The Closing hit Kralorela in 954, but the New Dragon’s Ring concealed this for a generation. Nonetheless, the New Dragon’s Ring managed to hold on for more than a century and a half. Reliable records during that period a few – I’ve seen some lists of “kings” of Kralorela that suggest that the Seshnegi were “wiped out” around 1000 but there was an entire dynasty still during the era of the New Dragon Ring, and a troll invasion, before the War in the Heavens in 1120.
Which gets to a few of the really remarkable things about Kralorela. The Dragon Emperors reign for a long time – according to the official histories there have been only two emperors since the Dawn. The first was Yanoor who reigned from 0-768 and the other was Godunya, who reigned from 1120 to the present. In between these two were the New Dragon’s Ring and Shang Hsa, and Godunya’s reign was interrupted from 1360 to 1460 by Sheng Seleris. These are long reigns!
The Kralori believe their emperors are True Dragons and I see no reason to doubt their claim. There are many thousands of dragonewts who serve the emperor or at least acknowledge him. The God Learners speculated that the Dragon Hsunchen were either dragonewts or humans who were immature dragons. No need to decide whether those theories were at least in part correct – what matters is there is a strong connection between the emperor and the dragons.
The Kralori worship the emperors and his exarchs, but their role seems to be to exist in the mundane world and perform the ceremonies necessary to maintain the cosmic order. They are god-priests more than governmental officials. Below these mighty figures are a bureaucracy of judges and scribes (“mandarins”). These perform the actual functions of government. No doubt there are ruthless political conflicts behind this apparent serene facade – like at some university.
There are some interesting parallels here with the Lunar Empire and its Dara Happan predecessors. And there are also some interesting parallels between the New Dragon’s Ring and the Empire of the Wyrms’ Friends. It is not surprising that the God Learners classified Kralorela as a Yelmic land!
And that raises another interesting feature – in the Third Age, Kralorela is famed for its isolationism and xenophobia. But we know that in the Second Age, Kralorela was part of the Middle Sea Empire, in contact with the rest of Glorantha through trade and travel. Not only that, but Kralorela was known to have deep contacts with Dragon Pass during the era of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. The Closing isolated Kralorela, and the Dragon Emperor (or at least his servants) maintained that isolation.
But even so, there is trade with Kralorela. Some ten tons of silk are bought each year by Kethaelan merchants at their trade post and then shipped to Nochet. Caravans from the Lunar Heartlands cross Pent to the Kingdom of Ignorance where they trade with Kralori merchants. And of course there is trade and war with Teshnos.
More than a million Hsunchen live in Kralorela (about 10% of the population), and most make little more than a token acknowledgement of the Dragon Emperor. Praxian and Pentan nomads are often hired as mercenaries. And of course, foreigners who have resided in Wanzow province for more than a year are free to petition for permission to travel throughout Kralorela.
There’s a lot going on there in Kralorela. I could easily imagine a campaign set in 1627 or 1628 where Prince Argrath sends a bunch of adventurers to Kralorela to try to learn some secrets of Dragon magic.