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Alternate Lunar Empire


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In the Life of Moonson thread, someone pointed out all the top sellers at Rpg.net today had a connection to the Moon, so I couldn't help but imagine this.

So I slammed Exalted Lunars and the Lunar Empire together and got the Blue Moon Lunar Empire.

 

Faced with Carmanian invasion, the Seven Mothers tried to revive a goddess who could smite the Carmanians.  What they got was the Blue Moon Goddess, whose power over water enabled them to command Peloria's waters, drowning the Carmanian homeland and smiting their armies whenever they came near a river.  But further, the light of the Blue Moon brought a revival of the Hsunchen traditions of Peloria.  All who embraced the light of the Blue Moon could unlock and command their animal nature; the Telmori streamed north, finding their ancient curse could be cured by the power of the Blue Moon.  Further, the light of the Blue Moon shielded devout Uz from the sun, bringing them to the banner.

The Empire's biggest problem is that adopting your Hsunchen nature isn't very compatible with a well-organized empire.  Their military is pretty well organized and disciplined but bureaucracy is... poor.  The Empire thus struggles to really fully exploit its full strength as it tries to bring its gospel of the animal soul to everyone.  Dara Happans who have been conquered but refuse to convert do a lot of the bureaucratic work that does get done and keep the empire from deciding to turn new conquests into just massive pasture.

The Empire is led by the Moonson, who like the canon one is periodically reborn.  He is currently Callicus, a Calico Cat Hsunchen who just wants to eat and nap, which is causing problems for the Empire.

(Jar-Eel is, of course, an Eel Hsunchen, who killed the Pharoah in his bath.)

The conquest of Sartar has gone badly because this reminds Sartarites way too much of the EWF. 

 

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In the Life of Moonson thread, someone pointed out all the top sellers at Rpg.net today had a connection to the Moon, so I couldn't help but imagine this. So I slammed Exalted Lunars and the Luna

The Bull Shahs and the Rise of the Blue Moon Empire The Dragonkill opened the opportunity for the Bull Shahs to seize power in Carmania.  They grew strong at conquest and stronger at inhumanity,

It was said (falsely) that King Henry I of England died of a surfeit of eels (it was lampreys).  Is it possible that the Lunar Empire is controlled by a surfeit of Eels? 

On 11/9/2020 at 6:18 PM, John Biles said:

(Jar-Eel is, of course, an Eel Hsunchen, who killed the Pharoah in his bath.)

It was said (falsely) that King Henry I of England died of a surfeit of eels (it was lampreys).  Is it possible that the Lunar Empire is controlled by a surfeit of Eels? 

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On 11/8/2020 at 11:18 PM, John Biles said:

But further, the light of the Blue Moon brought a revival of the Hsunchen traditions of Peloria.

I'm probably missing something here.... what's the link between a blue moon and the Hsunchen animal traditions?

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On 11/8/2020 at 11:18 PM, John Biles said:

In the Life of Moonson thread, someone pointed out all the top sellers at Rpg.net today had a connection to the Moon, so I couldn't help but imagine this.

So I slammed Exalted Lunars and the Lunar Empire together and got the Blue Moon Lunar Empire.

 

Faced with Carmanian invasion, the Seven Mothers tried to revive a goddess who could smite the Carmanians.  What they got was the Blue Moon Goddess, whose power over water enabled them to command Peloria's waters, drowning the Carmanian homeland and smiting their armies whenever they came near a river.  But further, the light of the Blue Moon brought a revival of the Hsunchen traditions of Peloria.  All who embraced the light of the Blue Moon could unlock and command their animal nature; the Telmori streamed north, finding their ancient curse could be cured by the power of the Blue Moon.  Further, the light of the Blue Moon shielded devout Uz from the sun, bringing them to the banner.

The Empire's biggest problem is that adopting your Hsunchen nature isn't very compatible with a well-organized empire.  Their military is pretty well organized and disciplined but bureaucracy is... poor.  The Empire thus struggles to really fully exploit its full strength as it tries to bring its gospel of the animal soul to everyone.  Dara Happans who have been conquered but refuse to convert do a lot of the bureaucratic work that does get done and keep the empire from deciding to turn new conquests into just massive pasture.

The Empire is led by the Moonson, who like the canon one is periodically reborn.  He is currently Callicus, a Calico Cat Hsunchen who just wants to eat and nap, which is causing problems for the Empire.

(Jar-Eel is, of course, an Eel Hsunchen, who killed the Pharoah in his bath.)

The conquest of Sartar has gone badly because this reminds Sartarites way too much of the EWF. 

 

This strikes me as worth a solid 50K-75K words -- at least! -- and a Jonstown Compendium release.

... just sayin' ...

 

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2 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I'm probably missing something here.... what's the link between a blue moon and the Hsunchen animal traditions?

The Blue Moon is another broken thing which could be fixed and this lets me make lots of were-person jokes.  (And there was a Blue Moon empire in the past in Pamaltela.)

3 hours ago, Darius West said:

It was said (falsely) that King Henry I of England died of a surfeit of eels (it was lampreys).  Is it possible that the Lunar Empire is controlled by a surfeit of Eels? 

Ahaha.

A great idea.  

2 hours ago, g33k said:

This strikes me as worth a solid 50K-75K words -- at least! -- and a Jonstown Compendium release.

... just sayin' ...

 

Heh.  I'll have to see if I have enough time/energy.

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The Sable People and Kostaddi

Since the First Age, a branch of the Praxian Sable Riders were stuck in Peloria, often contained on the Hungry Plateau, but sometimes erupting out of it conquer nearby lands.  The rise of the Blue Moon saw their conversion by the Seven Mothers and they underwent a conversion to the new ways... this wasn't always easy as it did involve a serious shift in their relationship to their herdbeasts.  This culminated in a civil war during Sheng Seleris' invasion and some of the Sable People reverted to the old ways and fled east with his defeated forces.

But the loyalists consolidated their control of Kostaddi.  Queen Wind-Talker, a shaman, commands the winds that come down off the plateau and uses them to punish those who disobey her in Kostaddi.  She is one of the forces pushing for forcible conversion of the remaining peoples of the Empire who have not embraced the Blue Moon way; her predecessors wiped out the inhabitants of the land closest to the plateau and turned it into more pasture-land, but left the rich farmlands of the west intact.  For now.  even she doesn't want to mess with Alkioth, which theoretically obeys her as long as she does not issue it many commands.

Queen Wind-Talker has seven brothers, her Khans, all currently seeking brides.  (A polite way of saying kidnapping people for their harem in many cases.)  Each manages a seventh of the realm under her command.

Many of their subjects have abandoned city and farm life and become goat hsunchen, roaming the plains with their herds of goats.  Goat riders have become part of the Imperial army, noted for their powerful charges.  The goat folk have constant problems with the Broo, who absolutely hate them and call them 'heretics'.  A fair number of them live on the slopes of the Hungry Plateau; their nimble feet lets them go where normal people cannot.

Dara Happans cling to their old ways along the rivers, farming rice and worshipping Lodril.  A common punishment for the upper class Dara Happans if the Queen is irritated is to make them join the Lodril ceremonies, which leaves them ritually impure for weeks.  This doesn't stop some Dara Happans getting in trouble.

Cities of Note:

Alkioth:  Much like the canon, though since its submission to the Blue Moon, the demons all look like twisted, mutated animals.  Also, there is a constant drumming, frenzied, which never ends, from Shargash's temple; everyone wonders, and worries, what happens if it ever stops.  Once a year, Callicus comes to Alkioth and goes into the temple; a day long jam session of music ensues, then he goes back to his capital or to Raibanth.  

East Raibanth:  This suburb of the Dara Happan capital is the most miserable part of Dara Happa.  Forbidden to engage in the cleanliness rituals which also make the city clean, it is a filthy plague pit.  Worse, the city's occupying force of Sable Riders basically force everyone to eat the foods which will create the foulest breath and the Queen's magics ensure the stink never blows away.  Yet, its inhabitants stubbornly cling to their traditions as much as they can.  One of these is the Counting of the Hours, shouted out from high towers, every hour on the hour.  When people are awake, they will often join the shout.  A past Queen tried to ban this, became unable to tell time, then went to sleep and never woke up again.  

The Goat Shrine:  Carried on a platform by sixteen blessed goats, it travels between the goat people clans; it is about twenty by twenty feet; whatever happens inside brings fertility and prowness in war to goat people who it visits, but madness to those who have spied on the ceremonies and inevitably gouge their eyes out in horror.  

Hargoth:  Winds off the plateau should not all converge on this city, but they do, an ongoing punishment for supporting Sheng Seleris.  Despite, or maybe because of this, this is where tribute is brought from across the province - some is sent on to the Imperial Capital and the rest hauled by caravan to Two-Towers.  The city is mostly unhappy Dara Happans.  Admittedly, in Kostadi, 'unhappy' and 'Dara Happan' are usually synonyms.  

Two-Towers:  Two ancient towers which resemble fangs flank the only entrance to the Plateau; some think the whole plateau is one big mouth waiting to close once enough suckers are in place.  Whatever the truth, it hasn't eaten the Sable Riders or their subjects yet; a sprawling tent city surrounds this ancient citadel; it is the capital of the province.  Ancient rituals and the disposal of the city's wastes ensure a roughly ten mile belt around the city on the plateau is especially thick with grasses.  Perpetual winds blow the stink of the city off the plateau and off towards the city of Hargoth.

The Vortex:  A perpetual tornado found in the northern end of the Hungry Plateau; the Queen and her shamans go there during Sacred Time and fly about in it, performing rites.  

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22 hours ago, John Biles said:

Queen Wind-Talker has seven brothers, her Khans, all currently seeking brides.  (A polite way of saying kidnapping people for their harem in many cases.)  Each manages a seventh of the realm under her command.

Does she have a brother called Clinton Eastwind?

Also, somebody's been watching too many musicals...

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8 minutes ago, Orlanthatemyhamster said:

Does she have a brother called Clinton Eastwind?

Also, somebody's been watching too many musicals...

She does now.

(Also, I have to note that one of the very first official ST novels is, in fact, a ST/7 Brides for 7 Brothers crossover!)

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The Bull Shahs and the Rise of the Blue Moon Empire

The Dragonkill opened the opportunity for the Bull Shahs to seize power in Carmania.  They grew strong at conquest and stronger at inhumanity, more and more obsessed with the left hand path, their reigns an endless orgy of blood and death.  Two of the Seven Sailors went into exile after the death of their lord and father, a lord of Carmania, at the hands of Bull Shah Biskodar.

Biskodar perished at the first appearance of the Bat-Man, a being brought back from the grave by the power of the Blue Moon Goddess, who drank the blood of Biskodar at the Battle of Bats in 1233.  This marked the return of the Pelchara, the Bat Hsunchen of Peloria, from the grave.

However, his son Yanistar the Last (1234-1245 ST) now took the throne.  Mounted on his great war-bull, he led his forces in a series of attacks to try to destroy the nascent Blue Moon state.  A full listing of his crimes would fill this and many other tomes, but suffice it to say, he fought for 11 long years before the final confrontation at the Battle of All Directions, in which his army was surrounded and destroyed by the forces of the Blue Moon.  Critical to their victory was the emergence of Blue Moon forces from hidden tunnels and caves delved by the Uz.

The Blue Moon confronted Yanistar and made him a bull in true; the imperial herds are, in part, descended from him.  It is generally assumed she gave him the gift of the change and he failed the test and dwindled not even to a True Animal but a lesser one.

Yanistar steaks, popular in the empire, are made in a manner connected to him, but only the most expensive ones are made from cattle descended from him.

The Bat-Man and the Pelchara

Peloria's bat Hsunchen were wiped out during the God Time; according to the stories of the Pelchara, Anaxial took away their animal kin and left the human kin of the bats to die.  They have an especial hatred of the Dara Happans due to this.  Anaxial also killed their leader, the Bat-Man, in a brutal battle, after making him watch his parents die.

The Bat-Man can take the form of a giant bat about the size of an elephant or a human.  He sometimes leads his revived people in war, but often stalks the empire, avenging those who have suffered injustice, especially those wronged by Dara Happans or whose parents have been killed.  He generally drinks the blood of those he slays.  

The bat kin of the Pelchara are mostly normal sized bats, but some are fed special diets which enlarge them for riding; the Pelchara are not huge in number, but form a potent aerial cavalry force.  Like their leader/god, they also drink the blood of those they slay, if there is time to do so.  In battle, not dying comes first.

The Pelchara live on a diet of fruit and meat for the most part; they also enjoy anything liquid and are noted for their fermented fruit drinks.  They like to dwell in caves in high places, then raid the lower lands below on their enlarged kin-mounts.

The Pelchara also see themselves as the enemies of vampires, though their enemies *call them* vampires.  

The Dara Happan Story of the Bat-Man

The Dara Happans, of course, see this differently.  Anaxial took the bats because they were not corrupted by evil or rebellion and being animals could not be blamed for the corruption and crimes of the Pelchara, who were among the corrupt peoples the world was flooded in order to kill off.  The Pelchara tried to storm the ark and seize it for themselves and Anaxial and the other good Dara Happans fought them.  There was no 'murders' going on here; if the claim of the parents dying is true it's because they were trying to kill the Dara Happans and steal the Ark.

Or to put it bluntly, they were all thieves and had it coming.

Scholars note that most of the Hsunchen of the Empire have a more positive view or at least more neutral than the Pelchara.  A common myth is that Anaxial required the severing of kinship to take both groups onto the Ark and now the Blue Moon has healed that severing.  

Dara Happan children are often threatened that the Bat-Man will get them if they misbehave.

 

 

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On 11/15/2020 at 7:53 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

Oh god, now I want to see the Mad Sultanate of Tork being led by some pastiche of the Joker (a Chaos-maddened Trickster-King?) or Two-Face (a Chaos-maddened former Lunar high official torn between to opposing phases of the moon?) 

The Mad Judge of New Tork

Early in Imperial history, Tork was a perfectly normal kingdom, then Satrapy of the Empire. After its assimilation, it was home to Owl Hsunchen, Cat Hsunchen, Rat Hsunchen,, and Deer Hsunchen, but also some hold-out Dara Happans and other people who rejected the gift of the change and continued to try to maintain the now crumbling capital city, dubbed New Tork to mark the land's rebirth.  

It's still not clear what exactly went hideously wrong in 1339.  A few escapees claim that an Owl Hsunchen Heroquest brought back a Nysalorean Riddler, and the city was infected with madness and chaos.  The city's Judge was gravely injured by a Chaos creature and an attempt to heal him transformed him into the horror known as Four-Face.  The Blue Moon always shines in her phases over the city and Four-Face changes personality as the moon changes.  

The Moonson assembled an army of priests and sealed the entire kingdom off.  People still blunder into it sometimes, and it is said the city is marked by a perpetual war between Four-Face's followers and other would-be Judges, all equally as warped and mad in their own ways as he is.  

At times, the Bat-Man is known to enter the city and try to restore order, but he has never succeeded that people know of.  

The most dangerous thing is that when the stars are right, you might enter New Tork from any city of the Empire.  Getting out... that's another question.  It normally takes effort but sometimes seems to happen by accident.

The worst sentence in the Empire is to be exiled to New Tork.  The second worst is to be sent in to recover someone imprisoned there.

Do not ask why Four-Face has four faces, when the Blue Moon has eight phases.  

 

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The Eel People

The Eel People were once Pelandans who dwelt around Lake Oronin.  After the fall of the Carmanians, they eagerly embraced the Changing Way.  The Eel People now live in great house-boats and can be found in all the lakes, rivers, and waterways of the empire, working with True Eels.  They are noted for living together in harmony, though people often complain the empire has a surfeit of eels.

This simply led them to adopt 'surfeit' as the name for their clans.  Their control of water trade has made them rich and influential across the empire.  They are noted masters of the Harmony rune.  Mostly, they use this to make people do what they want, but the most famous modern Eel Person, Jar-Eel, is noted for using it to kill people and make them *like it*.

The most famous Surfeit is the Ancient And Honorable Society of Frontier Explorers, founded by Hon-Eel, daughter of the Moonson, who seduced the King of Tarsh, then fed him harmoniously to her True Eels, listening to him die with the peace the Harmony rune brings to its masters.

Her descendent Jar-Eel, another child of the Moonson (Macavity, to be precise) further mastered the art of Harmonious Murder, using it to kill the Pharoah of the Holy Country.  The AAHSOFE is knee-deep in the conquest and exploitation of Dragon Pass, the Holy Country, Prax, and other points South.

A few members of that have discovered a weakness of their people - they are freshwater eels and the ocean is too awful to swim in.  The Ancient and Honorable Society of Tubular Magi are looking into a solution for this.   (Please note that asking a member of this society if they are totally tubular is a good way to die.)

The Eel People are great lovers of music, though more performers than composers and love a good party.  They're also noted for their skill at cooking fish and favor heavily spiced rice, vegetable, and fish stews and soups.

 

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These Tests Go to Eleven

Until the rise of Sheng Seleris, the Moonson was simply immortal and ageless.  During Sacred Time, he aged, died, turned into a baby and aged back to normal, but otherwise, he appeared as a mature man in hit mid-thirties.  But after he was killed by Sheng Seleris and fed to his own cattle, he called one of his desendents to become his steed who he would ride.  

Now, each time he dies, he calls upon one of his descendents to become his steed.  They must undergo eleven tests; this annoys the Dara Happans, who see it as mocking their ten tests.  (Which the new Moonson has to undergo once he passes the eleven so he can also be Dara Happan Emperor.)  Because the new Moonson is a blending of the original and his steed, there are now changes of personality, goals, and methods each time.

The Moonson now becomes whatever kind of Hsunchen his steed is, though he retains the bond to every kind of animal that the Moonson originally had.

A fair number of would be Moonsons have died trying to pass the tests.  

The Tests:

1.  Climb to the highest tower of the capital and fly to the ground.

2.  Survive a week in the northern forests without any tools.

3.  Swim across the Osilira at the heart of winter.

4.  Punch a Dara Happan in the face, then survive for a day without hitting anyone by your own strength.

5.  Catch a fish from Lake Orinin with your hands.

6.  Defeat a powerful foe of the Empire by your own strength.

7.  Infiltrate a worship ceremony of an enemy cult and disrupt it.

8.  Steal a sandwich, eat it without getting caught.  From someone rich and powerful.

9.  Convince a nonbeliever to adopt the Changing Way.

10.  Dig a burrow for yourself and live there for a week.

11.  Steal the Imperial Regalia and crown yourself.  (This is where the largest number of would-be Moonsons die)

 

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What I love about Glorantha is this Blue moon perversion of the red moon cult could exist simultaneously with the red moon. Just as there are many sun gods, why not an apostate blue moon hero cult created by some serious god learnerism to challenge the red moon myth cycle for spiritual supremacy?

Naturally the red moon followers would attack the new upstart with all their considerable magical might - but raw strength is not always the path to victory, as the red moon’s victory over Carmania demonstrates!

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