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.
IMO the best things to watch to get a feel for Glorantha are:
- Alexander (either with Colin Farrell or with Richard Burton)
- HBO’s Rome
- Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man
- The Yellow Submarine
- Thundarr the Barbarian
- Princess Mononoke
- 7th Voyage of Sinbad