2020-06 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

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Table of Contents

    Lunar invasion motivations

    An interesting tidbit about the Lunar motivations for conquering Sartar, Prax, and the Holy Country:

    Once the pacification of Sartar was accomplished, troubles in distant Aggar drew much of the Provincial Army away, but the tribes remained quiet. Local troubled citizens were succored by sympathetic Teelo Norri priestesses. Lunar overseers began to hire the disenfranchised instead of trying to grab them as slaves (although their lot was little better either way). Chieftains who stubbornly clung to their Orlanthi ways, sent tribute and kept the opinions to themselves. The Lunars gathered their grain and sold it, collected a few tolls, and tried support trade and exploration ventures. But the expected riches from Sartar never materialized. The empire had hoped that conquering Prax in 1610 would result in greater trade, but by 1617, it was clear to Lunar merchants that the Praxian venture was interesting, but an economic failure, the distance to Prax and then downriver to Corflu was prohibitive to anything but the luxuries and exotic goods useful to magicians and nobles, but not likely to bring wealth to more than a handful. Another, more economic, route to the sea was sought, and everyone who invested in trade at all knew that the Holy Country must be the target.

    Backbone of Lunar power

    The strength of the Lunar Empire is not its soldiers:

    In our recent RQ game, my players got a good look at what the real backbone of Lunar power is – it is the Lunar College of Magic – the Crater Makers and horrors like the Crimson Bat. They watch in horror as Lunes, meteors, volleys of Madness and Mindblast, and a Chaos horror routed their much larger army of nomads, Storm Bull cultists, and mercenaries


    As an aside, Belintar – like the Lunars – wasn’t a practical builder. He build awesome things to magically tie the Holy Country together, but not really practical things for ordinary people. So it is not surprising that Sartar has better roads than the Holy Country or the Lunar Heartlands.

    The Aeolian school of Malkionism

    A few notes for today that folk might find interesting:

    Malkioni henotheist sect
    The Aeolian school of Malkionism worship the Invisible God as the supreme Creator, He is the Source, the Egg of Wonder, the One. The Invisible God is sometimes depicted as an elderly god with thirteen (eight powers plus five elements) heads and four arms. He holds no weapons, but instead a measuring stick, a book, and string of eyes. He is crowned.
    The Invisible God is viewed as too remote and too unapproachable to directly worship. Instead, the Esvularings worship Orlanth, Chalana Arroy, Issaries, Lhankor Mhy, and Eurmal as personifications/emanations of the Creator. Of these, Orlanth is most important. These gods have consorts who are worshiped in combination with them.
    Much of Aeolian philosophy focuses on the series of emanations from the Invisible God to the Cosmic Court down to the gods and then down to mortals. The wars of the gods are viewed as part of the ongoing process of creation until the Unholy Trio rebel against creation and bring Chaos to destroy the universe. The cosmos is saved by the Lightbringers’ Quest.
    The Aeolians claim that when Malkion was expelled from the Kingdom of Logic, he came to what is now Kethaela where he founded New Malkonwal. When Malkion was killed in the Gods War, they long bemoaned his loss until the Invisible God sent Orlanth to restore the cosmos with the Cosmic Compromise. The Aeolians practice sorcery but also sacrifice to gods and spirits.

    Cosmopolitan Sartar

    As I have been working on the Sartar Homeland book, I’ve been struck how much more cosmopolitan Sartar becomes if you just extend the map slightly from that of the old Dragon Pass gazetteer. So much more interaction with Praxians, Tarshites, Grazers, dragonewts, dwarfs, trolls, and even Tusk Riders and elves.And the poster sized map we are working on is shaping up to be a thing of beauty. If you loved the RQ3 Troll Pak map, you are going to love this.

    Some notes on the Holy Country

    For centuries, Belintar was able to coordinate magical activity to everyone’s benefit in the Holy Country. The gods were often manifest – so you didn’t need tribal rites to have that contact. Belintar (or his stand-in) would invite the god to his palace, and everyone would enjoy the blessings. In Sea Season, big rites in Seapolis; in Fire Season, big rites at the High Temple in Caladraland; in Earth season, big rites in Ezel; in Darkness season, big rites atop the Shadow Plateau; and in Storm Season, big rites in Bullflood or whatever temple complex is below Stormwalk. Then the City of Wonders would tie it all together in Sacred Time – in fact, it always was like Sacred Time there. Crossing between the worlds was easy as long as Belintar was there to facilitate it.

    The Sixths were able to specialize in their elemental resources and work in coordination with the others to create a harmonious magical whole. It was a Golden Age returned to the world. The main gods got identified with their Runes: Ernalda-Gata, Lodril-Aether, Choralinthor-Zaramaka, Kyger Litor-Nakala, and of course Orlanth-Umath. I think when Belintar was around, the Holy Country was like Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls – six lands, each with their own strong identity, landscape, and even light and weather!

    Of course this had social changes.Tribal entities atrophied and disappeared. Having a God-King rule for three centuries of peace and prosperity added him to everyone’s pantheon. Belintar was responsible for such phenomena as the harvest, the weather, defense against the enemy, for good luck with trade, and more.

    When Belintar disappeared, the Gods War came crashing back. Wolf Pirates, Western Barbarians, civil strife, Lunar invasions, and Chaos. Without Belintar, there are no established methods to handle these crises. Everything is ad hoc, and up for grabs. For twelve years, this continues, until finally many leaders decide to invite Argrath to be king – if he will protect them.

    Holy Country notes with maps

    By 1350, the Hendriki kingdom is gone. Heortland – named after the great cultural hero who was often invoked by Belintar – was a Sixth of the Holy Country. The God-King kept good contacts with all the gods of the Holy Country, and to the rest of the world this was a part of the Otherworld manifest in the mundane world. Occasionally, gods or great monsters visited the Holy Country, and there were known to be many secret gates into the Otherworld. The Orlanth cult was strongly supported, but one that worked in conjunction with the other gods of the Sixths – a Monomythed Orlanth that could play A leading role (but not THE leading role) in something larger. This was intolerable to the would be heirs of the Hendriki and in 1340, a group of clans gathered at Whitewall and acclaimed Hardard the Green as king of the Volsaxi confederation. The Volsaxi proclaimed their independence and autonomy. Curiously Belintar took no direct action against the Volsaxi, although his governors in Heortland often fought against them. During this rebellion, other groups entered Dragon Pass – the Locaem, Kultain, and Dundealos tribes among others.When Belintar came to the Holy Country, trolls and Hendriki tribe were dominant. The Hendriki were not an Orlanth Rex tribe, like the tribes in Sartar, and did not have access to that magic.Initially they were a “clan” – Hendrik was a bandit leader, not a king. His warband was held together by his own charisma and magic. When Hendrik died in 439, one of his companions Selelmal took over leadership of Hendrik’s band, aka the Hendriki.It was Dinorth who actually founded the kingdom. He was given the magical regalia by Sindan Black who journeyed to the Western Ocean and returned. These were a crown, a scepter, and six magical items. Possession of this regalia + the tribal rites made one king. Clans obeyed the king or not, but the king was the king. The Hendriki expanded and contracted over the centuries. Sometimes they were little more than just the area around Whitewall. Sometimes they ruled all of Heortland and much of Esrolia.In 1300, the Hendriki ruled most of Heortland. The Bandori were a subject tribe. Southern Heortland was ruled by the Bandori, a subject tribe of the Hendriki. The Orshanti were a large clan centered on what is now Jansholm. They split over the rise of the Red Moon, with Colymar and his Esrolian wife leading his Black Spear Clan – zealots, visionaries, and adventurers – into Dragon Pass.In 1313, Belintar arrived. We all know the story. He killed the Hendriki King, who supported the Only Old One, and then a year later resurrected him. Many Hendriki refused to acknowledge the returned king, others did, and others directly revered Belintar. Some groups decided to risk exile into Dragon Pass.

    Heortland was mostly administered according to traditional law, but social institutions did change. Clans tended to have a single ruling family, from which the leader would be chosen, etc. Clans supported heavy chariot cavalry (that were eventually supplanted by heavy horse cavalry once large enough horses could be reliably obtained from the Grazelands.

    Heortland itself is divided into four provinces: Vandarland, Gardufar, and Esvular. The fourth, Volsaxiland, largely governs itself. The borders change from time to time., but basically they are this:

    Volsaxi – from the Crossline to the Marzeel River.

    Vandarland – from the Marzeel to either the Syphon or the Bullflood rivers.

    Gardufar – from the Syphon or Bullflood rivers to the Minthos.

    Esvular – from the Minthos to the Nomad Marches.

    In 1541, the trolls of the Troll Woods took control of Whitewall and broke the Volsaxi confederation. The Kitori took control of trade between Sartar (and Peloria and Prax) and the rest of the Holy Country, and imposed high tariffs (basically robbery). This lasted until Prince Tarkalor defeated the Kitori with the aid of the Yelmalio cult. He refounded the Volsaxi confederation at Whitewall and built a road between Whitewall and Karse. All of this was done with Belintar’s tacit approval. This greatly increased trade between Sartar and the Holy Country, and made the Sartar princes rich enough to contend with the Lunar Empire for another 30+ years.

    In 1616, Belintar disappeared. The governor of Heortland died and in 1617, two kingdoms divided Heortland between them. In the north, Broyan of the Volsaxi proclaimed the return of the Hendriki kingdom with himself as king. Much of Vandarland acknowledged him. Gardufar and Esvular supported the Western adventurer Rikard the Tiger-hearted, who proclaimed his kingdom of New Malkonwal. The two successor states lasted only two years before the Lunar Empire invaded in 1619. All of Volsaxiland (except Whitewall) quickly fell. In 1620, Malkonwal fell. Small Lunar garrisons were placed in all the larger cities of Heortland, and in 1621 Whitewall fell.

    But even this lasted only a short time. In 1622, Broyan reappeared and raised the Hendriki in rebellion, and many in the former Malkonwal supported him. The Bandori proclaimed their independence as well. Broyan inflicted a surprising defeat on the Lunar Army at Auroch Hills northwest of Whitewall and then fled to Esrolia to aid the new anti-Lunar queen. The Lunars followed in 1623 and besieged Nochet for a year to no avail, while their garrisons in Heortland were withdrawn. In 1624, the Lunar Army was routed at Pennel Ford and had to march all the way back to Sartar. Then in 1625, Broyan was killed and nobody knows how to perform his rites.

    So that’s where things are now. A confused mess. No tribes beyond the Bandori. Just a lot of warlords, adventurers, and ad hoc arrangements. I suspect that’s how things will remain until 1628.

    Random notes & diagrams

    House campaign

    As we neared the ruins a baboon hailed us in Praxian and asked if were there to attack him. He had seen us in the ruins before as was worried. We said no, and he introduced himself as “He of the Magnificent Butt”.

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