of gentle rains and thundering storms, and married to Ernalda the Earth Mother. Orlanth Thunderous is the god of farmers, and his son Barntar is a popular subcult of Orlanth Thunderous. Most villages have a minor temple to Orlanth Thunderous with a shrine to the Barntar subcult; this temple is so closely linked with the local Ernalda cult that many people refer to this as the cult of Orlanth and Ernalda.Orlanth Rex is the ruling god subcult of Orlanth, the patron of the Kingdom of Sartar, the cities, and the tribes. The Rex subcult is at the opposite end of social organization from Thunderous; instead of the village temples of Thunderous, Orlanth Rex is organized at a tribal level or greater. About a quarter of all cult activity is associated with this subcult. Orlanth Rex binds the other subcults and Lightbringer cults together and holds power over the other tribal temples and shrines. Orlanth Rex is intimately connected with the House of Sartar, and his dynasty serve as the highest priests of this subcult. The Sartar and Sartar the Builder subcults are associated with the Rex cult throughout the Kingdom of Sartar.The only great temple to Orlanth Lightbringer in Glorantha is at the Hill of Orlanth Victorious, the very place that Orlanth began the Lightbringers’ Quest. Orlanth Lightbringer is invoked every Sacred Time and as part of many mystical ceremonies. This subcult can be joined by any Orlanth cultist, and provides support for the acquisition of heroic and other magical powers through heroquesting. Orlanth Lightbringer is sometimes called the God of Heroquesting. He is closely associated with the other Lightbringer cults (Chalana Arroy, Eurmal, Issaries, and Lhankor Mhy).No summary of the Orlanth cult in Sartar can be complete without a mention of the Vinga subcult. This woman warrior subcult worships the female incarnation of Orlanth and is open to female initiates of any Orlanth subcult. The Vinga subcult is respected for the bravery and ferocity of its members, and several of the Sartarite princes maintained an elite unit of women warriors.

    This section helps explain some of the peculiarities of Orlanth warfare:

    Honor And War

    Some of the most important Orlanthi war gods demand that Death be wielded with honor and the Humakt cult upholds the code of honor in combat and war. This code is strictly adhered to by Humakt, but also generally followed by other honorable war gods such as Orlanth and Yelmalio.Honorable combat is not fought for gain or selfish reasons. Although it is honorable to serve as mercenaries for pay, that payment is not supposed to be dependent on the outcome of the battle.In battle, two warriors may duel or engage in prolonged personal combat. Both combatants must be armed and may use Rune or spirit magic, allied and other spirits, elementals, etc. Groups of warriors may fight approximately equal numbers of foes. However, multiple warriors or magicians must not gang up on a single warrior.A warrior who surrenders becomes a prisoner of his capture and is under their protection. At the same time, a surrendered warrior must not flee his captor until ransomed or released.Honor also dictates how warriors were to deal with noncombatants. No one should attack an enemy who has temporarily lost or dropped their weapon. The lives of noncombatants, prisoners of war, and farmers are also sacred. Pillaging the land is forbidden.

    How about Praxian warfare? Does the unwritten rules differ? yes and no. Praxians will fight just for the looting rights and consider that honorable. The Bison, High Llama, and Zebra are otherwise very much like this, while the Impala and Sable are far less concerned about such matters.

    Orlanth, could put SB in his place. Orlanth Rex is traditionally the one to do that. And the Storm Bull’s tend to be very cautious about being push the Plow Priests too hard – there are rumours among the Storm Bull cultists that they have magic that turn Bullmen into Oxen.

    Storm Bull is welcomed in Orlanthi society because of his aid against Chaos. But if he doesn’t have Chaos to fight, he often wears out his welcome (of course Orlanth himself tolerates Storm Bull’s shenanigans – but the rest of the Lightbringers get sick of him pretty quickly).

    It was just sick or wounded broos, none of whom were in CA. A hospital? Was Chalana Arroy present there? If so, did they kill Chalana Arroy cultists? Chalana Arroy is not inflexibly hostile towards broo – we know of broo initiates of the Merciful Goddess. Although Orlanth HATES Chaos, he really really hates people who kill fellow Lightbringers. Especially the pacifist followers of the Merciful One.

    Orlanthi can be dishonourable if there is an overwhelming higher principle at stake (like fighting Chaos), but they still are going to lose Honor for it.Humakti get visited by the Spirits of Retribution. There is no higher principle than Honor.

    “Pillaging the land” is not the same as plundering a city or town or even a temple. The latter is fine (well depends on the temple) but the former is forbidden.

    “Pillaging the land” is taking the crops, burning the fields, plundering the granaries, taking the women and children, etc.Now when Argrath takes Pavis he lets his army take stuff – gold, silver, buildings, etc. But he does not destroy the agricultural infrastructure, and establishes himself as the lawful overseer of the granaries. That stuff belongs to the goddess – he is now the representative of the Storm God, so has some lawful rights to it, but is supposed to protect it, not destroy it. And don’t take certain types of stuff, like grain, women, and children, and others in the protection of the goddess.

    Of course mortals screw this up a lot. But the Gloranthan war gods in the main part expect their followers to fight honourably. And in the main part, human armies that follow those war gods do act honorably. At least in the main part. Of course evil things happen, humans lose it and do terrible things – but these things are often considered sacrilegious in a setting where that has serious implications.

    Those who participated in the Duck Hunt – or passively watched as their kin did – now are subject to huge claims from the Ducks, who appeal to Kallyr Starbrow for justice and compensation.

    Humakti are neither good nor evil. But they are dedicated to code of how Death is to be wielded. They are not Judge Dredd or Lancelot. Neither are dedicated to Death and Honor. Humakt is beyond things like concern for the social good. His is strict adherence to the Code of Honor, damn the consequences. But that also means that when the more pragmatic Orlanthi say stuff like we can’t accept the surrender of the Lunar assassin who murdered our kinfolk, he says, “you can and you will.” it is not the killing of the man that is honorable. It is the rules governing the use of Death. They are often torn – unlike their god, they are mortals. They often let their passions, loyalties, hates, and loves drive their use of Death instead of just honour. But that doesn’t mean their fierce and implacable god is cool with that.

    As an aside, a huge issue of honour and vengeance that will disrupt Kallyr’s short reign (on top of the failed Lightbringers Quest) is the Duck Demand for Vengeance. The Ducks bring a claim to Prince Kallyr demanding compensation for the Duck Hunt. After all, the kin of all those dead Ducks are entitled to life price. Claims are made against the Balmyr, Cinsina, Colymar, Dinacoli, Locaem, and Malani for their participation in killing hundreds of ducks. And those life prices add up.

    In early 1626, the Ducks brought a claim to Prince Kallyr demanding compensation for the Duck Hunt. Claims were made against the Balmyr, Cinsina, Colymar, Dinacoli, Locaem, and Malani for their participation in killing hundreds of ducks. Many refused or at least refuted the claims, and Boldhome was filled with dissension. Kallyr was said to have welcomed the news that the Lunar Army was seen marching again, as battle was preferable to the squawking of endless legal claims.

    As an aside, it is worth keeping in mind that the irresponsible and reckless dissemination of Death to those who misused it is what weakened the structural integrity of the cosmos and allowed Chaos into the world. The Humakti agree fully with this, as do the Orlanthi, Yelmites, Westerners, and many others.

    What about killing in self-defense? If you are defending yourself, it is always fair to say you are facing an “armed” foe.

    Orlanth Adventurous Art

    This is absolutely one of my favorite depictions of Orlanth Adventurous. By the amazing Agathe Pitié.

    Artist, Agathe Pitié

    Orlanth Adventurous is a god after all. And he loves all the ladies, regardless of element. And he has the best cat. Yelm was just totally outclassed.

    I love how casually Orlanth kills Yelm, holds the lotus up for Triolina, strokes Ernalda under the chin, and charming everyone.

    The Great Compromise

    Arachne Solara is the epithet of an otherwise unnamed deity who may be the goddess of Nature in Glorantha. Her origins are mysterious and subject to speculation, but there are strong indications that she is the ghost of Glorantha, the Mother of the Universe.Arachne Solara first comes to notice in the tale of the Great Compromise, wherein Orlanth, Yelm, and the other deities in the Underworld swear pacts and oaths to preserve themselves. The plan upon which they agreed is said to have been created by Arachne Solara, based upon mutual support between all the remaining world.The Spider Woman constructed a great and magical web made of many things no longer found in the world, and then she gave the web to all the gods to hold ready between them. When Chaos entered their realm, the gods cast the net upon the Devil and held him tight. While the other deities had distracted the Devil, Arachne Solara leapt upon him with vengeance and a strength of desperation and mystical splendor. She enwrapped the Chaos god in her legs and struggled mightily, and at last devoured the evil soul.The great beings of the universe then held council, and tried to discover what their further course of action might be. The Seven Lightbringers proved that they could lead the way out of the Underworld, but they were not sure what world was left outside. Their Old Way was gone forever, replaced by empty void and Chaos. But they could no longer exist within the confines of the universe.Arachne Solara proved capable of communicating with the Beingless Voice of Eternity. Through her, and with the Voice, the gods made unchangeable pacts and carved themselves into powerful spells. Arachne Solara led a great dance, reconstructing the shattered cosmic matrix, linking all the surviving gods within an immutable web of pacts and oaths, bonds and relationships, conjurations and creations. The gods swore themselves into a Great Compromise with Chaos, wherein the Old World and the New World (of Death and Chaos) would co-exist, alternating their forces and powers along the myriads of weaves within the matrix of the universe. She revealed her child, born after she devoured the Devil. The child is Time, the Pledge of the Gods, and all existence swore by it to uphold their agreements. This is the Great Compromise, and it is the oath which recreated the world.The Lightbringers forced open the Gates of Dawn. Arachne Solara cast her net forth, and the myriads of immortals ran out upon it, filling the universe with their presence. Each knew their part, and went to it gratefully as if reaching home after a long painful recovery.Upon the tattered physical world, portions of the Old World drifted upon the decaying remnants of the once-Golden Age. The snares of the net encircled them gratefully, anchored there, and cast further to other islands of unviolated existence. Inhabitants of those places saw the distant sky grow closer, felt the earth grow firm underneath, and felt the air once again move about them. Thunder rumbled upon the eastern horizon, which grew grey and then rosy and finally bright as Theya, Dawn Goddess, led forth her father, fiery Yelm, into the Sky. The gods marched across the barren world, bringing warmth, light, and flowers to the awed survivors.

    In depths of the Underworld, the Great Wheel began turning, beginning the myriads of rhythms and exchanges throughout the universe. The servants of stone began their tedious march. The new world was created. Time started. History began.

    The Cosmos – Glorantha – is related to the Greek idea of Cosmos. Arachne Solara is mysterious. Perhaps she is Nature, or she is the Sun Spider, or perhaps she is Ginna Jar in Hell? I have heard all those theories and more.

    There’s a lot of hidden treasures in this version of the story. Lots of links with other secrets.

    There’s a lot of Grandmother Spider there.


    Royal Roads

    Did you know it takes the average mule caravan about 17 days to get from Karse to Furthest? And only has to pay about 10 different tolls?

    From Karse to Boldhome to Slavewall to Furthest. Definitely the fastest – AND the cheapest route.

    The royal roads are four to five meters wide. If you take the royal road, you are under the Prince’s protection against the tribes and clans, and anyone else. Take the back routes and any tribe or clan who wants to shake you down can and will.

    Royal roads all the way to Slavewall and then the Lunar Trade Road.

    There is a Lunar road built in the Sartarite style from Dwarf Ford to Slavewall. Never went any further.

    Tarsh Road: This military road runs from Filichet in Holay to Furthest and the Temple of the Reaching Moon, and then on to Slavewall. It was first established by King Phargentes. Fazzur Wideread extended the road from Slavewall to Alda-Chur, using Sartarite stonemasons, and that section of the road is of far better quality than the rest.

    Meanwhile, it is about 12 days from Boldhome to New Pavis, 10 days from Boldhome to Furthest, and 7 days from Boldhome to Karse.

    Also, don’t take the Pavis Road if you have a caravan! Take Caravan Alley to Bigglestone, and then from there to the Paps and on to New Pavis. The only tough part is crossing the Long Dry.

    as an aside I have a nice big chart in the Sartar Book saying how far segments of the road are and how long it typically takes to make that segment.

    Why not Day’s Rest to Tourney Altar to the Paps? It looks like Biggle Stone is really a big detour so I don’t see why that would be the preferred route. It lets you take advantage of the comparative ease of Caravan Alley and bypass the arroyos leading into the Dead Place. Also I suspect that the nomads permit mules along the edge of the Eiritha Hills to come into the Sacred Grounds, but not from other directions. And there are also likely water sources at the edge of the hills, and shade.

    Avoid the Pavis Road if you are a caravan! It is 6 days hard travel, and most of the year there is no water between the Better Place and New Pavis! Which means instead of trade goods, your beasts mainly carry fodder and water.

    So a caravan taking the Pavis Road needs to dedicate at least 70% of its carrying capacity to carrying just food and water, and can bring very limited amounts of trade goods. The Pavis Road gets used as a military road, not a caravan route.

    That assumes you are only bringing 6 days food and water. If you get delayed a couple of days – a sandstorm, a raid, hostile spirits – then things are going to get very dire indeed.

    Moving goods by sea from Karse to Corflu can be done, but Corflu is a poor transfer station.

    I am assuming these are mule trains traveling at foot speed, so 40 km a day on the royal roads, about 30 km per day in Prax. I doubt these are wagons.

    The ESSENTIAL reference book. I have it right in front of me right now: https://books.google.de/books/about/Alexander_the_Great_and_the_Logistics_of.html?id=OiMWqRokCZ4C. Honestly, if people are talking about transport in the ancient world and they don’t have Engels handy, they are just making stuff up. also https://books.google.de/books/about/Travel_in_the_Ancient_World.html?id=26VwGWEd2vsC

    FROM PRAX: Slaves, livestock, Rubble artifacts, leather, foodstuffs.

    Dream Dragons

    I do so love Dream Dragons. They raise all sorts of dream arguments like the Butterfly Dream of the Zhuangzi. Maybe all of Glorantha is the dream of a sleeping Dragon, and it is only the Dream Dragons that are aware of it?

    There is always a difficulty in separating dragons from their philosophies and magics. This is true even in history, for although the True Dragons sleep they still dream, and their dreams are almost as terrible as themselves. Fortunately many dreams are whimsical or fanciful rather than greedy and vicious, and some dragons dream of teaching mortals their secrets or of things which do not harm men.Thus are born the Dream Dragons, a handicapped and limited species of creature which is grossly incomplete in its being, and whose whole existence caused by the sleeping mind of another being. These are the dragons most often seen by men. When people speak of dragons they usually mean this kind. Dream dragons are monstrous and terrifying, capable of destroying armies of men, are sometimes immune to all types of magic, and in general manifest the powers most frightening to humans.Dream dragons are like Gloranthan illusions: a temporary reality. They are formed from the unconscious thoughts of True Dragons and often manifest the traits which are normally suppressed by such wise and benevolent beings. Thus dream dragons are often cruel, selfish, destructive, and greedy for material wealth.However, some dream dragons defy the normal categorization and are known for their benevolence and friendship towards humans. Yet, even these have been known to treacherously turn against former friends, and the lesson of the draconic betrayal of all humans in the Dragonkill War are not forgotten, even after 500 years.

    What is the antidragon equivalent of the dream dragon? an antidream dragon? a dream antidragon? a nightmare dragon? You mean the assignment of “good” and “bad” categories to the gods that the Vithelans keep going off on? keep in mind that the Vithelans are basically categorising things as “anti-” if it goes against the Vithelan world-view. They are “a rag-tag collection of all the entities whose nature is to oppose the gods, the mediators, and the beneficent aspirations of the mortal races.” So Orlanth is an anti-god because he killed HeenMaroun and generally brought calamities to the world. The troll gods are anti-gods because they are Darkness deities that devoured and polluted the world.

    So who is NOT an anti-god? Giving their God Learner titles (from the time of the New Dragon’s Ring): Yelm. Yelmalio. Godunya. Grandfather Mortal. Dendara. Miyo. Lodril. Uleria. Chalana Arroy. The various deified emperors. Various local heroes and mystics. But cults like Orlanth, Humakt, Storm Bull, Waha, Maran Gor, etc. are all anti-gods.

    Pamaltela is a big place, and not strongly tied to things like dragons, trade routes across the Wastes, the God Learners, etc. Parts of it are, but again, it is a BIG place.

    The Ages of The World

    Here’s an interesting late Second Age document that I find deep in the Library of Nochet. Although it was written in Theyalan, I suspect it is of Jrusteli origin, given its materialist nature.

    • 1. All was Darkness and Water. Then came Earth and Aether.
    • 2. Earth formed a perfect lozenge floated atop the water, rooted or pillared to the ancient base of Darkness. At first there were only gods, but later came life – algae, prokaryotes, arthropods, and fish.
    • 3. Earth became irregular as it grew faster in some areas than in others. Flamal was born and plants grew atop the earth, followed by arthropods, and then by the first amphibians.
    • 4. The Spike grew in the center and the first River flows uphill onto land. General mixing on surface world of elements. Other mountains are grown or made at this period. Reptiles rule the land, and True Dragons nest.
    • 5. Intense light begins above the Spike and grows in brightness. The first birds appear.
    • 6. Sky encircles all the earth. Yelm rules the north, Lodril the south. Flowering plants appear, and insects flourish. Giant reptiles dominant.
    • 7. Ratites and other great birds proliferate. Growing conflict among gods. Age ends with Yelm slain by Orlanth.
    • 8. Storm gods dominate, Seas drop, many clouds, and more rivers. Mammals become dominant land animal. Conifers proliferate. First trolls appear on surface.
    • 9. A predatory age. Valind conquers much of the world. Daga, Mallia, and Ragnaglar are big leaders. Trolls are very powerful. Brithos persists.
    • 10. First Chaos gods appear. Age ends with the destruction of the Spike and departure of the Lightbringers.
    • 11. Age of Chaos. Mortal revival and resurgence. Increased victories against Chaos, including I Fought, We Won.
    • 12. Age of Time. The Dawn. History begins.

    We could also label this as:

    • 1. Creation.
    • 2. Water.
    • 3. Green Age (early)
    • 4. Green Age (late)
    • 5. Golden Age (early)
    • 6. Golden Age (middle).
    • 7. Golden Age (late)
    • 8. Lesser Darkness (early)
    • 9. Lesser Darkness (middle)
    • 10. Lesser Darkness (late)
    • 11. Greater Darkness
    • 12. Dawn.

    Now according to the New Dragon Ring, this can be dated as:

    • 1. Creation 100,000,000 BT
    • 2. Water 50,000,000 BT
    • 3. Green Age (early) 10,000,000 BT
    • 4. Green Age (late) 1,000,000 BT
    • 5. Golden Age (early)100,000 BT
    • 6. Golden Age (middle) 50,000 BT
    • 7. Golden Age (late) 30,000 BT
    • 8. Lesser Darkness (early) 8500 BT
    • 9. Lesser Darkness (middle) 3500 BT
    • 10. Lesser Darkness (late) 1500 BT
    • 11. Greater Darkness, 1000 BT
    • 12. Dawn, O ST

    But this is all crazy talk. No way the world is 100 million years old, regardless of what the Kralorelans say.

    I would totally love to do something like a a geological epoch piece for this: https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Ml_5gWkLD_8/UJYZpDLbzvI/AAAAAAAABqU/Ju4Q4XM0cWc/s1600/geological+time+scale.jpg

    As aside, although the document does not mention it, Grandfather Mortal likely appears in step 5 or 6.

    Which of course raises the interesting idea that the Mortal Races appeared before mammals. Because of course they did.

    Nobody uses the term “Storm Tribe”. And educated Orlanthi know that there was a lot of stuff going on before Orlanth slew Yelm. Like most of creation.

    And rather than a pro-Sky bias, that document shows a strong Lightbringer bias.

    Storm Tribe appears quite a bit in King of Sartar, although that is just that writers attempt to cluster gods as if they were just mortal tribes. Lightbringer Gods is far more common. They are the gods that were present when Orlanth and the Lightbringers rescued the world.

    But Umath less a cult figure than a genealogical figure, like Kronos. The defining feature for the popularity of the Orlanthi gods is the Lightbringers Quest. After that is Orlanth and Ernalda themselves.

    I don’t think that is nearly as core to the worshipers of these gods in the Third Age. These myths aren’t experienced in “chronological” order after all.

    I find the Lightbringers myths, the conflict with the other gods, and of course the murder of Yelm to be far more complex and less white-washed than the presentation in Thunder Rebels or other HW-era sources. I still find this to be the best summary of his role in Gloranthan cosmology: Orlanth symbolizes and forms the elemental Air; he is a foundation of the cosmic order. He is King of the Gods by right of his strength and deeds, and his virtues maintain the world. He is responsible for maintaining the cosmos. His cult provides guidelines for its members to follow in determining their activities about themselves, their society, the cosmos, and the great mystery of being. Participation in the cult of Orlanth makes a person a full citizen of the universe.As both the murderer of Yelm who plunged the world into darkness and the leader of the Lightbringers who revived the world, Orlanth is the God of Heroes, an untamed destroyer who nonetheless protects life and aids civilization. He destroys not to end the world but to make way for the new.

    Orlanth has no thralls. In fact, the cult forbids Rune Masters from owning slaves.

    Play around with Gloranthan myths

    Dan Zappone asked a very good question about how to get your players to play around with Gloranthan myths, especially in hero quests. Here are some thoughts of mine that I thought people might find interesting (and bumped up to its own post instead of hidden in a comments thread):

    1. Don’t worry about the specific Gloranthan myths. Think about how this all fits together thematically (this is why the monomyth is your friend) and reduce things to archetypes – Storm God, Earth Goddess, Water God, Death God, etc.

    2. Let your players name the gods based on what they know in play. Storm God? Oh that must be Orlanth. Wait that guy is really destructive – maybe it is Storm Bull. Use the Runes like Tarot Cards.

    3. Let the players tell you how they interact with these archetypes. That Storm God is Storm Bull – but I am the Cattle Goddess! She’s kind of like Hathor, right? Well, I got Earth, Beast, and Fertility, so I am going to get Storm Bull to help me instead of fight me. If I need to have a dalliance with the Storm Bull, so be it!

    4. Play around the framework of the monomyth. The monomyth is the framework of the Gloranthan cosmology, but this is like jazz. Dance around it, riff off it, fill it in and expand upon it. You know Storm Gods fight the Sky but get recruited by Earth Goddesses to fight their enemies of Darkness, Water, and Chaos. Run around with it.

    5. Don’t tell the players a super convenient myth nobody has ever heard of and ask them to repeat that. Start with the stuff in the Glorantha Sourcebook, and work at that level of detail initially. Let them heroquest and experience their mythic event.Think of interacting with Gloranthan myth like an exploration of Jung’s unconscious. Filled with archetypes we express as Runes. These Runes are arranged in patterns but what those patterns really mean can only be understood through experience. What does Death and Man mean? What is Air and Movement? What is Light and Truth? How do all these things fit together?As a GM, what you should do is think about the Runes. Define key parameters – The Waters are trying to flood the Earth. The Earth goddess is willing to promise something to Air if it will protect her. The Air can push back the water and get the reward. Beyond that go Brian Eno and David Bowie. Throw some random Power Runes in there to complicate things – Death or Life, Movement or Stasis, Illusion or Truth, or Harmony or Disorder. And then something else random into the mix. Pretty soon you have recorded Station to Station (hopefully without the cocaine addiction).As a final aside, there are only two versions of the myth that are correct. The one you heard in stories, and the one you experience. After you experience the myth, you can tell a new version of it. Don’t try to play heuristics to figure out the historical “real version” of the myth. That’s a False God and a dead end.

    And a follow-up thought – think of the God Time as a place, inhabited by archetypes and entities that can be eternally revisited. These archetypes did things in the God Time and are thus always doing them. But you can interact with them, participate in their deeds, even be their incarnation (and thus wield their magic). Be careful though – it is awful hard to define yourself as Orlanth when you have a star on your forehead! And it gets tougher when you encounter archetypes you don’t recognise or have any stories about!

    defining yourself as “a Storm God” is easy. Defining yourself as Orlanth who beat the Water Gods into submission and extracted oaths and promises that you now want to call upon is harder. Especially if they are trying to point out that you don’t seem to fit the bill.

    Reducing this even more – the gamemaster should be familiar enough with the broad contours of Gloranthan myth to feel comfortable with how things fit together, and then be willing to let the players run around with it, while resisting the urge to cement the myths in granular detail like happens so often in forum discussions. The trick is to get a feel for the pillars and moving parts in the monomyth and then players do what they will with it.As an aside, the best sources are Myth chapter in the Guide to Glorantha and the Glorantha Sourcebook. The Cults Book will have a Monomyth chapter that is even more useful but it is not available yet (soon!).

    another source of inspiration is how musicians reinterpret their songs over and over again. Or if you have the new remastered Funhouse you can hear Iggy sing a half-dozen versions of Loose – each is the “same” song but also each is very different. Or is Reed’s “Caroline Says II” the same song as the Velvet Underground’s “Stephanie Says”. The songs have many of the same lyrics, but the themes and arrangements have changed, the speed is changed, and in some cases even the meaning has changed.

    Explaining the Satarites

    I think at this point the Sartarites are easier to explain as their own thing than try to say they are “like so and so”. For example, with my players who know nothing about Glorantha, I say, “They are an ancient world warrior culture, with feuding tribes and caravan cities. Hospitality and honour are very important to them, and they hate being ruled by outsiders, although they are very loyal to their warlord Prince (who they claim is descended from their divine founder). Their main gods are a Storm God and an Earth Goddess, and have lots of minor deities, most of which share in the myths and stories of their main two gods.”Some might visualise Kafiristan of the Man Who Would Be King, or they might think of Thrace and Macedon, Vedic India, or even ancient Slavic cultures (I have one campaign where all the players are Polish). But that’s just for visualisation – they know it is actually none of the above.

    I mean we don’t say the Melniboneans are the old imperial British aristocracy in their dying days, even if that was in large part what inspired them. We accept them as their own thing.

    at its most base, “caravan cities” should conjure images of caravans AND cities. Something Sartar has a lot of.

    Lodril art


    Grain Goddesses art

    The Grain Goddesses, right, Seshna Likita!

    If 30+ years of art history has taught me anything, it is that grain goddesses should have hips!

    Sartarite analogies

    Something worth thinking about – although the King of Dragon Pass computer game (which is ultimately about What If Sartar Never Came to Dragon Pass) and the old HW materials gave the impression of Sartarites being a bunch of rural clans who knew nothing of the greater world, here’s how even the Lunars view Sartar:”The exotic caravan-kingdom of Sartar, what a spectacle! Where Praxians, Pelorians and Kethaelans mingle in the great bazaars and souks of Sartar’s Cities.”Yes, Sartar is tribal and dangerous, and has a violent warrior culture that tears people apart in feuds and wars. But don’t think Vikings or Scotsmen – think Bactria or other Silk Road caravan kingdoms.

    Another thing that I can’t emphasise enough – the Sartar princes were richer than Lunar satraps.

    In short – think Afghanistan or the Kashmir, Armenia or Iberia and Colchis.

    Don’t worry gang – at some point I will do a similar deconstruction of the Lunar Heartlands. It ain’t Rome.

    most of the more “accessible” comparisons have resulted in plenty of pastiches and bad stereotypes. Unless you think that Asterix and Obelisk are somehow serious treatment of 1st century BC Gauls. At a certain point, “make it tie to something I am used to” ends up just resulting in an endless repeat of Pseudo-medieval knights, Vikings, Romans, and Scots. Or as I like to call it, “modern generic fantasy.” personally I think the māori make an excellent source of inspiration for the Orlanthi.

    It is easier to find spices and silks in the markets of Boldhome than in the markets of Raibanth or Yuthuppa.

    Also, it is important to keep in mind the symbiotic relationship between Sartar and the Praxians. Sartar is an important trade place for the Praxians – they bring livestock they take from other tribes and get bronze and other goods in return.

    what is traditional Orlanthi? They are the people who founded the World Council of Friends with the Elder Races, and spread the news and magic of the Dawn throughout Glorantha. They later founded the High Council and ruled much of Genertela, and even decided to create a new god. Later they started talking to dragons and formed the Empire of Wyrms Friends.

    The Orlanthi have been at the center of things since the Dawn. It certainly makes them one of the more cosmopolitan cultures.

    Half-Elves in Glorantha

    Are there are “half-elves” in Glorantha?

    The answer is of course. We know adventurers fall in love with dryads, and those spirits of Fertility and Plant no doubt produce offspring, which humans would indelicately call “half-elves.” Given that the elves are also Man Rune entities, this is entirely mythically appropriate. This also means that there are no doubt half-elves that result when humans and elves mate, half-trolls when humans and dark trolls (let us not imagine what would happen if a human and a mistress race troll mated), and even half-dwarves. In fact we know this to be the case, for Lord Pavis was the son of a human and an aldryami, and Karandstand Half-Troll had human ancestry, and so on.

    And if your character gets a high enough Elemental Rune, perhaps they are verging on that sort of thing all by themselves!

    There might also be half-rivers, and even half-winds!

    This of course is how the world was created.

    Understanding the Kingdom of Sartar

    The Prince of Sartar is a priest-king of the most important Orlanth Rex cult in Dragon Pass. The Prince serves as a high priest, supreme warlord, and chief judge for the member tribes and cities. The Prince receives revenues from such sources as tolls on roads; tariffs; excise duties; contributions from the tribes, temples, and cities; minting coins; royal herds; as well as plunder and tribute through war. The kingdom of Sartar is personal to the person of the Prince – it is the Prince and his family that unite the cities and tribes into one kingdom. Without a Prince, there is no kingdom, only quarrelling tribes and autonomous cities.

    As an aside, it is impossible to understand the Kingdom of Sartar without looking carefully at the role of the Prince and his family have in uniting the tribes and cities. And it is also important to remember that people don’t call themselves Heortlings – they call themselves SARTARITES.

    It is also impossible to understand the situation in Sartar after the Dragonrise without paying attention to the following two facts:

    • It is the person of the Prince that holds the Kingdom of Sartar together and ONLY a descendent of Sartar can be Prince.
    • There are only two known descendants of Sartar: Kallyr Starbrow (who is childless) and Argrath (who has lived in exile his entire life and has an army of nomads).

    There likely are some additional unknown descendants of Sartar. But only two are known.

    Now if this seems different in emphasis from the presentation of “the Quivini” in the Hero Wars material or in the fine computer game “King of Dragon Pass” – you are correct. Those games were set during periods that there was no Prince. Now there is a Prince again, and we are entering the promised setting of White Bear & Red Moon.

    Sartar didn’t do anything to change how tribes chose their leaders. And the cities were ruled by councils headed up by his representatives. But the principality was about his person, and before his apotheosis he had his son Saronil acclaimed as his heir and successor, the. His family became his priests, and they spoke with him at the Flame.Temertain was accepted as prince purely based on his hereditary claims. And most Sartarites accepted Temertain as prince.

    Tolls are actually described in the Sartar book:The royal roads belong to the Prince and travelers and their property are under the protection of the Prince while they are on the road. Tolls on goods moving along the road are collected at various points, this is largest source of revenue for the Prince. For much of Sartar’s history, such revenues made the Prince richer than most Lunar satraps. At the entrance to each city and a few other toll stations (such as at Roadend and Dangerford), scribes and their guards assess a toll on the caravan. These tolls are sizeable (typically 5% of the value of the goods) but ensures that the caravan can travel along the road without interference from the local tribes.

    This was the situation prior to 1602. Under the Lunar Occupation, the tolls were increased, but also banditry of caravans increased, especially after 1621. With the liberation, the new Prince Kallyr likely tried to reassert her authority, but got very districted by her LBQ and its failure, and may not have managed to get control over the roads and tolls.During the interregnum, I suspect this became anarchic, with tribes and cities imposing their own tolls.I suspect this is one of the first things Prince Argrath rectifies in 1627.

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