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M Helsdon

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Posts posted by M Helsdon

  1. Jeff recently posted about the Sun Dome of Sartar:

    ‘With a dome approximately 30 meters in diameter, the Sun Dome Temple stands some 45 meters high, making it larger than the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. It is comparable in size to the ziggurat of Ur or Pantheon of Rome.’

    Now I’m not an architect or archaeologist, but I like to find how things work, and a dome of that size can only be built in a number of ways. The Dome of the Rock has a wooden frame and roof, covered in gilt, so the Sun Dome of Sartar could be constructed from wood.

    In Prax there’s limited access to timber, so what is the Sun Dome there made of?

    The Pantheon in Rome is made of Roman concrete, but has a fair bit of bracing, and wouldn’t be the right shape, a possibility, but would probably need dwarven sorcery.

    There is a very long tradition of domes in Mesopotamia, dating all the way back to Sumer. The Sumerians could construct arches of fired or dried mud brick and a dome is basically an arch rotated around its central vertical axis. Some reconstructions of ziggurats have a dome atop the shrine at the peak of the ziggurat, but none have survived, and so far as I know, the only pictorial evidence of early domes are in Assyrian reliefs showing small houses.

    However, the tradition of domes was carried to Iran and beyond, and there’s evidence of wooden and brick domes. At the Parthian capital at Nyssa (Turkmenistan) there was a hall with thick walls surrounding four columns in the centre probably topped with a wooden dome. During the Sassanid Empire (yes, I know, not Bronze Age), domes were erected on reception halls of palaces such as Sarvestan palace and Ardeshir palace (in Firuzabad). The domes of Sarvestan palace (also known as the Temple of Anahita) date to around 350AD and are the oldest brick domes in the world, the largest having a span of 12.80m, and height of 20m. The dome at the Ardeshir palace is larger with a span of 13.3m.

    A 'span' is the length of a structural component that 'spans' between two supports, so the Sun Dome dome in Sartar spans an impressive 30m.

    The double layered main dome over the Friday mosque of Qazvin is the biggest Seljuk dome with a span of 15.20m and height of 22m. Built around 807AD it’s well outside any thought of a Bronze Age dome (but Bronze Age in Glorantha doesn’t limit things like architecture or technology), but we don’t know how large the Sumerian domes could be. A surviving arch at the much later Assur has a span of several metres. Could they build larger arches? We don’t know. Where the enormous ziggurats have been rendered into ruined mounds of brick, ancient arches and domes would be long collapsed.

    It seems possible that a dome of fired brick would be feasible. Add in some Stasis magic and a dome with a span of 30 metres is possible.

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  2. 33 minutes ago, Jeff said:

    These would have had a little villa made of adobe or stone

    Probably a mixture of stone (for the foundations and the lower level of the ground level walls), and cob, rammed earth, or wattle and daub in wooden frames and then plastered with lime to improve waterproofing.

    Adobe is a term that can cover all these soil/clayed based mixtures, but also more precisely sun dried bricks of sandy earth mixed with water and straw or dung, which are fine in fairly arid regions but unsuitable anywhere with significant rainfall (you'd find buildings of adobe construction in Bronze and Iron Age southern Spain and Portugal, but not much further north in Europe, but you would find cob, rammed earth and wattle and daub buildings all the way to Scotland). 

    This is perhaps a decent model, at least in construction, if not floor plan, for a Lunar villa in Sartar or Tarsh:


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  3. To mark the one year anniversary since its first publication, this is now available with a new wraparound cover by Mark Smylie.
    The Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass
    The timeless appeal of the legends of the Hero Wars has resulted in an enduring interest in the period.
    Surviving texts, supplemented by archaeological evidence, are used here as the basis of this reconstruction of the combatants of the initial phases of that world-shattering conflict.
    Focused on Dragon Pass and the surrounding regions (Peloria, Pent, Prax and Maniria), this volume presents details of the warriors, soldiers and mercenaries of the opening periods of the Hero Wars, their arms and armor, their cultures, histories and organization, the terrain they traveled, the battlefields on which they fought, their fortifications, their magic, and their gods.
    Army Lists provide details of the regiments and other entities that fought in this epic conflict, supplemented by numerous illustrations of the participants.
    Bonus chapters:
    • Lunar Army Strength
    • Righteous War
    • Jar-eel Marches Forth from Mirin’s Cross
    Warning: adult themes - some aspects of Bronze Age warfare may be distressing.
    By Martin Helsdon with invaluable assistance from Jeff Richard. Based on the mythic universe created by Greg Stafford.
    Winner of the 2019 Greg Stafford Memorial Award

    Armies & Enemies new preview.png

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  4. 17 hours ago, Mankcam said:

    I am more interested in how these fantasy cultures are presented, and what historical civilisations can be considered analogies to be blended together, to give us a sense of how to portray these unique cultures in Glorantha.

    I'm seeing some Vedic influences at times, primarily with the emphasis of Caste etc which is almost a different sub-culture within each regional culture of Malkioni. I really like the notion that Caste isn't just another version of 'social class', but it encompasses role, magic, destiny, etc. Will be very interested in how far this idea goes with RQG.

    The 'take' in Men of the West uses a variety of inspirations, ranging from Indo-Bactrian-Greek, Sassanian, other Persians, Byzantine, to northern India, and a small dash of Kievan Rus.

    By necessity, in addition to the military, Men of the West has to delve some way into the cultures and religions.

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  5. The Art Packs have paid about a quarter of the cost of the new cover for Armies & Enemies.

    Am starting to gather together material to give the regional military history of Peloria in much the same style as for Seshnela, Fronela, and Ralios in Men of the West. I have a number of sources that weren't used in Armies & Enemies because the page count was becoming excessive. 

    And, today, I can mention that Armies and Enemies won the 2019 Greg Stafford Memorial Award for Gloranthan Fandom for which I am very honored and grateful. The award has been sitting on a shelf with my Glorantha collection for a while.


    I am in the process of moving so my shelves are not very tidy, but here is the award sitting with some of my books.


    award shelves.png

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  6. Third and final Art Pack for now.

    Permission is granted to purchasers to use these illustrations in Jonstown Compendium publications (with a credit to the artist), and to GMs and players solely for their own use in handouts and character sheets, but not for wider publication. The labels can be removed, and the images reduced in size, but no other changes can be made for publication without permission.


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  7. Because of questions raised on various fora, the following has been added to clarify usage:

    Permission is granted to purchasers to use these illustrations in Jonstown Compendium publications (with a credit to the artist), and to GMs and players solely for their own use in handouts and character sheets, but not for wider publication. The labels can be removed but no other changes can be made for publication without permission.

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  8. 8 hours ago, Mameluco said:

    But I do agree with @g33k, when I saw the picture it didn't ring any Gloranthan bell, what I saw was a generic fantasy cover of an armored male warrior next to a female model in bikini and high heels.

    Not a problem. However, this picture isn't set in Dragon Pass, but in eastern Safelster in Ralios where the culture is very different.

    The 'warrior' is Meime, Tournament King of Kustria, wearing his very expensive dwarven-made iron armor, complete with the helmet, described in the Guide (and based on a tournament helmet of Henry VIII), and his wife, Ingye, Queen of Galin. The Safelstran cities, even the Solar ones, tend to have a far more hedonistic culture than you'd find in Dragon Pass or Peloria (except for Glamour).

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  9. 17 minutes ago, Beoferret said:

    Would you be alright with the use of your drawings for in-home, player handout/player aid materials (i.e. non-published) or is it absolutely, strictly Jonstown Compendium titles? Not trying to push boundaries; I'm honestly wondering since I'm putting together an intro to Glorantha and Dragon Pass document for some players who have no prior exposure to the setting.

    My intent is that the art can be used in Jonstown Compendium titles (with a credit), and by GMs and Players solely for their own use, such as character sheets and handouts, but not for wider publication.

    There's been discussion about creating such resources for JC authors in a forum for the last few days so I decided to create something, get it out there, and see what bugs crawl out.

    The lessons learned so far are:

    • Clearer usage and licensing.
    • Include a zipped file.

    A zipped file has been included and tomorrow I will add a clearer description of allowed usage. The art must not be altered without permission (the labels can be removed) and cannot be used on websites or anywhere else without my express permission. Andrew Taylor has requested and had created colored versions of some of the sketches, with permission.

    I may create a Lunar Art Pack.

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