Till Death Do Us Part Or Eternal Love?

Submitted by RoM on Thu, 20/06/2013 – 10:56

After more than three years and exactly 81 game sessions my gaming group accomplished the Colymar series from the Sartar book. We began with the clan questionnaire and ended with an Orlanthi marrying Ernalsulva. Many thanks to Moon Design for this great adventure.I our last session at the Plateau of Suffering one character found his deceased wife and child in one of the pits. The group rescued them from lunar hell and brought them to the surface world, with Hofstaring’s help. So far so good. The only problem now is that the character had already remarried. So here are my questions:
a) Is he now married to his first or second wife or both?
b) How long does a marriage last, till death do they part or until eternity?

Robin We make mistakes and we fix them!

Submitted by Herve on Wed, 17/07/2013 – 17:56.

I’d say this orlanthi adage applies here: shit happens, sometime caused by ourselves, yet (almost) anything can be fixed by our efforts again. Getting your dead wife and child out of hell makes you a hero! Your living wife is probably very proud to share you with the, hem, revenant. Long as she doesn’t file a lawsuit before the Clan Ring you’re cool and can have the two wives.Now what happens alive wife (as opposed as to revenant wife) DOES NOT want it that way? What’d be the most fun? Would she try to send back revenant wife where she comes from (secret murder)? Would she make the Hero’s life miserable? Would she try to win him back by attempting insane things to dazzle him? Would she convert to the lunar religion which shows proper respect to women?And what about our revenant? Who is she? Is she powerful, Blessed or rich? Where did she come from? How does her family / bloodline react to her return? How does SHE feel to be back? And the kid? He’s special after his time in hell. Is he going to become a Great Healer or some insane killer?Your pick… PS you are a crazy man.

Answers and questions

Submitted by RoM on Sat, 29/06/2013 – 08:06.

Many thanks to all of you for your answers.Some ‘technical’ questions Over the course of the series we lost most of our original characters. Some died, some disappeared in the underworld or on otherworld heroquests. E.g. the Orlanthi who initially wooed Ernalsulva is assumed to be a sex slave in Estel Donge’s chambers (rumour has it he shares this fate with a morocanth). Due to this fluctuation and the fact that the players rose some of their abilities to W3 while other abilities were still on 13 we decided to reset all stats. Just before the final scene in the underworld we set all ratings back to their starting values plus some extra points for contacts and magic items. The HeroQuest rules make such a reset very easy. Since it doesn’t matter whether you roll 13W3 vs. 10W3 or 13 vs. 10 you can simply go for the easier mode.We have all character sheets online. But the group is German and so are the character sheets. You might want to try google translation:

Berkos, devotee of Baroshi, champion of the Stonesnake clan and the mentioned husband of two wives


Rodrik, priest of Lhankor Mhy and lawspeaker of the Stonesnake clan, husband of Narala


Narala, Ernalda initiate, carpenter and wife of Rodrik, who has some relife sickness after an encounter at the Howling Tower


Esra, Ernalda devotee, mother of incarnations of Gore and Gash, who abandoned the underworld quest to live with her sons and Cragspider


Hendrinor, Orlanthi initiate and freedom fighter, who was kicked into the River of Swords by Jarnak, and was never seen again


You will find the all protocols here


How did the first wife/child ended up taken to the Lunar Hell? Well, we never really elaborated that (although she is not Sartar’s heir). All that was known from Berkos’ background story was that he is a widower who lost his wife and child some years ago when they travelled to the city (maybe during Starbrow’s Rebellion?). All what is known is that he loved her dearly and he never remarried because he still mourned for her. That is until he met a female warrior from the Varmandi clan during a festival at the Shaker Temple and they found pleasure in carnal love.In that scene in the Pits of Suffering the players saw some familiar faces being tortured. But they ignored that and went on to free Hofstaring. So I brought up the wife and child to confront the players with a moral dilemma. I love moral dilemmas 🙂 Are both wives content to share the husband? Would that work? Isn’t that adultery and thereby a capital crime in Orlanthi society? “Relife Sickness?” In my understanding both wife and child are facing something much more severe than mere relife sickness. They were tortured for years in the Pits of Suffering. When the players met them, wife and child lay in a pit full of maggots that fed on their skin, while leaving the flesh intact. This has certainly traumatised the two to the edge of insanity. Though the concrete ramifications are up to the new narrator to decide. Are they actually brought back to life? Were they really dead to begin with? I don’t know. What would you say? Does it matter? If the child comes back to life then very few parents or their communities would accept that the obligation to be a parent has ended. I can agree with that. The child was born as son of Berkos of the Stonesnake clan, he will always have that relation no matter what. Apple Lane and Snake Pipe HollowWe had Return to Apple Lane as a brief encounter between Ernalsulva’s first and second impossible task. They got an egg as reward from Gringle, which the Maran Gori PC carried for more than a year until they finally went to the Earth Shaker Temple were they performed an otherworld heroquest so that some weeks later the only living quake beast hatched from that egg. Unfortunately the Maran Gori never returned from the other side.We also added parts of the Snake Pipe Hollow adventure, because the Woodpecker clan threatened the PCs with greater outlawry and the characters had to leave and create their own clan. The lawspeaker and precendenceThe lawspeaker is one of the PCs. He will certainly have a word to say on that matter but we don’t know what kind of precedent cases might be reasonable. Story potential Well, I think all options have great story potential.The first marriage is still valid, the second is void: That means the second wife has to be send packing. She is a thane’s daughter from the Varmandi clan. They will be mortally offended and probably launch punitive raids against the PCs’ clan. Additionally the first wife will live with the PC. But although she loves her husband she also might be on the edge of insanity. Being tortured by Ikadz’ minions for yeas certainly has had some impact on her psyche.The first marriage has ended upon death, the second marriage is valid: Although the first wife’s clan is probably happy to have her back and will not launch any legal or military actions, the first wife still loves her husband. She has been tortured in Ikadz hell for years and the only thing that kept her alive was maybe the love for her husband. What will she do when she gets rejected by him and separated from her only child?Both marriages are valid: If that is possible and not considered adultery it would lead to all kinds of problems. A ménage à trois only works as long as all participants have a mutual understanding of their relation. But what if the two women hate each other? It would turn the PC’s life into hell, that he wishes he would be back with the demons of the underworld. For your information I ran the gaming group from the beginning until the marriage with Ernalsulva. Now I passed the baton to the younger generation. The decision over the marriage issue lies with Anna, the new narrator. She is reading this forum too and I would like you to give her some advise.

Speechless with Awe (and some horror)

Submitted by Herve on Wed, 17/07/2013 – 17:46.

Robin,You are the most twisted, insane, crazy, awesome GM I have ever met. I gotta play at your table next time we meet. This said, parts of your story are so horrible, from the moral implications to the gruesome technical details I don’t even want to think about them! I salute your love of Glorantha, thirst for details, the strong feelings you put in there and that your players must violently feel when you play. To conclude, this must be a very, very german campaign! Gründlichkeit in everything.

Is polygamy considered adultery in Orlanthi society?

Submitted by Dreamstreamer on Tue, 02/07/2013 – 14:29.

What of the numerous kings that have had multiple wives? Any that married a Feathered Horse Queen, for example. Did Sartar have two consecutive wives or two simultaneous wives? Though no longer living with the Feathered Horse Queen, wasn’t he still considered King of Dragon Pass? What of Tarkalor?Reading up on Ernalda in Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes (pg. 136), she sent Orlanth away and had a succession of husbands. Was sending Orlanth away divorcing him? Did they remarry? Orlanth came back to Ernalda. Even better, they both decided that they could not be truly separated, despite the (numerous?) setbacks.Let’s take that last bit and flip it for Berkos. Perhaps, like Orlanth and Ernalda, Berkos and wife 1 decide that they can never truly be separated?Another note: From the description (Berkos carnally falling for the woman who became wife 2), I’m left to wonder why they were married in the first place? Sex doesn’t carry the same taboos in Orlanthi culture. (Look at the temples of Uleria!) Was it doen simply to fortify relations between the two clans? Was it just a bed-wife/husband relationship or of another kind?A billion years is too short a time to accomplish everything you can imagine, for imagination is infinite.

‘Technical’ questions

Submitted by Charles on Mon, 24/06/2013 – 06:12.

some ‘technical’ questions. Did you follow the HeroQuest suggestion of increasing the base resistance every 2 sessions?
As this would lead to as base resistance of around 14W2, what kind of level were your heroes best abilities? Did the players tend to concentrate rasing just 1 or 2 abilities or did they spread across many more abilities?
Any chance of posting a few of the character sheets or digests of the most important parts?


Submitted by Harald Smith on Sat, 22/06/2013 – 09:42.

81 sessions to complete the whole adventure is amazing!  Would love to hear more of how it unfolded.In regards to the wife dilemna, that sounds like it could make for some interesting adventure/conflict, perhaps even quests to the Jonstown Library, Ezel, or somewhere else to get a proper legal ruling.  But Ernalda had several husbands, and the Year-Husband/Year-Wife suggest there are approaches to take and you or the player could take it in different directions.I’m curious how the first wife/child ended up taken to the Lunar Hell?  That’s generally a target for powerful foes so it seems like there must be an important story there.  Was she dragged there by Jajagapa?  Slain by Sakkar?  Pulled down when Hofstaring was taken?  Cursed by a Lunar witch?  Are they heirs of Sartar assassinated by the blue moon?  And now that she and the child are free, are there Lunars seeking to kill them again?

Submitted by Jeff on Fri, 21/06/2013 – 04:26.

Awesome! 81 sessions? That is fantastic! You’ll have to tell me all about it!Editor-in-Chief, Moon Design Publications

What does the wife think?

Submitted by Dreamstreamer on Thu, 20/06/2013 – 11:40.

Are both wives content to share the husband? There have been a number of polygamous Sartarites, so it isn’t completely unheard of. And how does the child feel about the whole affair?S:KoH pg.207-208 covers the seven types of marriage, but the only limitations put on marriage length are the specific “Year-wife” and “Year-husband” variety. Those pages also denote that divorce is common.I would imagine that the death of a spouse (and child!) ends legal obligations, but I’d understand the hero feeling additional obligations. Also, what about “Relife Sickness?” (See pg. 148) Is freeing a captive from Lunar Hell the same thing as Resurrection? Are they actually brought back to life? Were they really dead to begin with?A billion years is too short a time to accomplish everything you can imagine, for imagination is infinite.

obligations to a child…

Submitted by Charles on Thu, 20/06/2013 – 22:39.

…I cannot imagine that they end with death. While the parent is under no obligation to make efforts to bring them back to life (which would usually incur an inordinate cost for the community, not just the parent), if the child comes back to life then very few parents or their communities would accept that the obligation to be a parent has ended.


Submitted by Charles on Thu, 20/06/2013 – 11:06.

Very jealous… 😉
I tried to introduce my boys to this campaign but, while they didn’t hate it, I couldn’t manage to get them interested enough to continue after 3 sessions. I started with the clan questionnaire and ran Return to Apple Lane in 2 sessions.

What works for the story?

Submitted by BlindGuyNW on Thu, 20/06/2013 – 15:51.

I think this is one area where the books don’t provide quite the information you’re looking for. The sense that I’ve gotten is that marriage in Sartar is generally monogymous and breaking its vows extremely unpopular. That being said, I’m sure a lawspeaker or sage could cite precedent for a situation like that. What do you and the player want? Talk it out, would a happy ending of some sort suit the situation, or would you both rather have some more drama attached to such a heroic deed? Best,Zack.

marriage, death and stories

Submitted by Charles on Thu, 20/06/2013 – 21:37.

Story potential is higher if death does not end a marriage 😉
Given that many famous Orlanthi have been brought back to life (likely more women than we have heard of), it would be surprising if the lawspeakers do not have legal precedents for it.

So, widow/er for life?

Submitted by Dreamstreamer on Fri, 21/06/2013 – 13:13.

I think the case can be made for high story potential either way. While I still don’t know how the wife and child ended up in Lunar Hell, it does seem odd for a spouse to be expected to return dead relatives to life. Aside from the difficulty of the process (you have to undertake a heroquest to the underworld and convince the soul to return), I mentioned the “Relife Sickness” before. Those brought back aren’t the same afterwords. And what if the dead spouse doesn’t want to return? I can’t imagine one wishing to remain in Lunar Hell, but what of those that have been sent somewhere better? Is the widow/er under the same obligations to seek an unwanted resurrection or remain single the rest of their days?A billion years is too short a time to accomplish everything you can imagine, for imagination is infinite.

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